Finally.................... The Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon Travel Blog› entry 10 of 11 › view all entries
In common with all good things, my trip to Iceland had to come to an end, today was the last full day. I had a quiet day planned, a bit of chilling out, some souvenirs to buy for friends and then a trip booked to The Blue Lagoon for this evening.
I decided the first port of call would be the top of the tower in the Hallgrimkirkja Church, which would give me a birds-eye and panoramic view of the City. I paid for my lift to the top in the church gift shop and headed to the high point, where there is a short flight of stairs to the view points. There were only two people up there as I arrived, and you do get a great view of the whole of Reykjavik, unfortunately due to the construction work in progress it isn’t possible to see all views of the city.
My next stop was the tourist information office to ask directions to the National Museum of Iceland, which turned out to be over on the far side of Tjornin. Yeah I bet you are really surprised to find out that I’m such a culture vulture; two museums and a gallery in one week! There may be a serious danger of an arts overload syndrome here.
The museum was pretty cool; it is described as The Making of a Nation, Heritage and History in Iceland. Entrance fee is a fairly reasonable 600ISK, there is a guided tour which is included in the price if you decide to take it, I chose not to avail myself of this facility, basically because I couldn’t be bothered to wait for it to start. The exhibition was laid out quite interestingly, with plenty of individual displays and artefacts. Exhibition halls are set-out in periods of their history, with the early history of the country on one level, including a ‘hands on’ exhibit where you can feel the weight of a chain mail vest and take photographs in traditional Viking costumes.
The display on the next floor follows into later periods of Icelandic history and finally bringing you completely up to date with artefacts from the modern era. There is also a contemporary photographic gallery, some of which were interesting but it was a pretty eclectic display, with some very random pieces, but then I guess that is the nature and beauty of art!
There is a small but reasonably well stocked gift shop and most people would be able to find something of interest to buy for themselves or friends and family. A little coffee shop which is situated near the entrance with a large window looking out towards the nearby University is available for enjoying a coffee and cake, this enables you to recover in your own time after all this culture you have been subjected to. All in all, I can recommend a visit to this museum; it is a worthwhile way to spend an hour or two when you have some time to kill.
So how would I spend the rest of my day, with plenty of time left before I had to catch my bus to The Blue Lagoon. The unfortunate thing was I hadn’t as yet bought any souvenirs for anybody back home, and I hadn’t brought any of my board shorts for the Lagoon, so I had to go and buy some stuff. I had already decided to buy some Blue Lagoon toiletries when I visited, but I still required to purchase a few bits and pieces. Word of advice though, if you want to visit The Blue Lagoon, do not forget your swimwear; it costs an arm and a leg in Reykjavik, and they do not seem to sell half costumes! I strolled around a few souvenir shops and picked up some things that would amuse my friends and the cheapest pair of shorts I could find that would not leave me likely to be arrested by the fashion police as a walking serious crime against humanity.
This left me with enough time to relax with a coffee and a light lunch. I sorted out a few of my photographs from yesterday and tried to post a couple of early entries but either the connection wasn’t strong enough or TB was being temperamental as I was distinctly unsuccessful, so it would have to wait until I was home.
Eventually I returned to the Aurora, and packed a few things for the lagoon and then took a slow stroll down to the bus terminal. I had booked a pickup with the bus company, but as the weather was so good, I wanted to make the most if it, cancelled and decided to walk instead. There was only a handful of people on the bus, the journey took about forty five minutes and the driver emphatically made his point that he would leave exactly at 9pm, which was comforting as that’s a long walk back to Reykjavik.
There is a pool just at the entrance which looks positively
blue, in fact, it looked a bluer shade of blue than the lagoon itself which
seemed a milky blue to me, the official description is frosty blue. The entrance fee is included in the bus fare,
so it is just a case of handing in an exemption ticket, which is exchanged for
a high-tech bracelet which allows you access and operates the locking system
for the personal lockers, all very clever and cool. A shower is compulsory and
then you are out into the lagoon itself.
It is one large pool really, but obviously a natural one as the perimeter is lava rather than a swimming pool wall. The water as I have already mentioned appears a milky blue colour, obviously it is very warm, but the temperature varies throughout the lagoon, some places much warmer than others.
There are also a couple of large vats of a kind of white slurry sited around the lagoon. The idea is that you smear the slurry either all over yourself or whatever area of yourself you prefer. This is supposedly beneficial for the skin, and after a combination of the slurry and the lagoon you emerge looking years younger, I actually got asked my age when I asked for a glass of wine in the restaurant later .................. of course that is true! The warmth of the water is obviously a result of the geothermal heating under the earth, although it is actually man-made as it is pumped up artificially by the nearby Svartsengi power plant and is a run-off from that. There is a spill over point into the lagoon, and the water around this is the hottest of all, I spent several minutes ‘playing chicken’ with myself attempting to get as close to the spill over as possible. I managed to get within about five feet, but the silver amulet I was wearing around my neck, kept getting very hot and burning me, I guess I must be more of a wimp than I thought.
My skin was beginning wrinkle so that I began to resemble a large pale prune, I decided it was time to make a sharp exit. I had my third shower of the day and headed to the restaurant. I ordered the arctic char and a glass of red wine, glad that I had brought my passport as proof of my age, honest they made me prove it!
I then headed out to take some photographs of the lagoon, from a few vantage points around the place. I was asked to take a picture of a girl and her friends, which I did. I noticed later she asked everybody else who was using their camera if they wanted to do the same, she had more pictures taken of her in ten minutes than Kate Moss probably gets in six months!
After getting my model to ‘really work it’ I retired to the restaurant to enjoy my char, I had been looking forward to trying this since arriving in the country and this one was worth the wait. I was tempted by the dessert menu, but having a cast-iron willpower, I resisted the urge. Besides I didn’t want to be late for that bus, which incidentally didn’t leave till 9.10pm, so much for leaving us behind to walk, guess his bark was worse than his bite, thankfully.
I arrived back at the Aurora, Daniel was already there, I had to pack as I was up early in the morning to catch the bus to the Keflavik airport. There was another room mate, a Spanish guy named Carlos whom had spent the summer working as a guide for a specialist Spanish company. He went out for awhile, but came back later and snored all night until I had to get up and leave.