hot water

When I peek out in the morning then the first thing I see is a Chinese guy taking a picture of clear blue skies and a row of snow-clad mountains. Not the best day for driving a car.
Still I have some outdoor entertainment planned. I got a hint about a hot spring in the middle of a lava field. It went something like this: drive 20 minutes, then there's a river and a house with red roof, drive one more minute, turn to gravel road at the sign of Big-Lava farmhouse, the road forks, after a while it's possible to park the car, continue a bit on foot, walk on the stones and ignore the spring with a pipe. Sounds like 'turn left at the big birch'. The manual doesn't say how fast you have to drive these 20+1 minutes and whether the fact that the whole road is covered in frost is taken into account. I reach the river in 19 minutes. The house is red, roof is green. Where the road forks is a sign that forbids motorcycle and ATV traffic. Only when a stream with a row of stones appears then I'm sure that this is the right place. The spring with the pipe is visible, now I only have to find the other one. Around the other one is a half circle of stones as protection from the wind. Protects the ones lying down. It takes a certain amount of fortitude to undress in the cold biting wind. The water seems at least boiling to my frozen toes. Actually it's about 36-38 degrees. The bottom is not visible and I don't try to find it. I slide in, rest my head on the stone edge and toes on the opposite edge. It is a hole suitable for one person. There hasn't been a kit consisting of ski hat and bathing suit yet. Cool. Over the field are snowy mountains, sun shines, somewhere behind my shoulder shimmers Eldborg. Probably the most Icelandic experience so far. Getting dressed doesn't feel cold anymore.
I buy more gloves from the gas station. Thin hiking gloves are something that I otherwise have to get from riding equipment store or Finland. It seems like the salesperson in food section sells me soup in Icelandic just out of pedagogical considerations.
Clouds ahead. Snow-covered mountains near Reykjavik look very picturesque against violet sky. Wind tries to blow the car off the road. Suzuki Jimny isn't the most streamlined vehicle. The information board next to the road says 19 m/s for windspeed. Not bad. Luckily most of the frost has melted. But not all of it.
All the nice weather stays behind me when I turn towards Flúðir. There are two targets. Gamla laug which is called 'secret lagoon' in English by some mistake, and an Ethiopian restaurant. The lagoon has stopped being a secret a long time ago because the internet is full of it. The ticket price corresponds to it, notwithstanding that half of the visitors are locals. Lot of people. Half-natural steaming pond next to an active geyser. You can have a colorful tube (whatever these things are called) and float on it in warm water. It is better to move slow because there are big rocks in the water. But it's nice to sit on the rock. If you manage to find one. Some people drink beer in the water. Americans exchange information about how many days are needed 'to do Iceland'. One week is enough. They have seen everything. I soak myself until my toes and fingers are wrinkled. Probably a considerable competition to the Blue Lagoon if it would come without the commotion in the dressing room. But maybe it's just that today is not a workday. Then again it should be low season for tourism.
The Ethiopian restaurant is a low booth with Ethiopian bric-a-brac, music and chef. In addition to the chef a modest Icelandic man fusses around who doesn't seem to speak much of English. He can well be used for practising Icelandic. The chef comes to inquire if I know how to eat. I've heard that one should try to wrap the stuff on the bread in a small piece of bread and work from egdes towards the center until the bread and the stuff are gone. I have to admit that Arfican tastes are unfamiliar to me. It belongs to the category of 'interesting'. I show on the globe where is Estonia, get a business card and promise to send my friends to eat there.
Then to Reykjanes peninsula where the mountains again are different. The sky looks crazy, sunbeams move like aurora borealis among pancake-looking clouds.
There's a surprising amount of houses in Grindavík. The hostess in accommodation starts arranging my life right away. First she shows a route for walking in town and then places that I sould visit tomorrow. I would of had gone to these anyway. So I proceed to town with the hope of finding coffee. The nicest cafe is closed. Sky is lilac but I can't find a suitable foreground in the harbour to photograph it. It's cold, windy, dim and industrial and not at all romantic. Mighty waves crash on the other side of the pier and there's an interactive exhibition about the life of fishermen on the windows of a house. Someone has covered the streets with colorful footprints. Finally a sign says 'welcome'. The establishment contains four Chinese and a man making coffee. After I've emptied the cup the lights are switched off and we disband.
Reykjanes peninsula

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