I come from a long line of sign writers and am happiest with a brush and some paint! Add
paint to fabric and I get really excited!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Welcome Soak in the Reykjadalur River, Iceland

On our recent family trip to Iceland, we all agreed that our consummate favorite outing was one we made on one of our last days there. We had been feeling the wrath of the rainy, windy weather Iceland can be known for and were perhaps a bit chilled through to our bones. We had been hoping for a sunny day for this excursion and were finally rewarded with only a scant two days left in our holiday!

About 40 minutes outside Reykjavik along the south coast is Hveragerdi, a small town located in the middle of a highly active geothermal field, or in other words, an active volcanic zone. The town uses this heat for hundreds of greenhouses and there is a horticultural college there as well. Just outside Hveragerdi is a lovely geothermal valley with a bathable hot river. This was our destination!!

To get to the Reykjadalur (Valley of Steam) River, you park your car and hike a ways. We travelled through fields of small mudpots and hot springs with lots of burping, sizzling and steam all around us. The sun was shining, the sky was a pristine blue and the muddy pathway was starting to dry up. We were excited!

The hike to the river is not particularly long or strenuous, approxiamtely 1.5 hours each way, but it is mostly uphill and it helped get the blood flowing. The sun was shining, but the air temperature was still only ten degrees. Even so, we found we were shedding layers before we made it to the river.

Aa we hiked along the winding trail, we met some folk on Icelandic horses out for a riding tour, as well as a steady stream of people walking toward us who had already had their soak. There was also a constant stream of people ahead of and behind us, all heading to the river. As always, there was evidence of sheep everywhere; if you couldn’t see them right away, you could hear them bleating and with some concentrated looking, you would eventually see them hanging onto the side of a steep hill in the distance. Everywhere you go there are waterfalls. In Iceland you also notice the pureness of the air and today was no exception.

Soaking in a geothermal river is not for the shy. Modesty is good, we all agreed, but there aren’t any places to hide in the wide open spaces, so it is best to be prepared. Generally you use your towels and avert your gazes, as most people really don’t care who sees what. After sitting in crystal clear 38-40 degree water under blue skies with a ring of mountain peaks surrounding you, your tend to be fairly relaxed and comfortable in your own skin and it isn’t a big deal to get changed along a river bank with dozens of other people.

A wonderful day with some of my favorite people and fond memories of a great trip!

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