21.05.2016 - 21.05.2016 51 °F
Well you asked for it and you got it. Due to popular demand it's time for a TIMMY TAKEOVER - ICELAND EDITION!
It was our last full day in Iceland. We grabbed breakfast in the hotel, then went out to explore. Our hotel is in the perfect location, within a short walk from most of the areas in Reykjavik that we wanted to see. After checking out a few shops (and contemplating a purchase of a Where's Waldo t-shirt) it was time for my appointment.
I love tattoos, and several years ago I decided that every time we visit a new country I am going to get a new one from a local artist there. On this trip I was lucky enough to get an appointment with Habba Nero, an extremely talented handpoke artist who works out of Íslenzka Húðflúrstofan (Icelandic Tattoo Corp). I booked the appointment months in advance, which turned out to be an excellent idea as the shop is closed on weekends. On this particular Saturday, however, Habba and her boyfriend Boff (who also works at the shop and is a handpoke artist) came to the shop for just a few scheduled appointments. This was my first time getting a handpoke tattoo and I was very excited. I wanted to get something to remind me of my time in Iceland and thought about various ideas, but up until yesterday could not settle on anything in particular. After seeing the Minke off the beach in Jökulsárlón, I was leaning toward some sort of whale tattoo. When we were visiting the Whales of Iceland exhibit in Reykjavik, at one point I looked up and saw a Minke whale skeleton hanging above me. The view of the skull/jaw from underneath was beautiful and unique, and I thought it might make an interesting tattoo. Habba agreed and set off to come up with a design.
After helping decide the correct placement of the tattoo on my arm and watching things get started, it was time for Julie to hit the streets. She didn't plan on just sitting in the shop waiting for me for several hours. Instead, she made a stop to the most famous hot dog stand in the country: Bæjarins Beztu Pylsu. These hot dogs are made from pork, beef, and lamb. It comes with ketchup, Icelandic mustard, remoulade, raw onion, and crispy fried onion. Though Julie did not partake in the onions, she said it was delicious. After the hot dog pit stop, Julie went to the local Flea Market which only runs on the weekends. The flea market was filled with various jewelry, sweaters, food, etc. She made a few purchases then decided to stop back to check in on the tattoo progress. The shop was not far from the Sun Voyager statue, so she headed there. The statue, a tribute to viking ships, sits right along the water. From there, she looked in a few more shops nearby and picked up a snack at Reykjavik Chips, which had really tasty garlic dipping sauce.
Handpoke is much less invasive than machine tattooing, so the after-care will be minimal and healing time shortened. After almost 3 hours worth of tattooing, it was time to see the final work. I am extremely pleased with the final product, and am so glad I was able to have Habba complete a piece for me. She and Boff may be stateside in the fall, so I might just need to find them and get some more work done.
After several food-less hours of tattooing, I was getting pretty hungry. So it was my turn at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsu. I opted for everything on it, and I was not disappointed. Super tasty, and would definitely go back for more. We stopped back into the flea market so I could look around, then headed back to our hotel. A nap was definitely in order if we wanted to stay out for our last night in Iceland. One odd observation we've noticed this week is the lack of an older generation. Almost every local we've seen has been young. One reference that came up is in relation to how the country has a "Children of the Corn" feel, especially looking at the young workforce.
Upon a recommendation from Habba, we had dinner at Rossopomodoro. After such a great Italian dinner experience last night, we thought it would be worth trying again tonight. We were not disappointed. Who would have known that the two best Italian restaurants we've ever eaten at would be in Iceland? One thing we've noticed in all restaurants in the country is how no one takes home leftovers. Literally not one doggy bag spotted our entire trip. I guess eating leftovers here is frowned upon?
After dinner we headed to see the Hallgrímskirkja church located nearby. This is one of the most beautiful churches I've every seen. Unfortunately it was closed and we could not go inside. So we walked around and took pictures as the sun was lowering in the sky. Habba recommended we stop at the nearby sculpture garden with works by Einar Jónsson. The work was very impressive, and in some cases disturbing, with several works dating back to the early 1900's.
Next we stopped at Paradís, an ice cream shop nearby. Apparently ice cream is a big deal in Iceland, with most locals eating ice-cream on a daily basis. Even with the dropping temperatures, people can be seen walking around with their ice cream cups and cones. Julie was still full up from dinner, but I had no problem ordering a few scoops of caramel ice-cream in a waffle cone.
With dinner and dessert in the books we decided to settle in at Dillon, a whisky bar on the main street of Laugavegur, not far from our hotel. We found a small table in the back, prefect for people watching. With it being our last night in Iceland we wanted to stay out for a while and enjoy the nightlife. Barring Julie's first drink of a watered down whisky and soda, we had a good time. The bar did not start getting crowded until almost midnight. That's also when the DJ started playing classics like "American Pie" that had the crowd singing along to the lyrics. It was still rather light out when we decided to call it a night at around 1am. Even after 7 days it's still hard to get used to it being light for 24 hours.
Well that brings an end to the TIMMY TAKEOVER - ICELAND EDITION. We fly out late afternoon tomorrow, so maybe a few more sights to be seen before we call it a wrap on our incredible week.