I’m certainly not the first nor the last tourist to see (a teeny tiny bit of) Iceland by tour bus. While my next trip to Iceland will involve a car and a tent, given my lack of time in Iceland, my lack of planning anything related to this trip, and a bit of jet-lag – having a van pick me up, take me to the must-sees, and then return me at the end of the day was just fine with me!
The first of my two tours was to the Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon is to Iceland as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Iconic. Geo-thermal spa? Sign me up! As you approach the Blue Lagoon you feel like you’ve left earth and landed on the moon. Surrounded by lava rocks as far as the eye can see, you can soon pick out the geo-thermal plumes in the distance, and then you are upon it.
My pictures don’t really do it justice. The water was a milky blue color. You could barely see your hands an inch below the surface. There was a faint smell of sulfur, but nothing too strong or unpleasant. The water temperatures varied – from bathwater, to almost (but not quite) too hot, to just a bit too cold on a sunny but chilly April morning – depending on where you were in relationship to the vents. In a word, it was heaven to a weary traveller like me!
Look at the line at the swim up bar, you’d think we were in the Caribbean or something!
The water is the color it is due to algae, mineral salts and fine silica mud. There are bins of the mud around the lagoon that you can use for mud masks. It is supposed to make your skin smooth as a baby’s bum. Ummm, not quite sure about that, but it was fun! (Also funny – the guy from my hostel that I went with had never done a face mask and got a bit worried: “its starting to harden, is that bad?!?!”)
I’m pretty certain I could have stayed there forever if I wasn’t concerned that my hands were going to turn into permanent wrinkles.
While I am not sure how often locals visit the Blue Lagoon, Icelanders do make frequent use of geothermal pools all around town. The pools are outdoors – consisting of both lap/splash around pools and hotpots (jacuzzi-like pools), used year round, and seem to be the center of neighborhood social life. I took a walk to one nearby my hostel but was sans suitsuit (that was the trek where I managed to hurt my foot by walking for too long on pavement in hiking boots – think good thoughts for my foot, couch-rest sucks!). A proper pool visit is necessary on my next trip to Iceland.
Conclusion: you might be doing the same thing as every other tourist in Reykjavik, but the Blue Lagoon is fun (and relaxing) – don’t miss it!