The Reykjanes Peninsula
First real contact with human society since our arrival. Today, we will visit Reykyavík, the capital of Iceland (200,000 inhabitants in total with Reykjanes peninsula, which means about half of the country’s population!). As usual, weather changes from a minute to the other. We are in t-shirts when the sun shows, but put back the winter coat once clouds and rain come back. However, visiting the city has been pretty nice, though pretty short. The city center is interesting : one can not find any big names but only small creators boutiques and cafes. I am also particularly surprised by one thing : as we are having a meal in a burger restaurant in the old harbor, despite the TV vomiting its image flow to our eyes, everybody is bringing a newspaper and reading it! Even in Norway where most people are in love with newspapers, I have never seen that and I am really glad to see it.
When one comes to Reykjavík, may it be for a single day, chances are that one will go take a bath in Bláa Lónið, better known under the name of Blue Lagoon. Despite our aversion for touristic attractions, we have to go there. As expected, we are not alone. A couple of buses and dozens of cars are parked here. Mostly French people by the way… The more we visit the country, the more it appears that the second official language for Iceland could be French. Argh! :)
The Blue Lagoon is an artificial lagoon created by the waters dumped from the (very) close geothermal plant. At the beginning, people started to bath here freely but it quickly became a commercial attraction. Like in most countries, before going to bath we have to take a shower. But unlike in other countries (that I know), in Iceland you have to remove all your clothes. All of them, even the bath suit. And this is the same practice all over the country for any public baths. Signs are also displayed explaining where you should wash with the most ferocity … pretty funny. Luckily for the bashful, “private showers” are available in the lagoon.
Once you are clean and shiny, you can go the the 37-40˚C milky and blue water, which is really awesome. We spend a couple of hours in this gigantic bath and will be limp as flans for the rest of the day.
If there is a place I would recommend in Reykjanes peninsula, other than the Blue Lagoon, it would probably be Seltún. Seltún is a geothermal area with a couple of hot springs. The more we climb, the more the smell of rotten egg is tickling our nostrils. Smokes are surrounding us and this bubbling grey mud surrounded by sulfuric yellow/orange sands make us think about another gateway to hell. One can even meet Lucifer in person! ;)