Wednesday, 17 August 2016

August 16 - Blue Lagoon and Rekjanes Peninsula

Today was the Blue Lagoon. Our prebought ticket was for 9-10am check in. We found the location without any problems. It was a scenic drive though lava fields that seemed like it should have been a lunar surface. Areas of Iceland have been training areas for 9 of the 11 astronauts who have traveled to the moon, including Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldridge.

We had a few interesting stop prior to the Blue Lagoon: one which was a hole in the ground with a ladder decending into it. As we couldn't see where it was leading we chose not to go down.

At the Blue lagoon we walked a path through lava hills to the entrance where were directed to our entrance line and proceeded through quickly. We were given a wrist band that electronically locks our locker and acts as a charge card that tallys all purchases made in the Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon is a beautiful hotspring. The blue colour is a caused by silica, algae and minerals. 90 million liters flow through the blue lagoon renewing the water every 40 hours.

The lagoon  was so large that it never felt crowded. Several different sections were linked together with small bridges overhead where lifeguards in rain gear and warm jackets stood. There were saunas, steam rooms and a steam cave. A roped off area was for in-water massages. Several stations around the pool had silica mud tubs that people could smear on as masks to assist with deep cleaning of the skin and you could purchase some at the gift shop for the ransom of your first born or a second mortgage.  For 450 koronas you could get a small scoop of algae mud which was a moisturizer. People all through the lagoon were wearing the white silica or the green algae masks - some had their shoulders covered as well. Several bald men put the mud completely over their heads.

The water was wonderful. The average temperature in the Lagoon was 38°. The water was opaque. You couldn't see 6 inches into the water. We spent several hours here. On the outside of the lagoon were some smaller pools of the same water.

After the lagoon we drove to Grindavík. Finding Grindavík wasn't hard. We drove around a small loop looking at remains of shipwrecks, ruins of Viking settlement, a lighthouse and some very wooly icelandic sheep.

We then attempted to leave Grindavík  - much harder than it should have been. After numerous deadends we finally got out of town and back on our way - only to find ourselves passing the Blue Lagoon again. Oh well, the view traveling in the opposite direction was just as interesting. After a few more turns in the road we found our next destination near Sandvík.  The bridge separating the Tectonic plates of Europe and North America. In geological terms the plates are gradually moving apart causing cracks and fissures north-east across Iceland. We walked under the bridge in the black sands and over the bridge.

Then we were off to Gunnuhver. Actually we followed the road and found Gunnuhver. This is Iceland's largest mud pool. It is 20 meters wide and the steam is very violent, the pool has spots that are actively boiling. This pool is small compared to those we have seen at Yellowstone National Park, but all natural geological phenomena are interesting. The local legend is  - a ghost named Gunnar had caused a disturbance so a priest set a trap for her and she fell into a spring which has continually boiled since then.

Just a short distance from Gunnuhver was the beach of Reykjanesvik. This lead us to some cliffs, which for some reason we decided to climb - because we could.

This is the hill/cliff we decided to climb. Here are some views from the top of the cliff.

After we came down went went around the other side.
Finally we were ready to head back to our cabin. We came across some really cool light standards.

If my sore legs, my bruised head and arms don't ache to much tomorrow, our intention is to see some waterfalls.

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