Yes! Summer has arrived. Sure, there’s a wee breeze from time to time and you’d be foolhardy to go out without a sweater, but hey, sunglasses are perched on noses, sun-cream in making a tentative entrance and some, yes they’re out there, some brave optimists are just throwing caution to the wind, grabbing their towels, whipping on their bikinis and heading for the sea-side.
As a Brit, I sympathize. At the slightest sign of sun, we tear off our trousers, slip into the skimpiest of shorts and strut our stuff, flash some skin, and show off our porcelain legs. Of course, within hours (if not minutes) porcelain turns to pink, pink to fuchsia and fuchsia, inevitably, to pain. But hey, scorched pink is enough for a Brighton tan and we’re proud as punch. It appears that Icelanders share the optimism.
In the summer of 2000, a feat of remarkable sanguinity was achieved. A beach was opened on the outskirts of Reykjavík—yes, sand was hauled in, seawalls were raised, a shower-block was erected and a café opened—even a couple of hot-tubs were thrown in for good measure.
The Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach is a magic little piece of Paradise a couple of hundred meters from Reykjavík City Airport (near the Perlan restaurant). A trip down there this weekend had me—trousers rolled up, ice-lolly in hand—whooping in admiration.
There are no wet-suits and shivering wrecks to be seen here. No, the place is literally crawling with folk and the atmosphere is frankly Bahamian. People sipping fluorescent drinks (all non-alcoholic – there’s no booze or smoking on the beach), kids playing soccer and volleyball, gaggles of teenagers stretched-out on beach-towels catching the rays and family’s indulging in that timeless pastime—burying Dad in the sand.
There’s a little rocked-off lagoon that’s filled with heated water (30-35˚C—that’s bath-hot), there are two hot-tubs to toast in when the wind whips up, there’s an ice-cream store that sells everything you could need to get into the swing of it and for those who need an excuse for lounging on the beach, there’s the Öskjuhlíd hiking trail just round the corner, to build up a sweat.
Of course this weekend’s weather has been particularly good, so you’ll want to pack a pinch of good fortune and a dash of optimism when you head down, but if the sun’s in the right spot, and your imagination is set due South you won’t be disappointed.
The Geothermal Beach is open everyday from 10am to 8pm and there are changing and showering facilities on site.
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