Day 3 & 4 in Reykjavik: The Land of Ice ❄️ and Fire 🔥

Nature in Iceland is definitely one to behold! It’s a shame my schedule didn’t allowed me to see more of it (which is why I intended to come back again in the future! 😂) But for my final days in the country, I was blessed to witness many beauties of nature within this short amount of time! 🥰🥰

Rainbow over the terrain by Blue Lagoon 🌈
Foot soak in Hljómskálagarður Park to kick off the day! 😂

My first stop after a brief morning soak in the park was Perlan Museum on the hill just by Reykjavik Airport. It was a tightly packed day as I needed to make sure I wouldn’t be late for my bus to the iconic Blue Lagoon at half one, so everything was a bit snapdash in the morning! 😂

Perlan Museum
Inside Perlan Museum
Nature video in the exhibition – beautiful scenes! 😍😍 (Definitely saving them for my revisit!)
Bird island replica
Interactive puffin camera video – it’s really fun!
Throwback to the whale watching yesterday 😂
Finally I see whales! 🐳🐋

The best part of the museum for me was definitely the ice cave! The temperature inside stood at -10 degrees Celsius 🥶, but it was a lot fun running around and exploring as if you are in a real frozen fantasy world! ❄️❄️

Into the unknown! ❄️❄️
I find the magical stone! 😉😂
Almost bumped my head! 😂 🧊🧊
Wow! 🤩🤩
This light is stunning!
Who will be the last one sitting on the ‘Ice Throne‘? 😏🤔😂 (*Cut to Game of Thrones music 🎵🎶🎶*)
Exploring the rest of the museum
An important message to us all!
Amazing Aurora planetarium show! ✨✨ (Unfortunately I can’t share it with you guys as we are forbidden from filming! 🎥❌)
View from the top of Perlan Museum- you can see Hallgrímskirkja from the distance
The mountainous view at the background 🏔
Reykjavik Airport below

After the museum visit, I had just over an hour to use before meeting my scheduled pickup at the bus station by Hallgrímskirkja (where I was staying just on the other side of the road.) So I headed to Kol Restaurant next door to my hotel as well as conveniently dropping off some stuff in my hotel room. 😛 The restaurant appeared to be a fusion Japanese place. They were doing a brunch sample menu but I felt like eating something lighter, so I ordered just the tuna tacos as well as the duck & waffle. The tuna tacos were delicious as the tuna tartare in the centre was perfectly seasoned and sandwiched between the crispy wonton skins. 😋 (Honestly I could have eaten another two!) On the other hand, I will say the duck & waffle was more average – seasoned well but I would have personally liked my waffle to be crispier.

Tuna crispy wonton tacos (left) and duck & waffle (right)

And now, for the main event of my trip- and this is the iconic Blue Lagoon! The place is extremely popular among tourists (honestly the place was packed!) For someone who loves bath like me, this place will be number one on any visiting list! 😁

I pre-booked my visit online before travelling to Iceland, including the tour bus to and from the spa. (Met a lovely American lady on the bus and chatted for some time!) If you don’t drive, there aren’t really much other alternatives from buses besides taking very expensive taxis. (The place is located around 45 minutes drive away from Reykjavik, though a fairly short 20 minutes drive from Keflavík airport.) I went for the cheapest Comfort ticket, costing 8990 ISK (about £56). The prices depend on the day. (I came on Saturday which I think it’s more expensive than weekdays.) The Comfort ticket covered a free drink and a silicon mask, and doesn’t include any bathrobe or sandals and you only get a towel in the end (that caused a lot of confusions with some people including me because we were all like how do we dry ourselves after the initial shower then!? 😂)

Entrance to Blue Lagoon (a big hit of sulphur smell as you near the place! 🤭)
Beautiful hot spring 😍😍
The main area of Blue Lagoon 🔥🔥

The rule is that you must shower (without swimwear) and clean before entering the lagoon. Past the changing rooms, there are cafes and other services which you can paid with the band they provide on entry then finishing any payment when you exit. And to put it quite simply, this place is just heaven to visit with the comfort and the amazing views it provide! 🥰🥰 (I stayed there for a good 4 hours! 😂 Just make sure you stay hydrated/not overheated and don’t miss your return bus!)

Relaxation time 😌😌
Very busy in here though!
Hidden cave
Heaven right here!
The blue lagoon and the blue sky
Grabbing my free drink 😉🥤

Returning to Reykjavik, I finished the day with a dinner of local Icelandic delicacies in Fjallkonan. I have always been bold enough to try different things (being raised in a Chinese household, we pretty much eat everything haha! 😚) hence I went for their signature Icelandic platter. That whale meat was definitely my favourite of the three – it’s like a really soft steak topped with a delicious sauce and purée! 😂

The Icelandic platter: Minke whale with malt glaze (top left), puffin with crowberry gel (bottom left) and lamb tartar (right)
Ice cream again by Rainbow Road 😂 (Lemon 🍋 & coconut 🥥 flavour- Yum! 😋)

On the rainy morning before my return flight, I decided to head to the top of the Hallgrímskirkja tower, gazing down to the colourful city from above. (It was just before Sunday service as well, so there were a lot of people coming inside the church and the place was super busy.)

Colourful view from the top of Hallgrímskirkja! 🔴🟠🟡🟢🔵🟣
(You can see my hotel at the bottom!)
Other side of the tower
And more! Super windy up there! 🥶

And after checking out the hotel, it was my last Icelandic meal (for the time being) in Apótek restaurant. Talk about saving the best ’til last though! Both dishes were outstanding- I dare to say that beef carpaccio is a 10/10! 🤤 💯 The lamb rump steak was also super tender and perfect with the delicious sauces! 🧡🧡 (Definitely worth a revisit in the future!)

Beef carpaccio with mushroom duxelle, Parmesan chips and foie gras
Lamb rump steak with carrot purée, carrots, cauliflower, spring onion and black garlic sauce

And now it’s finally time to fly home (popping to Edinburgh to see my mum there for the summer!) ✈️ And I bid a rather tentative farewell to Iceland (for the time being!) ☺️

SIDE STORY: That journey in Keflavík Airport to the Edinburgh flight ended up as an absolute mad dash! 🏃🏻🏃🏻 After arriving a bit later than I intended in the airport (missed my first transit bus… 😓), all was good with checking in (after all the COVID-related checks and I was sure I will be on time) but the security check proved to be my undoing. It was so packed full of people, I had to ask to be moved to the priority queue when I realised there were 10 minutes left until gate closing. (Even then it was still moving way too slow… 😖) Hearing the announcement that the gate was closing after I just passed security, I sprinted and leapt through the airport and passport control (it was one of the furthest gate away too! 🙀🙀) and made it just in time! (Didn’t even have time to put my iPad and laptops back into my bag and was carrying them all in my hands! 🤣) One good thing that came out of it is maybe I have burnt a couple of calories from all the food I ate! 😝

But I also just want to say how nice and helpful all the people in Iceland were ☺️, especially the drivers who alway let me cross the road! (I never get that in London lol! 😂) Can’t wait for when I come back to visit again! 👋

Day 2 in Reykjavik: Whale Rider

The start to Day 2 in Iceland was a rainy mess! 😅🌧🌧 But nonetheless the day’s event was not to be missed – as I have booked a whale watching tour in the Icelandic sea! 🐳 🐋 (Though the awful weather had me bound to the hotel room in the entire morning after breakfast! 😂 FYI the lack of hot food in my hotel was breaking my heart! 💔)

Reykjavik Old Harbour
By the harbour
Our tour boat
I wonder which ones will we see?

Our tour boat set sail from the Reykjavik Old Harbour at 1pm and the tour lasted about three hours. Due to the nature of whales being wild animals, sightings are not guaranteed (though it is claimed that if no sightings occurred, then you are welcomed to book a free tour for another day 😂) but I have every fingers and toes crossed 🤞 that we will see something exciting! So overalls suited up and ready to go! 🛥

Harpa
Viðey in the distance
😂 🏴‍☠️
Another tour boat on the hunt

It was a bit of a long wait to get things going, but even sailing on the boat feels like such an adventure as we set off into the unknown! 🌊 🌊 Mind you, if you are somebody who is prone to seasickness, I really won’t recommend you doing this as this boat was rocking so much you get flung around even if you sitting firmly still on your seat! 😬😬 (Going for my toilet break in the lower deck at one point was quite an adventure! 😂) Though they do have sick bags ready for you as a couple of my fellow tour group people discovered… 🤢 Oh and you’re pretty much guaranteed to get soaked by the end! 😝 💦 💦

The trick of spotting those whales is apparently looking at where a swarm of seagulls gathered as it means there are many fishes nearby which will attract whales to come and eat them. After about an hour into the tour (almost felt like falling asleep lol 😴), we finally made our first discovery in a school of dolphins. I do apologise for all of the sightings being low-quality videos as it is SUPER tricky to get them in photos! They literally popped out of the water and will be gone the next second! 😠

Dolphins! 🐬🐬

We also managed to find a few killer whales and a bigger whale (I don’t know the name of it) which I missed to snap completely! 😂 The captain will shout out if they spotted anything and everyone will scramble to one side of the boat with their phones and camera! 📱 📸 It was absolute chaos! (“It’s at 9 o’clock!” “Where is 9 o’clock??” Many of us were simply running like headless chickens. 🤣🤣) Honestly, I was worried we would tip the boat over!

Killer whale
Lol literally disappeared within seconds

On the way back, we also visited the iconic puffin island.

Puffin Island
Stunning scene!

After a long three-hour journey in the sea, I was finally back on dry land and I was starving! (FYI it felt so good getting out of those disgusting wet overalls! 😂) I then visited Hi Noodle for a late lunch/snack/early dinner. 😂🍜

Hi Noodle Ramen Bar
Their menu
The signature Dan Dan Noodles 👍👍

After a quick nap in the hotel, I then went outside to pouring rain again (this time forgetting my umbrella… 🥲 ☔️) I was hoping to visit Aurora Reykjavik to see images of Northern Light, but unfortunately it was closed earlier than the time I checked, so I settled down in Lamb Street Food for another meal! 😂

Lamb kebab, meatballs and salad

After the rain has seemingly stopped (and it did), I took a long walk to the Seltjarnarnes area including paying a visit to Gróttuviti lighthouse (about an hour of walking from where I was for dinner.) Here are a few snapshots of the area.

By the time I made it back the centre of Reykjavik, it was absolutely buzzing with people with bars and clubs in full swing! And the area was even more beautiful with the Hallgrímskirkja lit up in the night.

Rainbow Road at night 🌈🌈
I thought this chocolate & orange ice lolly goes well with the background! 😂
The lit Hallgrímskirkja

What a jam-packed day it has been!

Day 1 in Reykjavik: Paint The Town 🎨🖌

‘Finally!’ I yelled out at the top of my lungs. Not only did the day marked the beginning of my long holiday, but this was also the first time I have travelled outside of the UK ✈️ since the beginning of the pandemic. After being able to enjoy sunshine and warmth in my last few staycation trips, I decided that I needed a bit of a switch to a colder climate hence I decided on Iceland 🇮🇸, a place I have longed to visit.

Unlike the pre-COVID era, this trip certainly required a lot more preparation and research beforehand, and this did add a level of stress to the entire journey but of course very exciting at the same time! 😁 I was very lucky to be doubly vaccinated, hence making the transition to Iceland relatively straightforward (also one of the reasons I chose to come here.) Currently Iceland is allowing entry for fully vaccinated British travellers without the need of quarantine and a negative PCR test (which is ridiculously costly in the UK in my opinion.) Once I received my NHS letter to show my vaccination status (I know they are also accepting electronic copies via the NHS app but I was being extra careful 😂), the only other thing I was required to do was pre-registered for entry. (It’s almost a bit bizarre that the process for my return trip back to the UK is longer – requiring two separate PCR tests before and after arrival as well as pre-registration. 😐)

✈️

My flight was at 7:45 am in the morning (and that was probably crazy considering I was up at my end of work party 🎉 until late last night. 🤣) The 2 and a half hour ride was very comfortable (also get to enjoy WiFi on board for the first time ever in the first hour until connection was cut off! 😐) But by the time I landed I was oddly hungry, though still quite a bit before I reached Reykjavik. Passport and COVID checks went surprisingly quick and people were very warmed and welcoming. ❤️ After a further 45 minutes bus ride from Keflavík airport and a somewhat 20 minutes walk, I was at last at the centre of Reykjavik starving for food! 😂

Rainbow Road in Reykjavik
Overlooking Hallgrímskirkja from the distance

The Rainbow Road, which was done in celebration of Pride, was absolutely beautiful (literally walking upon the rainbow. 🌈🌈) The first food stop was 101 Reykjavik Street Food by the iconic road- my first taste of simple, delicious Icelandic food. I ordered the lobster soup and Icelandic fish stew with rye bread (and honestly I didn’t think I will like rye bread but I was absolutely loving it! 😋) Staff were very friendly and funny on top of that!

Lobster soup and Icelandic fish stew with rye bread- simple but done well 👌👌
And a free chocolate bar after! 🍫

I then explored the city a bit, marvelling at all the colourful, artistic touches everywhere. 🎨🎨

The longest hopscotch I have ever seen…
…up to 106 squares! 😂😂
Who wants a race? 🏃‍♂️🏃🏽‍♀️ 🏃🏻
Lime and passion fruit ice creams after the ‘race’ 😂😂
Love the mural 🖤🧡
🧜‍♀️🧜‍♀️
Look at the colours! 🔴🟠🟡🟢🔵🟣
So whimsical!
🌈 🌈
Literally everywhere I go there is a mural!

And I also visited Hallgrímskirkja which is right opposite where I am staying. The church tower is certainly marvelling to look at!

Hallgrímskirkja with the Leifur Eiríksson’s Statue in front
Love this! 🕯🕯
Inside the church

After a brief stop at my hotel, I then went to meet my appointment for the PCR test needed for my return trip to the UK. (I am staying here until Sunday and the test can be done three days prior to departure.) The testing centre was a bit far out (about a 40 minutes walk away) and I was shocked by the length of the queue (which spun the whole park and round!!) – however the queue did move fairly quickly (only waited for around 20 minutes for what looked like an hour long queue) and the testing was done so efficiently that it felt like a non-issue (literally less than a minute- staff was friendly and very professional- all dressed in lab coats ready to go.) I actually felt a bit embarrassed for all the testing chaos we had in the UK… 😓

After a nap following my back and forth trip from the test centre, I made use of the long daylight here to head out for some supper.

The legendary hot dog in Iceland
Tasting the Icelandic Skyr yogurt
The amazing daylight
Is it really that late? 😂

More on the next few days! 😉