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Fjord Fiesta Part Two

Fjord Fiesta Part Two

Just five hours from New York City, Iceland's steamy capital, Reykjavik, offers mod style, mythical landscapes, and mighty friendly locals.

Keep an open mind about food: During Thorrablot, an ancient midwinter festival in mid to late January, Icelanders munch on traditional h?karl (putrefied shark) and hrutspungur (pickled ram testicles). The rest of the year, a delirious food scene celebrates liberation from centuries of boiled fish and meat. Friday night bingo at harborside molecular-gastronomy bunker Orange is a must. The "Chicken Tits" entr?e and animal sounds in the bathroom clue you in to the mischievous attitude.

Downstairs at the gleaming landmark art deco H?tel Borg -- whose two-level top-floor Tower Suite is Reykjavik's most drop-dead luxurious lodging -- Silfur serves up Icelandic-French fusion in a sci-fi?meets?Louis XIV dining room complete with black lava communal table. For fewer kroner -- and tourists -- gay locals flock to Mexican fave Santa Maria or cheap, delicious Krua Thai at the harbor. Try light renditions of traditional plokkfiskur (fish hash) and kj?ts?pa (meat soup) at Segurmo -- a restaurant whose name translates as "seal fat," according to its owner N?mi Thomasson, Bj?rk's onetime personal tour chef.

Gay nightlife, concentrated in two venues, starts late. Convivial Q Bar draws a crowd of all ages and genders; it's more popular with lesbians on Fridays. A T-shirt and jeans uniform gains admission to the leather men's club MSC, whose spacious new Laudavegur digs include Iceland's sole backroom. While locals say most straight bars are friendly, you won't feel so comfortable getting close to your honey elsewhere. Check the invaluable Gayice.is for pop-up venues and parties. And if Bj?rk has you curious about her compatriots, peruse The Reykjavik Grapevine, a free weekly -- with an online counterpart at Grapevine.is -- for music listings.

Have you driven to a fjord lately? Iceland's petite dimensions place spectacular scenery minutes from downtown Reykjavik. On the northern side of the breathtaking Whale Fjord, once a huge whaling station, gay-friendly Glymur Resort looks like a giant barn but offers snug, upscale-country-house lodgings and market-fresh meals. Hertz rents hydrogen-powered Prius hybrids for a virtuous drive there. In 2009, Mitsubishi's i MiEV electric car will hit the road here and Reykjavik's ready with charging stations and free downtown parking.

Entire families turn out for the gay pride festival in early August, which drew an estimated 80,000 participants and spectators last year -- in a country whose population barely tops 300,000. "Gay pride brought parade floats to Iceland," says Gayice's Frosti J?nsson. Consult IcelandTravel.is for pride packages. Next year's pride is August 6-9. Info here.

Where to stay
Ten of the 30 suave apartment-suites at gay-owned Room With a View (354-896-2559; from $100 in summer) offer breathtaking views of Reykjavik's diminutive skyline and poetic sunsets -- when the sun actually sets. Honeymooning? Several suites boast private or outdoor Jacuzzis. Book far in advance for pride.

Jude Law and Leonardo DiCaprio have crashed at the overhyped 101 Hotel (354-5800-101; from $375), but mortals encounter a tired '90s Royalton vibe. Cooler and calmer, CenterHotel Thingholt (354-595-8530; from $215) exudes subtle sexiness with Fendi lobby furniture and black-and-white bedsheets.

Part One | Part Two

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