After finding out my knifemaking class was cancelled due to low attendance (just me) I needed a new activity for my first day. A relaxing trip to the famous Blue Lagoon was perfect. I booked a shuttle directly from the airport to the lagoon for their first time slot of the day at 9:00. They only sell a limited number of tickets each day so it doesn't get too crowded, which would be needed because it is very popular and sells out in advance regularly. Good thing I booked two weeks ago.
Driving around Iceland, just as the sun rises at 9:00 is bizarre. It looks like the surface of the moon, all snow, lava and lichen, with only roads to remind you people live there at all. To be fair, Iceland is only home to 300,000 people but gets 1 millions tourists each year. The land is bumpy, filled with hills and mountains, but no trees to speak of.
After storing my luggage and checking in at the lagoon I was given a towel and a bracelet that works at the swim up bars and as my locker key. There is nothing like it when you walk outside on a freezing cold day in just a bathing suit and they walk into the misty water. The water varies in temperature from warm to hot, with cool pockets, depending on where you stand. It is a milky blue color from the high salt and silica content. You can't see even inches under the surface butevveryone floats without effort. If you swim up to a bar station a woman hands out scoops of the silica in paste form to rub on your skin as a natural exfoliant and then you come back later for a green algae paste that moisturized. The lagoon had lots of people yet it was always easy to find a quiet place to float. They also have massaging waterfalls and little enclaves to relax. I think going first thing after a flight in the morning was the best time to go too. After a few hours of lazing around I cleaned up and caught a shuttle to my hostel.
I checked in and got some directions from the owner on what is nearby.
After dropping off my bags I walked across about half the city to find something to eat, see some landmarks and do some window shopping. Reykjavik is really small, you can walk the main city center end to end in half an hour, maybe an hour if you add in mostly just residential areas. That makes it easy to get around on foot, even if map reading isn't your strength. I found a grocery store to get a few things, saw the concrete church that everyone uses as a landmark and saw lots of cool shops. Iceland in known for their hand knit (very itchy feeling) sweaters and socks. I thought they would be soft and might be worth the money but they are super itchy. Beyond natural beauty and knitting, Iceland seems to be famous for puffins, fermented shark, fish jerky and an traditional Scandinavian obsession with licorice. I am not too keen on trying the fermented shark. It the licorice is great.
My walk around the city was meant to take me to a weekend flea market I read about, and eventually it did, for e0 seconds before I was disappointed to find d the once famous flea market is now just a coffee shop turned thrift shop. When I get back from my photo trip I will try to hunt down the local handicraft market.
Tonight I am going to scrub the silica out of my hair and get ready for my photo trip tomorrow. Tomorrow alone features geysirs, 2 waterfalls, a national park, basalt pillars, the black sand beaches and maybe some northern light sightings. Fingers crossed for clear skies!