Destination: Reykjavik, Iceland (Part 2)

It was mid-morning when I finished seeing the highlights of the city center– after all, Reykjavik is small and it can easily be done within a day. It was a matter of exploring a bit outside of the center, which I did in the afternoon. I caught the public bus at Hlemmur Square to Seltjarnarnes, a township situated on the peninsula northwest of Reykjavik. It was nearly devoid of tourists, as it was in a residential area by the sea, and it was very refreshing to stroll by the water and take in the cool air and mountainous landscape.

There was also the Kvika foot bath, a *sort of* off-the-beaten-path site where people can relax their feet in geothermal-powered waters. It was a cool experience, and I was glad to have found it!

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Kvika foot bath.
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Dipping my toes.

Soon enough, I took the bus back towards town, but this time heading all the way across to the other side of the outskirts, where I spent some time in Elliðaárdalur valley. It’s sort of a hidden oasis in the middle of the city, offering plenty of hiking trails by the river, along with some surprising little waterfalls at the clearing– if you don’t have the time to venture out to the rest of Iceland to see waterfalls, then Elliðaárdalur’s are a good option!

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Waterfall in Elliðaárdalur valley.
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More waterfalls in Elliðaárdalur valley.

I returned to the city center where I stopped by Bonus, Iceland’s discount grocery store, for some food, before heading back to my hostel to drop them off and rest a bit before heading back out to visit the last place for the day, the Perlan. A 10-minute walk south of my hostel, the Perlan is a museum/observatory situated on a hill which offered lovely views of Reykjavik in the distance. I paid about 4 euros to access the viewing point, and I found the 360 views gorgeous. Thereafter, I returned to my hostel, tired but satisfied with my time in town.

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The Perlan.
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View from the Perlan.

The next few days were busy going on organized day tours to other parts of Iceland (more on them later), but I had one full day in Reykjavik before I left. Considering that I’d already seen pretty much everything on my first day, I didn’t have a plan to do anything specific on my last day in town. I did, however, had to go to a phone store to purchase a new smartphone (long story short, I’d lost it while on tour the day before). Other than that, I took my time, strolling Laugevegur, the main street for shopping, eating, and drinking. I had lunch at Loki Cafe near Hallgrimskirkja, where I tried fermented shark and Brennevin (which I probably wouldn’t have again), as well as dinner on Laugevegur where I had one of the best lamb dishes in history. Afterwards, I went for Happy Hour at the Lebowski Bar, where I met up with some Couchsurfers for a few drinks before bar hopping later in the night.

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Fermented shark and Brennevin.
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Lamb for dinner.
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White Russian at the Lebowski Bar.

Eventually, I had to return to my Couchsurfing host’s flat to pick up my bags and catch the 3:00 shuttle to the airport, since my flight back to France was at 6:00. Utterly exhausted once I boarded the plane, both sleep-deprived and hungover. All the time, I wouldn’t have traded my experience for anything else.

Thanks for reading about my time in Reykjavik– more adventures in the rest of Iceland are coming up!

— The Finicky Cynic

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