Saga Shop Winter 2019

24 Icelandair Stopover BY CAROLYN BAIN. “Iceland’s sunshine doesn’t come from the sky,” a poetic Icelander once told me. “It comes from the water.” Those words have warmed my heart (if not my extremities) on a number of occasions, especially as I wage a love-hate battle with the dark Icelandic winters, having relocated to Reykjavík from a famously sunny homeland (Australia). For centuries, the mineral-rich geothermal water found in abundance on this volcanic island has done much to make winters not just bearable, but pleasurable. Water suitable for long, warming soaks can be found in fantas- tically varied places, from small natural hot springs in remote fields to well-maintained swim- ming pools in virtually every town. Taking cues from the attention- grabbing Blue Lagoon (easily among Iceland’s most visited attractions) are a growing number of bathing complexes, springing up in geothermal hotspots around the country and creating an inci- dental itinerary for road-trippers looking to end each day with a scenic soak. Two new complexes have been added to the soakers’ circuit in the past year, and 2019 holds another treat: Currently under construction outside Egilsstaðir in East Iceland are the Vök Baths, due to open in summer 2019. Krauma, Reykholt Opened in late 2017 at the site of the high-volume Deildartungu- hver thermal spring, Krauma is a stylish spot about 62 mi (100 km) from Reykjavík, in West Iceland. A sleek black building sits unobtrusively in the landscape and houses a restaurant and well-equipped changing rooms. Outside, black tiles surround a handful of warm-water pools— and for the brave there’s a small plunge pool (water at a hellishly refreshing 43°F / 6°C). The water is a mix of cold water originating from Ok glacier (quite possibly my favorite place name in Iceland) and hot water from Deildartunguhver. Cold-weather acclimatization with some help from below. A SOAKER’S CIRCUIT: GEOTHERMAL TRAVELS AROUND ICELAND