Platinum Goes Wild
Platinum’s Senior VP in action
Platinum Seminars just got through hosting their first Signature Luxury Series in Iceland. 20 luxury agents were wined and dined and shown the gentle and wild sides of Iceland. Bill Brown, President & CEO of Platinum Seminars & Platinum Luxury Society and Dana McPherson, Senior Vice President joined Thorunn Reynisdottir, President of Destination Europe on an Icelandic Odyssey. Thorunn is a native of Reykjavik. Nick Jaksic, Sales Manager for GTA Wholesale arranged all the events once we landed in Iceland. The agents flew from Boston or JFK courtesy of Iceland Air. Many of the agents took advantage of the exceptional business class air that was offered. Upon landing in Reykjavik, agents were transferred via luxury motor coach to the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, one of the top hotels in the capital city of Reykjavik. After a sumptuous breakfast, the adventurous agents boarded their coach for a short drive to Bolalda, a popular ATV wilderness area close to Reykjavik. The Icelandic weather, ever changing, did not disappoint. The sky was filled with rain clouds and the wind was blowing about 40 mph. The agents suited up head to toe in all weather gear including gloves, sock hat and helmet. Agents aged 40 to 80 all enjoyed the adventurous ride on the ATV’s. At one point the rain was coming at you sideways and you could barely see the trails but that did not stop the agents from enjoying this one of a kind experience. If anything, the weather that seemed to change every 5 minutes enhanced the experience. What is more fun than going 30 mph through an 18” deep mud hole and remaining dry and warm? After the first round of maneuvers, the more adventurous of the group ventured off to the wilder side of the course where jumping hills and huge 40 foot mud puddles were the norm. After a short ride back to the Hilton, agents retired to their rooms for a short rest before the evening festivities. Mother Nature, ever the trickster, keep the weather changing constantly from sunny to rainy to windy and sleeting to perfectly glorious weather. 3 seasons in 30 minutes was experienced on more than one occasion.
That evening the agents donned their finery and were whisked off to a private dining room in the heart of the old city at Lækjarbrekka restaurant. After two lovely wines were selected by Dana, the agents feasted on delicacies such as puffin and cured lamb. Puffin, if you have not experienced it, is quite unique and tasty when prepared correctly. The fish course was superb and the agents really enjoyed their first taste of Iceland. After a
Few shots of the local schnapps, the agents were ready for well deserved night of rest.
The next morning after enjoying another wonderful breakfast (how many restaurants have you seen that have cod liver oil offered as a starter?) agents were greeted by the MONSTER truck, the largest transport truck in Iceland. After literally climbing aboard the truck the agents embarked on a must see tour; The Golden Circle. The sun was shining and it was just beautiful out and a crisp 55 degrees. Our guide, Garðar (officially dubbed one of the best guides I have ever had the pleasure of touring with) was funny, gracious, informative and never boring. You could tell he really enjoyed his work. After grinding through the 20 gears we were on our way. After passing many geothermal wells we passed the first hydrogen gas station in the world. Iceland is one of the most eco friendly countries in the world. The houses and buildings are all heated by geothermal hot water. We passed the continental divide where Europe and North America join. You could actually see the line on the horizon and we actually stopped at a park where we could stand on the line and also see the oldest parliament in the world. It was a beautiful setting with a lake and an amazing glacial waterfall.
The air was so clear and for as far as the eye could see was natural beauty. After a leisurely walk from the drop off point to the other side of the park, we were off to see the old geysir, no not that old geysir, the ones that spew up out of the ground. I have never been to Yellowstone but they tell me she only erupts every hour or so and there are grandstands to view it. Not so in Iceland. This one erupted about every 4 minutes. You could get about 30 feet from the mouth which was impressive. See the eruption on YouTube here.
We then ventured to the majestic, dual-folding Gullfoss, the Queen of Waterfalls. It was like Niagara, Iguaçu and Victoria all rolled into one but on a smaller scale. And if you wanted to get right next to the raging rushing river there was no barrier to stop you. A couple of our agents did just that. I thought better than to tempt Mother Nature, she might have had a rough morning. It started sleeting just in time for us to board our MONSTER truck. We returned to the Geysir Park and had a lovely lunch overlooking the geysirs with a bird’s eye view of the eruptions.
The lunch included an exotic blend of local meats and fish. My favorite was the reindeer pate, Yumm!
No diving allowed
On the way back to Reykjavik we were treated to a sheep crossing. The sheep were making their annual migration from the fields back to the pasture. There were literally thousands of them and all traffic stopped for them to cross the main highway. Once we got rolling again we spotted a rainbow. Not just any rainbow, but a traveling rainbow. You see where both sides of the rainbow touched the ground. We were cruising along at bout 55 MPH and it followed us for about 7 minutes. Pretty amazing. It was one of the most vivid rainbows I have ever seen and it was not very far away either. Once we were safely delivered back to our hotel, the agents had a much needed rest after their 8 hour journey. Agents were free to explore the city on their own that night.
The next day we were scheduled to go on a whale watching cruise but the weather did not permit it and I think the whales had gone to St. Barts for sushi anyway. Agents spent the day shopping and taking in the sites of Reykjavik. That evening we were whisked away to the uber-chic Hotel Borg. We were greeted with a champagne toast in their gorgeous restaurant; Silfur. The restaurant had prepared all sorts of tasty nibbley things like foie gras, sushi and several other treats. The agents were given a tour of this wonderful deco hotel before then traveling a short distance to Kaffi Reykjavik. The agents were then secreted away to the Ice Bar. After putting on the provided parkas, agents enjoyed a cold drink inside the ice bar. It was really a unique experience but man was it ever freezing. It was also really hard to shoot pictures in the ice bar due to the reflection on the ice and the ligting was very dim. After experiencing the ice bar the agents enjoyed a traditional Icelandic feast of whale, puffin, lamb and various fresh fish.
VP on the rocks
Nick and his cool friends
The agents chillin’
Thorunn Reynisdottir, Bill Brown, Dana McPherson
The party did not stop there. Thorunn Reynisdottir took several of us to a local nightclub. There was a really good cover band and the crowd was interesting. It was a very elegant bar but we happened to be there on Trucker night. Now just because we rode in a MONSTER truck does not a trucker make. It was a lot of fun and the ones who went enjoyed it. Party like an Icelander! There are no pictures of that merriment. The censors would block us. J
The next morning was time to leave, but not before visiting the world renowned Blue Lagoon. After arriving and slipping into something more comfortable, the agents enjoyed the soothing warm waters of the lagoon where it is traditional to get the white clay and put on a mud mask. Talk about a bunch of pale faces. The Blue Lagoon was actually started by accident. They drilled a geothermal well and they thought the water would just drain back into the earth once the heat was exchanged. Well the water had other plans and formed a small lagoon and the rest is history as they say. The medicinal healing properties of the water have hordes of visitors coming from all over the world to partake in this ritual. There is an excellent spa onsite as well.
After spending a few relaxing hours it was time to jet back to the real world and once again Iceland Air delivered beautiful service. Þakka þér or thank you in Icelandic.
We would like to thank Thorunn Reynisdottir of Destination Europe and Nick Jaksic of GTA Wholesale for making this all possible. Destination Europe offers air, hotels and rental cars in Iceland and many other exciting countries around the world. Book now for 2009.
Stay tuned for the next Signature Luxury Series by tuning into www.platinumseminars.com