Day 13: The Blue Lagoon

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October 12th 2009
Published: November 25th 2009
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To The Lagoon

8:10 PM

Travelling around Iceland, climbing volcanoes, waterfalls and glaciers can be tiring, and there is a lot to be said for sitting in a bath of sulphur, so our final complete day was a much more relaxed affair. We had always planned to end the trip at Iceland‘s main tourist spot, the Blue Lagoon, which sits in the lava fields between Reykjavik and the airport (via a slight detour), gently whiling away our last hours in its soothing waters. The Blue Lagoon is something of an accident, the by-product of the nearby geothermal power station. Like the other power stations in the area, it uses the hot water below the ground to generate electricity, after which the water is left to pour into the volcanic craters and holes next to it. Some clever person years ago saw the waste water, rich in silica and sulphur and blue in colour, as a great opportunity to grab some tourists, especially as it was so close to the airport, and so the lagoon as we know it now was born.

The bus for the Blue Lagoon left the hostel at 10.30, by which time we needed to have driven the car back to the car rental depot and returned to the hostel, so we had a reasonably early start. By the time we had filled the car with petrol (not as easy as it seems, as we had to prepay the petrol pump, meaning that the pump stopped once it reached the amount we had paid, but a bit of guesswork on my part got it more or less right) and found our way to the Thrifty Rental depot, it was getting on for 9.00, which we reasoned was enough time to ring a taxi and get back. We could have had a lie in, though, because, typical of the people we have met in Iceland, the rental firm offered us a lift back to the hostel. I‘m sure they just consider it part of the job, but, coming from a land where good service that costs nothing gets you a funny look, we thought it was particularly nice of them. I did feel slightly disappointed though when the driver turned a corner and hit the kerb, after I had spent six days in difficult conditions looking after it as if it was my own, but this is a slight
Relaxing in the LagoonRelaxing in the LagoonRelaxing in the Lagoon

Complete With Facepacks
grievance bought on by a nice gesture, so I‘ll overlook it.

As is typical of this holiday, when we got onto the crowded bus for the Blue Lagoon, I sat down on the first empty seat I could find and found myself next to Dan, the friend of a friend from Wolverhampton, who we first bumped into in Vik. It really must be a small country.

Once we had followed the usual washing regimes observed in Icelandic pools, we disappeared straight into the water. I say disappeared because the water is pretty opaque, like a blueish tinted milk, if the milk in question was kept at around or above 38°C, depending how close to the vents you were. The mineral-rich water is apparently very good for your skin, and that, combined with the warmth, helped everyone there to relax, meaning that we were able to laze around in the water for a couple of hours until we were pretty much shrivelled like prunes, abeit nice, soft, healthy prunes.

We got the 4.00 bus back to Reykjavik and spent the next couple of hours looking around souvenir shops (and the local music store, where I was able to complete my Sigur Ros collection by buying the remix album only available in Iceland. Or the internet), before finding a grill bar for one final, traditional Icelandic meal. I joined Lyndsey in taking on the locally produced lamb, which is pretty traditional, and John had spaghetti bolognaise, which I‘m pretty sure isn‘t, but he scraped the plate clean so it must have been good. None of us went for the whale meat on offer.

Just as we were finishing food and considering more drinks, Lyndsey realised that she had lost her mobile phone. The holiday curse, where something always goes wrong no matter how well we plan it, had struck on our very last evening (previous examples of the curse resulted in us missing our last train home, having to travel halfway across Europe in 24 hours to avoid missing the last train home, and being stranded in Bosnia with no money, no food and nowhere to stay). Lyndsey realised that she had left it on the bus from the Blue Lagoon, so we cut our night short in an effort to find it. So far, it has not turned up, but nobody has used it and, as usual, the staff at the hostel are being as helpful as ever, promising to chase the bus company and post the phone back to her if and when it turns up.

Once back at the hostel, we packed our bags ready for the early start the next day, chatted to a German girl called Johanna in our room who had spent the last couple of months in Iceland working on horseriding tours, then finished off the last of our hot chocolate in the hostel kitchen. Despite the early start, we stayed up until nearly midnight in case there was news on the phone, but none came so we went to bed, much to the pleasure of some grumpy bloke in our room who wanted the lights out.

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