The first three nights in Scotland, we stayed with couch surfing hosts in East Kilbride, a suburb southeast of city centre. For our last two days in Glasgow, we opted to stay in a private room at the West End Backpackers hostel.
Our favorite thing about travel is exploring a city. Not necessarily hitting up all the “touristy” spots, but we often find ourselves simply strolling through neighborhoods – just living in the moment and going wherever the urge strikes us. The weather was a bit chilly and often sprinkling a bit of rain, but Glasgow was a great place to explore.
While checking out city centre, we visited the beautiful (and free), twelfth-century Glasgow Cathedral. It was the most beautiful and well-preserved cathedral we were able to visit while in Scotland.
Óskar was our first host on our round-the-world trip. He is very intelligent, friendly, and fun. We enjoyed conversations over drinks and he shared great tips for our stay in Reykjavik. He was kind enough to let us stay in his spare bedroom on a comfy bed. If you’re planning on visiting Reykjavik, you’d be lucky to stay with Óskar – find him on Couch Surfing under screen name SKARINN.
During our last day in Iceland, we visited the Blue Lagoon. It is a geothermal spa near Keflavik.
Most energy in Iceland is renewable due to its tectonic activity. The Blue Lagoon is actually filled by water from a neighboring geothermal power plant after powering electricity-producing turbines. The water is around 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit and has a blue tint from the strong presence of minerals such as silica and sulfur. These minerals are good for the skin and are believed to help skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema.
The spa is surrounded by the same, beautiful and rugged landscape that we saw through a good portion of southwest Iceland. The building is also beautiful and well-designed – it has a lounge, restaurant, cafe, shop, and skin care clinic. If you’re just there for the spa, as we were, you’ll be very pleased with friendly staff and the very nice showers/changing rooms.
We had skyr for a couple of our breakfasts – once (seemingly) homemade and the other store-bought. The homemade version was topped with milk, very tasty, and a great deal at around 800 ISK (around $6.50). The store-bought version was much like the yogurt you’re familiar with in the US.
Everyone will tell you how expensive Iceland can be. However, it is possible to eat here relatively cheaply. Here are a few great options we found.
Stop in at the grocery – even if you aren’t able to cook where you are staying. The city is fairly small and there are an abundance of grocers. One that we found to be a great deal is Bonus. For around $25 we were able to grab a few sandwiches, drinks, and snacks for the day. For breakfast, check out skyr or kleinur. Dried fish makes a great, carry-along snack. Their pre-packaged sandwiches were a tasty, cheap lunch. If the weather is a bit dreary, take your food inside at the local hostel.