Shopping at Keflavik International Airport, Iceland

Iceland is not exactly a cheap country, but Keflavik airport provides one of the best airport shopping experiences in the world.

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There are two duty-free shops in the airport: one upon arrival and one before departure. The shops carry a wide variety of goods, from liquorice flavored chocolates to birch liqueurs… Continue reading “Shopping at Keflavik International Airport, Iceland”

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Road to Snæfellsnes, Iceland

Descend, bold traveller, into the crater of the jökull of Snæfell, which the shadow of Scartaris touches before the Kalends of July, and you will attain the center of the earth. 
-Jules Verne

The volcano to the center of the earth is Snæfellsjökull and it is situated on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

After picking up the rental car, I set out to my own expedition. It only takes two hours to get to Snæfellsnes from Reykjavik. But when driving in Iceland, stops are essential.

Stop #1. Horses

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Stop #2 Fisherman and waterfall Continue reading “Road to Snæfellsnes, Iceland”

Riding an Icelandic Horse

“The noblest conquest of man is to have gained the friendship of the horse”.
Comte de Buffon

I’ve never ridden a horse before. The first time I do so, it happens to be an Icelandic horse.

The size of a pony, Icelandic horse is a unique breed of horses that came to Iceland with the Norse settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries. Isolated from disease and natural predators, the breed is strictly regulated to maintain its purity. Icelandic horse does five gaits, comes in many colors and is known for its spirited temperament and large personality.

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My horse’s name is Sól and she is quite a character. Continue reading “Riding an Icelandic Horse”

Food and Saga in Reykjavik

I just got back from a fantastic trip to Iceland and Greenland. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

This was my second visit in Iceland. First time around, I did the Golden Circle, Jökulsárlón and even took a hike in Thórsmörk. So this time, I decide to do something different. A friend recommended The Food & Saga Gourmet Tour by Season Tours and I was glad to have done it.

Chef Tyffi Tyffason is a professional chef, who is passionate about cooking, photography and showing people around his beautiful country. He will pick you up from your hotel, take you to interesting places around Reykjavik. Some of which you would have never thought of visiting as a tourist, such as this ocean front secret foot bath – filled with wonderful Icelandic geothermal water, which is actually an art piece designed and installed by Icelandic artist Ólöf Nordal, titled Kvika:

13584981_911956968933290_7073824579414440385_o Continue reading “Food and Saga in Reykjavik”

Taste of Iceland

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Iceland Naturally is a co-op based in New York that promotes tourism, products and the culture of Iceland to North America.  As part of their campaign, Taste of Iceland dinners are hosted once a year in several North American cities.  The schedule in 2015 includes Edmonton, Canada in April; Denver in September; Seattle in October; and Toronto, Canada in upcoming November.

Taste of Iceland landed in Seattle in 2012.  Since then, it has occurred every year around the first weekend of October. Visiting chefs change from year to year, and bring with them, local ingredients unique to their country:

2012: Hákon Már Örvarsson Bocuse d’Or recipient and World Culinary Cup winner

2013: Þráinn Freyr Vigfússon  Co-chef of Lava Restaurant in Blue Lagoon

2014: Viktor Örn Andrésson Nordic chef of the year 2013, co-chef of Lava Restaurant in Blue Lagoon

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Tom Douglas‘ Dahlia Lounge has been hosting Taste of Iceland dinners since 2013.  This year we are honored to meet chef Ylfa Helgadóttir, chef de cuisine and owner of Kopar restaurant in Reykjavik. Continue reading “Taste of Iceland”

Icelandic Lamb

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Four years ago I took a much needed vacation to Iceland.  it was just a quick get away, labor day weekend plus two days. But it was one of the most relaxing and satisfying trips I’ve taken.

Iceland is perfect for short trips.  For one thing, it is close to the United States, 5 hour flight time from New York and merely 7 hours from the West Coast.  Secondly, it is a land blessed with many natural beauties: glaciers, volcanoes, hot springs and countless waterfalls, not to mention aurora borealis sightings most time of the year.21336068623_2a2604405e_o

Unlike other bigger European countries such as Italy, France or Germany, Iceland provides just enough sights and activities to keep you busy without feeling overwhelmed.  During my short trip, I soaked up the healing powers of the Blue Lagoon on the first day; Visited Gollfoss, the golden circle, and rode snow mobile on a glacier the second day; Treked one of Europe’s largest glaciers on the third day before hopping on a boat at this photogenic glacier lagoon;  And on the fourth day I took a hike in Thórsmörk and checked out the volcano ashes of the Eyjafjallajökulll eruption in 2010.

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I have also had some amazing meals in Iceland with fresh local ingredients, including local seabirds/waterfowls, wild berries, foraged mushrooms and the Icelandic lamb. Continue reading “Icelandic Lamb”