Reykjavik, Day 2: A little culture and a lot of hot dogs

Sólfar, Reykjavik, Iceland

Sólfar, Reykjavik, Iceland

We started our second afternoon in Iceland with brunch at the KEX hostel, a popular place to stay as well as to eat and drink. It’s a quirky little spot – I can imagine young international backpackers feel right at home here. For us, the food was decent, but the service was a little lacking. We did find out that the trout on the sourdough toast is smoked locally with a combination of moss and lamb “poo.”

The smoked trout was quite tasty but being used to applewood and cherrywood, we couldn't place the flavor profile. Upon asking, we learned it was smoked over lamb dung and moss.

The smoked trout was quite tasty but being used to applewood and cherrywood, we couldn’t place the flavor profile. Upon asking, we learned it was smoked over lamb dung and moss.

KEX hostel

KEX hostel

From the hostel, it was a short walk to the Sólfar (Sun Voyager) sculpture on the Reykjavík waterfront. While some understandably mistake this for an homage to a Viking ship it’s actually an ode to the sun. Regardless of its meaning, it’s a stunning art piece, perfectly fitting for the stark landscape.

Sun Voyager

Sun Voyager

Next we hiked around seeing the basic sights of the city:

Hallgrimskirkja, a Lutheran church was designed to mimic the basalt lava flows. The view from the top of the tower is incredible,

Hallgrimskirkja, a Lutheran church, was designed to mimic the basalt lava flows. The view from the top of the tower is incredible.

View from the top

View from the top – in case you couldn’t tell, the first picture was from a different (much sunnier) day but it sadly was not the day we were able to go inside. I’m sure this view is a bit more common anyways given the weather in Reykjavik.

Frikirkjan, the Free Church in Reykjavik, sits beside Tjornin, a picturesque lake close by the city center.

Frikirkjan, the Free Church in Reykjavik, sits beside Tjornin, a picturesque lake close by the city center.

IMG_6133

Frommers says this sculpture honors -- and lightly satirizes -- the thankless, anonymous job of the bureaucrat.

Supposedly this 1994 sculpture “honors” the thankless, anonymous job of the bureaucrat. Got to love the Icelandic sense of humor.

The Harpa concert Hall sits near the harbor, allowing plenty of light to stream through its glass walls.

The Harpa Concert Hall sits near the harbor, allowing plenty of light to stream through its glass walls. It is the current home to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera.

Inside the Harpa

Inside the Harpa – I could stare at these walls forever.

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Alþingi, the Icelandic Parliament building.

After all that walking, we were hungry and exhausted so we decided to partake in one of the most well-known Iceland traditions: stuffing our faces with pylsur, the Icelandic hot dog.

These hotdogs are made with a combination of pork, beef and lamb and are served — if you order them “with everything” as you should — with raw minced onions, fried onions, pylsusinnep (a sweet brown mustard) and remoulade.

We went to the famous stand (Bill Clinton and Anthony Bourdain both ate pylsur here), by the harbor. We ordered six dogs to share and it was glorious.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, the place to be!

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, the place to be!

My dinner!

My dinner!

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9 thoughts on “Reykjavik, Day 2: A little culture and a lot of hot dogs

      • Sadly we never tried the shark even though we saw a lot of it. We were just never ready for it mood-wise and let it pass by thinking we would grab a package at Duty Free to bring home to share with friends. But when we left we didn’t see it! We have one more chance though to track it down though (we’re in Denmark now). I’ll let you know if we find success. We did try both Minke whale and puffin and they were both awesome!

    • Ha! Yeah, it kind of came out of nowhere but we really wanted to check it out and it was truly an amazing trip. I’m totally behind in posting but we’ve been in Copenhagen for the last few days so the adventures continue! =)

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