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Steamed goodness

Tanya Sen begins a new journey in life with a dip in Iceland’s geothermal spa — Blue Lagoon

A winter wonderland has always attracted me more than tropical beaches and Iceland has always been my dream destination. My husband Ayan and I went to Iceland in March and it was absolutely breathtaking. It’s just another planet. Glaciers, lava fields, rugged mountains, hot springs, thundering waterfalls, beautiful imposing fjords, ice caves and unique black sand beaches. And then of course, there’s the Blue Lagoon and the Aurora Borealis. Where else on earth can you experience all of this? It’s insanely exotic. For Ayan and me, there was nothing better than exploring this beautiful country as we started this new journey together. We did a road trip around the ring road for 10 days.

FIRE AND ICE

With volcanic and geothermal activity on one side and unending sheets of ice and glaciers on the other, Iceland is a country of stark contrasts. A land of fire and ice. 

We did the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa — not very far from the international airport in Keflavik — on the first day of our trip. It’s a man-made lagoon that was formed in 1976 during the operation of a geothermal power plant, and it’s one of the 25 wonders of the world. Over the years, the thermal plant has been innovative in harnessing this gift of nature in developing different spa services and products. 

The drive to Blue Lagoon itself is so beautiful and you just know there’s something magnificent waiting, set in the pure heart of Icelandic landscape. 

We visited on a cold March day when there was still snow on the ground from the previous week’s heavy snowfall, so I wondered how warm we would be and was sceptical at the beginning. 

On entry at Blue Lagoon, a wristband was provided, which needs to be swiped on entry; it acts as your charging band to pay for treatments and refreshments as well. We had got the comfort package ticket where they gave a complimentary towel and a drink. 

It’s advisable to book tickets in advance as it is extremely unlikely that you would get an entry to the Blue Lagoon if you just turned up, as often tickets are sold out days and even weeks before. 

Once you walk into the lagoon, the sheer size and the steaming blue water in the chilliest of the weather leave you speechless. The water is always kept at a very relaxing temperature of 38 degrees Celsius and the sulphur content in the water gives it the most surreal milky blue colour. You will not feel cold in the water even if it has been snowing outside. The first few steps to get into the water was the hardest part, but once I was in, it was all worth it.

DREAM OF A SWIM

Swimming in the lagoon is an unreal experience — it feels like you’re in a dream! After a long flight, this felt like the best possible way to unwind and slowly get acclimatised to the weather. 

There were silica packs and algae masks at the lagoon, which are rich in minerals and great for your skin. We tried the mud mask, which is supposed to nourish and enhance radiance. My skin never felt softer!

Next, we went to the swim-up bar in the extreme end of the pool, where you could buy drinks, such as beer and wine, Skyr smoothies (an Icelandic dessert-like yoghurt), soft drinks, water-resistant phone protectors and sunglasses. You swipe your wristbands to pay for the items. We enjoyed some chilled local beer. 

Overall, it was an experience of a lifetime that we would definitely want to do again. 

SURVIVING THE COLD 

In Iceland the temperature isn’t really the issue. Throughout the trip it was around zero to minus four degree Celsius. The wind is brutal, hence wind protection is of utmost importance.

No amount of layering woollen clothes can help unless the outer layer can cut the wind out. We had a lot of trouble on the first two days. None of the gloves we carried were working simply because they were woollen and our hands kept freezing. Then we bought the wind-protecting ones and wore the woollen pairs underneath. It takes a while for the body to adjust to the cold, but we had the rest of the gear to keep us warm.

Tanya Sen is a singer who shuffles between Calcutta and Delhi
Pictures: Ayan Mitra

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