Our road trip complete, all that was left was to relax in a hot spring at Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa!


Creatures from the Blue Lagoon.

There are few better ways to decompress after a week of driving and mountaineering.

It even has its own swim-up bar so that one can enjoy a cool prosecco in the balmy 38° water! They also equip you with convenient electronic wristbands to circumvent the problem of where to store your wallet.

The Blue Lagoon is actually man-made; fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi. The geothermal water originates 2,000 metres below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It’s then harnessed via holes drilled at the neighbouring plant to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities. Thus, while the Blue Lagoon is frequently referred to as a “wonder of the world”, it’s not in fact a natural one. The entire body of water is renewed every two days (which is, I imagine, a comfort for the more germophobic of bathers). It’s actually closer to the airport than it is Reykjavik, and a lot of companies offer transfers between the two with a stop-off at the lagoon.

Pre-booking is required before arrival, during which you pick your arrival time and preferred “experience” – ranging from standard (where tickets start at €40) to luxury (starting at a decidedly pricier €195). Since we’d already brought our own towels and weren’t too fussed about the algae mask (the silica mud masks above being both endless and free), we went with the standard. You arrive within your designated time slot (e.g. if you book for 7, make to sure to show up between 7 & 8), and are separated into queues depending on your experience. Understandably, the folks who shelled out €195 are fast-tracked!

Once you’ve confirmed your booking at the desk, you’re issued your wristband; which not only tallies your drinks but also un/locks your locker in the changing room. The changing rooms are, of course, separated by gender, but I’ve read a few concerns from more prudish bathers regarding the necessity of showering in the nude before entering the lagoon. Iceland does have a strict code of hygiene, and there are shower police on hand in the changing rooms to make sure that guests are taking their required shower before bathing, but there were a few cubicles with shower curtains if it’s a particular concern for you. I will say, however, (as with people who make an absolute spectacle shuffling around trying to get their underwear on beneath their towels at the gym) you’ll draw more attention to yourself by trying not to, and being naked is only as weird as you make it.

On the subject of showering: if you have coloured or chemically treated hair, I’d highly recommend slathering your hair with conditioner and leaving it there for the duration of your stay (and, if possible, to avoid dipping it in the water completely). Even uncoloured, I found my hair incredibly dry after bathing, but a blonde friend of mine said that it took almost 3 days (!) for her hair to return to a semblance of normality.

Coincidentally, the water isn’t the only thing that’s hot. I don’t know if being attractive is a prerequisite for hiring, but they definitely wanted to make sure that the face of Iceland’s most popular tourist spot was a pretty one! (By no means a complaint.)

I did have a brief pang of guilt in the lagoon on seeing how relaxed and happy John was to be sitting still for the first time in about seven days. We tend to enjoy our holidays at different paces (John being so regimented at work that he likes his vacations to be more sedate; and myself preferring to do everything that’s physically possible in the time allotted), though we have, over the years, managed to work out a happy medium. I did hope that doing both NY and PR on our last trip would ease him into the idea of multiple destinations over the course of one holiday; but jumping from that to a solid week of 6-hour drives, daily hikes, and packing his suitcase every single morning for a different hotel every single night was rather a leap. (I’ve promised that he can pick the next holiday!)


Wild Things. 👭

(Can I just say that composing this picture from memory based on a movie cover that came out almost 20 years ago is pretty impressive?)

The opacity of the water owes to the ingredients it picks up on its way to the surface: silica, algae and minerals. The blue hue actually comes from the way silica reflects sunlight, and if you were to pour the water into a transparent cup, it’s actually milky white in colour!

Note a) the guard marching towards me to tell me this area was out of bounds, and b) the lack of any signage to indicate that that was the case, haha.

On the left there is the counter dispensing silica mud masks. Our skin definitely appreciated the TLC.

Pre-booking your slot is a requisite, but after you’ve arrived, you can stay as long as you like – a fact we took full advantage of.

The perfect end to a week of cross-country road-tripping.

Grindavik! 😈

Linds with a cup of krap from the Blue Lagoon! (Not, perhaps, the wisest name for a slushie brand, but without a doubt the best.)

It was actually forecast for rain our entire trip, so I was pleased to see that it only reared its head at the very beginning and end.

The cat who lived across from our Airbnb. We were due to see our own hairy babies later that night, but I never say no to some feline company.

~masc4masc~

No longer burdened by the thought of dragging everything we bought with us cross-country, we were free to spend our final half-day in Reykjavik shopping!

Beautiful printed designs by Patra Tawatpol (including one that might become a future tattoo) – complete with bonus thumb gouge.

We muhhhhhaay or may not have done some permanent damage to this bicycle. Please don’t tell anyone.

Also a good philosophy for life in general.

A much-needed coffee break at Kaffibarinn.

It took me until 3 hours before we left the country to realise that all of the coins were aquatically themed.

When kumon strikes! Lindsay’s maths face is surprisingly similar to my own.

Oh, you had the camera on? I hardly noticed!

We’ve all been there.

I think we decided in the end that it says “bitches don’t smoke“, but “snake” and “Supreme Leader Snoke” are still options.

Why have a thatched roof when you can just cut out the middle man?

And then came my least favourite part of any trip with Lindsay – saying goodbye. Thankfully we have a firm date set for the next one! Roll on 2018.

Waiting in style at Keflavik Airport. Or should I say…

…gay-rport! 🏳️‍🌈

When you get back, empty your bag, and realise you’ve accidentally taken half the black sand beach home with you.

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