Iceland

Calendar

Morning of August 19 – August 24, 2015

Curated Articles

Kyra: One night, while at Reykjavik’s Culture Night we met a group of four 16-year-old boys who told us about the man who caused the financial crisis in Iceland. Planet Money did a series on Iceland some time ago: The Island That Ran Out Of Money. UPDATE Our friend Emily sent us this article and it is imperative that you read it before visiting Iceland: Incest Prevention App for Iceland.

Ben: As I was searching for information on Iceland’s Culture Night, I stumbled across this small article from the Reykjavik Grapevine that gives some insight into Iceland’s culture (although it’s from 20 years ago): Show Up Naked On Monday And You’ll Get A Free Phone

Where we stayed

Ben: The first item of business to attend to in Iceland was lodging.  In fact, this was probably the first thing we booked quite far in advance. Kyra rented a tent and two sleeping bags (with pads) from Iceland Camping Equipment.  The cost was minimal especially when comparing the price to staying in a Reykjavik hotel.  After 2 nights camping in a variety of $10 campsites, we found our home in our Toyota Yaris rental car.  We were somewhat worried about setting up the tent in the downpour outside, so we opted to recline indoors in our small leather seats.  The following day, we met up with our Airbnb host Vilborg.  She was a husky, short haired, 60 year old woman who had been picking wild blueberries outside the city the day we arrived and was quick to offer us a sampling.

Kyra: She explained that they only grow for three weeks in Iceland during the summer.

Food

Ben: Because the car rental (almost $125/day!) ate up a decent amount of our food budget, for the first few meals we opted for Iceland_FoodBonusyogurts, and salamis from the local Bonus (essentially a small Cub Foods with a cross-eyed piggy mascot).

Kyra: We stayed in nomadic character by largely adhering to the hunter/forager diet using supplies provided to us prior to the trip by Lynn Argetsinger, my mom. Basically a lot of nuts and seeds in various forms: whole, salted, as butter, and in biscuit shape.

Ben: Then, like typical Americans, we grabbed a Cheeseburger with fries and a pizza from a tiny restaurant in rural Olafsvik, Iceland. This was a nice change of pace.

Kyra: In terms of cuisine, Iceland seems to pride itself on hot dogs and lobster bisque. Without access to Internet, we used Ben’s texting plan to phone our most inquisitive and responsible friend, Tyler, who gave us a ranking of the top places in the country for each. Luckily we were quite close to Stokkseyri, the town that is home to Fjöruborðið, famous for their Lobster Bisque. The large meal, which is incredibly rich, comes with a small pot of extra bisque and can be happily split between two.  Iceland_FoodLobsterBisque

Ben: The town that the restaurant is in happened to be gorgeous (as any Icelandic town apart from Reykjavik should be).  At the hot dog stand in Reykjavik, we ordered one with everything and our meals were created in seconds.  I didn’t know I would be impressed by such a simple meal being put together, but I was.  The last few things we ate were at Iceland’s national day (the free, 100,000 person celebration which Kyra and I had no idea about until we landed).  Two light beers and a bouquet of Fish and Chips were a great way to celebrate with the crowds of people filling Reykjavik’s streets.

Map/Our Path

Ben: Maybe you’re wondering were these particular restaurants are, what Olafsvik is, or simply, “Where is Iceland”?  For your viewing pleasure, you can see the map of our route below:

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.39.15 AM

Vocabulary

  • Takk Fayrir – Thank you
  • Tussa/Hora – Slang, taught to us by aforementioned teenage boys. Basically degrading words towards women.

Cutest Kid

Taken at a free hot chocolate and donut stand at Reyjavik’s Culture Night.
Taken at a free hot chocolate and donut stand at Reykjavik’s Culture Night.

Local View and Lessons Learned

Kyra: As a sweeping blanket statement, Icelanders are pretty relaxed and have an “anything goes” mentality.

Ben:  A few nice tidbits of local information we learned from our teenage friends:

  1. Obama is cool because he likes basketball
  2. You can drink at 18 in Iceland, but you can’t buy or be bought alcohol until 21…seems like a Catch 22
  3. Iceland had the first European female president. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, in 1980

Kyra: The boys were quick to point out that they felt American legislation around gay rights, just as with women in politics, is also incredibly antiquated.

“We don’t care if you’re gay, straight, whatever.”
“We don’t care if you’re gay, straight, whatever.”

Kyra: Icelanders use the same rhetoric to discuss immigrants from Poland as we do in talking about immigrants from Mexico.

Kyra: I now firmly believe that everyone should bring a Ben on his or her upcoming trips. 1) He can both figure out how to make any technology work and make technology work for any situation 2) Through an impressive combination of remembering every detail of the directions strangers give us and using maps, Ben can find his way anywhere 3) He knows art very well. Both what is aesthetically pleasing and about famous pieces/artists so it’s like a personal tour 4) He is almost endlessly positive. One day we stopped at Krisuvik, a series of geysers you can hike up to. The weather was John Kerrying between rain and sunshine, which made it difficult to decide if we should walk around. After getting caught in the rain halfway up the hill we opted for the warmth of our car and continued driving in the drizzle past the typically surreal landscape of Iceland. Still damp, I asked Ben if he thought it was like this throughout the year. He responded, “I don’t know, this is amazing – like look at that!” I agreed and didn’t tell him that I was referring to the rain.

Fetch
Iceland_FetchHairBinder
Kyra: The vast majority of girls who wore their hair up did so with the equivalent of a wire-bound notebook spiral in their hair.
Kyra thought 66 North was a News Station. A News Station that exclusively advertised for itself with huge billboards of good looking models wearing rain coats. She later found out (from me) that it’s actually to Iceland what North Face is to Minnesota - a dominant brand that sells to the local residents clothing that perfectly fits their weather. Along with a 66 North coat, long wool socks and some chic low-rise hiking boots were also fetch
Ben: Kyra thought 66 North was a News Station. A News Station that exclusively advertised for itself with huge billboards of good looking models wearing rain coats. She later found out (from me) that it’s actually to Iceland what North Face is to Minnesota – a dominant brand that sells to the local residents clothing that perfectly fits their weather. Along with a 66 North coat, long wool socks and some chic low-rise hiking boots were also fetch
Kyra: There is always a section, no matter how small the store, for juice.
Kyra: There is always a section, no matter how small the store, for juice.

Highlights

Ben after his first roadside pitstop. All of Iceland is a potential bathroom
Kyra: Ben after his first roadside pitstop. All of Iceland is a potential bathroom
HighlightsSnackonMars
Ben: It’s a challenge to describe my favorite part of Iceland because it’s such a vast and beautiful place. The best views came from our rides through the West peninsula of Iceland (home to Hellnar) on the first day there.
Kyra: Our first day driving through the peninsula was beyond words. We ended up at a campsite nestled between the mountains and the sea. As Ben got out of the tend to go to the bathroom he quickly called me out to watch the sunset (at about 9:00pm)
Kyra: Our first day driving through the peninsula was beyond words. We ended up at a campsite nestled between the mountains and the sea. As Ben got out of the tend to go to the bathroom he quickly called me out to watch the sunset (at about 9:00pm)
Ben: Put in a caption
Ben: Kyra making an Icelandic waterfall cute.  Had we tried to do that with every waterfall, we’d still be there.
Kyra: Our second day we visited Gulfoss, which is the second largest waterfall in Iceland. The falls are impressive but not a must-see
Kyra: Our second day we visited Gulfoss, which is the second largest waterfall in Iceland. The falls are impressive but not a must-see.
However, the most breathtaking was driving through XXXXXX national park. We had just visited some geysers in the southwest of Iceland and were slowly making our way back towards Reykjavik. I say slowly because around every turn there was an even better photograph to be taken or view to be witnessed.
Ben: For me, the most breathtaking was driving through Reykjanesfólkvangur Nature Preserve. We had just visited some geysers in Krisuvik and were slowly making our way back towards Reykjavik. I say slowly because around every turn there was an even better photograph to be taken or view to be witnessed.
Kyra: We lucked out tremendously that the country’s largest festival, Reyjavik’s Culture Night, happened to fall on our last full day in town. The city swells with 50,000 people and is meant to boast the best of Iceland’s culture. Streets become pedestrian only and display a range of art and food.
Kyra: We lucked out tremendously that the country’s largest festival, Reyjavik’s Culture Night, happened to fall on our last full day in town. The city swells with 50,000 people and is meant to boast the best of Iceland’s culture. Streets become pedestrian only and display a range of art and food.

Iceland_HighlightsHorses

Iceland is riddled with sheep, horses, and churches. We saw more of each than humans.
Iceland is riddled with sheep, horses, and churches. We saw more of each than humans.
Obviously we visited The Icelandic Phallological Museum. Here is Ben with a whale phallus.
Kyra: Obviously we visited The Icelandic Phallological Museum. Here is Ben with a whale phallus.

 

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3 thoughts on “Iceland

  1. I chuckled all the way through! To “a Ben,” thank you for making life endlessly positive for our dear daughter. Love to see the world through your eyes and lenses. God rejse and ha’ det godt! Med kaerlig hilsen, Mor

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  2. Haha the waterfalls, there are SO many! So great to hear you were able to indulge in both the hot dogs and lobster bisque, I hope you got to try skyr too. The penis museum is definitely a must-visit! And the ‘wire-bound notebook’ hair tie is becoming popular in Turkey too!

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