After reading a wonderful blog posting by Alex Cornell (@alexcornell) about his trip round Iceland I was intrigued to try one of the restaurants he recommended in the remote Vatnsnes peninsula north of Hvammstangi in the north west of Iceland. The Geitafell Restaurant lies at the northerly west side of the Vatnsnes peninsula along gravel road 711 and around 29km from Hvammstangi. I had planned a 10 day road trip circling Highway 1 round Iceland in a very similar route to what Alex had done, so when I arrived at Hvammstangi I was all set to try out this restaurant.
Imagine my disappointment after checking into our hotel in Hvammstangi when I was told the restaurant was closed as it was still Winter …. and it only opened in Summer around 1st June. Well I took the drive up the gravel road 711 around the peninsula anyway as it was a beautiful sunny day and there was a chance to see some seals perhaps lounging on the rocks.
There were no seals to be seen unfortunately as we drove north on 711 up the west coast of the peninsula but as we arrived at the location of the Geitafell Restaurant I spotted a sign outside saying “Open”. I also noted two flags on the sign, one Icelandic and one Scottish.
Well I drove in just to check … and on meeting the owners I asked if they were open. The lady replied rather hesitantly with a vague “Well, yes” …. apparently they had only just decided that day to open so we were in luck. We were told that the only thing on the menu was their famous fish soup served with salad and fresh bread. No problem – we told the owners we would be back at 6:30 – 7:00pm for dinner
So after a drive round the peninsula to visit Hvítserkur (See the story on that visit here), we returned to Geitafell and sat down for a wonderful dinner washed down with some much needed cold Viking beer.
We started with some salad and bread and then the fish soup was served. It was absolutely wonderful – so full of flavour and colour. And it was indeed a meal in itself – full of fish, prawns and quite a mixture of spices.
During our dinner I chatted with the owners and asked them about the two flags on their sign – an Icelandic flag but also a Scottish flag – I was interested to find the Scottish link being from Scotland myself.
The lady told me her husband was half Scottish so when I spoke with him he introduced himself as Robert Gordon Jack, who’s father (also Robert Gordon Jack) had been a minister from Glasgow who had come to Iceland, initially posted to the remote north island of Grimsey, but then in the local church close to the restaurant. His father had written a book about Grimsey called Arctic Living, had introduced football to the Icelanders and was good friends with Sir Matt Busby. He said he would show us the museum after our dinner. The museum was housed in the tower next to the restaurant, originally a storage house for hay when the place was a farm many years ago. Robert Jack had put in windows, a large wooden door, some spiral stairs and topped the tower with a turret to make it look more like a Scottish castle!
So after dinner we were led to the museum and on the lower floor were a number of old photographs of his family and the locals in that area plus some old antiques. He then led us up the spiral stairs to the second floor which was a kind of shrine to Manchester United Football Club with banners, shirts, newspaper cuttings and many photographs of players plus photos of Sir Matt Busby with his father. Taking us up the next spiral staircase this took us out onto the top floor which was actually outside on the roof of the tower allowing us to look out over the turret to the sea.
What an incredible evening we had , a wonderful dinner and meeting a local with a Scottish connection.
Passionate Photographer …. Lost in Asia
Stuart Taylor of HighlanderImages Photography has been making images for over 25 years and can offer a diverse range of photo imaging services with a focus on Asia and a documentary/photojournalistic style. These services include planning and executing a photo shoot on location but importantly all the post-processing and image preparation needed for the specific finished media format required by the customer. Stuart’s experience and knowledge in all of these aspects makes HighlanderImages Photography a one-stop-shop for a comprehensive and professional image production service.
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