Woke up this morning at 7:30 to find a gentle snow cascading down all over the capital city. As the landscape is relatively flat, all the lights and houses stood out in seemingly horizontal lines. After a typical foreign B&B breakfast of cornflakes, tea, juice and fruit, we ventured out to find the bus. Plans to purchase a bus ticket were abandoned after the bus was found to be only on the hour for both today and tomorrow – practically useless for Martyn’s ‘empty street’ ideas for his film considering breakfast is served at 8:00am.
Walking to the bus stop.
After we finally met up at the central church one hour after we were supposed to, we wasted no time in splitting off into two groups and making two location recces. My recce took my group down a road where house colours ranged from bright green to dark blues and oranges. At the sea front, we looked out off the promenade to the mountainous icy glaciers that lay beyond. It formed an uneasy hybrid of urbanised buildings and the natural world that I haven’t seen since my exploits in Tenerife (though agreed, that was completely different style of ‘hybrid’).
The recce was done in one hour regarding both groups. We sort of cheated each other – the last fifteen minutes of our group was spent shopping and (typical of me) looking for food. The last fifteen minutes of the other group was apparently spent in the director’s home in the city. The verdict – despite it’s status as a capital city, Reykjavik is roughly the same size as Coventry, which makes it fairly small. I managed to catch a glimpse of two lecturers on the media production project doing the same thing as us – I wouldn’t say they were ‘spoilt for choice’ with regards locations, but then neither are we. My job as a media producer for this project just became a little harder – I may need to make the shots more stylized to keep the audiences interested if the different shot settings become similar in appearance.
It was decided at midday that since we were only in the capital for a few days, we should spend the day at the ‘natural wonder’ health spa ‘The Blue Lagoon’, renowned for being a giant lake where the water is coloured blue due the high sulphur content (which apparently makes it very good for the skin!). We booked our tickets at the tourist information centre, and headed back to the hotel with some freshly-purchased supermarket foods for lunch.
The Blue Lagoon is the first health spa experience I’ve ever had, and to be honest it set the standard pretty high. It is world-renowned as one of the best in the world – mostly due in part to the fact that is is all natural. Besides the blue sulphur water spewing out of the volcanic vents that surround the main pool, there is a giant waterfall that massages you, a cocktail bar, a steam room, a sauna room, a massage parlor, and a giant relaxation cave. The water is naturally warm, which contrasts with the chilly atmosphere that surrounds any part of your body above the water. Wells surround the main pool, full of a white sulphur / mud mixture, which is a free facial mineral. Everyone lathered on a white ‘mud mask’ each, and when we stood in the plumes of steam from the vents, we effectively looked like ghosts in a horror movie!
Everyone had a thoroughly good time. Surprisingly, there was no ‘rotten egg’ smell from the sulphur – you only had that if you stood directly in the plumes of steam spewing from the vents. I have never seen such an equal leveling between lecturers and students before (and with supposedly only three months of my academic career left to go, I probably will not again after this trip). We all had a beer at the bar and relaxed in the cave and steam / sauna rooms. My identity as the lone third year media production student in the group led to the conversation to turn to the ‘sacrificing friendship duties for quality banter’ areas at points, but everyone was too happy and relaxed to make one-up-man-ship any great mission.
Notably, we all played a game of who could stand up in the icy wind the longest at a shallow part of the pool. I made the final six (we gave up the game after fifteen minutes as nobody was going to win outright), defending the ‘M-Pro honour’. One of the lecturers then ventured back to the changing rooms momentarily to bring back a hip flask of single molt whisky, which we drank between ourselves. We considered having massages, but it turned out the parlor was fully booked.
The Blue Lagoon – note the slight snowfall specks in some of the pictures. Zero degrees above the water – twenty seven degrees below. Very strange experience.
Thankfully it was not too expensive, and yet the experience was brilliant. The lagoon was not deep as I thought it would be, so even people who can’t swim can enjoy it. There was a wide age range appeal, it wasn’t too busy, and it wasn’t just strictly for ‘families and couples’. Certainly, sitting in the hot sulphuric water with a beer in hand, looking around at the icy mountains that surrounded us is one of the most wonderfully surreal moments of my life so far. I certainly recommend it for anyone wishing to travel to the country.
After a brief shower, we met in the restaurant and waited for our bus. During this time, I showed one of the students how to ‘paint with light’ using a DSLR camera, one example of which is below:
After relaxing in the restaurant and managing to catch our bus back to the hotel, I figured everyone would be thoroughly chilled and ready for bed. It was not to be – celebrations started up as we delved into the duty-free alcohol we had bought. Various drinking games commenced, and slowly we all got quite drunk (especially hard for me to say ‘no’ as most students were sat on my bed!). We knew we had to be up at 7:30am, but that didn’t stop us from partying until 2:00am, with even the hotel staff warning us to keep the noise down in the early hours. It was an epic night though – one duty-free bottle of vodka has been emptied. The CCM students can (mostly) handle their liquor pretty well!