Icelandair picked us up from all over the US and Europe and delivered us to KEF. We grabbed coffees and SIM cards, started a group WhatsApp chat – “Viking Pillage” – and hopped a bus to Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s biggest hot spring. After half a day of traveling, a swim-up bar in 40°C sulfur water was just what the doctor ordered.
Refreshed and back on a bus to Reykjavik, we checked out the landscape. Flat, volcanic expanses of lava fields, covered with deep green moss and dotted with jagged rock formations. Surreal, otherworldly.
Our AirBNB suites sprawled across a couple big flats in the center of town, midway between Hallgrimskirkja church and the nightclub district. No prize for guessing where we spent more time.
We loaded up on local snacks and drinks: dried fish, salted licorice, fermented shark and whale and puffin, Gull and Viking lager and Einstök ale. Later, between bars, we stopped by the striking Harpa concert hall and even managed to catch the northern lights! No light pollution here, just clouds.
We hit all the necessary sights: spelunking deep down inside Príhnúkagígur volcano, swimming through freezing rain along the Golden Circle, and searching out the secret Flúðir hot spring, complete with glowing geothermal greenhouse worthy of the X-Files.
The power plants really are no joke. Roughly two thirds of Iceland’s power is hydro, one third geothermal, all dirt cheap. They export gigawatts of it in the form of aluminum, which is cripplingly energy hungry to make.
Funny story: on an earlier trip, one of the guys closed the windows in his guest room, only to wake up to huge puddles of condensation. The host, aghast, asked him why he hadn’t left them open. “We keep the heat on high, you know. It’s what we do here.”
Hell of a trip. Congrats, Andrew! Thanks for organizing, Misha! See you all soon!