The sulfur spa

Reykjavik Travel Blog

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Ulster fry, complete with black pudding

I called a cab in the morning to head to the airport.  Niamh had said they were very quick here and I would probably have a cab after five minutes or so.  But the cab was there within 30 seconds!  I was shocked.  He was very nice and got me to the airport very quickly.

I went through a very thorough security check including a full body pat down, but no customs since this was considered a domestic flight (an no passport stamp  :(  ).  I waited for my flight at the upstairs restaurant where I had my last Ulster fry and this time got to try black pudding!  It had a very dense meaty and salty flavor- not too bad.

Next thing I knew I was looking out the airplane window at my first view of Iceland.  From the air the lava fields look like huge expanses of mud with occasional flecks of green moss.

Blue Lagoon
  I also noticed large fissures in the fields- maybe the fault lines?

The airport reminded me of Ikea which its hardwood floors and simple designs.  I figured it was a good thing it was a nice atmosphere because I had signed up for a shuttle leaving the airport at 4:30 and I landed at 3pm.  So I was very surprised when I walked out of the arrivals area and saw a driver holding a sign with my name on it.  Apparently I was the only person he was picking up, so he came right as I landed.  Before I knew it, I was whizzing past lava fields and hot springs on my way to the Blue Lagoon.  The driver was very nice and highlighted several places in my Lonely Planet guidebook that he thought I should visit later during my trip.

When you arrive at the Blue Lagoon they give you a bracelet which serves as your admission, locker key, and personal credit card to buy any food or drinks (I didn't even try that, I was worried about the real price).

Blue Lagoon
  I got changed and dumped conditioner on my hair as recommended by the driver to prevent the sulfur smell from permeating my hair. 

The Blue Lagoon itself was incredibly unusual and beautiful.  All these rugged sharp black volcanic rocks were jutting out of this incredible thick blue water that was steaming in the cool air.  The water turned the edges of the rocks a pure white with the silica coating, making it appear like the water was frozen when in reality it was incredibly hot.  Standing in the cold air made the water feel boiling hot as I first sunk my feet into it, but pretty soon it felt like a nice warm bath.  The rocks underneath your feet are very smooth and I suspect were coated with something so that people wouldn't get hurt by the normal jagged volcanic rock.  I found that certain areas of the lagoon were lukewarm, while others were so hot that it was almost unbearable.

Blue Lagoon
  I preferred those areas, but learned quickly that I couldn't place my hands or feet on the surface of the hot water as that seemed to have the more concentrated heat and burned my skin.  I could have it touching other parts of my body, but I'm sure it wasn't that good for it although it felt really relaxing.

There were maybe 30 other people there when I was, some enjoying the massages on rafts in the water and the bright blue drinks they kept serving.  In addition to the lagoon itself, there were two steam baths (one in a cave like structure and another lined with bright white stone) and an unbearably hot sauna that I couldn't stay in more than ten seconds as it burned my skin to walk on the wood planks.  There was also a little waterfall where the water beat down on you so hard it felt like a deep massage.  I also tried some of the thick white silica mud in boxes on the sides of the lagoon.

Blue Lagoon
  This mud is supposed to help with dried skin and have all these wonderful minerals and is naturally found in the lagoon.  I didn't really notice a difference, but I did have some bright red circles on top of my cheeks for several days afterward so i suspect I had a mild reaction to something in the mud as it wasn't there before.  The steam was one of the best parts of the lagoon and it was so thick in places that you couldn't see the others in the water around you.  I didn't even mind the slight sulfur smell after awhile.

I was content and ready to leave after about an hour in the water, but since I got there so early I had 3 1/2 hours before the shuttle would pick me up again.  So I spent another hour and a half in the water and then got dressed and wandered around the outside of the blue lagoon until the shuttle arrived.

Blue Lagoon

I had dinner reservations at a restaurant called 3 Frakkar for 7:30 which should have been timed perfectly according to the info I had beforehand.  However, an Australian couple came late to the shuttle and the driver waited for them.  Then he dropped off all the others before me, so it was 8 by the time I got checked in at the Salvation Army guesthouse.  I did my best to find the restaurant and would have gotten there by 8:15, except when I was a block away I asked a woman for directions and she pointed me in the wrong direction for several blocks.  I then asked someone else who told me to go back to where I started and the restaurant was right where I had thought it would be in the first place.  Argh.

The waitress at first didn't want to seat me as I was so late, but I could clearly see empty tables and she gave in to my begging.

Blue Lagoon
  I tried a pretty good Viking beer and ordered some of the Icelandic specialties I came for.  First I had the reyktur Lundi með sinnepssósu (smoked puffin breast with mustard sauce) appetizer.  It was so incredible.   I was expecting something gamey and tough, but the puffin tasted incredibly moist and tender.  The flavor was something between venison and smoke sausage.  My main course was Hvalkjöts piparsteik með piparsósu (Hrefna-Mink Whale pepper steak).  This was also very moist and blood red in the middle.
Blue Lagoon
  It tasted like a cross between an excellent steak and lamb. 

Then it was back to my room for the evening.  I purposely tried to get back to the hostel a different route without looking at a map and found it without problem.  (I think my navigation skills are getting pretty good).  I had the sleeping bag accomodation for the night.  Basically it was a shared room of five beds, but you only had a fitted sheet, pillow and towel and were expected to bring your own sleeping bag.  It saves quite a bit of money and was a really good deal for expensive Iceland.

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Ulster fry, complete with black pu…
Ulster fry, complete with black p…
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Reykjavik
Reykjavik
Puffin
Puffin
Whale steak
Whale steak
Reykjavik Hostels review
A simple cheap hostel in the center of Reykjavik within walking distance of all the main sites. I had the sleeping bag accomodation which saved even … read entire review
Reykjavik
photo by: MadeleineGL