We planned for a company meeting to be in Iceland, with just about a month’s notice. You can do that, when you’re a fairly small company. Having been back from London during the winter, where it was snowing in the New Year, I was not exactly jumping high to visit Iceland. Ice? Gasp.
I arrived for the meeting on Friday, so missed a bit of the first day. It was pretty much in time for dinner, when I arrived at the Radisson SAS 1919 (important detail – there are 2 Radisson hotels here), so we headed to a restaurant called the Viking Village. Here we tried shark, had some nice lamb, and tried skyr, which they seemingly adulterated with something rather sweet along the way!
The next day, we had dinner at Orange. Before we stumbled upon it, we somehow found that on the 2nd floor, there was also the Malaysian Embassy. Very interesting :) Orange was beautiful, and Monty got us a tasting platter – something like a 5 course dinner, matched with appropriate wines, for each course! We ate like kings. It started with langoustines, then we had whale (which I think tastes a little like beef, maybe a little rare beef?). After that we had beef, and we got some pre-dessert strawberry foam, followed finally by our dessert (another variation of skyr). Being Friday, we all headed out for some drinks, so it was a night infused with lots of salmiakki, whiskey, and beer (this after the wines we had!).
The Blue Lagoon. Another photo, showing the steam.
For me, our visit to The Blue Lagoon was the highlight of the trip. I absolutely loved it. This alone, is worth visiting Iceland for. We were told that we’d be bored within an hour. Rubbish. We spent a good three to four hours there. They have a steam room, a sauna (which was a bit too cool for my liking), and of course, the geothermal spa. If more time permitted, I would have probably gone for a massage; apparently you can get one done while in the water. They clay-like mud, is quite relaxing when applied to skin. Your head is above water, but your body is submerged in the warm water. So when the cold winds do come, you still feel quite nice. Lifting your body up a little out of the water is also fun – kind of like “hot/cold treatments”. The experience is truly indescribable – you must experience it for yourself. Before going in, we decided to also grab lunch here – a day of lamb. Well presented, and very tasty, especially with the accompanying wine. Beware the bus journey: it took us over an hour to reach Reykjavik!
Anyway, the entire set of photos is on Flickr: Reykjavik, Iceland.
A few other notes:
- You can buy shark meat at the airport.
- Whale meat you need to visit Noatun.
- The airport Skybus is cheaper when you buy a return ticket. But when the flight leaves at 7am, you’ll have to get a taxi to the bus terminal, and then board the bus to the airport from there.
- Keflavik airport was voted #4 best European airport in 2008. Beware, their security insists you remove all electronic items from your hand carry. Cables included. This process can take some unnecessary time.
- Credit cards are accepted everywhere – taxis, kebab shops, pizza parlours, the post office, etc. I have yet to see Icelandic krona, because I survived quite well without it. If your transaction is under-1000kr, you may not even be required to sign the docket.
- The Keflavik airport does not have free WiFi. Power plugs are non-existent at the waiting lounges, but there’s plenty of power at the coffee places before you hit your departure gates.
- Nightlife is pretty disappointing if its not a weekend. Even on March 1, to celebrate the end of “beer prohibition” (beer was only legal in 1989, afaik), the crowds were not all that great. In fact, not many bars were open, even!
All in all, it was great fun meeting everyone (a lot of old colleagues from MySQL now work at Monty Program), I think the meeting was rather productive (I’ll write about that in another post), and the time outside of the meeting was simply fabulous. Good choice for a meeting Monty!