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.
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.
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