Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Iceland I 2011

O, ok and I, were very excited when we got on our Iceland Airways flight to discover that there were individual tv screens in the backs of the seats. We touched down at Keflavik airport at quarter to 4 ish and went to pick up our hire car, raiding the tourist information office in the airport for free maps. We were a little apprehensive about potentially driving in snow and ice but the hire car came with winter tyres (feels like you’re driving on flat tyres) as standard and heated seats (essential). From the airport, we headed straight to find our hotel which for our first night was part hostel/part hotel, cheap and almost cheerful but it served us. Once we’d checked in we headed straight to the supermarket for supplies shocked that the shops don’t have very long opening hours. Once we had our supplies, we headed out for a walk from our hotel. 

We headed up to the Perlan, which was quite stunning at night. During the day you can go in – you can also go in at night I think, to eat but it is vvv expensive. From there we walked to the shore to see the heated beach, which is either not on at night or not on during the winter but it was not warm. We walked home through the graveyard, which is apparently stunning during the day. It wasn’t bad at night, is very well lit, and feels safe if not a bit bizarre to be walking through a graveyard. 
For tea, we followed a recommendation by Cakes and Bunting and went for fish and chips it was lovely yummy food. After dinner, we went to the swimming pool.   Laugardalslaug for our first experience. Thankfully Cakes and Bunting had warned us of the strict routine that you need to follow when swimming in Iceland so it wasn’t a shock. You leave your shoes outside of the changing rooms. Take off all your clothes and leave them in your locker. Take your swimming costume and towel with you from the changing room to the “wet” area where there are cubby holes for your towel.  Here you must shower naked then you put on your swimming costume and make the very cold dash to the nearest bit of hot water you can find. There was a British school group at the pool and they were very loud and boisterous so sort of spoiled the experience. We soon realised how much of a social experience swimming is for the Icelandic there are always loads of conversations going on and you feel a little out of place if you’re in a hot pot without anyone to talk to.  After the pool you go and shower – they have absolutely no qualms about being naked and you get strange looks for being in your costume and trying to hide behind your towel. You dry yourself in the wet area and only then should you return to your locker. You get dirty looks from the Icelandic women if you trek your wet self through the dry area.
After all that we collapsed at our hotel and prepared for the next day.

(photos by O or me)


  1. The showering naked thing might prevent my ever swimming in Iceland. I'm glad you were brave and did though!

  2. Gothan Dag! (I cannot do the correct symbol there so used th)

    The swimming thing is something I woeuld probably find difficult but you have certainly stoked my desire to visit.

  3. We had similar experience with the public baths in Switzerland. The showers and change rooms are shared by both genders & if you're in the sauna (also not gender specific) you have to be naked. The Swiss think that wearing your bathers in the sauna is unhygienic.

    My husband has a theory that by seeing so many different naked bodies that aren't airbrushed or perfect model/porno bodies that it would lead to a healthier body image. I tend to agree.

  4. Did I ever tell you about my experience of bath houses in Japan (you have to be naked the whole time)... never felt so British in my whole life!! ;) I've always loved the idea of the Icelandic hot pools though so I might have to brave up again one day!!

    1. *I* want to hear about this - sounds both mortifying but possibly freeing?!

  5. I had no idea that the rules were so strict! Sounds so interesting though, I like your take on the social aspect of it. Can't wait to hear more!


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