The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland – you see pictures of it in all the guide books and it sorta makes you feel like you have to go. I didn’t actually feel particularly compelled, but I think WCN was interested so it went on the schedule and we were there so what the heck.
The host parents dropped us off and went to play golf. There were numerous busses in the parking lot, and cranes working on a facilities expansion, attesting to the popularity of the site. Despite all that, and the insistence that you must pre-book, it never felt overly crowded. There was the Disneyland maze at the front entrance, but no one was in line. We were a little early, but they went ahead and checked us in.
They had nifty waterproof wristbands that were your admission level identification and the key for your locker. After the usual shower sans swimsuit then suiting up it was off to the lagoon. It was clear but a bit breezy, so getting in the water felt good. There were people from all over the world enjoying the waters.
There were a few deeper spots, but mostly it was a sort of squat to stay submerged, but the mineral content of the water gave some buoyancy, so you could easily bob/dog-paddle around. There was also a sauna and the silica face mask – which I did avail myself of – and swim-up bar and in water massage treatments – which I didn’t. One area had the foam noodles you could float around on. That was pretty relaxing. After a while I started to get pruney though, so got out. Not sure I’d go again, but it was a fun experience as a hey we’re on vacation why not kinda thing.
And! Turns out the geothermal water is power plant effluent. After the superheated water runs turbines to generate electricity it goes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system – the lagoon is the third use! Which is pretty cool, in some ways, also perhaps slightly ironic contrast to the blissful nature feeling of all the promotional pictures. (Not that they try to obscure the fact, or make it seem like it’s a naturally occurring hot spring, but it struck me.) On the other hand, the coming up from such depths is apparently what gives it all the restorative minerals.