Menningarnótt; An All Night Party


As Menningarnótt 2013 approaches, I can’t help but think about last year’s festival. I had just arrived in Reykjavik with my best friend, and Menningarnótt was in full swing. In the morning, we awoke to Marathon runners taking over the city. They were running through the streets, and many of the roads had been closed off.

During the day time, the entire city was a buzz with excitement and activity. There was a very full schedule of events, each more unique than the last.

Once evening rolled around, we readied ourselves for the night to come, and set off from our hostel. As any good traveler knows, you need to get to know the locals to really get the true experience of a place. So, we did just that. First, we met up with a reader of Seattle’s Travels, that had contacted me previously. He then introduced us to some of his friends, which were locals of Reykjavik.

We had our new found friends, the whole night ahead of us, and the freedom to do whatever we wanted. So, what did we do? Went to the bar, of course. The drinks at the bar we had ended up at were quite expensive (I’m talking–$15 per drink), so we quickly made a new plan to visit the liqour shop before continuing. Everyone stocked up on beverages, and then the night could really begin.

We spent awhile roaming the streets and checking out the random attractions that were out for the festival. Soon, night had fallen (keep in mind that the sun did not set until nearly midnight) and the crowd was beginning to get noisy. We headed to the main stage that was set up in the city centre, where bands were playing and were what seemed like the entire population had congregated on a large hill.

Aiming to reach the top of the hill to watch the fireworks display, we set off into the crowd, one by one. Everyone grabbed onto hands and weaved our ways in and out of the crowd. It was really dark and we were surrounded by screaming Icelanders. We were all laughing hysterically by the time we reached the top, and celebrated by having some more drinks.

We stood on the hill top for some time, until suddenly a firework screamed in the sky behind us. Apparently, we had been mislead to their whereabouts. Almost as instantaneously as the firework had shot off–we all darted back into the crowd, and down the back of the hill. We all stampeded around the corner and down another hill in the direction of the fireworks.

Fortunately, we made it just in time for the end of the show, and cheered at our achievement. By this point, the drinks were taking effect, and we were all looking for something fun to do next.

After that, we ended up at a house party in another part of the city. I have to admit, that I’m not 100% sure where the next few hours of the night disappeared, but before I knew it, it was 3am and we had decided to head back out onto the town.

Making our way back downtown, we ended up at what appeared to be the busiest nightclub in the city. The line-up was long, the crowd was hot and sticky, and the music was a whole lot of Euro-pop that I had never heard before. On top of that, I tend to hate nightclubs and dancing–however–I didn’t seem to mind being there. I watched as my friends danced around me, and kind of laughed at the other people on the dance floor. It was a bit crazy, but I was in a great mood, so I didn’t care.

As we emerged from the club, we were half-blinded as we had not realized that the sun had risen. We stumbled out onto the street and looked at eachother, kind of laughing at where the night had lead.

Overall, Menningarnótt had turned out to be even better than I’d expected and I really wish that I could return this year. It really set the pace for the rest of the trip, because we certainly had one or two more nights that were just about as crazy as this one. If any of you have the chance to make it this year, you’ll have to let me know how you enjoyed it 😀

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