Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JUL-AUG 2019

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Edward pointed out that it takes more than a pleasant personality to be an exceptional guide; he and his sta work closely with local guides in 50 countries on six continents to develop Classic Journeys' current roster of 100 distinct itineraries focused on six areas: culture, walking, culinary, family, multisport, alumni and incentive. "We kiss a lot of frogs and make the mistakes ahead of time so that our trips run seamlessly for guests," he said. Edward's personal desire to experience an upscale trip that is both physically and mentally engaging re-ects the interests and expectations of the typical Classic Journeys' client. "I like to get muddy during the day, but I want to sleep on Egyptian cotton sheets at night." ‚ere is something incredibly freeing about a fully supported trip; not having to mind the minutiae frees the mind to drink in every delightful detail. Our group was greeted at the airport in Reykjavik by Atli, our guide for the week. A dyed-in-the-wool native of Iceland whose ancestry can be traced back to 9th century Vikings, Atli is a life-long lover of adventure, and the outdoors, fishing, mountaineering, a teacher of history and geology, and an all-around nice guy. ‚e senior tour leader and resident expert guide for Classic Journeys, Atli helped lead the charge to establish the Vatnajökull National Park, which makes up about 14% of Iceland's landmass and includes the largest glacier in Europe. Our group eased into the 6 day/5 night itinerary with breakfast at a Viking museum, just as the slivers of sunlight begun to emerge from underneath the blanket of night. Our transport for the duration of the trip was a posh WIFI-enabled 4X4 Mercedes Benz Sprinter van. While we relaxed and admired the scenery, Atli entertained us with stories of growing up in Iceland, including skinny dipping in the famous Blue Lagoon before it became a popular tourist pilgrimage site, as well as tales of legend and lore. His talk of trolls and "hidden people," had me convinced I could discern shadowy œgures in the moss-covered lava œelds. From that point onward, I thought twice about disturbing a rock, lest I face the wrath of a troll who might be residing there! ‚ere is no bad weather, only bad gear, is a Classic Journeys' mantra. To help their clients avoid the pitfalls of underpacking or the hassles of overpacking, they oer a gear valet program that can outœt you with the appropriate attire to combat every imaginable weather scenario. While you can rent gear just for the duration of the trip, I fell in love with my tough-as-nails parka and rain pants from Iceland's Icewear company and opted for a more long-term arrangement. Our itinerary included Iceland's notable attractions both inside and out of the famed Golden Circle sightseeing route. We were one of the œrst groups through the door at the Blue Lagoon, which allowed us to enjoy the thermal waters before the place was overrun with visitors. Spying a waterfall in Iceland is like stumbling across a cathedral in Europe. ‚ey're everywhere, and we managed to see quite a few from all angles: below, above and behind. At the Sólheimajökull Glacier, we were guided by Jon, an accomplished mountaineer. Atli demonstrating Iceland's version of a Lay-Z-Boy—volcanic rocks covered in spongy lichen. 34

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