Saturday, March 1, 2014

Going local in the Golden Circle area...

Yes, it is possible even close to famous area where 'so called' Golden Circle tours take place.

We ended up testing Geothermal Spa at LAUGARVATN called Fontana the other day, which is less known than Blue Lagoon, and much smaller in size and with a cheaper admission fee (2.800 isk/adult).
What I enjoyed most, however, is the vicinity of the spa area to the nearby lake and the possibility to have a dip in a cold lake as a good mix to various hot pots one can choose from.

Otherwise, I must say that I prefer usual Icelandic pools, where one has both, hot pots and also a pool to swim in.

But back to Laugarvatn. It is actually a small settlement with around 150 people living there and a place that struck me most in there is an old school called Héraðskólinn. We had a visit booked there combined with a coffee break and storytelling related to the history of the place.

The building itself surprises with a unique architecture and great news is that it was restored recently so even-though the school dates back to 1928, the current spirit it has, combines both, an old breath with a wooden smell with a touch of subtle modernity.

We were welcome by one of the two current owners who held us breathless for good half an hour as he was revealing a powerful story related to him and his life journey that brought him all the way from Copenhagen to this school with a clear vision and mission and changed his life completely. One of the main intentions has been to bring life back to the school and have it alive all year round. And one of the ways to do it is to run a hostel in the building. On top of this, there´s a cosy café with yammy goodies and very friendly staff. And last but not least, the owners are ready to rent out spaces within the school for various activities, so it´s been quite vibrant since they opened even with yoga and meditations weekends.

We cannot do otherwise, but recommend the place, presuming that their prices fit your budget ideas.

As a cherry on top of the cake of this article, we´d love to share another off the beaten track farm that offers both, great local food and very comfortable accommodation. It is EFSTI DALUR, about half an hour drive from Laugarvatn and amongst other things they´re really famous for their great home-made ice-cream. The restaurant setting is awesome and we definitely think this place is worthwhile a visit, be it only for an afternoon ice-cream desert or for a proper exploration of the area (there´s a nice waterfall in the vicinity) combined with some fine dining that the place has to offer. And the owners love sharing their local stories, so if you like that, just ask and you´be surprised about sagas you´ll get to hear :)

Looking forward to getting your impressions about these places.

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