If you follow me on social media @SarahRDtv, you know I shared much of my trip pics to Iceland in mid-August. I was planning on sharing my stories when I returned, but when the hurricane issues came up and then the heartache of Las Vegas---well, I was blown away on how long it would take to get back on track—we’re never on track. All is well for me, and when I have a free minute to dream, I go back to my trip to Iceland 6 weeks ago. I have travelled to many countries, but this is one I want to return to. I plan on traveling more and living life to the fullest—God-willing! Iceland was magical and I have a narrowed down my top 10 list of favorite moments in Iceland.
10. Mountains, moss, and a beautiful island surrounded by the same ocean that touches Florida. On my last day I saw a statue stating Iceland ends with waters that Florida starts in the Gulf stream of the Atlantic-cool---I guess it should be my second home.
9. Guesthouses. I stayed at the Guesthouse Galtafell, which was within walking distance to the heart of Reykjavik and was very inviting when I arrived. The owners and staff were very friendly and I loved the option of enjoying a full traditional Icelandic breakfast in their beautiful dining room.
8. I met so many cool travelers! One morning in the Galtafell dining room I enjoyed a breakfast of rye bread, vegetables, fruit and eggs over conversation about genetics and food with an awesome couple from Belgium at the Guesthouse. Even outside of the USA, people feel guilty about eating certain foods—in front of me--. The Belgian apologized for pouring milk in coffee. There is a lot of poor nutrition information from the USA that trickles around the world—people should not feel ashamed for eating food—milk and meat especially. I told them I add milk to my coffee too!
7. The Blue Lagoon is a must. Touristy? A bit. Overcrowded? Not at all since we know to book a ticket before arriving. I did not get the time I wanted, but while I waited I walked the trails outside, ate a slow-paced mindful lunch and just breathed in the air. It was a great day: therapeutic to the body and mind and soul. I took my time to relax and enjoy the warm waters, mud mask and accommodating showers. Everyone has ‘straw hair’ after soaking in the mineral-rich water, but I was happy to have a head of humidity-free hair for a few days!
6. I tried foods I never tried before, which is the point of travel, yes? Foods that are part of another culture are best tasted in that country. I know it’s not for everyone, but when in Iceland try whale or fermented shark. I love a nice grilled shark from the Gulf of Mexico—it’s like pork tenderloin. But fermented? Yikes! Even the locals say, ‘it is best not to smell it, but eat a little every day and your health is better in a few weeks.” Yes, sir!
5. The restaurant I tried the whale and fermented shark was at a local, small venue, Prir Frakkar. The staff is super friendly, the service was great & I ended up sharing my lunch with 2 other tables and likewise. As a solo traveler, it was fun to share meals with new friends—even for one meal. One of the tables had whale sashimi & smoked puffin; I tried, but one bite was good enough for me. It was the sharing of entrees that was great. My entrée included perfectly cooked potatoes & a super peppery sauce over the whale, which tastes like beef if you are curious—no blubber involved—why do we think that?
4. I learned that I love traveling solo—internationally. As a full-time wife, mom and biz owner, it was a real treat to tour a country at my pace. Look at a waterfall as long as I wanted? Yes. Share tables with new friends everywhere I ate? Every meal. One of the nights I enjoyed a tasty fish stew with a coconut broth at a restaurant called, ‘Fish’ in the city center. I waited in line for a bit & when a table for 4 opened up, I asked the couple behind me if they wanted to dine with me. We ended up talking for 2 hours and found out we were all originally from Michigan—a fun dinner. Side note-rhubarb does not grow in Florida, but I had it growing wild in my backyard as a kid in Michigan. Rhubarb was on many menus in Iceland too---a nice surprise—in that colder climate.
3. Summer excursions in Iceland end August 20 from my experience. The puffin birds fly south to Spain for the winter & I was on one of the last boat tours to observe—my tour was on the 18th. Sarah, our marine biologist & guide said quietly, “I will miss those puffins.” There is passion for country, land and the creatures that thrive in Iceland.
2. Dill. The restaurant. I booked a solo reservation a few weeks prior without luck. I decided to walk up the day I booked the dinner & I scored a ‘courtside’ 5- course meal. I ended up enjoying this meal with another solo lady traveler from DC. I chatted about ‘foodie stuff’ & travels. The small portions of dill-oil-infused sauces over fish, grated dried fish over malted barley—stop—genius! Using leftover dried foods to avoid food waste—love it! I learned from that meal—it was super-tasty & inspiring with other tasty flavors of angelica and honey.
1. Hygge—look it up if you must—I live this at home in St Pete, FL, but the bottom line is: enjoy life with others—open your arms to strangers, acquaintances, friends & family-close & extended. The Scandinavians live by this and I live this in travel and at home. Who knew I would be stretched to the elements with power-outage at home this past month, but I had my reminder from my Icelandic travels to continue with this: sit down with people for meals; connect with others and look each other in the eye. Enjoy life.