Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Private story of truly local travellers part I.

This is a first rough overview of an itinerary of our dear friends who decided to explore Iceland in a bit different way. Here is the part 1: We reached Iceland by boat. For us, it meant travelling by bus from Prague to Copenhagen and then carrying on to Hirsthals (north of Denmark). The boat leaves once a week to Iceland via Faroe islands (stopping in the capital Thórshavn and ends in Seydisfjordur, located in the eastern part of Iceland. All in all, the boat journey itself took 2 and a half days. Our transport within Iceland was the following: hitchhiking, a few expensive public buses and the rest by foot. We set off, from Seydisfjordur in the direction of Egilstaddir, hitchhiking and having passed these places: Vopnafjordur, Bakkafjordur, Thorshofn we ended up in Ásbyrgi. In Ásbyrgi, being a starting point of a National Park Jókulsárgljúfur, we gave ourselves 2 and a half exploring days all the way to Dettifoss waterfall (reputed for being the most powerful in Europe. Next stop was lake Myvatn, where we got by bus and then rented a bike and took a cycling trip around the lake. After that we hitchhiked to Grenivik. There, we went for a four-day hike 'at the end of the world' - basically going around the peninsula located above Grenivik. Hitchhiking again and then via second biggest town of Iceland (Akureyri), we headed to Dalvík, where we have a friend Lenka and her family. We spent 3 days there and then carried on to Westfjords. Unfortunately, the transport frequency for hitchhiking there was really low and that´s why we changed our minds and headed south instead. We missed out on Reykjavik on purpose unlike National park of Thingvellir, where we enjoyed the whole day. From there on, hitchhiking again to Sellfoss and then to a base camp for Landmanalaugar trek (famous for its colourful mountain formations). Our trek lasted for 3 days and a half, ending in Thórsmork, unless one wants to carry on all the way to a glacier. After this trek, we took a bus to get us to the ring road number, from where, as we were hoping, we´d hitchhike all the way to Seydisfjordur. However, the hitchhiking luck was not really on our side and thus we luckily caught a bus from Hofn to Egilstadir (240 km). We ended up hitchhiking from Egilstadir to Seydisfjordur to catch the boat, stopping at Faroe Islands for 3 days and then reaching Denmark again. What was left, was a train to Copenhagen, sightseeing there and taking a night bus from Copenhagen to Prague. That´s very rough overview of a journey itself in a nutshell and the details are to come in the following parts, so keep on staying tuned.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Local food to be ready for winter

We, at GO LOCAL, love local events and if they´re connected to food, then even better. So, we did not hesitate a minute, once we got an invitation to take part in 'Bjúgu making' and set off from Dalvík to Skeiðsfoss - a small farm house close to Skeiðfoss power plant. There, in a small cellar, lots of local fresh lamb meat was being minced, when we arrived. The meat would then be used as a base for special lambmeat sausages called Bjúgu in icelandic. Quite an experience to watch 4 locals filling in special sausage sacks and tying strings around so that one big whole piece would then turn into 8 small pieces to be ready to get smoked in a cute little shed built right next to the house. and next one, and next one, and believe it or not it took them an hour all in all to make 320 pieces. After having been smoked, sausages are then kept in the freezer and used throughout winter to be served to hungry icelandic stomachs. As far as I know, the preparation is very simple, as they are simply boiled once they have been defrosted and served with traditional white sauce very similar to bechamel. Well, I must admit that I missed singing during the whole making, which apparently used to be a tradition in old days. Hm, maybe my friend Sibba will eventually bring the tradition back. And for those, who are ready to taste these 'directly from farm' sausages, you´re welcome to do so at BJARNARGIL guesthouse on your travels around Iceland, once exploring beautiful places hidden off the beaten track. Staying there over night is an experience on its own.