Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon

After a small hiccup with check-in when we got to the hotel (the first room they gave us still had people in it!), we got our hotel room, dropped off our bags, and headed back downstairs to grab some breakfast.

Mmm...Icelandic breakfast.   :)   After breakfast we went back up to the room and passed out for a few hours. It took me a few minutes to wake Zach up a bit later but he finally dragged himself out of bed and we got ready to go explore Reykjavik.

The view from our room. Mark and I usually wind up in a different part of the hotel that faces the small airport, but Zach and I wound up in the other side of the hotel with a view toward the city. We made our way downstairs and walked into the city.

We walked past Hallgrimskirkja along the way. You can go up in the church tower; it has a really cool view of the city. Zach and I figured we'd come back Thursday morning and do that, since we wanted to make sure we had enough time to get to the Blue Lagoon later on.

We picked a side street and started walking. Zach was impressed by how clean the city is, and he's right...I had never really noticed before, but you rarely see trash along the road.

We eventually stopped at a little cafe and grabbed wraps and smoothies to eat outside. It was fun to people-watch and you could just see the edge of the water at the end of one of the streets.

Sólfar, or The Sun Voyager. It's a really cool sculpture that sits on the edge of the water. I had never walked down this way before, so it was neat to see a different part of Reykjavik. 


We started to make our way back up toward the hotel so we could get to the Blue Lagoon. Along the way, Zach wanted to check out some of the street art. (Again, another thing I had never noticed. It's neat to travel with someone get a whole new perspective on a place!)

Once you knew it was there, you could find street art everywhere.

I especially liked the little pink goat/sheep thing in the bottom corner of this one. The mountaintop was made of little reflective tiles, so every time the wind blew you could see ripples in the design.

This robot mural was on the side of a skate park.

We eventually got back to the hotel, signed up for a Blue Lagoon bus ride, grabbed our stuff, and were on our way.

The scenery along the way was was like driving through Mars. I've only been here before in October, so it was really neat to see patches of bright green moss and purple flowers on the side of the road. At one point we even saw a rainbow.

We pulled into the Blue Lagoon parking lot just as a helicopter was touching down in a deserted section of the parking lot. Must be nice! We went inside, got our swipey bracelets, and agreed to meet outside after making our way through the locker rooms and showers.

It was really foggy this time! You couldn't even see the hills in the distance, and if you were in the middle of the water you could barely see to the edges. Zach and I gooped mud on our faces, got a couple beers, and floated around looking for the hot spots. Zach told me he was a bit, um, impressed by the locker room experience. Before you come outside to the actual lagoon, you shower in the locker room. Without your bathing suit on. In front of all the other people showering without their bathing suits on. Welcome to Europe, where modesty is overrated.   :)

You could barely see the swim-up bar from the deck (it's the little building toward the left side). We spent a couple hours in the water, then got out, got cleaned up, and went to the LAVA Restaurant for dinner.

Everything was really good! I had a three course vegetarian meal with carrot soup, a veggie quiche, and a deconstructed blood orange cheesecake with mango sorbet. The cheesecake was really good and was my first real exposure to molecular gastronomy. I've seen it a lot on cooking shows, but when they bring you a plate of small different colored blobs and tell you it's cheesecake it's a little different!

This is actually the only picture I took of us together the whole trip! Oops.  :)   I think it was about 9pm when I took this picture and it was still really bright outside; it never really gets dark here this time of year since sunset is 11:30pm and sunrise is 3:30am. By this point I was all nice and relaxed from the warm water, several beers, and a glass of wine. We hopped on a bus back to Reykjavik and passed out as soon as we got to the hotel. We had a long day of adventuring coming up the next day!

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