a survival guide to happiness
GAMAN SAMAN invest in creativity visit Borgarnes, ICELAND
There’s a lot to know about our
Borgarfjorð and I am learning a lot
Visit West Iceland offers solid information; however it is not complete.
Gems like the
gather information. Much of my loving this
transportation museum, the Red Cross 2nd
place has to do with having a semi-sacred
hand clothing store, the flea market
place in the world.
Nyjtamarkadur and caffe Skemmin are still inside information.
Not everyone in Borgarnes is from
Borgarnes. Some are from as far as the
This online and printed publication
Philippines and others from the inlets of the
attempts to compile information about the
West-fjords. Almost 18% of the population is
Borgarfjorðar region in English. It would
from another country.
also be great to include Icelandic. So far the contributions (articles & photos) are
There are many wonderful stories
which I would like to include. One being the
either from friends or self written. This publication is available at print cost.
shipwreck Pourquoi-Pas off the coast of
Borgarnes, as well as a story about inverted
Happy in Borgarnes
Editor, Contributing writer, Art director: Michelle Bird. Contributing photographers: Dani Vottero, Samuele Rosso, Dave Fossat. Editorial office: Fluxus Tribe Bjarnarbraut 8. 310 Borgarnes, Iceland, Tel: (+354) 612 3933 email@example.com. No articles in this magazine may be reproduced elsewhere in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher or contributors.
Egil's Saga in Borgarnes Although Snorri Sturluson recited most of his poetry and myth to his scribes from a trove of inherited royal family history at his estate in Reykholt, it is believed that he wrote Egil’s Saga from Borg á Mýrum in Borgarnes. He is best known for the Eddas and for Heimskringla which were written around 1240 AD and are some of the oldest preserved transcripts in Iceland.
It’s important to realize that Egil was both the real life son of Snorri Sturluson who supposedly lived in Borgarnes and he was also the protagonist in Egil's Saga, Egil the son of Skallagrímur.
The first mention of Borgarnes in Egil’s Saga is after Kvedúlfur (the shape shifter named evening wolf) and his son Skalla-grímur fled Norway on a stolen boat to Iceland. Kvedúlfur died from an illness at sea, yet his son continued the journey which took him to the shores of Borgarnes, by following the lead of his fathers coffin which was tied to the bow of the stolen ship.
The birth of the islands Brákarey, Brákarsund, Litla & Stóra Brákarey began with the heroic actions of Egil’s devoted nursemaid and slave Thorgerður Brák, who protected Egil at the cost of her own life by
intervening when his father Skallagrímur attempted to kill him. She defied her master Skallagrímur by questioning his sanity and loyalty to his prodigy. Hence he turned his violence towards Thorgerður Brák and chased her from Granastaðir (the Borgarnes campground) for approximately two kilometers to Brákarsund, then hurled a boulder at her as she fled into the waters of the straight. Thorgerður Brák worked as a tanner and according to the legend she received the nickname Brák the Icelandic name for the tool used to tan skins.
The BANG statue commemorates Thorgerður Brák’s character and was created by Bjarni Thor Bjarnason in 1997. Its form and material signifies her using the tools and the motions she made while tanning skins.
The stone relief of Egil Skallagrímsson at the Skallgrimurgardur was created by Anne Marie Carl Nielsen and marks the location where grief stricken Egil carries his son Bodvar to the grave
There are 10 tombs placed around Borgarfjordar that commemorate important moments in Egil’s Saga and are located at Granastaðir - Brákarsund - Skallagrímsgarður Borg á Mýrum - Rauðanes - Ánabrekka - Álftanes Krumskelda - Hvítárvellir - Einkunnir.
Brakarhatid is the town festival commemorating “Brak” the heroine of Egils’ Saga. This annual celebration is held on last weekend of June and begins with a community breakfast, followed by parades, concerts, fashion shows, boat tours, and sometimes an offshore mud-football match. At the Skallgrimurgardur Park there is a Viking play, a blacksmith and traditionally crafted goods for sale. Show up in your viking attire and join the festivities. Granastadir is located at the Borgarnes campground and is the site of the infamous ball game in which Egil loses his innocence in “Egil’s Saga”. This poem was penned by the young Egil just after the event at Granastadir. My mother said I would be bought a boat with fine oars, set off with Vikings, stand up on the prow, command the precious craft, then enter port, kill a man and another. At Borgá Mýrum (directly translated: city at the quagmire) stands a large abstract sculpture by Ásmundur Sveinsson depicting Egil with a hole in his heart mourning the death of his son. The statue is named Sonatorrek which was also one of Egils most known poems. The farm Borg á Mýrum lies northwest of Borgarnes and is where Egil's father Skallagrímur built his Settlement. Scattered throughout Borgarnes in festival names, monuments, cairns, and burial mounds are the characters, events and places which took place in Egil’s Saga. Note that many of the street names bear the names of the characters such as: Skallagrímsgata, Kvedúlfsgata, Böđvarsgata Brákarbraut and Egilsgata, and many more… The genealogy of the denizens of Borgarnes can also be traced back to Snorri Sturluson and his son Egil. Hildur Hallkelsdóttir of Borgarnes contributed to this article.
Photo Dave Fossat
Guided Town Walks & Hiking Tours with Helga Helga grew up on a sheep farm in Snaeﬀelsnes and knows a lot about these parts. She is a grand source of information, local legends, secret trails, and basketball.
Here are just some of the self drive tours that Helga guides; daily in the summer months and only on Saturdays in the winter.
She does many things aside from running Egil’s guesthouse in Borgarnes, such as working in project development and communications, managing the flea market Nytjamarkaður and raising an awesome family. She does so much that it took quite some time to discover that she’s also a guide.
Tour 1: Helga’s favorite spots in Borgarfjordar, 2-3 hours.
Tour 2: Snaeﬀelsnes Peninsula full day tour.
Tour 3 : Cultural historical walk in Borgarnes 2-3 hours.
Lucky for us one sunny autumn afternoon Helga organized an extensive tour which included beer tasting at the Stedje Beer Brewery and a visit to the hot spring Deildartunguhver on the same day as the annual sheep round up.
Borgarfjordur’s hidden gems are easy to miss without a guide who know what’s on and when.
HELGA HALLDORSDOTTIR WWW.EGILSGUESTHOUSE.IS CONTACT: +354 6591918
Saving lives gives a rewarding feeling which most people never experience, and only imagine in their heroic daydreams. In Iceland while reading the daily news it’s fairly common to read about missing persons, rescued tourists and locals, accidents and overturned transport vehicles, closed roads due to blizzards and many other dangerous situations.
The first association in Borgarnes was established about 40 years ago. Slysavarnafélagið Landsbjörg are their lobbyist and they are the only paid staﬀ members.
Have you ever wondered who the men and women were that found and rescued the lost hikers in the unexpected weather change on Mt. Esja last summer or who the air rescue team was that saved tourists on a glacier that broke oﬀ and went a float while they were barbecuing over a year ago?
It’s important to realize that the Search and Rescue team’s rescue equipment is entirely self funded.
When a lori turns over on the highway the ambulance and police arrive. They move the injured safely and swiftly to the hospital while the police guide traﬃc.
They are fully equipped for glacier and water rescues. They have three rescue vehicles with a total value of approximately 17mil kronur, two rescue boats, safety equipment- life vests, hard hats, climbing gear, pick axes and expect 2 more ATV’s (All Terrain Vehicles) this year.
But who clears the road of debris so it’s safe for driving? Who do we call in an emergency when hurricane level winds threaten the construction of our homes, when our vehicles break down, or we encounter an accident? We call 112.
They host regular eﬀective fund raisers and receive minimal government funding. All proceeds are invested in equipment, vehicles and training.
Jacob and Peter who are trained Search and Rescue teachers, and Peter in First Aid, gave us a tour of their facilities. They train, recruit and fund raise regularly. September is when the yearly training begins starting with a 16 hour first aid training weekend and followed by an in depth GPS training. Specialized training continue as long as you are a volunteer.
In many cases 112 will send to our aid not only an ambulance or the police, but also the nearest Search and Rescue squad as you may be trapped in snow or ice and might not be easy to find. These highly trained skilled individuals working in teams are neither paid employees of the police force, fire department or the hospital, they are volunteers with the search and rescue association.
There is a list of 25 volunteers on the desk and everything is impeccably organized and ready for action. If there’s one place I feel safe it’s in Iceland. This marvelous landscape may be daunting for the newcomer however no one knows it’s ever-changing rugged terrain better that the folks that grew up here.
In some countries the army reserves might be called to the emergency. It’s worth noting that Iceland doesn’t have an army. There is a special task force with about 100 members within the police force, but they do other things.
Björgunarsveitin Brák may not be easy to say, however it’s worth learning and is the name of the volunteer search and rescue association located on the Brákery island.
So before heading out be sure to check weather conditions at 1777 or http://www.road.is/ or safetravel.is for live information. If you run into trouble or see someone in need call 112.
There are about 100 rescue units in Iceland with about 4000 volunteers on call 24/7. The volunteers in Borgarnes are 25 men and women who are trained in First Aid, specialized in GPS tracking, rope rescue, water rescues, evacuation and short term survival skills. They train together in close teams and are prepared to travel across the country with their skills if needed.
The best way to thank our volunteers is personally and remember this organization survives on donations. In turn they care for our safety and survival.
Thanks SAR! Local contributions can be made to: Kt.570177-0369 Bank number 0326-22-000813 or IBAN IS800 0326 2200 0813 5701 7703 69
What’s the deal with this basketball frenzy in Borgarnes? It‘s a cold Friday evening in November, and the Sports Centre in Borgarnes is packed. Nicknamed “The Cowhouse - Fjósið”, this house has hosted many famous basketball games from it’s opening in 1978. But why, on a Friday night, are there over 400 people watching 10 grown men trying to throw some ball into a basket?
The history It all started back in 1958 when a young man moved to Borgarnes. This young man, Guðmundur Sigurðsson, who was 23 years old at the time, had just obtained his teaching license and was oﬀered a teaching position at the elementary school in Borgarnes. Guðmundur had learned and played basketball along side his studies in Kennaraskóli Íslands (Iceland University of Education).
The facilities to play basketball in Borgarnes at that time were scarce, to say the least. There was a small gymnasium (9 x 18m) located in the elementary school which had two basketball hoops.
These two hoops were from the US army when they were based in Borgarnes during the war.
When looking at the gymnasium Guðmundur saw the opportunity to teach the boys and girls of Borgarnes basketball. He certainly saw the glass half full – and soon, he and Bjarni Bachmann, a fellow teacher who came to Borgarnes in 1961, had the best youth teams in the country.
The first major trophy for Skallagrímur basketball team came in 1964 when the women‘s team won the title and were crowned Champions of Iceland. Skallagrímur was the first team outside of the Reykjavík area to win the women‘s championship: “I'll never forget how angry those girls got when we won. Here were these “country gals” who won the cup”- Ingibjörg Hargrave, was in the famous 1964 team who won the Icelandic basketball title.
Skallagrím’s legend, Alexander Ermolinski in action in 1995. The following years, Skallagrímur won several youth trophies. And in 1972 the men‘s team qualified to play in Iceland’s top league. The teams in Borgarnes still had to play in the small 9 x 18m gymnasium court, which was an obvious problem. There was no space for audience to watch the games, unless crawling up into the big windowsill or the old wooden bars. The space was so limited that teams practiced 4v4 instead of 5v5 which is the oﬃcial number of players in a basketball team. There are many humorous stories regarding the away games that Skallagrímur played. When playing in the big sport stadiums in Reykjavík, some players would run with the ball oﬀ the court because they didn‘t know where it ended. Once upon time, a Skallagrím’s player stole the ball from their opponent and ran such an incredibly fast streak, that he ran beyond the basket. It wasn‘t until 1978 that the new Sports Centre opened in Borgarnes, and the Skallagrímur players finally got the chance to play at a legal sized basketball court that could host up to 500-1000 people in the audience. These were exciting times in Borgarnes and things were certainly moving up for the small town. A new Sports Centre opened in 1978 and in 1981 the bridge over Borgarfjörður (Borgarfjarðarbrúin) was opened to the public.
The foreign players
The first foreign player to play for the Skallagrím basketball team came in 1978. His name was Napoleon Gaither II. It was a massive step for this young American to move away from his family and friends, and to go from the California's weather to the icy temperatures in Iceland. A culture shock to say the least, the young man never felt comfortable in the small town – but he was an outstanding player, and helped Skallagrímur to win the C league and progress to the B league.
Since Napoleon, over 50 foreign players have played with the Skallagrímur basketball team, and some of them have reached a cult status among the Skallagrím’s fans. In Skallagríms’ Folklore, one player stands out as one of the greatest ever to play the game here in Iceland. That player is Alexander Ermolinski. This 6’10¨
(207 cm) Russian moved with his family to Borgarnes in 1992. Alexander was 33 years old when he came to Borgarnes had had a glorious career back in his native homeland, where he won trophies with CSKA Moscow and played over 40 matches for the Soviet Union basketball team. Alex was soon the fan‘s favorite among the Skallagrím‘s faithful.
His beautiful hook shots, his graceful movements, his calm and cool presence on the court and his mustache are well remembered among the basketball fans. Still today, people talk about his famous shot in a playoﬀs-game back in 1995 when he kissed the ball before hitting a three pointer (www.youtube.com/watch? v=ARt2b1-lgHE). Alexander Ermolinski played six seasons for Skallagrímur, he played his last game in 2002 when he was 42 years old.
Skallagrím’s youth teams 1968. Bjarni Bachmann (to the far right) and Guðmundur Sigurðsson (to the far left).
The Icelandic Players and Coaches Of course, there are also a number of Icelandic players and coaches in the history of Skallagrímur who are in the club’s Hall of Fame. It all started in the 50’s and 60’s with coaches Guðmundur Sigurðsson and Bjarni Bachmann, winning the women’s league and a couple of youth trophies. The Skallagrím’s women’s team who won the title in 1964 will forever be in the Skallgrímur Hall of Fame for being the first team to win a major trophy for the club.
In 1969, Skallagrímur received a massive recruitment when Gunnar Gunnarsson, who played with the Icelandic national team, moved to Borgarnes. Gunnarsson came from the Reykjavík based team KR, where he had previously won titles. He became a player/coach for Skallagrímur and in 1971, he helped the team win the B league and progress to the A league. Gunnar coached and played with Skallagrímur from 1969 – 1972.
Since the departure of Gunnar Gunnarsson, Skallagrímur never really got flying again. They played in the B league and the C league and things
were not looking good for the team. Until Birgir Mikaelsson showed up in 1990. Just like Gunnar Gunnarsson 20 years before, Mikaelsson came from KR to play and coach the Skallagrímur team. In 1990 Skallagrímur was a mediocre team in the B league, but Mikaelsson saw potential in the team. He saw that many of these local guys were hard working players – and soon he got them to play good basketball also.
With one final game left in the season 1990 - 1991, Skallagrímur had to play against team Víkverji which was decisive to progress to the A league next season. It was a fairly close game, but in the end Skallagrímur won the game 77-71.
Finally after 20 years the team would be playing with the best once more. And since regaining their A league status, the team has been close to winning titles on number of occasions. But even more importantly, the team has regained the respect of being one of the top basketball clubs in Iceland.
The Fans So why is a sport which originated from America so popular among the people of Borgarnes/Borgarfjörður? I guess there are a number of reasons, but to name a few we have to look at the community of this small town. First of all, it’s easier to build a team of basketball players, than a team of soccer players. You only need 5 starting players in a basketball team, but 11 in a soccer team – so you do the math. Second, the old gymnasium had very limited room, so there was really no space to play handball for instance.
Basketball is played at winter time. The short days and long nights here in the West give us very few chances to do anything after work or school. But Alas! We do have our basketball teams to go and watch on Fridays and Saturdays. Those nights really bring the people of Borgarnes/Borgarfjörður together. People from all sorts of social levels come together and support their beloved Skallagrímur. Farmers, students, carpenters, oﬃce workers, politicians, all forget about their daily life and unite to support their team to victory – and have done so for years.
The Skallagrím’s supporters have a reputation of being the loudest crowd in the country. The small stadium certainly helps to bring the people together, and with that, create an awesome atmosphere at the games.
Although basketball is very much a statistics game, the oral tradition of the Skallagrím’s fans is still strong. The people of Borgarnes know their Basketball, and they still reminisce about old games or players. The legend of the club lives on, as their stories continue to be told.
For many of us, missing a game is like missing a Sunday mass if you’re religious.
If you are from Borgarnes, basketball is our religion and the sports center is our church. The rites of passage are made the first time you watch a home game in Borgarnes.
Halldór Óli Gunnarsson is the author of this article. He has a Bachelor‘s degree in Folklore and is currently working on his Master’s degree in Cultural & Communication studies
The Skallagrím’s team after the final game of the season in 1991. Mikaelsson is second to left at the back.
F L U X U S D ES IG N TRIBE
ART, D ES IG N, F ILM , & BOOKS
FLUXUS Design Tribe began with a handful of gifted travelers who came to stay in Iceland. We made useful unique design objects and furniture on or own and together as a group using salvaged materials. Repurposing requires more than just throwing away. We also dedicated some of our time to good will projects which are close to heart. In 2015 we focused our efforts on establishing a crowd funding campaign and a silent art auction to help raise money for the purchase of a second school bus for the Community Seva Center School in India. In September of 2015 we held the first of a series of Artist Talks and workshops in clay and installation in exchange for a contribution to the Red Cross. Our projects are varied and promote art awareness. We make use of the talents that cross our path in Borgarnes and include the community. Recently we received cultural funding to help keep our ideas accessible to the public. Check out our website to view upcoming workshops, exhibitions or projects in progress. WWW.FLUXUSDESIGNTRIBE.COM
This film highlights the significance of art in community life. The interviewed residents of Borgarnes respond to specific questions about how art has enhanced or changed their lives and describe in detail how they envision an ideal cultural community. These interviews are a reflection and an account of the manner in which Borgarnes values art and culture. WWW.POURQUOIPASBORGARNES.WIX.COM/DOCUMENTARY
SHAPESHIFTER the Book “Egils Saga is the most truthful saga we can read. It’s about a sensitive man who became a brutal VIKING and a great poet. The poem he composed about the death of his two sons tiltled “Loss of Sons” is a magnificent testimony to his skills as a poet.”
Out of this corner the Viking of Iceland emerges, unafraid of men and their ways, unafraid to speak verse against (and for) the King. What Egil's character tells us is something simple, yet absolutely necessary: out of life, make art. Write poetry. Speak verse.
Egil is a complex individual who is truly among the most memorable characters in the Viking world. Egill was an excellent poet and a fierce warrior, a brutal viking and a skilled farmer yet also a tender father and devoted family man. ”
-Ingi Johannesson The poems from Egils saga were translated by Bernard Scudder and originally printed in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders I-V. © Leifur Eiriksson Publishing; http://sagas.is/
Steven Porrello Bird Ng See Jek
Concept & Art Michelle Art Editor
art market & Exhibition at the Hรกlmaklettur
BORGAR NES SUM M ER AR T S
Exhibition - Saturday & Sunday July 9th & 10th, 2016 from 10 am - 14 pm Art Market - Saturday & Sunday July 16th & 17th, 2016 from 10 am - 14 pm For more information check out our Facebook Page Borgarnes Summer Arts The Hรกlmaklettur is located next to Netto shopping mall near the N1 bus stop in Borgarnes
BIRD Photo Si Jiu ART Director Addiction Advertising Singapore at the Bjössaróló Park in Borgarnes
Michelle Bird moved to the wildly windy coast of Borgarnes in the summer of 2014. From her bayside home she paints and creates with friends. For two consecutive years she’s exhibited her continuing series the Good People of Borgarnes at the Borgarfjardar Museum. Michelle paints everything: abstracts, landscapes, portraits, dreams, and walls. Michelle and her canvases have blown from San Francisco and through Hawaii, Amsterdam, Winterthur, and Antwerp. She and her colors wandered through India where she practiced the lost wax bronze casting method, stepped in and out of the Rietveld Art Academy, and for the next three years she would hone her skills and her love of painting under the mentorship and poetry of Anton Martineau. She has lectured and given workshops about her art, drawing from memory or blind painting at San Francisco's Academy of Art University, Switzerland’s Kanton Schule Zürich, Google Zürich, AXA Winterthur, GIS-Zentrum Baudirektion Kanton Zürich, Integrative Psychiatric clinic in Winterthur and others. In Amsterdam she and Bruce Harris produced the book 'Closed Curtain: Lives of de Wallen’. Other illustrations of hers were published by the Dutch & Belgium publication 'Joie de Vivre'. In Switzerland she co-founded and produced The Open Doors Event and published for 7 consecutive years “MAP Magazine” an art annual. In Iceland she founded FLUXUS Design Tribe, a platform for international artists to collaborate on projects which involve community and salvaging.
“Daily I’m awestruck by the otherworldliness of the landscapes that surround me and in my paintings I attempt to translate a kind of co-existence with this crazy beautiful nature.“
SIGURJÓN “I spent my youth combing the islands of the Breiðafjörður Bay. Because my mother grew up there, we went often to visit my grandmother. By the time I was seven, I could recognize and name almost all the birds that lived on the islands.”
me how to use my camera and I will show you the dens of the arctic foxes!” He agreed. Then he showed up with two other friends who were also nature lovers and photographers. From then on they called themselves the three S’. Now you’re one of us he said and since our first meeting, well we’ve been inseparable.”
There are countless varieties of seabirds swept north with the Gulf Winds to the thousands of islands in Breiðafjörður.
Sigurjón Einarsson’s wildlife photography can be viewed at the Borgarnes Museum until November 11th, 2016 - open daily from 1-5 PM in the summer.
“I had a lot of camera equipment throughout my life. My first camera was a Kodak-Instamatic, then I got a Canon. Although it wasn’t until I first laid my hands on a Nikon digital single-lens reflex camera that I truly fell in love with photography as a craft. I was thrilled to have my new DSLR, however didn’t have a clue of how to use it. For years, I had been following the work of the most well known and best Icelandic wildlife photographer. I was already in love with nature and knew my surroundings well because I had been tracking arctic foxes and birds all my life. So I called up the legend and proposed the following, “teach
Along with his vast collection of photographed birds, he will also be showing a documentation of the lives of Icelandic fox hunters. His photographs are intimate and reveal a co-existence of tradition and nature. Fox hunting is a way of life for many people who grew up in these areas and Sigurjon learned to track
animals early on. “My father gave me a rifle and two bullets when I was ten, he said come back with a fox otherwise your next chance will be when your twenty. “ Sigurjón’s captivating photo’s reveal his empathy and trust for the both the hunter and the prey. He takes you on an journey to unpopulated seemingly barren fjords of Iceland, to track the arctic foxes. Sigurjón Einarsson’s doesn’t hunt arctic foxes, he documents their exquisite lives. The arctic fox is the only land mammal native to Iceland and was once hunted for it’s furs and to protect livestock. Nowadays fox hunting is government subsidized and the fox hunters receive a bounty for each tail they present. A hunter will wait hours in his own den baiting the fox with a sheep carcass, after the kill the tail is removed and the bodies are discarded. Because wild fox furs are are inferior to farmed furs, there is little use for the carcass.
URBANIAK Do many Icelanders live in igloos? This is a question asked to Icelanders when traveling abroad. Kuba worked at a restaurant in Reykjavik and for a two month period he collected plastic buckets which were used to contain sauces and were normally discarded. He salvaged about 200 buckets from being trashed and later discovered in his research that these buckets were on sale at the BYKO for about 300 kronur each. Startling what one considers waste. Kuba married the myth of Icelanders living in igloos together with an installation project to construct a real igloo with the salvaged plastic buckets. He organized an event at the Hugheimar Innovation Center in Borgarnes and invited the community to retort by drawing or collaging their real or imaginary homes in each buck cell of the igloo.â€¨ This event took place in September. Friends, neighbors and even folks from Reykjavik came to Borgarnes to
participate in recreating their homes. The first day of the event was dedicated to drawing, collage and installation of real or dream homes. On the second day the group constructed the Igloo. Attached is video created by Marcin Stachewicz of our first Art Borgarnes weekend. The igloo has been visited by many and most of the bucket cells have been transformed into dreams. The Igloo can be viewed at the Fluxus Design Tribe. Kuba studied art and architecture in Poland and Vienna. He came to Borgarnes in 2014 and now lives in Borgarnes. His major in school was multimedia/intermedia art. Since his arrival he has been essential in the development of the Fluxus Design Tribe. He travels to Poland regularly and is also working on an architectural and interior plan for his familyâ€™s home. He will be hosting the artist talks at the Hugheimar and organizing the Open MIC.
VOTTERO Dani Vottero left lasting impressions in Borgarnes. During his visit last summer, he exhibited his work at the Hugheimar Innovation Center and he taught a photography workshop. The proceeds from the workshop were donated to the Icelandic Red Cross. In addition, Dani gave a lecture at the Vitbrigรฐi Vesturlands annual gathering which was televised on the Icelandic news. His vibrant photographs of unique views of Borgarnes can be seen throughout this magazine. He contributed the photos on the cover page, and for the articles Into the Glacier, Meet the Family and Happy Beer Day. Dani was born in northern Italy and has traveled the world for his work, much of which has been in Latin America and Asia. He
developed his photography skills and honed his artistic eye at Animum 3D in Malaga, Spain's renowned school of photography. His graduate work "Himalayan Trails" is a documentary of Nepal. After publication in September 2015, it has been embraced by art, travel and documentary photography aficionados world wide. Himalayan Trails can be ordered at Uno Editorial www.unoeditorial.com/portfolio/himalayan-trails, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the reconstruction of Nepal. More of his work can be viewed in www.danivotterophotography.com Dani Vottero's photographic works are distinguished by his elegant composition, skilled use of color and his delicate approach to his subjects and themes.
Trio DaNoIs brings forth Nordic music and culture Pernille Kaarslev, horn
Jónína Erna Arnardóttir, piano
Morten Fagerli, piano
Picture: Uldis Muzikants, Art Museum Riga Bourse
Trio DaNoIs´ concerts are inspired by Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic music. They perform classical as well as modern pieces. Their music has been specially composed for their performances by the musical composers Tryggvi Baldvinsson from Iceland and Morten Gaathaug from Norway. Pernille Kaarslev, Jónína Erna Arnardottir and Morten Fagerli are from Denmark, Iceland and Norway. Having studied together at the Griegakademi in Bergen, they formed their trio in 2013, and have performed in Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Faroe-Islands, Latvia and Estonia. Trio DaNoIs performs regularly in Borgarnes, please check their Facebook page for more information Trio Danois.
Borgarnes Museum Two permanent exhibitons designed by Snorri Freyr Hilmarsson
Children Throughout a Century An exhibi9on chronicling the 20th century through the eyes of children, specially designed to capture the a@en9on of children and dedicated to showing rather than telling the audience what childhood in Iceland was like in a century of turmoil and change. Oh, To Be a Bird A wonderful collec9on of birds in a beau9ful environment. Colors of nature are prominent and the design shows the world of the birds without any borders or limits. As should be man´s crea9ve thinking.
Safnahús Borgar:arðar Borgarbraut 4-6, Borgarnes s.: 433 7200, www.safnahus.is
CONTEMPORARY ART August 12th - 14th, 2016
In Borgarnes and surrounding areas www.planbartfestival.is
Meet the Family and feel at home at
Blómasetrið Kaffi Kyrrð There are countless reasons to visit Kata and Svava at the Blómasetrið Kaffi Kyrrð.
wonderful relaxing haven is our only real cafe in Borgarnes. It’s a place where you’ll run into locals buying flowers for celebrations and visitors traveling from other countries. Blómasetrið Kaffi Kyrrð translated means something like; the flower setting - cafe tranquility.
Kaffi Kyrrð is a warm soulful place where you may cuddle on a sofa under a woolen blanket, sipping a hot chocolate, while you leaf through books and magazines. Let your eyes wander through the magical maze of tchotchkes, paintings, books and lamps. Chiming mediation music and the aroma of waffles cooking on a grill fills ones senses. Or relax outside in the warmth of the sun on the wooden deck overlooking the monumental Hafnarfjall mountain. The cozy living room is a comfortable setting to hangout with friends or feel completely happy on your own. It is also a great place to buy unique hand made Icelandic crafts from local artisans. Many of the sweaters are hand knitted by the owner Svava.
BLÓMASETRIÐ KAFFI KYRRÐ SKÚLAGATA 13, BORGARNES WWW.BLOMASETRID.IS
The classical Icelandic sweater is called a lopapeysa. Peysan is the french word for a farmer and supposedly when the French merchants began trading in Iceland they referred to the Icelanders as farmers. The Icelanders assumed that the kind visitors where referring to their sweaters and not to them. Lopi is a kind of wool.
The Settlement Center Restaurant & Exhibitions The Settlement Center is our daily
Margrét Gudmundsdottir and
bread. Their amazing vegetarian
Kjartan Ragnarsson. Both
lunch buffet with soup, fresh
Sigríður & Kjartan have worked
bread, fruit salad, tea and coffee
extensively in Icelands’ film and
for a very fair price gets us
theater industry. Aside from
through the year. From the main
making sure visitors have an
menu you can order fresh mussels
unforgettable experience, they
from the Breidafjordur Bay and
also create art together with their
Icelandic lobster tails. Or if you
son, artist Ragnar Kjartanson.
would like something more
Ragnar Kjartanson is probably
traditional, Plokkfiskur is an
best known for his production
Icelandic dish made by creaming
entitled “The Visitors”.
cod fish with potatoes and it’s generally served with slices of
Inquire about their english theatre
dark rye bread from the local
productions and concerts which
are held in the Saga Loft. Open MIC sessions are held on the last
Their award winning exhibitions
Thursday of each month except
are culturally informative and
for the summer months (June,
employ multi-media and theatrical
July, and August). Feel free to join
techniques. In a short playful and
in or just watch and be
interactive tour you can learn
entertained. All languages are
about the first settlers in Iceland
as well as Borgarnes’ most important saga “Egils’ Saga”.
THE SETTLEMENT CENTER SKULAGATA 13, BORGARNES
The folks who began this cultural and culinary haven are Sigríður
E N G L E N D I N G AV Í K RESTAURANT T H E E N G L I S H C OV E Englendingavík is the name of one of the many coves in Borgarnes. It is also the name of the new restaurant situated in the monumental black wooden cluster of houses on the waterfront in Borgarnes.
being used to show the EM European match!
experience one of the many art venues during the Plan B Art Festival at the pack-house.
night which may come to perch at the pack-house.
These beautiful well cared for historical buildings overlook the Brákarsund beach and the island Litla Brákarey. Litla Brákarey is a bird reservation scattered with Eider duck nests, which are used for the local production of down blankets. From a distance you can see the orange flags that mark their nests.
mythology inspired exhibition of a twenty-five meter large installation by Haukur Halldorsson in Edduveröld. Last year Logi Bjarnason and Beata Korner performed together in an impromptu weekend art festival, ART Borgarnes. This summer we will
A hum of excitement purrs through the new establishment. Along with rumors of jetsam from Charcots' research vessel which ran ashore one stormy
The serene illuminated waters of this protected cove can seem as if one were actually a part of the idyllic landscapes of Þórarinn B. Þorláksson and Júlíana Sveinsdóttir. The ice storage was the first structure to be built at Englendingavík in 1876 by an Englishman who was awarded his name title to the bay in exchange for his services. Shortly after in 1857 James Ritchie built another house which would be used to process salmon. Originally built as the old livestock supply trading-house this cluster of buildings are still often referred to as Kaupfelagsvik by some locals. Up until recent history, the Kaupfelag used these building for commercial purposes and storing goods. These structures have been re-erected, and restored many times over. CULTURE The Englendingavík restaurant, packhouse and guest house, has two new owners. One of whom is Margrét Rós Einarsdóttir who manages the cultural house Iðnó in Reykjavik located on the lake Tjörnin. She’s in charge of the cultural venues in the pack-house which has been used in the past for cultural events. Once upon a time the puppet master Bernd Ogrodnik created a concept for an art center called Bruduheimar, which hosted a puppet theater and artist studios. Then came a
THE RESTAURANT Englendingavíks’ history, the warmth of her wood dining room, her magical v i e w s o f t h e b ay, m a k e i t a n extraordinary place to be. Einar has years of experience in hospitality. Together he and his wife Áshildur manage Englendingavíks’ restaurant and homestay. They also run two additional restaurants, Bjargarsteinn Mathus in Grundarfjordar which has received nothing less than 5 stars and Plàssið in Stykkisholmer. Einar is passionate about creating a unique dining experience for his guests. He’s also excited about the pack-house
Einar shares dreamy details of a future Cognac bar. My mind drifts to images of salty sailors gazing out the window over the bay, warming their snifters and mapping out their way through the rocky shoals of Borgarnes. Einer and Áshildur signed a fifteen year lease, they plan to make life interesting, here in Borgarnes. Englendingavík, The Settlement Center and Mjólkursamlagið (The Milk House designed by Guðjón Samúelsson) are the architectural icons of Borgarnes’ rich heritage in trade.
Happy Beer Day Brewhouse Steðji Norsemen liked beer and mead so they brought their customs to Iceland. They may have even brewed their own beer when barley was plentiful. Regretfully on January 1st, 1915 a voter approved ban of alcohol was set. Fortunately it was lifted 18 years later. Sadly beer was never entirely free to be real beer and was prohibited from containing more than 2.25% alcohol, so Icelanders began to strengthen their light beers with Brennevin and the results were disastrous! On March 1st, 1989, now known as Beer Day, beer was freed from all its former restrictions. Since the liberation of beer microbreweries began to flourish and special beers like Steðji, Kaldi, Einstock and Porter became household names to beer drinkers in Iceland and abroad. In Icelandic Steðji means anvil and refers to the rock formation next to the brewhouse. It’s a fitting symbol as Steðji together with other microbreweries are forging a new culture of beer drinking.
We headed up north in Borgarfjardur on highway 50 to the Steðji Microbrewery. Dani our photographer jumped out of the car when he saw the mega Stedji beer bottle sign just off the road. He tried to get an image with his camera on a tripod but the wind wouldn’t agree. Back in the car we jumped, and continued on a gravel path to the sheep farm where the Steðji brewery is located. Dagbjartur is the owner of Steðji microbrewery and, like his name which means bright day, he and his master brewer Phillip certainly made our day brighter with a personal tour of the
brewery. Phillip was cleaning the filters as we entered the brewhouse with its many shiny copper brew kettles each containing a special brew. We sampled some of the many special flavors of beer: full bodied amber, crisp lager, raw licorice, malty October, and Christmas. What makes Steðji unique is their array of distinctive subtle flavors specific to Iceland, such as Icelandic moss and seaweed flavored beer. Brewhouse Steðji opened its doors in 2013 and Dagbjartur’s brew has been increasing in popularity ever since. Their resources are exceptional. The brewery’s fresh water spring location is more than fortunate, neighboring the Deildartunguhver
hot springs and Hraunfossar falls, they access some of the world’s most pristine water sources. Not much more is needed, so Dagbjartur keeps it simple with outstanding ingredients, hops imported from Germany, the flavors of Iceland and a master german brewer. Their focus is on the brewing process and quality. They intend to expand the brewery to include a tasting room which should be open in the summer. Until then, feel free to contact them for a personal tour. www.stedji.com
I NTO THE G L ACIER ADVENTURE BEGINS We arrive in Husafell at the meeting point where the impressive ATV All Terrain Vehicles with eight wheel drive and massive deflatable wheels are warming their engines. Our tickets are waiting for us at the Husafell swimming pool which is annexed as a changing room with cold weather gear. The staff checks carefully if we are dressed sufficiently for extreme cold weather. If not, we can crawl into insulated overalls and choose special shoes to slide over our existing shoes. The seasoned drivers are enthusiastic, one is nicknamed the dinosaur for his years of experience as a driver, and the other is a mechanic. Two thirds of the staff are either active or non active volunteers with the Search and Rescue team. We board the bus and are informed that the vehicle could either roll back and forth or from side to side depending on the weather and road conditions. We are are lucky, the sky is clear but could change to blizzard conditions later in the day. We leave Husafell and turn onto the Kaldidalsvegur which literally means cold valley road and is nicknamed the highlands for beginners. This gravel road was once used to cross from the west up to the north of Iceland and was often feared by locals because the only beings that lived in these inhospitable regions were outlaws and trolls. Because it’s winter our journey with the ATV begins at the swimming pool in Husafell. If it was summer we would have began at the Klaki base camp located at the edge of glacier. We cross the snow covered lava fields and ascend the Langjökull glacier. There is no visible road, just tracks in the snow from yesterday’s journey. Our ATV swerves now and again. We marvel the stunning views as the ATV drives through the white snow desert with pink light and blue skies. At the Klaki base camp we break for the bathrooms, yet are so awestruck by the view, we decide it’s not necessary. As the ATV drives onto the glacier the guides who are well versed in English and German inform us of the chance of crevices and irregular weather conditions and assure us of our safety. This adds to our excitement. Driving over the glacier is magical, the waves of snow are hypnotizing, the sun is bright and I put on my shades. LANGJÖKULL I realize we are on the second largest ice cap in Iceland and later learn that it’s about four hundred meters thick and covers an expanse of about eight thousand square kilometers. The Deildartunguhver receives ground water from the Langjökull glacier as do many of the other hot springs in the Borgarfjörður area including lake Hvita which is the source of the Hvita River. Two volcanic systems lie under the Langjökull and their calderas are visible from the air.
THE TOUR Spectacular vistas and unexpected sunlight await us. We’re given ample time to photograph the glacier before we’re split into two groups of eighteen, each with our own guide who escorts us through the cave. The opening is several meters wide and high. Although protected by a weather tarp the carved sides of the entrance are cleared daily from the new snow fall by the staff members. We’re instructed to walk and remain on the matted path for our safety and follow the lighted corridor. In the first chamber we are fitted with cleats, then continue through the snow cave until we reach the actual ice cave. THE CAVE The ice cave corridors extend five hundred meters deep into the glacier. The snow above us is thirty meters compressed and the ice floor below us is two hundred meters thick. The walls of the ice caves chambers are tiered with layers of weather that represent either snow, rain or ash fall and are compared with the rings of a tree trunk. The change from the snow cave to the ice cave is apparent in the acoustics especially. The ambience of the cave is due to the led lighting design, subtly installed within canals created by high pressure hot water drills. The most impressive part of the excursion within the ice cave is the thirty meter deep crevice which reveals the hollows of the glacier, ominous dark forms and dripping icicles. Another attraction was a small, yet deep two meter crack in the ice. The cave is temperate and maintains a stable temperature of zero degrees, opposed to a polar glacier which is always below zero. There is one entrance to the cave; however, there are also alternative exits in the case of an emergency as well as stored rescue gear. The ice cave was the brain child of two Icelanders, one of whom was an engineer specialized in tunneling, the other who saw the planning through until the greater part of the venture was bought by the Icelandic Tourism Fund. A team of professional engineers, architects, light designers & artists labored for more than four years before the digging began. The actual boring through the ice cap was contracted out to eight local farmers and took fourteen months to complete. They began boring with a drill which had a diameter of forty centimeters and they continued to drill six meters deep each day until they reached there goal. The cave was completed and opened to the public on June 1st 2015. The engineering plans can be seen at the Klaki base camp.
Our tour inside the cave lasted about an hour and was easy and accessible for all ages. The Ice Cave is used for private and corporate events, weddings and the Secret Solstice Festival.
It’s been about fifty minutes since we boarded the monster truck, we continue our journey traversing the stark glacial sea of snow. In the far distance we can now see the entrance to the ice cave. Disembarking the ATV we look around and are astounded by the realization that we are extremely far from civilization.
During the summer there are at least 4 departures daily from the Klaki Base Camp at10:30, 12:30, 13:00 and 15:00. During the winter there is just one departure daily from the hotel in Husafell at 12:30. www.intotheglacier.is
The Old Storage House Café Skemman Discover a hidden historical gem and and enjoy the comfort of traditional Icelandic home-style in the cafe Skemman located in charming Hvanneyri. Although there are no street signs or address numbers, if you follow the old stone path located between the church and the cemetery, you will arrive at the longest standing building in the village and the town’s first café.
Today the building functions as the church community center.
Three enterprising women with diverse professional backgrounds keep the embers of the cafe Skemman glowing. Rósa who is a graphic designer and has her own firm in Hvaneyri, together with Stefania who received her degree in business and works in Borgarnes, opened Skemmans door in 2014. The following summer Kolbrún joined Skemman and brought her culinary The many uses of the Skemman In 1896 the construction of the Skemman was ordained by the riches to the café. bishop of Hvanneyri and was used as a storeroom for food From June 1st until August 10th, the community center supplies and kitchen utensils which had been previously stored at transforms into the homey snug café Skemman. Their coffee is the church. sourced from the mirco-roastery Reykjavik Roasters, they serve When the agricultural school burned down in 1903 about thirty Belgian waffles with an Icelandic twist and offer fresh homemade five staff members and students were housed for more than a soups with bread, raw cake and other treats. year at the Skemman. From 1907-1911 gymnastic lessons were taught on the upper OPEN DAILY 12:00 - 18:00 HRS (NO STREET NAME), IN floor, until the school gym was built adjacent the Skemman. HVANNEYRI, CALL RÓSA 868-8626 OR KOLBRÚN 861-2945
Things you might be able to say in Icelandic 9am
Icelandic is a challenge to learn even if you speak a few languages.
So we’ll make it easy, and just give you a few sounds.
Jaeja! an exclamation for when you are ready to leave or don’t know what else to say.
Rosalega Gaman! means a whole lot of fun and people say it all the time.
Hae, takk, bless. Hi, thanks, bye.
Whats on in the Freezer WEEKLY SUMMER SCHEDULE JUNE | JULY | AUGUST 21:07 MONDAYS @ 20:00-21:00
All our shows are performed in english more info inside
ONE NIGHT STAND TUESDAYS @ 20:00-21:00
HERO WEDNESDAYS @ 20:00-21:00
MAR THURSDAYS @ 20:00-21:00
LIVE MUSIC & GUEST PERFOMANCES FRI/SATURDAY
GENESIS SUNDAYS @ 20:00-21:00
We're EASY TO FIND www.thefreezerhostel.com
Published on Oct 30, 2015
Gaman Saman means Fun Together in Icelandic. Discover life in and around Borgarnes. Our articles are engaging in-depth interviews. We fea...