Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 24: July 19, 2011

Sho, Saya and I decided to take a rest from long-distance cycling and spent the day enjoying Myvatn. The blue sky was glorious and filled with harmless, billowing clouds that tumbled by slowly. We soaked in the large outdoor geothermal lagoon at Myvatn Nature Bath, which is naturally heated by water drawn from fissures deep below the earth's surface. The temperature was perfect for soaking, but when I waded over to one of the covered sources of flowing underground water, I noticed the surface temperature rising rapidly. At the edge of the source, where underground water rushed into the pool, I was barely able to stand its near-scalding heat.

The pool was bright blue, milky, and emitted a strong odor of sulfur. Sho held his nose and chanted "blueberries, strawberries, chocolate, bananas..." in an attempt to distract his mind and convince his nose that the smell was actually tolerable. An information sheet explained that the water was full of minerals, silicates and geothermal micro organisms that are apparently good for the skin, but not great for silver jewelry, which can turn black.

We then visited Myvatn's local pool, which boasted a super fast kids' slide and, Sho pointed out appreciatively, no smell of sulfur. My kids wore themselves out, and just as I told them that we would leave in two minutes, Sho sliced open his foot on a jagged rock. It bled quite a bit, but the staff at the pool had disinfectant and a band aid. We'll keep an eye on the cut over the next few days, but I don't expect it to be a problem.

We ended the afternoon with an hour-long horseback ride. Saya rode by herself comfortably, as if she were a princess surveying her lands. One of the guides, a kind young woman from Sweden, rode by her side. Saya chatted with her throughout, in a funny, non-stop, four-year old's stream of consciousness. The guide was patient and thankfully, seemed to appreciate Saya's singular sense of humor.

Here are some pics:

Saya with Sho holding his nose from the sulfur smell at a geothermal lagoon:

A nice British couple we chatted with for a while:

The bird obviously doesn't know how to read...

Saya and her steed:

Sho and Saya with our friendly guide:

- An Iceland Bike Adventure post

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