Thursday, 17 January 2013

Reykjavik - place of mountains, beards and Bjork

I just spent four days in beautiful Iceland. Travelling alone, I explored Reyjavik with plans to see and eat everything but not enough kronas in my wallet. I had an incredible time there.
The main highlight was bumping into one of my lifetime idols - Bjork! She was just strolling down Laugavegur, the main shopping street. I almost fainted and asked her if she was Bjork, even though it was obvious but she looked down then ran across the road! Sadly no photo for me then but still an amazing experience.
The atoms aurora borealis were being lazy and didn't put on a very good display so was rather underwhelmed by that. 
It's not as cold as I expected, the days were between 0-9 degrees. It was actually cooler as I arrived back home. Also the just 5 hours of light took some getting used to.
A welcoming, warm and peppery smelling massive greenhouse was another interesting visit made even better by it's home made tomato soup which was undoubtedly the best I've had, and I'm not a fan of tomatoes normally. Rows of the juicy fruit in various stages of growth were on display and pots of basil and scissors were on tables for you to snip into your soup.
The food was hit and miss. Cafe Loki was incredible , the food was delicate and simple, their rye bread ice cream is just spectacular. Cafe Babalu is quirky and cosy with the best chocolate banana crepes, bulging with thick chocolate sauce. Sushibarinn had wonderful fresh sushi and very delicious salmon tartar with avocado, chilli and black and white sesame. Those three are a must if you visit.
I saw a few geysers and waterfalls too but got very lonely out there, despite being used to travelling alone - at 19 I travelled to Greece on my own for two weeks, saganaki cheese..hello!
Perhaps the loneliness was due to the hotel being a fair walk away from the centre and no one else my age staying there, though I'm pretty sure they were all British, which can be disappointing. 
I'd recommend younger folk (or those young at heart) to stay at the hostel on Laugavegur as the staff are ridiculously friendly and travellers just hang out in the lobby there, enjoying the live music and other activities.

Here are some photos in no particular order.
Lovely soja latte at a restaurant that had no name (popular theme in Reykjavik)
Hotel buffet dinner, soup was so salty!

First introduction to Plokkfiskur, Icelandic fish stew..wasn't expecting this and didn't enjoy. Had the texture of tuna on a jacket potato after being chewed for a while. The bread was lovely, very syrupy

Crepe with maple syrup, flaky and light

Some street art that is prevalent across Reykjavik

Had one of those brownies, they were lovely and the girls here were kind and chatty, recommending the best places for nights out.

At the greenhouse

More art

More tomatoes

The tomato cafe

Lovely soup

More salty vegetable soup at a restaurant out near the geysers

This pecan pie was delicious, great pastry and wobbly sweet filling

Wrapped up enjoying the landscape

Salmon tartare at Sushibarinn

Sushi platter at Sushibarinn

Gorgeous generously filled  chocolate and banana crepe at the wonderful Cafe Babalu

Cafe Babalu

The view from the church tower, looks like the edge of the world!

Simple and elegant food at Cafe Loki. Egg and pickled herring on one rye, incredible buttery rich (much better than before) plokkfiskur on the other accompanied by amazing rye bread ice cream

Traditional Icelandic food - Skyr served with cream and sugar. How I didn't get ill I have no idea!

Amazing bakery. Bought some rye bread to take home and it's dense and sour and lovely

Yellow house

Church tower

Seafood coconut soup at Sushi Samba, also had calamari tempura and the most incredible basil aioli

Inside Cafe Babalu

A lovely scene on a beautiful walk


Auður - I heart Reykjavík said...

The restaurant without a name that you had your soya latter is called Frú Berglaug because it's on the corner of Bergstaðarstræti and Laugarvegur (Berglaug is also a female name).

Anonymous said...

Hej, good to see your pics, I need to go cafe Babalu, it looks so tiny and cool. Can you recommend any other places to stay outside Reykjavik? like cute small traditional wood houses? I`m going in feb for 10 days. Would like to stay half trip in Reykjavik backpacker n half on my own somewhere relaxing. Still needs to be not to expensive.
Would be cool to get some info..

Komal said...

Hi anon, glad you like :)
I'm not an expert on Iceland so couldn't recommend anything other than what I already have done in my post. Have you tried asking for hosts on
Not sure if you'll manage to visit iceland without spending a lot though as it is a very expensive place.

uknittel said...

hi, we will be in Reyjavik for a few days in febuary: si I'd like to ask: where is the green house and how can one get there? Sounds really interesting!
cheers Ulrich

uknittel said...

Hi, we will go to Reyjavik in Febuary.
How can we go to the greenhouse (by public transport)?
Sounds very interesting!!

best wishes Ulrich

Komal said...

The greenhouse was part of the golden circle tour. You can arrange to go on the tour from your hotel room, tourist shops and hostels

uknittel said...

Hi, we will go to Reyjavik in Febuary and hence like to know where is the greenhouse and how to go there by pubic transport.
thanks for the blog and best wishes Ulrich

Emma @ Bake Sew Grow said...

Okay so I've read two of your posts and each have made me extremely envious! Would love to visit Reykjavik one day :D