I’m not one to turn down a beer, let alone six pints paired with some Icelandic cuisine. ‘Cheers To Reykjavik’ started this summer offering you the opportunity to drink, eat and meet other tourists led by an outgoing Icelandic couple.
The first stop was Bryggjan Brugghús — a bar in the Old Harbour — at about 6pm to a calm yet full table of people talking about the tours they went on that day. It’s easy to spot that Dóra is the host of the evening as she greets us with a welcoming smile. I meet a group of strangers, as with any tour, but it’s the first time I’ve experienced a tour that feels like a casual get together with friends.
We learn about Icelandic culture, customs and current affairs while having both Icelandic ales and craft beers. All the beers are made in the micro brewery Ölvisholt, located on the South Coast of Iceland. They have all kinds of different beers. For example Forseti, which we also got to try. Forseti means “president” and because of Iceland’s notoriety in gender equality, they of course made one for each sex. Alongside the beer, we got to taste fish and Icelandic lamb with each drink, served in several tapas dishes.
Dóra knew how to please a crowd without coming across as too formal or too rehearsed. “That’s the point,” she said, after the tour when I spoke with her. “It’s supposed to be just like you’re meeting friends. My partner and I are lucky to have worked as actors and musicians because we are used to being open and we can try to create the environment where people can just talk to each other.”
Dóra had been thinking about a fun way to attract tourists into Icelandic customs for a while. Luckily her idea was supported by and helped brought to life by Reykjavík Sightseeing. “What I like most about it is, I’m usually on stage working and there’s this fourth wall in front of me, where I can’t communicate or interact with the audience,” Dóra said. “But here, I’m not acting and it’s like a day off and I’m connecting to the people. What I get the most out of it is just to get in contact with new people.”