Passengers coming to Iceland to get married after planning a wedding with LGBT travel office Pink Iceland are lucky. Often the first Icelander they meet is their driver, Arnar Ólafsson, a former guitarist of the well known Icelandic band Leaves.
Arnar is the typical happy go lucky guy and those who get him as a guide will probably live on that memory for a long time. GayIceland’s Anna Kristine Magnúsdóttir Mikulcáková talked with Arnar and started by asking why he decided to become a guide for Pink Iceland in the first place.
“Well, well, I’ve been working as a guide on and off since 2012 and heard about the company from a friend. I looked it up and as I looked more into their services I was very impressed and immediately decided to apply for a guiding position.“
Asked where he drives his passengers he says it can be totally random. “Pink Iceland do offer costume made itineraries so there is al ot to choose from. Though it is quite classic to travel the South Shore and The Golden Circle. North Iceland is also an amazing option. We travel via Land Rover Discovery, or a similiar standard vehicle, is usually a private and personal approach.“
“… over all it is the whole experience of travelling this mysterious island which is so joyful in so many ways.“
What are they most excited to see? “It is really different what people like; Geysir, Northern lights waterfalls are always a success. But less touristic places or the hidden pearls are always striking to people. Secret hot springs etc.
But over all it is the whole experience of travelling this mysterious island which is so joyful in so many ways. Icelandic scenery basically hypnotizes, you usually get it straight away that there is something which is hard to put into words. I guess it comes close to the feelings freedom, connection and peace.
The north of Iceland is also always a paradise. The best thing is s to have some private experience in the middle of nowhere, for example in a cabin with bonfires, a jacuzzi or a hot spring on the site, some live music, amazing food and party.“
You mentioned the Northern Lights, are you always able to show them to your guests?
“Yes, when we decide to go out it is almost certain that we see them. When we do some people react in an very casual way while others cry and some even scream. It can be a bit surprising how noisy and excited travelers get, but I love it.“
Talking about surprising incidents, has anything funny happened on your tours?
“Funny? Hmmm … Well if you count an incident when one of my guests fell into the river, then yes. There’s always something funny that happens on these trips. Things I’m not ready to repeat on GayIceland. You’ll have to come on a trip and I’ll tell you, of course as long as you promise not to tell anyone.“ He blinks.
Has something unexpected ever happened, like someone forgetting the rings?
“No, we are sooo pro.“ He laughs. “But seriously, maybe someone else knows about some best man’s failure at the last moment. That hasn’t happened with me“.
Do you ever attend the weddings?
“Yes, but in a working mode. I also assist a lot, making sure things go smoothly.“
Do you keep in contact with any guests after they leave Iceland?
“Yes, I get Christmas cards and with some I communicate every now and then on Facebook. We exchange music and movie titles as talked about on the trip.“
I mentioned in the beginning that you were the guitarist of Leaves and a little bird whispered in my ear that you sometimes play the guitar for your customers. Are they not astonished that you are the one and only Arnar Ólafsson of Leaves?
“Haha, thanks for this important question. Well, once I was actually surprised when I found out that I was guiding a Leaves-fan from England, he knew all songs and albums. I was stunned … and kind of loved it.
And yes, I do play and sing sometimes. Everybody goes craaazy, it‘s such great fun!“