Where I’m from, there’s a Starbucks on every corner. In Iceland, there’s a geothermal pool around every corner.
Geothermal pools are water heated by energy from the earth. Like being around a pot of simmering water all the time. That you swim in.
Most towns have them. Most of the time, they’re outdoors. So are the so-called hot pots — Iceland’s version of Jacuzzis.
I thought I’d try a local one in Reykjavik. While I normally like finding my way around, I didn’t have the time or fortitude to mess with that wind chill and public transportation.
Plus, everybody kept telling us to go to Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon. Even folks like me who shun tourist traps.
Part of the attraction is the convenience: It’s located off a main highway near the airport. So lots of tourists either drop in on the way in or out of Reykjavik. That was part of the reason I was reluctant to go. I didn’t want to follow the hordes.
But we gave in.
This is what greeted us. Like something out of a Hollywood set, from start to finish. The way to the entrance in the dark — at 10 am.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out I could rent a bathing suit, and I wouldn’t have to be the sole contestant in a wet Marshalls T-shirt contest. The bathing suit was pretty much one- size- fits- all, but at least it was a bathing suit.
From there, it was like any other gym locker room. Except for one thing. Everyone had to shower. Without their bathing suits. It’s actually required at any public pool in Iceland. That’s because the water’s not laced with tons of antiseptic chemicals. It’s a sanitation thang.
I didn’t care. But If you don’t like to get nekkid in front of strangers, it may not be for you.
I say get over it. Everyone’s too busy worrying about their own cellulite.
From there it was on to the main attraction: the lagoon. I couldn’t believe it. I was standing on a deck in the middle of that Arctic blast in next to nothing. I could feel my bare feet starting to lose feeling.
So I got in, quick. A silky, warm blanket. Amazingly, despite the icy wind, it was warm enough, even just up to my shoulders. The bottom was velvety mud. The minerals are what’s supposed to give the water that milky blue quality.
The Blue Lagoon is known as the granddaddy of geothermal pools. But the truth is, it’s not all natural.
Sure, the lava field underneath is. But the water itself isn’t. It’s actually hot water that comes from a power plant next door.
Before you get all hot and bothered by that, consider this: The hot water did come from the ground. It was merely used by the plant to make heat and electricity. And then sent to the Blue Lagoon.
It felt good; and truthfully, that’s all I cared about.
And the silica mud that comes from the bottom made my face feel amazing. Those minerals are supposed to be great for all kinds of skin conditions.
But not so great for the hair. I’m glad mine only got slightly wet because it’s supposed to turn hair into straw. I was shocked but not surprised when I found that out later on. Luckily, that didn’t happen to me.