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Reykjavik Guide




Visit

Hallgrímskirkja
It’s a church, but not like any church you’ve seen before. Massive and geometric, it’s supposed to resemble the lava flows so common in Iceland, but actually resembles something out of a sci-fi film.

The Iceland Phallological Museum
It bills itself as ‘probably’ the only museum that’s collected every single variety of penis found in a single country, but if anyone out there has a larger collection, we really don’t want to know about it.

By the way, when we say every variety of penis? That includes human, too.

See

The Northern Lights
You’ll have to head out of the city (and wish really, really hard), but if you and the girls are very, very lucky, you’ll be able to see one of the most spectacular sights in the world. Not a bad way to top off a hen night at all.

Eat

Iceland cuisine hasn’t exactly taken off with the rest of the world, so a hen trip to Reykjavik might be the only chance you and the girls get to indulge in a few Icelandic delicacies. However, there are few meals that only the most adventurous hens will want to try. We’ve put together a quick guide to the foods you absolutely must try… and those that should be approached with caution.

Happily tuck in to:

  • Any sort of fish – with the North Atlantic surrounding the country, Iceland has perfected much of its seafood, and has some of the freshest fish dishes you’ll ever find. Cod, haddock, monkfish, herring, salmon and lobster in particular are likely to be good.
  • Lamb – Icelandic sheep are all free range, roaming the Icelandic highlands as they please. These happy little lambs result in some of the best quality, most tender meat around. Sheep are also the staple meat of the Icelandic diet, so you’ll find plenty of it on menus in Reykjavik.
  • Hot dogs – best eaten “Ein með öllu”, they’re made with more varieties of meat than their American or continental-European cousins, resulting in a much more flavoursome dish.
  • Skyr – looks like yoghurt, tastes like crème fraiche, and is technically a cheese. Breakfast, snack, drink, sauce, desert - we’ve yet to find anything that Iceland can’t add Skyr to.
  • Brennivin – to be drunk with extreme caution, it’s locally known as svarti dauði – or “black death”. A local spirit made from potatoes and seeds, it’ll warm you up even in the depths of Icelandic winters.

Think carefully about:

  • Minke whale – it’s not actually an endangered species, but plenty of foreigners feel a bit funny about trying it… especially if they’ve just been on a whale watching expedition.
  • Rams testicles – unless you’re on I’m A Celebrity, there is no earthly reason you’d want to be eating these.
  • Boiled sheep’s head – we’re not making this up. Aside from the brains, everything is left in (eyes and tongue included), boiled, and served with mashed potatoes and turnips. It’s not even an uncommon dish – you can buy a boiled sheep’s head as fast food.
  • Cured shark – it might not sound that bad after boiled sheep’s head, but just you wait. Fresh shark is too… well, urine-y to eat without poisoning yourself, so rather than flinging it back in to the ocean for the other sharks to polish off, Iceland buries it underground for 6-12 weeks, then digs it back up and leaves it to ferment for around 5 months. It works for cheese and wine, sure, but we’re just not convinced.

Getting ‘Round Reykjavik

Iceland is considered one of the safest cities in the world, so don’t be afraid to walk to your destinations – particularly if you stay in any GoHen accommodation, all of which is near the town centre. If you’re not feeling up to walking the icy streets in heels, there is a reliable and regular bus service that covers the city. A single costs 350 kr., and the drivers won’t give change, so make sure you’re always carrying the exact money. There are taxis around, but they’re easily one of the most expensive ways to travel, so consider booking ahead with one of GoHen’s recommended firms to get a good deal on your transport.

Essential phrases

Any old guidebook will tell you how to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and ‘where are the toilets?’. We’ve put together a few of the most important Icelandic phrases – ones that aren’t just useful, but completely vital when you’re visiting Reykjavik.

Ég borða ekki hákarl – I don’t eat shark. This one goes without saying.

Ég vil fá rétt með grænmeti – I want a dish containing vegetables. When you also need to convey that you don’t eat testicles or heads either.

Ég er grænmetisæta – I’m a vegetarian. For when you’ve given up on Icelandic food completely.

Veistu um bílalúgu þar sem ég get keypt svið? – Do you know of a drive through where I can buy a takeaway sheep’s head? You know what they say – if you can’t beat them…

Useful phrases

Not quite as imperative as the others, but still quite helpful on a night out.

Ég er þunn – I am hungover. After a night on the Brennivin, you’ll need it.

Trúnó – A word with no direct translation, it means the act of getting drunk and oversharing your deepest, darkest secrets with the nearest someone on a night out. We’ve all been there.

Need to know

Emergency services: 112
Tipping is not customary, but also not illegal. Give what you feel comfortable with for excellent service.


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