Tuesday: Pure Icelandic Waters

Svellelaug hiking path, Food the Wong Way, Oct 2017

Water Water, Everywhere

Woke up amazed to find myself in the dreamland of Iceland, excited to start the day. Kris was acting grumpy-pantsed, unclear why…

We had a chance to catch breakfast from our host Snæbjörn in the flesh. I found our host accommodating but ambivalent about his home. He seemed not to like his area, but maybe because his girlfriend was in Bristol, and he’d been woken at 2AM by a drunk neighbor-friend last night. When asked if Icelanders liked to party (I’d heard they had a reputation for it), he retorted no, and that visitors seemed much more prone to drinking extra. Breakfast was toast, jams, salami, cheese, nutella, butter, coffee, and home-cooked heart-shaped waffles. We sat across from some young honeymooners from Korea. The wife was so delighted when I took a photo for the two of them, lol. Later we were also offered some caviar out of a metal tube like toothpaste. Fancy.

I’d heard of a neighborhood thermal pool in the hills nearby and we headed over. Grumpy K was not happy with the pot-holed dirt road, lest we get stuck – and even less impressed with the van of visitors when it pulled in next to us.

En route by foot to Seljavallalaug, with a hop in my step toward our first thermal pool!
En route by foot to Seljavallalaug, with a hop in my step toward our first thermal pool! If you have ever taken a Lynda tutorial on Adobe products, this scenery may feel familiar..

I tried to make the most of his mood and soldier on through overcast skies toward unknown horizons. We arrived at Seljavallalaug, loping ahead to beat the van –a photography tourism group– to find two guys in a long rectangular pool, wearing winter hats. The free pool’s changing rooms were GROSS, with discarded swimsuits and less savory sundries, empty beer cans and other refuse strewn about. I gamely changed, got in, and located the one corner with modest warmth.

Seljavallalaug pool on a not-warm day.
On site at the pool. You can’t take a picture of this lukewarm reaction, really.. hard pass.

The tourist group did not join us, but stood snapping photos all around. It was scenic, and a unique feeling – that uncertainty of whether you’re the unwitting subject of a photo, or the disruptive element in careful landscape framing. It was cold enough neither of us bothered with the effort of a selfie in the water. I imagined this pool might be fun in the height of Summer. It was originally built for the locals to have a place to learn to swim (um, in the…40’s?) Loping back the one mile “hike” of our misadventure, we swapped moods.

The weather turned from overcast to drizzle. We drove through what felt like a scenic car commercial, of gentle, swooping roads until they curved to Reynisfjara, famed black sand beaches of basalt columns.

Bonus Content: Pro-tip Tuesday: Tote Bag Hack

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