Dungeons & Dragons,  Raiders of the Serpent Sea,  Vikings

Don’t Eat the Burger

I’ve mentioned the trip I took to Iceland a few times in the past. It was just me and my kids and we had a very fun trip, though I wish we had spent two weeks there instead of just the one.


This sign is significant. Why?

We did all the standard tourist things, though I did go out of my way to make sure I ended up on a very special street..

So all in all it was a very fun trip and it helped launch me towards Raiders of the Serpent Sea. I was surrounded by all of this natural beauty and history and it was all very inspiring. And 90% of it was fun and relaxing except the day I realized a poor Viking, I would make.

We decided to head over to the island Heimaey because a friend had suggested checking it out and because I’ve always been fascinated with Surtsey which is an island that emerged in the 60s and is relatively near to Heimaey. So we booked a ferry and I rented a “house” to stay in (though I did not tell the kids that part… more on that in a bit).

(I will pause here for those “in the know” and tell you that this ferry crossing was about to be undertaken near the end of Iceland’s winter…)

We were sorted with the ferry which had a cafeteria on it and given that we were hungry I went to order burgers. The woman behind the counter looked at me. Looked at my kids. Then she said, “You don’t want to eat.”

“But of course we do,” I said. We were hungry!

“It is winter, it is stormy,” she said. “You should take a bunk while one is free.”

I shrugged and ordered the burgers. We ate them. Then we set off. And thus begun the worst three hours of my life. We were in a large ferry but it was like we were a tiny little ship. The sea tossed us all about and me and my youngest were incredibly sick, we spent the entire journey huddled over toilets puking. It was terrible.

I had originally planned to prank my kids and pretend we were stuck on the island and would have to sleep in the car only to have a lucky break with a place to stay. But it was storming outside and I was barely functional as I shambled off of the ferry, so it was a very easy prank to sell. I just wanted to go someplace and lie down. And not move. Like ever again. And I was also planning how to move permanently to the island so that I would never have to board the ferry again. (Because… we had to go back the next day…)

Here’s the “house” I found for the kids (I told them it was an emergency shelter and we just had to make do)

(A funny followup — this trip happened year ago. I just realized a couple months ago I had never told my kids I had actually booked the place and planned it. They actually thought we had gotten stranded on the island and have been telling everyone this for years…)

The island was beautiful though and after my stomach settled down I treasured the experience and the memories we had wandering this wind scoured place in the middle of nowhere. We had a great meal and a great time visiting with the locals — including exploring the new museum. Wouldn’t trade it for the world, despite the pain of the sea crossing.

On the way back? We took bunks and we did NOT eat the burgers.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.

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