USA ‘22 #1: Stopover in Reykjavik

Iceland #1

Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd May 2022

In the spring of 2020, Robert had planned an extensive trip, loosely based on Phinneas Fogg’s journey Around the World in 80 days. The plan was to circumnavigate the globe without flying. However, when cases of Covid were first being reported he re-routed several sections and was forced to book plane tickets. Obviously the trip was eventually completely cancelled but we were left with some vouchers to use up and this has allowed us to fly to Iceland to break our journey to America and visit the recently opened Sky Lagoon.

Despite predictions of airport delays prior to the early May bank holiday our transit through Gatwick was trouble free.

It felt good to be travelling overseas and visibility in the air was good as few over Scotland.

Reykjavik was one of the first places we visited after we retired. We brought our daughters here in December 2018 in an unsuccessful attempt to see the Northern Lights but spent one magical night at the Blue Lagoon Silica Hotel and we have wanted to return ever since.

Robert spotted the vapours rising from the Blue Lagoon complex as we flew overhead.

The landscape looks very different without a covering of deep snow.

Our hotel – The Canopy by Hilton – has been created within six connected buildings which were previously a furniture factory, a music venue and an arts hub. One of the services offered, in a tribute to its music venue past, is an array of vinyl records; guests are encouraged to select an album and borrow a portable record player for in-room entertainment.

Instead, we took advantage of the happy hour prices and visited Bravo to celebrate the start of another trip. Despite its prominent position on Laugavegur, Bravo is very much a locals bar and we listened to a strange Icelandic heavy metal cover version of Madonna’s Like a Virgin, whilst an elderly black Labrador spent a long time trying to find the most comfortable spot at his owner’s feet. 

Unusually, it was Robert who woke with the dawn and took a photo of the city as the sun was beginning to rise at 04:00.

We had booked tickets to the recently opened Sky Lagoon for the afternoon and so had the morning to stroll round Reykjavik and reacquaint ourselves with this lovely capital city.

We went past views back towards the Hallgrimskirkja [see feature photo above] and down to the sea to the beautiful and curvaceous Sun Voyager [see Selfie of the day].

The statue, Looking Seawards, at the port was erected in 1997 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Port of Reykjavik and the 60th National Seamen’s Day.

This is their view of the port.

The catholic Cathedral of Christ the King was unfortunately not open to visitors when we passed by.

In the Hallgrimskirkja an appeal by the main door asks for donations towards the cost of cleaning the organ’s 5,275 pipes. This must be a never-ending task much like painting the Forth Road Bridge: as soon as the job is done it starts again from the beginning. 

Having strolled around and investigated transport options we decided to get a taxi to the Sky Lagoon which has been carefully camouflaged in an industrial area which is now being rejuvenated. The approach makes it seem a bit like a secret government facility, blending in to the landscape.

The seven step relaxation ritual was included.

But we both opted out of the second step – the cold plunge. We were however, salted, scrubbed, misted and steamed.

As you enter the pool, there is a slow reveal of the infinity pool . . .

. . . with views back across to Reykjavik [see Video of the day for the slow reveal].

The bar appears to be hewn out of the rock.

Of course we had to indulge in a refreshing libation to replace any lost fluids.

Back in Reykjavik we went in search of some traditional Icelandic food and found Messinn serving tasty seafood pasta and fish burgers [see Dish of the day].

Video of the day:

Selfie of the day:

Dish of the day:

Dish of the day – traditional seafood stew at Messinn

Route Map:

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