Wait a minute. I was in Europe this summer?
It's been more than a month since I last wrote about the trip to Paris and Reykjavik, and it's been two months since we started out on that vacation. But I can see the end (it involves flying back to New York) in sight, so let's get this party stopped.
Tony made sure I got to go to a farmers market while we were in Paris. On Sunday morning, we took the Metro to the Bastille stop and hit the Marché de la Bastille, aka the Marché Richard Lenoir.
The market wasn't as much fun as I'd hoped, in terms of seeing interesting items. There were some beautiful flowers ...
... and a roasted chicken stand with a huge rótisserie ...
... but the fruits and vegetables were pretty much all things I could have found in New York.
Those are potatoes at the bottom of the rótisserie. And they are maybe the best-tasting potatoes ever. Or salmonella sponges. Or both.
The chicken stand was manned by a cute, short Frenchman who I dubbed The Pullet. I wouldn't have minded partaking of his wares (or his wares ;-)), but it was only breakfast time, and we had a plane to catch to our next destination, Reykjavik. I did buy some baked goods, a few bars of soap, and a container of raspberries.
Charles de Gaulle Airport, like the Internet and the entrance to the Centre Georges Pompidou, is a series of tubes:
The bottom line about Iceland was that we didn't spend enough time there. By the time we got to our hotel in the center of Reykjavik via van, it was almost time for our dinner reservation at a Tapas bar called, getting right to the point, Tapas barinn.
A big bus took us from the airport to the transportation company's hub, where we were supposed to get on smaller vehicles based on which hotel/B&B we were staying at. The only time I got agitated with an Icelander was when none of the drivers was able to tell us which van we should get on. It seemed like there were no standard routes, and each driver just went wherever he felt like going—and no one felt like going to our hotel. The drivers were all like "I don't know. Maybe that one" and pointed to another bus. Why don't they have set routes?! Crazy Icelanders!
Dinner was phenomenal. We started out with an aperitif of sparkling strawberry wine the server called Fresita. The name meant nothing to me, and I assumed it was something Icelandic and possibly made in-house. Then, before the flight home, we saw bottles of it at the duty-free shop in the Reykjavik airport. It's actually Chilean, fresita being Spanish for strawberries. (I never studied a Romance language. Only German.) And it's actually made from white grapes enhanced with strawberries. So it wasn't the product—locally made, all from strawberries—that I'd imagined it to be, but we still thought it was wonderful enough to warrant buying a bottle to schlep home on the plane.
Both Tony and I ordered a tasting menu. Tony obviously said he couldn't have anything with gluten or dairy. My only stipulation was that I didn't want whale, which was on the menu. And that makes me very sad. I know consumption of whales is part of the Icelandic culture, but how on the verge of extinction do they have to get before they decide it's time to knock it off for a while?
I thought the chefs might make it easier for themselves and give Tony and me all the same stuff, but they didn't. We each got seven small plates, and I got to try some of Tony's, so I had lots of great bites.
I didn't note what each one of these dishes was, partly because I couldn't remember it all after our server told me:
The two on the right involved seafood. I posted this photo on Facebook, and my Dad commented, "Pretty but you know your old man wouldn't eat any of it." I replied, "Yup."
Here I am posing with that plate in front of me:
Another one of my courses was grilled chicken on a skewer with a coriander sauce, couscous, and a mini salad:
I also got whitefish with chorizo and peppers ...
... and lamb with pan-fried vegetables:
Which all sounds like an awful lot of food. *burp*
One of Tony's meats was kangaroo, which I felt a little bit conflicted about trying because, you know, they're cute. But I have to say, it was mighty tasty.
Tony got sorbets for dessert ...
... and I got a chocolate cake dealie:
Both desserts were garnished with Cape gooseberries.
After dinner, we wandered around a bit in the sunny-as-day night. We didn't stay up to watch the sunset; it was going to happen at about 1 a.m.
The next morning, we were scheduled to take a trip out to the Blue Lagoon. But during the night, the dairy product(s) that must have been in Tony's last meal in Paris kicked in. Those sonsabitches at Brasserie la Lorraine! He was up several times with diarrhea. And he slept through the alarm he'd set on his phone. And I didn't hear it. So we would have been running late to catch our bus to the lagoon. Plus, Tony didn't know how he was going to be feeling the next few hours. So we canceled the trip. Which was a shame because the lagoon does look beautiful.
Tony kept his sense of humor about it and came up with several quips, increasing in cleverness, about what would have gone down if the diarrhea had started while he was in the lagoon: "They would have had to rename the Blue Lagoon." "They would have had to bring in petroleum skimmers." At a press conference: "I'd like to make a personal apology to the people of Iceland." And on Facebook, he had me write later that day, in response to a comment from our buddy Mark Hollmer, who also has problems if he ingests dairy, "There has not been an incident like this since the 2013 Poopenkrieg, which caused a general brownout of Berlin." That was a reference to a bad reaction Mark had to accidental dairy ingestion last summer while visiting the German capital.
After we got breakfast in our hotel, we had only a few more hours to explore the city before we had to head for the airport. We did some shopping and I grabbed a quick pea soup lunch at C is for Cookie, a place recommended by my friend Gary out in Washington state.
And that was it. I'd love to go to Reykjavik for a longer stay sometime. And to Paris for a few days again.
And here, finally, are some more photos. Because this series of posts hasn't gone on long enough:
How did Icelandair know a goddess was going to be sitting there?
The bathroom in our Paris hotel had some purty imbellishments:
Some crazy Frenchman totally ripped off our State of Liberty, and they stuck a small version of it in Musée d'Orsay. ;-):
I put this photo on Facebook with the caption "OMG! It's like they named this place just for me!":
The view from our hotel room in Reykjavik:
Part of a cute garden in a yard near our hotel:
Tony posing on the gayest corner in Reykjavik:
And Missy getting some tummy rubs when we got home: