It's day four of our trip and it feels quite strange to be parking our Eldhús among all these beautiful amazing old houses of Reykjavik. If Eldhús were a person, it would feel honoured and grateful for being here.
Today we're at Reykjavík's Árbæjarsafn, a museum that preserves old houses. Eldhús is so small compared to the other houses here; it looks like it is visiting grandpa and grandma. There was a time when some Architects had the urge to fill Reykjavik with concrete houses and had no feeling for beautiful old wooden houses like Eldhús and the rest of the houses here at the museum. Some brave people started fighting for preservation of those houses in 1942 and for that, we thank you!
The first of our guests to arrive is Amanda Meyer, a nurse and Kerry Huss, a project manager, all the way from Seattle. They are very excitedly 20 minutes early. "We have been following each and every move of Eldhús on the Internet since the first day you announced it and we just had to get a seat," says Amanda with the brightest smile I have seen since the smile on my father's face the day I was born. "A glass of cold white wine?" I offer - "Yesss!" Wow - this woman is like the boiling water in Geysir - what a powerful, happy person. I want Amanda as my nurse the next time I have to go to a hospital, I can't think of anyone being sick or unhappy around her.
Then suddenly, it was one o'clock and our next guests, a couple from London; Patrick and Martina Spetlova Austin, arrived. Martina is a clothing designer and Patrick a graphic designer and a musician. Last to arrive was our special guest of the day, Hekla, a young Icelandic woman. Some name she carries, I thought. What happens if I place a woman named after our most active and famous volcano, next to our "Geysir-guest" Amanda? I decided to take the risk during today's lunch and hoped that our little Eldhús wouldn't explode.
Our chef today is Gunnar Gislason, a chef at one of Reykjavik's exclusive restaurants, Dill. Today's dish is a twist from Iceland's most traditional Christmas dinner of smoked lamb. Gunnar takes the raw smoked lamb and slices it thin like a Parma ham, then dries it and serves with a special old traditional flat bread that is baked directly on the stove with a yoghurt dip on the side. We had raw scallops from Breiðafjörður bay with pickled seaweed and sea salted hazelnuts. Every ingredient in this dish is from Breiðafjörður bay, except the nuts, but they are salted using salt made from the sea there. Finally, we had a salted and fried pork belly with baked plaice and Jerusalem artichokes with burned butter and hay-smoked oil. I've never had meat and fish served as one dish before, but it was extraordinarily good.
Gunnar tells us that this is what drives him as a chef. Using our ancestors' traditional methods of preparing food and give them a modern twist so he is able to serve it in a first class restaurant.
Now it was Hekla's time to surprise them, she looked so amazingly charming with her big accordion. She played some old waltzes and a famous camping song that Icelanders like to sing when they go camping.
Patrick and Martina came to Iceland first and foremost to relax. They had spent a night at the Blue Lagoon and driven to nature pearls like, Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir but their journey had come to an end and they were flying back tomorrow. Amanda and Kerry on the other hand had many things to explore and during lunch they got great tips for restaurants and adventurous places to visit.
As we said goodbye, Hekla started playing and Amanda got everyone dancing outside our little house. Thankfully, the house was still in one piece. What a great day. Thank you guys!
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