Friðheimar greenhouse cultivation centre
As you can imagine the Icelandic climate isn’t really suitable for growing most fruit and vegetables so the Farmer at Friðheimar uses natural geothermal energy to generate electricity (enough for a small town) to grow his produce in greenhouses. The tomatoes and cucumbers are pesticide-free and pollenated by a squadron of Dutch bees. They are sold only to local shops, so the carbon footprint is very small. When we arrived the owner gave us a short talk and I found it interesting to see how the geothermal technology works from a practical perspective. It’s only a relatively small family business, but it’s run with a real passion.
The best part is the Farmers daughters serve the most delicious home-made tomato soup with gorgeous rosemary bread I’ve ever tasted (the cucumber pickled relish is good too!).
Hot Tubs and Spas are everywhere in Iceland. A large percentage of the population visit one regularly for a swim and to catch up with friends the same way many people in Britain go down the pub. Some Hot Tubs and Spas use the naturally warm geothermal waters and as part of our Golden Circle tour we visited Fontana, a small Spa in the village of Laugarvatn, a highly active geothermal area. It’s so active you can bury a bread tin full of dough in the ground next to the lake and a few hours later dig out a strange cooked malt loaf. It’s pretty impressive, even if the loaf tastes a bit like a tyre.
Apparently in the Winter if your timing is good you can sit back and watch the Northern Lights above your head from here. In addition to the relaxing Hot Tubs, there are also 3 wooden Saunas. Because of the natural energy source, the temperature in these fluctuates from hot, to really hot, to really, really hot. One of the people on our coach seemed to think staying in them was a physical endurance competition. Every so often the door would fling open and he’d dash out and run to the cold shower like a competitor on the Japanese game show Endurance. The locals come here to relax and personally I couldn’t help feeling closer to nature in an area of such tranquil beauty.