Reykjavík, Iceland

We finally made
it to land! However, it is very strange when it is midnight and the sun is
still out, and there’s maybe only an hour of darkness, your body doesn’t know
whether it should be asleep or awake, yet the time of day is meaningless
because your body is so used to the natural routine of sunset and sunrise,
which the arctic circle doesn’t have.

Sailing into
Reykjavik it was cloudy and gray out. The water as we pulled into port was this
amazing azure blue color; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blue quite like it.
The landscape of Iceland is snow-capped mountains, with green islands, and industrial
and commercial buildings surrounding the ocean. Iceland is most definitely not
icy. Iceland is more green than icy.  I
even saw a whale poke its head out of the water on the journey into Iceland. It
was cool outside, not necessarily cold, just cool; I would say it was probably
between the high forties and low fifties while we were in Reykjavík.

Reykjavík was
founded by an early Norse adventurer named Ingolfur Arnarson in 874. Reykjavík
was later chartered in 1786 as an official trading town. It is a port in the
southwestern portion of Iceland, and also the capital of Iceland, on the
southern shore of the Faxafloi Bay. The Elloaa River is Reykjavík’s largest
river and Mt. Esja is the largest mountain. The population of Reykjavík is
approximately 325,671 and it enjoys a cool and mostly temperate climate
characterized by a warm north Atlantic current. Summer temperatures fluctuate
between 59 degrees Fahrenheit and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The language is
Icelandic and the currency is the Icelandic Kronur.

Reykjavík is the
northernmost capital in the world, and has a very varied terrain and includes
geysers, including Strokkur Geyser, which is basically Iceland’s version of Old
Faithful in Yellowstone, as well as waterfalls, volcanoes, and glaciers. Actually,
to be honest, Reykjavík reminded me a lot of Yellowstone National Park, which
Justin and I visited last year on our honeymoon. It has hot springs, boiling
mud pots, steam vents, and mud pools. Iceland also uses thermodynamic heating
and uses its hot springs to heat Reykjavík.

After my mother
and I woke up and got ready, though really I had been awake since 5:30 am or so
because the light and sleep just don’t mix for me, and we also sailed over some
rough terrain, we went to lunch since our excursion didn’t start until 12:55
pm. I called Justin, and actually spoke to him for the first time, since we
left from New York City, 9 days ago, which was great. I was happy to hear my
kitties are doing fine, and was happy to actually get to talk to Justin, though
I’m not sure what time it was there… Maybe six am or so? I get my time zones
all confused. But he answered so yay.

For lunch I had
a Philly cheeseteak and some cinnamon rice pudding for dessert. It was good. We
sat with this delightful couple from England/California; they spend half their
year in California, and the other half in England, and were on their way home.
They had been to Iceland before, so they told us a little about Reykjavík.  Then we called dad, and waited for our
excursion to start.











Like I mentioned
yesterday, mom and I chose “swimming in the blue lagoon” for our excursion in
Reykjavík. The Blue Lagoon is manmade; it features water that is captured from
nearly a mile underground by the neighboring power plant. The Blue Lagoon
refreshes itself every forty hours, and the water is sort of an aquamarine
color thanks to a blend of white silica mud and green algae.

The bus ride to
the Blue Lagoon was about an hour or so. Once you get out of downtown
Reykjavík, you’re surrounded by lava fields. Fields of black and brown cracked
rock that go on for miles and miles, and the lava fields are surrounded by tall
mountains. It was cloudy the entire time that we were in Reykjavík, so the land
seemed grayer and dark than is usually is, and the whole atmosphere sort of
seemed bleak. It vaguely reminded me of Craters of the Moon in Idaho, where
Justin and I camped, last year on our honeymoon. There were some purple
wildflowers in the few grassy parts, and for the most part the roads seemed
similar to US roads, just narrower, and the speed limit is in kilometers per
hour, not miles per hour like it is on US highways.  But the steering wheel is on the left side of
the bus and you drive on the same side of the road that you do in the US.



























After an hour or
so, we made it to Blue Lagoon. They actually give you these cool wristbands
that open a locker, you could order drinks on them, and they’re waterproof.
There are very specific instructions you need to follow before you can actually
go into Blue Lagoon. First, you need to take a shower, without your bathing
suit, and wash your hair and body. Europeans are not as body-conscious as we
are, there were all sorts of people and body types walking around that
locker-room without a care in the world, completely in their birthday suits.
You could tell the tourists because we wrapped ourselves in towels and waited
on lines for the covered changing area and the private showers. You also need
to take off all jewelry because anything silver can tarnish and turn black.  After your shower, you put on your bathing
suit, then you can finally enter the lagoon area, and there are staff all over
the locker room and by the showers and entrance to the Blue Lagoon, that ensure
that you shower and follow the rules.

Since it was a
gray and cloudy day, I wouldn’t really say the water was blue? I mean it was
blue, but it was sort of milky-blue color as opposed to the aquamarine color
you see on pictures from the internet. There was tons of steam rising from the
lagoon. There are a lot of different sections of the lagoon, and you can get
there via wooden bridges. Once you’re in the lagoon, there are wooden benches
that you can sit on by the side of the lagoon. The water ranges from about
three feet or so to about five feet, as I was exploring, I did find sections
that were almost up to my face, and certain sections were hotter than other
sections. It was probably about 102 degrees in the lagoon, but since it the air
was so cold, it was the perfect temperature, and it felt so amazing just sitting
there and soaking.  The floor was
slippery, similar to a swimming pool, so I was glad I wore sandals in the water
because I probably would’ve slipped. There’s mud you can get and put it on your
body, but I chose not to. The water was also salty because if I wasn’t focusing
on sitting, I would float to the top of the water, but it wasn’t as salty as
the Dead Sea in Israel, where even if you shave your legs like three days
before, you walk into the Dead Sea, and it stings like a bitch. It was really
relaxing though. I think I stayed in there for almost two hours before I had to
get out because we had to go back to the boat.

After you get
out of the Blue Lagoon, you need to shower again, without a bathing suit, and
they recommend washing your hair twice if you have long hair because of the
salt content of the water. Then I changed back into my clothes, and as you
leave, if you bought something, you scan your bracelet, and pay for it then, or
you scan to leave, and a tray comes out and you put your bracelet in there, and
then you can go. So I left, we met up with our group, and then headed back to
the bus, and rode back towards Reykjavík.

















Once we got to
Reykjavík, we stopped in the store outside of the ship, and I bought some more
postcards that I won’t be mailing until I get back to the US and some magnets
for my collection. I also bought a small snow globe for Justin’s mom. We bought
dad some weird looking troll thing. Iceland has a lot of mysticism and they
really believe in things like trolls and what not. I haven’t found anything
special for Justin yet, but I’ll keep looking.

I really enjoyed
Blue Lagoon. It was relaxing, and it was a fun experience. It was something
I’ve always wanted to go, I remember talking about it with my dad, so many
years ago, and we both talked about how we wanted to go there, so I’m glad I
got to go there… Cross that one off the bucket list.

Once we got back
to the ship. I uploaded and resized my pictures, and then it was time for
dinner. It was open-seating due to the all the excursions getting back at
different times, so we didn’t have our usual waiters, Martin and Vesko, and we
missed them.  For dinner I had some
cantaloupe, and then a chef’s salad. For dessert, I had dulce de leche ice
cream, and since I had told Nelson, our head waiter that it was one of my
favorite flavors, he snuck an extra scoop in. The waiters we have on this
cruise are seriously the nicest and most caring people ever.

Tomorrow, we’re
heading towards Isafjodur, which is in northwest corner of Iceland, on the Vestfiroir
Peninsula. It’s colder than Reykjavík; I think the highest temperatures it ever
reaches are in the 50s. We’re taking a glacier fjord cruise, which takes us
through Icelandic waters. So hopefully that will be a chock full of photo

And that ends
Day 9 of our Trans-Atlantic cruise, and it was really nice to be on land again.
I’m looking forward to two more days of excursions.

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