One of the unshakable traditions of the advent here is the Christmas buffet. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t partake of at least one such; in fact most companies invite their employees – and usually their spouses – to at least one Christmas buffet during advent.

The company EPI works for has for the past three years been very grand indeed and invited staff and spouses to the four-star Hótel Rangá [southwest Iceland] for a buffet. They also pick up the tab for an overnight stay and breakfast. Suffice it to say that the food is absolutely fabulous and the overnight stay is more necessity than luxury because after about three hours of buffet eating, punters are virtually comatose.

I can’t even begin to list all the different types of dishes proffered but I do remember that they included: [as appetizer] loads of different kinds of pickled herring [traditional Icelandic], smoked eel [to die for], smoked salmon, different types of gravlax [marinated traditionally, in whiskey, etc.], different types of paté [game, reindeer…], raw marinated goose, sushi … [and as main course] reindeer, ptarmigan, lamb, hot smoked goose, traditional smoked lamb, etc… plus of course a huge assortment of condiments and side dishes. For dessert there was the traditional ris a la mande – a type of creamy rice pudding with red berry sauce, which often has an almond hidden in it and is eaten at Christmas – the person who finds the almond gets an extra present – plus an assortment of other cakes and chocolates, anyway, trés trés bon.

… What was the weather like? It was gorgeous. Cold and crisp and sunny. The breakfast buffet on Saturday morning was almost as magnfico as the dinner, and as we sat and ate [and laughed ourselves silly describing hilarious things found on t’Internet] the sun rose in all its splendiferous beauty. Perfect. EPI and I took our time driving home and included a slight detour down to Eyrarbakki on the south coast, which is: a) the site ofIceland’s only maximum security prison, b) where artistes and writers tend to buy darling little houses like this one as getaways where they can practice their craft. [YT is seriously looking to land a deal on one of those.] We also went down to the shore and walked a bit in order to imbibe some daylight – this was taken at around 1.30 in the afternoon and as you can see, daylight was fairly sparse…

Temps at the moment are -2°C; the sun came up at 10.56 and sunset is due for 15.40.