Reykjavik. Another port that we missed back in May due to bad weather. Today we’re moored miles out to the east of the city at the Skarfabakki Cruise Terminal. Good news: the Reykjavik tourist centre is running free shuttle buses into the city. Bad news: The Norwegian Prima has followed us into port so there are at least 4000 people trying to board the buses.
Top tip: Feeling fit? You can walk into Reykjavik town centre, but it’s about 4km each way.
When we finally get on one, the bus drops us at the Harpa concert hall. Widely regarded as a symbol of Iceland’s recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis, it’s an interesting building to observe.
As always, we are compelled to visit the local Hard Rock Café. We’ve arrived before the restaurant opens however, so we pick up the ubiquitous pin badge and head into the city centre.
Due to mobility issues, we only have two goals – a geocache and a beer. Opposite the Hard Rock Café we pass the Punk Museum, located in a converted public toilet. We briefly consider hading down the stairs but instead choose to continue up the sloping hill of Laugavegur.
You cannot spend a penny here
Christmas shops appear to be a year-round fixture in Reykjavik, so we stop in and buy a tree decoration – a mean looking cat that, according to Icelandic legend, eats badly behaved children. Perfect.
Instead we head for the fantastically-named Bastard Brew & Food – for a Hazy Bastard beer of course. It’s not bad at all.
Bizarrely, Reykjavik city centre feels like it is pitching itself as a stag/hen party destination, packed with ‘cool’ bars and nightspots. But given that a beer costs at least five times as much as Prague (upwards of £10 each), you do have to wonder who is holding their parties here.
Afterwards, we take a steady stroll back to the bus stop at the Harpa. There is a big queue and the bus is completely packed by the time we set off for the cruise terminal again. And I mean uncomfortably packed. Not cool.
Top tip: Transfer buses run on a loop, visiting each cruise ship berth in turn. You can potentially avoid the crush (and snag a seat) by walking to the bus stop at the previous berth – assuming there isn’t a massive queue there too.
Would we visit Reykjavik again? Maybe. But probably only as the starting point for a Golden Circle road trip or similar.
As we sail away from Iceland, the Captain makes a cryptic footnote to his daily report, promising us a ‘surprise’ when he broadcasts tomorrow…