Yuan: Agreed on Braud & Co. — but you’re forgetting all the pizza! I thought some of it was pretty good. I’m sorry you didn’t get to eat dinner at KEX Hostel, where we stayed. Their arctic char (2350 krona) was delicious and relatively affordable, and the breakfast buffet (1690 krona in advance and 1990 krona the day of) easily ranks as one of the top three of my trip so far. Mostly, I remember thinking, Lucas is very dinner-focused — which I now realize was an asset. If you’re not paying attention to time, suddenly it’s 9 p.m. and every rural restaurant is closed and your evening meal is leftover chips from a hotel party — which happened to us.
Because not a lot grows on Iceland, I’d stick with things with limited imported ingredients, including skyr (like yogurt, but milder), baked goods, fish and soup.
Peterson: I remember that soup: all-you-can-eat mushroom soup and bread for 1,000 krona at Cafe Riis. A little salty, but unquestionably the best deal we found.
The Pleasures of Driving
Peterson: Driving in Iceland is an adventure, and mostly a pleasure — especially along the less-trafficked northern coastal route we took. The roads alternate between well-maintained to unpaved and barely there — with sometimes little warning when that might occur. We rented a four-wheel-drive vehicle, which I would recommend (but remember that off-road driving is illegal). Our car also had a manual transmission, which was fine for us, but may not work for some drivers. You can get an automatic, but be prepared to shell out extra money for it.
Yuan: I wish you had been there when the rental counter guys handed me a pamphlet titled “Driving in Iceland is different” with scary pictures of ways the car could get damaged: one-lane bridges, sheep crossings. Usually, I just go with the insurance provided by my credit card. I’m so glad you talked me into buying everything available, including coverage for rocks hitting our windshield. It’s important: In the remote north, a rock hit the car being driven by our videographers, Tim and Veda, and had to be towed four hours back to Reykjavik.
But, man, did I love driving there. After you left, I did a bus tour of “Game of Thrones” locations. While I loved nerding out with my guide, Raven, who wore a Man of the Night’s Watch outfit and reenacted a sword fight with a wedding party we happened upon, it was stifling not to be able to pull over on a whim. I had to drive around for hours afterward just to get it out of my system.
Peterson: I was astounded to learn how quickly tourism has grown in Iceland over the past 10 years, thanks in part to dirt-cheap fares from airlines like WOW Air: from 485,000 foreign visitors in 2007 to over 2.2 million in 2017. It’s had a big impact on the local populace, too. One evening, after dinner at the restaurant Egill Jacobsen, we headed upstairs to a chic bar called Loftid, decked out with Edison bulbs and vintage sewing paraphernalia.