It began at 7:30 am Pacific Time on June the 19th when the first beer, a Laurelwood Brewing Blonde, was consumed by The Bobocracy. The Weekend of Man TEN had officially begun.
TEN was not a year for the faint of heart, primarily because it meant traveling almost a quarter of the way around the world to Reykjavik, Iceland, the furthest north capital in the world, a mere two parallels south of the Arctic Circle. This northerly destination was a required outpost to satisfy the primary goal of this, the tenth rendition of The Weekend of Man, and that was to tee off on a golf course at midnight on the Summer Solstice.
Several hours after that first beer was opened, the Alumni of TEN began to gather at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. The second to arrive, after The Bobocracy made his quasi trans-continental flight from PDX was Sporadic Jack, who began TEN with a Samuel Adams Boston Lager, voted favorite beer during a blind taste test during Weekend of Man Twenty Thirteen. Within an hour, Undrafted Jeff appeared. Profound Schmitz arrived from LAX shortly thereafter, and upon Sam Adequate's appearance, the Alumni were at full strength. All were uniformed appropriately.
After way too many beers and a bottle of Argyle Vintage Brut to celebrate the occasion, all five brave men, nay warriors, boarded Delta Flight 260 with non-stop service to Reykjavik. After five and one half hellish hours of turbulence and general discomfort, all arrived in fair to poor condition. Despite this abominable condition, they persevered enough to purchase two and one half cases of beer at the duty free arrivals before ever leaving the airport. This was the beginning of easily the longest, and possibly most epic day in the history of The Weekend of Man.
The first adventure for TEN was a trip to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal hot spring halfway between Keflavik Airport and Reykjavik. Expectations were mixed, but agreement was unanimous that a post-flight hot soak would be in the best interests of all involved. This non-binding opinion would turn out to be a vast underestimation of the healing powers of the Blue Lagoon. While purifying oneself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka may be good, the Blue Lagoon was something far more powerful.
After an excellent lunch in which Men were served Beef Tenderloin and overwhelming portions of Arctic Char, they all got naked together. Re-dressing after this somewhat horrifying experience, they descended to the waters of the Blue Lagoon, soaking in its magical properties for almost two hours. This soaking included each Man painting on a silica mask, the resulting images ranging from funny to downright terrifying. After the mask, Men migrated through the waters to the swim-up bar and consumed moderate quantities of beer. Once the beers were gone, Men retreated to the far corner of the hot spring with Undrafted Jeff and Profound Schmitz each walking through the water with their hands up due to overzealous pruning of the skin. Undrafted Jeff looked like a surgeon, and Profound Schmitz carried himself in such a way he shall heretofore go by the nickname of Schmitz the Redeemer.
After a post-soak shower and another round of drinks, Sam Adequate discovered what was, is, and potentially will always be, the Nordic Goddess of Iceland. Said discovery was made while she poured five beers in the Blue Lagoon cafe. All agreed that the accompanying documentation was sub-par and did not properly capture the experience of her experience, one which Men who bore witness to it will certainly discuss it for decades to come.
Departing the Blue Lagoon and continuing their travels to downtown Reykjavik and their accommodations for the week, Men would discover their hotel was located directly across the street from the city's central square, a fact which would become serendipitous, surreal, and spectacular two days later.
A tragic mistake was made that afternoon of deciding as a group to nap for two hours before heading out to play golf. This brief interlude to sleep caused many a Man to awake even more tired than before. In the end adrenaline won out, as later that evening a shuttle van arrived to take five brave Men to Brautarholt Golf Course and their main objective.
A drive of one half hour took the Men to a location so surreal, no words and few pictures will do it proper justice. It was a course unlike any other, with holes hanging from cliffs along the edge of the North Atlantic, and others that would play over rocky inlets that required completely different play based on high or low tide, and yet others carved up mountain valleys.
Shortly after 9:30 pm, the first tee shot was struck. Men would navigate this indescribable course poorly in play but otherworldly in spirits. After making the turn at 11:55 pm (and every single Man except for Sporadic Jack purchasing more golf balls), they would arrive again at the first tee. At exactly 12:00 midnight, The Bobocracy struck a 5-iron which landed just off the right edge of the fairway.
The back nine would play in stark contrast to the front nine as Mother Nature decided to interrupt and otherwise serene evening. By the time the TEN Alumni arrived on the second tee, wind speeds would increase to around forty miles per hour while temperatures dropped. After playing several holes where the wind ensured no Man's golf bag would remain standing, the rest of the holes were played in an abbreviated fashion. The last full swing of The Bobocracy was a very well-struck five iron that traveled 78 yards into the wind with a ball flight that was going backwards when it finally landed.
Nonetheless, Men putted out on the final hole, shook hands, taking in one last look over Braudarholt as the sun began to re-rise, despite never fully setting. This took place at 2:00 am local time, almost the exact minute of the true Summer Solstice.
The next day would begin later to ensure each Man had proper time to rest, yet no Man properly rested. Delirious from the travel and activity of the day before, Men ate breakfast and promptly returned to bed.
Several hours later they regrouped and set out on foot to discover the downtown core of Reykjavik. Many a stores and restaurants were passed, many a sights were seen. On the suggestion of Sporadic Jack, Men migrated to a large church atop a hill to which Schmitz the Redeemer and Leif Erickson would stand together while Undrafted Jeff gave almost all of his personally identifiable information to a group promising to save the whales. Undrafted Jeff disputes this fact.
Sam Adequate was far above adequate, where after spotting a group of attractive Icelandic women, a past time that grew old for its predictability and abundance, Men had lunch at a small restaurant featuring local Icelandic cuisine. Men were handsomely rewarded by Sam Adequate's foresight. After eating cured lamb and a variety of fish and cheeses, all served by a trio of yet more beautiful Icelandic Women, Men proceeded back to the hotel to prepare for more golf.
The second golf round of TEN took place at Keilir Golf Club, just west of Reykjavik. The front nine was built in a lava field and was described most accurately as playing golf on the Moon. The holes were hard to discern between massive lava flows and fissures. The back nine was played on an ocean-front peninsula, in stark contrast to the front. The wind was more of a factor and Men struggled through. After completing the second round, Men waited an interminable amount of time in the clubhouse (while being well attended to by yet another female Icelandic wonder) for a taxi back downtown where Schmitz the Redeemer, who sat out Round Two, was waiting with food.
Arriving back at the hotel shortly before 11:30 pm, they ate cold pizza (that was still delicious) and were regaled with tails of Reykjavik bars, an endeavor of discovery that Schmitz the Redeemer took upon himself while other Men were golfing. Pizza was accompanied by far too many beers, which led to poor decision making to head out to the bars, which led to a multi-block journey to find others to participate in a Man Pyramid, a goal to honor a parting request of Sam Adequate, who would depart very early the next morning.
After a fruitless effort of human pyramid recruitment from citizens of nations near and far, Men retreated to the hotel, drank more beer, and watched Schmitz the Redeemer perform what was described by Undrafted Jeff as karate-influenced club dancing. This lasted until shortly after 3:30 am.
The next morning (if it can be called that when there is no night) broke under beautifully sunny and clear skies, predictably late given the activities of the night prior. Men were hungover and Sam Adequate was long on his return journey home, likely somewhere in-flight over Greenland. Schmitz the Redeemer elected to run and the remaining three Men, The Bobocracy, Sporadic Jack, and Undrafted Jeff chose to sight-see along the Reykjavik waterfront. After re-assembling as a full group at the hotel, where the first site was a female employee entering Sam Adequates recently vacated room with an exceedingly large mop, having lunch (where a pair of fellow American women would, without solicitation, introduce the term "come aparts"), The Weekend of Man TEN would stumble into an epic and unplanned event.
At 4:00 pm that afternoon, Iceland played Austria in the European Cup soccer tournament. 2016 was the first time Iceland had ever qualified for the Euro Cup, and Iceland was the smallest nation to ever qualify. Earlier the week prior, Iceland stunned the soccer world by earning a draw against world soccer power Portugal. As a result, downtown Reykjavik was entirely shut down and the plaza across the street from the hotel became the hub of a city-wide party and public viewing of the game. It was so busy, people began climbing walls of adjacent buildings to watch from the rooftops.
Each Man purchased gear and fervently supported Iceland throughout the game. Despite not being big soccer fans, it quickly became evident that the game being played was a true gem, with amazing plays on both sides. Iceland drew blood first and held the lead well into the second half. Austria pressured strong and equalized the game around the 60th minute, leaving the crowd on edge for a draw. Iceland's goalie stopped shot after shot after shot, each to a roar and sigh of relief from the large crowd. At 94:11, eleven seconds past full time and the added four minutes of injury time (after which any dead ball pretty much ends the game) Iceland found a counter-attack and the dead ball that would end the game was in the back of Austria's net. Iceland took the victory 2-1, pushing them into the elimination stage of the tournament as one of the last 16 teams standing. The entire city descended into simultaneous madness and pure joy.
TEN Alumni went along with the crowd after pounding down several beers with a good portion of the hotel staff. One of the hotel staff, another Icelandic woman wonder, had to leave earlier than the rest to go pole dancing, a declaration that was witnessed by both Schmitz the Redeemer and The Bobocracy.
The continued jubilation of the Iceland national team's victory carried Men into a bar that served fermented and rotten shark, an Icelandic delicacy, and Schmitz the Redeemer and Undrafted Jeff managed to finish an entire portion, chased with several shots of Brennavin, an Icelandic Aquavit. Undrafted Jeff had trouble walking in a straight line for the following two hours.
After finding dinner, the Men returned to the hotel and continued to drink beer as the summer solstice wreaked havoc on their mental faculties associated with time. With the sun still shining bright, Men finally looked at the clock and realized it was 2:15 am. This spurred a refrain common throughout the week: "We better hurry before it gets dark." The next time Iceland would see complete darkness would be several weeks.
The last full day in Iceland took the remaining four Men on a guided tour of the Golden Circle, an area just outside of Reykjavik that covers national parks, glaciers, waterfalls, and geysers. Schmitz the Redeemer was well-studied prior to our arrival and supplemented the tour guide's information with a bevvy of facts, figures, and history of the country. The day included brief hikes, boiling water shooting from the ground, a complete drenching from overspray of a massive waterfall, and literally hundreds of pictures, most featuring Schmitz the Redeemer. The tour took most of the day, and after returning to the hotel, Men cleaned up and headed out to a low-key dinner, eating at a "Husband Day Care Centre." After dinner, the Alumni retreated to the hotel one final time and attempted to get one full night of sleep before a 5:00 am shuttle to the airport the next morning. Most Men would not realize this goal.
The next morning would see four delirious and fatigued Men in a variety of small adventures. The first was Sporadic Jack bringing a British woman to tears after informing her of the vote on the Brexit. This occurred prior to the shuttle even leaving the front of the hotel. He redeemed himself, without the assistance of Schmitz the Redeemer, by sitting next to her and conversing for the 50 minute ride to the airport.
After arriving at the Keflavik International, the Men would discover their flight was delayed an hour. Security was very brisk, leaving the group with an excess of time at the airport, where there was little to nothing beyond duty free shopping and food. It was at the duty free that Sporadic Jack would introduce a new Weekend of Man tradition. While Undrafted Jeff and Schmitz the Redeemer argued over whether or not to purchase Brennavin to take back Stateside, Sporadic Jack thought it would be a good idea to spontaneously count all his change...And then throw it on the floor.
Seven hours after The Throwing of the Change, which brought Schmitz the Redeemer to tears, Men would arrive safely back in Minneapolis. After transiting customs and border protection and collecting their bags, Sporadic Jack and Undrafted Jeff bid farewell with a handshake to Schmitz the Redeemer and The Bobocracy as they terminated their travel in Minneapolis while the other two carried on to destinations afar. After a brief lunch, Schmitz the Redeemer and The Bobocracy went their separate ways as well, flying home from opposite sides of the airport, ending what probably was the most audacious and triumphant Weekend of Man ever.
Copyright © 2019 The Weekend of Man
Copyright © 2019 The Weekend of Man