Day 12 Reykjavik

Friday  Dateicon  8.8.2014  Tigericon  130km Total:3079km

Today we are going to ride to the Blue Lagoon.
I know, I know. It's a tourist trap of astronomical proportions but it still felt like something you should do if you're on Iceland.

On the way we stopped by the Seltun geothermal fields and climbed up a ridiculously steep climb to the top.
The MX-boots offer good protection but these boots are definitely not made for walking, I almost thought I was going to have a heart attack.

Clambering just the last few steps to the top it's just like the heavens have been lying in wait for the two stupid Swedes who dares to defy nature and hits us with a torrential rainshower.
If nothing else it definitely made the vertical descent more interesting.
Soaked in sweat, drenched by rain and smelling of fart we climb on the bikes and ride on.

I was expecting a lot of tourists at the blue lagoon but boy, there where loads of them. We got a lot of interested looks by "cooking" our lunch in the parking lot before entering.
We were greeted by an enormous queue and a cute Icelandic stewardess who explained that the lagoon was "full" and they would only let people in as others left. In the meantime we would be offered complementary tea and coffee and the expected wait time was 45 minutes.
No problem for me, just keep the black elixir of life flowing and I'll wait forever and a day.

The prices on Iceland on everything related to tourism are increasing at an alarming rate, the prices in the lonely planet guide which is just a year old are already off by about 15%. Seems the tourist traps can't even update their own homepages at the pace the prices are being jacked up since we checked it before we left and it stated an entrance fee of €35 when in fact it was €40 (with an additional €5 to rent a towel for the day).
So driving through rain to get there just to stand in line for 45 minutes and then pay an extortionate entrance fee was totally worth it.

All the aches and pains from rattling around on the F-road just completely disappeared the minute I got in the warm water, I soon found a nice pillow-sized rock to lean my head against and with all the minerals in the water you float like a cork.
I don't think it's possible to be more relaxed and still have a pulse.
And I got to hand it to them, charging €40 to take a dip in what is in fact efflux water from the Svartsengi power plant might very well be the best business concept in the world.

Time to get back on the bikes, we are curious about the old Keflavik Nato-base so instead of heading back towards Rekjavik we detour to Keflavik.
I don't really know what we expected but after a couple of laps where we see nothing but bad asphalt and rundown buildings we quickly decide we've had enough of it and head back to the hotel.

We get changed and head for Reykjavik to get a bite to eat, the proprietor of the hotel had recommended a fish restaurant where they apart from a nice buffet also serve the Icelandic "delicacy" Hakarl along with the famous Icelandic Brennivin, aka black death which we of course where eager to try.

After an earlier "mishap" in Vietnam I had made a promise to myself to cancel all food and beverage orders that gets a hysterical laughter from the waiter and even though the response wasn't quite so dramatic this time around the facial expression definitely showed we were making a pretty big mistake, but hey, you only live once!

Now for those unfamiliar with this culinary phenomenon Hakarl is shark meat that at the time of capture contains so high levels of ammonia that it is poisonous to humans, the Icelanders get around this by leaving the meat to ferment for several month which brings the ammonia level down enough to make it edible, and by edible I really mean non-poisonous.
The fact that we were pretty much starving (as usual) probably made it better but in any case I wouldn't say that the taste was the worst of it, the smell was like being slapped in the face.
It smelled something like a hobo's woolen sock drenched in urine and to avoid a gagging reflex you really better hold your breath while putting it in your mouth.
The Brennivin was great though, it was like traditional Swedish schnapps and really took the worst sting out of the sharkmeat.

It was Friday after all so we decided to get some liquid dessert and ended up at an Irish pub with a cover band playing such traditional Irish gems as Lady Gaga's Pokerface.
I'm sure the pints of Guinness and shots of whisky had nothing to do with the fact that the band seemed to gradually improve both in repertoire and talent throughout the evening.
I'm sure the beer also had nothing to do with the fact we almost missed the last bus because I decided with minutes to spare that my life depends on whether I got a kebab right that moment or not.
I do get my life-saving kebab and we do catch the last bus with several seconds to spare.


Riding to the blue lagoon

Seltun geothermal fields

Blue lagoon

The street signs showed we were at the right place but there wasn't much else to show for this being an old Air base.