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Published: November 30th 2017
The Blue Lagoon
Draws them in by the thousands
This entry needs a little background……in 2012 we were fortunate enough to spend more than two weeks in Iceland. Iceland is an amazing country that offers lava fields, glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs, tundra and all sorts of geological wonders. We think of it with fond, fond memories and dreamed of going back. It is a truly an incredibly unique spot in the world and frankly….there is no other place quite like it. When sitting with friends who ask what is our favorite country we visited, Iceland is one of the countries at the top of our list.
Family and friends often ask why we don’t return to some of these wonderful locations that we have experienced and told them about…. our standard answer has been…… there is a big world out there and we want to see so many more places. In the back of our head we knew we would make it back to Iceland. The land of fire and ice called to us. Icelandic Air offers their travelers the ability to stop for a few days in Iceland when flying on their airline at no extra cost. After our trip to Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Italy we decided
The Icelandic word for waterfall is "foss." Notice the salmon ladder to the left.
to end our travels soaking in the warms pools at the Blue Lagoon. It just made sense……warm therapeutic waters to break up the flight back from Europe.
We confess we are water people and drawn to oceans, lakes, rives and are always interested in jumping into warm thermal waters. On our last visit to Iceland we regretted not spending two nights at the Blue Lagoon as it was so incredibly great…. so that is exactly what we did on this trip. We will tell you about that in a moment.
The flight from Italy was uneventful. The only interesting part was that our connecting flight out of Berlin had a large number of twenty-somethings headed for holiday in this most unique spot. We arrived late, stepped outside into a rainy cold night and were deposited in a hotel for the night. The next day, we were picked up by Gugga, our travel guide from five years ago and a fellow travel blogger. It was great to see her as we had returned to her native land for two specific reasons….the above mentioned Blue Lagoon and some sights we had missed. How is this possible you ask?
Unique and powerful waterfall
Very simply…..on our last trip here in 2012, we were completely jet lagged on arrival and had made arrangements to take a tour of the famous “Golden Circle” right out of the gate……poor judgement on our part. We were quite eager to explore, but didn’t plan on acute fatigue, which did us in. On what is considered the most famous tour in southern Iceland…..we struggled to stay awake! Here we have a great guide with a wealth of knowledge and we cannot take it all in as we are half conscious of the whole ordeal…….ok, we really could not remember as much as we had hoped. When we planned this adventure, it was to revisit places we’d been and really take the time to enjoy the grand scenery. Well…..we stayed awake this time and it was great. We really enjoyed the trip and of course really enjoyed seeing Gugga again. guggabraga
Stark, stunning, fire & ice, other worldly and inspirational are all descriptions that fit when explaining this unusual topography which is Iceland. It is no wonder it is a destination frequently by Hollywood. If you haven’t been to Iceland yet a trip is in order.
Around every bend
One thing that we did take notice of and were surprised by about was how crowded things were and how many tour buses we encountered. We were in Iceland in early October which we thought would be off season. Obviously, many tourists didn’t get the memo because there were plenty of crowds. In 2012 we visited Iceland in August which is peak season so coming in October we were surprised to see more people visiting than the last time we were here. In our conversations with Gugga, we were educated that they don’t have a down season any more. In the past five years we’ve seen many magazine headlines touting the beauties of Iceland and encouraging people to visit while it was still undiscovered. Many people must have read those articles because it has been discovered.
Now don’t get the impression that we’re trying to steer you away from going to Iceland….quite the contrary. It is still a great destination, but make sure you have reservations for your accommodations and be prepared to see more tourists in certain places than you may expect……by the busload. Iceland has been discovered friends…..great for their economy, but they will also struggle
in the future to deal with all the tourists and the associated waste created by hosting all these visitors.
Returning to Iceland did teach us why we won’t want to make a habit of going back to countries we’ve visited…....
Our dream was to spend two nights in the luxury hotel out at the Blue Lagoon. Why?.....because the last time we stayed one night and it was heavenly….. we wanted more. It’s a great place to stay, with fine cuisine and unlimited time in their pools.
When we came through the duty-free shop at the airport we bought some beer (ostensibly to save a few dollars as everything in Iceland is pricey). We had it outside our room cooling on the rocks. There is something magical sitting on a bench in the cool Icelandic afternoon looking at the stark landscape and interesting shapes.
The hotel is also in close proximity to the Blue Lagoon so it is a short walk on a lighted path to the thermal waters. The landscape is eerie and inviting whether day or night but we prefer making the walk at night with the moon above, the steamy
waters surrounding us and the stone silence in this part of the world.
As we approached the lagoon we were again surprised by the crowds. When we were here five years ago the tour buses headed back to town about 8pm which left the pools to the locals and the few people staying at a couple of nearby hotels. In 2012 when we left the pools at 10pm we were two of maybe fifty people spread out in the pools. Through the fog we could barely see the other guests. It was quiet like a library. It was amazingly private and surreal. This time we were with 2,000 of our closest friends…. uh….. no. They have gone an added a walk-up bar in the pool. WHAT? Yes…. Sad really. Our hearts were broken at what it has turned into. If you had not been before we imagine you would love it…. Because you don’t know what it could have been. We know. We know how amazing it was. We know how quiet it used to be. Now people are drinking, talking loud, shouting to friends across the pools. The demographic has shifted quite a bit as there were an
incredible amount of twenty and thirty somethings in the pools. We won’t be going back.
Now we will say that we enjoyed our second visit to the hotel even though the prices of the stay and the food have gone up…. actually sky rocketed. As we mentioned before, the hotel has private thermal pools so we spent most of our time in the hotel pools instead of the famous “Blue Lagoon”. It was delightful, quiet and just what we wanted. Overall, we are glad we went back even though we experienced a bit of shock, disappointment and sadness in what the Blue Lagoon has become. But it was fantastic to see what we had missed the previous time and get caught up with Gugga. If you would like Iceland’s greatest guide, private message us and we will put you in contact with her.
Our last night in Iceland was in Reykjavik and we didn’t do much but go to dinner and go back to our hotel. That last morning Dave woke up with a headache and a head cold so he needed to rest. We did walk the city streets for about an hour before dinner which was
enjoyable. We had a nice dinner and enjoyed seeing the town again. Reykjavik is a great city to wander about and is quite scenic.
This trip proved to us what we suspected… cherish the memory. Life moves on and things change. When you go back it will not be the same…. You may like it…. but you might not. We still love every inch of Iceland but the Blue Lagoon no longer holds that magic that it once did. Thank goodness the hotel had those magic pools to keep us content for two days. Please read our past Iceland blogs: Blowing off some steam in Reykjavik Wickedly Wonderful Western Fjords of Iceland Rainbows, Eric Clapton and thermal waters in Iceland
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