Friday, October 24, 2014

Outlandish Icelandic Cuisine & More: Iceland the Sequel

Who needs words when pictures can tell a story? The conclusion of my Iceland trip - surfing, spas, trying outlandish Icelandic cuisine - told via photo captions #AndHashtags! #ImLazy

Practically private parts.

This is þorlákshöfn. As is the photo above. Don´t ask me how that´s pronounced. Although the þ is sounded out like "th." This was in the southwestern part of the Island. The water was definitely cold, but our wetsuits were super thick and included gloves, booties, and full head cap. There really was no place for water to seep in. 

Entrance. The paddle out took forever. There were long, rolling waves - we're talking 4-6 footers for the most part. It certainly picked up at times, even started to drizzle for a little while, but was cool to say we surfed in Iceland. It was also expensive as hell because gas is so costly. We went with a group called Arctic Surfers, the guides were awesome, super chill dudes that you wouldn't mind just hanging out with. Talking with some locals about surfing, they said that was a total tourist thing to do - as no Icelanders would consider jumping into the freezing ocean. I don't know how cold the water was, but if I were to guess - 40-50 degrees? One of the benefits of not knowing, is that you can trick yourself into thinking it's warmer (or colder) than it actually is. #Placebo
This is at þingvellir, also known as the Continental Divide. It´s a major tourist destination along the country´s famous Golden Circle tour that features waterfalls, river, and off in the distance, Iceland´s largest natural lake, þingvallavatn.

This is the actual fault line at the Continental Divide. Every year, these rocks actually separate a few centimeters.
This is a restroom that we had to pay about $2 to use. It does have a nice view. #Stupid

We climbed over a rope to get this picture. Such rebels. We´re living on the edge like Aerosmith in 1993.
I don´t know how I passed on this deal.
This is Strokkur, a geyser in the appropriately titled town called Geysir. It erupted every 5-10 minutes, which was cool because I´m a lazy photographer and didm´t want to sit around forever. Probably shoots around 50 feet in the air. Geysir is also part of the Golden Circle. #NotAsCoolAsOldFaithfulAtYellowstone #Murica

Pretty sure this is a shrine to Steelers' defensive end Brett Keisel.

This is Gullfoss. Another stop on the Golden Circle. It´s an impressive series of waterfalls.
I'm impressed with how close we could get to the falls. The area isn't monitored by anyone. I'm not impressed with this pose, however. #Tool
More Gullfoss.

Dinner at the Linden House, which came highly recommended by Lonely Planet… or did it?  The guide book called it the best restaurant in the area "for miles" - but if there aren't any other places to eat for miles - what does that really mean? The head chef spent some time in NY, sounded impressive. They made an amazing lobster bisque. You're looking at a terrible picture of grilled lamb, which was spectacular. Among other native foods tried: arctic char - a local fish, tasted kind of like a whitefish; some weird bird that I've already forgotten the name; reindeer; and ahem, horse. Yes, we tried horse. To be honest, it's not as bad as you might think, it's just the concept of eating horse that's unfortunate. That said, I won't be trying it again.

Viking ship sculpture in Reykjavik. This boat probably wouldn't float very well. 

Outskirts of downtown Reykjavik.

Harpa Music Hall in Reykjavik. Only the finest performers get invitations to play here - like Insane Clown Posse.

I liked this mural of fake Iceland landmark stamps: there's volcanos, vikings, geysers, waterfalls, flag, horse, and Bjork. #TheresNoBjork

Tjörnin - a small lake in downtown Reykjavik. Lot of swans up in that lake. I had to tell them to stop looking at me. #BillyMadison

Hallgrímskirkja - a church in downtown Reykjavik. 

Chuck Norris Grill. There are Chuck Norris facts written on the windows.  Here's a classic: Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead, it's just afraid to move. 

That's smoked whale from Sjavargrillid (Seafood Grill). There was also puffin somewhere on this sampler. A lot of restaurants in downtown Reykjavik offer a puffin and whale menu. I don't remember what they taste like specifically, but I was not a fan. Whale is supposedly like red meat, with an ever-so slight fish taste, but I could clearly taste the sea. In case you're concerned about eating whale and puffin out there, the whale population in Iceland is enormous and are not even remotely close to endangered species. I still wouldn't try either again. Was craving a McDonalds' Filet O' Fish though.
This is a bar called B5. I think. The nightlife in Reykjavik starts around midnight and goes until about 4-5a. According to locals, everyone's cooped up during the week then go all Amanda Bynes on the weekend - meaning Friday and Saturday. We went out briefly on Sunday night, as well. #GhostTown Drinks are expensive, people are nice.  Women are gorgeous, and on average, around 6-feet tall! Among the bars/clubs we went to: Austur, Kaffi Barinn, Bar 11, Celtic Cross, The English Pub, Harlem - I would make recommendations, but I don't know which one was which.

Meandering the streets of Reykjavik at 4am, you stumble upon a lot of strange sights. Sorry to say we didn't make it inside. No pun intended there. Icelanders, grow up!

The famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spas. Probably the country's biggest tourist attraction, Iceland is known for great hot springs, the plus about the Blue Lagoon, is that there's no sulphur smell. The water is surreally blue because of the algae, silica, and minerals. 

When we got to the Blue Lagoon the weather was awful, but the water itself was about 90 degrees, depending on the spot. In addition to the giant lagoon, there were saunas, steam rooms, and some weird facial mud mask that allegedly does wonder for your skin. We smothered it on our faces, but I don't know if it did anything, except poop on our masculinity.

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