A dash of Energy – The emotion of Iceland

I have been living abroad for many years now and it is amazing how I miss my country at times.

I try to go to Iceland at least twice a year to meet family and friends and to get the kick of being there in the landscape and energy. I don’t worry so much about the weather when I am over there. I put on an extra jacket, cover my head and face, and I am basically fine.

When arriving at the International airport in Keflavik, an hour outside of Reykjavik, the first impression normally involves wind in one’s face. Massive bursts of fresh air, often in the company of a little rain who never goes straight down but seems to find its own path each and every time.

It is amazing how a shock of fresh air awakes you and gives you energy on the spot, and you are ready for anything.

The drive through the lava rocks on the way to Reykjavik is a trip in itself.

It is kind of like looking at the ocean or the clouds. Nothing really happens . You could look at the landscape for hours and imagine a lot of things…it has its shape and I start to think about the stories I heard when I was a kid about trolls and elves and the hidden people and spirits who are hiding in the stones.

The weather in Iceland is not the reason for traveling over there, unless you find sudden climatic changes remarkable. It is better to pack your whole wardrobe when you go for a walk because the weather changes every five minutes, and it can occasionally cover the full range of seasons in an hour.

When I took my husband to Iceland for the second time we went for a short trip. Originally we were planning to go to Snæfellsnes peninsula, which is one of the most fantastic and energetic places on earth. It’s where my father’s side of the family comes from; my mother’s side from the Western fjords (West Fjords). These two parts of Iceland are known for being very stark and imposing and powerful and I am raised with stories of witches and spiritual people from there. Apparently one of my great great grandfathers was burnt at the stake for witchcraft in the days when alternative medicine was not considered socially acceptable. A least that is what I heard.

Because the weather didn´t allow us to go to Snæfellsnes, we decided to go to Thingvellir and then further. The weather was supposed to be better in that direction. After a snow storm came in from Thingvellir, we experienced all weather possible…rain, sun, wind, snow, hail. Amazing and scary at the same time. Puts you in your place. You cannot control nature and you cannot control Iceland or Icelanders for that matter. We go our own way for good or for bad. We are an independent people, as the title of our one Nobel Prize-winning novel would call us.

 

My American husband is not very fund of cold beaches so I took him to a beach. It was raining. It was crazy windy and I just shouted into the wind because that is the main thing one can do under such circumstances. I think it must be like months of therapy to get all of that energy out of your system and get a new one from the black volcano stones and wind and the amazing powerful ocean with all of its secrets and tragedies. I love it. He was shocked but understood the extent of my craziness a bit better I think.

 

If you would like to experience the wind, energy, snow, sun, rain and people who go down their own path, or to see the scenery that lines such a path, please contact me. I am Helga Stina, and I would like to unwrap Iceland for you.

www.icelandunwrapped.com

Iceland – Geothermal water and Northern lights

It is soon time. The time of the Northern Lights in the North is arriving again. The best time to witness this beautiful and extraordinary event in Iceland is between last September until March.
To be honest, I didn´t notice any Northern Lights when I was a kid. I guess when they are always there you kind of get used to it, it gets integrated in you, and I wasn´t very tall so I didn´t look that far up actually.
 
I remember seeing them or realizing them for the first time, sitting in a warm Jacuzzi in a summerhouse on the countryside in Iceland. It was in January, my face was freezing cold and I saw this amazing sight in the sky for hours. Unforgettable. Still get goose bumps when thinking about it.
I have, in the past 13 years, since I moved abroad, woken my family and friends up in the middle of the night, when travelling in Iceland, to see the Northern Lights in our pajamas.
In some hotels in Iceland, guests are woken up at night if there is a Northern light show going on. This is a natural phenomenon so you cannot just switch them on and off. That´s the good part for all the control freaks of this world to get us all earth connected.  It is truly an unforgettable experience and powerful.
In recent years people all over the world have chosen Iceland to experience the Northern Lights. Of course you have The Northern lights in other Northern countries, but what makes it unique in Iceland is the geothermal water and the warm pools around everywhere.  The combination of the two is worth a trip to Iceland in it self. That makes this experience authentic and truly unforgettable.
For further information on how to get to a warm pool and see the Northern Lights, please contact Iceland by helgastina and  you have a possibility of an authentic and personal trip to Iceland, meeting the Icelanders and exploring hidden gems.
Photo by Grétar Már Axelsson

Iceland – It is all in the water

I’ve just spent the last three months in Iceland. I had the possibility to explore the country, meet my fellow Icelanders, get to know amazing entrepreneurs, and experience amazing food and cultural events suitable for a country of millions.

But what struck me the most was one of the things that‘s most basic about the place: water.

Firstly, and I am not putting you on, Icelandic water is the clearest you can find, coming straight from the glacier, nothing added. You might as well drink it straight from a river on the country side because it is exactly the same water.

When I first moved to Copenhagen, I brought coffee from Iceland back to Denmark after my  visits home. When it tasted different, I realized was that it wasn´t the coffee that much, it was the water. The water makes the coffee taste, and indeed, Icelandic coffee blenders match the beans to the water to a large extent. It was a shock and an important factor in my endless homesickness during my time in Copenhagen, where the water was filled with calcium and other taste-altering ingredients.

The beer in Iceland, the sodas, the Ice cream, everything benefits from the purity of the water and that is why some of the local ingredients cannot be transferred to other countries. They will never taste the same.

 

 

Swimming, and, more precisely, visiting the local pool is another watering factor in terms of understanding the Icelanders and their culture. The social hot tub is in the hot spot in the swimming pools around the country. Almost every tiny village has one, and in  the capital you have more than one in many neighborhoods.

Not only is this privilege essential for the well being of the Icelanders, an endless source of exercise and relaxation in a country that is cold and dark for much of the year, it is saving the mental health and health in general of the Icelandic people.

Water is all around Iceland – The Atlantic ocean has been a main provider of fresh food for the nation since the settlers decided to take a chance on this island 874.

We have endless songs about the ocean, about the fishermen who provided food for the whole of society and also songs, stories and memories of seamen lost at sea, never to be found again, sometimes even half of towns would go in such a dramatic way in the last centuries, while trying to feed their families. My family included.

Much of Iceland‘s water also comes up from the ground, hot, steaming and sulphur-smelling.  Attractions like Geysir and the hot springs are showplaces for Iceland‘s miraculous geothermal waters. But in nearly every home, hotel room and hostel, there are no water heaters, only water from a geothermally-heated source and a glacial cold source.

Water and ocean has therefore so many meaning for us the Icelanders and to understand us, a background on how it has and is affecting all life, is important to the visitor. In the meantime, when you are making coffee in Iceland, it tastes better if you are a little patient and start with heating the cold water for your coffee or tea. And by all means don´t buy normal water in the Supermarket. Better to fill your water battle with the glorious and free water that is available from the many taps around the country.

More info on personalized travel planning to Iceland on www.helgastina.com

SPA RETREAT

Recover, refresh and rejuvenate the Icelandic way

Enjoy the healing powers of Iceland’s best spa retreats! Iceland has some of the world’s most breathtaking natural spas and springs. I take my visitors away from the crush of tourists to a really hidden gem.

Relax the unforgettable way

Iceland Unwrapped offers information on all kinds of geothermal pools and spas around Iceland. Do you want something authentic and natural? Something a bit more fancy, or a mix of all kinds of experiences? Let us know and we make a plan for you, including all kinds of options.

Combining your trip with a Yoga retreat, hiking tours or mindfulness activities is a great way to travel in Iceland. The nature provides the peace of mind and healthy alternatives, amazing quality of pure food and professional people who want to be of assistance.

Contact us for more information on how to integrate all kinds of options on your trip in Iceland.

Body, mind and spirit

Iceland Unwrapped by Helgastina offers an extraordinary experience for the body and soul. An alternative way to recharge your mind. We work exclusively in cooperation with the NLFI Health Clinic in Hveragerði. We offer packages at the spa from 2 to 21 days. This includes a personalized activity plan, accommodation, access to facilities at the clinic and full board with organic food. The package also features our unique and unmissable ‘Dining with the Icelanders’ experience.

Hveragerði, the Hot Spring capital

The NLFI Rehabilitation and Health clinic in Hveragerði is 45 km from Reykjavik in the scenic south of the country. The town prides itself for being the Hot Spring Capital of the World. The clinic is one of a number of ‘hidden gems’ that we at Iceland Unwrapped offer to our visitors. This retreat is beneficial for those recovering from cancer or other serious illnesses. It’s also ideal if you have psoriasis, neck and back problems. Visit this spa to reduce your weight, give up smoking or reduce stress. The centre can totally turn your life around.

Please note that the activities and SPA at the NLFI can only be used when staying minimum two nights on location.

Contact us for further information regarding combining your trip with spa and wellness.

Spa and wellness retreat, Hveragerði, Iceland

A life changing experience

With access to natural geothermal baths and health treatments, you will come back rejuvenated. The centre offers renowned fresh cuisine and inspiring scenery, a must-see for everyone. Staff are medically trained and its community of people are all committed to natural wellness.

Bookings through Iceland Unwrapped with Helgastina also receive a 10% discount off all treatments at the clinic.

EXCLUSIVE EXCURSIONS

Unwrapping Iceland’s gifts

If you think visiting Iceland is only glaciers, mountains and Northern Lights then think again! There is so much more to this unique and magical country than meets the eye. That is why I love showing visitors just how much they can get out of their stay in Iceland. The reason why I called my company ‘Iceland Unwrapped’ is because that is exactly what I do. Visiting Iceland is a gift no one will forget, but most people only see a small part of it… Through my exclusive excursions I reveal the best this wonderful country has to offer bit by bit.

And the best part? Every trip is tailor-made to your specifications.

What exciting and authentic treats do I have in store for my clients?

Connecting to a network of professionals in Iceland. Are you a company or an institution and would you like to get insights from the Icelanders and from Icelandic society? Please contact us for more information on what is possible.

Professional and educational trips

Tours for professionals in various fields. Iceland Unwrapped has planned trips for professionals in various fields. Iceland has a lot to offer for professionals that would like to be inspired by other professionals, and by the nature and culture of Iceland. Have a look at these options for the possibilities of connecting and being inspired in Iceland. And because Iceland is located almost half way between Europe and North America, you can have your team meet in the middle.

Unique experiences and adventures

Moon Trip – A possibility of stepping in the footsteps of the Astronauts that went to the moon 50 years ago.

Wool in Iceland – Knitting in Iceland and getting into the world of wool in Iceland.

Dining with the Icelanders – The very best food, hosts and produce the country has to offer.

Geothermal Health clinic – Read all about how our healing spas and lagoons can revitalize you and heal.

Female-empowerment trips – We connect successful women with the locals and teach you about Iceland’s fascinating history and how women have emerged as a driving force behind the country that you see today. This is a trip that both women and men should do, as gender equality can never be reached without the participation of all humans.

unique exclusive excursions iceland

Nature and wildlife

Nature photography – Join our local experts and learn how to capture the magic of the country.

Fishing, sailing and diving – You can’t escape the sea when you come to Iceland, and the surrounding oceans produce some of the freshest fish you will taste.

Animal and whale watching – Year round Iceland has some spectacular whale sightings!

Hiking, biking and extreme sports – From horse riding and biking to adventures in the wild windswept wilderness.

Family travel and culture

Iceland for families – Did you know we offer walks in nature where your little ones can discover elves in Hafnarfjordur? Not to mention some amazing days out, museums and family friendly outdoor pursuits.

Iceland and the arts – Meet local authors and artists and learn about how the amazing history and culture of the country has influenced their work. You might even be invited for a private concert in a musicians house.

Glamping and eco-travel – Immerse yourself in the beautiful countryside the responsible way.

And this is just the tip of the Icelandic iceberg!

Personalized travel

If you have a specific themed trip you would like to make alone, as a family, or with a group of people, please get in touch and my team and I will help you plan your dream Icelandic escape or work related dream trip.  We also cater for special needs and very specific requests… No request is too big or unique.

Your travel planner, Helgastina.