Our first task was to pick up our car. I booked us a Mitsubishi Pajero 4×4 – the only way to go in Iceland!
After doing some research on car rental companies, I decided to go with SADcars. The off-peak rate for our car was €666 (after a 15% discount if you pre-pay online) for the week, but this was before taking into account insurance, GPS, extra driver etc. It sounds expensive, but in fact this was the cheapest/best rate I found 😉
SADcars were super helpful! I’m SO glad I went with them. Signy, one of the founders (the ‘S’ in SAD) gave me lots of advice on driving in Iceland and tips on planning the itinerary. I looked forward to her emails each time, which always came with a smiley face 🙂 She helped us book one of our activities too (dog karting – next post). They also have a blog with lots of informative posts. – I loved this one about hunting the northern lights.
We were met by one of the SADcars staff – Oscar.. I think! – at Keflavik airport, who drove us to some remote place where all the vehicles were kept. The pics above were taken there.
As you can see, our first day in Iceland was BRIGHT and SUNNY (but bear in mind the temperature was about 3 – 5 degrees centigrade).
Next task – load up the diesel!
Orkan was supposedly the cheapest you could get (thanks again SADcars). We were told to avoid N1 too :p. We stopped by the supermarket attached to it – called BONÚS and has a pink cartoon pig as their logo – to stock up on food. Bought lots of WATER, chocolate milk (or kókó mjólk), bread, crisps, ham, fruit, etc to be kept in the trunk.
The Blue Lagoon
As The Blue Lagoon (Iceland’s most popular attraction/geothermal spa) is closer to Keflavik Airport than Reykjavik city, many people choose to make their visit as soon as they arrive or on the last day of their trip. We chose the former.
It was such a beautiful day and compared to what was in store the following week, I really only saw very little of it but I was already in AWE of the landscape! It was love at first sight as we drove to The Blue Lagoon. Did you know that the lagoon is clearly visible in any satellite imagery?
You could smell the delightful scent of sulphur AKA ROTTEN EGGS even at the parking lot.
Entry to the lagoon was €35 per person and includes use of a towel and locker. This rate is for October to December inclusive only – it gets more expensive during peak period/summer.
They’ve got a high tech system where the lockers are digitally operated using a plastic wristband, which you also use to purchase food and drink during your time there. You pay the bill on your wristband when you exit the spa 🙂
And OH it was soooo good peeling off all those layers. I already had my bathers on under my clothes from London – I was READY. The most challenging part was walking those few steps OUT of the changing area/locker rooms TO the water. I imagined running for it and doing a cannonball but thought against it for fear of slipping, breaking something and then RUINING the rest of my trip! OR.. I might have got kicked out of the place..
All pics from the lagoon were taken using my iPhone 5 plus waterproof/submersible case by Aquapac. They have the best cases – I’ve bought them for my parents and I also have one for my camera (Olympus PEN).
Linda being happy.
In this pic I was doing some sort of ‘happy spin’.
In certain areas they have buckets of silica mud that you can slap on. It’s supposed to deep cleanse and exfoliate your skin.
I saw it as an opportunity for some funny photos!
With Linda and Jason, who smacked on SO MUCH on his nose that it looked like an ugly, globbedy extension of his face. I copied him, hehe.
I laughed so much at the pic on the right because of how Jason’s serious face got caught in the nook of my elbow.. haha
Linda saw me standing there and wanted to join in. She’s looking for a place on the rocks where she can plant her feet and stand up too..
We then had the GREAT idea of playing this rather stupid game – of seeing WHO could stand with their body OUT of the water for the longest time. There were five of us.. and surprisingly.. I won -_-
And somehow, even though it was …. cold (refraining from swearing).. I was just so determined to prove to myself that I COULD, and once all the water had dried off my skin it actually felt kinda good! I felt energised! I felt… like.. a WINNER. HA haha!
The down side? Because of the drastic change in temperature, it felt like I dunked myself in scalding hot water when I went back in later.. owww.
Yes! You can buy Magnum ice cream from the lagoon bar! (sorry for the bad pic)
We found that certain areas were warmer than others and we would swim around looking for the ‘hot spots’, then stay there forever.
When it was time to exit the warrrmmm water (hours later), we all braced ourselves for the stinging cold air. After psyching myself up for a few minutes, I finally clambered up the steps, ran to the towel hooks (they’re all numbered so you know which one is yours).. only to find that some COW had taken MY towel. So I ran straight back into the pool and had to wait for someone to bring me a replacement towel.. *sheesh some people..*
After getting showered and dressed, we walked up to the roof through the dining hall to get a more aerial view of the lagoon.
You can buy silica mud, and all sorts of other skincare products from the blue lagoon shop.
One of the beauties of winter is that there are lonnnnggg sunsets.
I’m wearing a boys’ size 12 Billabong ski jacket. Glam, right?
My flutterpony came along, too! She’s tiny – not even as tall as my pinky.
Sægreiffin / Sea Baron Restaurant
With the help of TripAdvisor and a friend of mine who had been to Reykjavik recently, we drove down to the old harbour to try out the ever so popular and ‘world famous’ lobster bisque/lobster soup at Sæegreiffin Restaurant. It’s conveniently located just 5 minutes away from our accommodation for the night.
The question is – was it really THAT good?
The answer is YES. It was DEEEELISH.
I can’t remember the price of the soup in ISK, but I remember it being about the equivalent of £6-7. The soup’s apparently spiced with cloves and cinnamon, and made with a red peppery broth. If you’re Malaysian/asian.. it somehow kind of tastes like a mild/dilute curry laksa soup! But lobstery.
The menu at Sægreiffin is simple. Actually there’s no real menu. There’s a fridge – you simply pick the meat (seafood) you want, pay at the counter, and it gets grilled and served to you. From what I recall, each stick was between £5-10.
I had the halibut. The portions were pretty big and it went very well with the lobster soup.
The first night was spent in Reykjavik at a two-bedroom loft apartment I booked via Airbnb. The next morning, we set off on our big adventure.