ICELAND “The Land of the Gods” in Reykjavik
When the fires of Hekla began to burn in 1104, people around the world were terrified. Fear created stories about the powers of dark princes and the flames of eternal fires throwing souls into the underworld. Others spoke of immortal gods waging war on ancient battlefields.
Welcome to the ancient and the sacred in Iceland where you will journey into a landscape that brings you closer to the exotic within. It’s fitting that this story begins with a swim in the Blue Lagoon - one of the 25 natural wonders of the world - and experience naturally heated geothermal, unnaturally blue mineral water kept at the constant perfect temperature between 34 and 39 degrees Celsius. Enjoy in-water massages rumoured to leave skin younger, with life-long lasting health benefits.
Rejuvenated, you’re prepared for the thrill that is the tour inside the Thrihnukagigur volcano. That’s right, inside. Open until mid-october you’ll discover a whole new world an easy 45- to 50-minute hike inside. Watching its fire and fury brings a catharsis, of sorts. A natural letting off of steam that might speak to what you may need to purge. Other impressive sights nearby include the Gullfoss waterfall, and diving or snorkelling the Silfa fissure - one of the world’s top dive spots, a crack between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
After a trip by super jeep into “The Land of the Gods” in the island’s interior, the domain of Vikings, elves and Norse Gods, enjoy a luxurious stay at slick, chic 101 Hotel in Reykjavik. With a casually elegant style including log burning fires and a high-end spa, the property is within walking distance of the city’s famed Golden Circle. Enjoy the hotel’s glass ceiling restaurant for Icelandic international cuisine or take a stroll to experience the city’s small-town feel at any one of several local restaurants. 101hotel.is
CHILE the driest place on Earth, Atacama Desert
With regions that haven’t seen rain in over 300 years and mountains capped with salt instead of snow, you quickly realise you’re in one of the driest places on earth, where the arches of Valle de la Luna bring you one of the world’s most unique sunrises. Although the Atacama Desert is an all-year destination, you will find the temperatures in November the most pleasing. The vast region stretches
965 kilometres south of the Peruvian border. Be sure to bring your walking shoes because this is a place that needs to be trekked to be cherished.
According to NASA, you’ve just landed in the driest place on Earth, where some weather stations in this desert have never received rain, with soil samples that are similar to soil samples from Mars. Mummies that have been found here predate the Egyptians by thousands of years. Cycling salt flats, gushing over the Tatio geysers, or admiring explosive colours around the high Andean lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques delight and surprise, far from your every day.
When trekking turns to pampering, enjoy luxuriating at Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa in San Pedro de Atacama. Chile’s best architects, designers
and landscapers unleashed this ethereal creation upon one of the world’s most enchanting settings in the orange rock mountains, and it blends in perfectly. Water from glacial snow turns San Pedro de Atacama into an oasis and infuses the Puri Spa with an unequalled revitalising experience among the breathtaking beauty of a scorched landscape where you can enjoy unique treatments like a quinoa facial.
Astounding Chilean wines are the perfect counterpoint to the desert’s enchantment, as are the culinary Mediterranean-inspired masterpieces enjoyed in intimate indoor and outdoor settings. The pool area and Puri Spa offer inspired relaxation in several levels of pools with graduating temperatures, from coldplunge to body temperature. altoatacama.com