Reykjavik, Iceland: Gay bars, waterfalls and Mum
by Chani Sanger
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Iceland. Such a refreshing, beautiful country.
Of course like most people I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg and only been to the South West.
I went to Iceland with my family, and a few family friends, we stayed in a house that we rented for the week in the middle of nowhere. Scary, but amazing, we had beautiful views. We were on the top of a hill and so could see out for miles and it was just beautifully green. Plus since Iceland is naturally heated by volcanoes, our house had underfloor heating and it changed me forever.
Things we did:
Chuck Norris Grill
While in Reykjavik we went to this fabulous little place called the Chuck Norris Grill, we ate burgers, drank beer and enjoyed the general hilarity of a Chuck Norris themed bar. I highly recommend eating here!! Be warned that in general Iceland is expensive. If you’re coming from somewhere that isn’t a major city then you may be in for quite a shock, but at the same time you are surrounded by so much natural beauty that you can access for free, so you save money there. It’s all about perspective!
We happened to chance upon Club Kiki while driving around trying to find somewhere to eat. The vivid rainbow exterior of the building really caught our gaze and so we decided that we would plan a night out on the town and Club Kiki would be one of our destinations. I’m not much of a club fan, but Club Kiki happened to be a really fun place to go and I really enjoyed my night out. It is a queer bar so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I’m all about getting down with everyone so for me it was amazing. The best part of the night was when I asked the DJ if they had DJ Muscleboy and he turned to me with the sassiest face and said “ugh, of course I do” and lo and behold DJ Muscleboy was played.
A little back story on DJ Muscleboy. We had a large group of us on this holiday so we were split into two cars all driving around to places. On one of these days my brother, Sam, was in one car, and I was in another. Both cars were playing the radio and when we arrived at our destination we both ran to each other and asked if we’d heard DJ Muscleboy on the radio. At this point neither of us knew who he was or the name of the song so we had to wait until we got back to the house and Google like our lives depended on it. Thankfully, we found DJ Muscleboy. Louder is the song we first heard and it’s such a great tune, I don’t know if it’s meant to be funny but there is a comedic element. I highly recommend discovering Iceland’s music scene while you’re there because they have amazing artists. (Also check out DJ Muscleboy – Pump – Also an amazing song, watch the video it’s comedy gold!)
Iceland has no shortage of waterfalls. It is impossible to remember all of the funky names of all the amazing waterfalls we went to see, but take my word for it, see as many as you can. We saw so many different waterfalls, ones you could walk behind like you were hiding behind a massive water curtain, ones that were small, ones that were alike to canyons. So many wonderful waterfalls and like fingerprints, they’re all different.
Waterfalls are great to visit because 99% of the time they are free, you can take a picnic with you and eat with amazing views as a backdrop or you can have a lovely day out and discover the food that is available in the area.
Seeing geysers was such a strange experience. It seems like something really normal when you’re just looking at a steaming pool of water but then they erupt. Some are bigger, some are smaller but every geyser is extraordinary. Obviously, don’t touch the geysers because they can be deceptively hot, some are lovely like bath water but others will burn you severely so please, please, please, be cautious. Just remember that the water in a geyser is heated by volcanoes/magma, so it’s really hot!
The geysers we saw were part of the Strokkur geyser. It is one of Iceland’s most famous geysers. It was amazing because it erupts very often and the height of the eruption can vary but is normally around 15m.
Again, to visit Strokkur was completely free. If you have kids this is potentially an ideal place to visit, there are lots of geysers to look at while you wait for the main one to erupt. The main one erupts around every ten minutes, so not long to wait, and it is visually stunning. We had children of varying ages with us and everyone was mesmerised by it. It was even fun to have little bets on when the next one would go off. Just a reminder though that you are surrounded by lots of pools of hot water so keep a close eye on those kiddies!
Lastly, for one of Iceland’s most famous geysers, it wasn’t very busy when we went. We went in summertime, and there were lots of people but not overly so. It was a comfortable amount of people and most visitors were there with coach tours and didn’t stay for a particularly long period of time. Again there are lots of places to sit and eat/drink so take some food and a throw for the floor and have a lovely picnic while overlooking natural beauty! Here’s some pictures, one of me and my sissy with a lovely steamy geyser in the background, one of the main geyser erupting and one of a smaller geyser, so blue, so warm looking!
Of course, I know what you are all wondering. Did we go to the Blue Lagoon. Well cast your queries aside. WE DID. It was amazing. If you are paying for more than just yourself it gets quite pricey, quite quickly. Admission is from 50 euros per person so once you add on kids, your partner etc it isn’t a cheap place to go. That said, I still think you should go, if you can stretch and afford it. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and the pictures really do not do it any justice. The pictures look amazing but nothing compares to seeing it in person, the contrast of the crystal blue on the black rocks is amazing, the steam pouring off the top is amazing, just the general atmosphere is, yes you guessed it, amazing.
I didn’t take many photos of the blue lagoon as on the way in I was eager to just whip my swimming cozzy on and get in. In there I didn’t have a waterproof camera and on the way out I was wet and cold so you can picture the dilemma. To try to put into perspective what it is like getting into the Blue Lagoon I want you to imagine it’s cold outside, you’re frozen to the core and you come home, get inside, make yourself a hot chocolate and drink it in a nice hot bath. Well that is the Blue Lagoon, it soothes you inside and out. You are warm and calm and at complete peace.
There is some sort of clay type mud in pots there as well that you are meant to put on your body and it’s great for your skin. I have eczema and psoriasis and it didn’t irritate my skin at all, in fact it made me soft and supple. I don’t recommend putting it in your hair though, whatever the reason it just made my hair feel gunky and gross.
Beware the intoxicating lure of the swim up bar. Beers were around £9 for a pint which is very, very expensive. Then again I am a sucker for a nice cold beer. There are various drinks, wines, slushies etc just remember if you’re on a budget then maybe don’t tell the kids about the slushie machine!!
Other things we did/loved
All in all the holiday to Iceland was amazing, it was a great change from going on a sun seeker holiday and honestly it wasn’t even that cold. Standard UK weather really. There is so much more that we did but if I tell you everything I’ll type my fingers off. The best thing you can do is go there, walk around and discover. There’s so much culture in Iceland, you can walk around and find vintage record stores, cool clothing stores, 3 euro hotdogs (which my family went mad for) and so much more. We also loved the penis museum 😉 Which is a fair, affordable entry price. You can see all sorts of penises, from whales, to humans, to rodents etc. Plus lots of penis artwork. We did take kids there as it’s not sexual in any way and not graphic it’s just lots of willies in lots of jars, but still very interesting!
OH before I forget!! We went on a really lovely day out. We went on a boat to this cute little island and saw ruins from a volcanic eruption, we went to a swimming centre and had so much fun swimming in thermal pools outside. Top half freezing, bottom half boiling. Then when we came back to the house, Fred (my mum’s boyfriend) proposed to my mummy, it was very lovely and sweet and a very romantic place to do it.
Speaking of something less romantic though, I won’t get into the night my brother (who rarely drinks) drank a whole large bottle of Jägermeister to himself and then proceeded to throw up all around the house. In the hot tub, in his bedroom drawers, in the shower, on the car the next morning, everywhere. Poor baby mum had to shower him drunk on her birthday. Ha ha ha. He wasn’t even hungover though so Iceland clearly has healing properties!!
All I know is that you should go to Iceland. It is a beautiful place where you’ll make some amazing memories whether you’re a solo traveller, a couple, or a whole family!
by Chani SangerSunday, July 17, 2016
I recently graduated the University of Roehampton, packed my bags and moved to Australia! After going to China for six weeks in 2007, I fell in love with travel. At 13 I made a promise to myself that when I grew up I would write for a living and travel. I never wanted a corporate office job, I wanted to pursue my two passions, writing and travel. I'm happy to say I'm doing that! It's been a bumpy road but I find those roads are the most enlightening and the most fun. This blog will let you follow me as I explore as much of the world as I can. I'll talk about places I've been, places I'm going, places I want to go and how to go about planning your own travel experiences.Read more at chanisanger.com