What do you know about Iceland? Probably not much besides Björk or that one co-worker who blabbers about how they’ve been meaning to go there.
Like many of us who started skating in the early 2000s, I was first introduced to Iceland through Bam Margera’s video, CKY2K. The video featured a quick three-minute montage of driving through magical scenery and goofing off in nature. Not only was it visually stunning, but driving around lawlessly with your friends in the wilderness was something that everyone could find appealing.
So as international travel started to loosen up this summer, I impulsively booked a ticket to “the land of fire and ice” to escape the hot trash that is NYC in the summer.
Driving from the airport to to downtown Reykjavik felt like you were among the first humans to inhabit a new planet. There were parts of the drive where you’d be the only person on the road with cooled molten rock all around you as far as you could see. If you’re looking to bow out of skating like Heath Kirchart or just become a reclusive drunk, Iceland is a great place to do it.
I was lucky enough to connect with some locals, one of them being Rob Ingimarsson who was down to drive 45 minutes to Fagradalsfjall volcano, which recently started to erupt. It ended up being too rainy and foggy to actually see the volcano, but we got to hang out next to the lava that was cooling off. I don’t think peeing on lava is illegal by any means but I imagine it’s heavily frowned upon.
Rob actually submitted a video to us back in 2014 where he snuck onto a bunch of old boats and skated them. Working in skateboarding might not pay much, but what other job can you go anywhere in the world and have a local down to meet up at a moment’s notice?
The national dish in Iceland is the hotdog, so there are a couple of vendors around ready to sell you their salty meats. We also stopped at this other hot dog stand that is pretty famous because they’ve never been closed a single day in over 80 years, and of course, because the hot dogs are really good. They are made of lamb meat and not random pig parts like they are in The States. They also use a special blend of ketchup sweetened with apples, so it seems like Nathan’s on Coney Island has some competition.
We already know that Nordic countries are filled with insane plaza spots where skaters can hang and do their thing, but it’s crazy that this one exists because there are probably fewer than 30 “serious” skaters on the entire island of Iceland (according to The Good Homie™). And zero scooter kids!
Everyone always complains about how expensive food in Iceland is, but if you’re coming from New York then you’re already used to paying $14 for an avocado toast. Regardless I stocked up on the hotel buffet breakfast ever morning that was included in the stay. One thing we lack in the USA is good dark bread – it actually tastes “real” and sure beats the fake white stuff that has the same nutritional value as a package of marshmallows.
There’s a small group of skaters out there who subscribe to the belief that the only cool tricks to film are those that appeared in the Trilogy video from 1996. I hate to say it, but skate session food should follow the same rule.
If Harold Hunter never kept it in his pocket to eat later, then don’t whip it out on the sesh, and you know damn well Harold Hunter wasn’t stocking yogurt in his jeans.
Pop quiz! Iceland or Bushwick?
The Blue Lagoon is a real place and not just a shitty movie starring Brooke Shields. It’s a “unique geothermal spa experience,” which basically means it’s an old pit of hot water that feels good to sit in. And it’s blue. They really sell the blue thing pretty hard, otherwise they can’t charge dumb tourists like me a bunch of money.
Sometimes it felt like I was just walking around the set of Lord of The Rings.
See what I mean?
This food kinda looks nasty in retrospect but I promise it was good. On domestic U.S. flights, you get a peanut bag with so much glue on it you can’t even open it. But this veggie pasta, stir fry, and cookies and cream meal (with ~fancy~ plastic cutlery!) was the best thing I’ve eaten on a flight in a couple years. They fucked up the cookie to cream ratio though. Less creme more cookie! Where’s Zagat when you need him?
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