Day 6: May 24, 2014

Our plans came together really well this day. We woke up around 9:30AM to a cloudy, rainy day (not good Pingvellir weather whatsoever). So, instead of embarking on a hike that would have been filled with misery and dampness, we drove to Keflavik to deal with our car situation.

We found SadCars, but there didn’t seem to be anyone around. I decided to peek my head into the garage and call for someone, and Christopher responded!! We LOVED him. And I fully regret not getting a picture with him. We asked him how he got to Iceland. He is from Denmark and wants to be a pilot! Apparently pilot schooling in Denmark, where he originally wanted to go, is more expensive than in Iceland. The coolest part: he was 10 days away from finishing! I gave him my number and offered Katie and my futon (which did not exist at the time, but exists now and is very comfortable) for him if he ever found himself in Philly. He ended up letting us extend our time with Roo and the garmin from Monday at 9:00AM to Tuesday at 1:30PM for 68 euros when the true price of the extension was 108 euros! That was so sweet of him.

On that high note, we made our way to Reykjavik. It felt so good to be around people and in a city. We had had a wonderful time being in nature, but we were both ready for some Icelandic culture. We figured out our hostel situation for the next two nights. We stayed in Kex and this hostel was nothing short of amazing – we probably weren’t cool enough to stay there (we definitely weren’t) and we ended up upgrading from a 16-bed to a 4-bed (out of necessity, but it was a nice upgrade)!

Our new plan: stay at Kex this night and the following night (Saturday and Sunday), and Monday we would go back to Pingvellir and experience the Blue Lagoon.

After getting acquainted with our hostel, we went out to explore Reykjavik! Our first stop was the infamous hotdog stand on the corner. I did buy and eat a hotdog, but it wasn’t tasty to me. However, Katamus said that is was incredible, so I am sure that it was. It was very affordable, like $3-$4 maybe. Afterwards, we found the tallest building in Iceland… it’s this church:

Then we stopped in a tourist center and asked the ladies behind the desk if they had any must see places, cool bars, or music venues for us to check out. They were very sweet to us and gave us a great map of Reykjavik with some spots for us marked in red.

While walking up and down Laugavegur – the poppin’ street in Reykjavik – I quickly realized that I am obsessed with Reykjavik’s graffiti!

While shopping and browsing the different stores that line the main streets of Reykjavik, I had an idea. I decided that, for every place that I travel (outside of the USA), I will buy art and date the back. A memoir to my travels (aside from my travel journals, pictures, and future scrapbooks).

After exploring for a while, we decided to stop in Kaldi – a bar that sells Kaldi, a famous Icelandic beer, on tap! Katamus bought us light and dark Kaldi. The dark Kaldi is very, very good. Only second to Gull (which I found out was my favorite beer later that night).

Side story: an older, intoxicated gentleman (who was clearly not American, his accent gave him away) approached me while Katie was buying our beer and asked, “Are you from Texas?” to which I laughed and responded, “Do you think all Americans are from Texas?” This catalyzed what began as a rather humorous conversation (“Do you know Elmo!”) however, after about 5 minutes, it turned into a not-so-humorous-please-let-us-be-type situation. After offering for us to come outside with him and insisting that we could bring our beers five or six times, he went on his way and let us be.

After he left and we finished our beers, we went to a restaurant called Fish, where Katie got fish soup! I would have gotten the veggie soup, but when I ordered it the woman working behind the counter recommended that I try Glo, the “best vegetarian place in Iceland.” I was sold. So, Katamus enjoyed her time at Fish:

and I enjoyed my time at Glo:

After full bellies, our next destination was a parametric modeled building (architectural boner, anyone?). It looked pretty cool from the outside:

but the inside was sick. The building is a music conservatory and there was a black tie event inside… we clearly weren’t dressed for the occasion. That didn’t stop us whatsoever.

By the time we finished exploring the building, we were ready to head back to the hostel. When we arrived, there was a percussion band playing in the main common area. We listened a little, but we both wanted to write and chill out before venturing to take on the Reykjavik nightlife.

We had a BLAST going out in Reykjavik. First off all, we had no going out clothes. So our outfits were prime (I have a photo of them later in this post!). Our first bar of the night was called the Laundromat:

a sweet sit-down-and-chat-type bar. We bought a Polar Beer and an Egils Gull. The Gull was my favorite of all the beers that we tried in Iceland – so smooth.

Our next stop was the bar next door, a much clubbier scene. There were bright red lights and other neon colors flashing everywhere, loud music, and very fancy people. I tried to smoothly take a picture of our ridiculous outfits in the mirror of the bar, but, alas, my flash was on… so that made us look even cooler.

We weren’t feeling the vibe, so we ordered 2 shots of Reyka, the other classic Icelandic vodka (other than Brennivin), stole some limes to chase the gasoline (it’s Crat level), and boogied out into the rain. We found another sit-down-and-chill bar called Kaffibarinn, in which we were almost the only customers. We ordered 2 shots of Brennivin and asked the two gentlemen tending the bar for a lime to chase. They were so sweet to us! Both “born and raised in Iceland,” one had light hair and the other rocked a man bun (which is super common around Iceland, I dug it). We got to talking and had some very interesting conversation. Highlights include: learning to say, “f*** you, idiot” in Icelandic, a history lesson about WW2 and what America did for Iceland, and being informed that all Icelanders can speak Icelandic, Dannish, English, and a fourth language of their choice. They ended up buying our shots for us and got us some coffee!! That was awesome. They recommended a slew of bars for the rest of our night: Kaldi, Dolly, Paloma, B5, Boston and 11 (which is open until 6:00AM!). We left them around 12:30AM and let them know that we’d be at Boston if they wanted to join us when Kaffibarinn closed.

Boston was a ton of fun. We ordered 2 beers and 2 shots of Veyka… and no more drinks after that, haha. The bar was darker, two stories, and had a DJ pit and a dance floor. We were just sipping on our beers in a corner when this dude approaches us and asks if we are from New Zealand. Turns out he was an American industrial design student and was planning on meeting two New Zealand ladies at Boston (since he was from Boston) and one had blonde hair, so he thought that we were them! It was so, so, so great to meet him. Meeting another American in a foreign country is a great feeling… you guys are on the same page!! This dude’s name is Sean, and he was the tits. We had tons of fun with him. He came back to Kex with us and we chilled in the lobby, chatting about life and relationships over fries. I remember him saying that he was really happy that he met us – the feeling was mutual, Sean!!

Katie and Sean’s future album cover:

We parted ways around 3:30AM… and went straight to bed.

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