Greetings from Heathrow airport in London where I’m currently finishing up a 12 hour layover before heading to Barcelona. I figured I’d take this time to give y’all a few nuggets of wisdom I learned in the past few days through my Icelandic ventures.
Know your currency. Prior to my trip, I went to my local bank and ordered some Icelandic krona. Tyler didn’t. So when we arrived at the airport in Iceland (KEF; which is super small and modern and amazing btw), she went over to an ATM to withdraw some local cash. Only problem is she got the whole comma/period thing confused and withdrew wayyyyy more cash than she needed. WHOOPS! So definitely be mindful of that. She couldn’t exchange it back until we were leaving the country.
Plan ahead. I’m all about “winging it.” It’s basically my life’s motto. But, my friends, sometimes it’s best to actually plan ahead. One of the things I was most looking forward to in Iceland was visiting the Blue Lagoon. But it was all booked up for the dates and times we wanted to go; womp womp! Make sure to look into popular places/events to see if you need to book in advance.
Read the fine print. If you venture to Iceland, you’ll probably become familiar with the Flybus. It runs to and from the airport and you can easily book tickets on the spot or online. However…Ty and I booked a ticket for an 1130AM pickup from our hostel; we stood outside from 1125 to close to noonbefore calling the folks to see what was up. Turns out we needed to be outside half an hour prior to our listed departure time — whoops! Luckily we got placed on the next bus free of charge, but my freezing fingers and toes could’ve been saved a bit had we been more vigilant.
Do it while you can. It’s easy to see an opportunity and say, “oh well we can always do that later/tomorrow/etc” but if you have the time and money (if necessary) to do whatever “it” is in the moment — DO IT! Ty and I went to visit the famous church in Reykjavik on our first day in town (a cold, but clear, day). We had the option of going up the tower to get a 360 view of the city but opted to save that for another time. Welp! Wrong choice as the rest of our days were blustery and blizzard-like. We ended up going up the tower on our last day but it was snowing so much we couldn’t see anything. So, going forward, if we have an opportunity to do something cool, we’re doing it right then and there!
In just a few hours I’ll be in Spain! More updates to come…stay tuned!
Well, today I ate plenty of things I never thought I’d ever eat. Liiiiiike sour whale, ram’s testicles, sheeps head jelly, pickled herring and the dreaded fermented (aka rotten) shark. Eek! All of these were included in a sample platter at Cafe Loki (recommended by local tour guide, Eric). The cafe is located right across the street from the famous Hallgrimskirkja church.
I wasn’t super excited about diving into the bites below… Famed Chef Anthony Bourdain has said the fermented shark is the “single worst and most disgusting thing” he’s ever eaten in HIS LIFE. And dude has eaten plenty of crazy things around the world…so I was rightfully scared.
Tyler posing below with her bites of ram testicles. They were the worst things (tied with sour whale) on the dish in my opinion. I managed to get through the fermented shark pretty easily; it wasn’t as bad as everyone claims it is.
Other bites on the dish included blood sausage, liver sausage, dried lamb and dried fish…
Below is a whale steak dish from another cafe we went to…it wasn’t what I expected at all. I was expecting it to look more like the sour whale above (white strip third from the right) but it was more like eating a gamey land animal and I actually liked it. So if you want more normal, delicious Icelandic food go here: Ostabúðin.
Iceland is certainly an adventure! I’d also really recommend the famous lamb hot dog stand. Oh, and the tap water here is great! Pure, and straight from the glaciers. Woooo! Off to Barcelona tomorrow (but not before a quick 13 hr layover in London)!
Greetings from…ICELAND!!! It’s definitely cold here but the beautiful scenery more than makes up for it. With a population of just 330,000 (plus or minus) and a super low crime rate (think: 1.2 murders a year), this peaceful country is a true gem. Check out some pics below and don’t forget to follow @jackiejackiejoyjoy for more adventures!
Tyler and I went on a walking tour and I was the model for this super cool glove that doubles as a drink holder! Hahah greatest invention ever.
…I still need to pack. I’m stressin’. Wow Airlines only allows passengers ONE carry on…no personal item. What’s a gal supposed to do without a handbag?! Eek.
Packing for 3 weeks with one carry on is an impressive feat. Luckily all the places I’ll be staying have laundry facilities soooo that’s a plus. I’ve already told everyone that no souvenirs will be bought; y’all are getting postcards, which in my opinion, are SO much better. I’ll take a postcard over a tchotchke (think: chotchsky) any day. #snailmailforever
I’ve been trolling the Iceland and Reykjavik tags on WordPress/Instagram and I’m just getting progressively more excited.
Also, have you noticed EVERYONE has been/is going there?! A woman in my temp office just booked a trip to Iceland for next year and when I went to the bank to pick up some Icelandic currency the banker was like, ‘oh I just went there with my buddy a few months ago.’
Have you been to Iceland? Any recommendations?! Let me know!
Here’s my list so far:
Golden Circle Tour
Northern Lights (fingers crossed!)
Icelandic Phallological Museum (yes. this is a thing.)
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur hot dogs (because…Bill Clinton)