At the beginning of December I packed my suitcase and layered up ready for an adventure over to Iceland with Mr M and my parents. My parents hadn’t left the UK for over 36 years so I finally managed to tempt and persuade them to get their passports so we could all go on an adventure. I absolutely hate the cold and have no idea what possessed me to choose Iceland but as the age old saying goes:
There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.
So needless to say I packed lots of layers and armed myself with some warm gloves and suitable boots and off we went!
WOW Air are a fairly new player in the airline business and have expanded recently to offer lots of low cost flights to Canada & USA. I’ve flown with lots of different airlines, low cost and mid range and was pleasantly surprised with WOW. The flight from Bristol to Keflavik was around 2hrs 40 minutes and was very comfortable and cost around £49pp each way. I’m a sucker for a good in flight magazine and with WOW originating from Iceland they had pages and pages of information and tips for the trip!
Keflavik airport is one of the nicest I’ve been to. Clean, modern, spacious and relaxing. Yep, relaxing. Unlike any of the UK and USA airports I’ve visited the atmosphere was calm throughout and everything was running seamlessly. We collected our luggage, met our private transfer and off we went on a 40 minute drive to Reykjavik. I was in awe seeing the Icelandic landscape for the first time, it’s so beautifully breathtaking. I couldn’t wait to spend the next 4 nights there.
The four star Fosshotel Reykjavik is one of the newest in the Fosshotel chain. Standing near the waterfront with a tower of beautiful suites overlooking the bay this hotel was a home from home. Staying at the Fosshotel Reykjavik will set you back around £270 per night. We opted for a Tower View suite to guarantee a view of the bay. Breakfast at Haust Restaurant came included in the price.
One thing that really stuck with me throughout the 4 days we were there was that all of the people are genuine, friendly and caring. There’s a real sense of community and security in Reykjavik and after talking to a couple of locals it’s something they are very proud of. This was apparent throughout all the touch points in the hotel. Nothing was ever too much trouble and hello’s were always genuine and not forced. We arrived, checked in and went to our rooms. It was around 3:30pm, I opened the curtains to find we had the best view of the bay and the Harpa Concert Hall. I couldn’t wait to explore but we needed to unpack and nap before we went out on our merry adventures.
One thing that I don’t think Mr M and I could cope with if we lived in Iceland is how late it gets light and how early it gets dark in the winter months. It’s such a strange feeling. By the time we had unpacked and layered up to go out it was around 4:45pm and it was pitch black. I roughly knew the direction we needed to go in as I always scout out places I visit on Google Maps and Streetview to get my bearings, I know, I know where’s the fun in that? I’m a little bit of a control freak..!
Sólfar Sun Voyager
We headed towards the bay and towards the Sólfar Sun Voyager sculpture. It began to snow which Mr M had been wishing for since we took off from the UK which was super magical, almost like it was saying hello to us. The Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. It contains within itself the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom. This is one of the most photographed spots in Iceland so it’s definitely worth a photo stop.
Harpa Concert Hall
The architecture of the Harpa building is insane. I come from an Interior Architecture background and stuff like this makes me so happy. The way the geometric shapes intertwine and the movement and flow of the lights dancing across them, most evenings I would stand outside and gawk.
I found this restaurant from the in room directory at the hotel. Oh. My. This place came highly recommended for all the right reasons. The.Burgers.The.Fries. The interior as its name suggests has been designed in homage to The Big Lebowski movie with 4 separate areas, it’s a pretty quirky place. We walked in and were so lucky to have grabbed a table in the dance floor area as it’s was fairly busy. We did find that going for food around 6pm each night meant we got in before the rush which began around 40 minutes later.
Playing on the wall from a projector was Groundhog day – could this be any more American? This place is super chill. Lots of places in Reykjavik offer a happy hour. Here they offer 2 for 1 on drinks from 4pm – 7pm. The waiter popped over and gave us our menus and I was immediately drawn to the Honey Boo burger. This beauty consists of a Bacon burger, with honey glazed bacon, BBQ sauce and japanese mayonnaise. Oh my. With fries and a drink this comes to 2450 Kr (~£17.50). Ouch! This is a bit steep seeing as in the UK we can get gourmet burger loaded with everything including fries for about £8 but it became apparent that the whole of Iceland is expensive (or the £ exchange rate is absolutely appalling). I shared fries with Mr M (thank cheesus I did as there were masses of them) and we shared some jalapeno cheese poppers too. This place is a definite hit on the food list when visiting Reykjavik!
Waddling back to the hotel – supermarket experience
On our way back to the hotel we ventured into a local supermarket. Does anyone else just *love* going into foreign supermarkets?! We picked up some milk (I *always* take a tub of Yorkshire Tea bags with me on holiday because no one quite does tea like the British), 2 x capri suns and then we ventured towards the sweet aisle. We chose 7 different chocolate bars that we’d never seen or heard of and went to the checkout. Why am I telling you about the checkout? Well to put it in to perspective how expensive it is… the total converted back in to pounds was £14. WHAT! FOURTEEN! I thought to myself these chocolates better sing me a song and dance me a dance before I eat them and the milk better make it’s own cup of tea to go in.
…and so to bed!
Sadly, the chocolate bars didn’t sing a song or dance a dance but they were pretty damn tasty! The Dumle being one of my *absolute* favourites! We snuggled up and fell asleep dreaming of all the adventures day 2 had in store.Have you ever visited Iceland? What did you think? Tweet me @xxmissbirdyxx