Saturday, September 17, 2011

Iceland hot dog mania

Even road signs tell you where to get a hot dog.
You wouldn't think it, but Icelanders are crazy about hot dogs. The best place to eat one, I was told, is at Bæjarins Bestu in Reykjavik. The dogs are so good that Britain's Guardian newspaper named the place "the best hot dog stand in Europe."

I didn't eat one there, but at a drive through restaurant in Selfoss. Afterwards, I learned that most Icelanders order the "works," which means with their dog smothered with all the stuff. I opted only for mustard, which I would describe as sweet mustard. So I guess I missed the true Iceland hot dog experience. Next time. Still, it was delicious.

Ordering my dog at the drive-thru.
So from now on, don't think the good ol' USA has market cornered on tasty hot dogs, because up there in the Atlantic, just a bit northwest of the United Kingdom, they serve 'em up and they serve 'em up mighty tasty.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Iceland language: Not so easy. . .

One thing in Iceland you will likely find challenging is the language. For me, it's impossible to speak, read and understand. Yes, there are a few words that sound the same or close to English. For example, "Hello" sounds like "Hello," with the e sounding a bit like an "a," as in "hallo. But most words are not so familiar

You needn't worry much about speaking or understanding Icelandic because nearly all Icelanders speak fluent English. I don't think they have much choice if they want to get along in the World. Outside Iceland, population 320,000, nobody speaks the language unless they grew up there and moved away. The language is close to old Norse, which was spoken by the Vikings. Present day Icelanders can read the language from the 12th and 13th century without difficulty.

So now go ahead and try to pronounce the words on the road sign. Good luck!

Roadkill in Iceland different than in USA

After you drive a couple hundred miles in Iceland you figure something out: the roadkill here is different than back home. There are far few familiar critters -- no rabbits, snakes, possums, armadillos, racoons, deer (there are reindeer) coyotes or squirrels. Now, some of these might be here, but I never saw any, dead or alive. Once you get outside Reykjavik there is so little population you don't even see squashed house cats.

There are a couple trillion sheep, of course, and cows and horses, but I didn't see any dead on the road.

What you do see are flattened birds, almost all seagulls. They must be stupid or unaccustomed to traffic because they barely get out of your way when you approach. That, of course, is why they end up dead, no brainer there.

I saw two live seagulls right on the road. I stopped at the second one, curious if it was resting or hurt. The little fellow looked up at me with very sad eyes and squirmed enough to reveal a broken foot and wing. "Help me Mister," I think he said, but I am not sure. I wanted to pick him up and take him to a bird hospital. But I didn't think there was anything like that. And I couldn't pack him in my suitcase for my flight home a few days later. So I left him and drove away. I felt like a heel, but what could I do?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Northern Lights in Iceland

One thing we DID NOT see in Iceland were Northern Lights. Summer is not the time. But I found this video on YouTube and wanted to share it with you. This is what we missed!