Adventures in Iceland
Named in 2012 as one of National Geographic’s “25 Wonders of the World,” Blue Lagoon has evolved from its infancy as a reservoir of geothermal runoff into a world of geothermal wonder. The unique properties of its waters provide not only an enchanting lagoon experience, but also the patented, active ingredients in Blue Lagoon skin care: silica, algae, and minerals.
Blue Lagoon is located in a sprawling, 800-year-old lava field in the heart of the Reykjanes Peninsula – a UNESCO Geopark. Just 20 minutes from Keflavík International Airport and 50 minutes from Reykjavík, Blue Lagoon is simultaneously remote and easily accessible. Situated in a vast lava plain on the south coast of Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon holds nine million liters of geothermal seawater, covers an area of 8700 square meters, and has an average depth of 1.2 meters and a maximum depth of 1.6 meters.
The lagoon’s water is sourced directly from the Svartsengí geothermal field and its recirculation interval is 40 hours. In addition to the sublime pleasures of geothermal seawater, the lagoon offers a sauna, a steam room, a waterfall, a luxury lounge, a cafe, an in-water silica bar, an in-water beverage bar, and a tantalizing selection of in-water massage and treatments. taken from the Blue Lagoon site
It was nice to relax in the geothermal seawater after a long flight. I got an in water massage, which was very interesting. We all then had lunch and discovered the delights of Skyr, which if you’ve never had it YOU MUST!
We then took a tour of the countryside and visited some of the more famous waterfalls, one of which was Skógafoss (pictured).
Skógafoss (pronounced [ˈskou.aˌfɔs]) is a waterfall situated on the Skógá River in the south of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline. After the coastline had receded seaward (it is now at a distance of about 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from Skógar), the former sea cliffs remained, parallel to the coast over hundreds of kilometres, creating together with some mountains a clear border between the coastal lowlands and the Highlands of Iceland.
The Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that locals found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again.The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a museum, though whether it gives any credence to the folklore is debatable.
At the eastern side of the waterfall, a hiking and trekking trail leads up to the pass Fimmvörðuháls between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. It goes down to Þórsmörk on the other side and continues as the famous Laugavegur to Landmannalaugar.
We then went riding on the famous Icelandic Horses. They had a gait I’ve never experienced before, that our guide referred to as “piggy-pace.” It was bumpy and jostled me about quite a bit in the saddle. Definitely a novel riding experience!
The first additional gait is a four-beat lateral ambling gait known as the tölt. This is known for its explosive acceleration and speed; it is also comfortable and ground-covering. There is considerable variation in style within the gait, and thus the tölt is variously compared to similar lateral gaits such as the rack of the Saddlebred, the largo of the Paso Fino, or the running walk of the Tennessee Walking Horse. There are two varieties of the tölt that are considered incorrect by breeders. The first is an uneven gait called a “Pig’s Pace” or “Piggy-pace” that is closer to a two-beat pace than a four-beat amble.
Eventually we left the countryside and returned to civilization. FYI Icelandic sheep are suicidal, they run out in the middle of the road with no warning. There is even a souvenir t-shirt about the Icelandic Killer Sheep. On our trek back, we actually saw Ben Stiller filming The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. They had closed the road off and there were less than twenty people in the area.
Reykjavik is one of the prettiest cities I have ever seen, and has some amazing street art. And oddly, they are know for their hots dogs. I have tried them, I can attest to this as fact. If you ever visit Iceland, you must try the hot dogs. There’s a hot dog cart downtown, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, that I can recommend.
A. Rowan Photo