Iceland Part Four
Day 7 - Reykjavik
Day 8 - Silica Hotel, Blue Lagoon
The final stretch of the ring road brings us to Reykjavik! As you've previously read, in part three of this series, we arrived to the capital earlier than planned. Originally we weren't going to have the time to fully peruse this part of Iceland, but as luck (luck an ironic choice of words, I know) would have it we had two full days to soak in the city and the geothermal baths!
Walking to the famous Hallgrímskirkja church of Iceland we first became struck by the vibrant graffiti plastered across this building. As we drew nearer we were strongly overcome by the smell of cinnamon and realized we'd stumbled upon a bakery. Salivating before even opening the door, we knew we had to stop in. Holy moly. The BEST cinnamon rolls either of us has ever tasted. Later in the day we walked by and noticed a line wrapped around the building. We stumbled upon a local favorite completely by accident and at just the right time.
Beyond satisfied with our culinary discovery, we waddled to the church to find the exterior under construction. James took a liking to scoping out the structural materials while I was swept away by the interior design. The beautifully crafted arches in the ceiling and the stained glass in particular.
Harpa is an opera house noticeable by it's incredibly unique, honeycomb design. We sat inside a bit, taking in the angles of the building in addition to the view of the city from inside. We enjoyed browsing the large quantity of ironic and slightly inappropriate novelties, unsure of what made Harpa the designated venue for such items.
On the topic of inappropriate, did you know Reyjavik is home to the world's largest phallological museum? I'll spare writing about the anatomical details, but you can click the link and read about it yourself. Maybe we're children at heart, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to checkout something this bizarre and interesting. Or from taking a few silly pictures.
Maybe what's more disturbing than the museum itself is that we followed up the experience by dining at this world famous hot dog stand. Huffington Post says this hot dog could be the best in the world and we don't disagree. We ordered ours with everything and even though I've never been someone to eat a hot dog, um, ever, it really was worth the wait. Even after our perturbing tour of the similarly-shaped unmentionables.
Not until writing this up did I realize how much outlandish entertainment we packed into one day in Reykjavik. Following a nap we explored another bar serving up rare Danish brews. Mikkeller & Friends are located around the world, with the only U.S. locations in California. We'd visited one when we spent a few days in the San Francisco area a few years ago. In Reykjavik, a house has been converted into a bar and restaurant with the attic space dedicated to the taps.
We sipped suds, working up a light buzz, before maneuvering to the grand finale. Strolling through town we saw an advertisement for a drag show and decided why not? The bar tender at our hotel praised the Icelandic Drag community for their contribution to the resurgence of this art form. So we went out of curiosity and to show our support. We observed a group of dedicated performers who were as professional as they were lighthearted and comical. The patrons surprised us most of all, who were quiet and respectful to the same effect as if they were watching an opera. Maybe the drinks weren't strong enough, but it took the enticement of the MC to get the crowd worked up. Regardless, the show really was artfully scandalous and we loved it!
I've already proclaimed that Akureyri was our favorite spot in Iceland, but if we hadn't seen the northern lights then this hotel could maybe slip into first place. The award winning Silica Hotel is set in the middle of a lava field, a short path from the Blue Lagoon Spa.
Staying here gave us private access to their geothermal spa in addition to passes to the Blue Lagoon. Honestly, after soaking up the silica in our own accommodations I wasn't all that motivated to leave our hotel in favor of a "theme park." We went anyways and enjoyed a drink, on the house, as well as another silica facial and an algae mask. We ate dinner at the Blue Lagoon restaurant, Lava, which was disappointing in comparison to our other dining experiences, though likely the most expensive of them all.
Our favorite way to end any rugged adventure is in luxury. We did just that in our incredible hotel, with the friendliest of staff and the softest of robes. A goodnight's sleep prepared us for a long day of travel; me back to Houston and James to St. Johns. A lovely first year wedding anniversary stamped on our passports and our hearts.