Reykjavik Iceland is one of the places that has always intrigued me. This little island out in the middle of the North-Atlantic Ocean has so much to offer a visitor. The Summer season here is blessed with nearly 24 hours of sun light so there will be plenty of time to visit many sights in one day.
While Iceland is part of Europe, it physically resides over two continents, North American and Eurasia. There is a tectonic plate fissure that divides the island into the two continents and where they have built a bridge for people to cross between continents and to receive a certificate. This is like kissing the Blarney Stone and visiting Hell on Grand Cayman. Another fun totally touristy thing to do! Why not, kitsch is fun after all!
Other sights include a multitude of museums and the famous landmark church Hallgrímskirkja named after a famous Icelandic poet and so many outdoor activities. However, my number one thing I have to do in Iceland will be the geothermal pools. I may just pool hop!
These pools are noted for their health benefits including longevity (the Icelandic people live to be much older than the norm 86 for women and 81 for men), arthritis relief, and asthma. The asthma benefit is one I definitely wish to investigate. I have terrible asthma and a spa like dip in a geothermal pool sounds so much better than my current prescriptions.
The pools are created from underground springs and are heated by the same forces that generate volcanoes, another feature for which Iceland is famous.
I found this great pool etiquette write-up in Frommers:
Icelanders are especially strict about pool rules, especially when they pertain to hygiene. (Remember that Icelandic pools are far less chlorinated than pools abroad, so the concern over spreading germs is not paranoia.) To avoid stern looks of disapproval — or even lectures by pool monitors — follow the simple procedures below:
- Leave shoes and socks outside the locker room, unless a sign specifically authorizes you to take them in.
- Undress completely at your locker and then walk to the showers carrying your towel and swimsuit. Stash your towel by the showers.
- Shower first, and then put your suit on. Rarely will you find a shower curtain or stall to hide behind; if you feel shy, be assured that Icelanders are both respectful of privacy and very nonchalant about this everyday routine. (Also be prepared for voluntary nudity in steam rooms, which are sex-segregated.)
- When showering, use soap, which is usually provided. Most shower rooms post a notorious sign — often photographed by visitors — depicting a human body, with red blotches over the “trouble areas” requiring particular attention.
- Don’t go down water slides headfirst.
- After your swim, shower again and dry off before entering the locker room. Dripping on the locker room floor is frowned upon.
By the way, the Icelandic word for Saturday actually means pool day. How fun!
I also found out what the Icelanders eat. Very interesting….particularly Hákarl. This is Greenland shark that is buried for six months to rid it of toxins. It is considered a delicacy. I read a warning that even Icelanders don’t like it and if you insist on trying it, try the dark meat first. Hmmm we’ll see if I get brave enough to try this. Other foods include fabulous seafood, no surprise, and lamb. Specifically, smoked lamb.
As to drink, they have their own hard liquor called brennivín that is made from potatoes and caraway. It’s name translates as black death so I am guessing this is not something you want to take multiple shots of, unless of course you are fond of the floor.
The photos of Iceland and of Reykjavik are beautiful. A definite must for a Summer stop. I’d like to time it for the early Summer or Late Summer in hopes that maybe I could get a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
We shall see.
See you on the water,
Sail Away Girl