Holy shit I know. Ok, how can I start this off articulately…..you guys it was tooooo hard and I was hungry! Wait, I was HANGRY.
Let me back up a bit. Rich and I went to Iceland for 10 days(ish) to run in the Reykjavik Marathon, he ran the half marathon and I ran the 10k. Let me repeat that. I RAN 10 KILOMETERS. I don’t know how many miles that is, I think it’s close to 50.
Anyways, I had planned this trip about two years ago and it included driving around the country on Ring Road.
Reykjavik was awesome, my Lonely Planet book said almost every restaurant would have a vegan option. That is false. However there were lots of places that advertised vegan dishes and we even found Glo where they had tons of vegan and raw options, even Rich was impressed. I found some delicious vegan cheese, a place for avocado toast, and EVERYWHERE had soy lattes. So happy.
After that…things got tricky.
Our first problem was that we headed up Ring Road and went really far north and didn’t buy any groceries. One reason is because we’re so used to the city and even when we go to our own cabin there is a grocery store with veganaise, so we just assumed we would go shopping when we got closer.
This shouldn’t be surprising; I never pack appropriately. I packed two pairs of sandals to Iceland. A dressy pair and a sporty pair. IT’S FUCKING COLD IN ICELAND, SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME? Seriously look at the photo of me at the end, what in God’s name am I wearing?
Anyways, Tip #1 is to buy some staples before you leave home and then pile up on fresh stuff while in Reykjavik with all their vegan wonders.
Tip #2 is that it’s cold there and you will not need two pairs of sandals.
So we get up to our cabin in Norourfjorour, which is as far north as we can go before our rental car company won’t insure us and we haven’t seen any sort of store for hours. I’m STARVING and the kitchen in our lovely place consists of a kettle.
Luckily there is a cafe for dinner. The people here deal with really harsh winters 10 months of the year and….let’s just say I’m getting the vibe that they’re not going to be impressed with vegan requests. In fact they seem generally irritated by our presence in general. It could have been that I was dressed like an asshole.
I end up having fries and salad with iceberg lettuce for dinner and I felt like a TOTAL JACKASS for ordering it. Like, imagine how hard it is to get fresh produce up there and you get some stupid tourists coming in asking if they have anything without dairy. Most travelers will relate to feeling like a idiot in a foreign country and….this was only the beginning.
Next we drive to Akureyi and we’re prepared to make pasta at our lovely Airbnb farm. I’m STARVING by the time we get there. We’ve been driving for like 8 hours (plus an hour in the wrong direction thanks to me) and then it doesn’t have a full kitchen and the pasta sauce I bought is actually spaghettios.
Akureyi has got some options including sushi and indian but we go into one place with a veggie burger. I can tell Rich is starting to be like ‘I will eat wherever just pick SOMEWHERE’. So I ask about the veggie burger being dairy free and sit down happily.
They bring the burger and it’s got cheese in the patty. And I just ate that fucking burger.
At this point I am hungry. I am not prepared and I now know the answer to the question ‘if you were stuck on an island and the only things to eat had animal product in them, would you eat them?’. Yes. Yes I will.
We continued onto Hofn, found a FANTASTIC veggie lentil dish and I did eat 80% vegan most of the trip.
The lesson here is Iceland is awesome (but seriously guys can you stop whaling just to spite the rest of the world?) and has some amazing food but beyond the capital city it gets bare for vegans and non-vegans. Be prepared otherwise you’re going to have to risk being super hangry or just giving up.
(Why do I have this face? Because I’m very hungry and dressed like I just mugged someone for those shoes)