Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ICELAND SAGA: The Blue Lagoon

Hello, Friends!

Joe and I returned from our trip to Iceland on Monday night, and I have the first of several installments of stories and pictures for your pleasure.  We started planning our trip in early April, giving us 4 months to figure out exactly we wanted to see and do.  I didn't know much about Iceland at the time but a photographer friend and mentor, Jay Fram, had gone in 2007, and his photographs got me really excited to go.  The prospect of the mix between city life in the capital of Reykjavik and remote nature excursions in the Westfjords sounded perfect to me.  Joe and I are not campers, that is, we've never attempted camping together, and a chilly foreign country probably wasn't the place to try it.  Our plan was hostels and busses, as renting a car currently costs a couple hundred dollars a day.  Eeesh.  Here is a map of Iceland.  Iceland's international airport is located about 45 minutes away from Reykjavik (focus your attention on the lower left corner of the map).  We left St. Louis at 2:30 on Thursday July 30.  Joe and I were a little nervous about the flight (I tend to picture exploding into a ball of flames immediately after take off), so we each had a Mexican Sidecar at the airport's Tequilaria.  
A rip off, yes, but it was worth easing the tension.  By the way, those folks can make a good drink.  It was super tart and not too sweet.  But I know you don't care about the drinks we had in St. Louis, so I'll move on.  The flight times worked out perfect for preventing jet lag.  We were to arrive at Keflavik at 1:30 a.m. St. Louis time, or 6:30 a.m. Icelandic time.  I was really nervous about not sleeping on the plane and staying awake for more than 24 hours, but I fell asleep at 9:30 p.m. and when I woke up at the end of the flight the sun was out, and I was able to psyche myself into thinking I slept a full night.  This may seem like meaningless information for the moment, but I wore three- year-old flip flops on the plane.  I absolutely hate wearing shoes, and if I was going to be traveling for 11 hours I wanted my toes to be comfortable.  I would change into sneakers when we got our luggage at the airport.  About an hour before we landed, I woke up to the little old man next to me (Joe and I did not get to sit together on the flight from Boston to Iceland) needing to pee, and when I shifted my foot my left sandal broke.  The little nub that holds the toe stem underneath broke off, just clean broke off, and there was no repairing it.  Oh well, I thought, it's funny that it happened now, but I'm not that surprised, and I won't need flip flops the rest of the trip.  The weather in Iceland wasn't supposed to pass 55 degrees the entire time we were there.  

Skip ahead to the hour we sat staring at the baggage claim waiting for our backpacks that never showed up.  I think I did a really good job staying calm for the majority of the time we were waiting.  I knew it wasn't the worst thing that could happen, and hey, we were in Iceland.  I had all of my camera gear with me, too.  It wasn't until we were actually about to walk out of the airport without our luggage that I started to cry.  Really, I guess it was the uncertainty of when we would actually get our bags, but I was upset that I didn't have a shoe on my left foot, too.  I'd been walking without a shoe on for the last hour (I tried hard not to think about how gross that was), and we couldn't get back into the airport to shop for another pair, if any of the stores even had any shoes. When I tearfully walked up to the baggage service desk, the very nice man behind the counter offered me a pair of sandals that a middle-aged man would wear with socks and cargo shorts.  I choked back a sob at the thought of wearing this ugly ass footwear.  Before I could accept or reject them (I still wasn't sure which I would choose), he ducked back into the office and came back with a pair of women's tennis shoes that were exactly my size.  Compared to the sandals, they belonged on a Paris runway, and I took them.  Sorry, to whomever these shoes belong, but I have a feeling they'd been there for awhile.  Oh, and I hope you don't have a foot fungus, because I had to wear your shoes without socks.

The Blue Lagoon (note: I did not see any of the gorgeous people in these pictures at the facilities) is located in the middle of nowhere between Keflavik Airport and Reykjavik.  Perfect trap.  We had planned on stopping here on our way to the city anyway, but after losing our luggage this was the perfect way to unwind.  Unfortunately, our swim wear was not in our carry-on bag, so we each had to rent a swimsuit.  Anywhere else this would have completely grossed me out, but I felt confident that this place knew what it was doing.  Now for pictures!

Here's Joe on the walkway to The Blue Lagoon, luggage free.

The entrance to the spa. 

Me with the fun silica mask you can slop on your face from random pots 
stationed throughout the pool.

Sigh, sooooo steamy...

The restaurant attached to the pool.

That middle of nowhere I was talking about?  Yeah, that's it in the background.

After two hours of wading in delightfully hot water, being pummeled by a massaging waterfall, and sitting in a sauna I thought I would suffocate in, we headed for Reykjavik and the Salvation Army Guesthouse.  More to come soon.


  1. very nice. i'm quite fond of the 'steamy' pics. the next to last one might be my favorite. reminds me of something from the game Myst.

    pun intended? eh, maybe.

  2. Holy crap! Those pictures are GORGEOUS! But damn you flip flops...

  3. Wow. Those pictures look like paintings. They are gorgeous. I can't wait to see more.

    Okay, if I had no luggage, no shoe, and had to rent a swimsuit, I would have used a lot more profanity when writing about it, so good for you. Please tell me you eventually got your luggage. I always pack a pair of those supersoft socks they sell at Bath and Body Works and wear those on the plane. Jason makes fun of me, but I think he's just jealous.

    See you tonight! I can't wait to meet Bub. Jason sent me a pic of him while I was in Florida and he looks like a sweetie. Oh, and he has a good story from last week to tell you guys too.

  4. Nice! I enjoyed reading the first post. Keep 'em coming. And the pics are good too. I find that after taking a bunch of pictures, I have high hopes for the way they look; in my mind's eye they are incredible, and I'm a genius until I get the film back from the lab. When I see the actual results I'm invariably disappointed. There's a period of mourning wherein I write off the entire project as a failure. Then, some days later, I begin to rediscover the pictures, and to see them more as they are instead of compared to what I had imagined.


  5. Yeah, I was so disappointed in my pictures at first, but when I started working on them I liked them more. You'll have to keep following to find out if we get our luggage!