I learned on the first day of this trip to expect the unexpected. It may be cliche, but it’s true. I’m learning quickly how hard it is stay motivated when travelling while battling a cold that just doesn’t seem to want to go away and maybe it’s actually because of travelling that the cold isn’t going away?
This trip to Iceland really gave me insight to life on the island through the eyes of a local. No matter where you live and how much your home is envied by others, you get used to it and it’s just home. The beautiful landscapes just become another backdrop to your everyday life. Hawai’i is fantasized by many, but for me it’s a been there, done that, there’s a whole world to see sort of thing!
My favorite part about Iceland was being reunited with an old friend. I couchsurfed with her the last time I visited and she was kind enough to invite me for dinner with her family. I got to meet her parents, fiancé, Garðar, and her cute 14-month-old daughter, Fjóla.
It was the first day of the year they could eat outside, their first summer day really. Her fiancé made dinner— lobster and lamb. Score! Then they tell me how great it is to have a chef in the family. He works at the second best restaurant in Reykjavík. HELL YEAH! It’s the best food I’ve ever had in Iceland and well, the best food I’ve had in a while since I’ve been trying to save money for this trip. I was never a fan of lamb, but this one won me over. It was so tender and juicy, like a really nice steak. Icelandic lamb is the sh*t!
After dinner, Garðar shared a bottle of some homebrew his friends made. I’d say it was a mellow IPA. Majority of the flavors were hops, a little citrusy, but also felt close to a saison to me. But heck, my senses haven’t been the best since I’ve had my sinuses clogged up. That was followed up with some gin and tonic made by him. Ásdís is lucky to have a chef that actually enjoys cooking at home too.
Ásdís and I went downrown to the Laundromat Cafe. A pretty hipster concept- restaurant upstairs and the only laundromat in town, downstairs. Drank one of Iceland’s most popular beer Bríó (if you don’t count the piss beer), a pilsner so a pretty easy drink. I was tempted to have Einstök (the white ale seems like an Icelandic favorite), but I know we have it in the states so I pass. And what’s better than to finish the night with the best hot dog in Iceland and your leftover beer (from the bar that closed while you were still drinking), at the harbor watching the midnight sun with an old friend.
Iceland has changed since I’ve been there last, 5 years ago. A lot is geared towards tourists now, more construction, something I’m familiar with back home. The city may have lost a bit if it’s charm. It lost a small venue I saw a show in to what will soon be a hotel. Hearing about these changes broke my heart, being surrounded by Americans while abroad shattered it even more, but Iceland will forever have a piece of my heart. I’m convinced I was born on the wrong island, but an island nonetheless, and I think that’s what fascinates me the most. We have similar values, growing up on an island, but I come from an island full of 1.42 million people and their island is home to 323 thousand. I recommend you visit island soon before the tourist industry takes over.
Everyone in Iceland speaks English and it’s a nice mix between America and England, as I learned on this trip. Afterall, it’s tucked between the two continents. Burgers everywhere! But more nature than burgers.