I am pleased to announce that Guying Around has another excellent guest post from Northeast Shea aka DJ Cuff Your Chick. You might remember his earlier posts, Guying Arounds Guyde to Music Part 1 and Part 2. Check out this weeks post on Iceland and why you need to Guy Around there ASAP.
Picture this situation: It’s late February, bitter winter of Philadelphia is in full effect and you’re wondering why you even got out from under the warm covers this morning. Your boss asks this question when you tell him you’re leaving for a quick vacation this week: “ Why on earth would you go to ICELAND of all places right now?” Fair question, boss man, however; Iceland isn’t nearly as cold as people think it is. To be fair, a tropical resort during February is the furthest thing from a bad idea, but guying around is based on facing new adventures and stepping outside the norm of comfort. There are no physical limits to guying around, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.
So off to Iceland we go! Regarded as one of the most pristine places you can lay your eyes upon, the country, as big as the state of Indiana, has a Viking boat full of attractions to offer a traveler. Getting started I recommend putting “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin on to get you in the Norse-invading mood needed to bolster the trip.
There are the absolute must-see spots: the Blue Lagoon, kirkjufell mountain, the Glacier lagoon, and the Gullfoss waterfall. All 4 will be touristy and well known, yet will still blow your wool socks off. There are the lesser known places: Seljavellir guesthouse (ideal for seeing Northern Lights, if you get lucky enough), and the falls and landscapes of Borgarbyggo. By the way, don’t feel inferior if you can’t pronounce the names of the places you’ll see; they are loaded with consonants in an order that has no ungodly business being put together to form a word. The headache from speaking these is beyond worth it to see the picture-Esque locations only found in one’s dreams or office calendars.
I recommend renting a vehicle to save some money. Don’t worry: they drive on the same side of the road that we do in the States. The island is remarkable but a wee bit expensive despite the cheap flight there. Renting a car and getting acclimated with a map and a WiFi hot spot can help narrow down your spending, and focus more on getting to the destinations you really want to get to. There is a main route that goes around an enormous lake, so navigating from point A to point B isn’t a quick thing if you don’t plan your schedule accordingly. Driving can be a fun challenge because of the random weather Iceland gets; sunshine, wind, rain or hail. For example, we were driving on the coast with the black sand and the Atlantic Ocean to our right, a jaw-dropping, snow covered mountain to our left, then swung around the winding road to a waterfall behind a massive farmhouse, and in front of a sun-lit backdrop. Be hasty if you want to catch the perfect Instagram shot because moments later you could be facing another curvy road heading into a rainstorm. Weather can be quite pleasant; however, given the time of year and a bit of luck. Keep in mind the strength of the wind. Hold on to the doors when getting out of your car, just a word of advice.
The capital of the country is Reykjavik, which has literally half the population of the entire country living in the city limits. The city center is buzzing with culture, history, and an assortment of pubs to indulge in guy sodas. Start with a cup of coffee brewed by Odin himself (try “Te and Kaffi” – @teogkaffi on Instagram). Find some Icelandic yogurt (Issey Skyr) and tell me it’s not the best you’ve ever had. (Sorry Yoplait!) Head to the Viking museum to educate yourself on the history of the settlers, the Norse mythology, and the way the country has modernized while staying true to their traditions at the same time. Make damn sure you get a world famous hot dog from a street cart and load it with sauces, and wash it down with an ice cold Einstok Ale. Guy around the pubs and clubs (Tivoli bar, Microbar, Drunk Rabbit just to name a few) at night to find people from every corner of the world partying like they were jolted with Thor’s hammer, and end the night back at the street carts. This time around, try any number of sandwiches strictly to taste the remoulade topping. Icelanders take pride in drenching food in sauces and condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, garlic aioli, red onion spread, sweet relish and a dozen more. Don’t be shy, there are no limits on your Guy adventures. Unless you consider trying the whale and shark that many tourists dive into, then perhaps setting a limit might be wise.
My experience guying around in Iceland was short, yet left an impact on me wanting more. Scenery so flawless can only be found in certain pockets of the world; Iceland offers beauty and comfort, along with quite an adventure if you’re willing to explore. Cheers!
Here are some recommended tunes during the long drives from one aesthetic sight to the next.
Coldplay – “A Rush of Blood to the Head” album
Rolling Stones – “Exile on Main Street” album
Hozier – “Wasteland, Baby!” album
M83- “Midnight City”
Blind Melon – “Change”
Miike Snow – “Animal”
Everclear – “Santa Monica”
Beck – “Dreams”
America – “Ventura Highway”
Jim Croce – “I got a Name”
Stone Temple Pilots – “Interstate Love Song”
Oasis – “What’s the Story, Morning Glory” album