Visit to Iceland — Day 4

We did four full days in Iceland in November 2018. Here’re the write-ups for Day 1 and Days 2 and 3.

Day 4: South Shore

It felt significantly warmer on this, our last day of adventure in Iceland. Unfortunately, that meant also it rained cats and dogs. Really would have loved my rain pants here. It was too warm for the ski pants but not dry enough for just jeans.

Reynisdrangar rock formations and hexagonal basalt cliff walls

Apparently this is a similar kind of rock formation to the Giant‘s Causeway in Northern Ireland…but alas, we‘ve not yet been. We were warned repeatedly about the danger of “sneaker waves.”

Sólheimajökull glacier

This was so cool to see — one of my favorite parts of this trip. I think the dreary weather actually contributed to the mood.

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls

These were the last two stops on our bus trip along the south shore, and the finale to the whole trip. At this point, after being cold and wet all day, I could barely be bothered to get out of the bus. I really needed those rain pants. At one of the waterfalls you are supposed to be able to walk behind the falls for a photo op. The walkway was closed during our visit. That‘s probably for the best.

Wrap Up

Iceland, as our first toe-dip into Scandinavia, was fascinating. In retrospect, winter is not such a bad time to go. Just be prepared to layer your clothing and make sure to save up for any incidentals. Like, you know, food.

Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin is pretty naturally sweet, so don’t be bashful with the salt and cheese.

4-5 c/1-1.25 L vegetable broth
2 T olive oil
2 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
500 g arborio or carnaroli rice
0.5 c/100 mL dry white wine
1 c/225 mL pumpkin purée
1 t dried thyme
1 t ground black pepper
salt to taste
2 T butter
1 c/225 g grated Parmesan, divided

Heat oil in large deep skillet to medium and bring broth to a low simmer. Sauté shallots and garlic until tender and fragrant. Add rice and stir until coated with oil and starting to smell toasty. Add wine and stir until mostly evaporated. Start adding broth by ladleful, stirring constantly. When the pan starts to look dry, add another ladle of broth. After adding about half of the broth, add the pumpkin, thyme and pepper. Taste and add salt, if needed. Keep adding broth until it’s gone. Once all broth is in, remove skillet from heat, stir in butter and half of cheese thoroughly, cover skillet and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with cheese for sprinkling.