The signs to the attraction were a bit confusing but as we approached we could see the plumes of steam rising into the atmosphere and finally it was impossible to miss the huge structure of the power station looking like a set from a James Bond movie and we turned off the road and into the car park, which today, probably on account of the wretched weather was virtually empty.
Soon after the power plant was opened and the pools began to fill people started to bathe here and some made claims about magic healing properties so eventually the company seeing this as a commercially viable venture developed it as leisure centre/tourist attraction and now it costs £15 for a one hour swim. They market it in the promotional literature in this rather extravagant way:
‘Guests enjoy bathing and relaxing in Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater, known for its positive effects on the skin. A visit to the spa promotes harmony between body, mind and spirit, and enables one to soak away the stresses of modern life. The spa’s guests rekindle their relationship with nature, soak up the scenic beauty and enjoy breathing the clean, fresh air.’
The Blue Lagoon has about four hundred thousand visitors a year but today there were no more than about twenty in the water so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. After changing and showering the only way to the open air pool was to leave the building and as the temperature was only slightly above freezing it was a short but brisk walk to the luxuriously blue water which was warm and welcoming and once in the water we made immediately for the hot spots. Soon these became too hot to sit around in and we had to swim off to explore.
The bottom of the pool was soft and silty with a pale brownish mud that you definitely wouldn’t want to slap on your face or anywhere else for that matter. A handful revealed a scoop of human air and it was unnerving to think that we were swimming about and walking in the dead psoriatic skin cells of nearly half a million visitors a year. Put this on your face and as the mud dries I can guarantee an unusual beard of multi coloured pubic miscellany that would not be terribly attractive to the opposite sex. Having made this unpleasant discovery we hastily left the soft silty bits and stayed for the rest of our visit in the parts with the rocky lava bottom.
An hour or so was long enough in the lagoon so after we had showered and changed we left and drove to try and find somewhere for lunch. This was spectacularly unsuccessful and the only likely place that we found was closed. The weather was desperate and the road signs were unhelpful so after a couple of u-turns and having become snarled up in a funeral cortege we abandoned the planned coastline scenic route back and returned directly to Reykjavik where we found a diner opposite the hotel and warmed up with soup and a roll.
We had liked last nights hospitable restaurant so we went there again tonight and because Kim had enjoyed last nights meal she had the same plate of pasta again and we definitely had the same bottle of wine and I know that for sure because it was the cheapest on the wine list. Tonight, as it was the last night. I also tried an Icelandic beer called Gull but which was pronounced Gough in a difficult Welsh throat full of phlegm sort of way so I stuck to Gull as in the sea bird. We enjoyed a really nice meal in a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere but the effect of the wine and the beer was beginning to tell and for me the short walk back to the hotel was a bit of a chore as I was looking forward to the warm room and bed and a good nights sleep. Back at the hotel Kim washed out her only pair of knickers and I made reassuring noises about the bag surely turning up tomorrow.
It was a mid morning flight back to London so it was an early start and breakfast before setting out in the dark on the road back to the airport. There was a broken front headlight on the car and it is the law in Iceland to drive always with headlights on I was nervous of attracting unwanted police attention but I needn’t have worried because we made it safely back to the airport, refuelled and returned the hire car and reported to the check in desk for our flight home.
And there it was. The missing bag had arrived via Glasgow and an unnecessary second trip to Gatwick to arrive here in Reykjavik this morning just when it was no longer required. Never mind, Kim was happy… She sensibly declined to put the bag in the hold for the return journey though.