How to use the public pools in Iceland

My laptop apparently has kicked the bucket, after considerately surviving one whole night on our first trip since covid times. Can I blog from my phone? Hmmm….if you can believe it, this is the first time I’ve traveled abroad with my smartphone, never having signed up for an international calling plan before.

While I don’t have a working laptop, I do have water in my ears, thanks to our trip to a public pool here in Reykjavik.

In fact, as I write this, HOB is still in the pool, having at first insisted that no way, no possible chance, was he going in one of those. Whatever, I know his ways. As soon he slid in the water he got a drunk look on his face and wanted to stay all evening.

Anyway, let’s say you also arrived in Reykjavik yesterday, and to celebrate your negative covid test and sweet quarantine freedom, you too would like to visit one of Iceland’s geothermal outdoor pools.

Look around for a sign bearing a decapitated blue head floating above two waves. Go inside.

Get a ticket from the counter and head to your gender segregated locker room. Get naked and lock all your stuff in that locker except for your swimsuit and a towel. (Don’t think about foot fungus. They don’t have foot fungus in Iceland. Too cold for foot fungus in public pools.) Put your swimsuit and towel in a cubby outside the shower room.

Wearing only your locker key on a rubber band around your wrist, shower alongside lots of Iceland ladies and cute little kids. Use the soap from giant, centrally located pump bottles. Lather up all your hairy parts and in case you are unsure which are your hairy parts a helpful sign on the shower wall demonstrates. Feel overwhelmed with desire to take a picture of that sign.

Now that your parts are lathered, you are ready to hop in an unclorinated bath with half the population of Reykjavik, global pandemic be damned.

Go outside to the steaming pool surrounded by smaller pools with varying temperatures. Locate your drunk-looking spouse. Take the water slide. Weeeeeee woo-hoo gaaaah water in ears!

Get a little bored. Go back and repeat the showering and lathering of hairy parts. Hear a sound like a groaning cow? That’s a centrifuge to take the water from your swimsuit. Use it. Go back to your locker and put on an impossible amount of clothes and a face mask, because all of a sudden there is a global pandemic again, just not inside Iceland public pools.



  1. Dave E · · Reply

    What a great story. I hope HOB got out before he shriveled up and got sucked into the pool filter.


    1. LOL!! He finally came out of there, probably just so he could eat that peanut butter we found at the supermarket.


  2. oooh! I love public baths! The food though…? I actually have a young friend who moved there – well, one of my daughter’s friends but I’m a cool Mom and now she’s my friend too. She’s off in some little village with a big lump of a mountain hovering over her – and the sea. Bleak kind of lovely. I’m fascinated.
    Did you ever follow the Dutch gal who cycled around the world? I adored her posts (she’s disappeared from the blog-o-sphere) especially her pedals around Iceland. Maybe you guys can rent bikes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, I just read the post where the cycling Dutch gal eats the rotted shark in Iceland. No thanks for me!

      I recall how much you loved the baths in Japan too. We loved them too, though because of the typhoon we never got to use them in the rural area on our hiking piligrimage.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Worrying about foot fungus these days! Surely you would want to save your worry-time for more important things. Like what happens if your smartphone falls into a pool of lava or boiling mud

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t tell my mom that we’re going to try to see the volcano. Boiling lava a real possibility….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Did he shrink?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only a little, in the unmentionables, but that fortunately was temporary.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Decapitated head: check. Foot fungus: nooooope!


    1. Great advantage of being a decapitate head—no chance to catch foot fungas!

      Liked by 1 person

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