Steaming Lagoon
Steaming Lagoon by cogdogblog
posted 11 Nov ’08, 3.16pm MST PST on flickr

Yeah it is touristy, but guess what? I am a tourist and the warm waters felt damn good at the Blue Lagoon

Yes, today I went to the über touristy Blue Lagoon. Go ahead and laugh and share your story of trekking cross a back country glacier eating reindeer guts. You know what? I am a tourist or as I used to sneer at people who venture to the punch card spots n Arizona…a “touron”.

And you know what, when you come to my home state of Arizona, you are likely going to come home regaling with your photos of walking down the Bright Angel trail at the Grand Canyon, the venerable McTrail there. Or worse, riding a freaking mule. But for you, its new. Or, you will call seeing Anasazi ruins snapping a few photos looking up at Montezuma’s Castle, where Montezuma never stepped, and nor can you (ignoring all the other ruins you can explore up vlose in the Arizona back country).

And you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed the un-natural giant blue pool of warm water. But more than that, I enjoyed an off the track scenic route getting there recommended by my hosts; south of Selfoss on road 34 down to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

I drove out from Skinnhufa and said hello to a few neighbors:

Yeah, I am the Black Sheep in the Family, So What?

I must admit, sometimes it is nice just to have the voice of the GPS as company ;-)

Crossing the place where the Olfusa river broadens to what looks more like a bay, I stepped out to snap a Gigapan image:

Olfusa Gigapan

Continuing west on 34, I crossed wide open spaces that were really wide and open. And then it got more adventurous hitting the gravel road 472– which to be honest. compared to the Coconino Forest roads I have bounced my little Mitsubishi, was a regular highway (there were plenty of potholes to dodge).

The Road Traveled

The surrounding land got rougher and rougher, with moss barely disguising that not long ago, these were active lava flows.

And there was almost no sigh of humanity. I had the world to myself. I passed a very few unoccupied or un-attended houses, and wondered just how sheep managed out here.

Sure Looks Like Sheeo Country

Up down, bounce, and the rocks got rougher and then in place, layered in green spongy moss. Approaching a visible large geomorphic mound near Krysuylkurkirkja, I veered north on paved road 42 for a detour to see the bubbling mud pots and steaming rocks of Krysuvik, an active geothermal area.

Steamy Rocks

Again, it is utterly amazing to be at a feature that elsewhere would be behind gates and entrance fees- here I walked up and had the place to myself, to sniff the steam, gaze at the intricate details of shape, size color, and taking in the sounds of bubbling hot mud pots:

Then it was another 24 km of dirt road, skirting the edge of volcanic cliffs, eying the calm ocean to my left, seeing my first car in an hour, before quickly passing through the town of Grindavik, and (missing it first) taking the turn off to the “BlÃ¥a lóniö the Blue Lagoon.

Like most other places I have been– there was hardly anyone here, maybe 20, 25 at most. It is all well organized, you get a plastic bracelet with some sort of chip that allows you to lock a locker and also to add drinks to your tab.

The water is delightful; a soft bottom of silica, and while your head is in the cool open air, the water swirls with un predictable currents of very hot and then warm water. Mist swirls everywhere, giving a mystical feeling to the whole environment.

I soaked a good hour or more, dashed under the hot waterfall, and just relaxed.

Then it was a hour 45 minute ride back home, getting there just before total darkness around 6pm.

So I dont care if anyone smirks at my tourist adventure, I ad a great day.

And thanks to it being a federal holiday in the USA and the third sunny day in a row here in Iceland– it was near perfect, I am thinking of maybe one detail to make it better, but that’s another story.

Magic blue waters…. magic.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I just couldn’t resist reading something that used the word “touron.” I worked in housekeeping in Yellowstone National Park one summer (1985) and I learned the word there, from other employees. Maybe we all got it from the guy from Arizona!

  2. Well, we weren’t exactly NPS staff – we worked for the concessionaire. But based on the flyers they were giving out to tourons on entry (a half sheet warning about how, ummmm, ignorant it was to stand by buffalo to get a photo), NPS were probably not philosophically opposed to a word blending tourist and moron!

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