Iceland: A nice stopover

IMG_5715.JPGA fun way to go to Europe is via Icelandair and stop in Iceland for a few days. We returned from Paris on the day of the terrorist attacks in Belgium. We felt thankful that we flew on Icelandair as we figured it was less likely to be a target than if we were flying on an American carrier. But we were also thankful to be out of Europe (given the circumstances) and looking forward to a safe and wonderful time in Iceland.

The Hotel Borg is one of the best in Reykjavik. It is clean and the staff is helpful and it has a nice bar. There is currently no glamorous or five-star hotel in the country. (Although supposedly a five star is going in at the Blue Lagoon resort.) The best part of the hotel rooms are their bathrooms which are wonderful with the marble floors being heated which is a nice touch.

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Eggert’s men’s mink jacket

We went to see my furrier – doesn’t that sound grand? But, Eggert of Eggert’s Furs is so much more than a “furrier.” He is a voice in Iceland for protecting the environment and for full use of skins from animals and fish who die naturally. As he says, it is better to use them than to follow the old practice of burning the carcasses and contributing to air pollution. His designs are magnificent. I first got to know Eggert when he designed a line of furs called the Alex Garfield Collection that he presented in Europe when The Very Secret Weapon was launched in Europe. That line was exquisite as are his current creations. He loves showing all his newest designs to anyone who walks in the door. And, in comparison to New York, the prices are wonderful. 

We went to two great restaurants. The first was Prir Frakkar which is a cozy place with a large wooden statue of Humphrey Bogart holding up one end of the bar and a menu that includes puffin, whale, and horse which our Icelandic friends say they don’t eat but are put on some menus just for the visitors. IMG_5682The local lamb and beef were excellent as was the langoustine which is what we had. The second was the Hotel Holt which has a restaurant full of fascinating and eclectic paintings. The food was much more local Icelander fair and we were the only visitors in the restaurant at lunch. The food was great. The langoustines were served and there were 14 for one serving. The local veal with homemade pasta was delicious and had more shaved black truffles on one plate that one would ever receive in the U.S. Truly delicious and they had some nice European wines to go with the meal.

The most touristy thing to do in Reykjavik is to go to the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa. As their website explains:

The Blue Lagoon The geothermal water originates 2,000 metres below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed via drilling holes at a nearby geothermal power plant, Svartsengi, to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities.

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On its way to the surface, the water picks up silica and minerals, before emerging at a soothing

38°C (100°F). Perfect for a relaxing and re-energising bathe.

The geothermal water has a unique composition, featuring three active ingredients – Silica, Algae & Minerals.

The blue colour comes from the silica and the way it reflects sunlight. During the summer, there can also be a hint of green in the water. This is the result of the algae, which multiplies quickly when exposed to direct sunlight.”  

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When in it, one can barely see past four inches deep into the water. If you are going you should make your reservations well in advance since it is fully booked several weeks before one can get a time. Also, book a massage in the lagoon, and, as long as it’s not sleeting, it is a very enjoyable experience.

We didn’t have time this trip to do the other fun outings such as the Glacier, visiting ice caves or the Tectonic plate divide but if you are going for a week you should do all of the above.

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One Response to Iceland: A nice stopover

  1. Mary Grace Richardson says:

    Thank you for sharing your travel adventures. Iceland is definitely on my bucket list. 🙂

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