The plan today was to drive to Reykjavik. We thought of waking up early to check out the Akureyri geothermal swimming pool. Apparently it’s the best in the country. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in our cards as sleep was more important. But, that was not the main event !
Our AirBnB host (Ragnar) told us about this “secret” hot spring pool located in the middle of nowhere and it was en-route to Reykjavik. Even Google maps doesn’t know where it is and Google knows everything ….
We were giddy in excitement cause that’s the ultimate soak we’ve been anticipating in Iceland.
Ragnar drew us the map onwhere to turn off and wished us good luck.
First thing first, breakfast by the harbour.
Did some walking around Akureyri downtown.
The souvenir shops have such quirky pretty things. Travelling on a budget sucks ….. I wanted to buy them all!
We left town around noon and with the help of Google maps and Ragnar’s map, we made our way to the secret pool.
We drove for about 45 minutes to a town called Varmahlíð. From there we followed his map to a horse race track. He said if you can find that horse race track, you’re on the right trek.
About 15 minutes on the road to no where, we saw the race track and there was a car parked there with two guys. Damnit ! We’re not alone. So much for skinny dipping ….
Fortunately for us, they were leaving. Phew!
We quickly grabbed our stuff and jumped over the fence.
And then we heard another car pulling it. Arghhhh! We power walked down the path and followed the river. We figured if we get ahead of them, we’ll have the pool to ourselves for a bit.
Finally, lo and behold ….. The secret hot spring…
Clothes flew off in the speed of light and splooooosh!!
Cute pool beside the river… Unreal!
It was beyond incredible. I almost teared… I thought the hot river in Reykjaladur was amazing but this, this is even better ! The temperature of the water was about 38 degrees Celsius and the river next to it is frigid cold.
We can see the steam and water bubbling from the ground between the river and the pool. Behind us is the source of the hot water that flows into the pool and creates a nice lukewarm bath. Just like our own private tub in the wild.
Our intimate moment with Mother Nature was short lived when another couple arrived. They were wondering how did we know about this place because apparently, it’s very secretive. 15 minutes later, we could see a group of people walking towards the pool. By then, we were ready to leave.
Sayonara secret pool!
When we got to our car, there were several cars that just arrived. Phew ! We sure did lucked out cause that pool was about 10ft by 10 ft and it won’t be fun squishing with everybody.
So much for being a secret pool …. hopefully those
China tourist will never discover it …
We continued our journey to Reykjavik. Ragnar also told us to Stop at Staðarskáli for kjötsúpa, a traditional lamb soup.
We got to this N-1 gas station and we were like okaaaay…. This must be the place cause there’s nothing else out here.
Sure enough, its gas station restaurant and they do serve the soup. Best part of all, FREE REFILLS FOR SOUP AND BREAD for 1990 KR or $19.90.
Best news for cheapskates like us 😂
After fueling our bellies, we made our way to Reykjavik. We were looking up places to try traditional Icelandic cuisine that may or may not involve ram testicles ….
Fortunately, we decided on whale, puffin and shark at Islenski barinn. To be honest, I was curious and scared at the same time especially with the shark.
Kæstur hákarl (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈhauːkʰardl̥]) (Icelandic for “treated shark”) is a national dish of Iceland consisting of a Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) or other sleeper shark which has been cured with a particular fermentationprocess and hung to dry for four to five months. Kæstur hákarl is usually an acquired taste; it has a very particular ammonia-rich smell and fishy taste.
Oh yummm 😱
We stayed at an AirBnB in Hafnarfjordur. It was clean and most importantly, has laundry! We’ve been wearing the same pants and top for 5 days. It was nice to finally have a change of clothes. Speaking of clothes, we’ll be doing a separate post on what we brought on our trip.
Cost : $150 for 2 nights
Oh yeah, the Internet is great too. You’ll learn to have an appreciation for strong WiFi after being on the road for a while.
We had another late start cause laundry took too long … Wasn’t until 2 am when we got to bed. It didn’t help when the room had no black out blinds. The sun was shining through the curtains.
Carrot and Toast for Breakfast
We decided to visit the Viking Museum as we heard good things about it.
Definitely did not disappoint.
It was relatively small but you can certainly spend a whole day learning about the Viking history, the history of Iceland and the regions as well as their famous Norse god sagas. The audio guide was very entertaining as it tells the stories of the Norse mythology.
Ahoy, I see Sheep
They also had a replica of a Viking ship that was built by Icelandic ship builder Mr Gunnar Marel Eggertsson in 1996 who used an authentic ninth century viking ship as a model and sailed it to New York in 2000 as a part of the millennial celebration of Leifur Eiríksson’s journey to the New World.
After the museum, we headed towards downtown. We didn’t have any specific plans except to mail a wool blanket we purchased in Vik.
It was lunch time and we decided to grab fish and chips from a vendor by the harbour.
Best fish and chips ever!
It was quite expensive for the amount – $20 for 3 pieces of codfish, fries and sauce. Oh yeah, the sauce was a mayo and ketchup mix. So delicious ! The cod was so fresh and soft.
We shared that meal and it only made us hungrier. We crossed the road and saw a sign outside a restaurant called Icelandic Fish and Chips
Happy Hour Special
“1550 KR / $15.50 for mix platter of fish and a glass of beer”
It didn’t take us long to get seated and greedily waited for our platter.
I swear they put drugs in the fish cause it was so bloody good ! I wanted MORE but my stomach can only handle so much.
So soft, so juicy …. I will be missing you
After overloading on fish and chips, we wandered around. The downtown area is very pretty and has a lot of restaurants and cafe. I have to say, the food has been amazing so far.
We caught the Iceland vs Austria game at the Ingólfstorg square.
A large screen was erected for fans to cheer the Iceland soccer team in the Euro Cup 2016
Iceland! Iceland! Iceland!
You could tell they were an estatic bunch. After all, making top 16 is quite an achievement for Iceland.
Since it was our last night in Iceland, we were debating if we want to have hotdogs or splurge (again) for dinner. We came across this restaurant called Sæta Svínið and they had slow cooked lamb shoulder and horse carpaccio.
Wasn’t a difficult decision to make after all 😂
It was an incredible meal ! Totally worth the 8080 KR / $80.80
Ohhhh did I mention we were sitting next to an Icelandic musician/celebrity during dinner in the restaurant? Funny part was, we didn’t know he was one until he told us that he was part of a band. He was very nice and friendly. We chat abit about his music, Iceland and how much we enjoyed it. Finally when we Googled his band….
And this concludes our Iceland trip.
7 days seemed like a long time but we barely scratched the surface. I know we’ll be back again because there’s so much more to discover of this spectacular country. Next time, it won’t be on a stringent budget ! I am eyeing some fur hats and head bands….
Thank you Iceland. You are a wonderful country and your beauty reminds us of humility and respect towards Mother Nature.