Holy moly, that was a crazy night of sleep. Our hotel, being called City Centre Hotel was, quite coincidentally, in the city centre. Funny that. Now when they say that the locals like to go strong all night in the summer, they are spot on. I was happy to have dozed off about 10pm (with the sunshine still beaming) but was woken at close to midnight by the loudest fireworks ever. Was in Reykjavik or Beirut? I dozed back off only to be woken again by the fervent crowd out in the street around 3am, sunshine still beaming. They sure know how to party.
By morning time (and I mean normal morning time, like 9am), it was time to check out of our central hotel and head to the one where we were to commence our tour. So off we legged it, dropping our bags off at our new digs before grabbing a bite to eat for brekky.
Kate had her eye on trying one of the Icelandic sweet doughnuts called a Kleinur, so we popped in to a bakery to fill up on local pastries (and coffee for me). So how were the treats? Quite heavy actually. And quite sweet. I preferred the chocolate dipped version, while Kate was the traditionalist. Although the photographic proof suggests either was fine 🙂
Bellies full it was time for us to do some more serious wandering, given it was Kate’s first real opportunity to see open shops. Seems as though Reykjavik has an interesting dilemma though. Being a Sunday, quite a few stores on the two main shopping streets were either not open, or opening quite late. My guess is that traditionally the city slept on Sundays but with the increased tourist trade has had to swing open the doors now. But it still seemed quite quiet on the streets.
In wandering the many clothing stores, we took particular delight in trying on woollen hats of varying types…
Me, I like mine with tassels.
Every store seemed to have their share of puffin soft toys as well. Oh boy it is going to make it mentally difficult to eat one of these little guys.
After wandering the main shopping street, we made it back to the Hallsgrimskirkja church, and this time went up to near the top to check out the views of the city. It looked pretty sweet up there, and got a sense of really how tiny the city is.
We also could see how close we were to the mountains, and got a sense of just what we would be heading into on our tour.
Hanging out the front was Leifr Eiricsson, just watching over the city.
By this time we were both getting a bit peckish. Now, I couldn’t be selfish and deny Kate her chance at the local delicacy. Which one am I talking about? Hot dogs of course! And my underwhelmed feeling yesterday had actually grown to a craving to have another. So we partook in the delights of Baejarins Beztu again, and I have to say, I think I’m hooked. It went down a treat. Kate dug the dog as well, so I am guessing the dodgy stand will be getting at least another visit before we leave for good.
I also had to try another Icelandic specialty, one which I believe is their national food. It is called hakarl. “Mmmm!” I hear you say! Well, remember who’s blog you are reading. Hakarl is actually cubes of putrified shark meat. And by putrified, I really mean putrified. Apparently they leave the shark meat buried to rot for something like 3 months to make it digestible. Changed your tone haven’t you? Well, remember Muttler always takes one for the team.
Kate insisted on a photo essay of the experience. I am pretty sure she knew what was coming up. Me, I was a bit more optimistic. However, I’ll let the pictures tell the story…
Needless to say, not much more of that will be getting eaten. But it seemed the right thing to do to try the locals signature dishes. Unfortunately it resulted in the remark “You’ve got shark breath!” at least 10 minutes later. Here’s hoping the rest of my culinary experiences will be a little more palatable (and kinder on the nostrils).