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Mike’s Next Adventure

Day of Days: Roam About Reykjavik (Without A Coat)


Straight from my frosty travel log in Reykjavik:

No Coat, No Problem.

Flight from Columbus to Toronto on affiliate carrier Air Canada on a 1964 prop plane flown by Captain Red Baron – Check


Arrive in Toronto, get through customs; told IcelandAir has moved terminals, have to explain to security why we’re leaving terminal, take a bus to opposite side of airport, recheck in, go through security, AGAIN, just for fun.  – Check

Arrive in Reykjavik, watch everyone pick up luggage – no bags for Mike and Paul. Told the next flight from Toronto is three days away – slow realization we’re in an arctic country with no coats, hats, thermals, clean underwear, or fucking toothbrushes… weather forecast? High of 34 with a chance of dragon breath – Check

The woman at IcelandAir said we could submit $100 receipts to the airline for reimbursement. $100 to buy shirts, underwear, parkas, toothpaste, and a hats. Right…

Paul and I exit the airport, and for one naïve, hoodie-only second I say, “I guess it’s not bad out here…” and then Santa’s wind pierces my soul and slaps my nethers.

A cab to Reykjavik will set you back around $120. Flybus ( will take you right to your hotel for around $40 for two people. Convenient.

As usual, Paul picks up our frozen spirits with some warm Bertie Higgins:

After some jet-lagged merriment, we arrive at the very cool Icelandair Marina hotel in Old Harbour. Artsy, industrial, yet cozy. Situated right next to a working marina. Rooms aren’t ready this early, check in is at 2.


We try to go outside, but it’s testicle-retractingly cold with just a hoodie and our shared clothing combos.


The view is stunning to all senses. Paul and I start worrying about the cold ending our collective abilities to make future children, so we head back into the hotel where we loiter, pathetically. Replete with chaise lounge faintings, deep sighs, and all. The manager of the place, sick of looking at us, gives us each a single room to “Go to sleep. Because you look tired.” Read: “You dirty American schlubs need to get the fuck out of my lobby”.

Half hour power nap. I dream of Poler Bears eating Ice Cream bars while taking IQ tests. Weird.

I Come from the Land of Ice and Show(s).

Walk over to the beautiful Harpa Concert Hall, grab our wristbands for Iceland Airwaves – an annual showcase for up-and-coming bands from Iceland, and around the globe, at various venues around town. There’s also a robust off-venue schedule for the non-ticket holders. Every café, record shop, and clothing store becomes a venue. Think: South By Southwest, but Euro.


Bearings, please.

We have some time before the first band, so we trek towards Hallgrímskirkja (opening pic), take an elevator up to the top observation deck. In the elevator, horribly cheesy “holy” music plays as we ascend. It’s like Tabernacle Enya. Hopefully, when I die, the music is more indie on the way up (or down).


Looking for food, we end up at Lebowski Bar; a bar loosely based on the greatest movie of all time, ‘The Big Lebowski’. We have many Tuborg Christmas Ales, and quote Lebowski.



We leave the Dude, head back downtown. Hearing some good tunes, we duck through an alley with a red carpet, where we find Hotel Kvosin’s off-venue music tent. The band playing is Caveman. Solid. Maybe you’ve heard the song below, if not, enjoy.  And I think the dude in the video is the stoner from ‘Cabin in the Woods’.

Next door to Iðnó, to see a band called Vigri. Beautiful old theater. The band isn’t really my or Paul’s taste, but they definitely put their heart into it.

Cold walk back over to Harpa where we see Moses Hightower, Mac Demarco, and Midlake in that order.

Moses Hightower was really impressive – funky, great horn section, tight band. Here’s their latest single that is extremely popular here:

Mac Demarco…fuck, yes. Even with half a voice, and a broken e string on his guitar, absolutely killed it. Amazing show. Instant Top 5.


I didn’t get a clip from Moses or Mac, but here’s Mac Demarco’s latest single:

And finally, here’s a clip I grabbed from the Midlake Show:

We head across the street from Harpa to eat some lamb hot dogs from Baejarins Beztu Pylsur. Best damn hot dog I’ve ever eaten. It has some weird mustard sauce and crunchy onions. I have another. Paul as well.


Over to the awesome, attic-looking bar, Gamli Gaukurinn. to see the very young, very Danish band – Shiny Darkly. Old school Joy Division/Interpol sound. Keyboardist looks like he’s 12. I have written “Get Younger Soon, Mike” in my notebook I’m copying from.

2 More Hotdogs. Chat with some new friends from NZ, Australia, and Canada.

Around 3 in the morning, Paul and I finally concede to beer-tapped jet lag, and head back through Old Harbor to our hotel. As we walk, Northern Lights streak across the sky like a green dragon. At first, I think I may be tripping on hot dogs. But Paul snaps a pic. An awe-inspiring moment, I fall asleep happy on this day of days.

More, soon. – Mike


Paul’s pic of the Northern Lights over Old Harbor.


33 comments on “Day of Days: Roam About Reykjavik (Without A Coat)

  1. susielindau says:

    The Caveman video is the creepiest ever! I loved it.
    What a chilling adventure! I would love to go there someday with long underwear in my carrion bag…

    1. susielindau says:

      iPad misspelled carryon!!

      1. mabukach says:

        Ha! I was very curious about your carrion bag… Iceland weather is like Colorado, minus thirty.

        1. susielindau says:

          I keep my iPad downstairs and I forget about he autocorrect. Sheesh! Sounds frigid! I have to start acclimating. Ill find out on Tuesday when I will be released to the slopes….

          1. mabukach says:

            That’s so awesome, Susie! Glad to hear you’re going to be (hopefully) out there shredding some powder. Does anyone really say ‘shredding powder’? I think I’m getting old.

            1. susielindau says:

              Thanks Mike!
              “Shredding pow.”
              Courtney went up yesterday and said it was amazing how much snow they’ve made. It was 45 degrees up there!

  2. Laura says:

    Awesome jaunt with you to Rake-ur-dick (not being vulgar, just thinking of the cold weather…) Mike. Thanks for the showcase! Hope you get some warmer clothes soon. And maybe buy another toothbrush so you and Paul don’t have to share. If there’s even one.
    PS are you getting paid for this trip? Double awesome, if so 🙂

    1. mabukach says:

      ‘Rake-ur-dick’ ha! And so true.
      I’m charging icelandair for the super duper toothbrush I brought. It cost $300, and can be worn as a parka.

      I did not get paid for this trip, but, i might try to sell a short article if I have time.

  3. mewhoami says:

    What a beautiful place. Too cold for my liking, especially without a coat, but stunning nonetheless.

    1. mabukach says:

      Most people go to a warmer place near winter. Not me, I go to a colder place. 🙂
      Thanks, mewhoami.

  4. The Waiting says:

    One of the few foreign countries I’ve visited is Iceland, and I loved it so much. The hotdogs, o! the hotdogs. Om noms.

    1. Maggie O'C says:

      Wait, Emily….Iceland???

      1. The Waiting says:

        Yes! It was actually way cheaper to go there than the UK so we went ;D

        1. mabukach says:

          That’s awesome, Emily. Where did you go?
          mmmmm hot dogs!!

  5. Maggie O'C says:

    This is so great. I want to hear about the coats soon, reading this made me very cold and VERY interested in a lamb hot dog. Many lamb hot dogs.

    1. mabukach says:

      Let’s just say, icelandair had great success sending my luggage around europe.
      Simple bun, lamb hot dog on a bed of crunchy onions…stupid simple; so freaking good. I had to have eaten like 10 of them in three days.

      1. Maggie O'C says:

        Sending this to my bff who is heading to Iceland in the new year. Would you mind if she emailed you about it? I can’t find your email address. Send it? Thanks!

        1. mabukach says:

          I sent you a reply – don’t post my email address on here to keep away the stalkers. Oh how they relentlously stalk…

          1. Maggie O'C says:

            Oh, okay. I’ll post your email on my blog.

            No, don’t thank me, it’s okay. I’m here for you.

            I sent you and Trish an email.

  6. I can’t wait to go there – GroupOn is offering a ‘Northern Lights’ tour to Iceland for a week for under a $1K…..I’m seriously considering it.

    1. mabukach says:

      Do it now, battle. The place is amazing. The people are great – and it’s cool to say “Hey, I’ve been to Iceland.”

  7. thegetclearshow says:

    Great blog! Loved reading your adventure…I shivered just reading about it!

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks so much, thegetclearshow!
      I think next time I’ll go somewhere warm. 🙂

  8. PinotNinja says:

    I’m assuming, since there’s no mention of a stop in at a clothing store, that you two just put on your whiskey and beer coats for the night? The bands you’ve caught so far are amazing — can’t wait to read about what you stumbled across on day two.

    1. mabukach says:

      We sure did. I had a North Face layer zip-up, and a rain shell, and a gallon of Scotch.

      Thanks, Pinot. I might just summarize the rest of the trip in pics – if I do, i’ll just send you a message with some of the other gems we discovered.

  9. The Hook says:

    Keep living the high life, Mike – and sharing it, of course!

    1. mabukach says:

      I will try, and dammit, I’ll drink Miller High Life whilst doing it!
      Thanks, friend.

  10. qrparker says:

    Do you take those pictures yourself? A lot of them have really beautiful composition.

    1. mabukach says:

      I did qrparker. Thanks so much! and thanks for stopping by.

  11. Iceland looks incredible – I can’t wait to get there. Reminds me of the time I somehow managed to leave my coat folded up on my couch at home. I failed to notice my mistake until I’d arrived at my new home for the next month: The French Alps. It was January. I was not happy.

    1. mabukach says:

      That sounds exactly like something I would do, Voracious. How much did the replacement cost?

      Thanks for reading.

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