After many years of having this place on our bucket list, we’re finally off on our exploration of Iceland. The direct flight from Denver to Reykjavik was a real treat. In just a little over six hours of flight time, we were there. We didn’t know this until we got on the plane, but apparently Icelandic Air was cancelling flights due to a pilot’s strike. Fortunately, the strike didn’t effect our flight, except for the fact that the plane was packed with other passengers whose flights had been cancelled the day before.
We picked up our rental car and headed off into the country; it felt like we’d flown to the moon. As far as the eye could see was mostly uninhabited lava fields covered with a greenish/yellow moss. Within an hour of driving, we came to our first destination: The Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is a large lake filled with hot geothermal waters mixed with a silica material that gives it an eerie bluish glow. We figured this was a good first stop to stretch out our muscles after the long flight.
We were a little too efficient getting out of the airport as we arrived at the lagoon about two hours before opening. So, we killed some time driving out to the very southwest tip of the Reykanes Peninsula to marvel at the stormy sea battering the spectacular cliffs. Along the way, we stopped at the first of many geothermal areas we would encounter in Iceland. The ground steamed everywhere, with boiling water and mud bubbling out of cracks in the ground.
After our tour of the coast, we finally got to hop into the Blue Lagoon. It was a cold and rainy day, but we didn’t care sitting in the soothing warm waters. This was also the first place that we were introduced to Iceland’s very high prices. The Blue Lagoon, being somewhat of a tourist trap, is no exception to this as the soak set us back about US$90 (not including lunch). Still, the good long soak was worth the expense.
After soaking at the Blue Lagoon, we continued through the lava fields along the southwest coast of Iceland, passing through quaint fishing villages that did not appear to have much activity.
We then headed north to the town of Laugarvatn where we would spend our first three nights. We celebrated with a great (but pricey) dinner at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the nearby lake. This was where I got my first taste of reindeer meat. The burger was to die for, which is good since it cost more than US$30.