Male Genital Exhibition

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ADULT ENTERTAINMENT? GAY PORN?

Wait a second! The name of the place exhibiting male genitals doesn’t actually sound as vulgar as the title of my post: The Icelandic Phallological Museum (see what I mean?). Should you not know the meaning of phallological, you may overlook and forget that you once did pass the museum.

Phallological is a new vocabulary for me. So let’s talk about etymology first. Phallological derives from phallus, a synonym for penis in Latin. Phallology itself is a scientific study of the penis (Wiktionary).

Let’s take a closer look at what the place actually reveals. Indeed, it deserves to have its own space in my blog, separately from my previous Reykjavik post.

sperm whale penis

WHOSE IDEA IS THAT?

Sigurdur Hjartarson, the man behind the museum establishment, is a retired teacher from Hamrahlíd College in Reykjavik. His passion for collecting animal penises started in 1974 when he received a bull’s penis for the first time, then a whale penis from a whaling station in the same year.

The long-term dedication of his hobby resulted in the opening of the first Phallological Museum in 1994, focusing on assorted Icelandic animal penises and penis-related parts, from whales, walruses, to land mammals, after he succeeded collecting 62 specimens. Thanks to the contribution of local fishermen who found dead animals, nowadays it has 280 specimens from 93 different species. In 2012, Hjartarson inherited the museum to his son, Hjörtur Gísli Sigurðsson. Then, it was relocated from Húsavík to Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavik.

moose and pig penis

PHALLOLOBIA

Don’t think big when it comes to the size of the museum as it is “only” as big as a three-bedroom grand penthouse that cost me IKr 1000 or €8 (now IKr 1250) to get in. Okay, I found it quite expensive. Nonetheless, what it exhibits matters more than just the size of the (exhibition) room.

Each visitor received a “penis bible” in an A4-sized folder that should be returned after the visit, mentioning details of each item, for instance from which animal it belongs (in several languages), size, height, weight, when and where it was found and how it was preserved. A biology class never taught me this. It would be a tough question for “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” contestants, when “phone a friend” and “ask the audience” couldn’t be much of help.

animal kingdom penis, from largest to smallest penis in order: whale, elephant, giraffe, bull, horse, pig, porpoise, ram, goat, hyena, dog, man

The exhibits amazed me, especially how penises, preserved in a number of methods, e.g. formaldehyde, pickling, drying, stuffing and salting, can come in various forms I’d never thought of. I remember standing in front of the longest whale penis in the room, which is 170 cm, while I’m just 155 cm! Though I couldn’t recall much what the “bible” said, I noticed that the length of a whale penis is approximately one-thirds of the whole body one, weighing up to 100 kg. Whoa!

scrotum lampshade

“Phallolobia” is something no one can miss, displaying mammals’ penis bones, such as walrus, seal, pig, mouse including that of a hamster with only 2 mm length. A flower vase made of dried sperm whale penis, lampshades made of a bull’s scrotum, a wall decoration from a nearly 1-metered-length elephant penis, a pair of earrings made of oosik (mammal’s penis bone) and carved penis bones are some artsy stuffs created from the reproduction organ. Sex shop and red light district souvenirs, namely dolls, pens, plastic statuettes and other sex toys prove public interest and wild fantasy of a particular male organ that conclude the “phallolo-section”.

elephant’s penis

Somehow I pity the big elephant, shot while attempting to trespass Kruger National Park border just to chase the juicy cane. He didn’t know that his genital part will be seen by millions of visitors per year…..

a vase made of dried sperm whale penis

HOMO SAPIENS, TOO

Here comes the peak of my male cousin’s awkwardness about the idea of displaying a genital part from his own gender in public. So yeah, perhaps he made the right decision not to enter the museum.

Starting 2011, the museum receives donations of human penises. John Dower, a British resident, donated the mould of his penis in honour to his friend Alan, who once challenged him to do so yet unfortunately killed in year 2000.

mould of a penis

Other contributions include 15 penis sculptures of Icelandic national handball team members and a preserved penis of a 95-year-old Icelandic man. Even the founder, Sigurdur, plans to donate his own penis to his museum when he dies.

penis of a homo sapiens

Icelandic Phallological Museum has become one of the most unusual museums in the world dedicated to a male reproduction organ. Anything porn about it? I don’t think so. What I see is the result of a long-term passion and dedication of an Icelandic family to a peculiar think that many people do not consider. Moreover, it boosts the country’s income with thousands of visitors per year, apart from its majestic wonders of nature.

penis toilet door handle

Should you spend more time in Reykjavík, make sure you visit this peculiar tourist attraction. I guarantee you’ll get an interesting tell-a-tale story to share with friends and family. Why not?

 

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Reykjavik: Not Starred by Bjork

Pouring rain and blowing wind greeted me as soon as I landed my two feet in Björk’s homeland, Reykjavík, Iceland. Well, I was expecting a “warmer” welcome from the northernmost capital in the world (not as isolated as the land of far far away, “only” three hours from Copenhagen by flight) in the end of August. Despite unfriendly weather, I witnessed preserved nature in the middle of modernity with lots of remaining green areas, breathed fresh and unpolluted air. Other big cities should envy this kind of luxury.

Reykjavík, literally meaning “smokey bay”, is anything but crowded with approximately 200,000 inhabitants, representing about half of the population in the country. No need to brush one’s shoulder to another to mingle with locals, since there are only three people per square meter. No need to worry about nasty hands targeting bags and wallets in Reykjavik. Moreover, thanks to political stability and low crime rates, Global Peace Index awarded Iceland as the most peaceful country in the world in 2013.

If puffin bird watch, aurora borealis or geothermal spa at Blue Lagoon is not in your agenda, what does Reykjavík offer you?

COLOURFUL DOWNTOWN CITY WALK

Colourful details in every building are worth to observe in the city once depended on farm and fisheries.

blue stairs
prikid cafe & bar
bakkus bar
the savest city should have something to do with honesty
bicycle fence
Icelandic mini market with hanging Chiquita bananas

MULTICULTURAL MELTING POT

Do not underestimate the existence of foreigners in the capital city of the least populated country in Europe. Sushi is one of the popular dishes apart from traditional ones, numerous Thai and Chinese restaurants are available to indulge more diversity in the art of eating. Specialty souvenir stores are great tools to promote a foreigner’s homeland and to comfort  the feeling of being homesick. Suomi PRKL! Design offering Finnish design brands, including the famous Moomin character, and Nordic Store offering various Scandinavian souvenirs.

greeting from moomin
SUOMI PRIKL!

Owned by Damon Albarn, the leading man of Blur and Gorrilaz, Kaffibarinn bar’s logo is inspired by London underground.

FRESH AIR

From the bus window, I looked at a cyclist enjoying his solo ride by the ocean without motorway pollution. It seems beyond belief that I was still in Reykjavík, not Greater Iceland.

FASHION

Icelandic fashion brands, namely Cintamani, 66° North and Geysir, are acclaimed for high quality and durable material winter clothing. Yet, they don’t come that cheap. Cintamani jacket can keep you warm for about € 150 after using a €50 voucher from a tourist booklet. Amazing collections and attractive interior design make window shopping is a pleasant activity no one should miss. Surprisingly, nobody forbids me from taking pictures inside the store and I was very happy about it!

Cintamani Store
children’s wear at Cintamani
Geysir Store

If not speaking Icelandic is something you remember the most about Iceland, mugs, t-shirts and sweatshirts with an inscription “ég tala ekki íslensku” (I don’t speak Icelandic) will be perfect to take home. Being more “affordable” than quality winter clothing, an average price for a t-shirt is €25, a sweatshirt  €35. I didn’t see any €15 shirts and under, unfortunately.

Geysir window display

Dear animal activists, environmentalists and Greenpeace members, animal fur clothing and household goods are everywhere, from scarfs, jackets, winter hats, pillow cases, seat covers, carpets and even mummified wild animals become part of the decoration. You may complain, but I’m not sure you can sue them.

One of the main streets in Reykjavík has a mural teaching  “Fashion for Men 101: How To Wear a Tie”. 

MUSHROOM PICKING

mushroom

Situated beside a pedestrian way in the suburb of Reykjavík, perhaps mushroom picking could be an alternative for groceries, but I haven’t seen anyone doing it. Is it allowed? Is it edible? I don’t know.  They mushroom everywhere effortlessly.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

reykjavik sightseeing route

Taking a sightseeing tourist bus is a good idea to get a big picture of  the city, from downtown to suburb. Strangely, it works as a commuter and a sightseeing bus simultaneously. Reykjavík City Hostel, Hilton Reykjavik Nordica and BSI Bus Terminal are 3 of 10 destinations besides major landmarks, namely Hallgrimskirkja, National Museum and Perlan. In many other countries, hardly do hostels and motels become part of the tourist bus route unless they have historical values, let’s say a former Emperor’s castle or a fortress.

A sign that it has a few inhabitants: as I switch to another bus to Blue Lagoon, the same driver moves to the next bus I got in.

Hallgrimskirkja

The only landmark I went was Hallgrimskirkja, the biggest Lutheran church in Reykjavík named after an Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson. It was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, built in 1945 until its completion in 1986. The statue of Leifur Eiríksson, the first European who arrived in North America 500 years before Columbus, stands gracefully in front of the church.

Unfortunately, my visit didn’t succeed because it was booked for a wedding ceremony. Two adolescents, who were the guest receivers, made sure that only invited guests could get in, not tourists. Looking at these young guys, as well as the rest of local people, I’m not so sure that Björk has a typical Icelandic feature on her face. Nonetheless, hearing the way she speaks English, I think I know where her accent comes from. Just a thought, by the way.

these guys stopped me from visiting the church

By exploring Reykjavík on foot or by a local public bus, you’ll find more attractions mostly not mentioned in the tourist bus’ audioguide. I accidentally found an unusual place of attraction, The Icelandic Phallological Museum, exhibiting Icelandic ocean animals’ penises. Have any idea about the height of a whale’s penis? Could be taller than a human being from top to toe, depending on the type of whale. I’ll get back to this particular topic in my future post.

sperm whale’s penis

Generally speaking, “Smokey Bay” offers a different side of a capital city in Europe without palaces, fortresses, Gods’ temples and arc de triomphe. Not that typical, isn’t it?

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EUROMAP

EUROMAP illustrates my trip to European cities from August to September 2012 through a custom map I created with Google Map. I only include this chapter in the end of the post related to the Eurotrip I did in that month. Please feel free to enlarge and click the blue arrows to view further comments about places I visited. Have fun with it, that’s what it’s made for!