Happiness is a Warm Lagoon

Trip Start Jan 07, 2013
Trip End Jan 14, 2013

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Flag of Iceland  ,
Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bang bang shoot shoot. 

But really, don't talk to me about relaxation until you've spent five hours in a giant mineral bath sippin' on skyr smoothie with a mud mask. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Today started just like any other morning here: wake up at 9:00, wake the ladies up, head down to breakfast. Only today had one special bonus added: a beautiful fall of snow. I went to breakfast before the others, so I kind of just sat with an Australian man sippin' on some of dat sweet, sweet kaffee, nomin' dat smooth, smooth skyr, just watching the snow fall on ol' Smokey Bay (Reykjavek in Icelandic, n00bz). BUT the light of day brought the end of snowfall and the bus of our next greatest adventure: Blue Lagoon! A 40 minute drive and kickass sunrise later, and we arrived at the TOURISTY TOURIST DESTINATION OF ALL TOURISTY TOURS.

Let me give you some background on Blue Lagoon. First, as y'all already know, Iceland is amok with awesome hot spots and geothermal mineral pools. This is just another one of them. Oh wait no it's not it holds 6 million liters of naturally warm-but-not-hot-bath-type-water with a plethora of silky smooth minerals and smooth rocks oh wait and also some nice minerally mud stuff with volcanic pebbles for exfoliation. I swear, when nature made this place it was like "how can I make all the carbon-based life forms here as beautiful and soft as possible?" Needless to say, she did a great job. Secondly, some rich dude saw this beautiful land for sale, bought it from people who used it to do their laundry and other nice hot water things, and turned it into a very nice -- though INCREDIBLY overpriced -- resort/spa advertised as the ABSOLUTE MUST-DO for anyone visiting Iceland. His efforts paid off, as over 400,000 tourists visit each year, which is attested to by the American, British, and Japanese flags that wave at the entrance. To put that in some perspective, one of our guides is quoted as Reykjavik having fewer annual tourists! Who is correct? We will never know... Lastly, yes, it was renamed once they figured all of this out. 

Although to give the place some credit, on a scale from 1-Swanky, it was somewhere between "Relatively" and "Pretty." A lovely entranceway and nice decor that honestly overplayed the volcano theme a bit much for me, and a charge for towels (seriously, it's a pool. Those should be free) led to a nice locker room and WONDERFUL showers. But all of this was just leading up to the main course: the giant bath complete with mud-mask stations and swim-up bar. The water was the perfect temperature, and the entire experience was made only more magical by the mix of volcanic sand and mineral mud which we squished with our toes and rubbed all over our dry arms and legs. Why would you pay for a spa treatment here is beyond me; the free amenities were more than enough. 

This is the part where I don't write anything else about our experience there, because it consisted of (in various iterations): floating, mud masks, smoothie, shower. Those four things, over and over and over... My muscles relax just thinking about it.

But with the sun our time there became low, so we left to seek out dinner and some last-minute shopping in Reykjavik on Laugavegur (the main shopping street, obvs), which included a trip in a local grocery store. A lot of confusion and a few surprised stares later, and I'm up one jar of delicious blackcurrent jam, some strange licorice candies, and an Icelandic chocolate bar that looks suspicious but might be good? The wolf pack will feast upon my return. 

Post napping and dinner, we finally got to go out on our Northern Lights tour, after literally a week of being pushed back to the next day due to rain, clouds, fog, or choppy waters. This was our last time, maybe ever, to see the glorious phenomenon that is helium being ejected from the sun and particles entering our atmosphere, rushing to the poles of the earth for the most glorious light show that ever one could find. Waiting outside our hostel, we met a San Franciscan/LAer named Joey, and some New Zealanders whose names we didn't catch, but who proved to be a great entertainment throughout the night. One we boarded the boat, we also met some quieter New Yorkers with whom we shared this lovely evening. 

I'm going to rush past the warm drinks and cookies and go straight to the wow. First off, right as we pulled away we could already see the faintly green, glowing cloud that hovered above Reykjavik. Thinking ourselves extremely lucky, we got on the top deck, and didn't leave for the rest of the night. Because last night nature put on a light show that can never, ever be topped. Think about the post cards you've seen of the northern lights. Think about the images you must have of them dancing. Think about the windows screen saver. Now imagine that, but across the entire sky. Imagine the green, the redish pink tinge, the blueness and the flickering of trails of cloudy luminescent fog across the sky. That, my dear friends, is what we saw last night. I feel immensely lucky and grateful to be alive and to have seen such an amazing spectacle. Truly, had I been a settler back in the day, such a miraculous sight surly would have made me believe in the Gods. How could anything so wonderful and magical happen without a reason? 

It makes me just happy to be alive. The best decision I have ever made was to buy a ticket to Iceland without hesitation or doubt. 

As I have nothing else to say about the splendor I just witnessed, I shall stop here. What a finale to our last day in Iceland. 
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