Just forty-eight hours into our vacation to Iceland and we are twitching in our chairs with anticipation of what is coming next because any picture you find of this country is pure magic. However, one thing we didn’t expect to find is that Reykjavik is one very cool city. Here is a quick list of some of the things you will get while waiting for your next adventure in Iceland.
- The Icelandic sense of humour. Whether it’s the Phallic Museum, the mythical characters lining the streets, or the goofy billboards outside of the shops, Iceland knows how to have a good time! While the mythical characters actually play a huge part in Icelandic culture and are taken quite seriously by the locals, the huge, ugly characters hanging out on the sidewalk will definitely make you chuckle because for us Canadians, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.
- The arts and culture. Around the city of Reykjavik, you’ll find the Icelanders have definitely found a creative outlet to be proud of. The graffiti here is not just scribbles and tags on the walls, but full works of street art ready for you to admire. You’ll see anything from cartoon illustrations to modern art to detailed portraits, and you won’t be disappointed. Don’t forget the architecture that in our opinion surpasses most of what we see in our own country. The Harpa, a not-to-be-missed conference centre on the harbour, is a modern piece of art, captivating you with it’s clean lines and simple, yet modern design.
- Wind. Since the day we got here Reykjavik has been very windy and rainy. It really is the wind that adds the chill to your body, not necessarily the rain. There are times when you literally feel like the wind could blow you over. It’s a workout just to keep your legs moving down the street. And for that reason, we are thankful we brought our windproof jackets!
- Expensive, fashionable clothing. Walking down the popular Laugavegur Street, we noticed many boutiques full of pricey, high quality fashions. Icelanders love their wool clothing too. Everywhere you turn, shops are filled with the lopapeysa, the hand knit sweater made famous here. These can run from almost $200 to $300CDN. And it’s not just tourists wearing them. In fact, that’s how you can tell who is a tourist and who is not. The Icelanders have the hand knit sweaters and the trendy fur jackets, while the tourists are all suited up in Northface coats and toques alike.
- Food and drink till the wee hours! There is a variety of restaurants to satisfy your latest needs, from the budget-friendly pylsa (hot dog) stands to the places only high-class foodies will appreciate. We have also fallen in love with Skyr, an Icelandic cultured dairy product. It is like yogurt, but with a nice, mild flavour. There’s also plenty of bars with happy hours starting from 6 till 11pm, which you never get to see back home! And while the beers may still be overpriced at $15CDN…who cares? It’s vacation! Of course, be prepared to stay out late. Icelanders like to party all night long.
For those of you who have been to the city of Reykjavik, what was your favourite surprise? Did we leave anything out? Tell us in the comments below!
Marcella & Tim