Saturday, July 6, 2013

Swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland


Little did I know how much I'd enjoy (or how much I'd NEED) a swim in Iceland's beautiful Blue Lagoon.  It was a place I'd seen in pictures and read about multiple times, testimonies of its healing waters and relaxing  atmosphere reverberating in my head.  But I had no idea how necessary it would be.

Iceland Blue Lagoon, color of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
The entrance pools surrounding Iceland's Blue Lagoon.

First of all, getting to Iceland from Alberta, Canada is no small feat. We woke up in Calgary at 3:00 a.m., after only a few hours of sleep, and participated in the most minimal, basic 'getting-ready' routine possible.  We hit the airport before the ticket booths and customs office were even open, and sat sleepily on the cold, pleather chairs.  It was a game of 'hurry-up-and-wait'.

We flew out of Calgary at 6:20 a.m., hit up Seattle an hour and a bit later, then flew for another 5 hours to Boston.  We had a four hour layover, in which the smells of a terminal E seafood restaurant nearly rendered me prostate in front of a toilet (now pregnant, I find myself detesting seafood, which I formerly adored).  By 9 p.m. we were boarding the red-eye to Keflavik, and I was ready for some serious shut eye.

Except... and parents of young children, please read with caution lest this particular child was your child... there was THE WORST kid sitting behind me on the plane.  I give him the title "THE WORST" in all capitals because he was literally the worst child I've ever met on a plane.  He stabbed at the back of my seat when choosing a TV show, and yelled at his dad when he got frustrated with the TV and then punched the seat even harder (all Dad would do was distractedly go, "Shhh" while he continued to watch his own TV screen).  The child refused to sleep and his parents made no move to encourage him to do so.  That would have been fine and none of my business, except that the kid didn't get (nor did his parents remind him at any time) that everyone else on the plane wanted to sleep, like the tired pregnant lady in front of him.  He talked in his outdoor recess voice, whined loudly when he didn't get his way, and kicked the back of my seat when he got bored (this was on top of the seat punching and freaking out when his TV didn't do what he wanted it to do, possibly because he'd punched it).  I get that kids don't always do what you want them to do - I am a teacher, remember - but honestly, this was a little much.  And if this wasn't your kid, make it sure your child never, ever does this. Ever.

Needless to say, I got ZERO sleep during the entire red-eye flight.  When we landed in Keflavik, I was blurry-eyed, dizzy, sick to my stomach, and entirely exhausted.  Not to mention grumpy and re-assessing my own parenting plans.  I was in no mood for sight-seeing and tourism.  I just wanted to sleep.

However, we'd made plans in our trip itinerary to hit up the Blue Lagoon before moving on to Reykjavik.  We wouldn't really have another chance to visit the famous hot spring, so we stuck to our guns and purchased tickets. (And I'm so glad we did.)

Blue Lagoon, things to do in Iceland, Keflavik airport
The stunning color of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

Getting to the Blue Lagoon is amazingly simple - so simple that many travelers with more than a four-hour layover will take a quick side trip to the Lagoon before catching their connecting flight.  All you have to do is find the ticket kiosk, located by 10-11 store at the airport's exit, and purchase a ticket.  We bought a bus ticket to the Blue Lagoon, Blue Lagoon admission, and a ticket to Reykjavik for 19,600 krona, which was about $166 Canadian.  Considering the admission price of the Blue Lagoon is quite costly in itself, we thought this was a pretty good deal.  I was so tired, I didn't really care, to be perfectly honest.

The bus ride was a quick 20 minutes, and it felt like we were driving along the surface of the moon.  The Icelandic landscape is so different from Central Alberta that it felt surreal.  Finally we made it to the Blue Lagoon, which is considered a geothermal spa, although it is a man-made creation and heated from the nearby power plant of Svartsengi.  The power plant uses geothermal energy to heat its water, and then uses the Blue Lagoon as a cooling pool.

Iceland's Blue Lagoon, visiting the Blue Lagoon
The steaming power plant surrounded by Iceland's moon-esque landscape.

The waters have a strong sulfuric smell, and are very salty due to the silica content, but once you adapt to those two facts, it is really very enjoyable.  The day we went was a very cold, windy, and rainy day in Iceland, which made the waters seem even more balmy.  We floated around for a bit, happily soaking in the warmth, and then really got into the spirit of things by giving ourselves silica mud facials (the silica mud is free and located in boxes around the edge of the lagoon).

Blue Lagoon facial, Blue Lagoon silica mud, Iceland Blue Lagoon
Joey allowed me to give him a silica mud mask - he's such a good sport!

visiting the Blue Lagoon, Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Free silica mud for all - some buckets more runny than others.

Inside the facility, there is a restaurant, gift shop, and spa.  We visited none of those, since we'd bought the most basic package.  There are three to four varying packages, each increasing in price and amenities.  The basic package didn't even provide us with a towel, but we'd brought our own.  Luckily, the Blue Lagoon has giant lockers that you can rent for 3 Euros that fit large pieces of luggage.  If you don't have large baggage to worry about, then there are smaller lockers included in your entrance fee.  If you pay for a large locker, you still get to use your smaller locker, too.  Outside in the lagoon, there is a swim-up bar (where you pay for your drinks via a computer chip in your wrist band), and free steam baths and saunas for use.

things to do in Iceland, visiting the Blue Lagoon
Although it is not as 'natural' as I'd once thought, the Blue Lagoon is still amazing.

We stayed at the Blue Lagoon for approximately three and a half hours, and would have liked to stay longer, but we were a bit concerned about roasting little Peanut alive inside my belly.  I stayed out of the really hot areas (there are 'patches' of warmer and cooler water in the lagoon), got out and walked around to cool off (which happened instantly considering the nasty weather we had at the time), and Joey even balanced me in the water so that my stomach was sticking out and cooling off.  We're pretty sure Peanut had just as good a time as we did.  We did not take advantage of the in-water pregnancy massage, but it sure would have been nice!

Blue Lagoon face mask, Iceland Blue Lagoon, things to do in Iceland
Enjoying every moment of our time in the Blue Lagoon.

When we were all finished, it was easy-peasy to catch the bus into Reykjavik.  The drive into the city was about 40 minutes and our driver helpfully dropped us right off at our hotel.  I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend a stop-over at the Blue Lagoon - especially if you had a rough night on your plane!

V

8 comments:

  1. The Blue Lagoon looks really cool!

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    1. It really was - even in the nasty weather we were having, it was still peaceful and relaxing! :)

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  2. We were there last September and loved it! I didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did but it was so relaxing and just out of this world weird (in a good way)! Sorry your flight wasn't so good...we take our little ones everywhere with us and I would be appalled if they behaved in this way.

    Globalmouse
    globalmouse.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I agree - the Blue Lagoon is surreal but fantastic! We are already planning 'extended layovers' in Keflavik now to incorporate a second visit. As for kids and planes, I have flown tons of times, and usually the children I encounter are great! They play, eat, sleep, watch movies, read, and are generally well-behaved. This was a bizarre incident, and one I hope to not repeat! Congrats on being one of the excellent parents who teaches their kids respect! :)

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  3. Thank you for your post! We leave for Iceland in a few days and the Blue lagoon was my #1 must visit while there!

    We found out that I'm 5weeks pregnant and now I'm very nervous about the water temp and my body temp. My OB advised not soaking/getting in all the way due to the temp 98-104 degrees.

    You mentioned that there are areas of the pool that are cooler than others?..

    I've been debating paying the entrance fee and sitting on the side of the pool with my legs in. Not sure if its worth the money but hoping it would still be a fun experience. Any advice or suggestions?

    Hope all went well with your pregnancy.

    AS

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    1. You will be perfectly fine to swim in the Blue Lagoon - not all of it is hot tub hot. In fact, there were some areas that I would call 'tepid'. You just swim around and in a matter of a few feet can experience a variety of temperatures. I stayed in the water for 10-15 minutes at a time in the cooler areas, and if I wanted to warm up I swam to a hotter area but only stayed a short time. I also got in and out (but not a lot, as it was windy and raining that day). There are things you won't be able to do - the sauna was way too hot and not good for a pregnant woman, and I found the areas around the swim-up bar were really hot too (not that you'll be partaking in the swim-up bar I am guessing). To me it was still worth the money for sure! It is so beautiful and the mud masks are a lot of fun. Please enjoy, pop your belly out of the water whenever you begin to feel even a bit too warm, and drink lots of water!

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  4. thank you for posting this article! I am a first time mom and really afraid to push through with my blue lagoon experience. I will ask my husband to "test" the waters before taking the plunge.

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    1. There are some really hot spots in the Blue Lagoon, but overall I'd say the temperature is close to warm to hot bath water. You should be fine, especially if your hubby swims just ahead of you to find the hot spots first! It is truly relaxing! If you try the pregnancy massage please come back and comment on how it was! :)

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