It's hard to believe it’s already December! With the holiday season fully underway, we’re featuring some of our favorite places to unwind in front of a fireplace this winter—hopefully with some of your favorite people. Speaking of winter, we’re highlighting a recent trip to the Scandinavian Arctic, complete with a viewing of the Northern Lights. Beaches more your speed? We’ve got the lowdown on some of the best hotels in Anguilla. From all of us at First in Service, we wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year. Cheers to 2019!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Our president Erika Reategui is also our resident Marco Polo. Always seeking remote and off-the-radar adventures, she recently took a nine-day expedition cruise to Greenland, the largest island on the planet.
What’s so special about Greenland?
Since my expedition to Antarctica in 2002, I became fascinated with the wonders of glaciology and marine life in the Polar Regions. As the world’s largest island, and a destination where the planet’s climate changes are shockingly visible, it was a natural wonder I just had to explore.
How did you get there?
I chose Lindblad Expeditions. They’ve been pioneers in expedition travel since the 60s. An alliance with National Geographic includes the best team of experts – from naturalists, scientists, photographers, and journalists.
I flew from New York to Reykjavik. Non-stop takes only 5 hours, so we got to visit Iceland for a long weekend. From Reykjavik, Lindblad chartered a non-stop flight to Kangerlussuaq, where we boarded our ship, the National Geographic Explorer.
Tell us about some of the highlights.
Where do I start? Sailing through breathtaking fjords surrounded by towering mountains and glaciers that only a lucky few have experienced. Hiking to the base of a retreating glacier that had never before been visited by an expedition ship. And sitting in a zodiac, watching the roaring thunder of ice tumble down a glacier. I can’t believe how close we were to glaciers and icebergs.
Did you visit any traditional villages?
Yes. Sisimuit was a former whaling port. With only around 5,000 people, it’s the second largest town in Greenland. The charming fishing town is famous for its colorful 18th-century colonial homes. We arrived on a misty morning which was perfect for capturing images. Our photographic walking tour was conducted by Michael Melford, a National Geographic photographer.
What was life onboard like?
Our expedition vessel had the comforts of an ocean liner. Spacious cabins with balconies, a library, a spa, a lounge where everyone met after an active day for cocktails and naturalists talks, a restaurant, and bistro, and a gift shop selling collectibles from every place Lindblad has expeditions to. Life onboard focused mostly on evenings as our days were filled with activities. As for the food, the meals were delicious – with international dishes and wines. We even had popcorn one night during an evening talk. My favorite snack was tuna salad in a small ice cream cone.
You met a special guest on your visit.
Yes, a highlight of the expedition was meeting Aleqa Hammond, Greenland’s first female prime minister. It was an honor to hear her speak to us about her life, her pride in her Inuit heritage, and how she rose to politics.
What is Reykjavik like?
Reykjavik has international flair without being ostentatious. I had not been to Iceland before, and this was a great introduction. A fascinating gateway to dramatic landscapes of volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, glaciers, lovely waterfalls and national parks. And good gastronomy!
How did you spend your weekend there?
By packing in enough to want to come back! We did a full day tour of the Golden Circle, including top sites like Pingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, the geyser spring area in Kaukadalur and Kerio Volcanic Crater.
As for the food, our dinner at Apotek was a standout. Argentinean chef Carlos Gimenez used locally sourced ingredients in his contemporary Icelandic menu. Our four course menu included sea trout with yuzu mayo, pan fried ling fish with chorizo foam, lamb with dill-spinach cream, and a fabulous desert made with skyr (Icelandic yogurt).
Ready for your voyage of discovery? To book an expedition of a lifetime, or any cruise adventure, contact our team at email@example.com.