fun fact: i don't like being submerged. weird, seeing as i was such a water baby when i was a kid, but i guess puberty and body dysmorphia both play a big part in why i'm not comfortable in the water now, which is usually an easily avoidable situation now that i live in london. but. when you're on holiday on the amalfi coast and your resort has a pool and your friends are all swimming, you swim. even if it's just that one time. around friends you feel ok, and so your fears are a little alleviated. then your mum says she wants to go to the blue lagoon when you're in iceland, and you think, errr... well, won't there be a lot of people there? won't it be cold? won't i have to wear my swimming costume again? won't... won't people look?
but then i went ahead and booked the tour anyway, and figured i might just hang around the edges and take photos of mum in the water - not in a creepy way, because it was her holiday too, and well, that was the right thing to do. i packed my swim suit anyway, just in case, but figured i'd decide when i got there if i wanted to go in or not, and thought nothing more of it. until we arrived. and realised that wasn't actually an option. in all my planning, i'd not once read anywhere what to expect at the blue lagoon, so i thought i'd help you out a little, should you decide to take the plunge (ha) yourself.
you have to swim. well, you have to get in the water, at least. no-one can make you swim, but it's actually not an option to "hang around the outside" - and the staff member found it quite funny when i asked how i could get to the pool without changing first. you literally can only enter the lagoon area from the changing rooms, and you're not allowed to wear anything other than swimwear beyond the changing rooms, making wearing actual weather-appropriate clothes impossible to wear beside the pool. so, be warned. but unless you're as weird as me, you'll be swimming.
you have to mess your shit up. and before you can access the lagoon, you have to wash with their special shampoo and body wash to make sure you're clean enough to get in the sulphur-filled pool. you will also be asked to put (and leave in) a special conditioner in your hair so the sulphur in the lagoon doesn't dry your hair out. i did see a bunch of people with dry hair up in a bun so clearly this wasn't actually enforced, but i did as i was told. i wasn't expecting this at all, but luckily had hair ties and pins to hand, and am grateful that a few people suggested taking my own towel. they will charge you £15 for a towel to borrow, so take your own towel. or two, because after your first shower, your towel will not dry, and be very wet when you get out of the pool. be warned.
people will be getting drunk, no matter what time of day. we got in the pool at 8am. at 8:15am, there were people at the bar. and when i say people, they were mostly americans. and when i say mostly, i mean all. so what i'm saying is: there will be drunk americans in the pool with you. no matter what time of day. the only way to avoid them, is to avoid the bar. which - if you've paid for a towel as per the above point, you will find difficult as you also get a "free" drink with your package (towel and drink, basically). for the cheapskates like me, you get nothing but entry to the pool and a mud mask. be a cheapskate and bring your own towel, and avoid the drunk americans.
you have to mess your shit up, so be prepared. as mentioned above: there will be a mud mask on your face at some point. again, as i wasn't planning to swim, nor did i know i would be wearing a mud mask, i did not pack any make up. or deodorant. or hair products. or anything i would normally need to prepare for my day post bath. there were hair dryers in the changing rooms, thankfully, so i didn't have to head out into the chilly reykjavik day with wet hair, but i was sans make up. which pissed me off, no end. and when i questioned it, i felt a bit... stupid. because i guess it seems obvious that if you're swimming, you'd be showering. but because i wasn't planning to swim, i didn't plan to shower. see my point? anyway, be warned.
get out and explore the outside. our tour dropped us off at 8am and the earliest bus we could get back was 11am. that's three hours with not a lot of other activities on offer other than relax in the pool, or drink with the americans. there is an overpriced cafe, and an ever more overpriced restaurant, and one extremely overpriced gift shop, but that's it. and i don't know about you, but there's only so much time i can spend in the water before the wrinkles take over and it's time to get out (although, super warm, super cosy!). we had a coffee and something to eat, but with an hour left to kill, we headed outside to see if there were any walking trails we could spend some time on until the bus came. and there was! and they were some of the best views of the lagoon - and there was hardly anyone around, so it almost felt like it was all ouuuuurs! so, can't recommend doing that enough. it's just outside the entrance to the building, and you won't regret it one bit.
now, i realise this is all a bit neggy and probably makes it sound like i didn't enjoy myself; i did though, i swear. i was just very unprepared for the experience, and all the small annoyances sort of built up to one big annoyance. especially as it was such an early start on my birthday, which was totally unnecessary as if i didn't get up and shower and put make up on unnecessarily, i could have slept more. you know? but the lagoon is not to be missed, truly. but do heed my advice!