A wander around quirky Reykjavik

Reykjavik is home to 3/4 of Iceland’s population – yet it is still a small town-like city. With a friendly and very relaxed atmosphere it was easy to wander the streets, and every shop or cafe I walked into was warm and welcoming.

I never thought I’d end up in a Penis Museum… to tell the truth, I didn’t know that a museum of penises even existed… but who was I kidding…. A Penis Museum was just what this town needed. With quirks like this, I saw Iceland’s odd sense of humour shining through, and I liked what I saw! ha ha ha.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum is home to the biggest collection of Penises and penile parts in the world -a total of 282 specimens,  housing 215 specimens that come from almost all of the land and sea mammals found around Iceland. Whilst evoking ones teenage sense of humour, this museum is actually a serious place where Phallology can be researched and appreciated. It’s Phallic-tastic. What really amused me/disturbed me was the four legally-certified gift tokens for specimens belonging to living Homo Sapiens – they included photographs and descriptions – and some even had given their specimens names. Quite the donation really…  I highly suggest checking this museum out for yourself, not only is it educational, but it is interesting and something you probably won’t see in many other cities around the world.

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On to safer territories and enough giggling (grow up children! ha ha ha).

I wandered around the docks which were beautiful and quiet, observing a few fishing vessels, large coast guard ships, and quite a few tourist whale watching boats docked for the day. The weather continued to change between bright blue skies, and snow/sleet/rain.

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I visited the Local Flea Market which is held once a week in down-town – I wandered around for a while but soon realised that even though it was called a flea market, everything was still way out of my price range, I’ll have to learn how to knit my own jumper, Icelandic style.

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On to the Whale Museum. This was something I was really looking forward to seeing.
It was amazing. Maybe not worth the price it cost to get in, but the life size models, sound track, and light show that went on within this large shed truly made it a magical experience. It had an audio guide that went with it – be sure to bring your own smart phone so you can download the app to listen to it on. It was informative and engaging. There were a number of interactive exhibits as well and a few documentaries you could watch around the place. A really unique place, with my favourite animals filling the space. My passion for the ocean continued to grow.

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I then ducked across the road to the Northern Lights Museum – which was more of a theatre with a bunch of photos being cycled through and some dreamy music playing in the background. One can only imagine what they are like in real life… hopefully see them one day too!

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I walked into the music building – Harpa – such a cool design and the sun shined through in a magical way, changing the colours and casting vibrant rainbows across the ground. Enjoyed the free WiFi and relaxed for a while in the flickering sun and out of the wind.

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Another main sight of Reykjavik is the large church Hallgrímskirkja – a towering and imposing building that looks over the town. It actually took 41 years to build….

Guðjón Samúelsson, who designed Hallgrímskirkja sought inspiration into natural shapes and forms, as he was seeking a distinctive style of “Icelandic architecture”, an architecture in harmony with Icelandic landscape. Many of Guðjón’s works carry strong references to Icelandic nature, particularly the basalt columns formed when a thick lava flow cools slowly into a polygonal joint pattern.

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Between exploring these sights and trying to get lost in the streets (it’s so small… really difficult to get lost…), I found some cool Graffiti and a few statues.

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I spent an afternoon at one of the local swimming pools – featuring naturally heated spa baths at differing temperature, and warm swimming pools for doing laps in – be prepared to shower before and after entering!

Really, it was a wonderful city to explore and there are plenty of things to do to occupy your time. There are more museums and plenty of different things to do to suit everyone – the night life is pretty cool too, plenty of live (and excellent) music, bands, dancing, flowing beer!

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On a separate day, I headed out to do some whale watching from Reykjavik! Although it isn’t known to be the best place to see the whales in Iceland, there was a chance to see some Minke Whales and maybe a humpback too! So with all my fingers and toes crossed, and quickly freezing that way, I stood at the hull of the boat and kept my eyes glued to the water waiting for the signs of whales popping up. We saw many white-nosed dolphins and eventually after patrolling the bay, saw some huge puffs of water going up into the sky – must be a whale blowing! So we raced over in our little steady boat and luckily just caught the glimpse of the whale’s back as it descended to dive or rest. It had obviously come from a long way away and so we decided to leave it resting, but with grins on our faces and the memory of the Humpback’s back in our heads, we returned to Reykjavik, happy and frozen.

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