Day 6 of our Icelandic adventure had been a relatively clear day for October in Iceland, but unfortunately today was not going to be quite as nice. We woke up to rain, but really didn’t have much planned besides walking around, buying some souvenirs, and checking out a few local sites in Reykjavik. We had bought groceries the night before and made ourselves a delicious breakfast at our Luna Apartments studio.
Souvenir Shopping in Reykjavik
After breakfast, we bundled up in our rain jackets and set off to explore Reykjavik in the daytime. As expected, all the souvenir shops sold the same stuff…and it was expensive.
I don’t really understand souvenirs, to be honest. If I buy you something from Iceland and then your friend sees it and goes “oh, you’ve been to Iceland?” you get to be like no, my friend has. That just seems disappointing. I feel like souvenirs should be for people who have been to the place so that they can have their memories.
That being said, after seeing the prices and not really seeing anything worth buying…we skipped souvenirs. But, if you’re looking for something to bring home, there are tons of fun shirts, hats, sheep’s wool things, etc. all around downtown Reykjavik.
The Icelandic Phallological Museum
With nothing exciting to do, we decided to check out the Icelandic Phallological museum. At least it would keep us dry and warm.
The Icelandic Phallological museum (Iceland penis museum) was a short walk from our hotel, which was nice since it was raining steadily. We paid our entry fee (I think it was $10 or $15/pp, I can’t remember which) and entered the museum.
Inside the Icelandic Phallological museum we were privy to over 215 different types of penises…penii…penis parts. I thought it was going to be more on the entertaining side, but it ended up more on the wtf am I looking at side. Very scientific, and very on display. Everywhere. All around you. From the house mouse penis, to the blue whale penis. And everything in between. The Icelandic Phallological museum was certainly a once in a lifetime experience…mostly because I’m not sure I ever want to see that many penises in jars again.
It was certainly interesting, I’ll give them back. They’ve put a lot of effort into acquiring all the different species’ samples, but it’s a little gross looking at one after the other of these shriveled up penises that have been sitting in solution for God only knows how long.
That being said, there’s really only so much time you can spend looking at a bunch of penises..penii…whatever…in jars before you’re like um, okay, moving on. And that’s just what we did. Back into the rain, in search of a grocery store.
The Icelandic Phallological museum is definitely worth a stop, but I wouldn’t plan your whole day around it.
(Photos not included – affiliates might consider them pornographic haha)
Site-seeing in Reykjavik
Sadly, we would be leaving Iceland the next day, and since we were flying WOW air who keeps their airfare cheap by charging for all food and drink, we wanted to make sure we had our own food for the flight home. We loaded up on more sandwiches and snacks, and decided to stop by the Chuck Norris grill. Apparently, Iceland is a big fan of American culture.
The bar was cool, food was okay…but way expensive for a burger. We weren’t starving, so we split a burger and fries and each got a beer. The nice thing about Iceland is that everywhere you go, they accept credit cards. We never once took out any local cash.
If you like art and statues, there are definitely lots of things to see around Reykjavik. There are museums (other than the Icelandic Phallological museum), and there’s plenty of shopping. Unfortunately, none of that really excites me. I know, I’m terrible when it comes to artistic culture, but my brain just doesn’t have that piece in it.
We walked over to the waterfront to see the Sólfarið statue, which was nice, but it was raining, and cold, and I just don’t understand art so I was bored within a minute. After that, we decided we had had enough of the rain.
For the record – I’m not saying that art is not wonderful – it certainly is! I once went to the MOMA and saw this pile of candy sitting in the corner and wondered how that could possibly be art. Years later, I spoke with a friend who is an artist and I told her about my experience. She excitedly told me an entire story about how famous that pile of candy was and what it stood for. With that backstory…I got it. It meant something! It’s just that for me, in general…I like nature and adrenaline 😉
Anyway – we walked a few blocks back to our hotel to start our packing, now warm and dry. We had dinner reservations at an Icelandic Tapas bar, supposedly one of the best places to eat in Reykjavik. Pete, our ice climbing guide, had recommended it for getting a good sampling of Icelandic food, but other than that we were planning on a low key night. We had had more than enough to drink the night before!
Tapas Barinn: One of the Best Places to Eat in Reykjavik
As mentioned, Tapas Barinn was recommended as one of the best places to eat in Reykjavik, so we decided to check it on and splurge a bit on our last night in Iceland. We got to dinner around 6pm at Tapas Barinn. We were early enough to easily get a table, but if you’re going to get there after 6pm, make a reservation.
This was to be our most expensive food evening, as it was also our last, and we were interested in trying out some local flair. Tapas Barinn is a great option because they offer a multitude of options depending on how adventurous you want to be, and how hungry you are. Neither of us were starving, and we’re not terribly adventurous when it comes to foreign foods, but we wanted to give it a shot.
I believe we ordered the Icelandic Gourmet Feast:
Taste the best of Iceland
Starts with a shot of the infamous Icelandic spirit Brennivín
- Smoked puffin with blueberry “brennivín” sauce
- Icelandic Arctic Charr with peppers-salsa
- Lobster tails baked in garlic
- Pan-fried line caught blue ling with lobster sauce
- Grilled Icelandic lamb Samfaina
- Minke Whale with cranberry-sauce
And we end the gourmet feast with a delicious dessert
- White chocolate “Skyr” mousse with passion coulis
The puffin…was a little weird. Tasted a bit like over-seasoned jerky but wasn’t quite as tough. I don’t remember much of the Charr, I think it was mild. The lobster tails were perfect, the fish was pretty much a white fish so it was mild and delicious, the lamb was okay, and the minke whale was weird.
I do think this is one of the best places to eat in Reykjavik because the portions were small enough to get a little taste of everything. We shared a portion, but if you go hungry you’ll probably need one per person. It’s also nice to be able to share because since the portions are small, you don’t have a lot of eat if you don’t like it (like the puffin and whale for us). It’s a great option for trying new things without having to overly commit.
To add to being one of the best places to eat in Reykjavik, they also have delicious cocktails here, and we were lucky enough to get in under happy hour so they weren’t super expensive. Overall, really nice experience and really nice place! Oh! And yes, we got to taste Brennivín which just kinda tastes a little like vodka.
After dinner, we walked back to our Luna Apartments studio to relax. We considered staying out longer to party on our last night, but then realized we’re both old and totally okay with going back to the hotel and watching some TV before settling off to bed.
The next day we would finally get to experience the Blue Lagoon, and then it was off to the airport to head back to California!