Head to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland and the big shock is that it’s less an ethereal Björk photoshoot, more an open bar. “It’s overcrowded! Full of Americans drinking beer, ladies on their morning Bloody Mary routine, dozens of selfie opportunities,” says Slovenian photographer Saša Štucin, who decided to break up her flight from San Francisco to London and celebrate her birthday there (with some champagne).
Štucin spent two days in the Silica Hotel, which is part of the Blue Lagoon complex, but with the added advantage of a series of private pools where you can escape the Transatlantic stopover crowd. “The hotel is quiet and allows you to enjoy the treasures of the lagoon in a completely different way. It has small water pools outside the rooms and a private lagoon for bathing. It’s much smaller in size compared to the main section of the complex, but if you are lucky, you’ll be spending your time there alone. My favourite was the night swim I did under the black sky and cold breeze.”
She left the hotel to explore, but because she’d come from the Bay Area, wasn’t exactly prepared for the freezing weather. “It was so cold when I went on my first walk that I had to return to the hotel after 10 minutes and put more clothes on me. Because I was coming from California, my collection of warm clothes wasn’t big, so I really had to improvise. I wrapped tops around my head, put shorts over pants and dressed in pretty much everything I could find.”
Like most visitors, Štucin found herself completely captivated by Iceland. “I think it’s a very special place. I have this je ne sais quoi thing for volcanoes anyway. You can feel how the earth is moving, breathing, transitioning. I did some short walks. Mostly observing sharp volcanic rocks, light green moss mixing with fresh snow, resisting freezing wind and searching for reflections in the water.”