If you’re here looking for houmous coated chicken then scroll down! This entry is all about our wonderful trip to Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon. Enjoy!
twochubbycubs go to Iceland: part five
Our trip to The Blue Lagoon, then. The Blue Lagoon is possibly one of Iceland’s most recognisable places – a large man-made pool created from the water output from the nearby geothermal powerplant. They take super hot water from the ground, spin a few turbines with it and then let the rest pour into the lagoon, keeping it toasty warm. I admit I was surprised – I thought it was a natural pool thanks to all the tasteful photography and talk of ‘lagoon’, but then I suppose ‘come and have a swim in the run-off water from our power plant’ doesn’t sound quite so grand. I mean, I don’t worry about my fertility at the best of times, but I do like to know my snake tears could still do what they are supposed to do if the situation required it. Luckily, obviously, it’s not radioactive. They also completely replace the water every two days, meaning that even if someone sharts in the far corner of the pool, you’re unlikely to be bothered by it.
Let me start by saying that this quick tale will be bookended by two bus-woe stories, both equally vexing, but only one where Paul and I redeemed British folk for all the world.
We booked our trip well in advance and, yet again, were picked up at the hotel by a minibus and then shepherded to an idling coach early in the morning. This is pretty much the start of every single tour you’ll ever do in Iceland by all accounts. If you’re a fan of looking hopefully at the horizon, you’ll be in your element here. The buses are clean, comfortable and have free WiFi, which is handy if the endless beauty of Iceland holds no appeal for you and you’ve got Candy Crush to dribble over.
Like class swots, we took our seats at the front of the coach, only to have the two biggest, boring, most vacuous young ladies sit immediately behind us. They were lawyers from London and by god did you know about it by the time the bus had climbed into third gear. Every word was strained like they were running out of air, every sentence pronounced so loudly that I could have stayed in the hotel and still heard all about her stupid landlord who wouldn’t let Gareth (Guuur-raaaaaath) stay over. Everyone else feigned sleep – it was 8am after all – but no, this pair of braying donkeys kept up their schtick all the way to the Lagoon, a good forty-five minutes away. Paul and I were terribly British about the whole thing – coughing, giving side-eye, sighing like the oxygen on the bus was running out, but there was no stopping them. Never have I thought about crashing off a mountain road into an abyss with such longing.
The bus drops you off seemingly in the middle of nowhere (actually, a lava field in Grindavík – not active lava I needlessly add – there’s nothing especially relaxing about third degree burns), with a tiny visitor centre and a rock exclaiming that you’ve arrived. There’s very little to indicate that you need to walk further on, but, despite being spherical, we bravely continued, not letting the 400m walk to the entrance faze us. Heroes the both of us. We had booked our tickets in advance online and I’d heartily recommend you do the same – the queue, even at that time in the morning – was through the door. We chose the ‘Premium’ ticket online, which allows you to queue jump and gets you a free drink within the Lagoon. It’s worth it for not having to wait, plus you’re given a pair of slippers and a robe. Sadly, the Body Beautiful behind the counter looked at me and handed me an XL robe with a very ‘that won’t fit’ look. It was Paul in the Austrian mine all over again. For the record, the XL robe fitted perfectly, although it did say ‘FOR RENT ONLY’ in big letters on it. That took me back to my college days, I can tell you. You’re also given a wristband which acts as both your key for the locker and a card of sorts for any drinks or food you purchase. Handy. On we trotted.
Now, let me cover something off – you absolutely do need to change and shower with other people. In order to keep this facility clean and hygienic you’re expected to give yourself a good soaping. Fair enough, no-one likes to swim drinking in tagnuts, holehair and winnits. If you’re like me and couldn’t give the shiniest shite about what other people think of your body, you can whip everything out, have a blasting hot shower and be done in a few minutes. If you’re shy, though, that’s also accommodated for by way of little changing cubicles which you can hide your modesty behind, though it’s that frosted glass so if you have a particularly hairy growler people can still see it. I’m not a fan, I’m always worried my arse-cheeks will press up against the glass as I take my socks off and someone will think it’s a magic eye puzzle of a hot-air balloon disaster. There’s a handy chart on the wall showing the special areas you must wash – your face, armpits, fanny and arse, though presumably you’re not expecting to use the same cloth. Again, if you’re shy, you’ll face a wait for the privacy cubicles – so there’s another reason to get there nice and early.
Once you’re showered to the point where someone could eat their dinner off your bumhole (and they’d have a handy place to keep their napkin, certainly), you pop your clothes in the locker, use your wristband to secure the door and out you go, carefully dodging all the willies flapping about as others change. I pity the poor bastard who is given a locker closest to the ground because inevitably you’re going to look up from putting your shoes away and find yourself peering into someone’s arse-crack. Anyway. The lagoon is just at the bottom of some stairs and, being so early in the morning, was lit by soft blue lights under the twinkling stars. It was magic. You can wade in like you’re on a Lidl Baywatch, or, perhaps more sensibly, you can swim out into the lagoon from the building itself, getting yourself used to the water.
A few quick observations. It’s hot. Durr, I know, but it really threw me quite how hot it was. You know when you’re in a bath and you’re letting more hot water in with your toe, and you’re about five seconds away from it being too hot? It’s like that, in places, and even hotter still if you swim near to the vents where the hot water bubbles out. You’re not going to burn – they’re ‘rocked’ off – but expect everything to be soft and sagging when you get out. It’s the first and only time in my life where I’ve been able to scratch my balls with my big toe. The rest of the lagoon is around the same temperature as your body, but, being Iceland, you just need to stand up to cool off, given how cold the air is. It’s a wonderful feeling.
It’s also surprisingly large. Although it’s crowded at the entrance to the pool, you can swim out into the steam and lose yourself. I never felt like I was in anyone’s way, besides Paul, but that’s only because he wanted to cuddle in the water and I was alarmed that we might stick together like a cheese toastie in the heat. It’s not so deep you can’t stand up in it, but it’s deep enough to swim around should you desire. There’s a cave to swim through (where I naughtily found the switch to change the narrator from gentle, soothing English to booming German, much to the consternation of a few bathing Chinese ladies who were probably already confused by the apparent sight of two beluga whales swimming towards them. There’s also a waterfall which cascades lovely hot water all over your body with such force that my fat rolls started playing a disco beat from slapping against each other. I probably looked like an oil slick viewed through a heat haze. Don’t care. You can book a massage where you float on a pad in the water but we never got around to sorting this out. Of course, we both immediately regretted it when we saw the masseuse – a giant muscly mountain man who could have put us both over his shoulder and had his wicked way with us. We’ll put down the wistful tears in Paul’s eyes to a reaction with the sulphur, shall we.
Ah yes, the sulphur. Look, you can’t get away from the fact the place has a certain eggy smell to it. In places, it smells like a freshly cleaved poo. But it’s a natural smell, like when they spread muck on the fields or when the sewers overflow. You get used to it, which is handy, as you’ll be smelling of eggs for a good while afterwards. Dotted around the lagoon are pots of the silica mud that naturally forms on the bottom of the lagoon – it’s apparently an excellent face-mask. It’s also a brilliant white, leading to some frightening experiences when some of the more…aged folks in the pool come swirling out of the mists looking like Heath Ledger as the Joker. Paul and I covered ourselves in it and had a whale of a time. I swam up to the swim-up bar (well, it seemed like the right thing to do) and ordered us some drinks – I had a plastic pint of beer, Paul had a strawberry iced drink. Luckily I have the chest hair to carry off such manliness, even if I did scream when Paul accidentally spilt his slop down my back. Well, wouldn’t be the first time.
After an hour or so of floating about, we got out, had a sandwich and a sit down (it’s tiring being lazy) and then went back in for another hour or so. You don’t really need a full day here. Oh! One more observation. So many selfie sticks! But worse, so many unprotected phones being carried out in the water. Why?! If you drop that bloody phone in the water, it’s not coming out again working, let me tell you. You might get a final kamikaze shot of someone’s legs uploaded to your iCloud but that’s it. I don’t know how people hold their nerves, I get anxious brushing my teeth with my phone in my hand.
We got changed and walked back to the bus, stopping only for a couple more photos and a Calippo. Keeping it real. Vexingly, we had missed the hourly bus back by about thirty minutes, but we were happy enough to sit and wait.
Unlike the beast I’m going to call Sandra – for that was her name. Sandra and her very, VERY henpecked husband had missed the bus by only a minute or two, seemingly by the husband not sprinting ahead to stop it. She apparently would have ran herself but ‘what would have been the point, given how slow you were’. Let me tell you, the only time this woman was running anywhere was if a vending machine had been left unlocked. She was absolutely dreadful – she sat and very loudly explained to her husband all of his faults and why she could do better. My heart went out to him – I almost asked Paul if I should nip over and give him a blowjob just to lift his spirits. I rather got the impression she wouldn’t have done that either.
And, typically, with all the inevitability of day following night, when the bus did come, she sat behind us – and the forty five minute bus-ride from hell in the morning was nothing compared to this. She had this incredibly irritating way of trying to sound like she was better than everyone else, both Icelandic and English, and that, in her words:
- “Iceland is shit because you have to get a bus everywhere” (you don’t, you can get a taxi, unless you can’t afford it but you want people to think you can)
- “what’s the fackin’ point of Wifi if it doesn’t FACKIN’ WORK” (who’d have thought it? Wifi on a bus in the middle of nowhere being patchy!)
- “...place would be so much better if it wasn’t for all the FACKIN’ tourists” (it would certainly be better without one of them)
- “aren’t Icelandic houses shit” (because that two-up-two-down in some piss-pot village is the classier choice)
- “who’d stay in a FACKIN’ shit ‘OTEL like this” (not you, my love, because you’re staying at a cheaper hotel down the road)
and so on and so forth. She was embarrassingly crass and vocal and all her husband could do was ‘yes dear’ and ‘no dear’. She was loud so EVERYONE could hear her. Here’s the fun part though. The bus, dropping everyone off in ‘random order’ (but clearly based on how luxurious the hotels were…i.e. the more expensive hotels got their passengers back first) and ours was second on the list. This pissed her off and on she ranted.
So, naturally, as we got off, I turned around on the steps of the bus and, loudly, called her a ‘common, classless tart‘ before proper dashing into the foyer in case the rancid old bag or her wispy husband followed suit. They didn’t. That split second I saw of her face avalanching in anger was more than enough for me and I’m not joking when I say that gives me a chuckle even now. Probably shouldn’t have said anything. Don’t care though.
Right, the recipe! This makes enough for four big breasts. So that’s two each. We served with mushrooms, new potatoes and some broccoli. Classy! You can mix this up by using one of our four houmous recipes found right here!
Don’t forget, you get plenty of giant chicken breasts in our big old meat box! You can find the details for that right here!
to make houmous coated chicken you will need:
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 tsp paprika
- 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
- 2 tbsp fat free cottage cheese
- ½ tsp cumin
- fresh basil leaves, chopped
to make houmous coated chicken you should:
- preheat the oven to 220ºc
- spray a large baking dish with Frylight and place the chicken breasts in a single layer and set aside
- to make the houmous, add the chickpeas, cottage cheese, cumin and paprika to a food processor and blend until smooth
- spread the houmous mixture over each chicken breast using a spatula – you need need to ‘slap’ it on instead of spreading it. you’ll want a nice, thick amount on each one.
- bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked
- sprinkle on some chopped basil and serve
Easy! It might not look amazing but it tasted damn fine and it’s syn free. So suck it!
Oh! I should say. As usual, my shite photography let me down. But here’s what it looks like when the photo is taken by someone who has more dexterity and eye for detail than a potato.