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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Iceland 9.4: Stykkisholmur to Reykjavik

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  • Stykkisholmur
  • Arnarstapi to Hellnar Hike 
  • Borganes - Settlement Center
  • Sjavarkjallarinn (Seafood Cellar)
  • 101 Hotel

Greta, our host at the B & B, put in a lot of effort to make her guests' stay comfortable and was proud of her establishment.  This morning, we came downstairs for breakfast, and was blown away by the feast she had prepared for us.  There were homemade blueberry jams, Spanish Quiche, Cinnamon rolls, smoked salmon, organic fruits, and much  more. I felt like I was staying with my aunt who could not stop feeding me.  We could have stayed at the table chatting with other guests the whole morning if we did not have more sightseeing to do.

After check-out, we lingered around Stykkishoimur a little longer.  Stykkishoimur was such a quaint Nordic harbor town.  It reminded H a lot of his uncle's place in Norway.  All the colorful houses reminded me of the houses that I drew when I was little.  Yet, the ultra-modern church totally threw me off.  It was such a fascinating architecture and so unexpected.

Today's main focus was Snaefellsnes peninsula.  It was the first time we saw a  consistent blue sky and bright sun shine.  We took a few detours, made a few photo stops before coming to Arnarstapi.  Unfortunately all the tourist activities ended before end of August.  Once again, a snowmobile tour was out of the question. We took a coastal hike from Arnarstapi to Hellnar.  The scenery was stunning, but I was afraid of walking on a gravel road so close to the cliff.  I was never afraid of height, so this was new to me.  The scenery was stunning, but the fear of slipping and falling off the cliff got the best of me.  Seeing H walking so close to the edge freaked me out.  The closer he walked to the edge, the farther I walked away.  H was amused by my reaction.  I guessed we both learned that I was a total WIMP.  Pathetic, I knew.

There was a certain tuition you had to pay as a tourist:  sights that might be so touristy that no locals would go, or famous restaurants that were mediocre and overpriced.  The next place we visited was exactly just that.  

We had yet to visit any cultural institutes since we arrived to Iceland.  Both Formers and Lonely Plant guidebooks mentioned this "Must-see" Settlement Center in Borganes.  The entrance fee for two exhibitions were more than $20 per person, and the exhibitions were..... (how do I put it diplomatically?) DREADFUL!  First, I could just read up the history and story on the audio guide.  Second, you could not fast forward or skip a portion of the audio guide and had to follow the guide at its pace, which was way too long for someone who had a short attention span.  Third, although the artworks and presentations of the exhibitions were nice, they were catered for teenagers or older children.  It was pretty torturous spending that hour in the settlement when we could have been driving on the road enjoying the beautiful scenery for free. 

After the settlement center, our driving tour was coming to the end.  H always loves driving.  He had such a great time driving around Iceland the past few days when there were sometimes no cars in sights, and landscapes changed from one minute to another.  H constantly reminded me how fresh the air was, and how clean the water tasted.  At times, all we could hear was silence.  The dramatic and frequent weather changes was on the full front of our Icelandic experience.  You quickly learned to bow down to the forces of nature and embrace everything it had to offer to enrich your understanding of this mystic land at the end of the world.

We got a good deal and decided to splurge on the last night's lodging in Reykjavik.  101 Hotel was this swanky hotel located by the shopping street, a few blocks away from the City Center Hotel we stayed the first night.

The room was quite spacious.  One side of the wall was all windows looking out to the sea.  There was also a bar on the first floor, and small spa in the basement.  

After settling into our room and freshening up, we headed out to Sjavarkjallarinn (Seafood Cellar) restaurant for our last night's dinner in Iceland.  

 I had read great reviews about this restaurant and they were right.  This was the most memorable meal I had in a long time.

I could just write one entire blog about this meal.  Every single dish was carefully constructed with painstaking details using various ingredients in different forms.  The restaurant's cooking style definitely was under the influence of molecular gastronomy. 

The creativity and technique involved in preparing this meal was mind blowing.  The execution of every dish, whether it was the order, the pace, the temperature, or the presentation was flawless.  I know I sound like one of  those pretentious jackasses, but this dinner brought us deep satisfaction.  It was the perfect meal to end our trip in Iceland. 

NEXT: Iceland 9.5: Reykjavik to KEF



  1. nicely written. enjoyed it. i m currently in iceland n stuck in snow though :(