Iceland 2017, Days 3 & 4: Exploring Reykjavik

Here I continue the diary of my visit to Reykjavik, Iceland in June 2017. If you missed the first bit, it’s HERE. And I’m saving the Secret Solstice Festival (where I spent Days 2, 3 and 4) details for its own review article. Coming soon.

DAY 3: INDEPENDENCE DAY

I really should have done a bit more homework this morning. Kieran and I had intended to have a pleasant wander down Laugavegur – Reykjavik’s main shopping street. Today though was Icelandic National Day, a noisy celebration marking the anniversary of Iceland becoming independent from Danish rule. There was a large marching band in national colours, followed by literally thousands of people.

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This is going to be loud.

I really should have done a bit more homework this morning. Kieran and I had intended to have a pleasant wander down Laugavegur – Reykjavik’s main shopping street. Today though was Icelandic National Day, a noisy celebration marking the anniversary of Iceland becoming independent from Danish rule. There was a large marching band in national colours, followed by literally thousands of people.

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I’m not convinced you’re meant to be here, guys…

However, there were a few people who got involved who had decided that the parade wasn’t unusual enough. Behind the band were two trucks – one containing a jazz quartet, and another full of people in strange costumes, wearing stilts, breathing fire and playing with hula hoops. Kieran says that he asked a native Icelandic witness what its relevance was, only to be told that it was completely irrelevant. We are under the assumption that this was an attention seeking theatre group who had hi-jacked the parade for the sake of attention and promotion. If we are wrong and there is a further point, please let me know. It was a bit too weird not to be intrigued by.

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Adorable…

My favourite part was the little girl in a cage, wearing a glittery green gas mask. As the crowd cleared, we looked at the prices, grimaced, and left once again. Time to return to Secret Solstice I think.

DAY 4: DOING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE IN ONE DAY (AT THE COST OF MY ANKLES)

Having been stuck within the brutality of the crowd during The Prodigy’s headlining set last night (alright, admittedly I threw myself in), it hurt to even walk down a couple of flights of stairs to the lobby, let alone the five mile walk to the Kolaportid flea market, and back. And that was before we decided to make any excursions.

20170618_114002.jpgThe market was huge, but the prices were no cheaper than those of the stores we had looked in yesterday. I admittedly had fancied returning home with a jacket or jumper, but that part of me died that day. We left with nothing. However, I won’t lie – I was tempted to buy with a gas mask for no reason at all. The disembodied heads that they were displayed on are a nice touch. Sadly, the masks weren’t green and glittery.

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Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (Photo from Wikipedia)

As it had been mentioned during our CityWalk tour, we decided to visit Baejarins Beztu Pyisur – arguably the most famous hot dog stand  the world. Well, it’s so famous that until that tour, I’d never actually heard of it, and the fact that Bill Clinton (a photo of whom is framed a wall inside the stand) calls them the best hot dogs in the world, wasn’t convincing me. He’s not convincing anyone. Subsequently, we had to find out for ourselves for lunch. It was probably the most reasonable (450kr per hot dog) yet unhealthy food that we ate that wasn’t instant noodles (90% of our intake in Iceland), and was good enough that we returned there on our final day. There was a huge queue even in the heavy rain. The crispy onions were just that good. That said, they really weren’t heaven in a sausage. Nice though.

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Next was the Icelandic Punk Museum. Since I had heard about the existence of this place, I had my heart set on visiting it. Its underground location was striking enough as it was, but what was inside was even stranger. Its owners converted an abandoned underground public toilet into a museum. Actually, to say that it is ‘converted’ is quite a generous statement. The toilets themselves were still there. Information about Icelandic punk bands was on the walls of the cubicles, and there were headphones playing punk music, dangling from the ceiling. I can’t help but wonder how its owners came into possession of a public toilet.

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I’ve been told by multiple people that this is the happiest I look on any photos taken while we were away.

While it did feel as though half of the information surrounded one band (unsurprisingly The Sugarcubes), it was fun to visit. And of course, I couldn’t resist having a go on the hilariously terrible drum kit in the corner. Terrible enough that I’m not even convinced that it was safe, considering the sharp, cracked edges of the cymbals. At least I had an excuse for if I sounded terrible – no one can make that thing sound good!

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We also went to Hallgrimskirkja – a massive church, and one of the tallest buildings in Iceland. It is a very popular viewpoint, as one can pay to go up the tower. We decided against it (free locations around the city were good enough), but couldn’t resist a nose around inside. It had inside it a huge organ (apparently with 5275 pipes in it), and I wish that I could have heard it. I’d venture to guess that it is pretty damn loud.

Speaking of organs (sorry, I couldn’t resist), we found the infamous Icelandic Phallological Museum, which believe it or not, is exactly what it sounds like – a museum that has hundreds of animal penises on display. I knew that this place existed, but honestly had no intention of going there, and was stunned when we found it on Reykjavik’s main shopping road. Due to its cost, we decided against going into the main museum. However, we did decide (or rather I decided on Kieran’s behalf) to look in the gift shop, where there were many phallic items for sale. Penis-shaped candles. Penis-shaped bottle-openers. Even penis-shaped pasta. They also had an official T-shirt which read “Icelandic Phallological Museum: This Museum is not for Pussies”. Bear in mind that I own shirts with ‘Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian’ and ‘I’m Not Like Most Girls’ (much to my mother’s irritation). Not even I would wear that shirt.

Then it was back to Secret Solstice for the last time, tonight headlined by Rick Ross and Big Sean. Tomorrow, we will escape Reykjavik on the Golden Circle tour…

FESTIVAL REVIEW COMING SOON.

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