The sea day (Day 6) was on the open waters. We definitely felt some rolling of the boat and I heard that some people had some sea sickness on the way from Scotland to Iceland. I may have had just a very small touch of queasiness but it didn’t stop me from eating! The overall trip from Scotland to Iceland actually took about 1.5 days. We reached Reykjavik in the early afternoon and the weather was very overcast (much different than it had been in Scotland).
For Iceland, we had decided to rent a car (and ended up renting cars in the 2 other Icelandic ports as well). I hadn’t drive a manual transmission car in almost 20 years and have had the itch to do it again so I rented one for the trip. I had wanted to try driving a VW Golf and that’s what I signed up for but the guy at the rental desk said they gave us a free upgrade and we ended up with a Skoda Octavia (wagon).
The overall car still worked well and had good power (since the second day in Iceland we were going to drive the Golden Circle.
Our first stop in Reykjavik was to the Perlan (Pearl) Museum. The museum features information about Iceland’s geographic history and how it was formed through volcanic activity. It is also situated outside of the downtown area and has a 360 viewing platform that gives you some great views. They also have a manmade ice cave to give you an idea of what it is like to actually walk through an ice cave.
We then headed into downtown Reykjavik to check out the famous church (Hallgrimskirkja), which is the tallest church in all of Iceland. The day we were there also happened to be Pride and they had just finished the parade. There was also a food festival going on in the streets leading up to the church. I found a parking spot in town so we walked through the food festival filled street to the church.
It was getting to be closer to dinner time and we thought we’d get some food. Strangely, one of the famous things to eat in Reykjavik are their hot dogs. I tried to find the famous hot dog stand but with the construction and my phone’s GPS not being the greatest, I couldn’t find it. There were some other hot dog stands so we settled on one of them to have a hot dog. We each had a hot dog from Pylsuhúsið.
They have an interesting sauce they place on their dogs. We all tried the classic version that contains chopped onions, ketchup, sweet mustard (pylsusinnep) and a remoulade sauce. It was tasty.
Next up we had to get some lobster soup at Sægreifinn. I recalled seeing this on Adam Richman’s secret eats and maybe also Andrew Zimmern. From my recollection, they put fresh raw lobster chunks in the bottom of the bowl and then pour over a very concentrated lobster soup. As it makes its way to your table, the lobster gets poached lightly. They serve the soup with some tasty crusty bread and icelandic butter.
D isn’t a fan of shellfish so she ordered a skewer of halibut chunks. For some reason, the grill must have been backed up because it took forever for it to come out (we even asked a few times if they had forgotten our order). Turns out it was all worth the wait. That skewer of halibut was the tastiest and freshest fish I’ve ever had. Everyone agreed.
We had some time before our 10 pm appointment at the Blue Lagoon. I thought it’d be fun to take a bit of a roundabout way and drive around the southwest peninsula. One of the guidebooks had talked about this driving route and the unique land and views. Unfortunately for us it decided to rain so we didn’t stop and get out as much as I’m sure we would have had the weather cooperated more. The landscape looked other wordly – what I imagine it is like on Mars or the moon.
We also stopped at a lookout on the southern coast of Iceland where the waves were crashing against the cool volcanic rocks.
Everyone I had talked to previously had said that we needed to experience the Blue Lagoon. This is actually a manmade lagoon utilizing the heat from a nearby geothermal plant. Most of Iceland is powered from the natural geothermal energy of the land. Since my phone is not waterproof, I don’t have any pictures from inside the lagoon but have some from just outside.
Overall it was a very unique experience in the lagoon. First you have to shower (gender separated lockers and showers). You then have to brave the cold as you walk out and then into the lagoon itself. The temperatures were probably in the 50s and it was raining and very foggy. We didn’t get to experience the “blueness” of it since we were there so late at night. One cool technology they had was a bracelet they gave you as you entered. This controlled the lock on your locker where you stashed everything except your bathing suit. It somehow survives being in the silica rich lagoon waters. We basically hung out in the nice warm water and explored the large pool/lagoon. There were still plenty of people even late at night. They also provided one free mud mask and that was interesting to have on for about 10 minutes. After an hour in the lagoon, we decided to head on out and back to the boat since we still had a full busy day. It was another late night (kind of like with the Military Tattoo) and we didn’t get to bed until after midnight.
Next up is the Golden Circle.