The second part of our tour was a ride along the Reykjanes peninsula. This trip consisted of riding on a long, winding road through a lava field. We stopped at a fishing village to get a feel for rural life in Iceland. Later, we stopped at a rugged, windy coastline to look at the huge waves crash against the jagged rock formations.
road through the barren peninsula
windy, rugged coast
heavy surf erodes the coast
rock formations in the surf
On our way, back to the hotel, we rode by the NATO base. Kristine explained to us that Iceland does not have a military; however, it is protected by NATO. There are around 4000 U.S. military personnel living at the base in Keflavík. (UPDATE: The NATO base closed in September 2006.)
Since it was our last night in Iceland, Traci and I decided to get dressed up and go to one of Reykjavik's upscale restaurants, Perlan (The Pearl). We had originally made dinner reservations for 7 p.m. but we did not get back from the Reykjanes peninsula tour until 6:45 p.m.. We had the hotel call and change our reservations to 8:30 p.m..
There was a lighted path leading from our hotel to The Pearl. The restaurant looked fairly close to the hotel, so we decided to walk instead of take a taxi or bus - and what a walk it was. It was about 0.5 miles uphill. We got a beautiful view of the evening skyline of Reykjavik as we ascended the hill, though.
As mentioned earlier, The Pearl sits high on a hill on top of six water towers. There is a museum on the first few floors and an upscale restaurant on the fifth floor. There are all types of awards and pictures on display as you enter the dining area. There is even a picture of the chefs shaking hands with President Bill Clinton. The restaurant revolves and provides a panoramic view of the city below. Unfortunately, by the time Traci and I were seated, it had started to rain heavily and all we saw were blurry lights through streaks of water on the window.
Perlan (The Pearl) Restaurant
Once again, it seemed many of us in the tour group had the same idea for dinner that evening. Traci and I chatted with a few of them while we were waiting for our meals. They all raved about the food.
The food and service was outstanding. The portions were small but the presentation was great. We both ordered appetizers, an entree, and dessert. For the entrees, Traci ordered flounder and I ordered lamb. The food was even better than the night before.
In between courses, the waiters would bring out small samplers to try. I'm not sure what they were exactly, but I gave them a try. I wasn't crazy about them, however. The first one was cold and smelled like ammonia. To me it tasted bad, but Traci liked it. The second one looked like broth. Our waitress said it was chicken something. We never did make out what she was saying but she said it was not chicken broth. I tried it and it definitely tasted like something from a chicken and it tasted okay. Traci didn't like it. It had a reddish color so Traci and I joked it was a cup of boiled chicken blood - I hope it was a joke.
our last dinner in Iceland
it's all about the presentation
Our waitress was very nice. She talked to us for a while and told us about living in Reykjavik. Like us, she enjoyed traveling. She had been to several countries in Europe, but she was hoping to save up money to visit the U.S.. I thought to myself, if she can afford the high cost of living in Iceland, she'll feel like royalty when she comes to America.
We continued to talk until we looked around and noticed that the place seemed to be closing for the night. We paid the bill which was even higher than the one at Cafe Opera and then headed back to the hotel. We thought the walk back would be easier since it was all downhill; however Mother Nature had other plans. That strong Iceland wind along with a driving rain was there to greet us as we stepped out of the restaurant. It only seemed to intensify as we hurried down the path. By the time, we got to the hotel my umbrella was a twisted mess. The wind howled the rest of the night. continue...