iceland has a quiet power.
it would seem like an isolating place, but somehow it’s the very opposite of that. it’s a place of discovery, which is exactly what i needed. it is not boastful about it’s majesty. it just looks at you quietly, arms wide open, and welcomes you in. it’s a testament to the grace of mother nature and a pleasant reminder of the good in human beings.
i know i touched upon it in my first post, but the people of iceland are lovely. warm. inviting. beautiful. and the food.
let me tell you about the foood.
it was a mixed bag. i know, i hate saying that. and i wasn’t going to say that but i promised i’d always be honest so i have to say – there were somethings iceland does better than anyone, but there are somethings that were just fine. and here’s the other thing, it is stupid expensive. some of it was worth it – but it makes london and new york look like richmond, indiana cheap. appetizers would be $25. coffees would be $6. so we were glad we had some stellar recommendations from friends who had been there, because you definitely want it to be worth it.
let’s start at the beginning. with breakfast.
the first day, we went to a traditional cafe that ended up being absolutely delicious. it was homemade rye bread, and we had smoked fish on one and then just eggs on the other. we eased into it. but the fish, was everything you’d think it would be in iceland. the fish is the best fish of my life over there. not with this meal, but it’s coming soon. another day, we had this amazing breakfast sandwich with tzatziki and cucumber and ham, divine.
lunch – we skipped most days. we were usually driving so we fueled up on breakfast and snacked our way through lunch. it was an easy way to save some money so we could splurge on dinner. however, i got fish and chipped. i went to london and i expected to be blown away by the fish and chips, and they were good. but they weren’t like – everything good. iceland looked at me and said, well you’ve come to the right place. the breading on these fish and chips was like a flaky cloud of heaven. saying it was the best fish and chips of my life doesn’t even do it justice. oh and the sauces! there were tons of them. basil and garlic, tzatziki, truffle and tarragon,gingera and wasabi and on and on we go. i would go back to iceland just to have this fish again. and it is right near the sea, so what’s not to love. and garlic rosemary potatoes? forget about it.
oh we’re getting to the best part. dinner. i’m so excited to tell you about the fish company i can’t even stand it. even the freaking butter was the best butter i’ve ever had in all my years on this rotating ball we call the world. it was hazelnut butter, homemade. oh emmm geeeee. and i forget what the other one wasssss but it was amaze too. i would take a gallon of that butter and show it a good time. ohmygoshican’teventellyou.
you guys. the salmon meltedddd in your mouth. like if heaven was a food, it would have been the salmon my mouth was blessed to host. this plate of food right here, ruined sushi for me for the rest of my life. you’re never going to want to eat sushi with me because i’m going to be an obnoxious snob and be all like, “well in iceland…” i feel bad for you, if you’ve never had this experience. ugh and the tunaaaaa. die.
and then – lookatthisporkbelly. that is a piece of pork belly if i have ever seen a piece of pork belly. usually i’m not a fan of rich sauces, but this was just divine. it was like dessert. it was a mustard glaze pork belly with gnocchi pasta ina creamy tio pepe sauce, rosemary marintaed tomato and black olive sand.
there was a day where cory wasn’t feeling too hot, so i set off to explore reykjavik a bit more on my own. i honestly love it – whenever i go anywhere, just taking some time to walk around it by myself, taking my own time, being selfish in what i want to see and do. my dad instilled this in me when i was really young – he would tell me stories of when he studied abroad and how his friends made a pact to each take a few days on their own. i just thought it was so cool. he didnt think it was cool when at disney world, i was 6 and too small to go on the scary ride like my sister but i decided to show him and off i went on my own. i did it when i was in london, the first day i was there. and again in new york. oh and there was that time i went on vacation by myself (i still think you should do it. it should be a life requirement).
i’m telling you, even if you don’t go on a vacation by yourself – take some time to go off on your own. you’ll really feel apart of the city, at least i always do. plus – you’re guaranteed to make some friends along the way.
so i set out and knew exactly where i wanted to go. well i walked around a bit and all that jazz, but my destination was this little bar and cafe we had passed and made note of. it was seriously one of the cutest places i have ever been. and i sat up at bar next to this lovely gentlemen, ordered a glass of red, and read my book. it was like this alice in wonderland moment of serenity now. when i’m stressed at work, i dont pretend i’m sitting on the beach, i pretend i’m back in that bar. i told cdk about it and we went back that evening just because she needed to see it. and we made friends with the staff.
but that wasn’t homebase. all of those places are branded into me as part of my journey to iceland, but none stitched a piece to my heart quite like les chateau des dix gouttes. i came across it when i was planning for the trip and the first night we stepped in there and we were home. we had found our place across the world from everything that we had known. and of course, it’s french. and a wine bar. fun fact: iceland didn’t even have wine until a couple of decades ago. oh but les chateau, it was just this small, dimly lit place with live music and the kindest people. it has a piece of my heart, i miss that place.
so it was a mixed bag, but those were the highlights. i didnt try horse or puffin, which are quite common in iceland. i tried a lot of seafood that wasn’t even mentioned in this post. i had a seafood soup that was fresh but something about the herbs in it just didnt hit the spot. the fish within was amazing though. i had tapas that were really good but not so memorable that i can recite exactly what i had.
pause: skyr. it’s been in iceland for more than a thousand years. i wish i had taken a photo of it. i wish i had eaten more of it. it’s a dairy product – like a yogurt-ish. i honestly only had it once – at the lagoon cory ordered it. it was delicious. it’s apart of their culture. i had to mention it.
is it weird that i’m kind of sad right now? i feel like this is my last post on iceland, and i just want to keep remembering it. i haven’t done it justice. i haven’t told you that it’s the only place i’ve travelled to where i literally would’ve drank water from the stream it’s so clean. i haven’t told you that it’s the freshest air i’ve ever breathed. or about how beautiful the buildings were in the village. or the kind woman i met in the cafe over cappucinos the afternoon i was on my own. or the way the sunrise over the moutains humbled me in the corners of my soul. how the rainbows were like signs that i was on the right path, that i deserved to be right where i was.
which is something. i was talking to a friend recently who asked how i have all this money to travel and i told him i didnt. i had to make sacrifices to make it work. i work hard though and i want to look back at my life and know i’ve seen the world. i dared to immerse myself in new places, and have strangers as friends in all the pockets of the world. besides, when was the last time you had a friend say “ughhh i really shouldn’t have spent that money on a trip of a lifetime?” if so, you should probably get new friends.