And so, to the last port of call, in Iceland, for us. We had circled the country, admired much hot mud and ice and now it was to time to unwind.
The Blue Lagoon is possibly the ultimate destination for anyone visiting Iceland (everyone tells you so – it must be so); who knew industrial effluent would prove so popular?
High up on the bucket list I don’t really have, bathing in a geothermal pool in Iceland (preferably during snowfall) was something I felt I must do at one point in my life. I had heard of its healing properties, and being someone who has had one form of Psoriasis, or another, since early childhood, I was hopeful that it would do wonders for my skin.
We couldn’t have had more glorious weather – no snow for me, then!
What began as a power plant to supply energy to the NATO base at Keflavik in 1970s, The Blue Lagoon is now, undoubtedly, a bit of a tourist trap. It was initially intended that the mineral rich waters would seep away into the surrounding rocks. However, due to the high silica content of this geothermally heated ground water, the rocks were coated with this white mineral (aka silica mud), forming smooth surface, which eventually sealed up all the gaps and cracks between the rocks. A dam, therefore, naturally formed and during the 1980s people started sneaking into the power station’s property to have a dip in the hot waters. The resort-style complex (that plays host to the coach-loads of tourists that descend daily) was only built in 1999.
Most tourists are day trippers, bussed in from Reykjavik. My sister and I sought a slightly different option. We booked in to the Blue Lagoon Clinic – a five minute stroll from the main complex.
At the outset it seems like an expensive choice, which we tried to counter by having settled for extremely cheap accommodation in Reykjavik the previous evening (Thank you, Pavel and friends, for keeping us awake all night with loud banter right outside our bedroom window – you will never be forgotten).
Included in the Blue Lagoon Clinic’s rate was not only the usual bed & breakfast deal, but vouchers for the entrance to the main pool – worth €30 per person. In addition to getting “free” entrance to the lagoon, we could use the clinic’s own smaller blue lagoon outside treatment therapy hours. You can bet your bottom dollar that we made the absolute most of every opportunity to be in that water. It was our last stop-over on our epic tour of Iceland and here we could relax and let all the wonderful experiences sink in, whilst we floated and bobbed about in thermal tranquillity.
You don’t get inner tubes and noodles (aka floatation devices) at the big lagoon, by the way…
The face mask seen here is that silica mud I was telling you about earlier. It is available in buckets around the edges of the pools. Up close, it looks like this:
The idea is to smear it all over parts of your face and body (and head if needs be), let it dry whilst you relax and then wash it all off. There is quite a lot of this mud on the floor of the pool (especially at the clinic) and so digging your toes into sloughed off mud is both a squidgy delight, and a little discomforting at the same time… all that sloughed off skin…..Erm. (I’m not being unduly insensitive here, I have Psoriasis myself, I know what I’m talking about!)
My guide book (Bradt), which I bought after booking into the clinic, says that foreign guests must have a referral form completed by their dermatologist in order to be accepted as a patient. We, somehow, managed to just book our accommodation online, without any medical practitioner being involved. Just so you know :) – it really is worth it.
A wonderful end to an epic holiday, I’d like to thank my “wee sis” for making it so cool :)
(Psst….Where to next time?)
Want more Iceland? Here’s a link to view all of my previous posts, in case you missed them ;)