R = Reykjavik, Iceland

Last year we undertook an ambitious travel schedule covering 4 Scandinavian countries including Iceland.

We arrived in Reykavik on a weekend when they were holding their annual Marathon and Culture Night.

It was a street party like I’ve never experienced before …. people packing the streets throughout the downtown area, live bands and DJs, food vendors, and a contagious party atmosphere that permeated everywhere. Even in the homes we passed, loud and rowdy parties were in full swing.

Not to make any judgments about the food …

Coming from straight-laced Toronto, it was a novelty to see people with open liquor in the streets.

Saturday – early evening.  By dark, one could barely move.

The following morning was a picture of contrasts compared to the night before … deserted streets and garbage everywhere.  City crews worked swiftly to clean the streets before they became bustling with crowds again by noon.

R=Reykjavik 5
Sunday morning in the early hours

R = Reykjavik 2

It was late August, but the temperatures felt more like early October.  I’ve travelled through many places in the world, but here in Iceland I truly felt like a stranger in a strange land.

Maybe it was the hopscotching through 3 countries before we got there.  I had expected to find Iceland similar to her cousins – Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. I was wrong.  If her cousins could be described as elegant ladies, Iceland was the rough-and-tumble tomboy prepared to drink you under the table.

R = Reykjavik

… or perhaps it just felt that way on Reykjavik Culture Night.





    • What I found really interesting is that Reykjavik is considerably more moderate than we are.
      True, their summers don’t get very warm, but their winters don’t get very cold either. The temperature differential is quite small compared to Toronto.
      Who knew?!!


  1. Your before picture with the rainbow pathway with art all along the way was so pretty and then the aftermath of partying, feet wearing off the art on sidewalk/street/path really drives home the before and after effects, Joanne. This was perfect timing for a trip and I am sure you knew this before hand. I like when serendipity brings beauty, art and music into our lives, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right and Iceland Air might have a lot to do with it. When we were looking into flights last summer to Denmark, it was a lot cheaper to fly with Iceland Air than Air Canada, plus they allowed a stop-over of up to a week in Reykjavik without any additional cost.
      We also discovered they fly into other major European cities.
      How could we turn that up?!
      I would definitely be looking at Iceland Air again the next time (assuming of course there is a next time) we go to Europe.


  2. Reykjavik is fantastic. So much fun! Definitely a place where they know how to party.
    I’ll have to arrest you on your Scandinavian countries though. You visited the three Scandinavian countries and Iceland.

    “In foreign usage, the term Scandinavia is sometimes incorrectly taken to also include Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Finland, because of their historical association with the Scandinavian countries and the Scandinavian peoples and languages. However, this broader group of countries is officially and commonly known as the Nordic countries.” (Wikipedia)


  3. Thanks for another glimpse into a city that I’d love to visit. Just read previous comments, dry counties, nowhere to buy alcohol on Sundays. You must have to plan ahead.


  4. When we were in Copenhagen (in June) the folks were out in the streets all night long drinking and partying – so it seemed more like a rough tomboy town to me – but it could have been the heat wave!


  5. Joanne I think I would like this rough and tumble tomboy very much. I would have never expected such crowds on the streets! Our next trip to Europe we are definitely stopping here.


  6. In the military, I was stationed in Iceland for a year, and saw Reykjavik on numerous occasions. Alcoholism is a big problem there, so I’m not surprised you saw a lot of drinking in the streets. The summer was cool. It never got above around 63 degrees. But the winter was mild, with highs averaging in the 40’s. The countryside is very beautiful, indeed.


    • A very interesting place to be stationed for a year. Iceland is certainly very different from anywhere I’ve visited before. It has an *alien* quality to it. I hope you got to see a lot of the country. I saw only enough of it to wish I could spend more time there.
      I had heard about their alcoholism problem. I guess that’s not a huge surprise given their isolation.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember feeling this way in Barcelona Joanne. The first evening we were there, we walked down to the beach. We were so shocked at the number of people with open liquor in the streets. There were many groups who had actually set up long tables on the sidewalk, having a fabulous time having dinner & drinks. We are so conservative here when it comes to our bylaws etc. I recall coming home after that trip & heading downtown for something. There was a wine company offering tastings but you had to step into a fenced off area in order to try it. So ridiculous!


  8. That looks like fun! 🙂 As I’ve told you before, I’ve only seen Reykjavik for a few hours, during the tail end of a hurricane or something. I felt right at home. It’s nice also to look at all the Icelandic, as I can understand many words, but they seem ancient.

    That was quite the ambitious trip, to visit almost all of the Nordic countries.


  9. Toronto lives a sheltered live…we have open liquor (mostly beer) at most of our main street festivals. In regard to Iceland, I like rough and tumble as long as I don’t have to fight anyone. The culture night looks like a fun time. Question: What was the rainbow street all about? Was that permanent or just painted for the festival?


    • I had been wondering the same thing about the rainbow street. Apparently it’s been done for Reykjavik Pride for the past many years. It’s similar to what Toronto does in The Village at crosswalks.

      No, we didn’t see any fights. Everyone seemed to be too happy and having a good time 🙂
      … and yes, I know we are repressed in Toronto. Our liquor laws are a bit outdated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The only issue with our festivals is that they contract with and serve mostly Budweiser products. I love the horses, but hate the beer. My girlfriend and I end up going into a bar to get the good stuff 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m laughing at how y’all think YOUR liquor laws are a bit outdated. We have dry counties here. Places where it is illegal to buy or sell liquor, where there are no bars, and not so much as a bottle of wine can be purchased or a glass consumed.
          Our entire state has a Sunday ban on alcohol and it’s really not uncommon in the states.
          Teetotalers are VERY common.
          Our state fair began allowing local wineries and breweries to pass out tiny samples and the attendance dropped significantly.
          Recently they dropped a law about selling alcohol on Christmas, but it won’t matter, because Christmas is on a Sunday this year.
          I cannot tell you how many times I’m picking up dinner ingredients and think, “Oh, some white wine would be nice with this…Oh crap, it’s Sunday.” Anyway, for the most part, we stock up. And in despair, we will cross the river to Cincinnati and hit a drive-thru liquor store if need be. (At least we did when I was younger.)

          Liked by 3 people

          • Oh, I know about dry counties and no alcohol on Sunday. The ex and I came across that one year when we went on a biker rally (with hundreds of other bikers) in Tennessee. One of our stops was Pigeon Forge. Picture all of these bikers coming into town after riding all day in hot weather and finding out that it was a dry county. Some of the un-happy bikers rode to a neighboring county to have a beer. The ex and I laughed about it as we didn’t drink at all while riding and were more interested in water that day than anything. Too funny.

            Liked by 2 people

  10. A friend of mine travels there frequently but her pictures are not of the bustling city…she loves the country and by what I have seen it is beautiful, serene and quite different than your party town experience. I’ll bet that was a big surprise, especially since you are not fond of crowds.


    • I also have many photos of the countryside which we explored extensively. It is quite unique and I wished we had had a lot more time.

      Reykjavik may be their largest city, but it’s actually quite small – maybe 150,000. Only now am I beginning to appreciate its reputation as a party place.
      I can handle crowds for a while, then I need to retreat … which is exactly what we did 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting observations about the differences among these four countries. Not a fan of the almost childlike colors of the objects in these photos. Orange? Pink? Yellow? Too intense for me.


    • There were some very stark contrasts between Iceland and the other Scandinavian countries. In fact some people would argue that Iceland really isn’t a Scandinavian country at all. She’s a bit of wild thing 😉


  12. I think this is how we felt when we stayed in St. Germain…..just left with the feeling that this was better left for the young who didn’t need to be in bed before 11.oop LOL. Though, like you, we stayed there on the last leg of a trip after 10 days of tiring traveling……anyway, still glad to have done it as I’m sure you were. Do like those easels down the street…..and the pastel tables/chair in the street….quite perky!


    • Yeah – that’s the trouble with a stop for a few days on the way home after a tiring vacation. You would think we would know better by now!!
      I would like to go back someday though – this time with hiking gear and head out *into the wilds* 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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