It was the beginning of my short 4-day solo trip to where I had always dreamed to visit.
I had always wanted to see the Northern Lights or the “Aurora Borealis” and initially this was what drew me to Iceland. A few days before my trip that I did more research on what was there to “experience” in Iceland and I was so amazed to discover there there were so many incredible places to visit and activities to do. As I only used Reykjavík as a base for this trip, this post will be somewhat minimal while my later Iceland adventure posts will be on my daily excursions on this freezing and strangely beautiful alien planet filled with never ending snow.
I had a pleasant 3-hour flight from London to Reykjavík with WOW air, mainly because the service was amazing for a budget airline, and the flight attendants were really hilarious. Since the moment I arrived at the airport I was very impressed with how clean, tidy and well organised everything was (AND the male officers were very good looking!) It was like personified perfectionism (plus hot male airport officers). The 45-min Flybus from the airport to the BSI Bus Terminal Centre in town didn’t feel too long as the new leather seats were comfy and the free wifi on board kept me busy (there was not much to see outside the bus window). Once I got to the BSI, a staff at the information counter gave me a map and explained to me that the Reykjavík city is quite small and encouraged me to get around to nearly everywhere on foot.
As this was was the only afternoon I have in Reykjavík, I quickly dropped off my big backpack at Guest House Sunna then headed off right away, attempting to wander around as much as possible before the winter sun set.
Since the main landmark of Reykjavík, the almost unpronounceable “Hallgrimskirkja” church was right in front of my guest house, inevitably I made a brief stop there.
The almost unpronounceable “Hallgrimskirkja” church
Being city’s best-known landmarks, this church is the largest church in Iceland, and with its 74.5m height, it is the 6th tallest architectural structure in Iceland. The construction work started in 1945 and took 38 years to finish (in 1986). The design of the church, which was commissioned in 1937, was said to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland’s landscape. To me, with all due respect, the exterior resembles a traditional Thai-Esarn folk music instrument called “Kaen”. Don’t you think?
Children playing “Kaen” musical instrument
Well, after all, “Kaen” is a traditional Thai folk mouth organ, and organs and cathedrals go hand in hand. It is rather amazing, isn’t it, that there is this coincidental link between a modern gothic church in Iceland and an east asian folk musical instrument!
Fantastic view from my camera
Slightly more fantastic view from duncanstephen
By the time I got down from the observation tower, Reykjavík was already getting dark. I was starving. There were still a few options for places to explore within walking distance that evening including the Icelandic Penis Museum (quite intimidating yet rather tempting), but my hunger for food managed to conquer my mind.
So, skipping the museum of what the Iceland citizen is very proud of, I did the typical tourist thingy and went to try the so-called “the World’s Greatest Lobster Soup” and other fresh seafood selections at the Saegreifinn.
Saegreifinn or The Sea Baron is the oldest and most famous family run restaurant in Reykavík. Being located right next to the habour, it is famous for very, very fresh and good quality seafood with reasonable price. There are a few sections inside and it had a very warm and cozy vibe. Having the Lobster Soup as their main speciality, there was is fixed menu; visitors are to spoil themselves with whatever the Sea Baron has caught fresh out of the ocean on the day.
So, first meal in Reykjavík and I was having its famous lobster soup already. It was quite different from what I and probably most people expected, but for the price of 1250K (or just above GBP 6.50), there were big chucks of lobster meat juicy and sweet. The soup was thin and watery but still fragrant with celery, herbs and lobster fat.
If you asked, I would say it wasn’t the best lobster soup I have ever eaten in the world. I still prefer the usual rich, thick and creamy lobster bisque, though the lobster soup here is something I could have for dinner everyday. It was fresh, delicious and satisfying. And just to make my first dinner a little special, I also spoiled myself with a skewer of 8 sweet and meaty Icelandic scallops which was also very yummy and filling.
And that was the end of my first evening. I took my time walking back to my guesthouse through the peaceful yet filled-with-energy streets of Reykjavík. The little lights on the paths which lightened up the colourful blocks of small houses and buildings really warmed my heart and helped me liven up in the cold.
Before entering my guesthouse, I turned around and had a look at the Hallgrimskirkja church which was also beautifully lit up. I smiled and thought to myself how blessed I was to be where I was. Goodnight, Raykjavík. I then went up to my room and prepared for the once-in-a-life-time excursions in the days to come.