Day 5 and our last day in Reykjavik. It’s gone too fast. To make the most of our last day we were up very early and walked half a mile to the nearest swimming pool.
Swimming is very popular in Reykjavik, with all of the pools heated geo-thermally. The biggest and best is called Laugardalslaug, which comprises a 50m indoor pool, a 50m outdoor pool, a large kids play pool, slides and flumes, and numerous hot tubs. There are also a few rules with regards to swimming in Iceland, which can be off-putting to some. You have to leave your shoes outside the changing rooms, leave your towel in a rack near to the showers, and then shower naked using soap, thoroughly, before pulling on your swimming costume and going for a swim. There is even an attendant present to ensure that you have showered properly. (Male and female areas are completely separate).
Once all of that was completed we walked quickly to the pool steps and went for a swim. It was dark outside, there was snow on the ground and it was minus three degrees, but the pool was just the right temperature. We even had a lane to ourselves for most of our swim. After a gentle 40 minute swim we quickly made our way to a hot tub to relax with the locals for a while. It was a fantastic experience, made even better as it was the first time that Helen had ever swum in a 50m pool, and only my second time. We were buzzing for the whole day, and we even made it back to the hotel before breakfast had finished.
Once packed we left our cases in reception and headed into the centre of Reykjavik to visit the settlement exhibition. A viking farmhouse had been excavated in 2001 and the museum was built around it. It has been estimated that people lived in the farmhouse between 930 and 1000 AD. There was also loads of information about the vikings in general, and how they arrived in Iceland. There were no indigenous people living on the island before the vikings arrived, and many used Iceland as a stop-over before exploring Greenland, Canada and possibly America.
From there were returned to the harbour for a warming Icelandic Coffee, made with the local schnapps. With time against us we jumped on a sight seeing bus, which I have to say was a bit rubbish. It was expensive, even by Iceland standards, with a poor commentary and windows so dirty you could hardly see out of them.
From there it was back to the hotel and onto the airport, spending the last of our Krona on chocolate and dried fish snacks. Due to storm Ciara our flight was delayed by an hour, and the landing was slightly bumpy, but it was good to be home.
Overall we would definitely go back to Iceland, probably one summer. Things we would change next time include more swimming and definitely not going on the sight seeing bus. Our trip also included a trip to the Blue Lagoon, without entry, and we all agreed that we were not bothered about not going, especially as the Secret Lagoon was so good. The reviews of the Blue Lagoon are very mixed. Iceland and Reykjavik are expensive, but it is well worth visiting, especially if you can find an out of season deal.
Definitely one of the best holidays we’ve ever been on.