Saturday, June 4, 2011

Honeymoon Day 1 – June 1 – Reykjavik, Iceland

Jeff and I arrived in Iceland at 6:30am local time. (I think it was about 1:30am Minnesota time.) We were tired, but excited. We got our bags, found the bus into town, and headed to the Hotel.

We had gotten a great deal (half price!) on the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica hotel. It’s about 10 minutes walk outside of downtown, but it’s a very nice hotel. Our guide book listed it under ‘Top End,’ and also chose the restaurant in the hotel – Vox – as its top pick for Icelandic Cuisine.

We got to the hotel at about 8:30am, and not surprisingly, they weren’t ready for us to check-in yet. However, somehow I am an HHonors Gold member, even though I can’t remember the last time I actually stayed at a Hilton. That meant we got access to the executive lounge, which was serving free breakfast at the time.

The executive lounge was beautiful – it’s on the 8th floor and has a great view of the ocean. Jeff and I hung out up there for a couple of hours and then went back down to get our room. They put us on the 9th floor – the executive area – which was also really cool! Great hotel luck for the first stop on the honeymoon!

The first order of business was to watch the episode of Doctor Who that had come on the Saturday before the wedding – it was the second half of a two-part episode! Then we took a nap for a bit.

Once we were refreshed, we headed out for a nice walk around downtown Reykjavik. It’s fairly cold in Iceland – probably in the 50’s – so I was glad I brought a jacket. The streets were cute and there were lots of little shops.

We stopped in Café Paris for a coffee and to warm up. They also had free wifi so we posted a little facebook update using my phone.

From there, we went to see Reykjavik’s famous church on the hill. It’s a huge concrete church – it looks really unique. The inside is really cool too – interesting architecture and very little color or detail. We rode the elevator to the top and got some views of the city from above.

After that, we headed back to the hotel for a (free!) aperitif in the executive lounge, and then we headed to dinner. We had an 8pm dinner reservation at Vox. We decided to go all out and try the 5-course seasonal menu. We were really excited, because Vox is Iceland’s first ever 5-star restaurant, and it’s supposed to have one of the world’s best chefs, and it just happened to be in our hotel! Also, Jeff got the wine pairing with the meal, which was great, and every time, they poured me some of the wine to taste as well. (Also, did I mention that Vox’s Sommelier won the Sommelier of the Year award in Iceland four times?)

We started our dinner with a glass of champagne, to toast to the first dinner of our honeymoon. The menu was five courses, but they also had amazing bread with some kind of herbed butter. There was also an amuse-bouche of lamb tartar, and another snack of bread, cheese, and jam that came between courses.

Here’s what was on the menu:

Lamb Tartar

Icelandic Langoustine
Slightly cooked langoustine with green strawberries, radishes, lumpfish roe and ramson

Scallops and Tomatoes
Panfried Norwegian scallops with horseradish cream, almonds and lots of tomatoes

Horse from Böðmóðsstaðir
Horse carpaccio and watercress with Bornholm mustard, beetroot, crispy walnuts and Gamle Ole

Beef and Angelica
Tenderloin of beef with green asparagus, morels, angelica glaze and smoked marrow

Strawberries and Flowers
Red and green strawberries from Silfurtún whith hazelnuts and rose sorbet

Every single dish was great! We ended up staying at the restaurant until almost midnight – it’s probably the longest dinner I’ve ever had. But it seemed to go by really quickly, and it still looked like it was just starting to get dark outside, so I was really surprised when I saw the clock!

Luckily for us, all we had to do to get home was ride the elevator up to our room!

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