Iceland 8 Day Honeymoon Roadtrip [DAY 1] Fermented shark, ugly churches and an amazing hot spring trail


After getting picked up by Kuku Campers and brought to their car workshop to pick up our campervan – a 4WD Dodge Durango – which we instantly dubbed “The Bodyguard”, we decided to explore Iceland’s capital, Reyjavik first.  We planned to go in an anti-clockwise direction around the ring road starting with Reykjavik and dropping the car off directly at the airport (which is a distance away). 
Before we set off, we went to Ikea (just next door to KuKu Campers!) to pick up some cushions for pillows. They were just 250ISK each – about SGD3 each only! Be sure to eat their hot dogs. They’re COMPLETELY different from Singapore ones. They’re stuffed with this thing called cronions.
Then we went to Bonus (their supermarket) to stock up on cooking supplies.
Our goal that day was to make it to Vik.

Visit Hallgrímskirkja Church

add: Hallgrímstorg 101, Reykjavík, Iceland tel: +354 510 1000 open: 9am to 9pm, daily
coordinates: 64.14171, -21.92663
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of the church. I was disappointed at how stark and stern it looked. It seemed to me to lord over the stout houses that were strewn around it. The gray spires of the church were more concrete eyesore than stylish design. Also it cost 700ISK to head to the roof. Colour me unimpressed. It is however, a must-see, tourist-thing to do when you are in Reykjavik.
Stop by Cafe Loki

The small cubes with the flag is fermented shark. Surrounded by mashed fish on rye, smoked lamb on rye, smoked trout on rye and dried fish. This was the Icelandic platter of traditional food.
add: 28, Lokastígur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland tel: +354 466 2828 open: 9am to 9pm, daily
coordinates: 64.1424, -21.92885
This was disappointing. It was lauded as the must-visit cafe with affordable local grub. WHAT LIES.

1) portions were seriously lacking. 2) Food was tasteless. I did not enjoy it. But it IS the place to try the infamous fermented shark. ONLY eat that, then leave, quickly. By tasting it, you will have opened your palette to a soft, briny cube that taste fishy on first bite, but blooms into a smouldering afterburn of hot garbage on a summer day – in your mouth.

Visit the Sun Voyager

add: Sculpture, Shore Walk, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
coordinates: 64.14761, -21.92228

Sooth your mouth with a trip to this famed Icelandic structure. Open your mouth with the window open, the cold air will cleanse it. What’s stunning about this smooth, metal structure is more its surroundings. It looks out into the vast sea, with misty mountains as its backdrop. It’s your first glimpse of the natural beauty of Iceland to be very honest.

Eat at Saegreifinn

add: Tryggvagata, 101 Reykjavik tel: +354 553 1500 open: 11:30am to 10pm daily
coordinates: 64.1508, -21.94404

This tiny little sea shack is just down the road from the Sun Voyager. Also, you’ll pass Harpa Concert Hall on the way there, so tourist-thing check! It serves up fabulous lobster soup, or in their words, “world’s best lobster soup”. No lie, it is pretty amazing! They serve it with bread and butter, and the thick soup, resplendent with generous chunks of chopped up lobster, is perfect for the chilly weather outdoors. It’s 1,300ISK for a bowl.

Head to Reykjadalur Hot Spring Trail

coordinates: 64.02286, -21.21164

Leave the depressing greyness of Reykjavik behind and head to the REAL reason you came to Iceland – the rest of Iceland. As you drive towards your first adventure, you’ll notice the scenery is a world of difference from everywhere else, as is the feeling you get from this vastness. Here, you’re really in awe of the beauty of the world and what God has created. (Best experienced with the window down and NOT in a tour bus). 

Anyways, after a drive, you’ll come to your first stop: the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Trail. You’ll spot it thanks to the bunch of cars parked around an inconsequential hill dotted with little smoking holes.
See the trail is 3km long. Did NOT feel like it though.
Online, you’ll find people talking about how it’s a quick 40min walk. Not if you’re a city-born, lazy girl like me it ain’t. It was a 1 hour 30min walk from the start of the trail to the hot spring. This was no bukit timah climb. It had you weaving through gravel paths, walking past bubbling pools of sulfur, tiptoeing on narrow paths on the edge of steep cliffs before reaching the jackpot: a long, steaming stream, segmented into little “pools” for folks to jump into.

Here’s the river in all it’s glory! Stones were used to break it into “pools”.

It was a fantastic reward for the long suffering. You’ll find plenty of Pinterest-worthy photos of an isolated looking river – don’t be fooled – when we got there there was a shit-ton of people. A lot of oldies and walked past us and returned, passing us again – making us feel like lard-buckets – but we persevered through muddy terrain (cause it was raining) and it was totally worth it!

Here are some key pictures of the trail:
Horses we saw along the way.

Here’s what the actual river looked like. It snaked all around the hill and started at a smoky “pot”.

Just one of the many smoking mud pots we had to walk by.
Just one of the many waterfalls we saw along the way.

1) Before you start on the trail, wear your swimsuit inside whatever you are currently wearing. Also bring a large towel, slippers, and if you want, a change of underwear – all in a safe and secure bag.
2) There are no changing rooms, but there are little quartered stalls for folks to leave their stuff at and change. Don’t be ashamed, no one cares even if you strip naked (from experience), cause they all strip. It’s too cold to care. 
3) It is FREEZING AND WINDY before and especially after you jump into the water, so prepare your change of clothes and hold them down with your bag. Use your towel to cover up if you’re super conscious about flashing your naughty bits as you change out of your bathers.
Camp at Hellisholar

add: Hellisholar, 861 Hlíðarendi, Iceland tel:  +354 487 8360
 coordinates: 63.72481, -20.03921
It’s about 1,500ISK per person to camp there. The toilet and shower areas are warm and toasty!

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