Day 7: Seydisfjoudur to Hofn
After clearing the mountain pass, we stopped in the little town of Egilsstadir, pretty much because they have a Vinbudin. After stocking up, we noticed our left tire was flat. After consulting Avis, it was off to the tire shop. Back on the road and a large bill for Avis, for 2 tires we attempted to make up time driving to Hofn. There is a short cut on the way, highway 939, which is a mostly gravel and mountainous road which splits off the ring road, you still save over an hour taking this extreme detour, but watch out for crazy idiot sheep!
‘Lambhus Cottages’ located just past Hofn on a farm, overlooks the Vatnajokull glacier, the largest in Iceland. After nature time and petting the horses, we drove to dinner at a recommended restaurant on a nearby farm. The Hofn area is known for its langoustine or lobster and Jon Riki Restaurant at Holmur Guesthouse has mastered the art of lobster. After an appetizer of lobster soup, it was onto the main course of lobster pizza, because there is no such thing as too much lobster. This restaurant is also a brewery, which just recently became operational. The restaurant has no real address, but can be found thru their GPS coordinates, basically its on the Ring Road, in front of the big glacier.
Day 8: Hofn to Vik
After an early wake up in Hofn, because some weirdos like alarms on vacation, we headed to another neighboring farm for the breakfast buffet. For approximately $15, the buffet at Brunholl is well worth the price, plus their bread tastes like Christmas. Score Iceland: 1, the rest of Europe: 0 for properly cooking bacon, as an American I find this very important.
After breakfast we headed towards Vik, one of our shortest drives on our route. On the way we stopped at Jokulsarlon for the glacier lagoon experience. Showing up without a reservation, we waited an hour for a ticket time to accommodate five people. Thankfully the lagoon cafe sold hot chocolate mixed with rum. The Amphibian Boat tour costs 5,000 Kr or $45 for a 45 minute boat tour of the glacier lagoon. The lagoon was created by the receding Breidmerkurjokull (where do these words come from) glacier and is dotted with hundreds of beautiful white and blue icebergs, which have broken off due to the warming climate. Before leaving the boat, you have the opportunity to sample 1,000 year old ice. Slightly overpriced, I still recommend this tour because how often does one get to play in a glacier lagoon.
Soon, we arrived in Vik and checked into ‘North Star Apartments’, a spacious 2 bedroom apartment. Immediately we set off for the beach with bottles of champagne in our backpack. In Vik you will find one of the few black sand volcanic beaches in the world. The atmosphere on this beach is incredibly calming and I found myself happy sitting alone with my thoughts, music and of course champagne. After dipping our feet into the icy water we set off to explore Vik, which took a whopping 10 minutes.
Our only requirement for dinner was a menu which included fermented shark, therefore we selected Strondin, for the last supper. With only 4 full service restaurants in Vik understand that you might wait for a table, which just means time for a patio beers. The fermented shark appetizer was definitely a palate adventure and is served with a shot of Brennivin, a traditional Icelandic liquor. Snap chat captured our experience and the taste can only be described as fish dipped in chemicals, but when in Rome… Our entrees proved to be more fulfilling and we headed home early, as there is absolutely zero nightlife in Vik.
Day 9: Vik to Selfoss
Waking up I realized with a heavy heart, that this was my last real day in Iceland. For our morning exercise we hiked the majestic mountain behind our apartment. Half way up we realized there were thousands of Puffins nesting in the rock face which jutted out over the ocean. Careful not to disturb the bird’s environment, we were able to get with in 5 feet a family of puffins. We retreated back down the mountain before I kidnapped one as a new pet.
Unfortunately due to work constraints I would travel back to Reykjavik alone and without seeing the Golden Circle. Iceland has a wonderful bus system connecting each city back to Reykjavik. I hopped on the public bus in Selfoss for approx $9. I booked a bunk at Hlemmur Square hostel, while nice enough, this was by far the most boring hostel I have ever stayed in. Most people kept to themselves, even in the common rooms and happy hour. After a quick and lonely dinner at the Laundromat Cafe, I crashed early for an oh dark thirty departure to the airport.
Day 10: Fly home little bird
The most efficient way between Reykjavik city center and Keflavik airport is the Flybus. This express bus can be booked online at www.re.is/flybus and will pick you up at most city center hotels and hostels for 3000 isk or $25. Before boarding my 10:30 flight, I quickly scarfed down a breakfast of pizza and beer, because I make adult decisions.
If you take anything away from this trip know Iceland is not cheap, however one of the most beautiful countries I have visited to date. My baller on a budget style was blown out of the water, but whale watching and glacier lagoons are once in a lifetime opportunities, definitely worth the dip into the savings account. My do or die list includes
- Book your Blue Lagoon, whale watching and other popular attractions asap, especially in the summer months, we missed out on Westman (Vestmannaeyjar) Island ferry by waiting.
- Duty free is your best friend, after that behold the Vinbudin
- Use Bonus and picnic/cook as much as possible
- Happy hour is also your best friend….life lessons
- Book accommodations early, if traveling in a bigger group, 5 people was difficult to book for, while maintaining a budget. Solo travelers or doubles can get away with waiting, but some places/towns offer very limited price conscientious options, especially in summer.
- If you are a camper, bring a tent and go for it
- See everything you can on this beautiful island
- Boys will do laundry, if the machine resembles a video game
Way Too Wanderlust
Lambhus Cottages: Lambleiksstadir, 781 Hofn Iceland +354 662 1029 www.lambhus.is
Jon Riki Restaurant and Brewery: GPS location N64 16.825 W15 29.016 +354 478 2063 www.jonriki.is
Brunholl: Myrar, 781Hornafjordur Iceland +354 478 1029 www.brunholl.is
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon: Reynivollum 3, 781 Hornafjordur Iceland +354 478 2222 www.icelagoon.is
Strondin: Austurvegi 18, 870 Vik Iceland +354 487 1230 www.strondin.is