Today was a mixture of pleasure of pain. First came the pain. We set out at 9am to hike up Mount Esjan, at the summit it’s 914 meters high and is a well trodden and popular hiking spot for day trippers. It started of fairly pleasant, the sun was shining, we were following a pretty little river and the crisp fresh air was nice. It wasn’t long though until my legs reminded me that I haven’t hiked anywhere in 6 months. My heart was racing all the way up and my very unfit calves and quads were burning! It was quite a steep route but on the plus side it meant we reached the ‘end’ in just over 1 hour.
The ‘end’ wasn’t actually at the top of the mountain though to our disappointment. A little sign said a further 25 minute scrabble up the rocks would get us to the top. We were both very cold by now (the temperature difference between ground level and where we were was crazy) but thought we’d come this far so we may as well carry on. Somehow we managed to take completely the wrong route to the top and it ended up taking us longer than expected but we made it! The last few minutes were really slippy as everything was covered in ice but we were rewarded with a snow capped mountain at the top. With our fingers numb and bellies rumbling we could only manage 5 minutes up there before heading back down.
It wasn’t the most spectacular hike we’ve been on, it would take something very special to beat the likes of Banff and New Zealand, but considering it was a 3 hour roundtrip to reach the top it was well worth it. The views from above were mainly grassy hills with the sea in the background, you also get a nice view from above of Reykjavik and can see just how small it really is.
The evening is where the pleasure came in. We had booked to go to the Blue Lagoon at 5pm and I was looking forward to soaking my aching legs in the hot pools. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the Blue Lagoon, it has a very touristy reputation so I thought it may be a little overhyped.
We both loved it, who wouldn’t love soaking in steamy hot water for 3 hours? 🙂 We’ve been to hot springs in America and New Zealand and I think these were my favourite, it was much nicer having the cold crisp air on your face whilst your dunked in. Unlike most other springs, these ones are formed from sea water thousands of meters below ground lever that becomes rich in silica as it cools and travels to the surface. So there is no nasty sulphur smell. We had a couple of silica mud masks whilst bobbing around and enjoyed using the steam cave and sauna, there’s even a mini waterfall and a swim up bar. I’d highly recommend it as a must do in Iceland!
To finish off the night we got really lucky with clear skies and decided to wait up till midnight to try and get a glimpse of the aurora borealis. Every other night we’ve been here its been dull and cloudy so we wasn’t expecting much and after checking twice we were about to go to bed. But third time lucky, we popped onto the balcony and the dancing green smokey looking lights were dancing around above us. So surreal!