Among many of the wonderful eccentricities of Iceland are the names of the Icelandic people. The Icelandic naming system is unlike any other in the world. To create surnames, Icelanders take the first name of their fathers, and then add son for males and dóttir for females. For instance, if your father’s first name is Paul, and you are his son, then your last name is Paulson. If you are his daughter, then your last name is now Pauldóttir. Fun, right? Try it for yourself. My Icelandic last name is Samueldóttir.
Not only that, but strict rules regulate name selection. All new first and middle names must be approved by the Icelandic government, so there’s little chance of ever meeting a Gagason or Gagadóttir when visiting this island nation.
But there are plenty of other reasons to visit Iceland, a country that is quickly becoming a hot international travel destination. First and foremost are the worldviews of its people. It’s a land that sounds like it could be frozen in time, yet it’s remarkably progressive. Approximately 85 percent of the country’s energy comes from green sources, thanks to an abundance of hydrothermal and geothermal energy pools. Additionally, the nation has one of the lowest incidences of violent crimes around the globe, keeping in line with its peaceful and accepting perspectives.
Few places are more beautiful than London at Christmas time. The city transforms from a bustling metropolitan hub to a winter wonderland: gentle snow falls on city streets, white lights illuminate store fronts, and children glide across popup ice skating rinks.
The atmosphere is alive with Christmas spirit, and for that reason, we’ve developed our newest, one-departure-only tour to introduce travelers to this regal destination.
The London with Downton Abbey Christmas Ball tour not only transports travelers to the heart of London for four nights, but as an added bonus, passengers will attend the exclusive Christmas Ball at Highclere Castle — the filming location for the hit PBS TV show Downton Abbey. Dress up in black tie, perhaps inspired by a favorite Downton Abbey character, and spend the evening touring the castle, sipping Champagne, dining on a decadent three-course meal, listening to Christmas carols around the tree, and reenacting life in the Victorian era.
Have you ever dreamt of visiting the rolling countryside of Tuscany or sipping sangria at a café in Barcelona? Well now you can for as little as $1,099! The new Tuscany Fly & Drive and Breathtaking Barcelona independent travel packages allow travelers to customize their trips based on their interests and experience the wonders of Italy and Spain at their own pace.
The best part? Our line of independent packages removes all of the guesswork from booking an international vacation.
It’s easy to find great travel deals on the Internet, but what’s difficult is ensuring the quality of the accommodations. Our staff has meticulously researched hotels and hand-selected properties that are well rated and located near tourist sites, as well as shopping, restaurants, and other attractions. We’ve also negotiated airfares and transportation to ensure affordable prices while promising quality accommodations and 24-hour customer support throughout the trip.
Where on Earth do you want to go next? That was the question we asked you earlier this year when we gave you the chance to vote for the next Friendly Planet Travel vacation on our Web site.
When the poll closed this month, a whopping 6,780 people had voted on 12 proposed exotic locations. WOW!
And the winner is …
Magnificent Madagascar, with 941 votes.
Antarctica came in a close second, trailing by 31 votes at 910. In third place was the Ireland and Scotland tour, with 836 votes.
Madagascar is a naturalist’s paradise, home to more than 150,000 plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth. The Malagasy population is a diverse blend of African, Asian, Arabian, French, Indian, and Creole cultures, to name a few. This sets the country apart as a unique shopping, dining, and festival destination.
Of course, our Madagascar vacation will feature all the comfort and affordability you’ve have come to expect from Friendly Planet Travel, including roundtrip airfare, transfers, superior and deluxe accommodations, some meals, expertly guided tours, and more.
We’re already hard at work planning all the details of the Madagascar tour, and we’ll keep you posted as more details unfold. But you can expect to see Madagascar on the list of the affordable Friendly Planet Travel packages by early next year.