Námafjall geothermal area, Northeast Iceland, vents steaming out of every crease in the land, indigo and blue bubbling mud ponds and bathes. That pile of rocks in the forefront–there were many–was hissing like a snake and the gusts were so hard, the steam blew out sideways and not up. An overwhelming stench of sulfur. Just over that steaming red Martian looking hill lies the Mývatn Nature Baths….an unevenly heated 1 acre pool that the locals hit up cheerfully and have since the time of the Vikings, knowing the entire place could go up any time this angry earth feels like it, but hey…hot spring plus cool pool plunge equals “less inflammation,” so say the locals.
The third pillar of Iceland’s Golden Circle is Geysir, pronounced “geezer”, for those who care about old cranky dudes, which apparently the old Norse do. Although the major geysers were spouting off every 8-14 minutes, it was the littler pools that were far more interesting to me. These quietly bubbling, steaming beautiful aquamarine ponds were liquid glass situated above craggy red rocks and reeking of sulfur. You could see all the way into the jagged crevices that fed them. The landscape behind them was vast, and we had an hour of sun and dramatic clouds floating over for good images. Lovely stuff.
Some two years after staggering through the Scotland wilds, the girl and I went northward to the land of volcanic fire and glacial calm. Thus begins the Iceland photo journey, and in Sept 2018, we–like many of the 2MM annual tourists visiting a country of roughly 300K folks–went to the Blue Lagoon. We paid the pretty penny to wade languidly around geothermal plant wastewater and cover our faces in a pleasant silica mud, and by God, we enjoyed the classy experience of it all. TIP: Go early near opening time, and you avoid the hordes that eventually swarm the place.