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Eating up Iceland

2016 June 12
by admin

James and I landed, picked up our off-road-approved vehicle and set off along the violet flower-lined road to meet our friends in Reykjavík. We had a partial address for our Airbnb (the street of Njálsgata, this listing) and with the help of several group WhatsApps and a note to our host, we arrived at our cute, well-located flat. Situated perfectly for exploring on foot, and our first stop was the Phallological Museum, dedicated to the phallus of all species.  The museum contains a collection of more than two hundred and fifteen penises and penile parts belonging to almost all the land and sea mammals that can be found in Iceland.  Since we arrived within 20 minutes of closing, I bargained for a “cut” price.

Together up with Kim, Cory and Rita aka #teamicelandyeah aka #5puffins, we wandered up the pedestrian only streets, found cafes and outdoor bars where the locals drank (heavily) in t-shirts, entertaining us with stories about their lives as tug boat captains.  It’s true what they say that locals are extremely friendly and not at all put off by tourists.  A couple more hours of weaving in and out of wool shops, we stopped for a quick snack or “snarl” as it’s said here, at Taco Barinn, the Mexicanish space with a cool crowd, decorated with body art, and puffed chips and creamy guacamole.

Dinner was at the outstanding Grill Market, thanks to my colleagues Jenny and Virginia for the tip!  Some of the top delicacies were a local “Redfish”, with a meaty, snapper-like taste, and the Viking boat filled with desserts including a fruity mush not on the menu.  This memorable meal only ran up a bill of $500, which we are quickly learning is “about averages” for a nice dinner out.  After dinner it was only midnight, and we had hours before the streets were to fill up with the clubbing crowd, we strolled around (legally publically drinking) in and out of bars, in search of live music.   At 2pm, we wandered into a rock/punk/house bar where we danced to abandon on the strobe-lit dancefloor.  A few elderflower and lime ciders later, we wandered back home around 3:30am, feeling like we had given the city a go and were ready to go. Worth noting: the sky was the same color it was at 8pm, and the streets were rush-hour-busy.

This morning we woke up at the dusky hour of 9.  The sky had been the same shade of blue grey all night.  We packed our bags and set out for the Laundromat for what was a massive and gratifying brunch, particularly the Clean Brunch with sand-dollar-sized pancakes, granola and honey yogurt, and a yellowy hummusy mush. Such a great concept for a business too—washing machines, café and a children’s play area.  Also, the wifi passcode of iloveyou is worth replication.

We were extremely full, but why stop?  Rita made a bee line for the reputed “best” hotdogs in town and chowed down on a goat, beef and lamb dog, with all the toppings.  We photographed the monumental event.

I’m writing this post from the Settlement Center where James, Cory, Kimberly and Rita went to learn of Iceland’s Viking heritage.  I took a walk around the peninsular town.  A few things they learned:

  • Going “berserk” was the way to make Iceland possible
  • A woman can own as much land and she can lead a calf around in day
  • From Rita “they are Vikings, not at all Inuit, but, huh #Bjork?”
  • The greatest Viking was a poet—Egil, also handy with a plow.
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