Svava shares the story of how she and her Mum began conducting tours in Iceland
Over 30 years ago, my Mum started to get a few friends together for sewing evenings. She was interested in traditional Icelandic embroidery, had learnt all the stitches and copied the ancient designs from museums in Iceland. This grew to holding small group classes in local libraries for students keen to learn the techniques and then to Mum travelling the country teaching workshops and giving lecture demonstrations.
Whilst teaching these keen stitchers, Mum would tell them about Iceland and her energy and enthusiasm led the students to ask, “So when are you taking us, Jona?” And so Mum’s first tour came about, she made all the arrangements herself, hired the coach, guide and driver, and took her group to a country which was still very unknown at the time.
These trips were a great success and quickly overtook the embroidery teaching! What characterises all of the trips is that they really are packed full of activities and visits and visitors get to see an authentic side of Iceland, Mum’s pride and passion for Iceland is so evident.
On each year’s summer tour to Iceland, Mum would always take one of the children in the family. When my two daughters turned 10 years old it was their turn too and so every year one or the other of them would go with Grandma on a great adventure to Iceland. Looking at their photos I suddenly realised that they had spent more time in Iceland than I had recently and so I began to visit Iceland again every summer and my love for all things Icelandic grew stronger than ever.
After teaching yoga for several years, I began to consider organising a yoga holiday myself, as I knew from personal experience the enjoyment and benefits that a dedicated week of regular yoga practice can bring. So I suppose it was inevitable that the choice of destination would be Iceland. With over 30 years of arranging tours and taking groups to Iceland Mum already had all the knowledge of the best hotels, most reliable coach companies, loyal drivers, special places to visit and great places to eat. I knew that anyone interested in yoga would also instantly appreciate the peace and unspoilt beauty of Iceland. It was too good an opportunity to miss and I would get the chance to share Iceland with lots of new people!
Of course unlike sun and beach yoga holidays, there is just too much not to be missed on any visit to Iceland. For this reason, I organise the holidays with a full itinerary; geo-thermal pools, lava fields, coastal walks, museums, glaciers etc. The bonus is a daily morning yoga class with like-minded people – you could say it’s Iceland with a twist!