There’s something cool about saying, “I’ll be in Iceland this weekend.”
It's a few years on from the nation’s trail-blazing financial crisis, and its unique, democratic approach, calling two referenda which led to the collapse of Iceland’s three main banks. Iceland finally became affordable for the rest of the world with a devalued Krona. Icelandair wasted no time shifting marketing budgets abroad, and tourists have been weekending in Reykjavik ever since.
There’s plenty to fill a few days with in this city set on the North Atlantic. And if you like to party, you’re in great company. .......................
Once you’ve partied hard, and slept it off, check out a few of the local attractions. Just up the street, about a ten –minute walk, is the landmark Hallgrimskirkja Church. The architecture is unusual and it houses one-thousand worshippers at a time.
Just opposite the church is a fantastic local cafe, perfect for sampling local cuisine. Cafe Loki is owned by Hronn, a former textile designer, who is passionate about Icelandic cuisine. Her husband Porolfur bakes the famous rye and flat breads, a dense, sweeter version than the German, with a recipe that requires eight hours of baking at a low temperature. Leftovers are used for bread soup and rye bread ice cream. Yes, rye bread ice cream. Hronn tells me ice cream is an Icelandic tradition, and most families have their own, unique recipes. Cafe Loki’s rye bread version is wonderful, with bits of rye bread mixed in a creamy vanilla, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and rhubarb syrup.
Other authentic treats include Skyr, similar to Greek yogurt (forget what’s served in hotels and try the real thing here), and dishes like Icelandic Braveheart, schnapps, bread, dried fish, butter, and fermented shark. Easy to see how it got its name. Bites here won’t break the bank and it’s perfect for a snack or casual meal. It’s also decidedly un-trendy, and makes for a breath of fresh air from all that partying like a rock star..................................