After completing research for a trip and compiling my list of must-sees, I try to guess which one will disappoint. There’s always a clunker on the list, some place that doesn’t fulfill expectations. During a recent trip to Iceland, I was convinced the Blue Lagoon was going to win my travel equivalent of the Razzie.
My primary misgiving with this jaunt was including it on the return trip to the airport. Although travel mishaps make great stories, I try not to intentionally set myself up for misadventure. Return days are best spent souvenir hunting and mailing postcards. The idea of popping on a tour bus, navigating lava fields, showering – all of it made me nervous. Very nervous indeed.
Rest assured. This little side trip is a gem. When plundering became frowned upon, the Vikings devoted their considerable energies into developing great tours and the Blue Lagoon trip is just one. The Flybus shuttle arrived at our hotel in Reykjavik as promised and delivered us to the central bus station where we boarded a larger coach bus (and retrieved a hat that had gone missing days earlier). Then it was on to the Blue Lagoon, about 35 minutes from town. Our luggage was offloaded to a locked shed. They could have left it in a pile by the side of the road. There’s virtually no crime in Iceland.
Our bus tickets served as entry passes to the lagoon. For additional fees you can rent towels, robes or book spa treatments. Like every public facility in Iceland, the locker room is pristine, noticeably different than the changing areas in water parks in the States. Before bathing you are asked to shower; there is shampoo and conditioner in the stalls. Then sprint into the lagoon. Feel free to squeal. Although it was below freezing, we were very comfortable in the water where the temperature is maintained around 98 degrees. We happily bobbed around for a couple of hours. A sauna and steam bath are available for use and there’s a cascading waterfall that beats your tired muscles with the elegance of Thor’s hammer. I’m trying to get one installed in my office. There are also bins of silica mud available for you to slather on your face and body, providing a satisfying exfoliation and softening treatment.
You’ll squeal again as you race from the warm waters to the locker room. There are relaxation areas, bars, a cafe and restaurant available for use during your stay. You can visit them in your robe or after changing. A pleasant waiter informed me that his name was Bjartur, which means Bright, or Illuminated One. He certainly lived up to his name, flashing a blonde halo and a blinding smile. He insisted I try the beer named after him. We had a couple of them and lunch before taking the later of two shuttles to Keflavik Airport. We arrived with plenty of time to obtain a VAT refund for the purchases we made in the city, and to buy some Black Death (a form of schnapps that’s the national drink) and licorice. Heck. I was so relaxed I barely noticed the TWO security pat-downs I received before boarding.