Today was departure day. While other travelers were hastily checking out of Grandi to meet their airport connections, Leah and I had other plans. We had purposely booked an evening flight to give us another day of touring, but nothing too rigorous. We jumped on the option of keeping the Land Cruiser, and driving ourselves to the airport, coupled with a visit to Blue Lagoon.
After two weeks of circumnavigating the country/island for a total of 2020 miles, we were more than ready for a few hours of rest and relaxation before battling the airport madness.
We stopped briefly at a roadside turnoff in Reykjanes to explore our surroundings,
and spelunk a small crater from last year’s eruption.
However, as I write this, I regret missing the spectacle of Iceland’s August 3rd eruption and lava flow of Fagradalsfjall’s Geldingadalir volcano.
Nevertheless, because of the fissure’s volatility, the landscape is scarred and uninhabitable, yet eerily beautiful.
And because of Reykjanes’ geothermal properties, the Blue Lagoon has become legendary for the healing properties of its milky, mineral-rich waters.
The social and political landscape of Iceland is an unusual paradox–progressive in some matters, while also Puritanical at times. For instance, currently 67% of women no longer consider marriage a precursor to children.
Nor is organized religion very popular these days. Although Iceland has adopted Lutheranism as its state religion, the majority of Icelanders identify as either atheist or non-religious.
Iceland is also a global leader in promoting and protecting gender rights and equality.
Which begs the question: How can a Penis Museum exist in the center of Reykjavik when Icelanders prohibit nudity at any and all pools, spas and beaches?
After arriving at Blue Lagoon registration,
we claimed our color-coded, “Comfort” bracelet, which entitled us to:
- Entrance to the Blue Lagoon
- Private locker
- Silica mud mask
- Use of towel
- 1st drink of our choice
We grabbed a towel on the way to our respective locker rooms–offering both public and private spaces for changing and showering. Once we located an available locker, we were directed to shower before entering the pool. Same-sex monitors were everywhere to assure compliance.
I met Leah outside the bathhouse with my towel and phone. The air temperature was 54oF and we were both shivering.
“What are you doing with your phone?” she asked.
“I need it to take pictures,” I answered.
“Don’t ya think you’re taking a big chance out there?” she continued.
“Probably,” I admitted, “but the water’s no deeper than 4.5 ft, so I’m not too worried. And NO splashing!”
“Okay, but just so you know–if you drop your phone, it’s gone forever. You’ll never find it in this,” she warned.
I gripped my phone with one hand and grabbed Leah’s hand with the other, and together we slipped into the warm, milky waters.
The water temperature felt like 90oF, but as we approached the bridge, rushes of hot water circulated around us with a thin mist hovering over the surface.
It’s hard to believe that Blue Lagoon was created by accident when engineers discharged geothermal plant condensate into a nearby lava field and expected the water to permeate the porous rock. But they didn’t consider that sedimentation would eventually clog the pores, and turn the fields into expansive reservoirs.
The lagoon didn’t seem overly crowded, but a lifeguard assured me that today was the busiest day since the pandemic recovery.
Although, the further we ventured, the fewer people we encountered.
until we reached the outer limits of the lagoon to enjoy a quiet moment by ourselves.
That’s when we realized that most of the crowd was either drinking around the bar,
or applying a silica mask doled out from the treatment kiosk. So we did both!
Unfortunately, our time in Iceland has come to a close.
We’ll resume our summer travels in Maine and Canada.
Till then, Kveðja Ísland! (Farewell Iceland!)
P.S. I didn’t sacrifice my phone to the Blue Lagoon.