“Grant me two coins, one to buy bread and sate my hunger, the other to buy a flower and enjoy the beauty of life.” As a student in the city I have sought out ways to live a luxurious life despite my meager income. Eating is a primary need so let’s begin with grocery shopping. Bónus, Krónan and Europris are all supermarket chains that cut down the cost of running their stores to a bare minimum and consequently are able to offer comparatively low prices. These stores can be found all over the city.
Drinking beer is no primary need, (It isn´t? Now they tell me –ed.) but I’m adding it to the list anyway. Many bars have special beer offers, but those are hard to pinpoint because the landscape of cheap beer is an ever-changing one. Some places usually have low prices, for example Nelly’s Café and Kaffi Vín. Gaukur á Stöng offers beer for 290kr. for students all winter, and I have heard of three beers for 1000kr. at Kaffi Kósý. The key to getting cheap beer is to keep your eyes and ears open.
Now on to other needs: I just love treasure hunting and clothes shopping at the flea markets. The biggest one in Reykjavík is Kolaportið at Tryggvagata. There you can find an all-Icelandic food section, used books, homemade Icelandic crafts, used and new CDs, videotapes, clothing, garage sales, exotic products from all over the world and much more. Kolaportið is open on weekends. If you want an all Icelandic knitted sheep’s wool sweater, then you just might find one at a reasonable price at Kolaportið or at the used clothing shops run by the charities The Red Cross (Laugavegur) and
The Salvation Army (Garðastræti). I would also like to recommend two fairly new and exciting weekend flea markets. One is located in the backyard of the bar Sirkús. There, many of the Sirkús regulars sell all kinds of stuff, but mostly their unique second-hand clothing. The other one is situated at the artists’ haven and gallery Klink og Bank. There you can find used and new clothing, garage sales, T-shirts, live music and they have all kinds of happenings. Some artists sell their products there and hairstylists even offer haircuts. The great thing about this market is that anyone is welcome to bring his or her own stuff to sell, free of charge.
The Tiger stores at Laugavegur and Kringlan sell stuff at only two prices: 200kr. and 400kr. There you can buy all kinds of small stuff like stationery, toiletries, jewelry, lighters, candles, pottery, batteries, make up, underwear, socks, etc. Góði hirðirinn at Fellsmúli sells used furniture and household items. All the profits go to charity. You can get good furniture at very low prices and some antique items. I once got a beautiful cupboard there for free.
If you like gardens and museums, then The Botanical Garden of Reykjavík is ideal for a calming stroll. The National Gallery of Iceland offers free admission on Wednesdays. And last but not least – my favourite – The Garden of Einar Jónsson. Containing some beautiful sculptures by Einar Jónsson, the garden is situated near Hallgrímskirkja with an entrance from Freyjugata. It is always open and admission is free. There you can just about feel that the best things in life truly are free.
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