Iceland – Skalatjorn Homestay

RO: Islanda este pentru moment genul acela de destinatie mai nu pentru toata lumea, unde nu se vine (inca) cu autocarul la cascada si unde nu gasesti (inca) hoteluri de n etaje cu all inclusive si-alte cele. Spunem inca pentru in curand probabil se va dezvolta atat de mult turismul si-n Islanda, ca vom ajunge sa gasim un Hilton in mijlocul campurilor de lava sau un restaurant fitos cu meniu masterchefesc in varf de ghetar. Daaar, pana atunci ne bucuram de Islanda asa cum e. Cu hoteluri putine, cu drumuri putine, cu oameni putini si multe, tare multe de vazut 🙂 Iar cand vine vorba de cazare, ei bine aici lucrurile se impart de regula in doua categorii. Hai poate trei. Avem pe de o parte cei care prefera confortul si check in / check out-ul, care vor alege negresit din cele cateva hoteluri pe care le gasesti pe drum. La polul opus avem tinerii entuziasti si mai on a budget, care vor alege sa traiasca experienta islandeza cat mai autentica. Adica la cort. Iar la mijloc ii avem pe cei care nu stau nici prea prea, nici foarte foarte cu bugetul, iar ei vor alege cel mai probabil hostelurile sau pensiunile. Care slava cerului, sunt ceva mai numeroase.

EN: At this moment, Iceland is that type of destination where not everyone goes, where people are not coming to the waterfalls with bus tours (at least not yet) and where you don’t find hotels with n storeys and all inclusive and so on and so forth. At least not yet. And we’re mentioning this not yet, as everything will probably change in the near future and Iceland’s tourism will grow that much that we will soon see a Hilton in the middle of the lava fields or a fancy restaurant with Masterchef cuisine on the top of the glacier. Buuuut, until then, let’s enjoy Iceland as it is. With just a few hotels, few roads, few people and many, many things to see 🙂 And when it comes to accommodation, oh well, things are usually split into two main categories. Or maybe three. On one hand we have the ones that prefer the comfort and checking in and out, the ones that will for sure choose one of the few hotels they’ll find by road.  On the opposite side we have the young enthusiasts who travel on a budget, who will definitely choose to live the Icelandic experience as authentic as possible. Meaning camping. And in the middle we’ll have those ones betwixt and between with their budget, and they will probably choose the hostels or guest houses. And thank Heavens, there are plenty of them. 
Iceland Skogafoss Waterfall
RO: Spre bucuria noastra, exista si altfel de cazari in Islanda, si acestea ne plac noua cel mai mult! Si anume, casele localnicilor 🙂 Ei bine da, islandezii sunt foarte primitori si dornici sa isi imparta casele cu turistii care le viziteaza tara, asa ca sunt cateva (nu foarte multe) optiuni care merita luate in considerare. O data ar fi siteul Windu, unde poti sa rezervi o camera in casele oamenilor (oriunde in lume, nu doar in Islanda). Sau si mai bine, siteul farmholidays.is, unde sunt selectate pensiuni din toata Islanda. Ce e interesant e faptul fiecare dintre acestea este verificata si atestata, deci totul e cum nu se poate mai sigur. Insa exista si localnici dispusi sa isi imparta casa in mod gratuit cu turistii, si asta se intampla pe Couchsurfing (foarte popular in Islanda). Probabil stiati deja de site-ul acesta, asa ca nu detaliem, ideea e simpla: ma lasi sa stau la tine-n casa, cand vii in Romanica stai la mine. Si mai sunt cateva optiuni, sunt descrise toate aici. Noi nu am folosit insa niciunul dintre site-urile acestea (nu stiam de ele la momentul respectiv), insa am facut ceva research pe internet si-am dat de o casa de localnici din sud, Skalatjorn Homestay. Si sincer, credem ca nu puteam face o alegere mai buna!

EN: Luckily, there are also some other types of accommodation in Iceland and these are the ones we love the most! Those are the locals’ houses 🙂 Well yes, Icelanders are very hospitable and willing to share their houses with the tourists that visit their country, so there are a couple of (not too many) options which could be taken into consideration. On one hand we have the Windu site, where you can book a room in locals’ houses (everywhere in the world, not only in Iceland). Or even better than that, the farmholidays.is website, where there have been selected some guesthouses from all Iceland. What’s interesting is that each of the guesthouses are certified and verified, so everything is extremely safe. There are also some locals that want to share their home for free, and that happens on Couchsurfing (very popular in Iceland). You probably already know about this website, so we’ll not elaborate, the idea is simple: you invite me at your home, you’ll stay at my home when you’ll visit my country. And there are some other options as well, they are all described here. We haven’t used any of these websites (we did not know about them at that time), but we made some research on internet and found a local house in the southern part of Iceland, Skalatjorn Homestay. To tell you the truth, we couldn’t have made a better choice!
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RO: Si-acum sa va spunem de ce. Si cam care e diferenta intre un hostel si un homestay, cum le numesc islandezii. Ei bine, in primul si-n primul rand, sa traiesti cateva zile cu un localnic e cam esenta experientei islandeze. Vezi cum traiesc oamenii, ce mananca, ce fac zi de zi, le asculti povestile si faci parte pur si simplu din viata lor. Si asta am facut si noi la Skalatjorn Homestay, o casuta traditionala construita de doi islandezi care si-au lasat joburile din Reykjavik pentru a se muta in sud si a deschide o ferma. Si ce sa vezi, e plin de animale aici! Iar daca prinzi o zi insorita, undeva in zare se vede vulcanul Hekla si cu putin noroc si buclucasul Eyiafjallajokull (da, da, cel care a erupt in 2010 de-a innebunit intreaga Europa!). Nu e tiparul clasic de cazare, iei cheia, lasi cheia (ba chiar n-ai deloc cheie la camera), imparti baie si facilitatile casei cu toata lumea, mananci la masa cu toata lumea, insa tocmai asta face experienta mai autentica. Micul dejun e facut numai si numai din produse locale (tot ce inseamna lactate vine de la animalele din curte), totul este gatit in casa, iar gazdele te primesc de parc-ai fi parte din familie 🙂 De parca ai fi venit la niste rude indepartate din Islanda 🙂 Si in final, despre asta este vorba. Sa cunosti oameni noi, sa vezi cum traiesc in tara lor, sa-ti povesteasca vrute si nevrute si-apoi sa pleci cu sufletul mai bogat decat atunci cand ai venit. Pai nu?! 🙂

EN: And now we’ll tell you why. And what’s the main difference between a normal hostel and a homestay, as the Icelanders call it. Firstly, living a couple of days with a local is what should be called the the grass roots Icelandic experience. You see how the people live, what they eat, what is their day by day activity, you listen to their stories and you’re part of their lives. And that’s exactly what we’ve done at Skalatjorn Homestay, a traditional cottage built by two Icelanders who quit their jobs in Reykjavik for moving to the south to open a farm. And what do you know, there are animals all around this place! And if you have a sunny day, somewhere at a distance you can see the Hekla volcano and with a bit of luck the wonder-working Eyiafjallajokull (yup, the one who erupted in 2010 and made Europe go crazy!). It’s not the typical accommodation where you get the key, you leave the key (actually there is no key to your room), you share the bathroom and the house facilities with the rest of the guest, you eat at the same table with everyone, but that’s exactly what makes the experience more authentic. Breakfast is made from local products  (all the dairy products come from the animals from the backyard), everything is home cooked and the hosts are welcoming you as if you’re part of the family. As if you have visited some relatives from Iceland 🙂 And in the end, that’s what is all about. To meet new people, to see how they live in their country, to speak to them at random and then to leave with your soul enriched. 🙂
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2 thoughts on “Iceland – Skalatjorn Homestay

  1. Oh, ce visez si eu la Islanda! Mi se pare super ideea de a trai cateva zile cu localnicii si am pus bine sugestia ta pentru cand vom ajunge si noi acolo (cand, nu daca!!!)

    1. Da, intr-adevar, este mult mai autentica experienta atunci cand stai cu cineva care chiar locuieste in Islanda 🙂 Si apar din ce in ce mai multe astfel de cazari, pentru ca in Islanda nu sunt foarte multe variante de cazare, foarte putine hoteluri inafara oraselor 🙂 Si noi planuim sa ne intoarcem, vrem neaparat sa stam mai mult, sa avem timp sa facem tot Ring Road-ul, cap coada! Dar pentru asta am avea nevoie de vreo doua saptamani, cel putin. 🙂

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