A useful stop-off after a go to to Into the Glacier is Húsafell, house to Hótel Húsafell. And when you’ve got been on the 10am tour (it takes round 3-4 hours), you may time it completely for lunch at Húsafell Bistro.
As effectively as an a la carte menu, the bistro presents a each day lunchtime hlaðborð (or buffet) the place you may assist your self to kjötsúpa (Icelandic lamb soup) and vegetable soup, in addition to pizzas and meals from an intensive salad bar (rooster salad, pasta salad, candy potato salad and tomato and mozzarella salad – and extra) with a wide range of dressings and oils. It’s an important place to re-fuel after your morning’s exertions or certainly to pre-fuel forward of no matter activites await you subsequent.
And what higher factor to do afterwards than go to Húsafell Canyon Baths? These man-made geothermal swimming pools are situated within the Icelandic highlands and set in a surreal canyon panorama.
Entry to the Húsafell Canyon Baths can’t be made with out permission, however you should purchase tickets from Hotel Húsafell at an workplace subsequent door to the bistro for an unique minibus tour that features transport with a tour information, entry and time to spend there.
Trips are made with fairly small teams which are taken on a brief drive of round 10 minutes. Along the way in which, our information informed us in regards to the space, in regards to the Viking settles in round 940-950 AD and in regards to the household that owns Húsafell Hotel that goes again seven generations. We additionally learnt in regards to the chilly springs within the space (that produce sufficient water to help half 1,000,000 individuals each day) and the geothermal vitality that permits the realm to provide as 40 litres per second of 70-degree Centigrade sizzling water which is sufficient to heat the lodge, the swimming swimming pools and 200 homes, in addition to the encircling farming areas.
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The mother and father of the household now working the realm have been entrepreneurs in rural tourism – different farmers within the space thought they’d ‘lost it’ once they killed their sheep and began ‘farming’ with vacationers as an alternative. They made a swimming pool and tenting space, and began renting out small leisure homes within the Summer months. But it turned out to be the best resolution, and is why Húsafell thrives to at the present time.
As we received nearer to our vacation spot, a darkish hill to the best was identified and the snowy patches on it. This was the defend volcano named ‘Ok’ on which the Okjökull glacier was declassified as a glacier in 2014. (To be labeled as a glacier, the snow wanted to have a sure thickness in addition to a sure motion.) There is snow there year-round, but it surely doesn’t behave like a glacier. A plaque was put in in 2019 and a ceremony held that was attended by Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the Prime Minister of Iceland, and different dignitaries.
Having heard this sorry story, we took a flip and drove alongside the center of three canyons, the place we parked up and took a brief stroll to the Húsafell Canyon Baths. Although the land right here is non-public, there aren’t any indicators saying ‘do not trespass’ – persons are very welcome to hike and benefit from the space’s nature as long as they’re respecting the surroundings and never littering.
The final a part of the stroll right down to the geothermal swimming pools is down a protracted picket staircase.
And as soon as on the backside, there are female and male altering rooms, in addition to an out of doors bathe – you need to bathe earlier than getting into the swimming pools (however don’t fear, it’s heat!).
The wooden-clad altering rooms are merely furnished, with bench seating and upturned horseshoes re-purposed as garments pegs.
The setting of the baths is as spectacular as it’s tranquil – it’s good that they solely take small teams as this makes it a extra intimate expertise. There are two tubs – the upper of the 2 has one giant rock simply beneath the water floor that you need to negotiate as you climb into the water, so it’s probably finest to enter backwards to keep away from falling.
The pool closest to the bridge and altering rooms is less complicated to enter through some steps and has massive rocks the place you may sit and calm down in water that’s just a bit above physique temperature. If you want to expertise chilly water, you may have a lie down within the creek (however, be warned, it’s icy chilly!).
A shock on the way in which again to the minibus, which I hadn’t anticipated, was a brief stroll to a picket viewing platform.
From there we may admire the two-tiered Langifoss waterfall. Ordinarily we might then have ambled down the valley to be picked up by the minibus additional down. However, as can occur in Iceland, the climate took a flip for the more severe (I may have sworn it was attempting to snow… in July!) and we as an alternative took the extra quick route again to our transport.
On the journey again, we learnt about Reverend Snorri Björnsson who moved to Húsafell in 1747 as a 37 12 months previous. He was already well-known for having saved many lives since he had grown up within the Westfjords of Iceland and taught himself how you can swim (at a time when Icelanders didn’t know how you can swim). He was very robust and a foreman on a ship and, when small fishing boats would capsize, he would save many a fisherman. In Húsafell, he’s maybe finest identified, although, for the Húsafell stone, a legendary lifting stone that weighs 186kg (410lbs) that he used because the gate to a stone sheep and goat pen he constructed. This very stone can nonetheless be seen on the pen in Húsafell right now and was used within the 1992 World’s Strongest Man competitors in addition to in a number of Iceland’s Strongest Man competitions since.
Planning a visit to Iceland your self? You can watch a video from our journey to Iceland right here: