Amidst the vast scorched volcanic landscape of Iceland is an extraordinary pearly blue pool.
It was 10:00 in the morning (still dark in Iceland at this time of year) when we drove through a lava field in Grindavik, southwestern Iceland, and approached the billowing geothermal plant that is responsible for heating the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, in addition to a percentage of Iceland’s homes.
Inside the Blue Lagoon spa, we joined the “United Nations of tourists” who were lined up to get a towel and a bathrobe. We were then sent into dressing rooms to change into our bathing suits.
The temperature outside was 19˚F.
It was daunting to step out into the wintery air, in bare feet and a bathing suit, onto an icy platform that led into the lagoon.
Then I lowered myself into the steamy, mineral-rich water.
As the sun came up, I swam in and around the lava rock formations, the water temperature varying from hot to very hot, 98˚ – 102˚F. Under my feet I could feel the surface of the lagoon…smooth in some places, rough in others, with a fine layer of silica sand.
A man-made geyser at one end surged with steam, enveloping everyone near it in a silky cloud.
It was a surreal scene.
In various places around the lagoon, there were basins carved out of the rock that were filled with silica mud that could be smoothed onto your face…a mineral face mask. I wish I’d had my camera in the pool, because it was a hilarious sight: Dozens of tourists peering out from a face covered in what looked like white plaster.
After I got out, I snapped this picture of one man who had partaken in the silica mask.
Water had flowed outside of the lagoon and froze. It was a stunning scene.
Sometimes I take reference photos to remember a color combination. That is what this is…the pale blue, chalky white, and deep charcoal gray merging into black, is a striking color scheme.
Rejuvenated and refreshed, I followed the path through the lava field back out into the world.
I felt certain that the purported healing powers of the Blue Lagoon would be a good omen for the new year.
I’ll keep you posted on that.