We drove for 45 minutes through a landscape of heavily fissured volcanic rock, a bit like Keith Richard's face, except for the covering of moss and lichen. The wind was blowing so hard, the rain obscured most of the view, but every now and then it would clear to reveal a landscape only Trolls could love.
"What about a bathrobe?" I asked.
"Another 10 Euros." This time he was smirking.
I explained to him that if they had pointed this out at the booking stage I could have brought my own, but all he did was shrug.
You can't help feel that the Icelandic people are trying to recoup their gigantic financial losses, caused by their economic crash, from the unsuspecting tourists. But what can you do?
Fuck all, that's what.
I stood in another line to receive my spa bracelet. This is a tool that allows you to lock up your belongings, as well as acting as a direct conduit from your now impoverished bank account. "Use it to buy refreshments in the pool," I was advised, as I stepped out of the shelter of the spa into another world.
Once I got my breath back, and a modicum of composure, I could see a vast stretch of baby blue water disappearing off into the distance. I could just make out a few heads bobbing in the opaque emulsion through the swirling mist that hovered just above the surface. Pots of green silicon mud were available to make your own face pack with, so I indulged, until I caught sight of my face in the window of a poolside bar. It looked as if someone with VERY bad congestion had just sneezed in my face, so I rinsed it off and contented myself with wallowing around like a Hippo.
After a couple of hours, I'd had enough, so I hastened back inside the Spa with a little more caution than I had left it.
I arrived back in Reykjavik several hours earlier than I had intended. It was still raining, so I was at a loss for something to do that didn't involve further collateral damage to my bank account. As if by some act of kindness by the Icelandic Gods, the rain stopped and the sky cleared sufficiently to allow the sun to break through. I wandered around the back streets, seeing the city in a new light, so to speak, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I still think the city architects need a good slapping for erecting some of the most god awful buildings ever constructed, such as the City Hall below, but there were pockets of charm and warmth despite their best efforts.
I headed back to the hotel to pack for my departure the following day, feeling a little more warmth for the city, and a lot poorer for the experience.
Here's a few more shots, including some wonderful shoes seen in a shop window.