- things I have learnt

Iceland trip Day 9: Reykjavik and Keflavik: Coffee and Puffins

Having read about Reykjavik's excellent coffee culture, we set off with a list of recommended coffee shops in hand. The quirkiest of these, Kaffismiðja Íslands, was closed (Sunday), so coffee and pastries at the plesant Glaetan Cafe & Bookshop sufficed instead. Te and Kaffe, an Icelandic chain, featured later in the day, and likewise had good coffee in a relaxed atmosphere.

Suitably caffeinated, we walked up to Hallgrímskirkja, the striking church visible from all of central Reykjavik. The architecture may not be to our taste, with imposing concrete columns mimicking the basalt structures that occur naturally around Iceland, but the view from the top of the tower was excellent. Reykjavik's brightly coloured rooftops make for a vibrant scene, with the bay and mountains beyond a stunning backdrop.
Reykjavik view from Hallgrímskirkja
Since our previous puffin watching attempts hadn't worked out, our last opportunity was to take a boat trip to Lundey, a small island in the bay. Wise to the steady flow of tourists, the puffins at Lundey take flight as the boat approaches, or dive beneath the water and disappear, unlike quieter spots around Iceland. Close-up photos were definitely not possible, but it was impressive to see their sheer numbers nesting all over the low island.
Puffin near Lundey island, Reykjavik
Back on dry land, we enjoyed a walk by the Tjörnin lake, City Hall, and photogenic Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík church.
Church, swans and lake in Reykjavik
Perhaps anticipating our return to the UK, we were tempted by posh Icelandic Fish & Chips. Oven roasted 'chips' and various savoury flavours of skyrr yogurt accompany your choice of fresh fish. The fish was superb, though the potatoes were nothing special, and the portion sizes rather mean compared to classic British fish and chips.

With thoughts of home, we picked up the car to complete our Icelandic Loop by returning to Keflavik. It was a sunny evening so we stopped en route to look around the Reykjavik Botanical Gardens, then joined road 41 to finish the journey.

By the time we dropped off the rental car at Keflavik airport, we had covered over 2400 km. Not bad considering Iceland is only ~300 km across. All-in-all, a great trip and highly recommended. We'll be back!

Day 8: Hrútafjörður to Reykjavik via Víðgelmir Lava Tube

Tagged: travel outdoors iceland

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