Is the color of the water in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon—baby blue, due to the silicone and algae in it. The Blue Lagoon is a huge attraction, both for Icelanders, (who jump into water, both cold and hot at every opportunity), and tourists. It’s about twenty minutes from Reykjavik (and how proud am I to be able to spell that!) where you check in, pay and are issued a big, blue towel and a blue plastic bracelet with a computer chip on which everything is charged. To the lockers and then into showers where you’re advised to rub a ton of conditioner in your hair due to the high mineral content of the water. Next comes a bracing walk outside (it was cold and rainy but people do it in all weathers including snow) and into the lagoon, full of hot, blue water. Silica mud from the bottom is available in boxes for applying to any part you like.
At an in-water bar you can buy beer, ice cream and other items. Everyone is friendly and well-behaved. I had an in-water massage on a floating rubber mat covered by a blanket, tended by Eva, a lovely masseuse in a hat and a wet suit. She dunked me under every few minutes so I’d stay warm. It was a great massage and a fabulous experience from start to finish. Afterwards, my skin felt meltingly soft for days.
Is the color of the lava wall marking the site where the Icelandic Alpingi (Parliament) was established in 930. It’s inside Pingvellir National Park in the rift valley where the North American section of one tectonic plate is slowly separating from the Eurasian section. Earlier in the day, we’d stopped at Kerið, a volcanic crater lake in southern Iceland
and also went to the Faxa waterfall next to a salmon ladder so the fish are able to jump upstream to spawn. Also went to Geysir where there are two geysers, a big one, Strokkur, that erupts roughly every five minutes, and a smaller one that’s more like a boiling hole in the ground. The geothermal heat that erupts as steam all over Iceland provides hot water for the whole country at no cost. How’s that for a terrific natural resource?
- Strokker, the big geyser at Geysir
Describes one of the best meals I ever ate, this at Sjávarkjallarinn (Seafood Cellar). My entrée was poached ling, (a fish) over ‘pointed’ cabbage with crispy bread, spring onions, green beans and Icelandic herbs. )
This picture is of my langoustine appetizer. If you’re already wailing over so much language, this was the description of dessert: birch ice cream, smoked marshmallow sitting in a puddle of vinegared caramel with torched meringue and sweet cheese pudding. Yes, it sounds bizarre but in the mouth it was amazing (and that was the dessert I’d ordered—it was preceded by an “amuse dessert,” if there is such a thing, a chef’s gift of an oval scoop of skyr ice cream (skyr is a bit like yogurt) with dried blueberries, something crumbly and dill. The entire meal was exquisite to eat, served in a beautiful setting.
No way on earth would or could I replicate any of this so here’s an Icelandish recipe that ordinary mortals can handle.
Herring in Cream Sauce with Orange
16 oz herring in cream sauce (from a fancy food store or a jar)
½ navel orange, sliced very thin
½ small onion sliced thin (optional but good if you’re an onion fan.)
Few sprigs of fresh dill
Sliced black bread
Combine the herring with its sauce and the orange slices (squeeze a little more orange from the uncut slices) in a bowl and mix gently. Allow to sit, in the fridge, for four hours or a bit more. Remove and bring to room temperature. Put herring into an attractive bowl and garnish with the dill (on the side or chop finely and sprinkle over top of herring.) Serve with the darkest bread you can locate.
Skol, as they say in Iceland (pronounced “skowal”).