By Yvette Cardozo

When we arrived in Iceland, the sun was shining (a sometimes rare event in fall). And this was the vew of the waterfront from our hotel, the Hilton Nordica  in ReykjavikYes, it’s a staircase. But this one was metal and made such a nice pattern. So here’s my friend Reed on the Hilton Nordica’s spiral staircase.Reykjavik's tourist waterfront at the Old Harbour is lined with boats just waiting to take people to see puffins and northern lights. And just across the street from this shop is a whale museum with a full size minke whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling.Reykjavik Fish, a local fish & chips restaurant in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland. The fish is better and cheaper than at the usual tourist cafes. In a town where a simple snack can cost $30, we got killer fish and chips PLUS beer for that $30. Inside, the menu is on a chalkboard lit by lamps made of cod fish. And yes, owner Hreinn (who also goes by “Mr Clean”) has a great sense of humor. Okay, here’s that killer fish and chips and of course, Viking beer.There are better shots, but this proves you can also see an eruption from your commercial jet. So here’s a view of erupting Bardarbunga volcano seen on our way to eastern Iceland. What we saw was this plume of hot steam but those who got closer on a tourist flight saw bubbling red lava.Sheep are EVERYwhere in Iceland. There are five times more sheep than people. They are allowed to roam free in summer, then are rounded up each fall and spend winter indoors.Yes, they do know how to cook fish here. In all its forms. This is arctic char, a northern fish that looks and tastes like salmon, served with potato, sliced beet and on a bed of risotto. (Finally, after years of hearing Gordon Ramsey scream about his chefs’ attempts at risotto, I got to actually eat the stuff. Truly addictive.)Sliced reindeer. It was rare and so tender, you could cut it with a fork. And no, it didn't taste gamey. Reindeer were imported to Iceland in the 18th century but plans to farm them never quite worked out so now they run wild, mostly along the east coast and are hunted by lottery.Sunshine pancakes are served all over Iceland when the sun finally returns to this arctic island. It's a thin crepe with berry jam and topped with whipped cream. At this farm, the sun returns on Feb. 7.- Duck breast pizza. For reasons no one can explain, folks in these northern latitudes LOVE pizza. Norwegians eat more pizza per capita than any other people on Earth. And the Icelanders can’t be far behind. View of a small eastern Icelandic village from a window.- Cabins at Mjoeyri Guesthouse in the small town of Eskifjordur in eastern Iceland. That boat is actually a hot tub with a fantastic view of the town's fjord by day. That night, I saw a glimmer of northern lights while soaking in the nice, hot water.Corrugated metal is used virtually everywhere in Iceland for modern buildings. It stands up to the weather better than wood and is certainly an improvement over the sod houses many folks lived in as recently as the years before WWII.Gorgeous landscape in eastern Iceland. This range of mountains is near the small town of Neskaupstadur.Hot cup of cappuccino topped with chocolate flakes in the town of Seydisfjordur in eastern Iceland. Ah, another thing Icelanders do so very well.



The height of tourist season is July and August, though people do visit Iceland year round. Activities in summer focus on the out-of-doors with trips to glaciers, waterfalls and riding stables.

Activities in winter turn to cultural events in Reykjavik, a city where 200,000 people have two dozen theaters.

The weekend bar scene is wicked year round and Christmas month (all of December through the first week of January) is one huge party and buffet.


Icelandic Tourist Board - And for the best fish and chips downtown, Reykjavik Fish -


Icelandic Men’s Choir singing in Icelandic

Featured Archive Contact Us