Iceland is a dream and we are lucky to have been able to go there on our honeymoon. Like the rest of Scandinavia, you can’t visit Iceland without eating copious amounts of fish. However, the only problem is that the country is now crazy expensive and you can’t afford to eat out every meal without having to sell your organs. I noticed a drastic difference from when I was there early 2014 and that was only three years ago. The trend is kinda scary.
We were happy to have remained friends with an old couch surfing friend who was our personal tour guide for our two days in Reykjavik. We were very gracious that we not only saw the touristy traps and local treasures, but that this allowed us to use our money on food and not excursions.
On our drive around the ring road, Aevar took us to a hidden gem- a dairy farm. It was located in the town of Blaskogabyggo just before the Geysir Strokkur. They’re known for their burgers and ice cream. My burger had Icelandic feta cheese made by the dairy cows that you can pet downstairs. It was incredibly unique and a really tasty combination. Nat’s burger had bacon and a runny egg on it. It was also very delicious. The ground beef was very tender, succulent and fresh.
Then we went down for ice cream, where we saw the cows who created this wonderful treat for us. The ice cream was literally the best we’ve ever had. It was creamy and rich, but not too sweet. The cones are even homemade, as well and they have a bucket for you to put your cone in if you can’t finish it so the cows can! How cute! Nat finished ours of course. This place really took the farm to table concept to a whole new level and was outstanding.
Later on, we stopped at a tomato farm. Because the country is consistently cold, a lot of produce has to be imported from other countries. If you want to grow your own fruit and veggies in Iceland, you most likely need to do it in a greenhouse. This greenhouse was high tech and impressive. They even sold their own tomato soup which tasted great with the all natural ingredients. Each table had a small basil plant for you to snip a leaf off and add it to your food. After stopping by the tomato farm, we realized that the Kardashians had once been there. Not that we idolize them like half of the world, but it’s still cool. Aevar also told us about a gas station that Justin Bieber used a toilet in. We were slightly more impressed by that!
Later on, we wanted to eat something for dinner before our bath in the Blue Lagoon. We came across a town called Selfoss and found ourselves inside of one of the most expensive restaurants in Iceland. Aevar likes to try all of the lobster soups in the country, so we stuck with that idea and all ordered soup. Also, it may have been the cheapest thing on the menu and it was a whopping $24! Ouch! It was pretty good, however. It was thinner than you would expect but the spices they used created a bolder and spicer flavor that we weren’t used to. We did enjoy that aspect, although Aevar didn’t.
Our Blue Lagoon experience was a wild one. It was just about hailing during our time in the spring and we were comfortable from the natural pool but we couldn’t really see around us and the rain was blowing in our eyes. It was a funny experience. We made our way to the bar, which had been renovated since I was previously there. It was much further away since they’re working on big expansions. We managed to make it there (duh) and we enjoyed some Gull Icelandic beer. For a lager, we were pleasantly surprised. It was light and refreshing and a thousand times better than a Yuengling!
On our second day in Reykjavik, we visited the Perlan ice cave museum and saw the city center for a little. We ventured into some souvenir shops and got coffee. Then we headed over to Baejarins Betzu Pylsur hot dog stand so Nat could try the famous hot dogs that the Icelandic folk swear by. If you order it with everything on it, you’re getting a hot dog boiled in beer and topped with ketchup, fried onions, raw onions, remoulade and special Icelandic brown hot dog mustard. We both agreed that their hot dog mustard could be much better. It kind of resembled the brown Norwegian cheese we threw out in Norway but in a creamy liquid form. We missed the mustard options we were used to in the states. Sorry Aevar.
Then we went to this outdoor Icelandic historical museum, where they recreated a traditional Icelandic village. Gradually, traditional Icelandic houses and workshops have been moved from their original location to this open-air exhibit. We went in and out of the farm houses and took a trip to the past. In one house, a lady was cooking Icelandic pancakes on a very old stove and we got to try a sample. Aevar told us that they are very customary in most homes. We loved it!
Then, we sampled three pastries and chocolate milk at a cafe. One of the cakes wasn’t sweet at all, which gets us every time. We enjoyed them all! The chocolate milk in Europe has a lot less sugar than in America!
I can’t forget about the last thing we did as Aevar dropped us off, we tried fermented shark. And it was fucking FOUL. Nat actually didn’t try it because she’s a wuss but both Aevar and I spit it out so hard across the parking lot, even though he’s had it before. The after taste was like some of the very ripe cheeses that I eat, but I couldn’t get passed the smell and texture. Kind of surprising for me, I know.
Akureyri was new territory for the both of us and we were most excited for this city. We aren’t sure if it was because it was a beautiful day outside or if the scenery in the North is just even more spectacular than the South, but we adored Akureyri. We were often left speechless driving around the open road, just admiring the different layers of beauty. The water was a crisp shade of blue that we never see in NJ, the green grass was vibrant and the snow covered mountaintops are what you see on a postcard. You can never get bored exploring new waterfalls, either. I’ve yet to see any other country with so much exquisite nature all in one place.
When it was time for lunch, we went to a well known sushi place in the city center. I had my eye on their sushi pizza that is quite popular amongst Icelandic bloggers. However, when we walked into Rub 23, we found an option that was even better- a sushi buffet!! What was surprising, was that it was reasonably priced, and they didn’t care if you picked off the rice! I indulged in so much sashimi that I might have mercury poisoning. We’ve both thought about that lunch on various occasions after that day.
Next on our agenda was a beer bath at a brand new spa at the Kaldi brewery. After posting some pictures of this place, I think that’s when a lot of our family and friends really started hating us! Sorry. Haha. For $45, you could bathe in a beer bathtub for 25 minutes, while consuming their brew from your own private tap. It was unreal and the beer was quite nice (hung out in Scotland too long). After your bath, they show you up to this relaxation room, where you lay on these comfortable lounge chairs with really soft blankets. We had to get up eventually so we wouldn’t fall asleep. Before we left, we made our way outside to their regular jacuzzis with a mountain view. If time permitted, we could have stayed in those all day. We wished we spent a full day there!
Our last edible treat in Iceland was a Brynja ice cream cone. This ice cream shop has been around for quite some time and locals love it. It is very hard to find and not walkable from the city center. We found the ice cream to be very icy and not what we were used to. Overall, it was expensive and nothing great. Glad we tried it though, of course.
So, I didn’t eat any whale this time and still no puffin. I’m sure some of you are very happy about that.
Well, until we meet again Iceland!