After traveling for 17 hours with little sleep and 2 layovers, we landed in Reykjavik, a bit jet-lagged and hungry.. only to be handed a crappy 4×4 rental with a manual transmission. Note: I used to know how to drive stick but it’s been many years since I’ve tried so I was happy Kyle took the first stab at it through the city. It was a good start to our honeymoon…. tired city driving with a car we didn’t know how to drive well, small one-way streets and terrible navigation (which I did find a good version of on my phone until the next day). Woo hoo!
Upon finally making it to the hotel, I was starving. My mental clock said it was lunch (though it was really 5pm by the time we got in) so we decided to go hunt down some grub. Stop #1: Baejarins Beztu Pylsur for some of Iceland’s famous hot dogs. Needless to say, these things were pretty fantastic. This little roadside stand was known for having the #1 Icelandic hot dogs and I can see why… a natural casing hot dog, with remoulade, a mild dijon-type mustard, fried onions and raw onions made a great combination. I want to go back.
Naturally after having some street food, beer was the next stop. There’s a little place not too far from where we were staying called Islenski barinn (Icelandic bar) that had a good variety of beer and snacks. We tried the stout and pale ale as recommended by our waitress, in addition to puffin.. yes, you know, the cute little bird that is seen in tourist store front’s everywhere in Iceland? Don’t worry, to spare you a visual. All in all, it actually wasn’t too bad.. it was a little gamey but was well complimented with the blueberries, yogurt sauce and few leaves of lettuce that it came with.
Day 2 started around noon, which in my defense was really 1/2 fatigue induced and 1/2 ‘because it felt like 8am’.. but let’s be honest.. we were just tired. We grabbed a bite to eat and headed back toward the airport to do some hiking and hit up blue lagoon. Just south of blue lagoon was a little mountain with a 243 meter vertical, surrounded by a 3.6 km trail through some of the toughest wind gusts I’ve ever experienced. Don’t worry we made it through this pass in 1 piece (somehow) without being blown off the mountain
From there (though since phone and camera were left in the car), we headed to Blue Lagoon. It’s a touristy, but surprisingly not super crowded, geothermal runoff that is collected in pool form. There we got both a silica mud mask and an algae mask that are supposed to make you 10 years younger.. which is a scary thought for a 27 year old.. but I can say though I didn’t look like a teenager after these masks were washed off, that my skin did feel pretty awesome.
We got adventurous again for dinner at a cute little house called Laekjarbrekka and decided to try the Icelandic plate for an appetizer. This consisted of traditional Icelandic food such as fermented shark (in the jar), which was to be taken with a shot of Brennivin, an Icelandic caraway liquor, to ‘help it go down’. The English folks next to warned us that it was absolutely wretched, but I honestly didn’t think it was the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. It did look a bit intimidating when it came out like this though…
In addition to the shark, came some dried fish, and some raw salmon with a dill sauce. For entrees, we had the catch of the day and the fish mash, Plokkfisker, (which I could rave about for hours and hours).. how can you go wrong with haddock, potatoes, onions, and cheese?!
The following day, after happy hour, we decided to check out the coastal area . We wandered around Harpa the music hall, which had some pretty cool views from both the inside and the outside.
For dinner we stumbled upon a harbor-side restaurant, Hofnin, nearby where the cruise ship drop off was. It was not as expensive as we expected, or at least it wasn’t as expensive as most of Reykjavik had been thus far, and it was very delicious. We had catfish cheeks, and lamb curry. Both dishes were a creative modifications of traditional recipes in Iceland and a great end to a relaxing day of wandering. 🙂