Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Talls’ Icelandic Saga: Part 3 - Tall Guy is not a squirrel

Or, the best lamb in the world

Food in Iceland is expensive. We knew that beforehand (from our research –for those of you who don’t know us, we are total travel nerds and start out on no trip without first doing some serious planning: checking out maps and guidebooks, doing internet searches and, Tall Guy’s specialty, making a detailed excel doc of our every move!), so we packed a suitcase full of food: trail mix, trail mix ingredients, granola, nut butters, crisp bread, tuna, and even an avocado that would have gone bad while we were away.

We had a typical Icelandic breakfast every day (one day we had scrambled eggs – what a treat!): hard boiled eggs and slices of tomatoes on crisp bread, some skyr (a lovely soft cheese that tastes like really creamy yogurt but is in fact fat-free) with rhubarb and berry compote, and a spoon of fish oil for good measure.

skyr, granola, berries, eggs and bread cooked in the ground
For lunch we were mostly on the move, so trail mix it was! For lunch on non-hiking days, we had some very satisfying soups and bread. We tried fish soup and lobster bisque, and some wonderful dark, seed breads slow-baked in the ground using geothermal heat! Tasty and never bank-breaking, although still more than a bowl of soup would cost in the UK, and way more than a Canadian bowl of soup. I amazed an Icelander by explaining the Tim Horton’s soup meal deal (you get soup, a roll, a donut and a beverage for about 6CAD).

For dinner, we had, um, trail mix, and once, Oreo cookies (I do not like Oreos, but let me tell you, after walking for 32km and getting back to your car as the last rays of sun disappear, they sure do taste great!). Then one day Tall Guy said, “ENOUGH!!! Even if we eat extremely late or have to rush through the end of our hike, I am NOT eating ONE MORE BITE OF THAT - I am not a squirrel!!!”

OK! We found ourselves a seaside restaurant in Hofn and tucked into fresh langoustine (a bit smaller than a Canadian lobster) and… salad! (Salad is special in Iceland – all produce is.)
so tired i might fall asleep on my lobstah!
Once in Reykjavik, our trail mix days were over for good. Our hotel hosts were wonderfully helpful, pointing out two places run by the same family that served Icelandic fare, including “the best lamb in the world”. Tall Guy, whose family owns a sheep farm in Spain, was intrigued and slightly sceptical. After trying “the best lamb in the world” he agrees. Must be the fresh mountain air and the diet of herbs.
tall guy had a little lamb...

and of course we couldn´t leave without trying the national specialty  - hot dogs!
Iceland trip tip: Always pack a bag of JICS – just in case snacks. Actually, this applies to all hikes, not just hikes in Iceland! We did a hike that was listed as an 8 hour loop, only it should have been listed as 8 hours ONE WAY. You can fill up water bottles or camel-backs from rivers with lovely pure Icelandic water, but food is another story. Boy were we glad to have extra trail mix that day!

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