It’s hip to be square.
Every city has a centre; a hub around which all activities seem to spin. Austurvöllur has served as Reykjavík’s heart since the first settler, Ingólfur Arnarson, established his farm just around the corner (two doors down from the strip club… next to the Subway restaurant).
Called the “east field” in honour of where Arnarson’s sheep used to fornicate, it’s still a great spot to begin or end a romantic evening in the city. Ringed by cafés, nightclubs, and a 4-star hotel, two consenting adults could spend an entire day in Austurvöllur and be quite content.
10.00 - Wake Up Call
The world was spinning when you and “Pat” stumbled home from the concert last night. Luckily the black and white art deco furnishings of your room at Hotel Borg provided the perfect anchor to drag things to a halt.
Now share your headache with the chefs downstairs at Silfur by ordering up the traditional Icelandic cure-alls: kókómjólk and skyr.
11.00 – Café Cruising and People Watching
When temperatures climb above 11°, Icelanders become allergic to the indoors and start getting naked. Grab some patio space at one of the four cafés lining Austurvöllur to eye as much ghost-white Viking flesh as possible.
14.00 – Walk it Off
With your stomach and eyes bursting, now is a good time to get a touch of exercise. If you really want to be anal about not leaving the square you could just walk around 30 times or so, but you’re so close to all that bloody shopping that we could forgive you wandering away for a spell.
17.00 – Culture, perhaps?
Austurvöllur is home to the oldest church in Reykjavík, Domkirkjan, as well as the Althing (Iceland’s parliament). If you’re lucky you can watch a couple poor suckers getting hitched and razz a Thing-Man or Woman on their way to work.
20.00 – Feed Your Face
Back at the square you’ll have no shortage of choices for supper. The afternoon’s hip café morphs into the evening’s posh restaurant, offering everything from crème brûlée to pickled ram’s testicles.
Previously on Welcome to Our ‘Hood: Skólavörðustígur