A Guest in Reykjavik
Reykjavik, Iceland
A Guest in Reykjavik
by Joanne Woodhead

I am so excited to present Sorted Memoir’s very first Guest Editor post! Written by my lovely, well-traveled friend with exquisite taste, Joanne Woodhead. You may recognize her from my London post -  Jo was kind enough to take me for my first Sunday Roast in England. 

July 10, 2012

I’ve recently returned from my first trip to Iceland. It magical and romantic like nowhere else in the world. It actually felt more like how I imagine life on the moon. Icelandair flies direct from London to Reykjavik in approximately 2.5 hours. It also flies to New York, Boston, Berlin, Seattle and Orlando to name a few. From the airport to Reykjavik city center takes around 45 minutes by car.

Three packing essentials for your trip:

1. Clothing Layers: temperatures are changeable and can get very warm inside.

2. Swimsuit: for the blue lagoon

3. Woolly socks 

(Camera is a given, and you’ll regret it if you forget it!)

The best time to see the phenomenal Northern Lights is between November and March, though Iceland is a great place to visit all year round. The ‘summer’, June to August, has the longest and warmest days, however snow covers the glaciers all year round. Due to its close proximity to the Arctic Circle, the winter can be bitter. Days of darkness and cold weather dipping to minus 25ºC are perfect conditions for excellent snow sports. Almost every cold but clear night shows the Northern Lights at their best.

During our visit, we stayed at a very chic boutique hotel called 101 Hotel Reykjavik. Its location is fantastic, the hotel has a very cool atmosphere and beautiful rooms which were similar in style to some of Morgans Hotel Group properties. White drapes a plenty, open fires in the bar, a small but perfectly formed buffet breakfast and a naturally hot shower that left you wanting to stay in it all day. Important to note that you could shower all day if you wanted to, as the water is geo-thermal and the hot water never runs out. My bedroom had a king bed, the softest sheets, a roll top bath and separate shower, and a view of the ‘art wall’ and restaurant. This sounds unusual but it was a blessing as my internal facing room escaped the street noise of habitual Saturday night partiers. I slept perfectly!

Grill Market was one of the best restaurants I’ve eaten in. The basis of the food was fresh, Icelandic ingredients, with an Asian twist. Their salmon was amazing. It came with a cream sauce, roasted crispy corn, and cherry tomatoes. The steak and lamb were also very good. Delicious cocktail menu - the Raspberry Cosmo was my favorite. On our final night we went to Vid Tjornina which is a very old, traditional restaurant that you definitely wouldn’t stumble across. It is at the far end of town, through two doors and up two flights of stairs. The décor was very traditional and had the feeling of dining at your Grandma’s house – warm and very cozy (there was even an organ you could play in the bar!). The fish soup was mouthwatering and the experience felt truly authentic.

If a traveler had only 1 day to spend in Iceland, how would you design their day?

1. Hearty breakfast 2. Supertruck transfer to visit the geysers

3. BBQ lunch at Haukadalaur (half way to the glacier in the countryside)

4. Snow mobiling on the glacier

5. A relaxing treatment at the blue Lagoon

6. Late dinner at Grill Market 7. Party like a local