Over the years, I have stored all the memories from trips in my heart. Every once in a while, for one reason or another, I think about my travel experiences. I see articles from the places I have been, or advertisements from countries I once went. Then, all those memories come back. Many times I have been thinking about writing them in my blog. That is why I started a new series, called Monday Memories. Some Mondays, I will share a story from my past travels.
Some years ago my work sent me to Iceland for a month. As so many others, I too fell in love with this very different and special country. Many of its natural wonders are breathtaking, and I wish to return someday to see the rest of the country that I didn't during that month. Even though I was working, I also had some time to see and do many things. It was so awesome to see so much at once.
For a month I lived and worked in the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel. The goal was to refresh my skills in the hospitality field and see the latests trends, since I was working as a teacher in that field. I was able to visit every department of the hotel and work with the local people. And the best part; I was able to attend some tours that were sold in the hotel. I went to see the Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon and the southern coast of Iceland. I also went to a whale watching trip and trail ride with Icelandic horses. I will tell you all about that a little bit later.
The Radisson Blu Saga is a high quality hotel even though comparing it to boutique hotels, it lacks some personality. The highlight of the hotel is its rooftop fine dining restaurant; Grillid. I was told, that an apprentice wont be allowed to do anything other than serve water and bring bread baskets to tables. So I was quite happy when I got to do other things as well, although I wasn't a real apprentice, since I had a lot of work experience on the field already. The Icelandic cuisine has been popular for sometime now already, and their chefs are some of the best in the world. Grillid is one of those legendary restaurants where you should go if you want to meet these chefs and eat their food.
The hotel is not quite in the downtown of Reykjavik, but you can easily walk there. Since I was in Iceland in February, the weather was anything from sunshine to rain to snow storms. Maybe that is why it seemed to me that there weren't that many tourists.
Everytime I go to a new country, I want to try the local foods. In Iceland they had all kinds of interesting and new things. In grocery stores you could find anything from a frozen sheep head to dried fish chips. At the hotel I was able to eat one meal a day for free which was meant for staff, so I was able to get to know some Icelandic everyday dishes as well. They were often very simple, and there were a lot of potatoes and fish. For some reason the Icelandic hot dogs seem to be a "thing", so of course I had to try those a couple times. And yes, they were very good!
For one of the events at the hotel, we set up the tables so that instead of a bread baskets, there were baskets of dried fish at each table. The fish was served with some butter and sea weed. This was the first time I was able to try this local treat. I have to say, that it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but I wasn't alone in this event eating it. The president of Iceland was there too. Not too bad! What do you think?
My month in Iceland was great and very educational. I felt like from time to time, it was difficult to get to know the locals. They were very quiet and reserved, but after getting through their shield, I found some really wonderful people. I was able to go back home with many new experiences, and cross Iceland off of my bucket list!