Thermal Pools! - Laugardalur

Trip Start May 08, 2009
Trip End Jun 29, 2009

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

We had an awesome dinner last night at an Indian and Icelandic
restaurant (the culinary fusion of lobster tandoori - yum!)
We walked around in the wind but it was so strong we often had to stop and brace ourselves.  Now we need to start thinking about talking with the landlady to extend our stay. Also, we need to figure out how to rend a car. I'd still like to rent bikes, go to Videy Island, and go to the Botanical Gardens.

We rented bikes and went to the Botanical Gardens and had a lovely walk around - we were both really surprised at the types of plants that can survive on this island that is graced with Gulf Stream winds. We saw lots of birds at the gardens too. Then we pedaled a short distance to the thermal Pools! - Laugardalur. This is one of the 150 hot spots in Iceland. Women used to have to carry the heavy wash loads and washing utensils al the way from the city centre (just over 3 km)! Wow, that is just crazy! Imagine lugging that wash in the biting cold winter or on a hot summer day? Now, we bike there on our leisure day off and just soak in the tubs! Senica and I entered a pitch dark and searing steam bath of 46.5 degrees where the air was so thick with steam we had to leave in two seconds. The outdoor pools were nice and spacious as well as comfortable warm. We tried some of the five hot tubs ranging from 38 degrees to 44 (hot enough to stew your feet). There were lots of younger people and kids. This is a great healthy social venue for Icelanders. I can barely imagine this place in the winter, running between waters was 'brisk' to say the least. After Ladugardalur I felt clean, warm, and relaxed. 

At the thermal pools I selected some great postcards of places I was to put on the 'to do' list. Such as Svartifoss where the rocks are hanging upside down. Krafla - volacno. Stokkur - geysir that erupts every 5 - 6 minutes and can reach 30 meters high. Jokulgit Landmanna - desert landscape. Ingolfshofdi - Puffin reserve.

On our bike ride back from the pools we passed the dockyard and got a great view of Videy Island (but we decided a trip out there would be quite time consuming.) Senica discovered a small sand beach with a huge black rock on the shore that looked like a mammoth beached whale.   There is a great pace of life here in Iceland. Cars drive fast but everyone will slow or stop for a pedestrian at a cross walk.

Senica and I sampled a smattering of Icelandic nightlife. We went to see a band called Sudden Change of Weather. It was crazy and nearly blew our ears off. To give you an idea of the tone, the first lyrics were 'kill your headache with a gun' and it just went nuts from there (yes the band sang in English but spoke to the audience in Icelandic). Just hearing their language was a treat. It was a real experience to be sardined in beside big Icelanders and music that sounds like a raging storm. Senica and I then finished our two drinks that cost almost $20 and went across the street to a club that looked wild from the outside. Inside, we enjoyed the music (even the Bryan Adams) but after a little while we felt a bit too married or too honeymoonish to stay, so we retired to our apartment.

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