I awoke on our first day in Iceland, not knowing at all what the day had in store for me. Barry had booked everything and would tell me nothing until it was time to get ready. Obviously I needed to know what to wear, but safe to say I’m sure whatever we were doing I would have to layer up with thermals, hat, gloves, scarf and fleece lined coat! It was cold but what else did we expect in Iceland.
As I got up to get ready, Barry presented me with a piece of paper. It was a city sight-seeing map of Reykjavik. We were going on a ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tour of the capital. What better way to get around and see everything. He bought the tickets via Reykjavik Excursions.
We started the day off with some breakfast in the café attached to our hotel of waffles with chocolate and cream – yum!
One of the stops along the bus tour was right by our hotel so we headed straight there. It was Hallgrimskirkja – Iceland’s largest church and Reykjavik’s main landmark. It was a very odd shaped but amazing looking church. Barry took this moment to try out his new drone, the Xiro Xplorer V. Thankfully we had better success with this one than the one we took to Switzerland! He managed to fly it right up above the church and all round it getting some fab shots from above and the surrounding area right out to sea.
Inside the church was an organ, which had a whopping 5275 pipes! I can only imagine the sound it would produce.
Once we were in, we paid a fee and took a lift up to the top. The level we left the lift on gave us a view looking out from the clock face, but there were stairs that took us higher, so straight away Barry took to these and I quickly followed. It was so windy up there, good job it was all closed in. You could see for miles, but as we were on the edge of the island, mostly we could see sea.
After checking out the church, we saw the sight-seeing bus approaching so we made a run for it and reached it just as it was about to pull away. They run every half hour but it was too cold to just be standing at a bus stop. Our next stop was Perlan, which is a massive glass dome built on water tanks that store all of Reykjavik’s hot water. Once we arrived Barry took some more shots with the drone and as it was in the air a coach load of Asian tourists exited the building. They were fascinated by it. One of them even started filming Barry!
Once he had enough of showing off, we went into the building to check out the views from the top. As we walked in, a jet of water shot up in the air right by us – wasn’t expecting that to happen!
Once at the top we made our way outside and it started to rain. The big grey cloud had been following us and now it had reached a point where it was hovering above us. It was moving fast though, so as quickly as the rain was hitting the floor the sun was moving in on it and a full rainbow appeared in front of us. We spent a few minutes taking in the view, but soon had enough of the wind and rain so headed back inside.
As we waited for the bus we found some funky statues to have some fun with, which kept us entertained in the cold.
The next few stops on the bus we decided to drive on through including the Kringlan Shopping Centre (I spend all day in those at work!) and the Sculpture Museum. Our next point of interest was the Laugardalur Botanic Gardens. We had to walk through a campsite to get there. To our surprise there were quite a few tents – you’d have to have some serious camping gear to be able to spend a night out in these temperatures. To be honest it really wasn’t that cold, however we were wearing thermal jumpers and I can only imagine how cold it gets at night. As we wondered our way between the tents, we weren’t entirely convinced we would find the gardens, but when we saw a group of people heading towards us, we reasoned that there must be something of interest up ahead and we weren’t disappointed. Iceland sits on a thermal pool so 80% of the homes are heated with the hot water that they dig 3000feet underground for. Once we reached the gardens, there was a little pool of the water covered with a grate. You could see the steam coming off it and as you got near you were hit with the eggy smell of the sulphur. The scent took us back to the thermal pools in Yellowstone.
We spent some time wandering round, we saw some ducks and some pretty flowers, but really the gardens are probably at their best in Summer. Before long, the grey cloud caught up with us again and the rain set in. Luckily we only had a few minutes to wait for a bus once we reached the stop.
The bus took us along the seafront and we eventually stopped at the Harpa, which is a conference centre and concert hall – or just a funky looking multi-coloured glass building! We walked along the seafront until we came across a stainless steel sculpture of a Viking ship – The Sun Voyager. We took a few snaps just as the rain set in again – this cloud was a serious stalker! We weren’t going to let this deter us though. We carried on walking down to the harbour and before long another rainbow appeared.
By now hunger was starting to set in and the harbour wasn’t short of places to eat. Fish was the main source of food on every menu, so naturally we went for a fish and chip shop, with a very original name of….Icelandic Fish and Chips. This was no ordinary fish and chip shop though. Although it didn’t look much from the outside, inside, it was probably the most posh fish and chip we have ever seen. It had a full bar serving wine and beer and even had some fancy but slightly freaky fish skin lamps. Wanting to stick with tradition, Barry went for Cod and chips and I went for Plokkari, which is a traditional Icelandic dish of onion, milk, potato and cod. We topped these off with the islands favourite lager – Viking. The food was delicious and mine was a dish I will be trying to replicate at home.
By now, we were not far from our hotel. We could see the large church in the distance, so rather than wait for the bus to arrive and take us back, we decided to go for a walk around downtown Reykjavik and find our own way, taking in the many churches and strange sculptures on route.
This is the route that we travelled. The data is recorded on a small GPS device called the i-gotU GT600.