Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Iceland Day 2,  The Blue Lagoon

Iceland offers many a Bucket List items, and like The Northern Lights, The Blue Lagoon was on ours too. In this blog, I will tell you about my personal experience there, along with some tips I found helpful along the way. 

Iceland is famously known among travelers as a popular 'stop over' country. Meaning, on your way to and from The United States and the rest of Europe, it's common that you will have a lay over here. It's so common that the country has even started a hashtag, '#mystopover.'  Some airlines, even allow a few day stopover, with out a penalty. So you could, essentially stay in the country for 7 days and have it count as your stop over time, and continue on to the rest of Europe all in the cost of 1 flight. If however, you do not have the luxury of staying in this beautiful country for 7 days, and you have 4 hours or more between your connecting flight. The Blue Lagoon is the perfect one thing to do in Iceland. 
It's located less than 30 minutes from the airport and there are even tours that run back and forth that you can schedule. It is important that you book a reservation prior to going, and try your best to arrive early, as the line can be a little long. I'd guess about a 1/2 hour wait. (but we skipped the lines because we were with a group so that is just a guess) 

The drive alone to the Blue Lagoon, is beautiful. It is surrounded by lava fields, and us being there in the Winter, the lava mountains were topped with snow. You can even see the smoke coming from the factory right outside the lagoon, along the way. 


The Lagoon was actually naturally formed in the beginning. There is a factory close by and the run off from the process created a natural lagoon that the workers would go into at the end of their day. Geothermal pools are commonly spread around Iceland, it is a quite enjoyable pass time among the Icelandic people, especially in the winter. The Blue Lagoon itself has been turned into a very popular tourist attraction, and while Icelandic people do go to it, their normal geothermal pools simply look like swimming pools at home. 

Common Concerns about the Blue Lagoon

Many people hear, and are worried that you have to shower naked prior to entering, and while almost all Icelandic people do it with out giving it a second thought, it may not be your preference. So I am here to alleviate your fears, you are required to take a shower prior to entering the lagoon, but The Blue Lagoon is very tourist friendly. There are shower stalls with no doors, and shower stalls with doors. They ask that you shower with out your bathing suit, but do not enforce it.  So have no fear, if you don't want anyone seeing your pasty white bum, you are in the clear! 
Also, the Germs in the water, warm water seems like the perfect place for germs to breed. However, there are natural elements that act as chlorine, that don't allow certain algae to form. The lagoon is also a constant flow of water that replaces itself everyday. 

What to bring to the Blue Lagoon? 
You can rent anything and everything you could need,at a cost of course. Iceland is actually very expensive. So I would not recommend this, but should you head there completely on a whim... 
you'd survive. 
Most tour groups would include a towel, and a fancy package would include flip flops and a robe. While flip flops and a robe would come in handy, they are not necessary. A towel however, is. If you are trying to save some money, you can sneak one out of your hotel. *Don't ask, they will not let you* But if you put it in your bag, or even wrap it under your millions of layers you most likely already have on to stay warm.. you'll be fine. If none of these ideas interest you, you can always bring one from home. I didn't use flip flops, but some people might prefer to have a pair. 
Image result for blue lagoon locker rooms
Lockers are included, and along with the lockers you get an electronic wrist band, (Kinda like the bands they give you at Disney) This wrist band, counts as your credit card, and access to everything you need. This way, the only thing you need to bring into the lagoon itself, is yourself. (your camera is permitted)

 **It is important to note that if you lose this wrist band you will be charged about $100** 

Once you enter the locker room, you change into your bathing suit, and shower. Heed this warning!(especially females) ****Due to the minerals in the water, if you go underwater your hair will be very dry and it will be miserable. There is a conditioner in the shower that they recommend you put on your dry hair prior to entering, to prevent this. It helps, but I still would not go under water. ****

Image result for indoor entrance to the blue lagoon
Indoor entrance to the Blue Lagoon

Next, is entering the Lagoon. You have 2 options here, The brave, Option 1, make a quick dash through the doors out into the freezing cold weather in your bathing suit, or the.... less brave way, option 2, they built the beginning of the lagoon to start indoors so you can leisurely stroll in, and follow a path to a door that brings you gently into the lagoon itself. I wanted to attempt option 1, but Nick being the Florida boy that he is, (he wont even walk right into a pool in 80º degree weather) we strolled in. 

In the lagoon itself, is actually rather large, and there are different spa like activities you can do. Including a sauna, a steam room, a waterfall, and a personal favorite, a swim up bar that serves wine and beer. *this is where your wrist band comes in handy* There are even a few restaurants in the building, ranging to from fancy to cafeteria type food. 

One of the popular activities is applying the mineral that comes from the water. It is a silica paste you can put anywhere on your body. It is all natural, and forms when  the water is chilled. There are buckets you scoop it out of in certain areas of the lagoon. People put it all over their face, and body. It has been known to severely help psoriasis, and eczema. Your face will feel smooth as a baby's bottom when you rinse it off 5-10 minutes later. 

Overall, it's a very relaxing experience, there are a lot of people in the water, but it doesn't really interfere because of the steam, you cannot see everyone. We had a fantastic time, and the scenery leading up to the lagoon, and the drive there is breath taking. 

I highly recommend it to any one of any age, any type, it was one of our favorite experiences of the trip. The tranquil blue water, the relaxing atmosphere. Here are some of the pictures from our experience: 

For more information go to :

If you have any questions regarding our experience feel free to leave a comment and I will answer it to the best of my ability. 


Friday, December 11, 2015

Iceland, The Land of Fire and Ice

It's been quite some time since I've written a blog post, I guess its been a while since I've been 'inspired' so to say, to write bare with me. 

Like many, I have a 'Bucket List', but instead of waiting for some horrible disease, or turning 70 and looking back at my life and thinking "I wish I did                     when I was younger," I choose to tackle that Bucket list as I create it. I've been lucky enough to find a mate in Nick with the same spirit and the same desire to tackle life as it comes. So when we got married, we created a new bucket list together... and "Seeing the Northern Lights" was at the top of that list. 
We threw around many ideas and locations, as you can see them anywhere in the the northern part of the world, and southern hemisphere for that matter. Norway, was the original destination, but after some research Iceland just felt like the place. 

It's no guarantee if you go to these countries that you will see the Northern Lights, it depends mainly on a few factors. 
1. The weather, if it's cloudy or not. 
  2. The Light pollution in the area and 
                                                  3. And while they are almost always going on.. they may not that night. Seeing the lights is like a beautiful sunset, we know the conditions that can help create one, but that doesn't mean we are always going to get it.  

I know Iceland is quickly becoming the hotspot of Europe, so I just wanted to share a little bit about how we got there, and what I thought of it. 

First things first, I am subscribed to the site "Travel Zoo" it is basically like a Groupon for travel. They have organized trips through tour groups, and most trips include air fair, and transportation to and from the airport, the hotel, excursions, etc. This is typically not my preferred way to travel, I'm more of a plan as you go kind of person, but I really enjoyed it. 

Everything was planned and paid for in one spot, we got to hang out and meet a bunch of great people from all over, and experience everything together. We went through the group "Gate 1", it was our first trip with them, but they have tours all around the world and if there is a place they offer that we are interested in, I would go through them again. We flew a direct flight from Orlando to Keflavik International Airport, It was about a 7 hour flight. 

From the moment we got on the plane I knew we were in for an exciting treat. I felt like I was on the Polar Express, They had Christmas music playing, the kind that is in the scene where the kids reach the North Pole and sneak through Santa's workshop. The almost somber but exciting background Christmas music... I immediately knew we were off to a good start... 
There is a saying in Iceland, 'If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes". You'll read this all over the internet if you do any research. So this, I was anticipating. However things went a little different for us. The day before we landed, Iceland had one of the biggest snow storms the country had seen in years. We had to do about a 4 minute walk from the airport to our bus, there is no real way to describe this walk.. other than it felt like walking through a windstorm (allegedly 38mph winds) while it was snowing. You had to actively push through to move forward, while keeping your head down so you can somewhat see. The wind was so strong, in order to keep upright I turned around and walked towards the wind... It was enthralling, invigorating, and entertaining. If I had to endure it for more than the short walk I would have hated life, but it was such an exciting way to start the trip. The other travelers ranged from 25 to 70 year olds, including this adorable little asian grandma who's daughter left her out in this storm while trying to navigate where to put all the luggage... I took her under my wing and guided her to the bus... "No man left behind" I thought in my head,"Not on my watch..."

 "Welcome to Iceland" our tour guide, Olie said to us once we were all on the bus. We sat down and got adjusted, it was still dark since in the winter time Iceland only see's about 4 hours of sunlight. 

We landed at 9am Iceland time, and 3am American time. We couldn't check into our hotel right away because, like most hotels, our rooms wouldn't be ready until about 1. So with a foggy mind we all reluctantly went on a tour of the capital city,Reykjavik (Pronounced, Wreck-Ye- Vec) but you have to roll the R a little bit int he beginning. I don't actually recall the names of the places we went this morning, other than the big Church, located in the heart of Reykjavick. *For about $6 you can take an elevator up to the top and get a great view of the city.* Inside was beautiful, and peaceful.


 Along the way, we saw some great views, and listened to the history of the city. We even went into this one building that had a 360º view:

How to capture the lights
 Next we stopped by a 'Northern Lights Museum" to learn a little bit more of the science behind them, Watched a few videos, and most importantly learned how to take a picture of them. They even had a test room to practice on. 

 Most people were sleeping in the tour guides face. Including my beloved.. His favorite thing about flying internationally is catching up on the movies he missed out on the past year. Granted, the selection is usually not the best, he stays up the entire flight.

I managed to try my best to stay awake, I like to play mind games with myself before I travel across time zones and get on that time schedule a day before I leave. So it doesn't hit me as hard. I stayed up until 4am that morning and slept almost the whole plane ride as to get my complete 8 hours sleep! Plus, tired or not, the chances of me getting to experience this again is slim, and I want to soak up every moment of it.  It's almost like adrenaline kicks in and sleep becomes secondary. But trust me when I say, the minute I get some downtime, my butt is fast asleep.  

Iceland Wind from Lisa Dibitetto on Vimeo.
All Bundled up! 
Cityscape, decorated for Christmas.
         After a few hours, we made our way back to our hotel and checked in. We had some down time to unpack and relax, and after a few ours we met with our group at the hotel restaurant for some drinks and snacks. Here we went over what the rest of our vacation was going to look like. We went out for a quick bite to eat at a local pub/bar, went back home to go to bed! Tomorrow will be the much awaited, Blue Lagoon. Until tomorrow.... 
 skál! (Cheers!)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A little bit of Italy: Lady Madonna

In honor of Lent, I was inspired to write in my blog for the first time in 2012. It has been a little while, and I apologize for that. I'd like to blame my lack of efficient internet, but if I really wanted to write I would have found a way.  

I was a very lucky girl, who got to travel to Italy for Christmas and New Years this year. Well, I actually spent Christmas Eve in the air flying from Thailand --> France-->Italy. It was quite a trip. I left Bangkok, late at night and got to extend my Christmas Eve flying back in time over India, Africa, and Europe.

 It was really special, but I missed my travel buddy [Nick Watt]. 

I could bore you with the same tired pictures of The Vatican City, or The Colosseum but I thought I would share some of those art works, and the story behind them with you. 

Everywhere you look in Rome, you are surrounded by amazing history! I've always loved Washington D.C. for the same reason, and I always will. But Rome is different. Here there are centuries of history on every street corner. Everywhere you look something amazing has happened or is built there. We had gone on a couple of walking tours and strolled the streets ourselves. Over the couple of days we were there I had  started to notice these random art works of The Lady Madonna on sides of buildings. I just took it for what it was worth, we were in the Mecca of Catholicism.(Haha) But later learned the history behind these beautiful relics. 

May I introduce to you The Madonella: Or who may be more commonly known as 

Mary and Baby Jesus 

            A long long time ago, the streets of Rome were not a safe place to live. Not many people would go out after dark, and if they did there was no guarantee they would make it home safe. Rome is so close to the Vatican City, so Catholicism has a lot of influence over the city and the Italian people. In order to cut back on crime and help make the streets safe again artist of all kinds had crafted artwork of Mary and baby Jesus. In the hopes that people would feel and see them watching over them, and not commit crimes. Most were used to hold torches and light up the streets. If you saw them on the side of a building, you knew you were in a safe part of Rome. It actually worked and the crime in Rome went down! Catholic guilt at its best ;) 

Over the years the Vatican has stopped the funding of the upkeep of the Modenellas. It is up to the owner of the building to clean and take care of it at their own discretion. So many of them are slipping away but there are still a plethora of vibrant ones around any corner. 

Until next time...


Sunday, December 11, 2011

An Anniversary in Bangkok

As of November 15th 2011 Nicholas and I have been together for 3 full years. What a ride it has been! Our relationship has been a test from the beginning. We started out long distance, trying our best to see each other every 2 weeks, Then he moved in with me in Jacksonville going from every 2 weeks to seeing each other everyday, then we decided to move to the other side of the world and travel together, live together,work together. Due to my slight fear of being robbed and sold as a sex slave we basically go everywhere together, and sure we have our disagreements from time to time, but we always come out on top. 

This year we are lucky enough to spend our 3rd Anniversary in Bangkok. I've been wanting to go to this restaurant since before we even stepped foot in Thailand. I thought it looked so interesting. I had kinda forgotten about it and put it on the back burner, but Nick being the charming man that he is, remembered and surprised me with a dinner at :

Cabbages and Condoms.  

       This place originally caught my attention because all the decor is basically made with, well, Condoms. I know what you're thinking, great place to go on an anniversary. ;) ;) But the reason this place exist is because in the 70's in Thailand, many people were having babies, spreading diseases, at a rate too fast for the slow growing economy. One man decided to start an organization called "Population and Community Development Association or PDA" According to their website: The organization started campaigns that were tailored to the health of specific target groups such as factory workers, hill tribe villagers and adolescents. In total 12,000 volunteers plus several mobile health units distributed contraceptives to over 10,000 villages. 

Today PDA programs cover over one third of the country, helping to lower the national population growth rate from 3.2% to 1%. The thought behind the name of the restaurant came from the idea that condoms should be as readily available to everyone as vegetables...Ie: Cabbages and Condoms

        So basically, it is a fun way to promote safe sex, and population control. 100% of
 the proceeds from the restaurant go to supporting these efforts. The food is delicious and   
 the decor is hilarious, please take a look for yourself: 

Condom Family, and for some odd reason they are white.
Condom Santa and family?

  The decor was complete with Birth control boarder condom box. If you look closely it says "Republican size" and "Democrat Size" (They were the same size) .                               

Our meal was delicious I had chicken and sticky rice cooked in banana leaves, and we were entertained by a lovely Thai women playing traditional Thai music! 

  And of course instead of mints..... Two Condoms were provided!

 The service was great and if you are ever in Bangkok, or Pattaya Beach
I highly recommend it  :Cabbages and Condoms They accept reservations Nick even request a nice quiet table with good scenery, it was really sweet and a nice surprise! So          
                               thank you Nick and here's to another 3 years.... ;)