Iceland: Land of Love Scrotums

I do not know how long I’ve been awake. I don’t know what time it is back home. I barely have a grasp on the current time here at the Keflavic airport in Iceland. It’s really very strange to hop around time zones and have to force your body and brain to adjust. I think I’ve been doing rather well, but I’m ready to pass out from exhaustion. The following will explain why.

On Saturday, after only a few hours of sleep, I was whisked away from home to Minneapolis for the afternoon — I guess that was yesterday, but it still feels like it was today and that’s hella confusing. In Minneapolis, we shopped at the mall, went to Pâtisserie 46 (a delicious bakery that makes perfect vinaigrettes), I was stalked at IKEA, and then we headed over to the airport to leave for my flight to London via Reykjavik. There was a bit of a kerfuffle with the computers at checkin, so that wasn’t a terribly smooth procedure, but it was only a matter of time before we were through security and sat at a rather nice restaurant at the airport.

Jessica and I had to go to Syrdyk’s Flights because obviously the name made it very important. How could it not be important to go to a place that sounds like “Sir Dyke’s”? It was imperative…and they had a caprese salad, so I was sold on the little excursion. It was all right. Jessica had a dish called the Italian Stallion — also for the name. How could you go to Sir Dyke’s and not order the Italian Stallion? We proceeded to make a number of obscene jokes and then boarded our flight.

Our seats were technically in the Economy Comfort section of the plane, which meant that we got an extra INCH of legroom. In some instances, an extra inch can go a mile, but this was not one of those times. I’m a tall fellow, not crazily tall, but I’m usually one of the taller people in a room. I just do not fit in standard sized aircraft. I fit on the AMTRAK, but that’s built for an entirely different purpose. Nevertheless, I had an aisle seat (a good thing) and there was a USB outlet built into the seat (a very good thing.) I was given a pillow, a blanket, and some delicious Icelandic water and I was ready to settle in for the night.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to sleep at all. I was rather wide awake. That’s not really a surprise, though, since it wasn’t even eight o’clock in the evening. I don’t usually put myself to bed until the crimson dawn begins to show itself on the horizon. The flight attendants didn’t go to too much trouble to shut the plane down for sleep mode, though, like they do on some flights. They’d come down and offer beverages and furs — yes furs. I declined the furs, of course, but partook of beverages.

I gave up trying to learn Icelandic after about twenty minutes of trying — there are too many strange letters and sounds and I’m sure that if I said the jumbled words I had downloaded on my phone aloud, I would’ve looked terribly strange. I decided to watch a show about Reykjavik instead that was available on the terrible little screen built into the seat in front of me. Jessica and I both watched this in great alarm. They knit their own woolen swimwear. I can’t imagine having wool around my bits. They tie eggs in a bag and bury them in the ground and let the thermal heat cook them and they also wrap rye bread in foil and bury it with the eggs so that the sugars in the bread caramelize…then they pull it all out and put it together and eat it on a rock by a geyser. I’m not making this up.

Finally, I fell asleep with about three hours to go before we landed. We were thrilled to get off the plane and dashed through the airport to the Flybus. Because we had a nine hour layover in Iceland, Jessica and I decided to catch a ride into the capital, Reykjavik. We had never been to Iceland before and all we knew about it was that they accept credit cards everywhere, everybody speaks English, and they have odd culinary habits.

Once situated on the comfortable bus, we watched the strange scenery pass us by. It takes about fifty minutes to get from the Keflavik airport to Reykjavik and we hardly saw any signs of human habitation. We did pass signs, though, that said things like “Town of the Elves” and “Town of the Vikings.” The landscape was barren and rather like a wasteland. There were purple flowers and moss everywhere and it was lovely in a kind of depressing way. There are tall mountains all over the place and most of them are named something incomprehensible and explode with lava.

Soon, we pulled into town…with the rain. We decided to wait out the drizzle in the bus station and get some nibbles. They sold tonic water in the beverage section and that really pleased me. So I drank that with a cookie and wondered exactly how much I was spending because I couldn’t remember what the exchange rate was. It was kind of amusing to hand over your credit card after the sale’s clerk says, “That will be 2,347 kroner.” Funny in a rather terrifying sense, you know?

We arrived in town far too early and everything was closed, so we just wandered around for a long time…very cold and rather damp.

IMG_7124The architecture of the city was rather uninteresting. Lots of tin paneled buildings and stucco. I looked this up later; they use these materials because Iceland doesn’t have much wood for building with. Everything is in a lovely color, though.

I really enjoyed the look of the Hallgrímskirkja, a famous Lutheran church that towers over everything else in Reykjavik since there aren’t really any buildings over a few stories high.



Absolutely everything was closed until ten and it was only in the eight o’clock hour, so we continued our rather boring exploration of the city. There were no people anywhere…it was a bit like being in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Inevitably, we made our way down to the sea, passing by lovely graffiti and advertisements such as these:



IMG_7144and a bakery that had its kitchen door open, allowing a cart of cheesy bread to cool in the chilly sea breeze:

IMG_7142We seriously considered nicking one and running, but then I remembered that Les Miserables is all about a stolen baguette…so we decided to skip that and come back later.

IMG_7153The water was very cold and the bay was very grey and gloomy, but dreary in a pleasant way. The entire city had that feeling of it…dismal, but somehow cheery.

Finally it was time for things to start opening up, so we hurried back to Kiki Queer Bar — it’s actual name — which was one of our favorite places because it was covered in rainbows and it let us say Kiki Queer Bar many times. We were nearly dead from hunger so we happily entered the Sandholt Bakarí.

IMG_7146Supposedly, this is the oldest bakery in all of Iceland, so I was very curious to see inside. Instead of Nordic style pastries, which is what I assumed there’d be, it was mainly fine French pastries, which was perfectly all right with me. They also had a passion fruit cake, so I fell madly in love with the shop. I absolutely adore passion fruit and it drives me insane that it is so hard to get back home.

We took a seat in the very crowded bakery and ordered some breakfast. I had a wonderful croissant, a coffee, and a big slice of that passion fruit cake. It was delicious, even though I haven’t the foggiest idea what it cost me. 1,585 kroner… Jessica had a sandwich that she picked apart in annoyance. They had free wifi, though, as most places in Iceland do, and that was awesome. This is how we look after we’re fed:

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We found food!

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From the bakery we sauntered down the main shopping street, Laugavegur, and poked around a few shops. They sold lots of wool and viking things and postcards. Stamps cost more than the postcards. We finally made our way to the Icelandic Phallological Museum, the world’s largest display of penises…mainly so that we’d be able to say we went there.


We didn’t actually go to the museum since we didn’t have enough time to do that and try another restaurant and climb to the top of that church. But, we did have time to go into the gift shop! There were all kinds of penis themed memorabilia. There were lamps made out of scrotum skin and that was really disturbing and I made my way out after that. I don’t know what animal’s scrotum it was that made the lamp, but I’m very glad that it’s not human because if it were mine it would be slapping my lower thigh…which would not be fun. Amusing party gag, though…

We made our way back downtown and found pretty dandelions:


we also found a charming cat I named Simon and had to literally run away from to make Jessica leave the cat alone and get going:


From here, we made our way to the Hallgrímskirkja, bought a ticket, and rode a very slow elevator to the top where we were presented with lovely views of the city:


IMG_7183It was awfully pretty.

We went down and crossed the street to the Café Loki, which was the main interest for me in the entire trip. I looked at their menu weeks ago and saw something on their pastry listing called a LOVE SCROTUM. How could I not purchase this? How could I not go and find out what this meant?

With great enthusiasm, I ordered some rye bread with cheese, tea made out of moss and thyme and birch bark, and then a LOVE SCROTUM. On their menu, it’s called a love ball, which is not funny. Well, it’s kind of funny. Clearly scrotum is a mistranslation of ball. This is what came out:

IMG_1468It looks like an ugly scrotum, I suppose. It’s a very dry ball of fried dough with raisins in it. Not very good, but worth ordering.

It was time to head back, so we walked past the biggest crow I’ve ever seen and boarded the bus, where I promptly passed out.

Back at Keflavik Airport, we quickly got through security and sat around forever and ever and ages and eternity. There was a flight delay and everybody in the world was going to London and there were hoards of people around our gate. They finally began boarding without any kind of announcement whatsoever, but we finally got on and plugged our beloved iPhones in and watched television. I watched that Super Fun Night thing and it was actually amusing — I will watch the rest of it later. Is that show on anymore? Seems like something that would be cancelled.

More amusing than the program I was watching was the woman sitting next to Jessica. She was breathing like she was going to have an infant and when the food trolley came around she ordered two bottles of champagne, a big glass of sparkling water, two glasses of ice, and three hamburgers. The total was 5,550 ironers. I loved her.

Finally, we got to London and walked through Heathrow’s labyrinth of hallways to passport control where we stood for literally forever. EVER AND EVER AND EVER AND EVER. We did finally get through, then we waited for EVER AND EVER AND EVER AND EVER to get our Oyster cards figured out. Then we got on the train and waited FOR EVER AND EVER AND EVER to get to central London to switch to another train and then wait FOR EVER AND EVER AND EVER for another train to the apartment we had rented in some hinterland somewhere.

It took absolute ages and we couldn’t find the apartment at first because it was midnight and we were overtired and starving and it was really quite dark and there were lots of trendy youths about. We did find the apartment, though, and it was rather underwhelming at first. The entry hall steps were cluttered and there were ants in the kitchen and Jessica was having a mental breakdown. (It’s not really as bad as we thought it was.)

We were starved, so we hurried over to the 24-hour Tesco (a grocery store) only to find that it was closed on Sundays. HAHAHA FUN! Out of desperation, we found a pizza shop where we spent far too much on mediocre pizzas and fried cheese and baked potatoes and sodas. We hurried back to the apartment, gorged, and fell asleep.

This has been long. Thank you for reading.


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