1st Dec 2012 11:39am | By Helen Elfer
Never mind the extremes – from fire to ice – that Iceland is renowned for, most people just think of it as the land of Bjork.
10:00 And where Reykjavik is concerned, that’s not a bad place to start.
Quirky, edgy, creative, musical and more than a little bonkers are all characteristics that apply as much to the capital city as the pint-sized popstrel.
Once you’ve adjusted to the surreal daylight hours – 22 hours of light in summer, and almost round-the-clock darkness in winter – you’ll soon get into the Icelandic swing of things.
Start off your first day with a mega brekkie of sausage and eggs at Grái Kötturinn (mains from £6.50; Hverfisgata 16a; tel. 00 354 5511544), a tiny cafe which has nearly as many stuffed bookshelves as it does tables.
11:00 Sticking with the sausage theme, make your way to The Icelandic Phallological Museum (entrance fee £5) to see how you or someone you know measures up to a 67-inch sperm whale penis and the pickled organ of an elderly Icelander who died last year.
13:00 Feeling a bit hot under the collar? Restore your composure with a walk in the fresh air around the strikingly original Lutheran church Hallgrímskirkja (visitreykjavik.is).
It took 38 years to build and the architecture was inspired by the basalt lava flows of Iceland’s landscape.
14:00 You’ll find busy hot dog stands all over the city, so get in line and grab one with the works for lunch.
Some of the best are at Bæjarins Beztu (Pylsur Tryggvagotu 1), in operation since 1937 – apparently former US president Bill Clinton stopped for a snack last time he was in town.
15:00 Devote at least some of your afternoon to Reykjavik’s Art Museum, which is spread over three locations: Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir and Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum (entrance fee for all three £5.50).
Hafnarhús has a huge collection of edgy graphic art from Icelandic artist Erró.
18:00 If you’ve got a strong enough stomach, get stuck into what might be the most Icelandic meal possible: smoked puffin and reindeer, at The Fish Market (mains from £18.50; fishmarket.is).
Dinner here doesn’t come cheap, but the splurge is well worth it just for the bragging rights alone once you get back home.
20:00 Stomach suitably lined, it’s now time to start the famous Reykjavik ‘runtur’ (that’s the local lingo for pub crawl).
Have a few beers at the casual, candle-lit Boston (pints from £3.50; Laugavegur 28b; tel. 00 354 5177816).
It stays open until 6am, so you can come and go between here and other nearby venues, such as trendy dance spot B5 (pints from £3; b5.is) and Mediterranean-themed, upmarket bar Vegamot (wine from £4,40).
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