March 08, 2006

Wednesday Wakeup

It's the middle of the week. Sigh. Jon and I visited the Russian/Turkish baths on Monday night. We had a nice schvitz and received 30 minute sports massages. My masseuse worked so hard he left me feeling sore two days later. I can't speak for Jon about his massage but when he walked out of that little room he had that relaxed look on his face that you get when you have a massage.

I'm glad we did that because when we were in Iceland, I didn't get the treatments I planned on at the Blue Lagoon. The weather that day was just awful.

Jon and his Icelandic horseThat's also the day we went horseback riding. It was the coldest day of that trip . The sky was overcast, it was snowing, 30 something degrees and with the windchill the temperature was in the teens. The wind was blowing so hard the snow was falling horizontally. Here's Jon with his horse Wind. It was so cold they made us wear these ridiculous looking jumpers. Matched with the numbered horse helmets we looked like a strange group.

Below to the right is me on my horse in the middle of a lava field. You can see the wind blowing across the picture, through my hair, through my horses mane and through my very soul. That was a very, very cold wind.

Val on Her HorseIt was kind of hard to enjoy the ride. There was the cold to contend with and then there was my stubborn as a mule horse. Apparently, all Icelandic horses are gentle, sweet and compliant, except for the one I had. Mine kept clip clopping along at a slower pace than the other horses and wouldn't go faster until our group leader gave me a wist which I flicked on my horses haunch. That worked but then the horse kept going too fast and I kept feeling like I was going to fall. This is how it went. I didn't like my horse and I was happy to dismount after two hours in the bitter cold. It was cool to be riding a horse through a lava flow. I could have been on the moon for all the starkness.

After we were done with the horseback riding we headed out to the Blue Lagoon - an outdoor spa with geothermically heated waters with special properties. It sounds odd that people would do this in the winter time but when the weather is milder it's very reasonable - like if the temperature is a little above or below freezing, it's not that bad.

Brave were the souls who went into the waters that day. Here's is what we saw when we arrived at the Blue Lagoon. Even with the overcast skies the irridescent blue waters were still visible.Blue Lagoon
I changed into my suit and showered per the instructions I saw hanging near the showers -a series of drawings that illustrated where people should wash before entering the lagoon with the placement of big red X's over a cartoon lady's armpits, tushie, crotch, face, hands and feet. And then soaking wet, I headed toward the Lagoon. There is a small corridor which you can walk through before you get outside, so you do have a chance to acclimate to the cooler temperatures.

Standing at the door I spotted Jon and then quickly ran into the water to meet him. The water was warm, very warm but the wind and snow created icicles in my hair. Jon and I swam around a little bit and found a nice warm spot next to a big wall that offered some protection from the elements. I looked around and spotted the life guards. They were dressed, head to toe, in special gear to keep them warm - they looked like they were about to run the Iditerod.

I lasted about 15 mintues before I had to go inside. As warm as the waters were, they couldn't compete with the wind and snow.

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