Monthly Archives: July 2010
Do they have nice food in Iceland?
Yes, they do. But if you believe some of the tourist guides, you mightn’t think so. According to some reports, Icelanders live on a diet of rotting shark, pickled ram’s testicles, grilled minke whale and smoked puffin.
The culinary highlights for tourists are hot dogs and hamburgers. This starts to sound believable when you read that the most popular restaurant in Iceland is a hot dog stand.
However, we were very pleasantly surprised to find that there is real, fresh and excellent food available just about everywhere. We didn’t try the hot dogs, but on the couple of occasions we resorted to hamburger, we were very pleasantly surprised at the range of choice and the quality. (If you find yourself in Stykkisholmur, go to the Café Narfeyrarstofa and have the hamburger with the blue cheese dressing.)
Although the lamb in its various forms was excellent, the best option just about everywhere was seafood. In most places, this is served the day it is caught and in some places it is straight off the boat.
In Isafjordur, the Tjöruhúsið (Tar House), a restaurant in the local folk museum, is right beside the harbour. There is no menu, just whatever was caught that day. The fish is fried and delivered to the table in the pan in which it was cooked.
We were having an afternoon coffee at the Café Riis in Holmavik, when about 3.30 pm a man entered and asked the waitress what the catch of the day was. She replied, “I don’t know. We haven’t caught it yet.” We decided to go back that evening and find out. It turned out to be trout from a local lake.
But the freshest seafood of all was in Stykkisholmur. We went on a boat trip to see the rare white-tailed eagles nesting on an island in the fjord. On the way back the crew dropped a basket overboard and scooped up a load of scallops and sea urchins. These were opened and eaten on the spot. My first scallop had been out of the water for less than a minute.
Are there sheep in Iceland?
Yes, there are a lot of sheep in Iceland.
Iceland has two types of sheep: beach sheep and road sheep.
Beach sheep, as their name suggests, live on the beach. These sheep are mostly seen in the West Fjords where there isn’t a lot of land between the water and the rock walls of the fjords.
Beach sheep can be seen walking on the sand, or the rocks by the water’s edge. They can even been seen wading and paddling in the water. And on one occasion wading in the rock pools and eating vegetation off the rocks.
Road sheep, as their name suggests, live on the roads. This is because there is very little flat land in Iceland. In Iceland a lot of roads are built up above the surrounding land. Road sheep stand on the road to eat the grass on the edge. They also sleep on the slope of the road, and rest their heads on the road, using it as a pillow.
When you approach a group of road sheep in a car, they stare at you. They will move out of your way if you really insist. But probably not in the direction you were expecting.
We went to Iceland.
I drove 3700 kilometres and saw; fjords, waterfalls, sheep, mountains, beaches, sheep, turf-covered houses, big four-wheel drives, ducks, sheep, skuas, fulmars, sheep, horses, sheep, volcanoes, waterfalls, sheep, waterfalls, sheep, sheep, and swans. And puffins.
We met many charming people who wanted to tell us about Iceland and wanted to know about Australia. It is a fantastic place.
Did I mention the puffins?