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Ice is Nice in Iceland

The Alphabet Adventures With Nancy Hubbell Fournier (pronounced Forn yay)

Journey along with our resident humorist Nancy as she embarks on unusual adventures from A to Z. With the alphabet as her guide to new experiences, Nancy rates her excursions as a “Fourn-Yay” or “Fourn-Nay.” 

Letter “I”:  Intriguing Island with Iconic Adventures

(disclaimer: This trip was pre-volcano eruption. Whew! We are pleased to report activities have recently calmed down there)

It’s not every day you see the lifeguards around the pool wearing parkas, gloves, and hats. But then it’s not every day you’re submerged in the Blue Lagoon, one of the 25 Wonders of the World.

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most iconic destinations, a natural geothermic spring with 100-degree water, which contrasts nicely with the 45-degree summer air and cool wind.  Because I am a wimp, the hardest part of the day was dashing from the dressing rooms into the lagoon. But once there, I was greeted with bathtub-warm water and an eerie steam swirling around zombie-like figures with their faces covered in mud.


Entry to blue lagoon in Iceland nature baths
Entry to Blue Lagoon


It turns out that the geothermal water that supplies the lagoon brings minerals and silica up from the earth. These are mixed into unique facial masks applied by visitors and then rinsed in the lagoon. They say you can take years off your age by using these products. In that case I probably looked 75 years old going in, because I came out looking 60!

The Blue Lagoon is just one of the sites of Iceland that you can’t experience anywhere else. I’d been hearing about Iceland for years, but it finally moved to the top of the travel list for my husband and me.


Amazing clouds and reflection at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Blue Lagoon in Iceland


So, is Iceland icy? Nope. Rumor has it that early settlers moved to Iceland but didn’t want others to follow. They named their green island “Iceland” while calling the icy neighboring island “Greenland” in hopes of diverting travelers away from their home. Did it work? For a while, yes. But now the word is out and more than 1.7 million visitors traveled to Iceland in 2022.

With all that Iceland offers, an increase in tourism is no surprise. In addition to the Blue Lagoon, Iceland has many unique experiences:

  • Glacier Lagoon – located on the southeast side of the island, the Jokulsarlon lagoon is dotted with icebergs as the glacier floats into lake. Seals safely float on the bergs because predators can’t enter the lagoon from the sea due to the tides. Our Duck Boat tour guide know just where to take us to get close-ups of the seals and picturesque views of the floating icebergs.
Bridge over Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Bridge over Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Duck Boat tour in Glacier Lagoon
Duck Boat tour in Glacier Lagoon


  • Waterfalls, waterfalls everywhere – We rented a car and drove along the Golden Circle which takes you through Pingvellir National Park (familiar scenery for “Game of Thrones” fans) and to Gullfoss Waterfall. Venturing further around the island via Ring Road, there are dozens of waterfalls, often with plenty of public parking and nice facilities. I was equipped with waterproof socks and shoes, a rain jacket, rain pants, a warm hat and more. I looked ridiculous. It was summertime, but it’s likely a whole different story if you choose to go in winter.


Gullfoss Waterfall
Gullfoss Waterfall. One of the sights on the Golden Circle


  • Glaciers – While I didn’t get the chance to hike on a glacier, visitors have the option of donning crampons and ice picks and trekking on the ice. I admired it from afar as a white highway carving its way through the mountains.

Iceland Glacier


  • Diamond Beach – As the ice bergs break down and head out to sea, they wash up on shore of the beach near the Glacier Lagoon. They sparkle and shine in the water and on the sand. It’s a far cry from the driftwood and seaweed I usually see on California beaches.

Nancy, woman with raincoat on nature path


  • Sky Lagoon – Capitalizing on the popularity of the Blue Lagoon, some smart folks decided to create the manmade Sky Lagoon, perched over the Atlantic. It’s an adult experience with a swim-up (or wade-up) bar and “The Ritual” experience. The seven-step ritual experience includes the geothermal lagoon, a cold plunge pool, a beautiful sauna with gorgeous views, a cold mist shower, a sea salt scrub station, a steam room, then finally, a shower. It’s kind of a gimmick, but it was fun to hit the various stations. And did I mention they had a bar?


  • Fresh Food – Some of the dinners in Reykjavik were terrific with fresh fish everywhere, but my favorite meal of the trip was a lobster sandwich at a small diner in the very small town of Hofn. We were fortunate to find this place after we got kicked out of my original choice of restaurants. Turns out we were crashing a wedding reception. Ooops.


  • Tiny Home Rental in IcelandTransportation and lodging – While there are tour companies in Iceland, we got mixed reviews on their reliability. Instead, we rented a car which gave us lots of flexibility. In Reykjavik we secured an AirBnB and in the south, we rented a tiny home. Like REALLY tiny home. But it had all the accoutrements and even excellent wi-fi. The real adventurers rent small campers and take advantage of the many camping options along Ring Road. Good for them (but not for me!)


As Iceland increases in popularity, I’d suggest planning ahead. The Blue and Sky Lagoon reservations were filling up months in advance and other tours were very popular as well. Of course, we were there at the height of summer where the sun never really went down. Next time, maybe we’ll shoot for the dead of the winter to enjoy the Northern Lights. Then I’ll look like one of those lifeguards in a parka!


Fourn-yay – Iceland offers up unique vistas and experiences that are easy to access by car. Dress for the elements and soak up nature at every stop. 

Fourn-nay – While I’d say our weather was good, it was cloudy most of the time. Don’t expect sunny skies on an island known for its waterfalls!  

If Iceland is too far for you, choose another “I”: Ice skating, learn an instrument, visit an ice bar, or eat some ice cream!

Got something fun on your bucket list I should try? We’d love to hear your suggestions at intentfullyfit@gmail.com

montage of fun faces