Iceland is a land of contrasts: very dark winters and very light summers; very black lava and very white glaciers; very cold winds and very hot waters. It’s the last of these that is such a surprise.
Iceland has unlimited natural hot water coming out of the ground, a result of all the volcanic activity constantly seething below the surface (and sometimes erupting above it). Harnessing this heat has given Iceland virtually unlimited cheap electricity and the country sells this as one of its main ‘exports’ by allowing foreign companies to set up industries in Iceland which use huge amounts of electricity. The other advantage for the locals is free hot water for their homes – a great source of heating in a place where the winters are long.
Another result is the thermal pools dotted around the country where locals and tourists alike go to soak away their troubles and warm fingers and toes frostbitten by those icy winds. The locals are smart enough to keep many of the small, natural pools a secret so we travelers usually end up soaking together at the Blue Lagoon.
But I’m not complaining; this place is a surreal dream come true. Located quite close to the airport and thus a perfect stopping point on your way in or out of the country (the airport buses stop off there), the lagoon is located in a huge black, lava field (the locals call this sharp stone ‘evil lava’) and the water is truly a remarkable blue color. The lagoon is huge and has steam rooms, in-pool massage, and silica mud for face packs; this is a place to float around and take your time. The waters are so naturally health given that nearby is a residential clinic especially for treating psoriasis skin conditions through bathing.
Photo by bri via Flickr ~ used under CC-BY-SA license