By the time I hit the small town of Flúðir, I was sure I had seen it all. I had tested my fear of heights, hiked through caves, picked up hitchhikers, and even hitched hiked myself. It was getting late in the evening again, and my eyes were getting heavy.
My rain gear was no longer its original black color, but instead a reddish brown. I had heard about a well-known (but secret) hot spring in the area and I was craving a warm bath. I stopped at the Icelandair hotel and went inside.
I should not have been allowed in public. My hair was shooting out in all directions, my clothes beyond dirty, and mud still flinging from my boots with every step. As I had done so many times before, I walked up to people that appeared to be around my age and produced my map.
I introduced myself and explained that I was searching for this secret hot spring, as well as any other hidden gems that might be nearby. Right away a couple of other guys walked up to offer up suggestions. Just like each time before, everyone began telling me stories, giving me flawless directions and circling locations and turns on my map.
One of the waiters, Smari, produced a better-detailed map of the area and the three continued. These guys were awesome. I tracked down every spot on they gave me and each one was better than the last. Before I left for my relaxing hot spring, another waiter, Birgir, asked me if I had heard about the raiders.
Puzzled, I asked, “The raiders?”
Completely straight face, he replied "Yes, the Icelandic raiders. This is not the best area. We have raiders out here who will take everything you have. Don’t pick up hitchhikers in this part of the world."
“Great,” I thought to myself, “another experience like this all over again.” I hesitated to respond, but I guess my face said it all. The three of them started laughing hysterically. "There are no raiders in Iceland. There is nothing bad here." “Phew,” I thought, “I had driven for the past two hours with a hitchhiker that I had picked up. He was a great guy. He had been traveling for the past three years, just hitchhiking around the world.”
Feeling very relieved that my life was not in great peril, I left the hotel and set off to find another hot spring. This one was amazing. It was clean, exactly 40*C, surrounded by hills and canyons and had an old hut that was built over a secondary and smaller hot spring decades ago. Today remnants of the building still stand and is used as a place to change or for a more private hot spring experience. There wasn’t a strenuous hike to get to it, no tricks in the path, just a hard to find, but easy to get to place to relax. Relax is exactly what I did. I think I sat there for about 4 hours. A few locals came and left, as well as some wide eyed, camera toting tourists, that did not take advantage of this beautiful spring! This was the spot. Around one in the morning, I finally decided to hop out. The cold wind and rain was making it very difficult to not just get right back in. It was about this time, that despite the warnings of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I realized I had neglected to bring a towel. The closest thing I had was a t-shirt, which I used as best I could. Anyone watching would have died laughing. Here I was with only mud covered hiking boots, shin high wool socks, and a dripping wet bathing suit on. Mud covered pants flung over one shoulder, a blue hoodie over the other, and a camera in hand. I sprinted through a small field and up the little mound towards the road. I can honestly say I have never ran that fast in my entire life. I opened the door to my “white stallion” as fast as humanly possible and hurled my soaking wet self into the back. Right on top of my sleeping bag. I threw the keys in the ignition and turned the heat on full blast. It was a solid half hour before I was warm and had feeling again.