World Travel Magazine - - Autumn Mysteries Inspire Me -

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. 101ho­

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. al­toat­a­

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