Relaxing start to the adventure

Trip Start Jun 23, 2012
Trip End Jul 14, 2012

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Flag of Iceland  ,
Friday, June 29, 2012

Breakfast in the guesthouse was the same - fresh bread with cheese and boiled eggs to boot. After a scrub, brushing of teeth and packing of bags we organised our last night's accommodation (unfortunately Loki was booked, so it was back to Aurora) and set off for the Blue Lagoon, Iceland's most famous spa.

Today was Shenae's turn at driving - her start was generally less confident but much safer than my first attempt, and soon we were on our way out of Reykjavik. Further out we entered that same rocky landscape from our arrival (we were headed back in the direction of the airport) but in the full light of the day it made an even more spectacular sight. On the way we passed an ocean-side golf course with carefully manicured fairways nestled between the black mossy volcanic rocks - on this course 'the rough' is quite literal, with a stray ball likely to pinball off among the uneven boulders and fall down a crevasse. Colours of light olive, mottled greens and the greys, blacks and browns of stones and earth were broken by the odd blotch of purple or yellow or white wildflowers.

We turned off the highway and stopped at a rest area, setting off to climb a stony 4x4 path. The hill we climbed was blanketed in purple wildflowers and far more luscious than the stony expanse we could see stretching out on the other side of the highway. We reached a point where it was obvious the coast was more than an hour's walk away (and very impractical on the slippery volcanic gravel in thongs) so we turned back and continued on our way. The huge plumes of steam billowing out from behind distant rocks spoke of a very large geothermal source, and a few turns brought the plant into full view - the Blue Lagoon spa operates off the used thermal water from the plant and the products that are sold there are manufactured from the muds, minerals and algae it brings with it. Passing the massive structure and a large number of bright blue pools, we came to the car park and got ready for a few hours of r &r.

Entry and a towel is €40, and you are given a waterproof blue wristband that gives you access to all the lockers and acts as your bank account if you choose to buy drinks from the in-spa bar. For hygiene sake one must strip down and wash with the soaps so as not to sully the water - it is also advised that you condition your hair before and after going in the water, lest it take on the rigidity of straw. After a wonderful showering experience with far too many comfortable nude geriatrics, I joined the gang of dutiful boyfriends (there were at least four that I spotted) waiting at the door of the women's change rooms for their better halves to go through the same process. With our towels in hand we left them on a rock and waded into the warm (35 degrees) water to bob without a care. Caking our faces in silica mud from buckets on the side of the pool (good for your pores, exfoliation or something), we drifted towards the water outlet where it was a bit hotter and got our soup on. Other highlights of the Blue Lagoon include a powerful waterfall that is supposed to do the job of a masseuse, both a steam room and a sauna that can either give you the wet or dry heat treatment, an in-lagoon bar with purchases paid for on the wristband and a massage area with people floating on small air beds. All in all we spent about two hours there and left feeling refreshed, though slightly dizzy from a long time in the heat and the sun without much water.

Our next destination was our accommodation in Grundarfjordur, located near the very famous Snæfellsnes National Park. Shortly after leaving the Blue Lagoon we stopped at a one-horse-town named Vogar and had lunch at tiny shack named 'Pizza and Grill' - though mock as I may, it was actually a rather delicious burger and chips. Bellies filled, we jumped back on the highway and continued up through Reykjavik and further north.

Our trip would take us through the many changing dramatic landscapes of Iceland - I won't bother wasting thousands of words to poorly describe them, just look at the photos - though the one consistent was the huge volcanic mountains dominating the views.

It is hard to gage the actual trip time of our journey as I was constantly pulling over to grab photos of the different panoramic and geological wonders, but eventually we arrived at The Old Post Office Guesthouse in the west and made ourselves comfortable, popping out briefly to grab a bite at a small local restaurant.
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