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Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

Filtering by Tag: Iceland

Radisson Blu Saga; I Ate Dried Fish with a President in Iceland

Paula Gaston

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. 

Radisson Blu Saga

Radisson Blu Saga

Reykjavik seen from my hotel room window.

Reykjavik seen from my hotel room window.


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.

Grillid Restaurant

Grillid Restaurant

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?

On the left there is dried fish with butter and sea weed, on the right a fish from a buffet for another event.

On the left there is dried fish with butter and sea weed, on the right a fish from a buffet for another event.

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!

10 Travel Pictures from My Past, Vol 2

Paula Gaston

Last spring I posted 10 Travel Pictures from My Past. It was fun to look at pictures from my past trips and try to find ones that would fit into the post. Now this blog challenge is back again, and here are my new photos for it:



This photo is from our return trip from Utah to California with a beautiful sunset. On this trip we visited Arches National Park, Salt Lake City and we were able to swim in a hot crater at Homestead Resort



Everyone knows that San Francisco can get pretty foggy sometimes. And when that happens, it happens very quickly and often hides the whole of the Golden Gate Bridge. While taking this picture we were trying to get some souvenir pictures with our guests from Finland. We were not quite fast enough, but instead of ruining the picture, the fog actually made it look pretty cool.



When we visited Disneyland in Anaheim, California, all my daughter wanted was to see Minnie Mouse. So all I can say about this picture is that it makes me very happy!



Some years ago, I stayed in Iceland for a month. The most memorable thing was the varied beautiful nature. I have heard that since then, the tourism there have exploded, but I was able to enjoy everything without too much hassle. The picture is from Skogafoss waterfall. 



This picture is from Basel Switzerland, where we climbed up 242 steps to the bell tower of the Basel Minster. The view from up there was amazing!



Kyoto, Japan has been one of the most amazing places I have visited. There is so much to see in the town, that I could easily do another trip there. The Golden Pavillion, where this picture is from, was extremely crowded.



During the years I have traveled with many kinds of people. When I was a kid, we of course traveled with my mom and dad, and then later with friends. Today, I mostly travel with my own family, who are in the picture; all but our 2 month old who missing from it. This picture is from Nara, Japan, where we visited the Giant Buddha in Todai-ji Temple.



For some reason it was hard for me to find a picture where I'm under a palm tree. So maybe I don't do that very often, even though we live in California. Coming from Scandinavia, I can't ever get used to the palm trees and seeing them always makes me feel good. This picture was taken some years ago in Los Angeles. 

By the way, did you know that palm trees are not native to California, and they were all planted?



One of the best breakfasts I have ever had! We had long waited to visit Hawaii's Big Island again, and we finally went back last year. Since we were jet lagged in the beginning of our trip, we were always up early enough to be the first ones at breakfast. And because of that, we always got to choose the best table of the house and enjoy the sunrise.



As my favorite city, I chose San Francisco, since we live right next to it and I love it! Even though there are many other awesome cities in the world that I really like too. But I will never get bored with San Francisco!


In case you are interested in participating in this challenge, you can copy the list of the topics from here. Originally this was started by a Finnish blog Journey diary. If you do write a post about it, I would love to read it. Please link it to my comments, and also link my blog on your post so we can find each other's posts easily.

1. Wing from the Window
2. Best photo you accidentally nailed
3. Travel Photo that Makes You Smile
4. Nature Picture
5. Up and High
6. A Postcard Image
7. Travel Buddies
8. Chillin Under a Palm Tree
9. "Good morning" Picture
10. Favorite city