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Category Archives: Out of town – Europe

Art Cafe in Tallinn

Baked goat cheese, beetroot cream, and strawberry-cashew salad from the Art Cafe in Tallinn, Estonia.

Baked goat cheese, beetroot cream, and strawberry-cashew salad from the Art Cafe in Tallinn, Estonia.

Finland wasn’t the only place I visited while on holiday in Europe this summer. A while ago I heard that it was quite easy to take a ferry from Helsinki over to Tallinn, Estonia, and that a day-trip, especially to visit the old part of town, was an enjoyable trip. I decided to add in a quick visit to Estonia while we were there as well!

The trip from Helsinki’s ferry station not far from our hotel to Tallinn was only about 2.5 hours, and for two of us, the return trip was only 40 Euro (so 10 Euro per person each way) which I thought was a great deal. I do get sea sickness though, so was a bit worried about the trip, but the Gulf of Finland was quiet and the trip was easy.

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Posted by on October 11, 2017 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Kaffi Klassik, Reykjavik

Klassik Crepe from Kaffi Klassik

Klassik Crepe from Kaffi Klassik

Twice I’ve been to Reykjavik, and twice I’ve been to the Kringlan mall – the largest shopping mall in Rekyjavik with over 150 shops and services. Twice too I’ve been to Kaffi Klassik as well – the second time I made a point of going again to get one of their crepes for my lunch, remembering how interesting and tasty it is!

Kaffi Klassik menu

Kaffi Klassik menu

English-speaking visitors don’t have to worry too much about the tongue-twisting Icelandic language, although they are very proud of their language and it’s displayed prominently, (and they have many laws in place to protect it), pretty much everywhere is also comfortable communicating efficiently in English. The menus are in both English and Icelandic – which is good.. because while some of the Icelandic words “feel” familiar… there are some which aren’t Iceland-ified loan-words, and they’re completely foreign!

Kaffi Klassik menu close-up

Kaffi Klassik menu close-up

There are a few interesting diversions though… like “paprika” doesn’t mean the spice the way you’d anticipate – it means bell pepper apparently… (This was also similar in Finnish…) I got the Klassik Crepe with ham, rice, leek, bell pepper, cheese and mustard sauce the first time I visited (and the second too!) while my companion opted for the quiche which she thought was less unusual and more agreeable to her palate at the time we visited.

Licorice meringue cookie from Kaffi Klassik

Licorice meringue cookie from Kaffi Klassik

We also had to have one of the licorice flavoured meringues… I don’t really like meringue – but I’ll suck it up for pretty much ANYTHING licorice-flavoured. (As expected, it was chewy and SO yummy!)

Quiche from Kaffi Klassik

Quiche from Kaffi Klassik

Crepe from Kaffi Klassik before digging in...

Crepe from Kaffi Klassik before digging in…

I don’t usually see these savory crepes here in Calgary – I’m seeing them more now – but do you know any place that you’d recommend here at home?

Reykjavik shoreline

Reykjavik shoreline

I’ll close with a photo of the shoreline looking across a bay to downtown Reykjavik. One thing I really love about Iceland is the diversity. Volcanos, deserted alien landscapes, black sand beaches, lush green hillsides, rocky shores, open meadows… it’s all there – and all within a few hours drive or less. The only thing you won’t find is a thick forest! LOL

My Icelandic friend Guðmundur told me a joke… “What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest?” My reply (and a close-enough response to the joke) “sit up”. 😀

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Iceland confectionary

Giving "sugar skull" a new look - skull-shaped candies in Grýtubakkahreppur

Giving “sugar skull” a new look – skull-shaped candies in Grýtubakkahreppur

So here’s another short, kind of boring post while you await my latest holiday treats… this time it’s candy from Iceland (from my July 2014 trip.. yes.. I took THAT many photos..) Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2014 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Chocolate in Iceland

Chocolate from Iceland

Chocolate from Iceland

I have another super-short post for you today – more (and more recent!) posts to come soon! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2014 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Lakkris in Iceland

Eittsett candy bar

Eittsett candy bar

I mentioned in my last post that while in Iceland we were constantly on the look-out for licorice.. well we found it in a few different candy bars along with those delicious meringues.. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Desserts in Iceland

While I’m on holiday, I have a few posts to share… and when I come back  – I’ll hopefully have posts from my trip too!

Desserts in Iceland

Rather than doing a whole bunch of short posts about some of the desserts my travel companion and I tried while in Iceland, I thought that I would do a bit of an all-in-one post about a few of them… I’ll also do a bit of one on candy and treats later in too…

Chocolate mousse

If you are in an Iceland grocery store, you might see this – for us it was in the section with the amazing Icelanic yoghurt, Skyr (with which we both developed a fast obsession…) but it’s not yoghurt, instead it’s mousse!  So creamy and delicious!

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

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Posted by on October 26, 2014 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Happy Sushi Belly is off… to France!

Macaroon at the Butchart's Afternoon Tea

Macaroon at the Butchart’s Afternoon Tea

How’s that for an exciting post title?

I’ll fill you in on the details when I return… but for now just stay tuned, and please forgive me for not posting for a while…

In the meantime, how about a French macaron? (From my Afternoon Tea at Buchart Gardens in August)

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2014 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Ice cream in Iceland

Djaef ice cream

Djaef ice cream

As odd as it might sound, our post about ice cream in Finland is one of the highest-rated posts for Happy Sushi Belly, so since I had a lovely bit of ice cream while in Iceland, I thought I’d share it here too! The Djæf bar was a great bit of licorice on the inside, surrounded by vanilla ice cream, and coated in a chocolate coating.

It was generally a bit too cool in Iceland when we were there in July to enjoy too much ice cream (the soup from my previous post was much more welcome than ice cream!) but this was delicious all the same!

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Grocery dinners in Reykjavik

 

Pretty nice looking for microwave dinners...

Pretty nice looking for microwave dinners…

 

For the last few days of my trip to Iceland, my travel companion and I stayed at the Galtafell Guesthouse. The Guesthouse itself was full, so we were accommodated in one of their off-site apartments. This was both a benefit and a disappointment for different reasons, but one of the benefits was having a full kitchen, so we could pick up a few groceries and make a few modest meals “at home” to save a few Kroner for dinner and snacks.

Frozen dinners from the Bonus supermarket

Frozen dinners from the Bonus supermarket

One of our meals were “TV Dinners” which we heated up in our apartment’s microwave. We had to guess based on the illustrations on the back about cooking instructions, and still the food didn’t heat up as much as we had hoped – maybe the microwave wasn’t powerful enough?

Either way we split both of the meals; fish cakes, carrots, broccoli, green beans,  potatoes two ways, and meatballs. Not really a glamourous meal like some of our other meals at the lovely hotels we stayed at – but still a good enough meal after long walks around the city centre!

The location of the apartment was on the other side of “the pond” from the guesthouse we had thought we’d be staying in, and was a second-floor walk-up. It was a bit of a pain to have to haul our suitcases (and groceries, and shopping!) up the stairs, as they were narrow, steep, and the railing wiggled – but the apartment itself was very nice – with a large dining room, huge living room (which unfortunately we didn’t use since the TV only seemed to have one channel, and the couches were damp from being deeply cleaned for the entire time we were there!), and a good-sized eat-in kitchen. There was a large master bedroom (which we flipped a coin for, and I won!) and a small second bedroom with two single beds.  The master bedroom had a nice large closet, though the second bedroom didn’t really have a closet, as it was being used to store things. The only real disappointment of the apartment was the bathroom – it was uncomfortably small, with a shower that we needed to squeeze in and out of, without any place to rest shampoo, conditioner, or soap.

Tasty soup!

Tasty soup!

 

Time to bring out Google Translate!

Time to bring out Google Translate!

Another evening we had packaged soup for dinner instead – made from a mix we picked up at the grocery store, it was easy to make on the stovetop… even without reading the instructions in Icelandic!

This one was Italian Minestrone, but we also picked up another mix… and brought it home with us. We haven’t tried that one yet!  This one was really good though, and after another rainy summer day in Iceland, very welcome!

Other than just having a kitchen to make our meals, our stay at the Guesthouse (or rather, the apartment) also came with a nice breakfast every morning. Our host picked us up at a designated time (determined the morning before) and would drive us back to the guesthouse for bread, cucumber, tomato, cheese, deli meat, coffee/tea, juice, cereal, yoghurt, and a strudel sweet each morning, and from there we’d make our day starting from the guesthouse as we would have if we had stayed right at the guesthouse itself.

Having breakfast at the guesthouse also meant we could chat with the resident cat (who I really liked, missing my dog back home) and with the other guests, some of whom visited from Germany and the UK. The guesthouse is a historical house, and a former home of a well-known Icelandic artist, Guðmundur Thorsteinsson – Muggur. The house was built in 1916, and has tall ceilings in some rooms like the front foyer and sitting room, with lots of natural light pouring in from the windows above. The house was also owned by Bjarni Jonsson (Bíó Bjarni) who opened one of Reykjavik’s first cinemas, and who was also the brother of another famous Icelandic artist, sculptor Einar Jónsson.

Oh, and having Wifi, and a washing machine at our apartment was good too!

Minestrone soup mix

Minestrone soup mix

I’ll leave you with another lovely photo from the shoreline at Reykjavik… looking across a field to a home, to the mountains beyond…

Mountains across the water from the Reykjavik shoreline

Mountains across the water from the Reykjavik shoreline

Guesthouse Galtafell
Laufásvegur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 699 2525

http://www.galtafell.com/

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Dinner in Borgarnes, Iceland

Borgarnes starter - scallops and shrimps

Borgarnes starter – scallops and shrimps

I’m back with another post from Iceland!

In the town of Borgarnes, we stayed at what was probably my favourite hotel for the entire trip – and the food was delicious too. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Out of town - Europe

 

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