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An afternoon in Reykjavik

Beers, Buildings, and a Blue Whale’s Penis

The sun Voyager sculpture Reykjavik
The Sun Voyager

An afternoon in Reykjavik is definitely not enough time, but if you are short on time in the city, or like me ended up in a hotel in the middle of nowhere – you too can get a flavour of the city in just an afternoon.

THE SUN VOYAGER

Solfar as its locally know, is majestic steel sculpture by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason sits on the shore. The sculpture is not a Viking ship as many think, in fact it is both an ode to the sun and a “dream boat”. One of the most popular “selfie” spots in the city you’ll have to time your visit here carefully – it is rare you wil be at the sculpture by yourself.

HARPA MUSIC HALL

Harpa Music Hall, Reykjavik - Meet me at the pyramid stage
Harpa Music Hall

A wonderful ode to modern architecture – your visit to the Harpa will be not be forgotten. Host to concerts, exhibitions and conferences all year round, there is always something to check out.
If you arrive on a sunny day you are in luck – the sun shining through the windows of the building create the most beautiful effect all over the interior of the building.

If you arrive on a sunny day you are in luck – the sun shining through the windows of the building create the most beautiful effect all over the interior of the building.

If time is on your side, guided tours of the whole building are available

HALLEGRIMSKIRKJA

Hallegrimskirja, the catherdral of Reyjavik
Hallegrimskirkja – if a metal band built a church, it would probably look like this.

The most metal looking church in all the land!

There are choral concerts on Fridays

At 75m high it is one of the tallest structures in Iceland. Views from the top of the spire are mean to to be amazing – If you are prepared to wait in very long queues. (I was not). If you do fancy going to the top of the tower it will cost you ISK1000

TOP TIP: if you happen to be around on a Friday, there is often an organ recital using the epic organ hidden inside the building – these are free to attend. Check out the Visit Reyjavik website for recital times

THE ICELANDIC PHALLOLOGICAL MUSEUM

Ok, ok, this is a penis museum – there is little point in dressing this up. However it is surprisingly interesting (also hilarious). Founded in 1997, by Sigurður Hjartarson who collected specimens of every animal in Iceland, then received donations from all kinds of species around the globe (including a human specimen). This is where the blue whales penis comes in, the largest specimen of the collection – its measures a whopping 2.5 metres!

The 2.5m long Blue Whale penis……Science!

TOP TIP: Get the audio tour, a little dry in parts but is full of surprising facts you don’t get from the signs in the exhibit. The audio tour will also allow you to look a little less creepy. Audiio tours are an extra 800 ISK

You can find the museum at Laugavegur 116, Reykjavik .
Entry costs 1800ISK


HUNGRY?

There many alleged culinary delights to try in Iceland – Petrified shark, boiled sheep head and puffin come to mind – ignore ALL of these – the one true Icelandic food you must try is the HOT DOG! Now stay with me. Far superior than their American counterparts , Icelandic hotdogs (called Pylsur) are simply delicious ( I mean, Hello! Crispy onions!) and very budget friendly. Head to Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (which translates to the “best hot dog stand in town”) for a seriously tasty (and cheap) lunch.

You can find the stand at: Bæjarins Beztu Pylsu, Tryggvagata, Reykjavik


THIRSTY?

Shelves of Whisky! Dillon Bar Reykjavik, Iceland
Dillon Bar. No surprise I stayed here quite a while

Head to Dillion Bar, Reykjavik’s very own Rock Bar. Even though the afternoon may not necessarily be time for a session, it was a sunny Sunday it would’ve been rude not too.  Dillon has over 170 whiskeys on offer from all over the world. I spent quite a few hours here chatting to locals and other travelers alike – even getting roped into a jam session out the back (on tambourine, probably the only instrument I can play ha!)

TOP TIP: The local Icelandic whisky Floki is surprisingly expensive and frankly tastes not dissimilar (in my imagination) to horse piss, if you are on a budget stick to Scottish single malts, or if on a super tight budget Jameson.

Make time for a pint or two of the local lager Gull (Pronounced Guut) its delicious (and a little too easy to drink)

Dillon Bar, 101 Laugavegur, Reykjavik

Grafitti in Dillon Bar, Reykjavik

GETTING AROUND – Central Reykjavik is completely walkable (especially if the weather is nice). Buses to other parts of city tend to leave from the main bus depot, Hlemmur. The hotels all have area maps, and most souvenir shops – it is a very easy city to navigate.

RANDOM OBSERVATION

Sign for the Chuck Norris Grill in Reykjavik, Iceland

The Icelandic seem to have a great love for none other than CHUCK NORRIS! There is a Chuck Norris Diner, underneath Dillon Bar, offering all sorts of gigantic meals, and it seems every single souvenir store has some kind of Chuck Norris themed tat. Odd, but I like it!

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