Imagine traveling for an hour on desolate roads, then walking down a path through the middle of a lava field and finding yourself at the most amazing party ever–with a disco soundtrack, dozens of your favorite people, and hundreds of other swim tourists from around the world. That was the IGLA opening party at the Blue Lagoon on Wednesday night, after the first day of competition. It was so. much. fun.
The setting was Iceland’s #1 tourist attraction, which we had all to ourselves for a few hours starting around 9:00 p.m. This being Iceland, it was bright and sunny out the whole time, and even the 1:00 a.m. walk back to our apartment after the return trip was in light you could read in, although the moon was also hovering over the city.
The lagoon is a milky, steamy blue with a salty taste, and the temperature is comfortable enough to lounge in for hours on end. You wear a bathing suit and go through the pre-swim cleansing routine the same as at the pools, but this is not a swim destination. Rather, it is for soaking and relaxation. Sure, you can scoop white mud out of a tub and smear it onto your skin, or you could go hang out under a hard-pounding waterfall, but mostly you are just supposed to lounge here. When you need nourishment, wade on over to the bar for drinks, fruit smoothies, or ice cream. You can guess which one I chose.
The plant out by what became the Blue Lagoon was constructed for the nearby international airport area in the 1970s. The discharged water soon took on a life of its own, as the naturally occurring white silica caused a pool to form rather than letting the water soak back into the earth. Add naturally occurring algae for the pleasant blue color, and lo and behold you have the right mix for a tourist sensation. The power company wised up to this and built a bath house in the 1980s and added a spa more recently. Because of its proximity to the airport, it is all some travelers with quick layovers see of Iceland. I guarantee they enjoy their visits.