Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sunlight in Reykjavik

According to the internet, Reykjavik is the northernmost capital city of an independent nation. And with great northernness comes great days or nights (depending on the season). Take a look at how crazy long the days were:

Daylight 20+ hours a day...
I can't say that I ever saw it get dark, even past midnight. The only comparison I can make is that point at which the park district starts the Movie in the Park before they really should because it's getting late and no one can stay in the park past 11 pm... that sort of "dark".

The cool part was not having to drive in pitch black conditions. The not-so-cool part was that is was extremely difficult for the mind and body to feel ready for sleep. And, once you are in bed, if you don't have blackout curtains in the room... forget about it. 

Almost every AirBnB claimed having blackout curtains. Most of them were not wide enough to cover every angle of light that could possibly laser into the room. If you're going to Iceland during summer, do yourself the favor of buying a sleep mask or blindfold. 

Amazon folks seem to like ALASKA BEAR blindfolds...

I did not have the foresight in buying these. One night, the brightness was so much so that I tried being resourceful by covering my eyes with my black bra. It didn't quite work because the bra has a hole in the middle (why does it have a hole in the middle?). Plus, the cups were not sized to my eyeballs. Anyway, just trust me on this purchase. Do it.

While it is quite bright, it can still be a bit chilly in Reykjavik. What was refreshing about the weather was how practical folks were about their dress. Everyone was wearing hiking boots, a puffy jacket and about 2/3 of people had a knapsack. Even when we went out on the town on the weekend, I did not see cleavage whatsoever. The closest I got to seeing that was when I wore that bra on my face.

Alright, so there's perpetual sunlight and everyone looks like they walked out of a Patagonia catalog. Next...

Let's talk about the business hours around this place. 

Open 11 am to 6:30 pm M-Th; 10 am to 7:30 pm Fri; 10 am to 6:30 pm Sat; 12 pm to 6:30 pm Sun

Bonus, which deserves its very own post, is Iceland's version of Aldi. It's an odd econobuy type grocery store. Just look at the mascot. I can't get over the unevenness of its eyeballs.

The morning after our first night in Iceland, we decided to go to Bonus to buy some yogurt, fruit and other things for a light breakfast. Little did we know that 8 am was entirely too early for Icelandic grocery stores to be open. Then, we saw the hours. C'mon, man! I know Chicago Public Swimming Pools that have better hours than these. We made sure to stock up on snacks for days once we were able to stroll in 3 hours later.

This pharmacy is open when you're least likely to get/be sick.
Luckily, no one got sick on this trip. However, we did need sunblock after getting a bit sunburnt on the first day of hiking. We tried stopping at several gas stations since none of the Bonuses were open yet. To our (not) surprise, neither was Lyfja. 

We ended up getting some weird Nivea sunblock from a random Bonus a day later. It was terrible. Don't buy it. Just get Banana Boat. Anyway, another tip is to bring your own over the counter stuff in case you come down with a case of the sniffles or runs. There is not much aid you can get late at night.

It is no wonder that Iceland has an amazing literacy rate (99% of the population over 15 years can read - according to the internet). What else are you going to do if you can't run over to the store to get some pizza rolls past 7:31 pm? 

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