It’s my final day in Iceland. What better way to start your day than an early lunch enjoying some Icelandic classic dishes.
- Appelsin (orange soda)
- Roasted lamb on rye
- Mashed fish on rye
- Smoked trout on rye
- Dired fish-jerky with butter
Wait, what was that last one?
Hákarl is an Icelandic traditional dish made out of sleeper shark. Sometimes known as rotted shark, stinky shark, or fermented shark. When caught the meat cannot be consumed immediately because of the amount of ammonia it contains. It is toxic. It must be dried first, often by burying the shark for six months. Only then can you eat the meat, and, even then it has a distinct flavor of ammonia and lye.
I began by tasting everything else on my plate before venturing to the Hákarl (center of the plate pictured). Everything was very good; would the Hákarl allow me to re-taste all those flavors at once as they all came back up? I had been told “hold your nose” and “just swallow it; don’t chew it.” But I wasn’t going to minimize the experience. I put a piece in my mouth, and took chewed it a few times. It definitely has a distinct flavor of ammonia; one that lasted for at least 10 minutes in my sinuses. However, it was anti-climactic. I even recorded myself eating the Hákarl in hopes of seeing a wretched look on my face. It is a very boring video.
If you visit Iceland, I encourage you to give it a shot. Not something I’m going to request at an Icelandic restaurant unless a group is eating it as a challenge.
The afternoon I spent at Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon. While the weather in Reykjavík was light rain, like a Portland winter, the weather at the Blue Lagoon was much worse. Heavier rain, with a wind blowing so hard it was falling nearly sideways. While the waters were warm and relaxing, the wind was generating about one foot tall waves in the small lagoon. You couldn’t walk or wade away from the buildings without walking back to the wind.
I wish there had been at-least-slightly better weather conditions for my trip, but the visuals alone were worth the visit. The water a milky blue color that you couldn’t see more than 2-3 inches down in to. Surrounding the lagoon were barren, or at best moss covered, lava-rock fields. It felt more like a moonscape then anywhere I have ever seen on earth. I took what pictures I could, but it was nearly impossible without soaking the camera.
Following the excursion I returned to Reykjavík, and showered (again and again) to get the mineral deposits out of my hair and off my skin. I ate a delicious burger and drank a delicious beer at 73 Restaurant, and finished my final night at Micro Bar.
Kveðjum ísland. Það hefur verið gaman. Ég mun koma aftur.