When traveling, I love to go with the flow. I spent a week exploring around Iceland, and before I knew it my last day was upon me. I still had yet to see the famous Blue Lagoon, the beautiful hot springs which had been the inspiration for my trip in the first place. I had the whole morning before I had to arrive at the airport the following day- could it be done?? I took a walk to the Gray Line bus company in downtown Reykjavik to find out, and all my questions were answered.
With a plan in place, and my mind at ease, I spent the rest of the evening walking around the beautiful city in the blustery arctic winds, thinking about the warm pools that awaited me in the not-so-distant future. I was about to wrap up my night, when the magic of travel started to take place, setting me up for some incredible company the next day…
One Fated Night:
As I sat in the entryway to my hostel on the eve of my last day in Iceland, a guy blew in with the wind and snagged a seat at my table.
“Mind if I sit here?” he asked.
“Of course not,” I replied.
He was eating a brand of yogurt that is like a gift from the Icelandic Gods, Skyr.is, and I was curious about his flavor selection. Strawberry.
We began to talk, a conversation shared as much with our eyes as with our words. His journey was just beginning, and mine was just coming to a close, but I had a plethora of advice for him, gathered from my adventures of the last week. We pulled out a map and started talking about the wonders of Iceland. Just as he said “west fjords” a passerby stopped dead in his tracks and looks us both squarely in the eyes.
“Are you two talking ’bout traveling up to the western fjords?” asked an obvious Irishman.
I lamentably told him that my trip was coming to a close, without seeing the northwestern area of Iceland, but that my partner in conversation was setting off on an unspecified road trip the next day, and that I would be taking a bus from Reykjavik to the world-renowned Blue Lagoon, then on to the Keflavik airport for takeoff.
“Oh the Blue Lagoon is brilliant!” he beamed. “I just spent the day there meself.”
After my two new friends settled with a handshake on a meeting time for the morning, the Irishman left, and it was again myself and the mystery man of my table. We talked with ease for hours, with the sky outside softly aglow, dimly lit from the remnants of the previous day and in anticipation for the day that was beginning to commence.
I fell asleep abuzz with the energy of the night’s connections and several short hours later I pulled myself from bed, and made my way back down to the lobby, ready to catch my ride and kickstart my day, when who did I see? My two mates from the night before. Their car rental was late, and before I knew it, the Irishman had jumped on board with my venture to the Blue Lagoon. I love the Irish- they’re such good craic- and this guy was no exception.
We bid farewell to the now-lone ranger as we set off for the Gray Line bus that awaited us outside. The course of my whole day had changed in the blink of an eye, and I was ready to embrace it.
The Journey to the Blue Lagoon and Beyond:
Our conversation was full of energy as we both spoke of embracing whatever may come your way while you are traveling. We were both fans of not having plans, and of meeting wonderful strangers and turning them into friends along the way. We had both connected with local Icelandic people, and had many stories to share. The hour-long trip between Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon sped by as we raced along the coast, the brightly colored square houses a blur among the moss covered rocks, forming an almost other-worldly landscape on the other side of the bus windows.
As we neared the lagoon, the rocks became black and visibly jagged. Light milky-blue water lay brightly between the crevasses of the earth, and steam rose as the warm water met the air and dissipated before our very eyes.
I checked my behemoth of a backpack at the luggage building, then eagerly made my way to the entrance, pausing to take a side-trip on a trail to the left of the building, where my companion offered to snap a blustery picture of myself among the unique landscape.
The modern design of the building welcomed us with windows of natural light. We breezed through the nearly empty queue to enter the locker rooms and emerge freshened and ready for the pools on the other side. Tip: Go early! The lines and the pools get steadily more congested as the day progresses.
The Blue Lagoon is different than the other hot springs of Iceland. There is a sensation that you’re soaking in more than just water- you’re soaking in a mystical, mineral-rich, celestial body of bliss. The rocks around the pool are edged with a white remnant of the milky water, and steam rises and rolls over the surface. The ground of the pool isn’t entirely smooth, but rather you can feel sediment, similar to sand, along the bottom, and as you approach the bubbling cone in the far-side of the lagoon you might stumble as you knock into protrusions from the floor below.
There are pots of silica mud, which you can spread on your body and face, and it was there, spreading the silty substance onto our faces, that we met two more interesting solo travelers who had caught a Gray Line bus directly from the airport to arrive in this magical Blue Lagoon. Bonding quickly over our unique-to-Iceland experience, we became a foursome, sharing stories and meandering around the pool, towards the pounding waterfall, the sauna and the steam room. The lagoon even offers a swim-up bar and a special massage pool as well for those who wish to enjoy a little extra indulgence. Relaxation was our guide, and exploration was our motivation.
All too soon I had to call my time to a close. My flight time was approaching and my designated bus would soon set off for the airport. I bid farewell to my partners of the lagoon, and set off into the mist.
As I boarded the Gray Line to Keflavik airport, I couldn’t help but feel blessed at my good fortune. I had nearly skipped these magical pools, thinking that they would be overpriced and too touristy, but in all honesty they are not to be missed. Without the easy-access route of the Gray Line company I wouldn’t have been able to make it happen. Their combination of the Reykjavik pickup, Blue Lagoon drop off, and Keflavik airport transport really made it an easy, done deal.
All in all I’d say my last 12 hours in Iceland turned out phenomenally.