Overindulging in Reykjavik

After arriving back in Iceland, it wasn’t too long before I had met new people and made new friends in the form of the lovely Leigh and Linh – two American girls who had met a few days prior at the Blue Lagoon.

After a quick bite to eat one evening, we decided to go out for a drink. Leigh had heard about a Big Lebowski themed pub not too far from our hostel, so we figured that’s where we would try a white russian, hang out for a while, then head back to the hostel at a semi reasonable hour like responsible adults.

Needless to say, such a plan is rarely executed in the desired fashion.

Within two minutes of walking in the door, we had already been handed our first (of many) free drinks of the night. There is a mid sized spinning wheel (Wheel of Fortune flashbacks occurred) behind the bar. The game is simple. Pay 2000 ISK ($22 AUD) and the bartender spins the wheel, whatever the wheel lands on – you win. For many, landing on the gutterball will lead to winning zilch, moderately lucky punters might win a round of white russians, and very lucky spinners will win the grand prize of 10 pints of beer. I did not spin the wheel myself, but as I was sitting at a table just in front of it, whenever anyone won the 10 pints – which happened more often than one might expect – it seemed like any spares would quickly get given to myself, Leigh and Linh.

It didn’t take too long before one drink had turned into ten.

At some time in the wee hours of the morning I remember ending up at a pizza joint and then somehow getting back to the hostel.

Unfortunately I also have faint memories of waking up a few hours after going to bed, still 9/10 drunk (10/10 is hospital admission worthy drunk) and getting locked out of my hostel.

In my underwear.

Not my proudest, classiest or smartest moment. However, I did eventually manage to get back into my dorm and finally got back to sleep.

I awoke the next morning with the hangover from Hades, and it took several hours before I was able to function and make use of the day. Eventually though, the desire for a bacon and egg feast won out and Leigh and I were up and moving in search of breakfast.

We certainly weren’t in any shape to be doing anything overly adventurous, so a day wandering around Reykjavik seemed like a wonderful way to spend the day.

We wound up at the Saga Museum – which at 2000 ISK ($22 AUD) was pretty overpriced even by Icelandic standards, but was actually pretty great entertainment for an hour or so.

The best part however (the part which is also free FYI) is the small section full of traditional Viking attire which you can dress up in. I loved playing dress ups as a kid, and as it turns out, not much has changed.

Choosing to love the polar bear rather than fight it
Choosing to love the polar bear rather than fight it
Fierce warrior Linh!
Fierce warrior Linh!

Lovely Leigh in a surprisingly heavy chain mail hood
Lovely Leigh in a surprisingly heavy chainmail hood

After becoming Icelandic Vikings, sustenance was required. As we were heading in the direction of Harpa we came across Cafe Haiti and decided to stop in for some re-hydration.

Looking like the Michelin Man in all my layers
Looking like the Michelin Man in all my layers

We spent the rest of the day wandering around and enjoying the rare Icelandic sunshine before heading back to our hostel for an afternoon nap.


Later that evening, Leigh and I went out to search for some Northern Lights. We went in a small group and actually saw a pretty decent show! I have no photos to share of the Aurora, but this is by purposeful choice. The Aurora is a magical thing to bear witness to, and I’d rather enjoy all of its wonders with my naked eyes, not through a camera lens.

Sometimes I see other peoples photographs of the Aurora and feel a bit sad that I have none of my own, but on this particular night, my decision to avoid using my camera was a great one. This night was one where I saw many shooting stars, which made the dancing Aurora even more beautiful, but then, out of nowhere, appeared the most magnificent shooting star shooting across the sky. The brightest, biggest, most incredible shooting star I had ever seen in my life. The small group I was with all let out a collective gasp when we saw it…

…all of us but the one guy preoccupied with trying to adjust his camera settings. He missed it, and we didn’t see any more stars that even came close to being as amazing as that one for the rest of the night.

If you are travelling to the far North to see the Aurora Borealis, consider leaving the camera in your hostel for the night, it might make your experience even more special.

T H E   L O W D O W N
Lebowski Bar: The best place to try a white russian in Reykjavik! Find it at Laugavegur 20a
Saga Museum: Located just a short walk from the Harpa Concert Hall, click here for more info
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 12-40mm M.Zuiko pro lens and iPhone 6
Remember: To not sleep in your undies in case you drunkenly lock yourself out of your lodgings

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

70 thoughts on “Overindulging in Reykjavik

  1. I remember those days of partying hard! With two small kids it is all just a distant memory now. Looks like you enjoyed yourself

  2. Ha-ha, I love your honesty in this post. We all have those moments we aren’t proud of. 🙂

    The Northern Lights sound STUNNING. Good call on leaving the camera behind. Sometimes it’s just better to experience things as they are without snapping photos.

  3. Aaaah, daughter-mine. Should I be proud or worried that the family hard-drinking baton has been passed on?? Well, I suppose with an ancestor who worked in the Guinness factory, what can we expect…….
    Either way, a great post. I have been reading a bit of Icelandic crime fiction lately, so good to see some of the places I read about.

    1. Definitely go solo! Iceland is a really great place for solo travellers 🙂 As for advice, I have written many posts about Iceland, if you hover over the ‘Europe’ menu on the blog home page, then click on ‘Iceland’ all the posts are grouped together there. I hope that you find them helpful!

      1. I was there in January of 2014. It was so cold and beautiful! I’m hoping to go back in August this year for a quick stop over between Europe and America! Such a beautiful place! And loving all of your photos from there too 🙂

  4. Fabulous post and stunning photos as usual. I was just sitting here with my husband after breakfast saying how awesome your blog is – I sincerely think it is my favourite. I am 40 now (I am really not sure how that happened! Believe me it happens so quickly) but remember my early 20s and great adventures. It makes me so happy to see you living your life to the full. And how brilliant for you that you will have such a perfect electronic record of your trip. I can’t wait for your next post. Hope the hangover wears off 😃

    1. Thank you 🙂 I love being able to record all my adventures and bring so many people with me along the way!
      I bet you have so many stories to tell from all your adventures! Do you have any upcoming adventures planned?

      1. I do :-). Though some are probably best not to air now I am a grown up lawyer! Ha ha!!!! Yes, we are going to Australia in March. So really looking forward to that.

      2. I have never been to Darwin. But hope to one day. Think this trip will be Sydney and Gold Coast based (as going back to see Hubby’s family). My favourite place so far in Australia is Uluru. Gorgeous. I really want to go to Broome.

    1. Eh they weren’t anything spectacular, but they didn’t have holes in them and they weren’t see through so it could’ve been worse haha

      1. I’d imagine it would be a bit on the chilly side being caught outside in Reykjavik just in them! I don’t envy you, although I probably envy you owning them haha

  5. Sounds like you had quite the night! 🙂 Interesting info on taking a camera to see the Northern Lights but makes perfect sense! 🙂 I’m hoping to get there later this year!

  6. Gotta love it when “just one” turns into too many and a massive headache followed by a wicked hangover day! From the looks of your photos…you had a great time! Thank goodness you got locked outside of your hostel in your underwear! What wonderful blogging tales! 🙂 Its one of those things that makes you groan inwardly followed by…oh well..my blogging peeps will love it! Glad you are having more fun in Iceland!

    1. Haha exactly! It wasn’t hilarious at the time but it certainly makes for a great story to come back and share with you and all my other fabulous readers 🙂

  7. I took a few pictures of the Northern Lights, but as you say – it’s better experienced with the eyes – when it got seriously incredible I discarded my camera completely and just lived for the moment – no regrets!

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