Reykjavik is a great place to go drinking, especially at a weekend, when the streets are
swarming with drunken Icelanders from about midnight until 6 in the morning.
Without a doubt, the best place to go is the Astro nightclub on BankastrŠti. Swarming with beautiful
people and free before 11 o'clock, it has a busy dancefloor and two bars.
Kaffe Thomsen on HafnarstrŠti is also nice, although I heard it was the sort of
place to go if you wanted more than just alcohol. The downstairs bar looks like an opium den.
The Spotlight club on Hverfisgata was recommended to me as being a friendly place to go
to dance and drink, but I was too busy at the Astro to give it a look.
The Astro nightclub
TV show (plus free beer) at Gaukar ß St÷ng
I must mention the excellent bar Gaukar ß St÷ng on Tryggvagata. As well as playing live music some nights
(late of course, starting about 12), one Friday here I stumbled across what must be the only free beer in
Reykjavik! Yes, that's right, FREE beer! There was a television show called 'Me hauswerk um helga' (translates
as With Headache at Weekend), which was a bit like an Icelandic version of TFI Friday. Anyway, the show's
producers distribute free beer to the audience. I asked the barman, and he said that this happens every Friday,
although I didn't have the chance to check if this was true. Go there at 9 o'clock on Friday and look.
Next door is Glaumbar, which is also popular with fit young Icelanders.
Another good bar is Priki on Laugavegur, which often plays funky jazz music and has a nice selection of British
magazines and newspapers if you're feeling homesick. Kaffebarinn is a small dark bar which gets very packed in
the small hours of the morning at weekends. When I went there was a small crush to get in, the Icelanders were so
excited about it. There's a good, busy, drunken atmosphere in here at night, it's well worth a visit. Incidentally
this is also the bar that Damon Albarn part-owns. There are three Irish pubs in Reykjavik, where the bar staff are
usually native English speakers (if you want that). They are Celtic Cottage on Hverfisgata, Dubliners
on HafnarstrŠti (which plays live music) and O'Briens on Laugavegur.
One of the more interesting bars is on Laugavegur, opposite the Levi's shop. It doesn't seem to have a name, but
there is a Viking beer sign over the door. The place is full of drunken locals, rather than the usual club-going crowd.
Of course there are countless other bars. Kaffe Sport on SkˇlastrŠti is good if you like football (Icelanders are obsessed
with it), Dillons on Laugavegur is dark and smoky, and Cafe Paris on BankastrŠti is a cafe.
Reykjavik has a lot of restaurants. Well, there's only so much you can say about restaurants, they're the same
anywhere. But if you want to try whalemeat, go to Naust on Tryggvagata.
One Icelandic speciality you may wish to avoid is svi, or sheep's head. In spring, this is widely available
apparently. But for the rest of the year the only place in Reykjavik you can buy it is in the BSI bus station. You
can buy it cold in a packet, but after one look at it I'd be surprised if anyone could eat it.
If you're after familiarity, then you can visit the most expensive McDonalds in the world. Actually, it's quite nice,
it doesn't look much like a McDonalds at all, but you'll be glad to hear that the McKj˙klingarborgari tastes the same
Sheep's head - best avoided
The Penis Museum, of course
If eating and drinking isn't enough to keep you amused, there's plenty of other sights to see. One unusual place to
go is the Phallology Museum on Laugavegur, with the penises of many animals on display here. It's amusing for about a minute
as there's only so many pickled whale cocks you can look at before they all seem the same. Apparently one species which
they do not yet have a sample of is a human. Some misguided individuals have written to the museum offering their 'organs'.
Their letters are on display too, and this is perhaps the most interesting part of the museum.
If you want Internet access it's available for a fee at the BSI bus station. You can also get it free at the second floor of Top Shop, and at the town hall by the Tj÷rnin. Also at the town hall works this stunning woman whose picture is to the right. I never caught her name, but she has the most stunning body I have ever seen!! I would recommend visiting Iceland just to see her!!!!!!!
Or for a relaxing time you could try one of Reykjavik's many swimming pools. All swimming pools have hot tubs, and some have saunas too.
The Blue Lagoon is a 40 minute bus ride from Reykjavik, and is well worth a visit. Basically a smoking pool of effluent from
a power plant, it is excellent for bathing and is supposedly very good for the skin.
The Blue Lagoon - hot!
The geysir at Geysir - this isn't Geysir though, it's Strokkur
There are many attractive places throughout Iceland to visit. Most popular are the spots on
the so-called 'Golden Circle' route, which are all within a 2 hour bus-ride from Reykjavik.
There's Geysir, with its two erupting springs and very smoky ground. Then there's Gullfoss,
which is a huge waterfall in the middle of nowhere. But if you want to go somewhere really wild,
you have to go deep into the interior. I didn't go there, but from what I've heard, it's very weird.
The ground is a desert of black sand, and the roads are so rough that only a four-wheel drive car
can cope with them.
On my second weekend in Iceland, I went to Vestmannaeyjar, a group of volcanic islands off the
south coast. Only one of these is inhabited, Heimaey. About 30 years ago the volcano Eldfell
erupted and lava covered half the town. It was rebuilt, and now you can still see how far the
lava got. As you can see, the island is really stunning.
Every August, there is a festival held in the sheltered valley between the two huge hills you can see in the background of the photo.
A drunken Icelander at ■jˇhßtÝ
Of course, I turned up on the island at the best time of year, during the first weekend of August
for the ■jˇhßtÝ festival. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was great fun. During the day it
started out as a fairly folky festival, but in the evening the atmosphere definitely changed.
There were a few bands on, most of whom played Eurovision-type school disco music. But about 9
o'clock (on both Friday and Saturday nights), the crowds started to gather, and the alcohol really
began to flow. It seemed to be common for most Icelanders to drink cola or lemonade with vodka in it.
For some reason, this is illegal!
|At midnight on the Friday, an enormous wicker house was set alight. I don't think there was anyone inside, but I wouldn't be surprised. The fire was huge, it lit up the whole valley. I'm not sure what happened after that, the time flew by but there was a nice drunken atmosphere. The temperature was low, which was probably unhealthy considering the state some people were in, but I don't think anyone got hurt.||
Nice bit of pagan fire worship