When I was 12, I joined Columbia House (for the first time). I chose my 11 free CDs, but couldn’t find anything else I wanted for my 12th. I browsed through the catalog, and I remember being fascinated by Björk’s Debut – her very weird name, her wild hair, her alien face. I’d like to think that album was the one that cost me a penny. From the first listen, I was in love. Thus began a two-decade love affair with Iceland. (I faithfully bought every Björk album until the Dancer in the Dark soundtrack–I’ve already watched someone go blind in real life and have no desire to watch it onscreen.)
When Justin and I first started dating, one of the first things we bonded over was the fact that we both had always wanted to go Iceland. So when he surprised me with this honeymoon, I was ecstatic for a million different reasons. Plus, after 18 months of wedding planning and saving up vacation days, it was well earned. I know that most women look back on their wedding day as the best day of their life, but I prefer to think about Iceland, and traveling around such a gorgeous, weird, fascinating place with my best friend, who was possibly even more excited than me.
There’s waaaaay too much to cover in one entry, so we’re going to do this one day at a time. Well, today you get a bonus day, too.
In order to get to Iceland, we had to fly out of Minneapolis… so we flew in the day prior. We had a whole morning to kill, so we went to Mall of America, which was right down the street from our hotel.
Mall of America is, in fact, very big… but for some reason, it didn’t feel as big as I thought it would. I think that’s because aside from the amusement park in the middle, it’s all very much like a normal mall. There were 4 stories, with several wings on each floor. There were at least 6 different Lids locations. It was pretty hilarious.
We spent 5 hours walking every inch, with a lunch break in the middle. I could write a whole entry about Mall of America, but I’ll sum it up with this picture of an Orange Julius and my favorite purchase:
The flight to Iceland was only 6 hours. Flights from the US typically leave in the early evening, so you arrive at about 6 in the morning the next day. Iceland Air is wonderful! Also, they waste no time finding a place to land:
Justin booked everything through a great travel agency called Nordic Visitor, and they sent a driver for us. He held up a sign with our name on it at the airport! We have fucking arrived, folks! He also had one of those cars that runs on trash. Whee!
Because it was our honeymoon and we were ballers, we got the biggest suite in the hotel. A two story room, with the only balcony! It was a great way to kick things off.
This is where we got to experience our first Icelandic continental breakfast, which I’ve already established was legendary. The hotel restaurant was so cool! These numbers were made out of screws:
Our waitress looked exactly like Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I was polite enough to not take a picture.
Soooo… Reykjavík. How the hell do I describe Reykjavík? It’s the largest city in Iceland… really, the only city, with 2/3 of the country. But it still feels small. Every building is unique and colorful. Businesses and homes are side by side. The people are so nice and so insanely happy! Everything is so clean, even when it is covered in grafitti. I wanted to stay there forever. I don’t know what else to say.
Harpa, Iceland’s largest music venue:
We only saw terrible skateboarders, but there were so many and they were so dedicated:
A beautiful home (a fireplace in the front yard? Hi.) and their awesome garage:
Vikings and gnomes were everywhere!
My favorite spot was The Laundromat Cafe. It was kind of like Rooster in St. Louis… cool decor, crowded, so hip that it might be overrated but who cares? They had free wifi! Woo! Also, delicious food, incredibly nice people and the best hot chocolate of my life, or at least until I realized that everyone in Iceland rocks at making hot chocolate.
Okay, so, Justin also made me go to the Icelandic Phallological Museum. That’s right, the Penis Museum. You guys, it was so fucking gross. The one guy working there looked exactly like you are imagining he would look. I just wanted to take a shower. Sure, there was hilarious paraphernalia like this:
… but there were also preserved penises in jars. Like this sperm whale penis, which is taller than me:
I came across one penis toward the exit of the museum, and I yelled to Justin, “Gross! This one is covered in hair!” Then I looked at the label and yep, it was human. That’s when I screamed, ran into the gift shop and refused to come back. That’s right, the worst part of my honeymoon was a male human penis.
Finally, we visited Hallgrímskirkja, which is the large church in the center of the city. This is where people get all of those famous shots of the colorful roofs. I could have stood up there forever. Reykjavík just makes me so happy!
(After the museum, the shape of this church was a little traumatic.)
FEATURED FOOD: Hot chocolate! Whee!
ECSTATIC PICTURE OF JUSTIN OF THE DAY:
Björk on her home planet (she goes outside around the 2:00 mark):