This post concludes my brief trip to Iceland in January.
Friday, January 11, 2019:
Friday was going to be my shortest day in Iceland, since I had a 5pm flight home.
It was kind of surreal that the trip had gone by so quickly. I glanced around Rekyjavik a little bit more, not knowing when I might be back.
My main scheduled activity for the day would be the Blue Lagoon. People often visit it on the way from or to the airport, since it’s fairly close to the airport.
The Blue Lagoon is well-known to be quite touristy. But people seem to go partly because everybody else do so – you might feel silly about going all the way to Iceland and not seeing it. Which is [mostly] why I went.
The Blue Lagoon is actually surprisingly big, with many different sections to go between. Many folks are putting on silica masks or going to the swim-up bar, and it has much more of a “look where I am” touristy feel than the more chill feel of the sleepier “Secret Lagoon” that I visited the day before.
As a comparison, entrance to the Blue Lagoon was more than 3x the cost of the Secret Lagoon (roughly $96 vs $26). The Blue Lagoon also requires a reserved entrance time, to help abate crowds. I still think it is a neat place to visit, but more of a place to visit once as a spectacle. If you’re simply looking to relax in thermal baths, I think the other ones around Iceland are probably more conducive to that.
One thing that I think the thermal baths in Baden-Baden, Germany got right was banning cameras and cell phones in the bathing area. The Blue Lagoon, given its tourist magnet status, had a disproportionately high number of selfie-taking folks and groups who seemed to be posing for Instagram pics. Especially by the entrances. Note, I took a few pictures too. But it does affect the atmosphere.
Still, even with the over-tourism aspect, it is a nice place to visit – definitely worth seeing once.
Luggage Room Glitch
Regardless, I also got a late lunch there, and I got ready to take the bus to the airport, for my 5pm flight.
One freak glitch that I encountered: about 10 minutes before I was supposed to get on the bus, I went to get my luggage from the luggage room. It turns out, after thoroughly searching the room, that they accidentally gave my bag to somebody else, who had a very similar looking bag(!).
Fortunately, I still had my passport/money/jacket with me. Since it made no sense to miss my flight, there wasn’t a lot that I could do besides give the luggage room my contact info. By the next day, the luggage room let me know that the person did come back to swap the bags. And to their credit, the luggage place told me that they’d ship the bag to my home free of charge, the next business day (Monday). Still, given the weekend, it still took until Wednesday until I was reunited with my DHL’ed bag. But, given the circumstances, it could have been far worse.
My 9-hour flight back to the Bay Area on Iceland Air was fairly smooth. One interesting aspect of it was that given a 9 hour flight and an 8 hour time change, it stayed nearly the same “local time” the whole flight. Given the 5pm departure, this corresponded to a sunset red in the far horizon for much of the flight, which was a nice scene from the window.