Iceland- Reykjavik & the Blue Lagoon


European breakfasts are one of my favorite things when we spend time abroad. We passed on the pickled herring samples, but the smorrebrod offered with the rental of our tiny cabin in Alftanes included a build your-own-skyr parfait bar which was a big win for me as we started our fourth morning in Iceland.

We chose this spot not only for prime aurora views, but also because it put us only a short drive from Grindavik and our big reservation at the Blue Lagoon.

We carefully selected the early morning check-in when we reserved online and were glad to not meet any lines as we got our towels and headed to the locker rooms (which are amazing)! You are given a nifty little wrist tag so that you can choose, and lock, any locker that you please. The wristband is safely worn in the water with you, helping to keep total peace of mind. Showers are mandatory before heading outside, but spa toiletries are provided. Outside, it's easy to leave your robe on a rack before heading in and claiming your free beverage at the swim up bar.

We took our waterproof cover so we could capture a few in water shots, but the experience itself is a sensory overload that can't be done justice by what you see online. With the chilly air, it felt great to hurry into the warm water to soak. The color is completely mesmerizing.

For entertainment (and I'm sure therapeutic purposes), there are vats of silica masks and scrubs to try. We put on our facial mask and sipped our smoothies as we wandered around to different pockets of the pool.

We tried the sauna and steam rooms until it was time for our in-water massages. In a quiet inlet, masseuses float guests around as they work. Matt and I were amused by the process, and enjoyed a good laugh when I was assigned a burly Icelandic masseuse named Magnus ;)

The nice locker rooms were helpful because it takes a thorough shampoo and conditioning to try and rinse the minerals from your hair. I appreciated the well-stocked supplies and hair dryer at each vanity and felt like a new person walking out of the spa. We picked up a water bottle, a great lip balm from the spa gift shop, and headed back to Reykjavik for our last day of fun.

After a quick drop off of our wifi hotspot, which we could live without the last day, we went downtown to grab lunch at the ever famous Baejarin's Beztu Pylsur. For all of the star visitors it boasts, it's nothing more than a humble street food stand serving up inexpensive but very unique lamb hotdogs. Try them with the remoulade and mustard and it makes for a fun and cheap way to chow down with locals on lunch break.

Harpa concert hall, the stunning glass building on the edge of the bay, was just across the road so we ran in to explore. It is an amazing stop that shouldn't be missed; everything is created with design in mind, including the pretty gifts in souvenir shop.

After a walk around the town lake and in and out of pretty neighborhoods, we parked at our hotel and lightened our load before heading back out for an afternoon in the city.

Though we had covered quite a bit of ground on our first few stops in town, we took more time to explore Hallgrimskirkja.

Pausing as we went, we took in many of the murals tucked in quiet gardens, hidden in alleys, and taking up large spaces. We moseyed in and out of shops as we headed towards Laugavegur, the long, busy avenue that cuts through town.

After a coffee break at Reykjavik Roasters, we dreamed about picking out a brand new Nordic wardrobe from Farmer's Market. We picked our favorite lopopeysa patterns at the Handknitting Association of Iceland but decided to pass on the pricy knits until we can live in a colder climate.

The Sun Voyager makes for a nice rest stop to enjoy the views across the water. We stayed there for a while and watched a television show film. After purchasing a few gifts, we stopped in at a popular happy hour at Nora Magasin, which is situated on a pretty little square.

After trying out some tasty snacks, we walked through the gorgeous (fully-booked) art-deco establishment next door, Hotel Borg. It seems surprising that the northern most capital of the world would have such a vibrant art and design scene in spite of it's remote location.

We were anxious to find a fresh seafood dinner and our meal of fish and chips was perfect! Casual, but with a great aesthetic, the simply named Fish Restaurant Reykjavik sits on the harbor and was a bit of a walk from the busier heart of town. We've been craving that meal ever since, with all its yummy tartar sauces and skyr dessert, it was delectable. Mmm!

A long walk back to the hotel and a final failed attempt at aurora watching left us worn out and ready to enjoy the peaceful Odinsve before the early flight the next morning.

Without traffic, our drive to the airport went quickly and the rental return was easy, giving us plenty of spare time to stock up on a few duty free items and grab a latte at one of the great airport cafes. Icelanders really just ooze cool, and for airport establishments, the design and menus can be impressive. We tried to hold onto our Blue Lagoon vibes to get us home. International upgrades were super exciting, and having the lounge access to pass our time at JFK helped with that.

Iceland was even better than we imagined and we can't wait to get back!

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