This time last year I was in Iceland for work. I arrived on a Monday evening and was working from 2PM on Tuesday until 6AM on Wednesday and then again from midday on Wednesday until 8PM. It was going well clearly! I was supposed to finish work by lunchtime on the Thursday, but didn’t finish until 5PM. I had a flight home on Friday morning so I had to go out and enjoy my one night out in Reykjavik, Iceland….
So on arrival to Reykjavik in the evening, I decided to find the bus station for the late night bus back to the town I was staying in (good move) and confirm the bus times. “What time is the next bus to Keflavik?” The ticket agent looked at her watch “oh, you just missed one” and started to look a little nervous. “Yes, but when is the next one?” She didn’t seem to want to tell me. “It’s at 3.30 in the morning isn’t it?” I asked. “Yes” she replied. Perfect, just as I thought.
Off I went back into the city centre to celebrate a job well done (that’s my excuse anyway).
Lots of snow
December 2015 had a lot of snow in Iceland. They even had to remove snow from the capital and dump it into the sea.
Food and a slow start
My first stop back in the centre was for dinner. I somehow resisted the urge to try shark or puffin or a horse steak and picked the usual option – burger and chips.
All this walking and eating made me realise how thirsty I had become, time to hit a few bars. First place I went to had a Christmas beer, that will do. Pint in hand, well 500ml instead of 568, I took a walk around and sat down. This place looked a little too trendy/hipster for me. From some of the conversation I overheard, I was right, so I decided to move on to the next bar.
I stopped off in Lebowski Bar. Now this place was packed but not a noise. People where busy watching films on the TV screens. What the bad word Iceland!? If in doubt, head to an Irish bar! Imagine my surprise when I got to the Dubliner to find out I was only the 6th person there, and two of those were the barman and dj.
I was very disappointed at the stage. The stereotype of Iceland is that it is a great place for a party but I was starting to get a little bored. It was no match to being cycled through the streets of Stockholm on a bar crawl (thanks Annie) or meeting an Estonian guy and going to an underground bar in Tallinn at 3am. Time to ask some random locals for some tips….
Picking up the pace
The first suggestion, Austur, was more like it. Packed with people and NOISE! And more Christmas beer. Very tasty stuff too and ‘cheap’ at about £4.50 a go. The 2nd suggestion, American bar, had more of a pub feel to it and perhaps surprisingly no Americans. If you thought £4.50 was a lot, imagine paying 1200 kroner for a 330ml bottle of Corona. To save you the time checking, that works out at pretty much £6! There was also the Australian girl knocking back whiskey cocktails at £10 a go. This is more like it Iceland. But then to my horror, before I knew it, it was 1am and closing time and I was just getting into the swing of things. Oh well, so be it.
Outside the bar, I met Max from Sweden and shared some snus with him while finishing off the last of my beer, when an Icelandic girl (Selma) walked past and said “after party, this way”. Ooooo, why not? The apartment was clearly only used for parties given that it only had sofas, a table and a bar. No kitchen or bedroom at all. The beer was free too and there was about 30 of us there.
After a couple more beers and discussing Northern Ireland’s abortion law with Selma (I have no idea why or even how but she had impressive knowledge), it was time to have snowball fights on the balcony with random passers by. There’s always one person that likes to point his blindingly white, bare ass to the world. That was until Sean (I think) from Sligo hit him right in the cheeks.
Back to the hotel to pack
Time passed very quickly and it was soon 4AM and I really had to leave for my bus…. I made it and was back in my hotel for 5.45. Enough time for a quick power nap and then up in time for my flight. I woke up and looked at my phone – 9.06. SHITTTTTTTTTT! Just 74 minutes to my flight then.
I got up as fast as possible, called reception to get a taxi, threw my stuff into my bag and waited outside. It was at that moment that the alarms I had set on my phone decided to go off (thanks Sony!).
The taxi appeared and the driver was a legend, taking payment while driving and power sliding around corners instead of slowing down. I made it to the airport 30 minutes before flight was leaving. Please don’t be a big queue at security…..20 people, I’ll take that. I made it through security with 20 minutes to my flight and had to find gate 34. Which of course had to be at the end of the airport. I made it to the gate with 10 minutes to spare and about 5 people in the queue and got on board. Never in doubt really!
After an uncertain start, my one night out in Reykjavik, Iceland lived up to expectations. Until next time…..
(Oh and I was in work in Belfast in the afternoon)