14 days, 4 countries, 7 cities, and a start I couldn’t have dreamt . . .

17 07 2010

By Kinero Tan

When mapping out my time in Europe, Iceland was nowhere to found on my original agenda.  Yet, upon meeting with my travel agent I would discover that the most cost effective route in getting to London included a 2-day layover in what is now on my list of underrated hidden gems in the world, Reykjavík, Iceland.

A combination of 24-hour sunlight, hot springs, exploding geysers, and a landscape that lives up to the pictures you see in brochures . . . for an unseasoned traveler like myself this destination was delightfully unexpected, igniting the fuses of the imagination.

My first day included venturing out to the Blue Lagoon, an outdoor geothermal spa.  This lava formation creating steamy water, is one of Iceland’s main attractions.  A tour for 3200 ISK (Icelandic Krona) the equivalent to approximately 26 USD would include entry to the Blue Lagoon facility, as well as a bus ride to and from your accommodations.

After a 5-minute walk surrounded by 10-foot high natural rock walls, I would approach a modern structure with a backdrop of Iceland’s beautiful countryside.  Thick clouds of steam hover above the water’s surfaces as visitors walk around enjoying waterfall massages, walk up bars where you can conveniently scan your wristband, steam rooms, saunas, and silica mud masks that are provided in boxes around the lagoon.

After spending hours soaking, I felt relaxed, my skin revitalized, and ready for another Icelandic adventure. Later that evening as I aimlessly walked around the narrow streets of Reykjavík admiring the beautiful people and unique architecture, I would stumble upon thousands of Icelanders enjoying a free concert in the park featuring Damien Rice and other local bands.

If you are looking to experience the real nightlife in this city, one suggestion I would make is to plan your stay around a Friday night.  This is the one night of the week Icelanders truly party hard.  Because of the high cost of cocktails, the youth enjoy drinking at home, or “prefunking” as we call it in the states, up until 1AM to 2AM.  The bars and clubs are at peak capacity around 4AM and during this time of year, partying till the sun comes up doesn’t apply . . .

Here is a picture taken at 3:45AM

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