Culture| Classic Journeys Blog
  • South Africa

    South Africa Adventure: Trip Recap

    The wonder of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">South Africa </a>is the dramatic and irresistible diversity of its cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Two of our longtime guests who have taken 13 trips with us, Terry and Dotty, explored the beauties of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/South%20Africa/" target="_blank">Cape Town</a>, enjoyed the famous wines of the<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/South%20Africa/" target="_blank"> South African Winelands</a> and searched for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">The Big Five</a>—the elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard—on a three-day safari experience during their recent trip to South Africa with Classic Journeys. Here is a quick trip recap of their adventure that has us all adding this destination to our bucket lists. <br><br><b>Day 1 - Cape Town </b><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Cape Town</a> is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with sheer cliffs that fall into the cold sapphire-colored waters of the Atlantic to the west of the city mixing with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean to the east. Since its founding in 1652, the city&#39;s culture and architecture have been influenced by the indigenous groups, the Dutch and the British. Dotty and Terry explored the historical city with local Cape Town guide, Clive, and stopped for high tea at the famously painted pink Mount Nelson Hotel, located at the foot of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/South%20Africa/" target="_blank">Table Mountain</a>. Following lunch, they walked along <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Lions Head Trail</a> and took in the sweeping views of the coastal city. After a lengthy walk and day of exploration, they enjoyed a dinner of fresh seafood in a restaurant on the city&#39;s famous Bree Street. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXX0" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 2 -  Cape of Good Hope </b><br><br>The day started with a southward guided drive with their local guide, Clive, over<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"> Chapman&#39;s Peak Drive</a>, an engineering marvel that hugs the cliffs and offers jaw-dropping ocean views. The day was dedicated to exploring the historic <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Cape of Good Hope</a> where the Portuguese navigators once sailed in the 15th century. They walked on trails high above the ocean and stopped to enjoy the views over a glass of champagne. Clive recounted that while admiring the coastal views over champagne, a baboon snuck up and stole their cooler of waters providing for some laughs (at least it didn&#39;t steal the bubbly!). They then visited <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Boulder Beach</a>, home to the largest colony of endangered African penguins as well as the famous <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens</a>, home to more than 7,000 plant species. Their day ended with a lovely dinner at Karibu restaurant, located along the city&#39;s Wharf. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWq" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWv" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 3 - Cultural Townships &amp; Robben Island</b> <br><br>In order to learn more about modern South Africa and the path the country has taken since apartheid, it&#39;s essential to visit the townships located in the peripheries of the city. Clive guided Dotty and Terry through the cultural townships and they had the chance to gain insights into South African culture that is hard to find anywhere else. They were then invited into a small school, where they delivered soup ingredients and met a class of South African children who were excited to sing for them and chat about their lives. They also had the chance to speak with a traditional healer in the area and even try a taste of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">home-brewed African beer</a>. In the afternoon, they had the chance to visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank">Robben Island,</a> where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost 20 years in an attempt to silence his anti-apartheid voice. Today, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of the transformative power of forgiveness. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXX5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br><b>Day 4 &amp; 5 - The Cape Winelands </b><br><br>Over the next two days, Clive guided Dotty and Terry to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Cape Winelands</a> where they stayed in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Stellenbosch</a>, the capital of the Winelands. The Winelands are a premier location to walk through vineyards and enjoy the lovely olive orchards over chats with locals of the excellent South African cuisine. During their guided cuisine walks, they tasted fresh bread from the ovens of an artisanal baker, snacked at a family-run butchery, tasted wines at a lively wine bar in the area, and finally, sampled Cape deserts with a side of the locally grown teas. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWg" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 6, 7, and 8 - Safari </b><br><br>On day six, Dotty and Terry parted with Clive in Cape Town and flew to eastern South Africa where they began their<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"> three-day Safari</a>. They settled into their luxurious and comfortable lodge on the grounds of the <a href="https://www.andbeyond.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/phinda-private-game-reserve/" target="_blank">Phinda Private Game Preserve</a>, looking out on the wild terrain where they searched for opportunities to view <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank">The Big Five</a> - the elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. With chances to go on daily game drives, bush walks, Zulu village tours, black rhino safaris, and more, Dotty and Terry were not disappointed with the South African safari experience you only hear about in storybooks.  <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWl" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 9 - Final Day</b> <br><br>With time for a final drive in the morning, Terry and Dotty spotted a few more wildebeests and South African birds before departing the gorgeous <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Phinda Private Reserve</a> and heading towards home to tell tales of the many animals they spotted on safari, the wonders of Cape Town, the delicacies of the Winelands, and so much more.<br><br>If you&#39;re interested in a trip like Terry and Dotty&#39;s, take a look at our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-walking-tour/" target="_blank">South Africa Culture + Walking Tour</a> for the chance to experience a trip of a lifetime in South Africa.

    Read More »
  • Cherry Blossom Festival

    Festivals Around The World You Should See Once in Your Life

    No matter where you travel around the world, people love to celebrate. Food, wine, beer, culture, art, holidays, religion, there truly is a festival for everything and reasons to celebrate life are far and plenty. We&#39;ve rounded up a list of some of the top festivals and celebrations around the globe that are on the top of our bucket lists! Experience some of these festivals on a Classic Journeys <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/dates/" target="_blank">scheduled departure</a>, or craft a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private journey</a> to explore on your terms! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-cherry-blossoms-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy3b&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZI3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Cherry Blossom Festival - <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank">Japan</a></b><br><br>Japan is known around the world for its vibrant cherry blossom festivals that are held all over the country during the spring. Known as <i>Hanami</i> in Japanese, locals and tourists alike enjoy the ancient tradition of viewing the blooming of cherry blossoms and plum blossoms in parks and countrysides throughout the country. People flock to parks and drink and eat under the beautiful pink trees, making the viewing into a lively picnic under the trees. Sometimes, the blooms last no more than two weeks and have become a symbol of the impermanence of beauty and the appreciation of it. Cherry blossoms typically begin to bloom in Okinawa in January and reach their peak in March or April. Traditional Japanese performances, parades and tea ceremonies often accompany the spectacular blooms. Classic Journeys has a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-cherry-blossoms-tour/" target="_blank">special edition trip</a> to check out this stunning festival in the spring.<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy3b&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYR8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Carnival - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil </b><br><br>Widely considered the &quot;greatest show on earth&quot;, Carnival in Brazil attracts millions of people each year. Historically, the festival is a religious celebration held between the Friday afternoon before Ash Wednesday and Ash Wednesday at noon, marking the beginning of Catholic Lent. Carnival in Brazil is celebrated through elaborate costumes, lively music, dazzling parties and samba dance performances throughout the week. Samba schools from around the world perform and compete for the grand prize in front of thousands of people. Although Carnival is celebrated in several locations, there is no better place to experience it than Rio de Janeiro. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy3b&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYRc" style="height: 332px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Songkran - Thailand </b><br><br>The word &quot;Songkran&quot; is derived from the Sanskrit word for &quot;astrological passage&quot; meaning change and transformation. A fitting name, considering this event is the celebration of the traditional New Year on April 13th. In the mornings, local Buddhist temples will offer food to the monks and water is poured on statues of Buddha, the young, and the elderly as a symbol of purification and transformation. However, the water ritual escalated to what has become the world&#39;s biggest water fight. In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand" target="_blank">Chiang Mai</a> particularly, the celebration consists of closed off streets where thousands of people gather with water balloons, Super Soakers, and buckets of water and drench one another in a massive water fight. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy3b&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYRS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>St. Patrick&#39;s Day Festival - Dublin, Ireland </b><br><br>We all know the fun of St. Patrick&#39;s Day but have not experienced it to its full potential until visiting Dublin, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank">Ireland</a> for the holiday&#39;s festivities. The holiday was originally celebrated to honor the patron saint of Ireland, so celebrating in the land of origin is the honorable thing to do. Traditions include wearing green clothing and shamrocks, public parades, music and Irish step dancing. The celebration is topped off in a pub with a nip of Irish Whiskey or pint of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank">Guinness</a> on tap!<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy3b&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYRm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Féz Festival of World Sacred Music - Féz, Morocco </b><br><br>The festival of world sacred music has been around for twenty-five years now and is a celebration of the ancient Moroccan city&#39;s rich traditions in the arts. The UN has recognized the festival as one of the world&#39;s most significant events to house a dialogue between different cultures around the world. Musicians, poets, and artists from around the world perform and attend. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Fé</a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">z, Morocco</a> acts as the perfect spot for hosting such an event, following its rich artistic history and influence—as it was a city where philosophers, religious heads, and academics have gone to study for thousands of years. <br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/holi-festival-india-travel/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy3b&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYHr" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Holi Festival - <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india-tours/" target="_blank">Indi</a><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/india-tours/" target="_blank">a</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/nepal-walking-tours/" target="_blank">Nepal</a> and Pakistan </b><br><br>The ancient Hindu festival is known as &quot;the festival of colors&quot; or &quot;the festival of love&quot; celebrates the end of winter and the victory of good over evil. The celebration is associated with various legends in the Hindu religion but ends in a colorful celebration regardless of the origin. Participants fill water balloons and water guns, drench each other and then cover one another rin colorful powders. Marching bands, food, dancing, and parties in the streets accompany the celebratory event that leaves people feeling childlike and giddy. Classic Journeys even has a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/holi-festival-india-travel/" target="_blank">special edition tour to experience the Holi Festival</a> in India. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/spain/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy3b&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYRN" style="height: 385px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Semana Santa - Spain</b> <br><br>Semana Santa–the week between Palm Sunday and Easter–is celebrated around the world, but <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/spain/" target="_blank">Spain</a> dedicates a week of festivities to properly commemorate the event. The elaborate approach to this celebration centers on the parade-like processions of Catholic brotherhoods that date back hundreds of years. The thing that most attracts travelers around the world is the massive floats (<i>pasos</i>) depicting biblical scenes that are carried through the streets. The most famous Semana Santa celebration can be experienced in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/southernspain/" target="_blank">Seville</a>, where marching bands and music accompany large floats through the night and into the early mornings with participants and spectators often seen crying at the spectacular sight. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/spain/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy3b&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYRr" style="height: 316px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>La Tomatina - Valencia, Spain</b><br><br>La Tomatina may be the most unique festival on our list, consisting of a massive tomato food fight in the streets of Buñol in Valencia, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/spain/" target="_blank">Spain</a>. Thousands of people gather from around the world to throw tomatoes in the streets. Around 11 am on the last Wednesday of August each year, trucks drop several hundred tons of tomatoes in the town square and water canons signal the beginning of a massive food fight. The reasoning behind the tomato throwing festival is not completely known, but participants remain passionate about the messy tradition.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/europe/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy3b&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYRX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Oktoberfest - Munich, Germany </b><br><br>Oktoberfest in Munich is the world&#39;s largest beer celebration and draws in visitors from around the world. The grounds are filled with beer tents serving Bavarian beer and playing traditional music, as well as a massive festival ground with carnival rides and food stands galore. Most people come dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing like dirndls and lederhosen to complete the traditional celebration.<br><br><br>Check out one of these many festivals and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/dates/none/none/none/none/" target="_blank">take a look at our tour dates to see if any of our Classic Journeys tours line up with these events!</a> If they don&#39;t, we&#39;re happy to help you craft a private journey that allows you to attend one of these legendary celebrations. 

    Read More »
  • Iceland

    Can WOW's demise lead to more POW for travelers to Iceland? Here's HOW...

    The <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">NY Times</a> just published an engaging article titled <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">“Iceland’s Purple Planes Are Grounded, and With Them, Its Economy”</a>. In it, Peter S. Goodman and Liz Alderman artfully illustrate the rollercoaster ride that Iceland’s economy has been on over the last decade, how WOW helped to bring the country out of the 2008 recession, ushered in budget travel and Instagram tourism to the island, and how the airline’s bankruptcy may drag the economy into another recession as the number of visitors drops from historic highs.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Classic Journeys Founder, Edward Piegza, pictured in the middle with two of our most-loved local Icelandic guides.</b><br><br>And yet, at Classic Journeys where we consider ourselves huge fans of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/heritage-travel/" target="_blank">pour over our 23andme results to find any trace of Viking in our ancestry</a>, we wondered if that was the end of the story for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/Iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. Or, does it have another (or many more) chapters still to write about its economy and tourism in general? To make sense of it all, the Classic Journeys editorial staff sat down with frequent traveler and company founder, Edward Piegza, to get context on the rise and fall of WOW and what it means for the people of Iceland and travelers to the island nation.<br><br><b>Classic Journeys editorial staff: Why was WOW so instrumental in pulling Iceland out of the 2008 recession?</b><br><br>Edward Piegza: “Let’s set the stage for our conversation with a bit of recap. Founded in 2011 by billionaire Skúli Mogensen who fashioned himself as a sort of Icelandic Richard Branson, WOW was a budget airline that grew quickly and successfully as it brought throngs of tourists to Iceland on cheap flights from the United States, more than doubling the number of tourists visiting Iceland between 2011 and 2015, to 1.3 million. The success story continued and by 2018, the number of tourists increased to 2.3 million.”<br><br><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span><span style="font-family: Calibri,sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZ9z" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></span></span></span><br><br><b>CJ: That’s amazing growth in the number of tourists to Iceland, but it couldn’t have all come from WOW, did it?</b><br><br>EP: “You’re right. This growth of tourism resulting from cheap travel options to Iceland reflected the same exponential growth curve in social media. Cinematic Instagram posts of filming locations from popular shows like “<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/5-classic-journeys-destinations-on-the-game-of-thrones-shot-list/" target="_blank">Game of Thrones</a>” and YouTube videos of Justin Bieber’s 2015 hit “I’ll Show You” filmed in Iceland burst on the scene. Tourist arrivals reached new heights as visitors continue to fight for the perfect Instagram photo with Iceland’s otherworldly landscapes acting as their no-filter-required background.”<br><br><b>CJ: The NY Times article notes that after WOW’s short-lived success and recent failure, projections are that visitors overall will drop by 16% in 2019, and American tourists arrivals will fall even steeper, by 20%. Is Classic Journeys seeing a decrease in travelers that mirrors the drop in the number of tourists visiting Iceland? </b><br><br>EP: “Not at all. In fact, Classic Journeys is actually seeing an increase in interest and bookings for our trips to Iceland. Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking</a> program are averaging 10% more guests in 2019 and our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Multisport trips</a> are averaging 3% more than in 2018. While those numbers are not a huge increase, they certainly buck the overall trend of double-digit decreases for tourists in general to Iceland.”<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZA4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>CJ: Why do you think Classic Journeys is seeing an increase and continuation of guest interest in traveling to Iceland in spite of WOW’s demise?</b><br><br>EP: “There is a terrific quote in the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">NY Times</a> article, ‘When the people who are coming are more about getting Instagram posts, and everyone goes to the same spots, then it’s overcrowded,’ said Hordur Mio Olafsson, 32, whose family business leads tourists through lava caves near Húsafell.’ WOW certainly had a successful niche in that it brought – literally – planeloads of budget tourists to Iceland. It was good for WOW and good for the budget passengers WOW carried, as they might not have gotten to Iceland any other way. But in a country of only 340,000 people in total on the whole island, the massive influx of travelers put tremendous pressure on the environment and the tourism infrastructure as everyone ran to the same few spots to take their Instagram photo. But that sort of tourist is not the Classic Journeys traveler. Our guests want so much more than an Instagram post.<br><br><b>CJ: How does a trip to Iceland with Classic Journeys differ from that of the average tourist visiting Iceland?  </b><br><br>EP: “Classic Journeys guests want the experience and engagement behind the shot. They want immersion into the culture, the people, the places that you cannot find on your own. And that’s why all Classic Journeys trips — whether it&#39;s one of our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking</a> programs, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Multisport Trips</a>, or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-family-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Family Journeys</a> — are led by super well-connected local guides. In fact, our guides are so local that they are actually descended from 9th century Vikings! That means that they can get you to that perfect location for a photo, but you’ll be there by yourself without the madding crowds, you’ll learn the backstory behind the location, and you’ll get to know the real people who live in that fantastical landscape.”<br><br><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span><span style="font-family: Calibri,sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></span></span></span><br><br><b>CJ: How does the Classic Journeys offer a sustainable alternative to the travel patterns of budget-friendly tourists that WOW initially introduced to Iceland?</b><br><br>EP: “There is a large American company that operates tours in Iceland and they import their guides from Spain and Portugal. They pay the guides 10% of the Icelandic guiding wage and tell them to work for tips. It’s gotten so contentious that the Icelandic parliament has actually taken up a bill to outlaw this sort of tourism. In contrast, Classic Journeys takes the sort of farm-to-table or zero-kilometer approach that has become so popular in culinary circles and applies it to everything we do in every corner of the world, including <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/Iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. So, what that means is that our guides are all Iceland, all the time. Through them, we have deep and rich connections with the ranchers, shark fishermen, naturalists, glacier guides, chief of police (True! In one of the villages we visit.), hoteliers and restauranteurs all over the island. And we use those connections to our guests’ benefit, but also to the benefit of partners. We stay in boutique hotels that are often on farms that have been in the same family for several generations. We don’t have to take you to just one waterfall that is accessible to busloads of tourists just off the ring road. We can take you up a canyon to an even more impressive one that only the locals can find and where you can walk behind the cataract all by yourself. Most tourists will explore the same two or three ice caves. Our glacial guides know our guests are looking for something much more authentic, so they will take us way up the tongue of a glacier to a cave only they know for a transformationally better experience. It all sums up in that our guests get a more authentic experience, the footprint of tourism gets spread out in a much more sustainable and thoughtful way, and the money they pay us goes directly into the hands of local people. It’s a win-win-win.”<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>CJ: Some people in the industry are suggesting that the dip in tourism may be healthy following the mass amount of people overwhelming the island. What are your thoughts? </b><br><br>EP: “To go back to that quote in the Times article, Hordur the lava cave guide mentioned, ‘What people are seeking here is pristine nature in this strange country in the North Atlantic, full of mystery. Now, we have a chance to do things properly.’ We couldn’t agree more. There is more service now to Iceland on Icelandair, American, Delta, and other airlines than there was before WOW burst on to the scene which means there is plenty of capacity in terms of airplane seats to get to the island. And the bubble certainly was a cautionary tale for everyone in the tourism industry as to the type of sustainable tourism they want. I was just with one of our hoteliers in Iceland recently and they were gushing about the quality of Classic Journeys guests. So it seems the word is out and there is this confluence of engaged travelers looking for an immersive experience in a place and people poised perfectly to provide it. To paraphrase the cheer Icelanders shout for their beloved soccer team, ‘Huh-Huh-Huh!’”<br><br><b>For a chance to see Iceland in Classic Journeys style, take a look at our upcoming <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking tours, Multisport </a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">and Family</a> options!</b><br> 

    Read More »

SIGN UP FOR THE LATEST TRAVEL NEWS & TIPS! CLICK HERE »

Facebook Facebook Instagram Instagram Twitter Twitter