The bus took us to many impressive sights that day; geysers spraying water and steam like enormous earthbound teapots, thundering waterfalls cascading into fresh, pure rivers, the cavernous crack of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. But nothing could outshine the ethereal beauty of the Blue Lagoon, just outside Reykjavik.
The Golden Circle tour took us around the tiny Icelandic countryside to its many unearthly wonders. I stared out the window at the barren bumpy land, traversed by hardened black lava, mottled with craters and holes. It felt like I was gazing at the terrain of the moon.
The Blue Lagoon is a natural hot spring and spa in Iceland that gets its characteristic eerie blue color from the algae and minerals contained in its soothing waters. Heated geothermally, the lagoon’s bottom is coated with thick, white silica mud deposits, which revitalize and rejuvenate your skin.
It was a muggy August afternoon when I visited the lagoon, and the slight drizzle caused an unearthly mist to wash over the milky-blue waters. Stepping into the warm, inviting water, I felt the soft moist mud beneath my bare feet, and smelled a cool, slightly salty, scent in the air. I could have sworn that I was on another planet.
As I drifted along, I could see just how far the lagoon stretched out before me, and I watched as others experienced the lagoon for themselves. It was incredibly still, near silent, as the hush of conversations spoken in pale cloud-like tones. I could only be on the moon.
Since fourth grade, I have traveled with my family to over 40 cities in 16 countries in three continents. From Sweden to Spain, Vancouver to Venice and Germany to Japan, each was incredible and unique in its own way. Yet, the lagoon is the one place that resonated with me like no other.
No matter how unbelievably divergent each of my travel experiences have been, there were always common elements. Some parts of a culture tend to remind me of another. But with Iceland, well, I can’t exactly say the same. It just doesn’t look or feel like any place on earth I’ve ever visited.
From Iceland, my northern adventure included visits to Copenhagen (I could write another essay just on Tivoli) and Stockholm (you must see the Vasa Museum). But the most memorable experience of the entire trip was my visit to the Blue Lagoon.
When I’d first told my friends where I was going that summer, most everyone had the same general response: “Iceland?” which was quickly followed by: “Why?” I wasn’t sure what to answer. But after I arrived home, I knew what to say. I just told them of the Blue Lagoon, of how its warm blue waters had left an impact on my soul, an impact just like a crater on the surface of Iceland.
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