Day 15 – Goodbye Iceland!

Reykjavik, Iceland

Well, it had to come sometime – the end of Icy Trip 2013.

My flight wasn’t until 5:00pm and even with a 3 hour checkin time I still had plenty of time to do something momentous on my last day in Iceland.

So I went to the Blue Lagoon!

The Blue Lagoon is one of those things on the “must do” list when visiting Iceland.  In fact, for alot of people it’s the only thing on their list.

Most of the tour companies here in Reykjavik offer a trip there and either a return trip back to Reykjavik or a return trip to the airport.

So after waking up at 7am, getting ready and doing last minute packing, I caught a 9am bus from Bus Travel that took me straight from my hostel to the Blue Lagoon an hour later.

Serenity!

It really is a magical place.  After checking in my bags at the little office at the entrance, I walked down the snow covered path towards the main building.

I had decided I was going out in style.  I wasn’t just gonna float in the lagoon and put some mud on my face.

Nope – I was going for a massage!  And not the piddly 20 minute massage or the 30 minute one.  Nope, I was going full out – 60 minute massage for 23,000 kronas (about $200).

I went to the changing area to change into the swim trunks they supplied me which clearly stated “rental” on them so, you know, I wasn’t inclined to take this lovely souvenir home with me.

After a quick shower I was ready to head out into the misty lagoon.  Even with the dozens of tourists out there it is so peaceful and quiet.  It was as if everyone understood the majesty of the place and was lulled into quietness.

I walked slowly in the shallow water over to the corner where they do the spa treatments and waited at the little rope gate that separated the common riffraff from us VIPs.  After being waved in, my masseuse Magda set me up on a mat floating in the water.

My hour long massage was entirely done while I floated in the blue lagoon.  I could have easily fallen asleep as I just closed my eyes and let her do her magic.  Before I knew it, the hour was over and it was time to head back to the riffraff.

I floated around for awhile before I realized that I should probably start to get showered up and changed so I would have time to enjoy my last official meal in Iceland.

Turns out I didn’t quite give myself enough time as I arrived at Lava restaurant at the edge of the lagoon at 1pm.

I entered the restaurant and looked around at the unique cross of people sitting at the tables.  Half the people were dressed normally and the other half were sitting there in their robes with (I’m assuming and hoping) their swimwear on underneath.

Don’t see that in a restaurant every day!

I had only given myself 45 minutes to eat a three course meal before I had to head out to get my checked bags and catch my 2pm bus to the airport.

I let my server know my plight and I ordered right away.  Along with a nice glass of Peter Lehman Sauvignon Blanc I had their Icelandic Gourmet Menu.

My first course was another tasty seafood dish – slow cooked salmon with cauliflower, beer-bread, cucumber and dulse seaweed.

As a main course I had the rack of lamb with cabbage, celeriac, brussel sprouts and apples and hazelnuts.

And just under the wire, I finally tried Iceland’s favorite dessert:  Skyr.  Along with the Skyr (which is an Icelandic yogurt), there were also marshmallows, peanuts, lemon ice cream and an amazing blueberry mousse.

I hated that I had to rush through my meal as I actually asked for the check and paid while I was still eating my dessert but it’s funny how you lose track of time whilst floating in the Blue Lagoon.

That would be #firstworldproblems by the way…

Just to rub it in – here’s a short video of my walk through the Blue Lagoon:

At 2pm the bus took me to the airport about 20 minutes away where, of course, I was checked in and through security in no time at all.

I spent the next couple of hours taking advantage of the airports’ free wifi and proceeded to my gate around 4pm.

At the gate they had already started to load people on to the plane.  I decided to be smart this time and just sit and wait for the lineup to disappear.  After all, there was no rush to get on to the plane as it was all assigned seating.

I actually kind of laugh at the people who rush to the line as if getting on the plane sooner will get them to their destination quicker.

Anyway, once there were about 4 or 5 people in line I finally stepped up to be checked in.  After quickly showing the attendant my boarding pass I went down the gangway towards the plane, turned a corner and…

Screeeeech… lineup to get into the actual plane!

Argh!

No way to avoid it I guess.

When I reached my row I was happy to find a fellow traveler sitting in the window seat and an empty middle seat.  Julie from Calgary is actually just ending a two month journey of her own through mostly northern Europe and after a quick month pit stop back home is heading down under in January.

So many similarities it’s crazy.  Anyway we talked about Europe for a bit and then watched some movies cause what the hell else are you going to do on an 8 hour flight?

Since I watched all US mainstream movies on the flight here I thought I’d be a little more cultured and watch an Icelandic movie on the way back.

Ferox is an Icelandic movie with English subtitles about a youth who downward spirals after seeing the aftermath of his brother’s gruesome suicide.

Yup, nice light viewing for the way home.

IMG_0852About an hour into the flight the flight attendants came by with a cool little Christmas treat menu.  They were offering complimentary hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and cocktails of non-alcoholic stout and orange soda.

Also they were selling a Christmas Platter in addition to their normal menu for $15.

Now we’re talking!

On my flight to Iceland I was so disappointed with Icelandair’s menu that I actually bought a salmon sandwich at a cafe in the airport to eat on this flight.

Well, the sandwich would just have to keep cause I was having that Christmas Platter!

The cold platter had slices of turkey, Beyonne ham, venison pate, herring, sauteed mushrooms, rye bread and potato salad.

Of course it tasted wonderful and I was so happy I was able to sneak in one more Icelandic meal before I got home.

Looking out the plane window, we could see the sunset on the horizon the entire 8 hour flight as we went through the different time zones.

In fact we technically traveled in time backwards as we arrived in Seattle 20 minutes earlier than when we left Iceland.

So here I was in Seattle with the Wednesday that never ended!  At least it wasn’t raining like it was last time.

After a long wait to go through customs I then had to take an equally long walk through the terminal to the light rail metro line station.  Thirty minutes later I was in downtown Seattle.  All told, from the time I landed to the time I was downtown was almost two hours.

I walked over to the Greyhound station to check my backpack for a few hours.  The bus station here in Seattle is alot different from the one in Vancouver.  There are homeless people all around and the place is dingy and small.  And boy does it smell.

I quickly rented a locker, stored my bag and dashed out of the bus station.  It was now 7pm and I had three hours to kill before my bus was scheduled to leave for Vancouver.

Now don’t judge me, but all I really wanted was McDonalds and their McRib.  I have been eating fancy full course meals for a couple of weeks now and it’s funny that once I touched down in North America all I was craving was Mickey D’s.

So I went to McDonalds, had a couple of McRibs and used their free wifi to catch up on everything cyber related.

Just before 9:00 I headed back to the Greyhound station to do the ‘ol checkin one hour before you board thing.

Hanging out at the bus depot for an hour was quite the experience as I witnessed alot of interesting characters including the token “women who mutters to herself while pacing through the building”.

Ten o’clock couldn’t come quick enough and I was so happy to finally, FINALLY, be on my way home.

Of course I was still 4 hours away…

I slept for awhile and then woke up when our bus driver announced that we were at the Canadian border and to be ready for customs inspection.

We all disembarked and went inside the customs office and stood in line.

I then spent the next 5 minutes answering a myriad of questions about Iceland:  “How long were you there?“, “Where did you stay?“, “How much was it to stay?“, “Why did you go?“, “What did you eat?

Anyway, after the third degree he said the most beautiful four little words:  “Welcome back to Canada!”

Icy Trip 2013, Trip Journal

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