Pride and Culture Days

The previous two weekends in Icelands have been full of parties. First we celebrated Pride Day with an epic turnout. Over 100,000 people descended upon Reykjavík on that Saturday for rainbows, unicorns, and fabulous music. For those of you counting on your fingers, yes, that’s about 1/3rd of the entire country present at a party.

This past weekend was Culture Day, an affair more spread out around the city but not much less popular.

We took the bus downtown for each event, giving us a little more practice in those transfers and a feel for timing. The bus system in Iceland is quite nice, very regular, and emission free. They use a mixture of electric and hydrogen-fueled buses here.

Once we got downtown we found our way into the crowds quickly. Wit rode on my shoulders for much of the actual Pride Day parade, giving him a nice view of the rainbow road. At the start of the Pride celebrations they paint a major shopping street for a few blocks. Looking up the street along the rainbow you can see Hallgrímskirkja in the distance.

Reykjavík Rainbow road

We dug through the crowds and made our way to the Pond, a popular spot in the heart of 101 Reykjavík. Leah and Wit posed for some pictures and we went looking for food.

Leah by the Pond

Eventually we made our way to the concert area and discovered a lovely shady spot with big rocks that the kids enjoyed jumping across. It’s now the boy’s favorite place in the city and we have to drag him out every time we leave.

Wit hugs furry

The people at Pride day were joyous and friendly.

On Culture Day the trip downtown started much the same. The buses were free for the day, which meant they were packed tight. Even so, it was a lively atmosphere. A large man sat next to me on the bus and got a phone call. Here’s how that exchange went:

“Hallo?”

“Já.”

“Já.”

“Já.”

Repeat 147 more times.

“Takk. Bless.”

I think I’m ready for that level of Icelandic.

In the city there were too many events happening all over for us to possibly see more than a handful. Many people were opening their homes to strangers for coffee and waffles. Coffee is big here. There’s even a special phrase: kaffi og meððí, where meððí is a catch-all term for anything that goes well with coffee.

We got our kaffi later on at my favorite place in town, Mokka Kaffi. But before that we started by going to the Culture House and painting monsters!

Wit's Monster Painting

There was a lovely little crowd and we were provided watercolors and straws to blow the paint around, crayons, pens & pencils. Wit got into it and we all made some fun pieces. We may have to go back and check the place out again another day. There’s a whole museum there with Icelandic history.

In that downtown area were street performers from the circus, some period-player vikings holding mock battles, a ton of music, and even some free food. I managed to grab some free hot dogs. There was a soup as well, but we never made our way to the tent.

Culture Day Free Hotdogs

These outings have been great fun and very tiring. We’re getting so much walking in around the city, and gaining confidence on the buses.

This weekend will have yet another festival. This time it will be in our local town of Mosfellsbær. Stay tuned for more shenanigans.