My husband, Eric and I travel as much as we possibly can afford- both monetarily and time off from work. For my first travel spotlight, I decided to post about our March 2009 trip to Iceland because it was THE MOST RELAXING holiday I have ever been on!
We flew Icelandair from Boston to Reykjavik on a Thursday night. The airline is fine – no meal unless you want to buy one – and there is a multi channel movie/entertainment system that works from the minute you sit back into your seat. The flight flew by, and before we knew it, we were descending into the pitch black early morning.
Once the short flight was over, we took Flybus from Keflavik Airport to the center of Reykjavik. Our apartment (more on this later) wasn’t yet ready, so we dropped our bags off and decided to go for a wander. It was a blustery, pretty cold day, and we were jet lagged but super excited to be in such an interesting country.
We decided to make like the locals do and headed to one of the city’s geothermal pool complexes: Vesturbæjarlaug
Holy amazing! The locker rooms both have toasty warm saunas and very clean facilities. You are required to shower without a bathing suit before swimming. Once through with showering, I stepped outside in a bikini in 40 degree weather! There were several “hot pots”, pools of very hot water that is pumped up out of the ground. The smell is a bit like rotten eggs because of the sulphur, but believe me, you get used to it. In addition to the hot pots, there was a large, warm pool and a steam room that was SUPER hot. The contrast of the freezing cold air and the hot water was relaxing, invigorating, and the perfect cure for jet lag. I finished my time at the pool off in the sauna and felt completely reenergized for a full day of exploring. For more information on the pools visit spacity.is.
The other spa highlight of the trip was the Blue Lagoon. You must visit the site to see the photos for yourself, and I will post some. The blue lagoon is a geothermal mineral water “lake”. Along the edges of the lagoon, there are boxes of silica mineral mud that is supposed to be great for your skin. We plastered it all over our faces, hands, shoulders, really wherever we could put it. Word to the wise- DO NOT put it in your hair! My hair was mineral-y and crunchy for days to come.
You can spend time floating around in the lagoon as well as visiting the steam rooms and saunas along the edge. Jumping between the hot body of water to the cold air and into a pipin hot sauna is quite the experience.
The Blue Lagoon has a nice cafe and inside relaxation area with loungers. We had a light lunch which included Skyr, Iceland’s delicious, thick yogurt and champagne (a healthy balance, right?) and spent some time napping on the loungers. By the end of the day we were exhausted and glad to retire to our apartment.
Our Icelandic home
We stayed at the Castle House Apartments and I really can not say enough good things. Our one bedroom apartment had a small kitchen, a dining/sitting area, and a bathroom with an amazing hot shower (yay geothermal energy!). The owners of the apartments did some grocery shopping for us, which cost extra, but it was great to have yogurt, fruit, milk, eggs, and tea bags there when we arrived. I could seriously live comfortably in this cozy apartment. It was an amazing place to go back to each night.
That’s all for now. In Part II I will write more about Reykjavik and our drives through the Icelandic wilderness.