In Puffin We Trust
Hallo from Reykjavik, Iceland! To be honest though I don’t know whether to say good morning, good evening, or what. My body and mind have no idea where they’re at or what’s going on. So let me backtrack.
This adventure starts some hours ago. How many I can’t quite be sure, given I left one timezone and entered another, losing time in between. It started with me arriving at Denver airport, bidding adieu to the conference, and getting ready to head to the volcanic wonderland of Iceland.
I arrived at the airport nice and early. Firstly to just be conscientious, but also because so far my other sought after Ben and Jerry’s flavour had eluded me: Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Snack. Those of you who watch The Colbert Report will know that the rivalry between Colbert and Fallon is fantastic, and part of that fuel is the rival B&J flavours. So I had to get my hands on both. Now, I am firmly in the Colbert camp, so it pains me to say… I think Jimmy Fallon’s flavour has the edge. It is another vanilla base, but with salted caramel and chocolate covered potato chips. Eeewww! I hear you say. But unlike the infamous bacon sundae, the salted carmel worked perfectly in this ice cream. So while I liked Colbert’s Americone Dream, Fallon’s salty alternative got the win (sorry Rev Dr Colbert).
With the ice cream under my belt, it was time to head to the departure gate. I gotta say, it was surreal being in Denver and seeing the sign at the gate say Reykjavik. And at 5:15pm Denver time, I was away to my magical land of puffins.
Now this is where my mind and body started asking what’s up. It was a 7.5 hour flight, that got me to Reykjavik at about 6:30am their time. So your can see the dilemma… I really needed to get some sleep on the plane otherwise at the other end I would be cactus. So what do you think happened? Yep, I must have got a total of about 30 minutes sleep the whole way. Oh boy.
But first world problems hey? I’d deal with it. So after the cruisy pass through Icelandic customs (no forms, just a quick howdy and passport stamp… I like it) it was on to a bus into central Reykjavik. On the way the landscape was alternately alien and scenic, with the water giving way to mountains at times. And clearly this was not even the good parts. Oh yeah. I’ll reserve photos until I get out into the real Icelandic wilderness.
Off I hopped at the other end and wandered to the hotel. Now I was prepared to just dump my bag off and hang about town as I assumed it would be too early for check in. Plus I was going to be wandering back to the airport about 6 hours later to meet Katherine, so I figured it was just going to be a case of wandering in a sleepy stupor around town, getting a feel for all things Iceland. But bless the City Centre Hotel in downtown Reykjavik. In going to drop my bag off, they checked to see if there was any chance they could have the room ready for me. As my good fortune would have it, it had just been cleaned and was indeed vacant. YES!
So in I checked and had the luxury of a shower. Should I sleep though? Before I could answer that question, off I dozed, waking a couple hours later. Now that felt strange. I had some faculties about me when I woke (I at least knew where I was), but that was about it. My brain and body were asking me what the hell was going on. I needed sleep, food, and a regular time zone. “Toughen up” I said to myself, and got up and mobile. May as well tire myself out to sleep well tonight.
Off it was to do a quick scout of the city. I didn’t intend to do too much, since Katherine and I have a few days in Reykjavik to get up to shenanigans. But I intended to work out what’s what, and importantly get some food into me. And what food do you think I went straight to?
Reykjavik’s famous hot dog stand!
Yep, world famous. Even Bill Clinton has eaten there (I have seen the photographic proof). It seems that it is a legitimate local phenom too, not just a tourist thing, as the line was decent for late morning, with locals lining up for “one with the lot”. Though if you walked past this dodgy little stand in any other city in the world you would probably treat it with the same respect as the dodgy 3am kebab guy.
So I promptly ordered one with the lot and tucked in. As you can tell by the look of it, their idea of hot dogs is a little different to ours. And with the lot didn’t involve much more than onion and sauce and mustard. And the sausage was, well, not that substantial. But overall it tasted alright. Hardly the best hot dog I have ever eaten, but I’m sure another one or two will be consumed over the coming week.
With a hot dog in my belly (along with a can of Red Bull to help get me through the day) I did some general wandering and came across the amazing Hallsgrimskirkja Church. A trip to the top of the bell tower will be in order for sure, so I’ll save more discussion of this for a later day. The rest was wandering the two main shopping streets, filled with Icelandic specialties. One of which was this…
Hhhmmm… I wonder what those little puffins do taste like? (I’ll avoid the whale this time).
With that it was time to head back out to the airport to greet Katherine on her arrival from Paris. Yes, it is a tough life we lead. Thanks to Icelandair efficiency, KK was on time and off we headed back into town. It was quite evident that both of us were struggling with jet-lag, so it ended up being just a quiet wander and dinner (a tasty seafood soup for me) before crashing, with me barely eeking this blog post out.
So far, Reykjavik feels pretty right… much like some of the smaller Norwegian towns I went to. I mean I keep calling Reykjavik a “town” as it hardly feels like a city. The population is about 200,000 in the greater area, but downtown it just has a relaxed vibe. We shall see what the place turns into as the evening arrives… sunshiny midnight shenanigans no doubt (if I don’t fall asleep and miss them).
Stay tuned for a day of Reykjavik shenanigans before we head off into the Icelandic wilderness (pending wi-fi obviously).
How good does that Jimmy Fallon flavour sound – vanilla base, salted caramel and chocolate covered potato chips. Heaven.
I fear a tale of whale and puffin coming up, so just know I’ll be silently judging you as you dig in.