Day 9: Iceland – Day 1

Iceland – The Blue Lagoon

Tuesday, June 28th

The flight was uneventful, other than we spent a fortune for on-board snacks since we were a bit rushed with the car return, vomiting and insanely long baggage check line.

Once in Iceland the weather shifted.  It was windy, overcast and colder than the other countries we’ve visited.  I proclaimed to our driver that it was a bit breezy and he responded – with a thick accent, “It’s Vindy!”  Indeed.

The airport is about an hour from the city center and the Blue Lagoon is on the way into town.  So, it’s quite common for people to stop either on their way into town or on the way back to the airport.  We opted for the early portion of our stay in Iceland, and honestly, after the morning we had it was a welcome balm.

For those of you who don’t know, the Blue Lagoon is one of the many geothermal spots in Iceland.  Oddly enough it was formed in the mid-1970s following the operations at a geothermal power plant, and opened to the public in the late  1980s.  People from all over the world flock to it’s healing waters and therapeutic properties.  It is now one of the 25 Wonders of the World.

At the entrance the process is a bit unique to other baths I’ve been to:
First, you must book your arrival time and they tell you there is no flexibility.  However, the woman let us in about 30min earlier!  She must have seen the desperation in my eyes!

Second, you must bring your own or hire towels.  They also have shoes and robes, but we stuck to the basics and just rented towels.  Then you must fully shower – without your suits on – before exiting the locker rooms.  Lincoln said, “Daddy, do we really have to take ALL of our clothes off??”  Then back with the suits on and out to the waters.

Third, they give you an electronic bracelet – unique to your activities.  You can charge drinks, additional towels, snacks, etc.  Then at the end of your visit, you pay for whatever you’ve charged to your bracelet.  Note to the drinking sorts – there is a 3 booze drink maximum while in the waters!  We had wine and the kids got smoothies.  They also had options of green juice, water, slushies and beer.

Fourth, it is strongly suggested that you do NOT get your hair in the water and that you use the conditioner in the shower to act as a protective coating to your hair in the event that it does get wet.  Lincoln completely disregarded this suggestion, and of course, his hair was totally fine.  Mine would have fallen out!

Fifth, apply the silica mud to your skin.  Relax and let the healing begin!

The whole experience was fantastic.  After we were fully cooked, we headed back to the locker room for showers before dinner at Lava, one of the restaurants at the Blue Lagoon.  We made reservations prior to leaving the states and prior to realizing we had a specific entry time.   Originally, our reservations were at 5:30p and our entrance was at 5p.  That wasn’t going to work, and fortunately for us, they were able to push it to later.

Our meal at Lava was wonderful.  Bryan and I opted for the Chef Surprise 4-course meal with wine pairing. Lincoln ordered the pan-seared cod with potatoes and Tipton ordered the juicy chicken with fries. Both kids got ginger ale, and Tip really loved the tiny bottle!

The meal was by far the best we’ve had in all of Scandinavia.  It was a wonderful end to a rocky start.  We made a quick stop at the Blue Lagoon shop before collecting our luggage (They let you store your luggage at the entrance for a small fee) and hopping on the shuttle to our hotel.  The ride was about 45min of slap-happy faces.  I’m unsure if the silly demeanor was a result of the wine post therapeutic spa; ridiculous day of vomit and travel; no sleep in the bright, noisy Helsingor hotel or simply joyful euphoria.  Regardless, the Blue Lagoon was a bright spot in our trip, and one we are not likely to soon forget.

While the Blue Lagoon is hard to top, our hotel at the Reykjavik Marian Residence is absolutely the best place we have stayed – HANDS DOWN.  It’s modern with a classic feel and has been very well done – every aspect attended to with thoughtfulness.

This is a place I would stay over and over again.  I’m not sure how we lucked into this place, but we are grateful!  The accommodations themselves are amazing, but the service has also been remarkable.  At breakfast, Katla prepares any sort of egg, cooked to order.  There is amazing Icelandic yogurt, meats, vegetables, fruits, cereal, coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, tea, breads – even gluten free bread and cereal.

Breakfast has been wonderful.  We’ve also had a personal concierge each day to help in the morning and evening.  Ari checked us in on our first night, and he’s been around each day since to help as needed.  Ragna spent some time talking to us about her life in Iceland, travels and how the new-found tourism explosion in Iceland is concerning to the locals.  Katrina, the manager, helped us find fantastic food and posted some postcards for us.  Service at its best, with a smile and truly happy to accommodate our every need. This has been a fortunate encounter, and I will not forget the amazing hospitality we’ve experienced here.  Better than the Four Seasons in Maui, and that’s saying something!

 

Off to our goose down comforters, pillows, hand-embroidered linens and drapes, fluffy towels, warm showers and surround sound music…wondrous, luxurious sleep.

 

Next up…Geyers, Waterfalls and Plate-tectonic drifts, oh my!

 

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