Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Iceland/France/Italy Day 6: Blue Lagoon and Keflavik

May 4, 2011
Iceland Day 6: Blue Lagoon and Keflavik

Our last day in Iceland! We got up early, had a quick coffee in the hostel and packed up. 8:30 sharp the bus picked us up to transfer us to the BSI terminal. We arrived and jumped onto a bigger coach bound for the Blue Lagoon. The bus took off and 40 min later we arrived and were given similar bracelets to the one I got at the Yunessun bath house I went to in Japan. Your bracelet controls your locker and you can also buy food with it throughout the day. Very cool.

After getting my bathing suit on, I waited inside for Norm and then we ventured outside - it was cold!! Probably 10 or 12 degrees and overcast, so quite chilly and we headed right for the steamy water. It was glorious! I wasn't sure if you were supposed to scoop up mud from the bottom of the lagoon to spread on your arms and stuff... it was a bit squidgy and gross so probably not! Then we saw the nice hygienic containers of silica mud at stations along the edge of the lagoon. Ahhh... that makes more sense! We swam over to one of the bins and there was a big scoop to get some mud out of the bin and spread it on your face and hands. You are supposed to leave it on for 5-10 minutes and then wash it off. Sweet exfoliating action!!

There was a funny looking steam room which looked like a Hobbit house from Lord of the Rings. It was very warm and sweaty in there so we just stayed for a minute. The was a less Hobbit-y steam room and then a regular sauna too which was pretty cool. Then time for a little break. I tried some ice cream that looked good... it was Licorice Ice Cream!!!!!!!! Soo weird!!! It was fun. We chilled out on some chairs that you could lean back on.

After a little break, we headed back to the water for a bit, got some photos, chilled out in a water area under a nice dome thing, and swam back through a door that took you back to the main area inside. I had a shower and apparently you are supposed to put a lot of conditioner in your hair after being in the Blue Lagoon. After checking out, I grabbed a Pylsur (yes!) at the bar and a "Skyr Boost" yoghurt drink. Tasty. This was a super nice and relaxing time, and we were now all prepared for a big travel day coming up. We headed back to the bus and got our bags from the place where they said they would safely store your bags while you were in the Blue Lagoon. Of course since this is Iceland, the "Secure Area" was a roughly un-manned, unlocked totally visible/open room with no luggage tickets and one guy giving you your bags - the same guy who I think drove the bus, haha. I love this place!!

Instead of heading back to Reykjavik, we decided to stay the night in Keflavik, the town right near the airport. We took the transfer bus to the airport and then took a taxi back to the hostel in Keflavik. We checked in to 1x6 Guesthouse and it was SO cool. We had planned to stay there a few months before after looking at some reviews online. The owner, Daniel, had collected tons of driftwood and made some amazing sculptures with it, and designed all the furniture and art in the house himself. Sooo coool.

We dropped off our stuff and then wandered the town of Keflavik armed with the GPS on my iPhone, looking for a grocery store. On my map there was a place called Netto, which seemed close to our hostel. We wandered the lonely streets of Keflavik and found a Netto sign, and the "o" was an Apple, so we figured it was in fact a grocery store, and we were in fact close to it. We saw some Pepsi and Coke signs and followed them. It became increasingly obvious that we had not found a grocery store, despite the shopping cart icon on my Google Maps app. We eventually figured out that this must be a Netto-sponsored sports field, and we walked by an incredibly strange beauty salon/hairdressing school with mannequin heads in the window, and a school which looked a lot like a prison/bomb shelter. It was sooo weird and hilarious how not-a-grocery-store this was. Norm and I laughed about our failed mission. But we pressed on further, determined to buy some more Skyr.

We then saw a Coca-Cola sign, and followed it around to the other side of a building, expecting a convenience store. What was it? A Fire Station. Seriously. A FIRE STATION??!?!!!!!? Oh man!!!! This was some epically-confusing signage. We then saw what appeared to be a strip mall (and actually a strip mall, not an accounting facility or something)... and it was!! There appeared to be a grocery store in there and there was... it was a Netto!! Haha, hilarious.

It was fun to wander around in there a bit and there was lots of different kinds of fish to buy. We got some licorice, smoked salmon, cream cheese, drinks and Skyr, and headed back to the hostel to eat. Soon after we got back, Daniel the owner arrived. He was so interesting to speak with and a true local Icelander: from his amazing artistic talents, to awesome Icelandic sweater to thick beard. It was so interesting to chat with him and hear his opinions. We had a great conversation about politics and economy in Iceland, chatting about spending habits in USA and Iceland and other important issues. It was so cool to chat and all the while he was baking us some amazing, super dense bread!! What an awesome fellow, and it was such a great chance to hear directly about life in Iceland from someone who lives it every day. Awesome. He was headed off to Reykjavik for the evening so we said bye and then had the house completely to ourselves!

As soon as the bread had cooled a bit, we tried it and it was fantastic. I tried the outdoor "hotpot" tub and also had a shower and packed up, ready for an early start the next morning. I then spent some time catching up on my journal in the beautiful blue evening glow of the Keflavik shore from the kitchen window. It was glorious. I had a nice big cup of white tea, another slice of bread and cheese, turned on some Sigur Ros on my iPhone speaker and caught up on my journal notes, basking in the magical glow of Iceland. This is the life.

I got my stuff all together for the flight to Paris the next morning and was excited to meet up with Mom and Dad at the Reykjavik airport! I got all my stuff packed up, put my bathing suit up to dry, and put the licorice in my carry on for the next day. :)

Lounge room at Our House hostel in Reykjavik
Living room at the hostel
Funny device on the wall is a urinal, not a wastebasket!
Kitchen in the hostel
Saying goodbye to our room
Me posing with a photo of this Iceland photo book I found by Brian St. Denis, a Canadian photographer from where else other than... Waterloo, Ontario?!?!!! Amazing coincidence.
Crazy landscape on the way to the Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Inside the Blue Lagoon
Me with mud on my face! There are containers of the fancy Icelandic mud that you are supposed to spread on your face and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Sweet, sweet, exfoliating goodness.
People enjoying the lagoon
A cool little movie theatre in Keflavik
Norm having some more Lox
AMAZING bread that the hostel owner baked fresh for us!
Our really awesome room
Hanging up my bathing suit to dry
Some of the other amazing rooms at the hostel
Daniel made all this furniture himself
Another room
This mirror was so cool
The backyard!
A homemade spa that Daniel made
Streets of Keflavik
A very strange building with mannequin heads in it! We figured it was some sort of beauty school or something.
We were looking for a supermarket, but we found a school which looked like a prison.
Then we saw a Coca-Cola sign and thought we found a convenience store - nope, it's a fire station!
I love looking at American Fast Food restaurant menus in foreign countries.
Would you like some Franskar with that?
This must be the most bomb-sheltery looking KFC in the world
And as I caught up my journal and reminisced on an amazing trip in Iceland, I had this beautiful view at 10:30 at night from the hostel kitchen window. Amazing.

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