I guess I should first apologize for taking all week to write this. I haven’t even discussed our Monday night Quinciple box!! Don’t worry though, I will do so over the weekend.
I promise to get better at this. Without further ado:
Friday, March 21
6:45 AM- Land at Keflavík International Airport. The temperature is below freezing, but the wind gusts make the temperature feel like, well, “fucking cold” as the Icelandic people had taught us (sorry to be crass). I’m cold just THINKING about it! We arrived with 12 of our very most closest friends which is an excellent way to experience Iceland since it is well known for out door adventures during the day and getting wild at the bars at night (trust me- you need a “beer blanket” here! )
Once we landed we grab our bags and head to the Hotel: Center Hotel Skaldbread Where we ate breakfast each morning- Nothing fancy: Awesome coffee, juice, toast with Icelandic salted butter, and charioteer- sort of a typical euro style hotel breakfast spread.
11:00 AM- No time to catch up on sleep! Wondered around the town visiting knickknack shops, purchasing warmer wool scarves. Walked along the water for one block only because the wind was so strong, it was difficult to enjoy the scenery. In the center of town, the wind was slightly more tolerable. Here we climbed to the top of the church, Hallgrímskirkja, where there is a breathtaking view out over the city of Reykjavic:
After a few hours of freezing and enjoying the sites, we wondered back to the hotel for a nap, or what I like to call a siestasita (little nap 🙂 ) so we would feel refreshed for the evening.
7:00 PM – Finally, DINNER TIME! We were of course starving. We chose an excellent local food place called Icelandic Fish & Chips: Organic Bistro where they specialize in fresh, local organic fried fish, and of course plenty of local Gull Beer, brewed by Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson. The beer scene is just coming around in Iceland, because beer was banned from 1915 all the way up until 1989! Unfotunately, I do not have any lovely photos to share with you of our meal (seriously- I was hANGRY! – If you’re Italian, you know what I’m talking about!). But don’t worry, you’re not missing out. I had fried cod (a MUST!) paired with Crispy potatoes and a side of chili and roasted pepper Skyronnaise dip. It was the perfect meal to get you ready to chase after the Northern lights via boat rise in the “cold as F*$^!” and intensely windy weather!
10:00 PM- Northern Lights Boat Tour (AKA- EPIC fail)
Nope, sorry, too cloudy! No northern lights, but a LOT of wind and possibly some frost bite. Meanwhile, down in the deck bar, there was a lot of Black Death being tossed back. Oh, what is black death do you ask? Trust me, you’re going to regret even asking. It is an Icelandic schnapps, a clear liquor served for “special occasions.” which I translated as- Any time it’s cold as F*%! This is what Wikipedia has to say (yes I know, Wikipedia, king of all truths). Anyways, here we go:
- In the third part of the documentary “Vikings” on BBC, Neil Oliver is seen drinking Brennivín (referred to as “Black Death”) while eating rotten shark on a viking themed restaurant.
Saturday, March 22-
9:00 AM- Iceland Offroad picks us up at 9am sharp. Three tall burly Icelandic dudes, Stefán, Sigurður, and Biggi roll up in three large 4×4 to explore the Golden Circle. This eight hour tour was definitely one of the highlights from our trip, and I suggest if you ever visit Reykjavik, this is a MUST! We swam in geothermal hot springs surrounded by snow, slow motion video taped exploding geysers, pet Icelandic horses (DO NOT call them donkeys!) and even climbed though caves formed by lava tubes. Here are some photos: (PS- If you are a Game of Thrones fan, the 4th wall is filmed in some of these areas!):
This was a really fun but sort of exhausting day. Of course we had dinner plans lined up for the evening, followed by yet another northern lights chase. This time by van (AKA- Party bus). We were really desperate to see some Northern lights! Unfortunately, this was another bust. SUPER EPIC FAIL northern lights!!! I guess we will have to go back 🙂 . Although another tip- I really think you are better off chasing the northern lights by land. The boat was extremely extremely cold (now I understand the term, “Cold as F(*&#
ANYWHO- Back to dinner details.
8:00 PM- Fiskmarkaðurinn. Oh, you don’t speak Icelandic!? Well that means Fish Market! Which is where we ventured to eat on Saturday night. I say “ventured” because there is some weird stuff on the menu! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:
Sunday, March 23-
11:00 AM- Stumble out of hotel, walk two block to Mokka-Kaffi. Eat Waffles. Gulp cappuccino after cappuccino. Maybe admire the artwork. Decide to walk around the city now that we are fueled by Caffeine.
Side note- The coffee in Iceland is particularly delicious. Full bodied and flavorful, and of course, bold!
This super cute and cozy coffee spot, perfect for a late Sunday Morning breakfast, came recommended from a recent article in NYT that covered 36 Hours in Reykjavik. Que photos:
Our self led tour of the cute town of Reykjavic including the following. I would recommend all except maybe the museum, unless you are really into history.
1:00 PM- First stop post coffee: Húsið þitt AKA: Harpa Concert Hall. The architecture is astounding. You could wonder around the many levels just admiring walls! While we were there, a local children’s orchestra was performing instrument by instrument in a section of the lobby (ie- all the flute players, then all the clarinet players, etc). The sounds was beautiful and traveled so well throughout the space. Because Harpa is basically in the Atlantic Ocean, the views from the upper levels were unbelievable.
After leaving Harpa, we of course were hungry again, and just so happened to be dangerously close to the infamous hot dog stand in Reykjavic: Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. Now don’t get me wrong, the hot dogs were delicious (trust me- I’m a HUGE hot dog fan. I’m certain the number of hot dogs I have eaten will sure take decades off my life), but I think if you ate them at, say… 4 AM after consuming enough alcohol to kill a small bear, I think they would be even better. They are topped (and bottomed- insert dirty joke here) with a weird brown sauce that is salty and sweet along with ketchup, mustard, something resembling relish, and (my favorite part) perfectly crisped fried onions. yum yum yum.
As said, we then walked up to the National Museum of Iceland. By then we were pretty exhausted, so we wondered about for an hour or so then headed back for a well deserved siestasita in preparation for our last night in Reykjavik. (Can you tell how much I love naps yet?)
7:00 PM- Pre-dinner drinks at The Laundromat Cafe. The reason I love this place so much, words can’t describe:
8:00 PM- Dinner at K-Bar. Who knew, Iceland has really good Korean food! This is coming from a group of people who have regular access to the infamous Korea town in NYC. I have to say though, the appetizers were the best part, although the entrees were good as well. They also have an EXCELLENT beer selection. If you ever go, you HAVE to order the following:
- Tempura Fries (I just drooled; literally).
- Korean Fire Chicken
- Ramen (this was not the best Ramen ever, but decent- again, NYC spoiled)
- Miso Atlantic Cod
11:00 PM- Celebrate last night until the bar closes at a really fun place called the Lebowski Bar where we drank way too much black death and danced until we got kicked out. There was a disco ball, fun music, and weird bathrooms! You need it!
Monday, March 24-
9:30 AM- Before heading back to the real world, we first had to do tourist duty and stop by the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa en route to the airport for a quick dip, some cool photos, and of course, one last deuschy meal at their signature restaurant, Lava. I mention “tourist duty” when speaking of the Blue Lagoon Spa because the locals basically refuse to visit the spa. They say it is extremely expensive almost to the point of offensive. Also, it’s not exactly a “natural” geothermal spa. It’s more like a natural disaster that was bought and turned into a tourist trap. The spa is just under an hour drive from center city Reykjavik by bus. You can tell when you get there, so don’t worry about falling asleep on the bus, because you will be awoken by an overwhelming smell of sulfur. It was cool to check out, but if we go back to Iceland, I can’t imagine going back. Worth one visit. And the food at Lava was of course, delicious.
Over all food/eating/drinking experience in Iceland exceeded my expectations. A++! The scenery was awesome! I would definitely go back and I highly recommend spending a long weekend in Reykjavik!
Sjáumst fljótlega!!! See you soon!!!