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The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Old Mar 27th, 2006, 04:27 PM
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The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Hi all,

I am in the process of writing a trip report for a recent visit to New York City. The first part of the report tells of our visit to the Blue Lagoon en route to NYC, however & so I thought I would post a link here on the Europe board in case anyone was interested.

The report can be found here;

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=34778469

Jim
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Old Mar 28th, 2006, 03:53 AM
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Sorry - just occurred to me that it would probably have made more sense to post the Blue Lagoon section of my report here in full. I will limit the remainder of the report to the US board as it only covers New York.

We have just returned from our first visit to New York City, an unforgettable trip I’d like to share here.

A bit of background first. 4 of us made the trip – myself, my wife Liz, her brother Eddie & her sister Anne Marie. We’re from Glasgow in the West of Scotland & the trip was originally intended to be a girl’s shopping break to celebrate Anne Marie’s landmark birthday (it would be ungallant of me to give away her age, but she’s not 30 & she’s not 40). When Eddie & I got to hear about the plans, however, we asserted our superiority as Alpha males & begged & pleaded with them on bended knee to be allowed to accompany them.

We flew with Icelandair from Glasgow to JFK with a four hour layover in Iceland. One of the attractions of flying with Icelandair (apart from the reasonable fare – we’re Scottish remember) was that the price included a free trip to the Blue Lagoon thermal spa, a short drive from Keflavik airport. The airport is situated in the very south west corner of Iceland & in fact it could scarcely be closer to the USA & still be on Icelandic soil. Although we were shown an Icelandic Tourist Office video during the flight which featured rolling meadows & grazing ponies the landscape around the airport could not have been more different. There was hardly any grass or, indeed, flora or fauna of any kind to be seen & the overwhelming impression was one of a flat, black, rocky, moon-like surface, although mountains could be seen far off in the distance.

On negotiating our way outside the airport we found a bus waiting to take us & another few passengers to the Blue Lagoon. It was around a 20 minute drive from the airport & although initially the road cut past the outskirts of the town of Keflavik, we soon turned off on to a desolate looking road until, after a while, steam could be seen rising up in the distance. We drove on towards the steam & soon we were pulling up in the Blue Lagoon’s car park, which seemed pretty incongruous in such a remote looking area.

Both the return bus journey & the actual entry to the Blue Lagoon itself were free as part of Icelandair’s offer & so the only costs we incurred were for hiring towels which we paid for by credit card, although they would have accepted pounds sterling, US dollars or, of course, Icelandic kronur. It’s possible to rent swimming costumes too but we had no need as we had followed Icelandair’s advice & kept our swimming gear in our hand luggage. Eddie & I found the male changing rooms to be fairly typical of swimming pools anywhere else but Liz & Anne Marie were somewhat taken aback by the “frankness” of the women in the female changing rooms, who seemingly had no qualms in walking about naked. I suggested that they take a few photos when they went back in to get dressed (just to illustrate the point, you understand) but for some unaccountable reason they declined.

Having changed into our swimming gear & had a quick shower, Eddie & I emerged from the changing rooms out into the open air towards the water itself. Although the temperature gauge at the airport had shown the temperature as being Minus 3 degrees we hadn’t felt it to be particularly cold when we arrived. Take it from me, however, there is a world of difference between standing outside in sub-zero temperatures in a nice warm coat & scarf as opposed to wearing no more than a pair of swimming shorts. I am sure my knocking knees must have set off some sort of seismic counter at the Icelandic Geological Institute and it is quite possible that local emergency crews were put on standby at the prospect of what appeared to be an imminent earthquake. The temptation was to get into the steaming water as quickly as possible & Eddie did just that. Unfortunately for me, however, I had left my glasses in the changing room locker with my clothes & it was all I could do to see more than few inches in front of me, let alone negotiate my way to the water’s edge. Picking my way slowly, I looked down at my legs & realised why the place was known as the BLUE Lagoon. As frostbite set in I could hear Liz & Anne Marie roaring with laughter & so I followed their guffaws until I was able to discern their blurry forms though the steamy mist. Stepping into the water I found it to be blissfully warm & soon the blood had flowed back into my toes.

It was the most bizarre experience. While we stood in the water in our swimming gear the guards patrolled round the pool in puffy one-piece ski-suits, oversized caps with ear-flaps & large quilted gloves like oven-mitts – not exactly Pamela Anderson. I am sure that if they had had to enter the pool in an emergency it would have taken them half an hour to get undressed – either that or they would have sunk like a stone once they got into the water. There were troughs around the edges of the pool filled with white volcanic mud which is supposedly very good for your skin & we saw a number of strange looking creatures emerging through the steam wearing this mud as face- masks which just added to the surrealness. The water was wonderfully warm & in fact, in some areas, we actually turned back because it was getting uncomfortably hot.

After about an hour or so it was time to get changed & so we emerged gingerly from the pool & made for the sanctuary of the changing rooms as quickly as possible. The bus was waiting for us as we came out & off we headed back to the airport.

As our flight took off bound for JFK we could see the steam rising below & it was hard to imagine that only an hour or so previously we had been bathing right in the heart of it. The Blue Lagoon was a great way of breaking the journey & I would heartily recommend it. You can find out more at www.bluelagoon.com.

Still, Iceland & the Blue Lagoon was only a short break in our journey & we looked forward in anticipation to what New York City would bring.

More to follow….

Jim
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