Here I am on the West Coast for some work meetings. I was not expecting to have free time to read, let alone write a post. But, that’s the funny thing about jet lag and waking up at 4:00 a.m. So, here you go… more musings on Iceland.
One of the country’s biggest attractions is the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. I’m certain there are millions –okay, dramatization– hundreds of blogs on the quality of the spa, when to go, etc. I really don’t know because i haven’t bothered to look. It’s not the purpose of me writing. What i mean is, if you are going to Iceland, you are going visit the spa. The purpose of me writing is to share some observations and things i learned so you can get the most out of your visit.
Make a day of it. Icelanders are smart. They have made it so you can stop at the spa as soon as you arrive in country. Or, you can arrange a trip as you leave the country. While i am sure both options are great, i say take a half day and really enjoy it. Your hotel or guest house can make arrangements for you. The tourism office downtown is also a good resource for transportation to the spa.
With the extra time, you aren’t rushing to catch a flight (i.e., hair half dry, wet clothes in bags) and you are also hopefully acclimated to your temporary time zone. It means you can stroll around at a leisurely spa-like pace and really enjoy the experience.
Stay for lunch and drinks. The Blue Lagoon has a restaurant on the premise. Although its buffet style, the food is good and consists of a variety of Icelandic and non-Icelandic dishes. The best part about the restaurant are the views. Get up, walk around and take some pictures. My personal favorite is the view from the roof. You can see the entire spa with some interesting geological contracts (blue spa, black rock in the background). If you don’t want to eat, at least get a drink or a coffee while you take in the views.
The products make great gifts! I purchased a ridiculous number of gift size mud masks and lotions. Really, ridiculous. All were enthusiastically received from co-workers and family members. Note: you can also purchase products at the airport when you depart. As i recall, the price was about the same. We also bought shampoo and conditioner. In retrospect, it was an impulse purchase that you can skip. Stick with the mud masks.
Beware of urban legends. People will tell you that if you have chemically treated hair, it will turn to straw (or green) after getting in the spa. What to do? Slather it with Vaseline of course. I really don’t recommend this. It took me a week to get the damn stuff out of my hair. In the meantime i had oily, greasy hair that was just gross. Honestly, if this is really true, a little bit of straw would have been a better alternative. That is all i have to say about that.
Keep your eyes open. Although this did not happen to me, friends of mine ran into Duran Duran and got invited to their concert.
Being American, a gentle reminder that you are very close to Europe AND at a spa. Other countries are more comfortable with their bodies. No they aren’t naked in the spa but they sure are in the changing rooms. Please don’t embarrass the rest of us with your gawking. You can tastefully look the other way.
Finally, the spa has some nice footpaths with descriptive plaques along the outside of the premise. It’s a fun walk and worth doing if you enjoy taking pictures of less photographed areas of the spa.