Hanging around Reykjavik

Jul 28

Hanging around Reykjavik

So yesterday we arrived in Spain at midnight and didn’t make it to our hostel until 3am. We had every intention to put up a blog post last night, but sleep over-ruled. Lets start with were we left off…

Our hostel in Reykjavik was a rather interesting experience. We arrived at the hostel after a long 2 hour drive back from Gullfoss. During the ride we were both so tired, I fell sleep 3 or 4 times while sitting up and attempting to do something engaging, and Ryder started singing at the top of his lungs to stay awake (there was no music playing). By the time we made it to Reykjavik, I was super giggly and Ryder was ready to be out of the car. We parked along a street that was only a block away from the street our hostel was located on. We didn’t know where exactly on the street it was so we started walking… 10 blocks later and one bathroom break and we arrived!

 The hostel itself may have been nice, but we had a room in a flat across the street in a completely different building. I’m a clean freak and this place gave me the shivers. Lets just say I only showered once and under duress. After we settled in, we headed out to the local grocery to purchase dinner (our room came with a shared bathroom and kitchen). It’s so strange because it was 11:30pm at this point and still completely light outside with plenty of people walking around. Our first night, as you can imagine, we passed out. We woke up at 11:00am, ate the breakfast of champions (bread, peanut butter, and nutella) and set off to explore Reykjavik!

Our first stop was the famous church Hallgrímskirkja a few blocks away. This church is the largest church in Iceland and the sixth tallest architectural structure. The statue in the front courtyard of the church was a gift from the US! We were able to get tickets to take the elevator to the top and the views were spectacular!

We left the church and stopped at a hot-dog stand just outside the plaza to try an Icelandic hot-dog with sweet mayonnaise (rémoulade), ketchup, and mustard. It was quite good. Then we walked back to the car to drive to the Viking museum on the water front. On they way, we stopped into a photographers studio and spoke with the artist’s wife who was managing the shop. She was from Thailand and gave us some great information on what to see and do when we get there.

Then it was in the car and we were off. Unfortunately, we went to the wrong museum. I had wanted to see the museum with the replica viking ship, but the one we went to was the Icelandic Maritime museum. They did have some information on the vikings but it was a small display at the front. We went through the whole exhibit before we realized our mistake and hurried out back into the car to drive to the right museum. It was closed. 🙁 Oh, well, something to see next time we visit.

We walked around the plaza a bit, wondering what to do with the remainder of our evening (it was 5:00pm at this point). Ryder did some searching on his phone and discovered a “warm beach” about 20 minutes from where we were. We decided to stop by an information booth to ask about it. The guy we spoke with suggested we go visit one of the many public pools in Reykjavik instead of the beach and pointed us to one about 15 minutes away with “great views.” We hopped into our little car and off we went to the public pool!

Public pools in Iceland are numerous and seem to be a community space for people to escape the biting cold weather in the winter and still cold weather in the summer. We arrived at the public pool, payed for our entrance and split our respective male and female lockers to put on our suits. Now, let me mention that I am a rather conservative person when it comes to, well, being naked. I only do it in the privacy of my own home. In Iceland, it is required for all people entering the pools to wash in the open showers in the facilities BEFORE putting on your bathing suit, ie butt naked. I verified this with a woman using the locker next to me who promptly said, “It’s the Icelandic way.” Ok, when in Rome, well in this case when in Iceland…

I met Ryder on the other side in the pool area. He had a similar experience to mine in the male lockers, lots of naked men (in my case women) walking around talking to each other. We wasted no time jumping into the pool, and swam our way over to the numerous hot tubs surrounding the pool with lots of bubbles and jets. We soaked for quite awhile and I think just about everyone knew we were foreign as they were all locals and we received plenty of stares. Ryder took a few minutes to steam in the steam room and then we went back into the lockers, showered again, dressed, and left back to Reykjavik.

Once in Reykjavik we walked around the shopping district close to our hostel and stumbled upon this plaza filled with people around our age drinking beer and listening to a DJ spinning tracks. The plaza was surrounded on all sides by three to four story buildings and each one had the most amazing artwork. We hung around here for a bit then headed to a bar to get some local Icelandic beer. We went into an bar that turned out to be an Irish pub and had two beers, a Guinness and Kilkenny. We met three people, a man and woman from Ireland and a man from England. We had hilarious conversations with them. At 10:45pm we decided we should probably get dinner, said our goodbyes, and headed down the block to this sandwich shop. The sandwiches were GREAT and immensely satisfying. We headed back to the hostel after and got to bed pretty late.

I’m going to take a break from writing to see some of Barcelona today. Tonight, I’ll add another about the Blue Lagoon yesterday and our travel to Spain.


  1. Kelly (Ryder's Mom) /

    LOL Amanda remember sleeping ON TOP of the bed in Texas after we covered them with towels and kept our clothes on? Ewee. Thanks <3 for this blog update. I didn't sleep at all last night worrying about you both (no blog yesterday)… I know!! It(worrying) comes with being a Mom Job! Luv and Hugs Kelly

  2. Tawny Grossman /

    Kelly and the mother are full of worry… but happy for your adventures!
    L, Mom

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