If your way ever takes you outside Reykjavik city, Iceland, center and you feel like resting a bit in a cozy café or having a beer with your friends… Well you just might be out of luck. There probably won’t be any cafés. Or bars.
Swimming pools and hot tubs
So, you may wonder, where do local people socialize in Iceland ? One of the answers is: swimming pools. Every little town and almost every quarter in Reykjavik city has a beautiful swimming pool. And calling them swimming pools is an understatement, too, as most of them have a sauna and include one or more hot tubs, ranging from 38 to 42 degrees Celsius. That is in addition to a big pool you can swim in, kids’ pool and an occasional slider to keep your kids happy. It often happens that the hot tub is round and person sitting close to you will start a conversation. People often discuss weather and politics seated in a pleasantly warmed tub enjoying a bubbly water massage, while drops of rain or snow cool their face. As you can imagine, it is a very calm discussion and you can hear a lot of „já, já“ and see nodding in agreement. Most pools (or at least hot tubs) are outdoor and it takes some strength to put aside what your mum has taught you and to step out into the cold and strong wind, wearing only your swim suit. You will be fine, as will all those kids running from one hot pool into another, with wet hair and in wet swim suits. And who knows, you may even spot northern lights from the bubbly tub; pools stay open ’till 10 pm.
You should be clean entering the pool. And they won’t believe you took a shower at home just 10 minutes ago. You should shower properly (yes, there are instructions) without your swim suit on. Otherwise you risk the humiliation of being brought back to the showers by pool staff and monitored as you soap your private parts. Rarely will you find shower curtains; Icelanders are comfortable with nudity in dressing rooms and shower area.