Sightseer

Saturday November 25th about 10 am I suddenly felt like going to Reykjavik, for no apparent reason. I just needed to go. Now!

Unfortunately the flight from Copenhagen leaves at 11.45, and there was no way I could get from Malmö to Copenhagen that fast. So I had to shoot it up to Sunday, which made me rather impatient.

I wanted to see the Icelandic Sagas for my self, in the National Museum. I wanted to stand in awe in front of the Sólfar sculpture, and take a few pictures. Most of all I wanted to have a beer with my friend Trausti. But in all honesty: All these reasons came to me after I had purchased the flight ticket.

At three o’clock Sunday I finally left the airport in Keflavik, boarding a bus to Reykjavik. For reasons I can only guess Keflavik Airport is situated 50 km (1 hour) from Reykjavik, and buying a shuttle bus ticket in advance is a very good idea, and will set you back c. 4,000 ISK (≈27 Euro). There are no trains in Iceland, and the only alternative to the shuttle bus is taxi (c. 37,000 ISK).

Once in Reykjavik I checked in to Flóki Guesthouse, ten minutes walk from the Hallgrim Church and the city centre.

“Checking in” is maybe not the correct term, as there were no staff.
I simply entered the house and the room using a pin code I received by mail, from booking.com.

That’s what you get when you save money, but I was prepared for it, and both the guesthouse and the room itself were very cozy. Everything was nice and clean, there was a coffee machine in the hallway, with cookies and everything.

I’m not particularly sensible to noise from traffic, but if you are, you might want to chose a guesthouse or hotel a little further away from a busy road.

Once I’d left my backpack in the room I ventured out, as I was hungry, curious, and it was already getting dark.
Sunrise 10:30/sunset 16:00 in Reykjavik in the end of November.

Luckily one of the first places I found to get a bite to eat also turned out to be a very nice one, worth revisiting (Salka Valka Eldhus, Skólavörðustígur 23).

After dining I just wandered the main street, some side streets, checking out a few shops, and generally familiarizing myself with the city. You know – having a locally brewed beer in a nice place, before backtracking to my guesthouse.

Waking up on Monday – eight o’clock, two hours before sunrise – I was eager to see all of Reykjavik, first of all the Sólfar (Sun Voyager) artwork, and then breakfast, which I found in Kaffibrennslan (Laugavegur 21). Excellent selection and a very cozy atmosphere.

From there I walked through the city center, towards the National Museum, making a few stops on the way: The Icelandic Punk Museum (Bankastræti 2) in a closed down underground public restroom, and the Iceland Model, situated in the Reykjavik City Hall (Tjarnargata 11).

The National Museum (Suðurgata 41), however, turned out to be a little disappointing. They’ve got some nice stuff on display, but the exhibitions are made in a very conservative museum-like way.

So I hurried on to the Saga Museum, that turned out to be much more interesting. With or without an audio guide you walk through displays of life size wax figures describing important moments in Iceland’s dramatic history. If you don’t like audio guides, there are signs explaining the displays.

On the way back for a short pit stop at the guesthouse I entered the famous Hallgrim Church, to find it… Well, less is more, I guess… But not really that exciting.

That night I went out with my friend Trausti, to have a beer. Or a few beers. And some whisky. Alcohol makes the tongue loose, and we haven’t seen each other for almost ten years. So…
Ironically we ended up in Den Danske Kro (The Danish Inn)(Ingólfsstræti 3), not because it’s Danish, but because it’s a nice place, with live music every night.

Tuesday was just walking around, checking out the city, shopping a little, breakfast, coffee, lunch, chilling, getting Reykjavik under my skin.

Once I reached the harbor, and a super cozy café (Reykjavik Röst, Geirsgata 5), I asked how to best spend a few hours doing something interesting:

  • Aurora Reykjavík – The Northern Lights Center?
  • Reykjavík Maritime Museum?
  • Whales of Iceland?

“Save them for your next visit” the owner of the café said. “Go to FlyOver Iceland!”

So I did (Fiskislóð 43) and it was an amazing experience!!! Strapped into a seat you are moved a little back and forth and sideways, sprayed a little cold mist in the face, surrounded by a huge round screen showing a 3D flight through Iceland – sharp mountain peaks and green valleys, glaciers and waterfalls, cities and unique nature, in a nerve-wracking speed, filmed from drones and helicopters, stitched together to give you an experience that will make you hold your breath.

At night I wanted to see Fjörukráin – The Viking Village – at Strandgata 55, Vikingastræti 1-3, Hafnarfjörður. An hour by bus. It’s a good idea to download the Klappið app to find bus schedules and buy tickets.

From the outside the Viking Village looks good, but close up the whole theme falls to pieces. It’s a hotel and restaurant, and the theme is only at the surface. The hotel rooms looks like any dull hotel room anywhere else, and the theme in the restaurant is inconsistent, at best.

Disappointed and hungry I gave the kitchen a chance, and ordered the lamb.

And as if a magic wand had been waved over the lamb, everything was suddenly okay. That meal was enough to justify the train from Malmö to Copenhagen, the flight to Keflavik, the bus to Reykjavik, and from there bus to Hafnarfjörður.

The next morning I had to get up at 3:30 to get the shuttle bus to the airport bus, to get to the airport and check in for the 6:30 flight back to Copenhagen.

Linx

I will be back in Reykjavik faster than you can learn to pronounce Þjóðleikhúsíð.

Next time I will see Perlan – the most amazing museum of natural history (or so they say) – and go beyond Reykjavik to see some of Iceland’s nature.