Iceland: The Destination Part II

 Icelandic houses
Icelandic Architecture
Icelandic Architecture
Most of the structures I found in Iceland definitely fit into the nordic architecture I learnt about; thermal mass walls, pitched roof, small windows. Beautiful and clean, and slightly austere. And then, I’d drive along the beach (yes, beach in Iceland) and fine modern buildings like these:
architecture in Iceland
I love the geometric shapes of all this modern building sitting next to a very traditional church.
Not all churches are like the above, for example, there’s a little church in Reykjavik.
Church in Iceland Reykjavik
Iceland Reykjavik Church
 And by little, I mean not little at all. It’s so freaking amazing I’m pretty sure I stood there in front of the church repeating ‘OMG OMG OMG’ to myself. Which, considering it’s a church, is semi-appropriate. It’s a pity I never got to explore the interior of the church, because I can just imagine the incredible ceiling and workmanship.
Iceland Hot River trek
Funny thing is, the vast landscape fuels the existential thoughts over many moments on the road. The empty land and the howling wind makes me question so many ridiculous things about life.
How did people start a fire here if the wind is so strong? Are the grass here constantly wet? Am I cold or just hungry?
Gelato or Ice Cream? What are the puffins thinking?
Iceland in Spring
Iceland hot springs
I can’t talk about going to Iceland without talking about the Hot Spring. Of the time that I spent over there, I can definitely say we found one of the best hot springs and I enjoyed the experience even more than the famous Blue Lagoon hot spring. Yep. Really.
Let me break it down for y’all. Hot springs are awesome. Hot springs with nice facilities are even better. Now, imagine those beautiful blue water filled with tourists, so it’s loud and it’s crowded. That’s what Blue Lagoon is like at times. Beautiful hote springs with great facilities are like a tourist magnet.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a was very nice experience probably because I had an in-water massage (which I don’t really know how I got through so smoothly, considering I have an irrational fear of water). You get these special mud to put on your face so you get to have a mini free facial while soaking up the sun in the warm water. Not only that, you can purchase beer from the bar in the middle of the pool!
I can honestly say it was a pretty cool experience.
Now, before I go onto to describe to you my favourite lagoon/hot spring experience, let me explain to you the process of getting ready to go into the lagoon. They have strict rules when cleaning yourself for getting into hot springs and swimming pools. I feel the need to explain this because during my research, it didn’t really come up; and while there were diagrams and signs, I didn’t know just how STRICT it was.
Follow these steps and do not jump backwards or skip the steps:
1. Leave your shoes/slippers outside of the change room
Once you enter the change room, you could essentially walk bare foot from shower to the hot springs and vice versa.
2. Use the bathroom
Of course, you don’t have to, but if you need to use the bathroom, now is the time
3. Undress and leave everything in the locker. IMPORTANT: Take your towel & swimmers with you!
You get fully undressed and take everything you think you need later with you. For example your sunnies and or hats. Don’t try to put your swimmer on at this point, but be sure to take them with you. You’re suppose to only put it on after you’ve washed yourself completely. This is a DRY area, so don’t come back to get your swimmers after you shower.
4. Hang up your towel & swimmers near the shower section
If you’re anything like me, you would have trouble undressing in front of strangers. So you’d be wrapping yourself in towel to minimise that awkward nakedness exposure. This is the moment to put away that towel and let your bare butt be cleansed like an Icelandic bather would want you to.
5. Wash yourself well. Every crevices and follicle MUST be washed well.
Get those shadowy areas washed. ‘Nuff said.
6. After you’ve scrubbed the SH*T out of yourself, you may put on your swimmer
You should have taken your swimmer with you before, so put it on. You are NOT ALLOWED to go back to the locker. Wet areas are wet. Dry areas shall remain dry.
7. Finally, it’s time for the hot spring!!!
Take your towel with you and enjoy the hot spring!
When you come back later, it’ll be that step completely reversed. The idea is, the wet area doesn’t mix with the dry. So if you’ve washed yourself, don’t walk back to the locker dripping wet.
 Hot springs in Iceland The Secret Lagoon
Now, The Secret Lagoon is the place I recommend if you want a more private experience.
We went to the Secret Lagoon on the day when we travelled around the Golden Circle. So it was after a night of sleeping in the camper van without shower…not the most memorable experience but still a special one. Then, after going to all these cold and wet sights, we arrived at this quaint little place with hardly anyone.
While their facilities aren’t as elaborate as the Blue Lagoon, the Secret Lagoon has all that you need and it’s CLEAN.
 The Secret Lagoon Iceland facilities
The lagoon is basically a large swimming pool with foam noodles provided!! So for a group of Australians who have endured 24 hours of 8 degrees celsius temperature, it was like heaven.
 Iceland hot spring locations
I will definitely go back, call me crazy, but the next time I go back it’ll be in winter. I can’t wait to see the northern lights and the landscape covered in snow. I completely and totally and absolutely recommend Iceland as a stop-over or even a destination to everyone.
I’ll leave you with this picture of me on the morning of our second day. Standing at the top of a crater I felt like I could see the ends of the earth. Go forth earthlings. Iceland is to be explored.

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