Destinations, Iceland

Iceland Day 3, Part 2: Phallological museum and hot dogs? Oh dear.

April 17, 2013

So, yes.  We went to the “dick” museum.

It’s about what you would expect.  For one thing, there were penises.  (Le gasp.)  They interchangeably jutted from the walls and floated gray, sad, and deformed in formaldehyde-filled jars.

They were everywhere.

I felt as though my face would remain permanently fixed in a horrified grimace of revulsion; I was convinced that weeks of nightmares filled with terrifying visions of whale appendages were to follow.

Thankfully, they didn’t, though for the whole rest of the trip we saw phallic symbols practically wherever we looked – from candlesticks in a store window to the peaked top of a monument on Snæfellsness.

There are only so many penises one can look at in any given day.  I’m sure science will one day determine the exact number; suffice it to say that, for me, it was a good thing the museum was fairly small, as I’d reached my limit.

Finishing up at the inexplicably covered-by-a-sheet “erotic” case (significantly less shocking than the whale phalli – phalluses? – jutting from the walls), we hailed a cab again, at last making our way to Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur for, appropriately or inappropriately enough, hot dogs.

It’s a tiny food truck near the flea market and the Old Harbour.  We hop into the short line and order four with everything (John and Audrey also ordered the traditional accompaniment – a Coca Cola).

The hot dogs are served up with a couple different sauces, including a sweet brown mustard.  Underneath the hot dog are crisp fried onions; a nice textural counterpoint to the fluffy-soft hot dog bun and the toothsome  hot dog casing crunch as you bite into it.  It certainly isn’t like a typical American hot dog.  You can tell that the meat and bread are higher quality.

Jason and I polished ours off; Audrey, too, but John didn’t find it to his liking.  I think it was the combination of sauce flavors – in particular, the sweet mustard – that were off-putting for him.

Jason and I thought it was different and delicious, though I think I’d need another go at it to determine whether I’d truly call it the “best hot dog in the world“.  (Regrettably, I feel it is my duty to inform the author of said article that “the best hot dog in the world” is probably whatever one you’re eating while drunk.  Those are the circumstances under which I ate the Best Seattle Dog ever, and, sadly, have been chasing that particular food high ever since.)

John was still hungry after abandoning his pylsur, so we introduced him and Audrey to the lobster soup at The Sea Baron just up the street.  This was more to their liking, and so we sat and talked for a while.

Afterwards, Audrey decided to brave her way through Reykjavik on crutches in order to explore the city in the purple twilight.  Shop fronts cast their warm light on the street as we meandered past a graffitied corridor.

Iceland Day 3, Part 2: Phallological museum and hot dogs? Oh dear. | Destinations Iceland

Leaning into another hot dog stand, I asked for a bar recommendation and was told that the English pub nearby was good.  We stopped by for a couple drinks and played a card game, then headed out to a convenience store, where we were waylaid by the candy aisle (Jason and I have a tradition of bringing back food to our coworkers whenever we travel) and a need for snacks to tide us over during the following day’s adventures.  (Interesting observation: “Cool Ranch” Doritos are instead called “Cool American” in Iceland.  Fair enough, I mean, I have no idea why it’s called “Ranch” in the first place, so “American” makes about as much sense, I suppose.)

Now that it was full dark, we made a last stop across the street from the Harpa conference center, set up the tripods, and set out to snapping some pictures as its windows illuminated in a chromatic cascade, undulating from blues through all the colors of the rainbow, traffic speeding by from time to time.

Iceland Day 3, Part 2: Phallological museum and hot dogs? Oh dear. | Destinations Iceland

Iceland Day 3, Part 2: Phallological museum and hot dogs? Oh dear. | Destinations Iceland

We returned to the Hilton for a few drinks, an evening snack, and a couple games of Magic before turning in for the night.  Tomorrow, the real adventure would begin.

Fun fact: The Phallological museum founder’s path toward establishing it began as a joke.  As a schoolteacher, in the summer his peers worked part-time in the whaling industry and began bringing him him whale penises. (Note that if my coworkers brought me the penis of anything, I’d probably find a new job.  We’ll chalk it up to different personalities.)

Somewhere along the way he thought it would be a great idea to turn it into a museum celebrating said equipment.  According to the literature, it’s the only museum of its kind in the world.  Also note: it was one of the only places we visited in Iceland that was cash only.

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