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Town Manager explores Iceland

Posted on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 10:15 am

Montross Town Manager Patricia Lewis and her family took a trip in May to Reykjavik, Iceland to visit her son Evan who is studying International Studies of Education at the University of Iceland.
Lewis said, “It was wonderful. We’ve never traveled outside of the country so it was a real treat for us, especially getting to see him. We hadn’t seen him since January for Christmas.”
Patricia boarded the plane with her husband Malcolm and other son Landon to take the five hour flight to Iceland. “We were nervous and excited all at the same time,” Lewis said.
Arriving at 5 a.m. Patricia said, “It was a little shaky start. We didn’t know how things worked in Iceland.” When they arrived her son Evan was still asleep. Learning the airport system in Iceland was a little bit of a challenge but they finally made it to their son’s apartment after paying $90 for a cab ride to the capital city of Reykjavik.
When they arrived the streets were still lined with litter from the night before, but was cleaned up by noon. “The only thing that was discouraging to me was the graffiti on the beautiful buildings there.” Lewis described the city as cute and quaint. Streets are lined with cobblestone. Lewis said, “Reykjavik was a happening little city, lots to do, lots of shops but everything over there is really expensive.” However she said the wages fit the economy adding, “Evan works in a restaurant. In America we tip, in Iceland they don’t tip because the wage is very high around $20 an hour.”
A traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and coffee for four cost $95. “They had the best coffee I’ve ever had. Every place we went into had fabulous coffee!” Patricia said.
On Sunday many of the local shops and restaurants were closed. The only thing open was a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Patricia and her husband, Malcolm, both ordered two pieces of chicken, Evan and Landon both ordered a sandwich and their bill was $55.00
Patricia said, “They had unique foods. We saw a fish farm, there was hanging dried fish. They eat a lot of dried fish.”
One dish served in the restaurant Evan works in, is fermented shark. Malcolm and Landon tried it, Patricia wasn’t so brave.
She described the experience, “They brought out a sealed jar with fermented shark, pickled herring which I did eat and was pretty good, whale and dried fish.”
Patricia said with a wrinkled up nose as though she could smell the pungent odor. “Malcolm opened the fermented shark and it smelled like ammonia.” Landon was not sure if he wanted to eat it but both he and Malcolm bravely choked it down. “It wasn’t very appetizing to say the least but they were determined to eat it all. They also tried smoked puffin, which looked like a little bird.”
Despite the expense and some not so appetizing dishes, overall the family enjoyed the food. Patricia said, “Malcolm fell in love with one of the local bakeries and insisted on visiting daily. Everything was home made.”
Patricia said the country side was breathtaking. “When we rode outside the city we were surrounded by lava rock and mountains. We would come upon villages with 10 to 15 houses, with little white churches at their centers.”

Read more of this story in the July 5 edition of the Westmoreland News.