Friday, June 24, 2016


A friend of mine recently visited Iceland. I've noticed a few of my friends and acquaintances travelling there lately, so I asked Jeff if he would allow me an interview about his visit with his family. He said yes!

Q. Why Iceland? What motivated you to go there?
Icelandair has this deal that you can get off the plane for up to 7 days without any addition fees.  So when booking our trip to Sweden we figured why not. It makes getting to Iceland easy.

Q. I'm told that the people in Iceland are very family oriented. Did you notice this?
Hard to say.  We saw a lot of tourists as we were staying in the center of Reykjavik. But they are friendly.  I think they treasure their relationships with each other because they seem to rely on each other for personal and professional reasons.

Q. Did you get to visit the 'blue lagoon' spa by the geothermal plant near Reykjavik?
Yes the last day we took in the Blue Lagoon for roughly 3 hours.  It also coincided that it was the one day that the sun was out and it was warm.  So we left Iceland with sunburns and wearing shorts.

Great experience but I would take in some of the less commercial springs around the country next time.

Q. What surprised you the most about Iceland?
The cost of food.  This was a known factor but it was still surprising when we got fish & chips the night we arrived from a cart in one of the town squares. It was only after buying it that it was just over $100 Canadian for three servings.

Q. What was the tastiest food you tried?
Went to a restaurant on day 2 called Ostabudin and the food and the people were great. The appetizers and main courses were great but then we had desert. Icelandic cheese cake is different from North American cheese cake and it's an amazing difference.

If you want a great meal without a reservation then this is your place. Here's what we had:

Deep fried camembert with port infused redcurrant jam and crispy baquette
Cured Icelandic Beef 

Main course
SALTED FILLED OF ICELANDIC COD- With potatoes, pearl onions, kohlrabi and warm dulce sauce
Arctic Char - served with scallops, celery root, potato purrée and chicken juice

Cheese Cake - With oats, pomme granate and brown cheese
Skyr Mouse -  Served with blueberries, cream and caramel

Q. What was the weather like while you were there? What time period?
June 17-22 and we mainly have cloudy with moments of rain.  We also went to the most southern township in Iceland. The town is called Vik. We had high winds, rain and then glorious calmness with the sun coming through the clouds.  The very last day was like 22C which I got a sunburn from.

Q. Does Iceland have midnight sun?
Oh yes and especially at this time of the year. The bars really don't get going till midnight. On June 23 there is a midnight marathon going on.  Cons - hard to sleep, Pros - more time to see the country.

Q. What is most different about Iceland compared to Canada?
Food prices obviously.  But the thing that made me stop in wonder is their terrain and dedication to renewable resources.  Truly amazing and diverse ( and I only saw Reykjavik and the southern coast).  The amount of energy they get from the geothermal is impressive.

Q. Do people in Iceland have any unusual customs?
You see coins in the bottom level of the door frames when coming in or going out of stores.  Didn't ask why but it caught my eye.

Q. Do enough people speak English there for tourists?
A ton of people speak English and really well.  No problems in the communication department.

Q. Did your daughters like anything specific about Iceland that might not have affected you and your wife? If not, what was their favourite part of the visit?
They loved the scenery.  We drove 180 km south and saw and experienced the black sand beaches, basalt columns, Eyjafjallajökull that erupted in 2010, and drove through one of the most active geothermal belts in Iceland.

Q. If you could describe the mindset in Iceland, what would you say?

Strong. Iceland is a country with the strongest roots to the Vikings. To have made a home there you have to be strong in spirit and mind.

Q. What myth or perception about Iceland should people have dispelled that might be preventing them from visiting?

Myth - Boring or just plain cold and hard to get to.
Fact - Boring only if you stay in your hotel room. There is so much to see and do. You could spend two full weeks there and you still wouldn't see it all.  Cold at times but July - Aug is their summer time. It was surprisingly warm our last day there. Take advantage of the companies doing layovers in Iceland. You won't regret it.

I personally can not wait to go back with more time to see and experience all that Iceland has to offer.  Majestic landscape, warm people that will capture you heart and soul.

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