Friday, June 3, 2011

Iceland - Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon - If you are wondering what Iceland's biggest tourist attraction is, here it is. This is funny for a country that is known for its natural beauty, as the lagoon is a by-product of a geothermal plant. Water from underground is naturally heated and brought to the surface to drive steam turbines and generate electricity. The runoff water, still hot, is piped into a lava field, creating the 'lagoon'. That color comes from an algae, silica and mineral mash up, and at some point, a local jumped in for a swim and decided it made their skin feel better. Fast forward to now, and you have a spa, nearby hotel and lagoon-side bar. The silica mud is sold in boutiques in small, expensive tubes.

We had a stop and soak on our way to the airport. So what do you get for your 30 EUR a head? Well, not a towel; that's 8 EUR extra. But the lagoon is roomy, with plenty of space to find a spot and soak in the water. The temperature averages about 100 degrees F but varies depending on where you stand; wood structures on the side of the pool pump new hot water in. The nearer you stand, the warmer it gets. Also along the side is the famous silica mud, white in color. This is supposed to be good for the skin, so everyone takes a big scoop and puts it on their face. In case the scene was not alien-looking enough.

There are plenty of other ways to get your heated water fix in this country (future post soon), but we found it worth a visit, staying in for about two hours. And fear not, you can get a hot dog at the Blue Lagoon; it is Iceland, after all...