The Blue Lagoon and my first impressions of Reykjavik

Reykjavik Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 15 › view all entries

It was quite warm in Amsterdam as I left. I was wearing a long-sleved shirt in expectation of cooler weather but, here 70 degrees. After 2hr 55 min of flight and a wave down as we passed over the Faroe Islands, we land in Reykjavik (actually Keflavik but, you know).

I made my way through the airport and to the AirBus window where I purchased my Blue Lagoon entrance and bus trip there and then into town (5900 IKR). After a 30 minute wait and my first taste of Skyr (unique to Iceland, a yogurt like dairy product but is extremely thick and very flavorful), we were on our way. Wow, I had heard that the landscape looks lunar but, this was more extreme than I expected.

It looks like someone just tilled up the earth and left it.

I short time, we arrived at this 3 meter high wall of lava rock with a a white, very nice, sign that said Blue Lagoon. We stored our luggage at a little house by the bus stop (no additional charge). We headed down a path with walls of lava rock on either side. The path opened up to reveal pools of the most beautiful shade of Icelandic blue water, on the left. It looks like a color found in cartoons. There were several large pools with little bridges over some areas. This was all before even getting inside.

I enter and rent a towel (700 IKR), a bracelet with an electronic chip to lock/unlock my locker, and head to the changing room. As I was changing into my swimsuit, I noticed that everyone else had already removed their shoes and placed them at the entrance.

They had flipflops on. No one told me....oh well. The way out to the lagoon is through an alleyway of open showers with naked men, everywhere. I would learn that there is a reason for this design, later.

I reach the terrace that opens up to the lagoon and was just taken aback. It's so much more impressive in person than can be captured in pictures. This thing is huge! There are lounges on the terrace so you can just relax and soak up the sun (at 45 degrees).  There is a waterfall off to one side near the saunas. There are several of these, each with different temperatures. There is even a poolside swim up bar for cocktails or fruit smoothies. All of this with lava rock and fields surrounding it's freeform shape. There is a little thermal vent that spews hot water and steam, constantly.

In the background are jagged mountains with a beautiful green covering them. Also, we had a clear blue lucky!

Many people were laying around the shallows on ledges for relaxing, near the vent in the jacuzzi like heat, or swimming about , chatting with glacial mud on their faces. I swam around, being mindful of my towel with my camera wrapped up inside. I enjoyed a leisurely swim and checking out the vent, waterfall, and many of the other areas. The temperature of the water changes from warm to hot to cool depending on the area you are in. There is a soft mud on the bottom that feels good between your toes.

I enjoyed the lagoon for about an hour and a half. I was about at the point of becoming prune-like. It was wonderful to swim out in the open air in such a beautiful location.

Time to get out, though. I wanted to catch the 18:00 bus into Reykjavik.

Oh, I almost forgot, while swimming around, I heard two young girls getting repremanded because they were just putting their feel in the lagoon and hadn't had a pre-swim shower. This is, evidently, required. But, again, no one told me. Oh well!

Dried off, dressed and in possession of a few souvenirs, I head back to the bus. It was about a 35 minute ride into town, where I was let off, with 2 others, at Hlemmer bus station. They were staying at Guesthouse Pavi, as well. He was Portugese and she was Slovak but, worked together in London. We walked together, I mean got lost together, in the process of making our way to the guesthouse. In then end, the guesthouse was just a short distance from where we started.

This would become a theme, on this trip. We found the front door of the building, which is part of a block of buildings that are non-descript. We went up the stairs to find 2 Italians and all of their hiking gear, waiting.They said that they had called the manager and he said he would be there shortly. We sat on the stairs and within 15 minutes, he showed up. At the same time, another 2 guests showed up. We were 7, now. After the Italians checked in, it was my turn. He and his red haired grand-daughter took my information. He was not a very pleasant man. He said things that sounded like he felt he was doing you a favor in renting you a room, whatever! His grand-daughter showed me to my room, not a word of English. She was a little cutie.  (Review of room separate).
I put away my things and decided to venture into town as the sun was still ver high in the sky.

I walked back, passed Hlemmer Station, to the harbor. It has a nice curve to the waterfront which has a large rock barrier. The mountain across (Mt. Esja), covered with snow made for such a beautiful walk. Continuing along the water, heading towards the port, I came upon the sculpture "Sun Voyager" by Jon Gunnar Arnason. It's a massive steel sculpture in the shape of a Viking ship. Again, something else here that is so much more impressive in person, in these surroundings. It's simple design says so much about the strength and determination. This would be the first of many creative pieces that I would discover in Iceland.

I consulted my travel guide and discovered an interesting vegetarian possibility.

So, I walked up the hill and into the town center. It is located on one of the main streets that run the length of the penninsula. I "guessed" at which direction to turn and after about 20 minutes decided to consult the guide again to look at the address number. It was in the other direction. Also, as it turned out it was just across the street from where I turned left on the street, earlier. I told you this would be a theme...and it does continue. I found me intended restaurant (A Naestu Grosum, which means "on the next grasses" in Icelandic but it's intended meaning is " in the neighborhood".  I walk in and up a set of stairs to a little restaurant that is cafeteria style. (full review to follow) The meal was delicious and interesting. That isn't easy to come by for vegetarians.
The food is a bit expensive but, the portion size it great. It was so good I did return for another meal! While sitting in the restaurant looking out the window, which is a second floor view of Laugavegur Street, I notice the wrong way sign on the street. It has yellow in its center section instead of white. This is for when there is a great amount of snow. Yellow is the most reflective color in the color spectrum....very smart of them.

Tired, but happily fed, I walk through the east end of the Old Town and make my way back to the guesthouse. I did stop briefly at a grocery to get juice, fruit, water, and Skyr! At the guesthouse, I prepared my things for my early morning and long day of travel, tomorrow. I write a bit about my day and then off to sleep. What a great day. I didn't know it yet but, there were many more wonderful surprises to come.


kaijin says:
Thanks for the tips about Blue Lagoon! I'm researching now and will be going there in 2012.
Posted on: Apr 16, 2010
aloneinthecrowd says:
Congrats on your blog being featured :D
Great pics
Posted on: Sep 10, 2009
Globevoyager says:
Congrats!!! Nice pics!
Posted on: Sep 09, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Reykjavik Hotels & Accommodations review
Not reccomended, if you can afford more!
Let me justify my ratings. The place is totally devoid of any guesthouse type character. The front door to the building was consistently left ajar so,… read entire review
Reykjavik Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Creative Vegetarian
What a find. This restaurant is just of the main street running through Old Town. You walk in the front door and up a flight of stairs. The cafete… read entire review
photo by: MadeleineGL