Iceland and the Blue Lagoon-2012

Our flight left Minneapolis on Tuesday, July 3rd, at 7:40 p.m. and we arrived at the airport just outside the small city of Keflavik, Iceland, about six hours later at 1:30 a.m. Minnesota time. We were very tired but it was 6:30 a.m. in Iceland and so we prepared for the start of a new day right in front of us.

We ate breakfast at the hotel — cold cuts, cheeses, breads, sweet rolls, hard  boiled eggs, cereals — then crashed for a couple hours.   Having seen the ocean from our window — it was only a block from us — we went out to survey the place and learn a little about Iceland as we began this Nordic journey. 

We encountered small town buildings and businesses and raised roundabouts (pictured above) decorated in various ways, including water fountains.  Edges were sloped and not curbed like at home.

We immediately noticed brightly painted buildings — reds, oranges, blues, yellows, greens — and some homes were sided with galvanized vertical steel panels as owners of homes and businesses tried to withstand the salty air of the salty sea.

Landscaping was minimal and there was nary a tree in sight.  But it was a very clean community.

It was a cool 70 degrees with a cool wind and we were glad to be wearing our windbreakers.  One resident was wearing a winter parka.  It was 100 degrees back in Minnesota and we were not complaining.

There was no sandy beach, only huge boulders of rock along the shoreline and the sea.  It was a commanding scene, a commanding view.

We are not accustomed in Minnesota to boulder shorelines on our 10,000 lakes and we have no access to the ocean and so we kept talking about the glacier age as we walked along this boulder-filled shoreline.

As we have traversed different parts of the world over these past many years, we’ve seen how humans like to make their mark.  One thing they do is pile little rocks one upon the other until they will surely topple, but they don’t.  We did not learn who or how these particular large landmarks were created but they were worthy of a photo with a human in order to get a little perspective of size.

We felt as though we were on another planet, not another continent — or is it only an island?

We were not surprised to see that a marina was part of the landscape.  Fishing must be important here since there are no signs of agriculture and people like to eat.  See that little shack in the back?

I zoomed in to see more clearly the makeshift mine on the other end of the harbor.

As we continued our morning expedition, we came upon another roundabout, this one landscaped with flowering plants rather than a fountain.  Both cars and people were scarce.

We decided we needed a nap before we arranged to become acquainted with the Blue Lagoon.

We put our swimsuits in a bag and called for a taxi. Landscape on the way to the Blue Lagoon was yellow and rocky.  I took pictures through the cab’s colored windows.  There were no trees or brush . It was bumpy and barren as far as the eye could see, which was all the way to the mountains.  Said Allan, “When those Icelanders arrived in Minneota, if they came from this part of Iceland, they must have thought it was God’s land.”

And then off in the distance, we saw white steam rising from the earth, silhouetted against a mountain.  It reminded us of the geysers at Yellowstone National Park.

The taxi dropped us off at the entrance, where we were guided to this rock-walled path.

The water was very blue, as you can see, and it wasn’t reflecting the blue sky because there wasn’t any.

At the desk, Allan signed us up for the full package. It included for each of us a big blue bath towel, a thick terrycloth robe, a ticket for a buffet lunch, a white mud mask, a black mud mask, a locker for our street clothes, and a glass of wine at the poolside bar.

We had another glass of wine with our lunch, which was more of a dinner with meatballs and meats and salads.  I understand why people come and stay for a week.  We stayed for nearly four hours, going back into the lagoon after our meal, and we didn’t even come out wrinkled. 

The blue water was not lukewarm like bathtub water.  It was fresh like a hot shower coming from below instead of above.

In the pool we the Scandinavian languages, and also German, Japanese, and English, but everyone speaking English had an accent except us.  Ages ranged from children to old people.

We caught a bus in the parking lot and when I woke up, Allan was saying ,”Sue, we’re at the hotel!”

We walked to a Thai restaurant for supper, still very aware that we had missed a full night’s sleep moving across time zones.  At 1:10 a.m. (Icelandic time), I saw a band of bright orange light at the eastern horizon fade into yellow and disappear into blue.  Iceland only has four hours of what they call “darkness.”

Then I saw the sunrise at 10:20 p.m. Minnesota time, just as the fireworks over Lake Waconia were coming to an end.  It was still the Fourth of July in Minnesota, but it was the Fifth of July in Iceland.  Then the hugely bright and blinding sunrise was outstanding, even though viewed through a window streaked from the salty ocean mist.  The sun will never rise at 3:20 a.m. in Minnesota.

Our taxi arrived at 6:00 a.m. and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time for our 8:00 a.m. departure to Bergen, Norway. 

It is unusual for us to walk across a landing to get to the bottom of a plane’s stairs.

The landscape of Iceland is inhospitable, and yet we only felt hospitality.

Goodbye, Iceland.  Hope we meet again.

A yellow moss covered much of the jagged rocky mass and gave the appearance of cauliflower, fields of big bumpy yellow cauliflower or broccoli.  There were no goats, no sheep, not a moving critter anywhere.  There were no ditches along the road, just a vast terrain of volcanic rock. 

I’m thinking that the astronauts who walked on the moon would find this Icelandic landscape familiar.

 The water was not coming into the lagoon directly from the earth — it would be too hot. Allan surmised that the geothermal water is being directed here after its heat energy is harnessed for electricity.