Archive for the ‘Iceland’ Category

Where the Hell is Brooke Shields?

July 27, 2010 48 comments

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a place that literally defies description. Okay that’s not entirely true; it doesn’t literally defy description, it’s just hard to express its appeal in words without making it sound as exciting as a trip to the proctologist. In fact, so wrong does it come across on paper, that I think their marketing team deserves an outstanding achievement award for actually getting anyone to even consider going there. Don’t get me wrong, in reality it’s an amazing place, but when you try to put its attributes into words, you get…well, this:

1) The Blue lagoon is an outdoor swimming pool in Iceland. While indoor swimming is somewhat of a national obsession, on a list of “most ill-conceived tourist attractions of all-time”, outdoor swimming lagoon in Reykjavik would have to rank somewhere alongside Mumbai Steak House or Tel Aviv Third Reich Museum.

2) Although it’s advertised as a local Reykjavik attraction, it’s actually situated about fifty kilometres outside of town, in the middle of a barren lava field near the airport.  When you consider that most people associate the term “Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields topless on a tropical island, this is not a location that’s likely to conjure up the same degree of excitement.

3) Visiting the lagoon is absurdly expensive. It costs 20 Euros for transport out there, 30 US dollars to get in, then an exorbitant 600 Icelandic Kronur to hire a towel. You get the feeling they make you pay in three different currencies so you don’t realise how much you’ve spent until you get your bank statement.

4) You have to strip naked and shower in front of strangers before you can enter the lagoon. In Australia, the only place you ever have to do this is prison…but apparently it’s quite normal in Iceland.

5) The water is bright blue – not a beautiful Bora Bora, Tahiti blue, but a dense, milky, science-experiment-gone-wrong blue. Apparently this is because of the high level of algae in the water…not exactly a major selling point to those expecting a cystal clear swimming paradise.

6) The lagoon is filled using – get this – the run-off from the geothermal power station next door. Enough said.

Based on this description, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Blue Lagoon was the least attractive tourist attraction in the history of, well, forever. Fortunately for the ailing Icelandic economy, it’s not. Far from it, in fact.

The naturally-heated, 38-degree water from the geothermal plant is the perfect temperature for swimming, while the bright blue algae is a remarkably hygenic natural cleanser that prohibits all bacteria growth. The silica that forms on the base of the pool is exceptionally good for your skin (so much so that you can buy it for about fifty bucks a bottle when you get out) and the unusual location actually makes the whole experience quite surreal.  It really is an amazing place.

Just don’t try to explain it to anyone before you go there.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

No seriously, trust me, it really is a great place