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2 weeks, 5 friends, one Iceland
Three weeks ago I found bliss.
It’s not my intention to write a guide for visiting Iceland. This country is already so sexy for tourism that has tons of free online documentation. It’s heaven for anyone who secretly believes having a little talented photographer inside their head. That’s most millennials plus half of the older population. My intention is to put here some stories of my trip and a few pictures, hoping I will not have to repeat them to all my friends.
This was, probably the most beautiful, disconnecting, spiritual holiday I took. I imposed on myself to connect less on Facebook and just enjoy the ride through land of fire and ice. It could also be called the land of ashes and moss, of whales and sheep, of puffin and elves.
One thing I learned from this trip was that we do not need so much in life to feel happy. Food is pretty basic, but you get so used to eating sandwiches and fish cans on the edge of the road! I packed way too many clothes and used half of them. Looking back I realise that in all my pictures I’m wearing the same orange waterproof jacket to which I am eternally thankful. That’s one thing you will actually need in Iceland: an waterproof jacket.
I also got used very quickly to the shower water. In Iceland hot water comes directly from natural hot springs. It smells like rotten eggs and turns silver jewellery yellow or black. I also got used to drinking tap water in restaurants. Btw, tap water is really good there.
Now, let me put in random order what I remember from the trip.
The Blue Lagoon
I was warned not to go to the Blue Lagoon, but, the spa junkie in me, couldn’t resist.
The scenery around is magnificent: steams in the middle of a black lava field. The water is white-blue, enriched with minerals, known for their benefits for the skin (they help even treating psoriasis). All is nice and beautiful until you get to the price. The common 70 euros / day package includes two masks, a towel and a drink. Therefore, most visitors of the Blue Lagoon are spoiled rich kids in their early twenties. They do selfies with silicate white masks on their faces. It looks like the Venice carnival… without Venice.
Facilities include a steam bath and a sauna. In case you don’t know: I love sauna, so I’ve put big hopes in the Blue Lagoon. Unfortunately, the hygiene conditions cooled me down too quickly. The floor of the steam bath burns like the inside of a volcano. Everyone went in the sauna with swimming suits and sat with their wet butts on the wood, opening and closing the door whenever they wanted. I was afraid that the temperature inside is not high enough to kill the bacteria. It also smelled weird.
Going out, I count’ find my towel. There was just a pile of wet textile, which was definitely stepped over by a bunch of dirty feet.
The water is enriched with minerals, but these are not naturally in the water – they come from an exploitation next door. Despite the hair balm provided, these wonder minerals made my hair feel and look like Icelandic wool for a few days.
I do not regret going there, but I’ll not do it twice. Also, if you’re hesitating, there are plenty of other less expensive hot springs where you can enjoy really Icelandic bathing.
Nature in Iceland is the sexiest thing around
The word “geyser” probably comes from Geysir, the most known in it’s time. Now it’s extinct and its celebrity place is taken by Strokkur. Strokkur is the star in the middle of a field with boiling water pots. Seeing Strokkur surrounded by its paparazzi (many with very expensive photographic equipment), was a reminder of how much we are at the will of nature. We live under the illusion that we control many things (like our Facebook posts), but we can not know when and how Strokur will strike. People just wait there, fingers clenched on the camera, staring to a mini pond that gathers water. The water expands and waves and you feel tension building as the waves get bigger. Sometimes there is a deep bubbling sound but then nothing happens and people wait and wait.
Then out of the sudden Strokkur makes a roaring sound, like a call to war and boom! It sends the water up in the air and everyone wows and waves. It’s nature porn at its best: a huge crowd gathered with cameras to record a massive ejaculation. And once in a while the blow is so violent and high that the water gets in the head of all the poor humans waiting around who all start to run away with their tripods and cameras as if they were not expecting this guy to come as quickly and powerfully.
But in the nature of Iceland one could find also the equivalent of the female orgasm: volcanoes. It happens more rarely but when it does, it’s an event with earthquakes and all. Remember Eyjafjallajokull?
But enough dirty talk for now and pass to a different subject.
Seals are divas on the rocks
We were driving in the East Fjord, along the water, on a gravel road when I noticed it in the middle of water. “Is that a seal? Quick, stop the car!” We ran down the road on the water edge to take a picture. After us, I counted 7 cars stopping in a few minutes and soon the seal had gathered about 30 paparazzi. It seemed to be a young female seal with big eyes and a white tail. It was too far away from me to take a decent picture. Nevertheless, the seal was posing like a pro, turning its head towards the crowd, as saying “suckers, you don’t get me so far away!” Sometimes it was raising its tail up, and looking to us over the shoulder. Later on, I’ve read some folkloric tales about how seals are in fact beautiful women who sometimes go on earth to party in caves and leave their skins at the entrance.
Whales are also fascinating. We took a boat and had the luxury to see two swimming together like pals. Unfortunately another boat filled with noisy tourists went too close and I could feel how the whales got defensive and went down for a deeper dive.