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Eating, hiking and driving around Southern Iceland


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This is a great food and travel blog. Thanks.

 

Once I was able to say I'd visited every country in  Europe except Iceland. I still haven't visited, but some of the countries I visited have split up and formed new ones. For example, although I've visited Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, I haven't visited Slovakia (as it didn't exist then as an independent state). Ditto Yugoslavia.

 

@TdeVRe: Cod Liver Oil. I too was brought up on this concoction. It was dispensed free of charge in the UK to all children under a certain age as a vitamin D supplement to aid in preventing rickets. I don't remember hating it, though.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Hofn is a small seaside fishing town on the eastern part of southern Iceland.  It is very close to Vatnajokull National Park - Vatnajokull is Iceland's largest glacier (there are 3 or 4 of them on the island) and is Europe's largest ice cap.  You never really get to see the glacier itself as it's really high up (hundreds of meters thick ice) but there are many "ice falls" that are visible all over, and you can take excursions onto.  The ice fall is like a frozen waterfall.  As snow falls on the glacier and is compacted into ice, it is constantly pushing out the fringe ice - like a waterfall from a stream fed lake.  Just in slow motion.  The ice is constantly moving, slowly, so if I were to go back a month from now, it might look a little different.  Because of this, the tour companies who take you on excursions there are constantly monitoring the sites, changing the areas they go to as needed.  But more on this later...

 

One of the things Hofn is most known for is langoustine (what they call lobster) - it is the langoustine capital of Iceland.  Most restaurants offer it - from pan fried, to tempura, to sandwiches, to pizza of all things.  Personally, you couldn't get me to spend money (a lot of it) on a langoustine pizza, but I definitely saw a lot of other tourists doing so.  We were actually just a few days late for their annual Lobster Festival which is usually held at teh end of June.  Most of the langoustine you see in restaurants was supposedly caught either that morning or teh day before and most restaurants purchase them directly from fishing boats.

 

But I'm getting ahead of myself...  first we have another couple hours drive from Vik to Hofn, which, predictably, was beautiful.

 

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In some sections, there were tons of these purple wildflowers.

 

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About mid-way between Vik and Hofn is Skaftafell National park.  This is where you go to do the glacier walks, and there is a very famous jokulsarlon - glacier lagoon.  We took pictures of it from the road, but as you'll see, it became quite overcast by that time.  Several days later we went again when the weather was gorgeous.

 

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A jokulsarlon is when the ice fall breaks off at the edge and icebergs melt into a glacial lagoon fed by glacial melt water.  The lagoon typically feeds a stream or river which outlets to the ocean.  Iceland has a lot of glacial lagoons because most of the glaciers are situated on top of volcanoes and the geothermal activity melts the glacier from below.

 

You can also see several other ice falls from teh road

 

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Once we got to the Hofn area and settled into our hotel, we went out to dinner to get some langoustine!  The first restaurant I wanted to try is Pakkhus who supposedly specializes in langoustine and is very popular with locals. 

 

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It is across the street from the water.  This is supposedly the fishing boat they get their langoustine from (it's directly across from teh restaurant):

 

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We got there probably around 7:30 or so and hit a long line of people waiting.  When we got to the desk, the host gave what seemed to be a speech he gives 300 times a day, that they were completely full, don't take reservations, and that they typically get space around 9PM.  Also, this is a daily occurrence and he guaranteed the exact same situation for tomorrow or the next day or the day after that.  So we left and went back to the hotel to relax for a bit.  We returned around 8:30 (we figured we'd just wait around outside) but they had gotten some space in their bar area downstairs for us to wait so he gave us a beeper.  We wound up being seated about 15 minutes after that - slightly ahead of schedule.

 

The space is an old warehouse space, converted to a restaurant.  It's a factory - a big space with lots of tables (the host originally told us they do over 300 covers per night) with prices to match... some menu photos:

 

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Keep in mind that it's about 135 Krona per US$, so each dish of langoustine costs about $60!!!

 

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After collecting our breath getting over the sticker shock, we got:

 

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Smoked lamb carpaccio and cured beef served over some smoking hickory wood.  More chillies! Very tasty.

 

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Cold smoked rainbow trout (do they mean char?) and hot smoked mackerel.  Also very tasty.

 

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Langoustine pan.  This is where the meal goes south.  These were probably the most overcooked langoustine I've ever had.  So sad, and at that cost, rather infuriating.  They were so poorly cooked that you almost lost the delicate sweetness that langoustines are prized for.

 

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Horse tenderloin with bernaise sauce (bernaise seems to be very popular in Iceland - it was everywhere).  I think my wife stopped laughing at my "don't get saucy with me Bernaise" joke around the third time.  It was sitting in a pool of demi-glace which made me wonder about the need for the bernaise.

 

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This was my first horse experience (on a plate) - I enjoyed it - very lean and tender, although we had it a few days later and I thought that one had better flavor.

Edited by KennethT (log)
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17 minutes ago, KennethT said:

This was my first horse experience (on a plate) - I enjoyed it - very lean and tender, although we had it a few days later and I thought that one had better flavor.

 

I'm a big horse fan, but do think donkey is better!

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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26 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

I'm a big horse fan, but do think donkey is better!

I like small horses too... ;)    I can't compare the horse with the donkey I had in Beijing since the donkey was thinly sliced and the horse was a large chunk.  To tell the truth, if I didn't know previously, you could have told me that the horse was beef tenderloin and I would have believed you. 

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@KennethT 

 

thank you for this blog.

 

esp  the ice and views

 

Hot and Humid in my area , and I do not doubt NYC.

 

as we know , costs are going up,

 

Iceland is , well Iceland 

 

as such , do those prices on the menu 

 

affect how many diners there are

 

where you have been ?

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1 hour ago, rotuts said:

@KennethT 

 

thank you for this blog.

 

esp  the ice and views

 

Hot and Humid in my area , and I do not doubt NYC.

 

as we know , costs are going up,

 

Iceland is , well Iceland 

 

as such , do those prices on the menu 

 

affect how many diners there are

 

where you have been ?

no.  Everywhere we went was packed with tourists.  Then again, it's peak season after a pandemic when no one could travel, and Iceland opened up to quarantine free travel sooner than most other countries.

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Breakfast the next morning - the first at the new hotel.

 

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Includes a glacier view.  On the left, my wife's plate with tons of the chia porridge, plus a A strip of bacon and some fruit and a slice of smoked salmon.

 

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My plate - apple, croissant, smoked salmon, bacon and sausage.  Their smoked salmon was really good, but it looks like it was sliced with a tree chopping axe.  A dull one.

 

Just a few minutes drive from our hotel was a really cute waterfall hike - Skutafoss.  It was a short hike that was really easy, but what made it one of our favorites of the entire trip was the fact that we were basically alone there.  There were actually several waterfalls - but I think Skutafoss was the first one.PXL_20220703_111723284.thumb.jpg.9e3c9ba43ef5262a70f33a35149dddeb.jpg

 

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I just love the dark mountain with the green moss look...

 

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that guy in grey is there to provide perspective!!!

 

 

After the waterfall, we went back to Hofn to get lunch.

 

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After the dinner last night, we decided to give Hofn another chance at the langoustine...

 

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Lobster bisque - this was really good - they used a strong lobster stock.  And there were a couple of pieces of langoustine in there that weren't overcooked.

 

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Langoustine tempura - this was fantastic - the langoustine were perfectly cooked... soooo sweeeeeet and great texture!

 

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Reindeer burger.  I was disappointed by this - you'd never know it was reindeer.

 

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The worst offender - langoustine pasta in some kind of watery cream sauce.  The pasta was overcooked and mushy... the langoustine were the same - overcooked and mushy.  such a shame.  Serves us right for ordering pasta in Iceland!!!

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After lunch, we decided to take a hike I had read about which was close to Hoffellsjokull - the closest ice fall to our hotel.  It's not a commonly visited ice fall as it's not right off the main road - there's a short drive on a gravel/rocky road.  Once we got to the parking lot, there was one other car there and the family was coming off of the rise to view the glacier lagoon told us that it was really windy up there.  We had no idea how windy it was until we got up there ourselves... it was like standing in a hurricane!  We couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculousness of where we found ourselves.

 

 

After shooting this we actually were able to get a photo or two of the glacial lagoon.  It's very different from the main one that is super popular as the icebergs have more debris in them, which makes for interesting markings.

 

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Shortly after taking this photo, I stupidly put my back to the wind for a moment and the wind literally knocked me off my feet onto my butt.  Ow.

 

We never actually made the hike - which goes up the right side next to the ice fall - it was just way too windy to risk it.  We were also planning on going to a thermal tub place right there but decided against it since it was just so windy and the idea of drying off in 50F and super windy wasn't appealing!  So we went back to the hotel to relax a bit since we have been running around seeing so much.

 

We decided to have dinner at the hotel.  Here's the view from our table:

 

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The menu:

 

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Smoked mackerel - this was really good.  I was a little nervous as sometimes mackerel can be a bit fishy, but this one was not fishy at all, but had great flavor and was still moist and really smoky.

 

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Langoustine soup.  They used a good stock but I thought the one we had at lunch had a stronger flavor - this one had a bit too much cream for me.  But it was really tasty.

 

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Arctic char with a hollandaise mousse and charred onion (and potato puree which was a LOT of butter).

 

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Lamb - if I didn't read the menu, I'd no idea it was a rhubarb sauce, but it was very good regardless.

 

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This is the birch dessert.  I was really disappointed by this - there was no discernable birch flavor and the meringue tasted like it was made 3 days ago and sat around in a steam bath.  I was so looking forward to this as I have some nice memories being in summer day camp sucking on birch tree branches while we were supposed to be playing some kind of sports.

 

Edited by KennethT (log)
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The weather the next day turned out to be beautiful.  After breakfast (we had the same things as the day before - chia porridge/bacon/croissant, etc.).  Originally, I was just planning to do a hike to Hangandifoss waterfall (one of Iceland's tallest waterfalls) and Mulagljufur canyon (don't ask me how to pronounce that!!!!).  The drive there took us past the most famous Jokulsarlon (glacial lagoon) so we decided to stop on hte way, even though I had scheduled to see it the next day.  One thing we learned is that the weather is so variable - you have to take an opportunity when it presents itself.

 

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Practically across the road from the Jokulsarlon is Diamond Beach - known for its black lava sand and some icebergs which wash up on the beach.  Unfortunately, there weren't that many diamonds that day.

 

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After that, we continued on.  Because we made the extra stops, we didn't really have time for lunch - also considering that we were in the middle of nowhere and there was no where to eat!  But we had a big breakfast, so we really weren't super hungry anyway - so on to Hangandifoss and the unprounounceable canyon.  The canyon (and waterfall) is beautiful but doesn't photograph so well when it's so sunny out - too many shadows.  I couldn't believe I was actually hoping it would turn overcast!

 

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The canyon

 

and the waterfall:

 

 

Right next to the parking lot for the canyon is another glacier lagoon - Fjallsarlon which is the lagoon for Fjalljokull ice fall.

 

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It was about an hour's drive back to Hofn at which point we decided to have an early-ish dinner.  I had seen good reviews of this place but didn't know if they were open or not when I was doing my research.   Quite a few restaurants in Hofn had permanently closed as they couldn't survive the pandemic with no tourists.  We passed this place by the first evening on the way to Pakkhus and I realized it was open so we decided to give it a try.  It was more moderately priced and was really good.

 

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Unfortunately, we both had forgotten to take photos of the menu...

 

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Lobster soup - really good flavor and the few pieces of langoustine in there were perfect.

 

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Smoked salmon salad.  The salmon in here was awesome - not too salty, and contrary to our hotel's breakfast buffet, didn't look like it was hacked to pieces with a dull axe!

 

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Lamb - the seasoning they used was really good (a lot of garlic) but the pieces were pretty thin - most were cooked nicely but one was a little overcooked.

 

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Langoustine sandwich.  There was a top half of bread, but we removed it for the photo.  The langoustine here were perfectly perfectly cooked.. They were amazing.  Probably the best langoustine we had in Hofn.

 

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I overheard the waitress talk to another table about their homemade donuts... so......

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The glacial lagoon is absolutely stunning. Want to make it my background.  So nice you got enjoyable langoustine after all the build up.

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Some people have asked how 2 relatively unathletic people can go hiking every day.... here's our secret:

 

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These are what the hiking backpack companies call "hydration packs".  It's quite a good design.  Each pouch holds 2 liters of liquid.  On the back side (not visible) is a rigid plastic which helps insert it into a special sleeve in the backpack even when the pack is fully loaded.  The pouch does not leak no matter its orientation or how hard you try.  The top closes sort of like a heavy duty zip lock bag and another hose with mouthpiece (that you bite in order to allow liquid to flow) stays attached to your pack's shoulder strap with a magnet and connects to the bag's hose.  Most people fill their pack with water... ours are filled with gatorade.  When you're tired and thirsty, it is like nectar!

 

This is what I brought from home:

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I made a whole bunch of premeasured zip lock bags full of powdered gatorade - each bag creates 2 liters of gatorade.  Very convenient!

 

Anyway, the next day, after a similar breakfast, we packed up and checked out of this hotel.  Our next hotel is about an hour to the West, close to the Skaftafell park and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon posted above.  The plan was to go to the park and do a short hike on the way to the hotel, then check in after that.

 

The short hike turned into being a lot longer - we decided to take our time a bit more and go at a really slow (dare I say glacial?) pace...

 

This is the scenic route to the famous waterfall called Svartifoss.  The hike starts in the Skaftafell parking lot where there are some interesting signs.

 

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This map shows how much area the main ice cap takes of the whole country.

 

The hike clings alongside a glacier ice fall for the first section... lots of good views ending up here:

 

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Svartifoss is interesting because it was formed via volcanic activity.  The waterfall is surrounded by basalt rock, formed into geometric shapes (mostly hexagonal) formed during rapid heating and cooling of the rock.

 

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This closeup shows the hexagonal shape of one of the rocks which has fallen off:

 

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When we got back down to the parking lot, it was pretty late - around 5:45PM and we had not had lunch...  it was nice to find this food truck right there in the park:

 

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We both got an order of the fish and chips...

 

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with a nice view.  This is one order - the fish is local cod, perfectly cooked with good fries as well.  It came with some kind of tartar type dipping sauce.  This really hit the spot, and we wound up checking into the hotel around 7:30PM or so and spent the rest of the night relaxing.

 

Breakfast the next morning at the new hotel...

 

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The horizontal black strip in the middle of the green is the main highway.  Farther out is the ocean.  Behind the building are mountains.

 

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My wife loaded up with more of the chia porridge that she was addicted to, some skyr that she buried in nuts and poppy seeds and some smoked salmon.

 

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I chose the significantly less healthy route with some bacon, sausage, croissant, roasted potatoes and smoked salmon.  The smoked salmon in this hotel was so salty.  I finished it anyway (need to get my Omega 3s to counteract all the pork products!).

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@KennethT

it is obvious that you do a great deal of in-depth research before you set off on your travels. It certainly seems to pay off. Your travelogues are always both entertaining and informative not to mention breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

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53 minutes ago, Anna N said:

@KennethT

it is obvious that you do a great deal of in-depth research before you set off on your travels. It certainly seems to pay off. Your travelogues are always both entertaining and informative not to mention breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you. 

Thanks!  I try to learn as much as I can about a place before going there - I am not a huge fan of surprises, especially ones taht cause problems!  Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to scheduling activities, which I learned at several times during our New Zealand trip, so I tried to learn from past mistakes.

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After loading up on breakfast (we wouldn't get a real lunch today) we headed back to Skaftafell park, which was the meeting place for our guided glacier walk.  Most companies have a couple of different options, we chose the longer one (it's about 5-6 hours) which gives you about 3 hours on the glacier as opposed to maybe 1 hour on the glacier.  While they call them glacier walks, they're really ice fall walks, as it's basically impossible to get up on the glacier itself without being dropped off by a helicopter.  The company outfits you with a harness (which is unused, but is there in case there's an accident and they need to pull you out of a crevice with a rope), crampons (metal spikes that attach to hiking boots to enable easy walking on ice), small ice axe, which isn't really useful for chopping ice, but is used more as a walking stick and helmet.

 

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Walking to the ice fall.  The brown semicircle to the right of the white is actually all ice, covered in a thin later of debris.

 

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At the first stopping point - we wound up going halfway up the icefall.

 

In the summer, the ice is covered with what they call "mojito ice" which looks kind of like crushed ice, but directly underneath it is rock solid blue ice.  But the crushed ice is easy to walk on with the crampons. At one point, the ice we were standing on was hundreds of meters thick.

 

We walked by several fissures -

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If the walking ever got even close to dangerous, our guide was there to help us across:

 

 

Sometimes, if he felt that the ice was too steep to walk on easily, he would make some steps with his axe:

 

 

Once we got as high up as we would go, we had a 10 minute break to have a snack.  I brought along a bag of cashews from home, my wife had a fiber bar and of course, our ever present sack of gatorade.

 

At one point, our guide left us for a minute to scout out the route going forward - the glacier is constantly changing, so they can't necessarily take the same route every day... which left us a few minutes...  I took the opportunity to demonstrate how hard the ice was underneath the mojito ice.

 

 

And a view during our rest break:

 

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Once we made it back down, it was probably around 4:30 or so, so we split a fish and chips as a pre-dinner snack:

 

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Driving back to the hotel showed some Icelandic road hazards...

 

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For some reason, with all that space, the sheep liked to eat the grass/moss by the side of the highway.

 

The day before, we had decided to stay in the hotel for dinner after the glacier walk since we didn't know how tired we'd be.

 

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This was house made sourdough (they also had it at breakfast), served with room temperature icelandic butter with some lava salt.  I loved the butter presentation

 

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We got the sheep carpaccio

 

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This was really tasty.  Great smoke flavor and slightly gamy.

 

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Seafood soup.  While the description said there were various seafoods in there, we only found langoustine - not that we were complaining about that!  This had a great langoustine flavor - maybe the best one we had on the trip.

 

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Arctic char... why they decided to pair it with quinoa and kale I'll never know, but the fish was fantastic.  The asparagus struck me funny - while they looked heavily cooked, inside they were practically raw - which is fine because they were really skinny.

 

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Beef two ways.  2 medallions of tenderloin and some slow cooked beef cheek.  Unfortunately, there was only a small amount of beef cheek - it was amazing, although the tenderloin and sauce were really good too.  The two large white chunks were celery root - I don't think I've ever had roasted celery root before, but it was really tasty.  Usually I've made it into a puree like a potato.

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Jeez, this whole "work thing" has seriously cut into my blog time....

 

Breakfast the next day:

 

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Salty smoked salmon, bacon, roasted potatoes, sausage and a croissant

 

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Going back for more - the house made sourdough bread, pain au chocolat and some not bad pineapple.  My wife had what she had the day before - tons of the chia porridge and some skyr buried in nuts/seeds and some of the smoked salmon.

 

This was our last day of hiking before heading to Reykjavik the day before heading home.  The plan for the day was to drive West to Skogafoss, a very large waterfall, which is about 2-1/2 hours away and hike at least part of the Fimmvorduhals trail.  This trail goes to Thorsmork - it's about 25 kilometers to Thorsmork, but it's not a loop trail, so then we'd have to hike 25 kilometers back to Skogafoss to our car - we are A) definitely not in shape enough for that and B) it would take waaaay too long.

 

It was overcast and rainy all morning, but the drive over was really pretty:

 

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Skogafoss is probably about a half hour West of Vik, which is a small town with a bunch of restaurants (we stopped there on the way East from Reykjavik), so we stopped there for lunch before any of the hiking.  This place looked good:

 

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The menu:

 

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The view from our table:

 

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It was really rainy and windy, so I decided to warm up a bit with a cup of tea:

 

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I think Pickwick has an exclusive in Iceland - it was basically the only brand of tea I saw over the whole trip - 4 hotels!

 

Since Vik is historically an old fishing town, we had to get:

 

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Cod fish and chips.  The cod was perfectly cooked, and the fries were very good too.

 

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Arctic char with mashed potatoes.  The char was great and I liked that the potatoes didn't seem too unhealthy.  But I will say that certainly by this point, we were getting a little sick of plain pan fried/grilled/broiled food.  We were definitely missing some of our Asian staples of home cooking - but we definitely don't have stuff like this at home:

 

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Skogafoss. Note again how there is really nothing stopping you from diving in the water to swim under the waterfall, other than the fact that it must be freezing!

 

There is a little cave if you keep walking to the right where you can get quite close to the falls without getting drenched:

 

 

The Fimmvorduhals trail starts at the top of Skogafoss - there is a long stairway to get there:

 

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I loved the this hike.  The beginning part isn't strenuous at all and the trail is well taken care of - and there are some great waterfall and canyon views.  Also, there was something magical about seeing these views in the misty rain - I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or something.

 

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At one point, the trail descended steeply and was REALLY muddy from all the rain - not to mention that it was right next to a steep dropoff, so we decided to turn back.

 

We decided to stop for an early-ish dinner in Vik - since it's the largest town between Skogafoss and our hotel - and by largest town, it probably has maybe 10 streets.  We decided to try something a little different - unfortunately we both forgot to take a photo of the restaurant's exterior.  It was called Smidjan Brugghus - it's actually a brew house that brews their own beer.  If I didn't have a 2 hour drive in windy rainy weather, I definitely would have tried one.

 

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We got the BBQ ribs:

 

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These were awesome - great texture - a little chew but still tender, nice and smoky and the sauce was barely sweet which we really appreciated.  The fries were really good too, even once they got to room temp.

 

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Onion ring and bacon burger.  The onion ring was perfect - one of my pet peeves is when the onion pulls out of the batter ring, but this one was awesome.

 

On the drive back, there were some nice viewpoints where we stopped to get a look.

 

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This is Myrdalsjokull - a smaller glacier than Vatnajokull.  This is probably the only time we saw the actual glacier and not just icefalls from the glacier.

 

Another waterfall....

 

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Those ribs look mouthwateringly good and I love the chips served in what I take is a tin mug. Ribs that are tender but still with a little chew are heavenly.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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17 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

I just found this thread!    Thank you, @KennethT for this exceptional report about your extraordinary adventure!    We are the richer for it.

Thanks for this.  I usually write these for myself so I can reread and kind of relive the experience later on (this was great to do with my SE Asia blogs during covid lockdowns) but it makes me happy to read that people enjoy my ramblings as well....

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It's beena  wonderful look at somewhere I don't expect I'll ever go. Thanks.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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On the road again.... this time it was a 5 hour drive to get back to Reykjavik in order to catch our plane the next day.  After packing up the car, we took a short walk to see this small waterfall which we could see from our hotel room.

 

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Our first stop was in Vik, about halfway between where we started and Reykjavic, for lunch.  We went back to the first place we stopped.  At this point we were feeling slightly bloated from eating all the red meat and bernaise/hollandaise sauces that we had over the last week.  We rarely eat red meat or those heavy types of sauces.

 

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Cured salmon salad.  The salmon was a little salty, but not too bad, and had a nice dill flavor.

 

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Arctic char.

 

One thing we neglected to have on this trip so far was a hot dog.  For some reason, Iceland is known for hot dogs.  I was curious so I read a bit about them - turns out that they are typically made from a combination of lamb (mutton?), beef and pork but are mostly lamb (mutton?).

 

We passed this place by in Selfoss many times - it was across the street from the Kurdish shawarma place we went to.

 

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This is the basic hot dog.  It's covered in a slightly sweet mustard and has fried onions in the bottom.  It was really tasty.  I don't know if I'd rank it above my NY hot dog with spicy mustard and sauerkraut but it was tasty and slightly addictive.  It was a little tough not to walk back and get another one.  550 Krona which is about $4.25 US.

 

We got to Reykjavic in the late afternoon, checked in to our hotel and then walked around a bit before our dinner reservation - I made a reservation once I checked into the hotel using a common reservation app they have there.  Most of teh restaurants I had wanted to try were booked, but I found one that had a couple tables left.

 

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Outdoor seating filled with tourists

 

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The rainbow bridge (street) to Asgard

 

One of Reykjavic's most recognizable spots, a church design inspired by the Svartifoss waterfall

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Inside the church is a large pipe organ.  People were allowed in for free to watch the organist prepare for a concert they were having the following day

 

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I really enjoyed watching the guy prepare. I've seen videos of pipe organs being played, but I don't think I've ever seen one played in person.

 

We finally tore ourselves away from watching the rehearsal since we had to walk across the city (it's not that big) for our restaurant reservation.

 

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Oddly enough, the prices here were similar to what they were out in the middle of nowhere - maybe even a little less!!!  And what we had was fantastic.  I think the chef is originally French but lived in Iceland for a long time.

 

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Hot smoked salmon with a citrus yogurt.  This was fantastic - the salmon was perfectly cooked, juicy and smoky.

 

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Hearty langoustine soup a la Robert.  Also really tasty - great langoustine flavor and a few pieces of perfectly cooked langoustine.

 

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Fillet of horse.  This was amazing.  The horse is lean and has a lot of flavor, tender but with a decent chew.  We really enjoyed it.

 

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Arctic char with a croquette of bacala.  Again, perfectly done.

 

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We're not usually dessert people but this looked so interesting.  It's the skyr mousse and rhubarb compote.  We really liked how it wasn't too sweet or heavy.  It had an interest combination of textures and flavors and the rhubarb gave it a good lift.  This was probably the best meal we had, overall, on this trip.  I would very heartily recommend it and would go again if ever in Reykjavic.

 

After dinner we walked back to our hotel which is pretty much in the center of town.  While walking around Reykjavic during the day it was quite nice, but we weren't fans of it come night - tons of young people who were extremely drunk and loud wandering the streets, some quite obnoxious.  It also seemed like cruising through the streets with a muffler cutout is a thing to do there as we saw many cars doing it.  The above restaurant was out of the city center a bit and that area was much quieter - like a residential area.  I would much rather have stayed in a hotel in that area.  Even though our hotel had double glazed windows and we were on the 4th or 5th floor, you could hear the bass from a nearby night club and people carousing.  Luckily for us, we're from NYC so that type of noise is like a lullaby but I could imagine it being quite annoying for people not used to it.

 

Our flight the next day didn't take off until around 8PM, so we had plenty of time to walk around Reykjavic some more.

 

Breakfast at this hotel was ok but they didn't have the chia porridge that my wife had every day for the past week.

 

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A blue cheese and "camembert", croissant and cured salmon with blini.  I have a weird buckwheat allergy, so of course I asked the staff if there was any buckwheat in the blini - turns out that no one knew, even the cook came out and talked to me about it. Evidently they're not made in house but the cook was eventually able to find an ingredient list for the blini and confirmed no buckwheat.  After waiting around for like 20 minutes for an answer, I had it and after all that, it wasn't even good!  Ha!  The salmon was pretty good though - I enjoyed it more on its own.

 

We looked at some classic Icelandic architecture - not that we didn't see it all over when in the countryside...

 

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Sculpture celebrating the Viking heritage.

 

We decided to go back to Asgard since you could go to the top of the tower and we didn't have a chance to do that the day before. The bells toll every 15 minutes...   I didn't edit the video but I think it's worth the wait.

 

 

After that we had a late lunch - spoiler alert, this was maybe the worst (and most expensive) meal of the trip.

 

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Cured salmon.  This was probably the best thing we had.

 

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Creamy langoustine soup - they should put more emphasis on the word creamy.  It tasted mostly of cream.

 

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Arctic char - this was the most overcooked, dry char we had in Iceland...

 

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Wolf fish - this was ok, but I could have done without the cream sauce.

 

After lunch (which took a REALLY long time since between our appetizers and main courses a tour bus full of people came in and bogged the kitchen down), we sauntered our way back to the hotel to pick up our bags and make our way to the airport.

 

After going through security etc. we decided to get something to eat as they wouldn't serve anything on the 6 hour flight.

 

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Fried chicken legs.  I think this was the first time we saw chicken on a menu since getting to Iceland!  It was pretty good, especially for an airport.

 

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Fried chicken sandwich.

 

The day before, we went to the supermarket to pick up some snacks to have on the plane.  We looked all over for more of those lamb sticks but couldn't find them anywhere.

 

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Some sort of pork jerky.  It was quite tender but very tasty.  I think the package contained one long rope!

 

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Dried cranberries

 

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Crackers

 

So that's it!  Thanks for reading along.  I'm sure we'll be going back to Iceland at some point - there's so much to see there.

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Some nice last meals (and a few duds) - but that is real life. The image that looks like a fist pump - symbolic of something? The church architecture - stunning. I've sent it to a landscape architect son of a friend who works internationally to see if he was familiar. That pipe organ sound really physically grips the body doesn't it?  

 

So is your wife trying to recreate her fave breakfast chia bowl at home?

 

Thanks again for the detail esp the vistas.

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