Reykjavik on the cheap

Posted: June 8, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Currently I am in Iceland, the land of perpetual winter (and currently perpetual light), more specifically I am in Reykjavik: the capital.  It’s a small city as capitals go, the entire island has a population of roughly 400,000 (less then the half million who live in Plymouth, U.K.) so it never was going to be large.  Iceland has a reputation of being expensive and in many ways it is.  But I am doing it for dirt cheap (because I am eternally poor).

First accommodation, camping is the only way to go cheap, at 1400kr a night/person it works out around £6/7 which is ok.  The city campsite is a short way out from the city, next to the hostel (so when the bus from the airport stops there – get off, unless you like long heavy walks).  At the campsite is free cooking facilities, free showers, toilets, water etc.  Also is a free shop, and in the kitchen free food baskets.  The free food baskets work on a leave and take system.  Any food you have left over leave for the people in the future.  Alot of people have gone out and bought salt before finding this store, there is a lot of salt. 

Buying food.  It’s not as expensive as you think.  Rice, pasta, potatoes: all easily within a restrained budget.  Gluten free pastas etc. are available and again similar sort of prices to the UK.  And if you’re vegan it’s even possible to get Tartex and Scheese.  Houmous is available but has loads of extra ingredients and flavours and also isn’t as cheap as in the UK.  Bread is quite expensive, though there is a flatbread/pancake thing which is quite cheap and good for a meal on the go, costing only 100-200kr.  The cheapest supermarket is Bonus which is an unsubtle yellow with a pink piggy bank on it.

Food foraging is possible, there are plenty of dandelions, garlic mustard, greater plantain and some chickweed growing.  A lot of plants are recognizable from also growing in the UK and with a bit more of a thorough hunt there may be more things available that are edible.

Shoplifting is easy.  So easy you feel bad that you are doing it.  I have no idea what happens if you’re caught though and have found no Icelandic people it would be appropriate to ask.  This scares me and is putting me off.

What are you going to do on your budget tour of Reykjavik?  Probably wonder around aimlessly, take photos of stuff.  It’s a small place and quite fun to wonder around.  I like looking at architecture, so have spent alot of time doing that.  It’s mainly grey, with bits of bright primary colour.  The graveyards are interesting too,  they are only open during the day however there are a number of opportunely placed benches to climb the short wall, it is perpetual light though – people are likely to see you doing this.

The perpetual light thing is strange,  it can be 11.15 in the evening and you wouldn’t know which if it was evening or morning.  Also means that sight seeing can happen whenever you want, because it’s always light.  Drink coffee, you’ll be fine.

Spend the 1250kr and go to the penis museum, it’s fascinating and hilarious.  Whale penis are HUGE, and also there are strange lampshades made out of horse testicles. 

Internet is available free in some cafes and coffee is a reasonable (at least in this one – a pancake cafe) 400kr.  I have my laptop plugged in, the sockets are the same as mainland Europe. 

It’s interesting to watch all the people walk past, a strange mix of fashion (there are some beautifully dressed people here) and sturdy outdoor wear.  A lot of high heels, and a lot of walking boots.  A strange mix.  There is an incredible shop on Laugavegur full of the most amazing tights and stockings, oh if I had the money. 

Anyhow, I am now going to stop squandering my time in coffee shops and head out and keep exploring.

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