Travelogue: Iceland – Reykjavik, The Coastal Capital

Back to Reykjavik!

Spent the first morning back at the city with the famous Blue Lagoon spa. Yeah, it’s so famous that you have to book the time slot online prior to visiting and also the transfer as well. I realise the thing with Iceland, there is hardly any public transportation so they are all private transfers or cabs. Anyway, our slot was at 9am just cos we wanted to be early and spend more time at the spa which meant our pickup was at 8am because it’s an hour drive away. The horror came when our alarm didn’t go off and we woke up at 8am only to realise we have missed the transfer. So we doubled our speed and went to the hotel opposite to call for a cab. The receptionist was shocked we were calling a cab to the blue lagoon cos it cost a freaking 18,000kr (SGD200+), but we really didn’t have much choices since our slot at the spa was at 9am. Well, she agreed with us we don’t have other options. The cab driver was very nice knowing we were in a rush so he drove really fast and telling us we would reach there in 35 minutes. The epic moment came when we were about 10km away from our destination, the traffic police appeared and caught the driver for speeding. #FML so the driver was damn sian after that and drove at normal speed. ha I wondered how much was he fined…

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So after a dramatic morning, we finally reached the lagoon

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This was taken outside the lagoon and perhaps to create an illusion that the inside will also look similar to this

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The line was insanely long for the very first time slot. So you queued up at the cashier and they will give you the stuffs according to whichever ticket you have purchased online. We got the premium package at €70 which includes towel, bathrobe, slippers, free drink and masks

The changing room is pretty big but it also gets occupied rather quick with the insane amount of crowd so my advise is to go early. You need to wash yourself before you enter the lagoon which is connected right next to the changing room. And remember to bring a hair tie because it is not advisable to soak your hair in the water

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You have the beauty area

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And racks for shoes

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How the individual locker looks like. Honestly, I think the locker is too small to put many things, plus you have to squeeze your coat in there. But the convenient thing is they gave you a magnetic wristband that acts as your key

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What you see once you step out of the changing room. We literally ran into the water just cos it’s so cold after you changed out of your bathrobe

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Reality vs expectations

This place isn’t blue, and it’s really crowded. Can you imagine if we have gone in summer? I think half the pool will be filled. You can bring your phones with waterproof casing in, or buy the casing at the drink stand which you collect your free drink at

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We soaked about an hour before deciding to wash up and head back to the city cos we wanted to catch the last bus before lunch break. I hate it when the transportation stopped during lunch =/

Well, I personally think Blue Lagoon is too touristy and I definitely will not go back a second time. As I have read from many forums, they actually recommended to go other lagoons that are located outside Reykjavik which are less crowded and more enjoyable. Still, Blue Lagoon is still an icon of Iceland so for those who have never been there, you can visit and experience and put a tick on your checklist

Had lunch at a place recommended by the host at downtown Reykjavik which is famous for their grilled items. The restaurant had a decent amount of crowd and we were really famished

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Complimentary bread

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Shellfish Soup 1,940kr

Langoustine, blue mussels, shrimps & fennel

The shellfish soup was a little too creamy with seafood a little cooked and tasted citrusy. I think I preferred my soup the Sweden style

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Today’s Special: 2,490kr

Which is grilled baby back ribs with BBQ sauce!

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The portion was huge and I was super shocked at its size. The ribs can easily feed 2 pax. Portion aside, I like how the meat is so grilled to perfection with each rack so easily detached. The flavour was a little smoked with a sweet aftertaste that was really delicious

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Grilled Catch of The Day 2,290kr

Grilled snapper, which comes in hugeness 3 slices. I don’t know how one person can finish 3 slices but it was challenging. Now I understand why they have a page on their menu that says ‘lighter main’

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Even though this place seems to specialise more in seafood, I thought their meat dishes were pretty decent too. If you are craving for something nice in the city, perhaps you can consider dropping by. And they have free wifi here 😉

Sjávargrillið

Skólavörðustígur 14, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

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Dropped by the other main attraction in Reykjavik which is the Hallgrímskirkja, located near the lunch place

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The biggest church in Iceland and known for its interesting shape and structure

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Which is honestly just like that. I think I lost count of the number of churches I’ve seen for this trip. The friend went to the tower to get a view of the city but I didn’t just cos it wasn’t free. ha I know. Cheapo me

Spent the evening strolling along the streets and looking for J’s troll doll before we decided to chill at a random cafe to rest. We actually wanted to go to Reykjavik Roasters but we were distracted by another cafe so we eventually settled at Te & Kaffi (Tea & Coffee) which apparently has a good deal of tea and coffee

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Spotted a cute dog on the way

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A very interesting explanation on how the street name Laugavegur came about

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Sea salt caramel mocha, Fudge brownie 1440kr

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I really like this cup of sea salt caramel mocha. It had the perfect balance between the sweet caramel and the sea salt and you can taste the rich mocha underneath the layers. It was perfect with the fudge brownie which was so smooth, soft and rich that you felt like eating a piece of chocolate instead

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Matcha latte, Chocolate muffin 1340kr

I think I preferred my drink more. The matcha latte was decent but it could have been richer

Even though we chanced upon Te & Kaffi, but I think they serve one of the better coffees in Reykjavik. And do you know Te & Kaffi was the one that started the coffee culture in Iceland? I’ll recommend you to drop by if you are in the area, for a warm cup of drink or to idle the day away

Te & Kaffi

Laugavegur 27, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

We called it a night just cos we were too full to eat anything else, and decided to spend some time packing our luggages and planning what to do for the next remaining travel days. And so, one of the google search came up, suggesting to try Icelandic pancakes which was pretty strange given there was a suggestion to try but no places for us to go and try. So we picked something that was close to our craving, and we ended up having normal pancakes for brunch the next day

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In all honesty, I missed brunch food

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Grái Kötturinn, or known as The Gray Cat cafe was situated along the same stretch as our guesthouse, just a stone’s throw away

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The interior was pretty interesting, modelled after a 50s style cafe. So rustic, so retro

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Swiss Mokka 550kr, Hot Chocolate 520kr

The drink was bad, period. It tasted like artificial chocolate milk kinda drink

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The Truck 2,250kr

Egg & bacon, fried potatoes, tomatoes, toast, American pancakes, syrup & butter

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And the food, equally bad. Doughy tasteless thick pancakes, dried butter toasts, tasteless potatoes with wrong choice of cooking and a confused small portion of tomato sauce. The only decent food was the 2 sunny side up. Well if they cannot even cook the eggs well, I’m going to question why this place is still in operation. Well on the bright side, it looks better than it tastes

Perhaps the rarity of brunch food in Iceland is the reason why this place is so famous. Still, I would choose Macs pancakes over this anytime. And for anyone who perhaps argue this place has decent food, I think you had never had better. I can easily find one back home. This place, is just disappointing

Grái Kötturinn

Hverfisgata 16, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

So we decided to make our way to Reykjavik Roasters for another cup of coffee and given it was voted #1 for the best coffee in Reykjavik

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A cozy, homey space

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Even though it was rather early, there was a steady stream of customers

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Swiss Mokka 650kr

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Kaffi Latte 560kr

The coffee was too light and tasted slightly acidic. I didn’t like it. I felt like there was no contrast in the layers and I can’t really appreciate the body of the coffee beans

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Even though this place was voted as one of the best coffee house, by preference, I actually preferred Te & Kaffi. But well, each to their own 🙂

Reykjavik Roasters

Karastigur 1 (corner of Frakkastigur)Reykjavik, Iceland

Ending with a few interesting pictures of street art in Reykjavik just cos you don’t see them in Singapore. These people are talented man

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Impressive :O

So we waited for Flybus+ to take us back to the airport for our flight to our next destination, Copenhagen! Remember to use all your icelandic krona at the duty-free before exchanging them back at the money exchange before the gates (after security & immigration). The sea salt smoked macadamia nuts selling at this smoked shop are quite awesome, just some ideas for souvenir

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I must applaud for the brains behind Icelandic flight menu for being so witty

Baguette: Longbread is more fun than shortbread. You can use it in many fun ways as you want. You could try balancing it on your nose or head or even use it to poke your neighbour, or you can just eat it

BIO Yoghurt: If you’re bored during your flight, we recommend eating the yoghurt with a fork. That will take up some of your time

Boxer Chips: Hand-cooked and salted gourmet crisps. Served in a box you can reuse for Christmas present

Ha. We had lots of fun reading it

Well, this basically wraps up our Iceland expedition which also marked the longest time we had spent in a country during our travel journey. Honestly, there is nothing much to do in Reykjavik so I wouldn’t advise to spend much time in the city. I think it’s a good starting point for all the day trips (if you are not planning to drive) and also, if you are looking for comfortable food choices which I think they have quite a fair bit to offer. Reykjavik is also more touristy than all other places we had been to, and marked the most number of Asians we had seen during the whole trip. The good and bad thing about a place populated by tourists is, you get more things to do and eat in the place but also meant that you must be prepared to deal with the crowd. I wouldn’t mind returning to Iceland just so I can visit other places that I’ve not been to

Click here for other travelogues:

Finland – Helsinki & Rovaniemi, Home to Santa Claus

Sweden – Stockholm & Kiruna, Swedish Lapland

Sweden – Gothenburg & Southern Archipelago

Norway – Bergen & The Fjord

Iceland – South Coast, Jokulsarlon

 

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