Beer and beauty in Iceland

Boston Globe

A few years ago, a friend went to Iceland to try to find a wife — or at least get a date. A men’s magazine had declared Iceland as having the most beautiful women in the world. So, after two years of striking out in nearly every saloon on the Upper West Side of New York, he set off for that Nordic playground, expecting a change of fortune.

Didn’t happen. My buddy whiffed there, too. He did, however, discover that Iceland’s beauty and splendor extends well beyond its comely natives. Stunning glacier and mountain vistas stare down sand- and lava-filled plateaus. Waterfalls and geothermal pools dot the countryside. Reykjavik boasts a vibrant bar and restaurant scene that often doesn’t start cranking till after midnight. And, there’s a brewery that makes beer with whale testicles. What’s not to love?

Laugavegur Street in Reykjavik.
MATT CARDEN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Laugavegur Street in Reykjavik.

All of this, plus its accessibility from Boston and relative affordability, made it sound like a perfect place for an extra long weekend with my 21-year-old son, just home from college. Apparently, I’m not the only one thinking this way.

“We get lots of long weekend trips, many Americans like having their bachelor parties here,” says Gunnar Gudlaugsson, manager of Reykjavik’s English Pub. “They