By Annie Wohadlo and BCO
Being like-minded about adventures, BCO members love to travel together. Given it is a large club with various interests and activities at home in Houston, some BCO trip takers find they meet fellow BCO members for the first time in an exotic locale, which occurred among some of the 19 travelers to Iceland.
Susan Scoggins, who is planning the 2016 BCO trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos, returned this past October from the BCO Iceland outing she organized finding that she enjoyed the BCO mates as much as the incredible countryside. “It sure paid off — I met some amazing people on this trip.”
They set off for the week-long trip, beginning with a rendezvous at a hotel in Reykjavik (some arrived early, others flew in together). None had ever been to Iceland before and they headed into the country on a bus with an adventure travel guide outfit. The trip was timed to experience the Northern Lights and the group also caught several rainbows everyday.
It was drizzly, but the weather seemed to hold up enough for the group to hike, enjoy hot springs as well as the Blue Lagoon, horseback riding and even take a helicopter ride to visit geysers. The last night together, the group gathered with wine and cheese and celebrated the time they had to get to know each other. Susan said she “couldn’t ask for a better group of travelers,” adding they are “a gaggle of new friends.”
The guided bus tour differed from other BCO trips, but given the ground they wanted to cover and the topography, this kind of venturing made sense logistically. One of the travelers, BCO member and event leader Kathy Nielsen, said the landscape was extremely unusual, noting it included moss-covered lava fields. Other highlights include a beach of black sand and a glacier tour on a boat.
“Everywhere you look, there’s another waterfall. It’s the land of waterfalls,” Kathy added. She did not, however, encounter any “hidden people,” who are Iceland’s invisible elves. Icelandic culture is unique. “The language is very old. Apparently, an Icelandic person can read ancient Icelandic text,” she said. Still, “most people speak English. It’s a very easy place to travel to.”
The trip included visits to educational centers for volcanoes, Northern Lights and geysers.
For BCO member K.J. Fritzemeyer, the highlight of the trip was a Northern Lights mystery tour in the dark countryside about an hour’s drive outside of Reykjavik, where they reached a seaside church on a hill. “The Northern Lights were fabulous at night. They were magical,” K.J. says. “On the way back, the lady told a ghost story. I was so happy.”
It rained for the duration of the trip, but it was beautiful, K.J. added. “Everything there is so awesome.” She relates she went into a sculpture garden and found herself taking a picture of each work of art. In another town, the geothermal steam was ubiquitous (as the photos of the BCO’ers standing in the mist shows).
The topography is part of the everyday there. K.J. recalled a restaurant with an attached tourist shop that featured a glass floor exposing a gap in the ground from an earthquake. Next to that, “they had this little bitty shack so you could go in and experience an earthquake. They put people in the box and they shook it. They were laughing so hard, it was like a giggle box.”