Reykjavik Day 1: The Travelling Trooper Does the Punk Museum

Being a teacher, I have to keep this blog PG-13. That is why it is with deep regret that I must inform you all that I won’t be posting any picture of the Phallological Museum aka the Penis Museum in Reykjavik.

It is as hilarious and bizarre as it sounds. It features specimens from all over the animal kingdom. And for your answer as to whether or not there is a human addition to curator’s collection, you will have to watch the documentary The Final Member. Oh, and it’s a Canadian documentary, by the way. Weird Canadians.

This is the only footage you’re getting here:


After that truly unique experience, Trevor and I walked around the city in order to kill time before the start of our walking tour.

The building on the left is Hallgrimskirkja. The church is meant to resemble a geyser.  You can climb up to the top for I think 9 Euros, but forget that, I just climbed glaciers and mountains for free; I wasn’t about to pay for that.

The structure in front of the church is Thor himself. The statue was a gift from the US to celebrate the country’s 1000th anniversary. The US and Iceland have been pals since WWII. Iceland wanted to be free of Denmark, and America wanted to keep Nazi Germany out of what would have been a very strategic location in Iceland; and so, the US set up a naval base in Keflavik and promised to protect Iceland from those mean ol’ Danes. (Although, in a funny turn of events, Iceland would later on return to Denmark with their tales between their legs and ask for help building their famous Hallgrimskirkja church, because apparently they had no idea how to do it themselves. That, and the timing of the war, is why it took 41 years to build.)

That naval base would eventually become the Keflavik National Airport. America kept troops in Iceland up until 9/11, at which point they were all pulled in order to go serve in the Middle East. Since then, Iceland has had no military presence of any kind on their island. They literally have two helicopters. Trevor and I could probably have taken over Iceland if we wanted to. Hell, the Prime Minister’s office doesn’t even have any security!

On our way to tour’s starting point, we came across this very cool looking museum, and made a note to come back later. It’s an Icelandic Punk Museum.

And so began the tour. Our tour guide had the coolest accent. It was a combination of a Norwegian and Irish accent–which makes sense, because apparently the history of Iceland is essentially this: Take a bunch of scary Norwegian Vikings, throw in some Irish slaves, and you have Iceland!

Their Parliament building features the numbers 1881 to commemmorate the year Parliament was created. There are four creatures that guard the top windows of the building: a dragon, eagle, giant, and bull. These are the creatures of Iceland’s coat of arms. They are also the defenders of the the different regions of the country, and are all featured on the local currency.
This square is the location of the oldest graveyard in Reykjavik. Unfortunately, before building on it, they didn’t remove all of the bodies… The statue is honouring Skulu Magnusson, who basically helped get Reykjavik off the ground by opening a fish factory that brought employment opportunities to the area. He’s called the Father of Reykjavik.
These are the oldest buildings in Reykjavik. They’re made of wood, but are covered in corrugated iron because a huge fire once destroyed several of the original wooden homes in the city. It became illegal to build homes out of wood after that.


This used to be a prison. It held a whopping 16 prisoners. Those naughty Icelandic folk…
Go say hi to the Prime Minister!
Ingolfur Arnarson is believed to be the first Viking settler on Iceland. His statue was recently given a little flair courtesy of some people at the Icelandic Pride Parade. Although according to our guide, they don’t call it Pride; they call it something along the lines of Accepting Differences because they want to celebrate all sorts of differences in people.
This flower design is a symbol of the women’s suffrage movement in Iceland. All women wore it as a symbol of unity.

Okay, enough about Reykjavik’s history…back to punk!

The museum catalogues the rise of the punk movement and various bands from as early as the 70s in former bathroom stalls underground. It also offers live concert footage, as well as audio recordings that you can listen to on headphones that hang from the ceiling.

At the end of the tour, you can put on some punk threads and either strike a pose or rock out with some real instruments. I thoroughly enjoyed this place.

Also, did you know Bjork started out in punk?

We finished the day with this little treat. I would quickly learn that street food is at the heart of Icelandic cuisine.



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