Hello beautiful stranger. If you’re reading this, I’m going to take it as a sign you’ve never been to Airwaves before. Please note that I’m going to give advice based on myself, and not a twenty-year-old with pockets full of money and a body bursting with endless energy.
Don’t arrive on Thursday and leave on Sunday like some kind of a maniac. Book your trip from Tuesday to Monday and take it easy. That way you can relax in the winter darkness and go to the local pools without stress. (I’m not talking about the Blue Lagoon; it’s expensive and there’s hair everywhere.)
Book an AirBnB with your pals. Then you can go to Bónus and buy cheap food and you can minimise your restaurant experiences to one nice place a day, instead of three. I recommend Snaps on Óðinsgata for the fish of the day, or Vínyl on Hverfisgata—their vegan noodles are lovely. Whether you book a hotel or AirBnB, don’t go much further than the postcodes 101, 107, or—if you are super healthy—105. We have lousy public transportation, and no Uber, so you’ll want to be able to walk everywhere, especially after a long night.
Get yourself a highlighter pen. Then you can go through the Airwaves schedule like a Pauline and organise yourself. Don’t show anyone your highlighted schedule—they will think you’re boring, and that could get in the way of finding new Airwaves friends.
Bring a dark coat. It will get filthy when you lose it on the floor at a music venue because you had to take it off since it was so warm inside even though you were completely freezing outside just a moment ago. I recommend getting a coat that’s warm yet light. Ask some outdoorsy person about this. “Thermaluft”? I could be wrong.
I have heard many hangover solutions in my day and the only ones that actually work are to either stop drinking for good, or have a Bloody Mary. We don’t have alcohol in shops—you have to buy it in special stores that close around 6pm, so keep that in mind. I’ve also heard that there’s some strain of Chlamydia constantly going around in Reykjavík, so just go to church and don’t sleep with the locals.
Don’t bring home a stuffed-puffin like a dork. Buy some local music or local art, or go to Kolaportið and stuff your bag full of blood pressure-raising liquorice, and mittens and something.
You can try to speak Icelandic but, in my experience, nobody really cares that much. A “takk” here and a “bless bless” there is not going to make you better friends than just speaking English like a normal visitor. The people here are, in general, pretty friendly, unless they are drunk and wearing a t-shirt in the middle of winter. That’s usually not a good sign.
I hope you keep all your teeth and have a good time.
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