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20 Feet Under: Having Dinner With the Fishes

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I was a bit nervous placing Eldhús at the end of an old dock in Stokkseyri. When I was 12 years old working on a farm one Summer I learned how to drive a tractor backwards with a trailer full of hay. It's not a great memory as I hit the barn and the farmer wasn't too happy. Now we were driving backwards along the dock with Eldhús and I definitely didn't want to end up 20 feet under having dinner with the fishes.

A few minutes later the house was parked at the end of the dock where it was supposed to be and I suddenly realised what a strange location it was. There was nothing except the huge waves of the ocean hitting the rock wall on one side and the spooky ghost museum on the other. Well, I guess my guests are supposed to be inspired by Iceland after having dinner in Eldhús and for that it's the perfect location!

"I will definitely not be serving them with mussels - we don't have them here at the south coast. I only want to serve them with ingredients that are produced here around Stokkseyri," says today's local volunteer Robert; a very down to earth, warm and gentle guy. He grew up on a farm and loved the freedom that came with being around the animals, particularly in the summer when it is practically light around the clock. Robert is the Chef and owner of the restaurant "Við Fjöruborðið" in Stokkseyri. They are famous for their lobster and the lobster sign at his restaurant scared Ben, one of our guests

"Oh, I hope they're not serving lobster in Eldhús", Ben remarked as we walked past the restaurant on our way to Eldhús. To get to the point: we served Ben lobster.

Ben is from Boston like Marin, Keith and Betsie. The other two guests joining us today are Dave and Jacqueline from Canada. Keith and Betsie plan to travel to the West coast tomorrow (my favourite part of Iceland) and want to go ice fishing. The high mountains and deep fjords there are both extreme and beautiful and people live in complete isolation. The toughest people come from the West.

Why do I always talk so much? Let's have Dinner guys! "This lobster soup is a 20-year-old recipe," Robert told us as he began serving the starter. After the lobster soup he gave us a taste of Icelandic lamb fillet and used a special earthquake beer for the sauce from the local micro-brewery in the neighborhood.

Finally Ben got his main course: a bowl full of delicious lobster! And you know what? He loved it! We talked about many things including politics and life in Iceland. We discussed the special bond between Canada and Iceland and the fact that 15,000 Icelanders moved to Canada between 1870 and 1914 due to poverty and starvation and here we were sitting with full stomachs! Also, did you know that only 50 years ago, people didn't see any value in lobster as they didn't know how to cook it and it was thrown away? I think I may have seen a tiny little smile in Ben's eyes.

Well, time to move on again. To Ben, Marin, Keith, Betsie, Dave and Jacqueline- thanks for a great evening and good luck on your travels around Iceland!

Next stop: Seljalandsfoss.

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