So, with part 1 out of the way, I can just take my time to write part 2. 🙂 For those who are waiting to read this post, I hope the information helps.
Cook your own food. Assuming you can cook, that is. I know, you’re on vacation and cooking might be the furthest thing from your mind. But if saving money is a priority then consider cooking. I spent about 45 minutes just walking around the grocery store…which is located conveniently in the middle of town. Oh, if you stay in Downtown Reykjavik Hostel, their common kitchen has ‘a common food’ area where you can use whatever’s there – pasta, spices, sauces etc. I met some Singaporean boys cooking up a storm in the kitchen…it smelled pretty nice. 🙂 They even offered me some of their food but I politely declined.
I then asked her if there was a place I could fill up my water bottle…she pointed at the sink behind and said, “Go ahead!”Don’t drink. I didn’t drink, but I heard it’s expensive.
Stay in a shared hostel room. If you’re a Singaporean reading this, your first reaction might be, “Ewww, share a room with strangers??” Let me ask you this: how many hours do you stay in your hotel? Before my US trip, I had never stepped foot in a hostel. I would stay at either budget hotels, Airbnb apartments or guesthouses. But coming away impressed with the guesthouses I stayed at made me a convert. I get the, “What?? You stay in a hostel with other people? And share a bathroom with them??? What??” But here’s the thing, you save money. And you’re safe. I think I’ll be more afraid to stay ALONE in a hotel room than to stay in a shared (mixed) hostel room. Yes, there are the one or two messy hostel mates but hey, you’re not living in the room 24/7. And though I picked a 10-bed dorm with one shared bathroom, I didn’t have to wait whenever I needed to use it. Anyway, growing up in a house with 10 people made me accustomed to waiting for the toilet. 🙂 Save your money and stay in a shared hostel room!
This was early one morning when I was brushing my teeth (and messaging my mom- yes, I multitask) and my mom asked for a photo of the bathroom. Some girl left her toiletries bag on the sink.
My bed was #8. See how neat I am. <sarcastic>
The next day I met a group of American ladies + one Singaporean lady during the Glacier Hike. One of the American girl was a solo traveler and the rest (4 of them) were friends from NYC. We all made friends over the van long ride, hike and lunch. At the end of the hike, the group of 4 ladies invited the solo American girl and I to join them for dinner. They had reservations at some fish restaurant. But we all went back to our respective hotels/hostel before meeting again. The fish restaurant was just a 3 minute walk away from my hostel- so convenient. The food there was delicious. We shared 3 starters and each had a main dish before we shared 2 desserts. I had some salmon dish – yums! But the price, oh the price burned a hole in my budget. In Singapore we have a culture of 1. fighting over the bill or 2. one pay bill and the others pay back by either giving cash or transferring money etc. But a culture I noticed when I was in the US is that if the group goes dutch, those paying will pass their cards to the waiter and the waiter will charge accordingly. And since I was with Americans, this was what we did. My portion was about S$100. Yes, definitely more than what I expected. But hey, it’s once in a lifetime and the food (and company) was good. We talked from about 8:30pm to 11pm.
I shall divert here to talk about the friends I made. The other solo girl traveler was, I think, the most interesting person I met. She’s in the military and was stationed in Italy. Her Iceland trip was just a short getaway over the Easter holiday. She’s well traveled and often would travel solo. The other ladies were quite interesting as well. Two of them are married (I’m not too sure about the other two) with young kids and Iceland was an impromptu girls trip. Will I ever do this one day if I have kids? Maybe…I hope so. 🙂
I found a little cozy restaurant near my hostel named Sægreifinn. They sold lobster soup (quite okay), fish kababs and get this…whale sample…for those that wanted to just try a little bit of a whale. I liked the whale. 🙂 The fish kabab I had was only so-so. And the bread was free flow. I noticed that every restaurant I went to had ‘free bread’. They will give you the bread before they even serve you anything else. Oh, and free water as well. My lobster soup, fish kabab and tiny whale steak cost about S$30. Not too bad.
The next two resturants I ate at was kind of a self indulgence. It was my birthday and I decided to treat myself to a nice meal (or two). But before that, the solo American girl had recommended a restaurant she ate at and I decided to check it out. I made a reservation online the night before.
On to the Blue Lagoon! Soaking in the Blue Lagoon was nice, if a little crowded at times. I had topped up to the premium package at the counter itself and the lady informed me that the premium package included a reservation at the LAVA Restaurant + cup of sparkling wine. Why not? After soaking for some time, I paddled my way to the indoor restaurant. I choose a three course meal…consisting of a rack of lamb and some delicious salmon. I’m sure the waiter thought I wasted money because I didn’t touch the wine. Total birthday lunch damage: S$70+.
Being still full, I decided that my dinner at Sjávargrillið (the restaurant I made the reservation at) would be a ‘small’ and ‘cheap’ meal. Alas, when I saw that puffin and goose were on the menu as a starter, I couldn’t resist. Then I also ordered a seafood salad (it had lobster tails, prawns etc). Dinner damage: S70+.
I’m sure you’re getting an idea on how expensive the meals in Iceland can be. The rest of the time, I ate ‘cheaply’.
The only other real ‘shopping’ I did was at Bonus.
Alright, I’ll end here. Perhaps I’ll do a summary of my total Iceland expenditure in my next and final Iceland post.