The Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik hotdogs

A month and a half after returning home, I still get goosebumps thinking back on arriving in Reykjavik for the start of two days in Iceland.   In planning our itinerary, we figured a good first taste of this country after a four hour flight was a stop at the Blue Lagoon.  It was a perfect day for a visit here: sunny, 13°C.  My slightly weary travel body melted as I entered the lagoon:

Blue LagoonIn no time, the hot water took out the kinks of four hours spent in economy class. Noticing a bar just off to one side of the lagoon, I had my first Gull beer which really put me at ease.  It may have been the best tasting beer ever – the location definitely had something to do with that.When we booked this as a stop on the way from the airport to our downtown hotel, I was a little wary of this being a tourist trap kind of place.  Funny that once I entered the lagoon, that was the furthest thing from my mind.   I loved the Blue Lagoon and could have spent the entire two days letting the hot water wash over me as I stared out across the barren landscape.  Here we are in the first hours of our Iceland visit – our spirits being lifted by the combination of the hot water, the cool, refreshing air, the strikingly blue sky and the moon-like landscape surrounding us:

Us at the Blue LagoonAfter some time lounging in the lagoon, we made our way to our Reykjavik hotel.  After a false start trying to get service in a busy restaurant, we called a delicious audible.  Well, it was delicious for me.  My love picked up some gluten-free grocery store food for supper before she accompanied me to a world renowned hotdog stand just off the waterfront.

This was a foodie moment I had been dreaming about.  Anyone who knows me and who had been to Iceland made sure to implore me to make this a stop on our visit.  Here I am stepping up to the counter at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur:

Bæjarins Beztu PylsurThis place has serious street cred.  Many call it the best hotdog stand in Europe.  Others extend the accolades to encompass all worldly providers of tube steak.  The picture of Bill Clinton hanging in the back of the shack is a reminder that everyone who passes through Reykjavik makes a stop here.  Having scouted this place I knew two fundamental things:

  1. The need to order 2 hotdogs,  One simply won’t be enough deliciousness to satisfy you.  You might drown in your own drool waiting in line for your second one.
  2. Order them “eina með öllu” – with “the works” (ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion and remoulade)

And here they are in all their beauty:

Two of the world famous hotdogsI get a little teary eyed looking at that photo.  Just pausing so my love could take that picture was painful (I think that was her revenge in not being able to sample these).  Here I am going to town on hotdog #1 in a moment I had been looking forward to since we booked our trip way back in April:

My first biteCrazy tasty and not like any other hotdog I’ve ever had.  There was so much to love.  The crispy fried onion bits added texture.  The hotdog had a great meaty taste (loved the flavour provided by the lamb) and had an awesome snap to its casing.  The sauces were deliciously weird and foreign.  Washed down with my second Icelandic beer of the day, these hotdogs lived up to the expectations.

Best. Hotdogs. Ever.

With a fully belly, it was time to walk off the caloric disaster I had perpetrated on my body.  We headed along the waterfront to Sólfar, a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason.  The sculpture was commissioned for the 200th birthday of Reykjavik.  The sculpture is an ode to the sun and visiting it at 9pm provided a striking view as the powerful, low angle sunlight hit its stainless steel structure:

Sólfar - Sun VoyagerAs we continued our walk, the brightness of the mid-evening sunlight (still strong, even on this early August night) was striking.  Here’s a picture of our shadows stretching out well past 50 feet in front of us:

Our shadows at about 9:15pmThat was it for a wonderful first afternoon/evening in Reykjavik.  Landing here earlier in the afternoon, it feels like nowhere I’ve ever been.  I’m actually a bit giddy with the day we’ve had and with what lays ahead as I am already in the throes of falling madly in love with this place.  Here we are with Mt. Esja in the background as our first day in Iceland draws to a close:

Us in Reykjavik

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