Iceland – land of fire, hot springs, and grilled Puffin
While searching for the cheapest cross-atlantic one way flight from Boston to Brussels (on my new favorite flight search engine skyscanner.com), I stumbled upon an Icelandair flight with a nine-hour layover in Reykjavik. Score! I thought… That’s enough time for a quick city visit. For some reason some Americans I know have gotten an infatuation with Iceland, and, having never been attracted to the place myself, I now would have an opportunity to check it out.
The busride from the airport to downtown showed at once the volcanic nature of the island-nation. I think the expression earth’s “crust” was born here in Iceland — the lava fields outside of Reykjavik look just like the top of a fresh-baked cookie. When my bus made it to town at about 8 am I went walkabout looking for some coffee — I had enjoyed all of three hours of sleep on the flight so in order to properly make out the details in the statue of Leifr Eiricsson I was in need of some caffeine.
The town is hilly with nice views on the surrounding bays, but I was surprised to find how small it was. Even though the weather wasn’t particularly cold that day, the predominant building material choice of corrugated steel panels reminded me of arctic exploration stations. It was neat to get a feel for the place, hear the language, and check out the local menu options, but my schedule forced me to move along.
Close to the airport of Keflavik (Reykjavik’s international airport) there is a place called the Blue Lagoon, not the tropical one where Brooke Shields discovered love, but rather a steamy opal-blue thermal bath with healing powers. I couldn’t resist the idea of floating around in that soup with some clay on my face right before getting on the second leg of my transat flight, so off I went. The experience was great and not to be missed if visiting Iceland. The lagoon is large, and thanks to the steam clouds you forget about the other people around you and can float around in peace. Pretty sure I would be psoriasis free for life, I toweled off and headed for the airport. All in all Iceland was interesting, but I think the really neat stuff is to be found in the hinterland. (By the way, what is psoriasis?)