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lifts you up where you belong

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What‘s the deal with skyr? Ásgeir Trausti:

He‘s just

getting started

“I didn’t even plan on releasing a record” Run tourist, RUN! A cool way to travel and get your blood pumping this summer

From ale to beer

The history of modern beer making in Iceland

Looking good!

Icelandic designers are cool and creative

Issue one 2013 Your free copy / take me with you

All about London This magazine is really expensive but you get it for free. Special prize, only for you my friend!

Tax & D

Ă?SLENSKA/SIA.IS/FLE 62840 01/13

Experienc All of our shops and restaurants offer you

Duty Free

ce Iceland Icelandic memories to take home with you.

One of few airports in the world that is both tax and duty free — meaning up to 50% off city prices.

The ramblings of an editor


ust before New Year’s I accidentally met a lot of tourists at a pub in downtown Reykjavík. Through our conversation I found out that all they were looking for was information on where to go and what to do, what bars were fun and what shops were cool. They even asked me about Icelandic politics, rules and regulations and interest rates for home loans. “If only they had gotten a brilliant magazine on their flight here,” I thought to myself, smiling an all-knowing smile. That might at least have answered a few of their questions. I love being the editor of WOW magazine and it’s not just because my title has the word ‘chief’ in it. No, sir! Being the editor I get to share all sorts of entertaining things with the guests of WOW air, hopefully making their flight even more enjoyable and possibly, even their whole trip too. You know what they say, “Sharing is caring”. Now stop reading this and start enjoying your magazine. Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir, editor in chief

In this issue 6 A letter from the CEO Skúli Mogensen hopes you’ll enjoy your flight with WOW air. 8

Uniquely Icelandic When you go to an Icelandic supermarket it’s more than likely you will notice skyr sitting quietly on the shelves of the dairy coolers. We’re going to tell you all about this nutritious and healthy indulgence.


10 What’s cooking? We have a recipe for perfection that you can bake when you get back home, an Icelandic Christmas cake that, except for the name, has nothing to do with Christmas. 12 A corner of Icelandic culture Kolaportið is an indoor flea market in Reykjavík where you can find almost anything from fresh to rotten (shark that is), new and old – and an insight into the Icelanders psyche. 14 Make yourself at home Our very own student in Berlin is homesick and shares all the things she misses about her home country; clean water and cats to name a couple. Find out what’s not to miss about Iceland. 20 Good food, good drink Ólafur Örn Ólafsson is an Icelandic foodie hipster and knows a lot about the good life. 22 Tidbits from Iceland We have some news for you. 24 What’s going on? The sun is up and so are we. 26 A land of feasts and beauty The Vatnajökull Region covers the area of southeast Iceland and offers spectacular nature and great local food. We’ll have the lobster please. 28 From ale to beer Why is the modern beer making history of Iceland so short? And how did Icelanders go from being the hardest strong liquor drinkers to seemingly sophisticated beer lovers? 30 No ordinary mayor Jón Gnarr, mayor of Reykjavík, loves doing crazy things and he doesn’t seem afraid of being a little silly. We made a little collage of the mayor’s shenanigans. 32 WOW! These Northern Lights! WOW air recently held a Northern Lights photo contest and here are the winners.

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50 A trip to remember Souvenirs are an ideal way to hold on to dear memories. Architect Eyjólfur Pálsson shares is favorite souvenir with the readers of WOW magazine. 52 Cool and creative Icelandic design is becoming more prominent than ever. We contacted a few Icelandic designers and got them to share their designs and inspirations with us.

34 Catch of the day Fishing for the predatory spiny dogfish shark on the shores of Landeyjar is a real-life adventure. You don’t have to worry about scaring the fish, but the fish might scare you! 38 Out to sea Icelanders waters can be very kind and hopes of catching the big one, and we mean a really, really big one, draw enthusiastic fishermen to the West Fjords year after year. 40 How’s the weather? You can sunbathe in Iceland, but don’t forget your blanket. The weather is ever-changing, from one hour to the next and from one year to the next. Tourists may be taken by surprise, but what’s even more surprising, so are the Icelanders. 44 Going up – or going down? Look to the hills for mountaineer Guðmundur Freyr Jónsson. He scales mountains, climbs frozen waterfalls, abseils into deep caves … And what‘s lucky for us, he captures it on film. 48 A person of WOW María Valdimarsdóttir has certainly followed the advice she was once given by a woman a little older than her: “You have to be more than just your husbands wife.”

56 Design a plane A smile went a long way for Alda J. Rögn valdsdóttir, winner of WOW air’s ‘Paint our planes’ competition. 58 Going about in style The Icelandic fashion industry is booming and a great number of fashion houses have earned international recognition. Shopping in Iceland is a pure joy. 62 The largest artwork in the world Through social media, Artist Ingvar Bjorn is attempting to set a world’s record, with the most participants creating The Largest Artwork in the World, all in support of UNICEF. 66 Soul infused pop to Icelandic poetry A notable name pops up time and again in the nominations for The Icelandic Music Awards, Moses Hightower. We met with them and got to know a little more about their band. 68 Just getting started Last summer singer, songwriter Ásgeir Trausti dreamt of selling 200 copies of his album Dýrð í dauðaþögn (Glory in total silence). He is now off to the best start any young musician in Iceland has ever had and he’s just getting started. How did Ásgeir Trausti go from being relatively unknown to becoming a big hit in less than a year? Learn more about our latest WOW star, his music and his goals for the future.


In our last issue we educated our readers on the Icelandic tradition of the Thorri feast. Because of an unfortunate misunderstanding we issued, with that article, a photo that was in our possession but not ours to publish. The photo featured a trey of Thorri food and was taken by photographer Lárus Sigurðarson for EXPO advertising agency. We sincerely regret this mistake and offer our apologies to both Lárus Sigurðarson and EXPO advertising.

74 Music makes the world go round Every year thousands of people travel to various music festivals to enjoy the music but also to have a unique experience. Europe is home to some of the greatest music festivals in the World. Just pick one!

WOW Magazine staff Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Design and layout: Ib Contributing editors: Kristín Ýr Gunnarsdóttir, Dísa Bjarnadóttir, Jón Kristinn Snæhólm, Benedikt Bóas Hinriksson, Guðrún Baldvina Sævarsdóttir, Steingerður Steinarsdóttir, Robert Schmidt Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman Translator: Júlíana Björnsdóttir

78 A true paradise for film enthusiasts Bíó Paradís is the home of eclectic cinema and enriches the selection for movie goers in Iceland. But it’s not just a great place to see a movie, there’s also a cozy little café where you can discuss what you’ve seen.

82 Iceland on the move In Iceland we love to cycle, climb, swim and run in the sun, even at night. Taking in the beautiful nature, while sharpening our competi tive edge - killing two birds with one stone. 84 Run tourist, run! Traveling to a foreign city is not something you‘re likely to ever forget. The most adventu rous take their visits to the next level, compet ing in marathons, cyclothons and triathlons all over the world. 88 Fit while flying Is the person next to you acting odd? Find out why and land in style with the help of these in-flight exercises. 90 Aim for the sky Meet the WOW stars. They are truly an inspira­ tion. WOW air’s goal is to help these stars reach their goals. 92 WOW Destinations Where should you for your next meal? Delightful dining through Europe’s greatest cities.

96 Out and about To some, London is a gray city but if you look beyond Oxford Street and the big crowds you will discover the beauty. Here are our favorite spots in the city. 98 A Yankee in London City Hall Like the people of Reykjavík, Londoners have their own unique mayor - Boris Johnson. 100 Icelanders abroad While in London we met up with a few friends Prentun: gave Oddi umhverfisvottuð prentsmiðja who have settled there. They us a glimpse of their favorite places and activities in their city of choice. 104 On the streets of London What do true Londoners love about their city? We asked some people on the streets of London to tell us what they think is most amazing.

© Birtíngur Publishing Lyngás 17 210 Garðabær Iceland Tel: 00 354 515 5500 Printing Oddi environmentally certified printing company All rights reserved. Reprinting, direct quoting or recapitulation prohibited except with a written permit from publisher. See companys legal protection and rates at ERFISME HV R M


80 A midsummer’s night dream We met up with a group of people already training hard for the upcoming WOW Cyclothon.

All about London:

Advertising rep.: Árni Þór Árnason, Magna Sveinsdóttir, Inga S. Halldórsdóttir


76 Jumping with joy WOW air’s staff is so photogenic that the company decided to use them as models in their latest photo shoot.


In-house photographers: Rakel Ósk Sigurðardóttir, Kristinn Magnússon, Ernir Eyjólfsson




Attention advertisers! These are the people you’ll want to contact:

106 The fun is out there Let’s check out what’s going on in Continental Europe this spring and summer. 110 Good to know This and that about things in general 112 Are we boring you? Well, if we are here’s a little atonement in the form of Sudoku. 114

The Traveling Inquisition Actress Vala Ómarsdóttir was apprehended by The Traveling Inquisition. She confessed to having her cake and eating it too!

Árni Þór Árnason, head of sales and marketing

Magna Sveinsdóttir, advertising repre­­sentative

Issue one


Dear guest, As WOW air is now embarking on its first full year in the air I am continu­ ously amazed and proud to see what we have already accomplis­hed in the last year. When we first started I was frequently asked “why on earth would you want to start an airline in this economy,” and I must admit that there were times during those first months when I was wondering what I had gotten myself into!! However, now as I look back at what we have already built, the fantastic WOW team and brand, the amazing feedback from so many of our guests and travel agencies and partners across Europe on their unique experience on board, the level of service, the great prices and not least our on-time performance to and from Iceland where we are repeatedly ranked #1, I am more certain than ever that WOW air is on track to become exactly what we stand for, namely WOW, and that WOW air is here to stay! We have 4 core objectives: 1. To always offer the best prices to and from Iceland 2. To maintain the best on time performance in Iceland and deliver guests safely to their destinations 3. To always offer a personal and fun service for our guests and greet them with a big smile 4. To provide a total travel solution to our guests through a wide network of partners enabling all our guests to customize their flight, hotel, car rental and fun! So far I think we’ve done a great job on all fronts and I am extremely proud to see how the entire WOW team is excelling under pressure as we continue to grow! We even decided to use only our own team in all our promotions as you can see in this magazine and experience on board this flight, since our crew is truly WOW! (Our office team was slightly shyer, however I expect to see them jumping high in the next issue.) In 2013 we will fly with almost half a million guests on a fleet of 4 Airbus 320 aircrafts, to 14 destinations across Europe. We will do so, successfully by staying focused and continuing to deliver on our goals, listening carefully to you and all of our partners on how we can do even better! Thank you for trusting us and flying with us. All of us at WOW air wish you a safe and happy journey and look forward to welcoming you back!

Skuli Mogensen Founder and CEO WOW air P.S. Don’t try that jump home alone!

6 ı WOW lifts you up where you belong

Issue one


Uniquely Icelandic

Skyr – Total indulgence If you’ve been to an Icelandic supermarket it is more than likely that you‘ve noticed skyr. If you are wondering what it is let us sum it up for you: it is a super high protein, low-fat, calcium-rich dairy product. Until recently, finding skyr anywhere outside of Iceland was nearly impossible but recently that has changed as skyr has made its way into American fine foods stores and become somewhat of a dietary trend there, but that’s a different story. Iceland is the home of skyr so while you’re here why don’t you try it? by Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photo: Rakel Ósk Sigurðardóttir

Getting technical Skyr was recently added to The Slow Food “Arc of taste” where it is described as a fresh acid-curd cheese made from skim milk which is produced by the coagulation of milk proteins by acidification with lactic acid bacteria. Traditional production is characterized by the use of skyr from an earlier batch as starter and the separation of curds and whey by cloth filtration. Skyr is a very soft cheese which traditionally was consumed as a full meal. In modern consumption it is normally flavored with sweeteners such as fruit or sugar, and enjoyed with cream or milk during breakfast or as a snack item. Nutritional qualities of pure skyr are quite exceptional, as it is very high in protein and contains no fat. It is very suitable for various culinary exercises and can be found in increasing numbers on the dessert menu of restaurants in Iceland. Skyr is a traditional product, which has probably been a part of the Icelandic diet since the first settlers arrived more than one thousand years ago. It is mentioned in medieval Icelandic literature and remnants of products similar to skyr have been found in archaeological excavations of medieval farms in Iceland. Skyr, or similar dairy products, were probably produced across the whole Nordic region around the settlement time in Iceland, but soon disappeared in other countries, except in Iceland where it was one of the most important staples in the diet of most people for centuries. Skyr was produced in every household and each one with time developed their own starter culture, which gave their skyr a unique flavor. Skyr was mainly produced in the summ­ er, and the challenge was to maintain the starter throughout the winter in order to re-start the production in the new season. This indicates that the skyr we have today is actually related to the skyr of the settlers.

8 ı WOW lifts you up where you belong

Some throw it but most eat it Skyr is so old that it can be found in a common phrase: “Those who own the skyr can throw/ splash it” Of course this phrase doesn’t translate well. Try saying it our way: “Þeir sletta skyrinu sem eiga það.” It sounds a lot better. Bas­ically the saying is used in banter to describe when someone is making accusations about someone. It’s a little like saying “Who are you to talk?” One story of old is about the most famous and popular hero­ es of the Icelanders’ Sagas: Grett­ir the strong. He came up to the home of a man named Auðunn, with the intention of starting a fight. Auðunn wasn’t home so Grettir waited. When Auðunn arrived on his horse with satchels of skyr, Grettir

announced he was there to fight. Auðunn answered that he’d have to put away the food he was carrying first but then threw a satchel of skyr at Grettir. It is said that Grettir looked so silly covered in skyr it was more embarrassing for him than if Auð­unn had wounded him gre­atly in battle. Whether skyr has been thrown on many people since Auðunn threw it on Grettir centuries ago is uncertain, but what is certain, plenty of it has been eaten since then, and it will be eaten for years to come. So get yourself some skyr while you’re here and if you take some home you can try making a skyr-cake for your friends. Here’s the recipe: 80 gr. melted butter 1 pack cinnamon crackers, crushed 5 dl (2 cups) whipped cream 500 gr. vanilla flavored skyr 3 tbsp blueberry jam fresh blueberries and strawberr­ies for decoration Mix the butter and the crushed crackers and layer the bottom of a cake tin. Gently mix the cream and the skyr and pour onto the crumb-bottom. Carefully place the blueberry jam on top and deco­rate with the fresh berries. Cool for three to four hours and then voila! Skyr-cake ready for serving!

What’s cooking?

How to bake

a traditional Icelandic cake Recipe by Sigríður Björk Bragadóttir Photo: Rakel Ósk Sigurðardóttir

175 g butter, soft 175 g sugar 2 large eggs 250 g flour 1 ½ tsp. baking ­powder ½-1 tsp. cardamom seeds,­ freshly ground or pestled (from 10-20 pods) 1 dl raisins 1 ¼ dl milk 1 tsp. vanilla extract or ½ tsp. lemon extract

10 ı WOW lifts you up where you belong

Despite the name, this delicious cake used to be a household staple serv­ed all year round. Actu­­ally, it still is, although Ice­­land­ic housewives might not be as prone to baking them as they used to and also these days, they can be bought from a store. Still, homemade cakes are spec­­ial and we got Gestgjafinn, Iceland’s leading culinary maga­zine, to give us their reci­pe so our readers could impress their friends with their real Icelandic baking skills. This recipe has a bit of a fancy twist to it as fresh­­ly ground carda­moms give it a unique fla­vor. If you don’t like raisins you could try switch­­ing to chocolate chips. Heat the oven to 175°C. Mix butter and sugar thoroughly in a bowl until the mixture is light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix for 3-4 minutes. Sift flour and baking powder into another bowl and add ground cardamom seeds and raisins. Add the flour mixture, milk and vanilla or lemon extract to the butter and sugar; mix well. Grease a deep, rectangular cake tin and add the mixture evenly. Bake on low­­est rim for 50-60 minutes.

Reykjavik's Thermal Pools


e c r u o s A alth e h of

Th er m al sw im m in g po ol s

Hot t ubs and jacuzzi

*Admission January 2013. Price is subject to change


k. 55AD0ULiTsS k. 130DiRsEN

Sa un as , steambaths an d sh ow ers


For he al t h an d w el l-be in g

Se ve n lo ca t io ns

Op en ea rl y un t il la te

Thermal pools and ba baths s in Reykjavik are a so source of health health, relaxation a and d pureness pureness. All of the city´s swimming pools have several hot pots with temperatures ranging from 37˚ to 42˚C (98˚–111˚F). The pools are kept at an average temperature of 29˚ C (84˚ F). Tel: +354 411 5000 •

An indoor flea market


– A corner of Icelandic culture Most major metropolitan cities have some kind of outdoor market. In Reykjavík it would be practically impossible to have an outdoor market as we are blessed with fresh powerful gusts of wind quite frequently. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and in Iceland there’s plenty of both. So – our flea market is inside an old warehouse building, in the center of downtown Reykjavík and it’s called Kolaportið (roughly translated: The coal quadrangle). by Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photos: Ernir Eyjólfsson


olaportið is where you should go if you want to get a taste of Icelandic culture. There you’ll find the best Icelandic candy: licorice in all forms; shiny and greasy in a plastic bag, covered with milk chocolate or inside a small candy bar with banana cream. If you’re not much of a licorice lover try the kókosbolla (coconut bun), a thin chocolate shell covered with grated coconut in which you’ll discover fluffy white, creamy filling once you bite into it. Kolaportið is also where you’ll find some of the freshest fish and potatoes. In contrast, often

in the very same booths you’ll discover the ‘not so fresh,’ fer­ ment­ed shark. The Vikings had to be resourceful back in the day, so this is one of the foods that can be credited to “keeping this nation alive”. If you want to return from your visit to Iceland and tell your friends you had “the full experience” or “did as the Vikings did” you’ll take a deep breath, count to ten and try a piece. Keep walking through Kola­ port­­­ið and you’ll see the collections, collectors and collectibles. Old vinyl records, DVDs, books, antiques, paintings, jewelry, china, tea pots... and much

12 ı WOW lifts you up where you belong

more stuff. It’s not uncommon for a young Icelander to browse through the stalls and think “Oh, this is just like the one my grandmother had in her living room.” Last but not least: garage, base­­ ment, attic and storage room stalls. Moms and dads, daugh­ters and sons are out there try­ing to sell the things they don’t use any more. Perhaps stuff they nev­­er used but bought on a trip abroad because the price was so good. Beware: The real treasure hunters come early to grab the best deals. For some people Kolaportið is an essential part of their weekend ‘out and about’. And essential it is indeed. It’s essential to visit at least once, whether or not you try the shark or at least the candy. When you’re all done you can have a look in

“Kolaportið is also where you’ll find some of the freshest fish and potatoes. In contrast, often in the very same booths you’ll discover the ‘not so fresh,’ fer­ ment­ed shark.” the art museum just down the block or enjoy one of the many cafés or restaurants in the area. If you are a student of culture and you‘d like a good deal, a trip to Kolaportið can be a special part of your visit to downtown Reykjavik. It’s open every Saturday and Sunday all year round.

Uno is a cozy restaurant in the heart of downtown Reykjavik that has become a favorite among foodies, mainly for their flavorful antipasti, platters and Italian style tapas. The kitchen's emphasis is on local ingredients, served with an Italian twist. No shortcuts are allowed and everything is made from scratch.


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This charming old house on Ingolfstorg square, houses the restaurant on the main floor and downstairs a wine cellar, kitchen and bakery with a pasta machine that churns out linguine, tagliolini and rigatoni every morning. Recently renovated and under new ownership, Uno has attracted some of the best young chefs in town

and consequently the restaurant has acquired a following of loyal patrons. Prices are moderate and the warm and inviting lounge offers 50% of all drinks during the daily Happy hour between 17–19. Fridays and Saturdays the kitchen stays open until midnight, so sharing a platter of bruschettas and a bottle of wine is the perfect end to a good day in Reykjavik.

UNO at Ingólfstorg Tel. 561 1313 |

What’s not to miss?

Make yourself

at home

In a few weeks time I will return home after spending 6 months in Berlin, Germany. Home is Reykjavík, Iceland and always has been. I was raised in the 80s, in a society ripe with national pride in the wake of independence and constantly chanting the sound bite “World Champions per capita!”

Northern lights This will sound like a cliché but I really miss them. I didn’t realize that I would miss out on a whole season of Northern lights and I still accidentally peer into the Berlin night sky on clear, frosty

The tourists

By Guðrún Baldvina Sævarsdóttir Photos: Birtíngur photo collection.


took an embarrass­ ing economic crisis to shake my funda­­­­­­mental belief that we Icelanders are really rockin’ in the free world. For most of my life I was raised in a society that honestly believed it possessed the world’s cleanest air, the world’s best water, the most beautiful women, strongest men, most exciting nightlife, best music, best food, best pilots and I could go on for much, much long­er. It seemed like the only area we weren’t superior to the rest of the world in, was basic humil­i­ty. I still hear myself telling for­eign­­­­ ers, that because Icelandic vege­­­­­­ tables are forced to grow slowly in the harsh climate they retain all of their juices and nutri­­­ents making them more nutri­­­tious and better than vege­­tables anywhere else in the world. I have no idea where I got this information from but I know it comes from that place deep inside me that auto­ matically has alternative vers­ions of explaining how unique and special we are. I am therefore slightly torn in writ­­­­­ing an article boasting all the great things about my home country that I miss. The fact of the matter is that Iceland isn’t the best or the greatest or the most special of all the countries in the world, nor does it need to be. It is however unique, just like every other country in the world and like the Icelandic say­­­ing goes “Distance makes the mountains blue”. So, from a place of the utmost humility and respect for other nations and cultures, here’s a list of things that I deeply miss and can’t wait to experience again once I get back home.

Being warm This may come as a shock but I can’t wait to get back to the warmth of Iceland. The most common question I get from

nights and much to the amusement of whoever is standing next to me, say “Looks like we might get some Northern lights tonight”. They are magnificent enough to make you look out for them and get that sensation of awe every time you see them, no matter how often they occur. Come to think of it, I still hold for an earthquake when the floor underneath me vibrates, which in this city usu­ally means a train is passing by.

Meeting someone I know by coincidence

pe­­­ople when they hear where I’m from is “Isn’t it really, really cold there?” No, not really. Sure, the weather is extreme and un­predictable and you never leave the house without some backup clothing but unlike the more humid climates of central Europe, you can easily dress off the cold and every house you go into is always warm. I can’t wait to mindlessly turn up the heat in my apartment and hang out under the steamy, hot shower until my skin wrinkles with­­out worrying about what that will cost me next month. Most of all, I can’t wait to get to the pool with its variety of hot tubs, dip my toes into the hottest one (usually 42-44° C), feel the tingling sensation of my skin as it tries to tell my brain that this is WAY TOO HOT and ease in there until my heart slows down to a beat a minute and my skin turns lobster-red. To be fair, I’m not really looking forward to applying lip balm (or God help me lip gloss) and stepping out into a typical March storm in Iceland. For some reason the wind in Iceland is very unclear about direction. It just seems determined to bring all of the hair on your head into your face.

14 ı WOW lifts you up where you belong

Reykjavík is a small city in a small country so you don’t re­­ally leave the house without bum­ ping into at least a few pe­ople you know. For the past 6 months I haven’t been able to shake the habit of peering at the backs of strangers at busy intersections or at the mall in Berlin thinking “Is that my cousin Agnes?” or even “Is that my dad?” After I first moved to Berlin and realized that the odds of running into somebody I know were slim to none I ex­­per­­ienced a sense of freedom that evolved into a complete lack of ambition concerning my appear­ance. Tracksuits and a Mc­­Donalds-arc­hed­ hairdo took over and maybe I just miss that need to look smart in case I run into some­­one I know.

Hafberg, my local fish store It’s not just that they have fresh amazing fish every day, it’s also that friendly service of picking out that particular piece of fish that suits your character (“How about some cod today?”), advis­­ ing you on how best to cook it and rounding up the price in your favor making you feel spec­­ial and welcome.

Tourists in Iceland are incredibly nice and charming and usually have the utmost respect for the country. Talking to tourists gives me a new feeling for the amazing nature I’m blessed to live in and they usually see and notice things that I don’t appreciate or notice anymore. They always introduce me to some amazing new Icelandic band or artist that I haven’t heard of. My theory is that Icelanders are the best vers­­ ion of themselves around tourists, not because we’re show­­­­­­ing off but because we’re re­­­­­­minded of all the things we usu­­ally take for granted.

The nature of course Specifically the mountains, the sea and the weather. Peering into Mount Esja to see if it’s grey, white, blue or even turn­­ ing green or looking up into the Bláfjöll mountain range to see if they might open the ski slop­es that weekend. Watching the sea turn grey, blue, white or green, cleaning sea salt off

your car after a storm or even swimming in the freezing sea which is becoming something of a national sport. And the weat­her. The crazy, unpredictable weather with its circular rain and wind. There’s a reason Ice­­landers don’t use umbrellas and view them more as theater props than actual instruments. Maybe it’s not the weather itself that I miss, but rather all the fuss around it. Clearing your backyard and drains, securing your grill or bicycle before a storm, lighting candles and closing all the windows while listening to the wind beat your house from the outside and the endless talk about it… That might be the world’s record Icelanders do actually hold, lengthy talks about the weather.

The water Despite my newfound humility and realization that we’re not the best at everything, this myth is probably true: Iceland really has the world’s tastiest tap water. My plan is to drink every sip with an abundance of gratitude from here on.

it being considered aggressive or odd. The houses are sturdy and strong and whatever bad weather conditions you find yourself in, you can be sure that the house has seen worse. The mountains make sure you always know which direction you’re facing so getting lost in the city is impossible. With 330 thousand people, all related in one way or another, they can’t get away with much class division, which adds a sense of equality and familiarity. I sometimes see people in Berlin that I just instinctively know are Ice­­landers, probably because I’ve seen them before without ever noticing them.

Downtown Reykjavík

The cats I’ll admit it; I’m nothing if not a cat lover. During my 6 months in Berlin I have seen a total of 1 cat and an estimate of 3000 dogs. I spotted the cat during a stroll through a cemetery. It spotted me and instantly ran off behind the gravestones. In hindsight, it was like seeing a ghost. The ghost of Berlin’s cats. Reykjavík has to be the cat lover’s capital of the world, with an overwhelming number of households having a cat and all claiming their cat is special. They’re generally really friendly and cute, purring at you to pet them in the street.

The security You can forget to lock your car with your iPhone lying on the dashboard and your wallet stick­­ing out of your window and odds are it will all be there when you get back. Actually if it’s an iPhone 5, someone might steal it, but don’t worry about older models seeing as almost everybody already has one. You can also look people in the eye and say hello during evening walks without

It’s a happening and lively place in a very dense area. Every­ thing you need is right there and it’s brimming over with art, shops and people. Ey­mundsson bookstore in Austurstræti, Café Babalú in Skóla­­vörðustígur, designer shops Aftur and Kron, concert house Harpa, Rósenberg bar, the galleries, the book readings and the high quality of the classical music scene (The Iceland Symphony Orchestra is ridiculously good).

This gem, situated in the heart of Reykjavík, offers a homey Mediterranean atmosphere along with great food from the freshest ingredients. The pizza oven at Caruso is legendary as well as the pizzas and everything from pasta to amazing steak and fish dishes are prepared with love and respect. Be sure to try the delicious homemade chocolate cake. Some say it’s the best in town. Caruso Þingholtsstræti 1 I 101 Reykjavík I Reservations: 562 7335 or email I Fax: 561 7334 Open: Mondays - Thursdays: 11:30-22:30 Fridays: 11:30-23:30 Saturdays: 12:00-23:30 Sundays: 17:00-22:00

nds On weeke yed pla is c live musi s classic u o m fa r by ou Símon H r e y guitar pla ating an e Ívarsson cr able unforgett . ambience


often wond­er­ed how foreigners settle down in such a remote place and feel at home. It’s not that I don’t love it there. I just thought that it would be a difficult place to adjust to in the long-term. My foreign friends who live in Iceland usually all say the same thing, “The nature is so special and awe-inspiring and the small community makes you feel safe and at home”. I couldn’t agree more. There’s no place like home.

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The disappearing café

Tíu dropar / Le Chateaux Des Dix Chuttes Tíu dropar (Ten Drops) is a café located in the cellar of Lauga­veg­ur 27. This is one of the oldest cafés in Iceland and for the last 30 years to this very day they serve freshly baked pancakes and waffles á la the grandmothers of Iceland, with lots of whipped cream and Icelandic jam. Ten Drops is also known for its homemade cakes, baked from scratch according to old recipes, and of course, their hot cocoa, known by many of their guests as ‘The Only Real Hot Cocoa on Earth’. If you’re not in the mood for old fashioned Icelandic goodies you can choose from an assortment of light dishes, tea, wines and beer. We recommend the French meat soup, a popular dish and another old favorite

Where did the café go? Don´t be surprised if you can´t find the café after 18:00. Something happens around that time that trans­­forms this little cellar into a French wine room known as Le Chateaux Des Dix Chuttes or the Castle of the Ten Drops. This is a lovely place to sit and enjoy good wines along with cheese, ham or other light dishes for as little as 500 ISK a plate,

and don´t worry, the coffee, co­coa and pancakes are still there! Lovely French music sets the mood and the ambiance is perfect for a deep conversation. Guests wanting to break out in song can have their turn after 22:00 on the weekends, as long as they can find someone to play the antique piano given to the café’s owner, David Bensow, by a regular.

Choose your wine Guests can have their say on the wine list of Le Cha­te­aux Des Dix Chuttes and David will make special orders to fulfill their wish­es. In fact, he welcomes any sug­gestions making the wine list one of the more, well-endowed in Reykjavík. He´s especially interested in serving good Port to his clientele.

Intimate climate The little wine room and café seat only 40 guests and the

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mood is set in the early evening. It’s safe to say this is just the kind of place that was missing from the brimming Icelandic bar and café scene - a perfect sett­ ing for a small group of friends to reminisce over the good old days or for a first date. Be sure to taste David´s “wine of the week” or let his fair beer prices amaze you. Check out the ten drops twitt­ er feed and find both café and wine room on Facebook. Tíu dropar / Le Chateaux Des Dix Chuttes Laugavegur 27 I 101 Reykjavík I Tel: 00 354 551 9380


The Danish Pub

When in Iceland, go Danish! You know that Iceland used to be a Danish colony, right? Even though independ­ence from the Danish Crown was necessary, Icelanders still celebrate every­ thing Danish, so don´t expect to meet a big Danish crowd at The Danish Pub, they are all Icelanders just act­ing like they’re Danish. Really! This bar has made a name for itself in the Reykjavik social scene and is known locally as Den Danske Kro (we all just want a reason to speak Danish in public). This popular downtown venue serves a remarkable selection of beers including the famous Danish white beers, the darker more malt brews and of course the traditional and almost obligatory Tuborg and Carlsberg. If you come during the Christmas

season you can taste some of the renowned Christmas brews, very popular in demand. Just ask for Julebryg (“you-le-bree”).

Do as the Danes do The owners of the Danish Pub strive to create the true Danish atmos­phere known among the Danes (and Danish-prone Ice­­ landers) as “hyggelich”. If you truly are Danish this can be your “home away from home”. And in

this spirit, check out the “house” within the pub – an off-the­-wall design in its most literal sense! Get carefree or “ligeglad” (leeglaath), shoot some darts, try the custom­ary Gammel Dansk bitt­ ers or catch some live football. Watch the world go by on the outside terrace and have a taste of the traditional smørre­brød (fantastic open sandwiches). You can pre-order these delicious snacks for larger groups.

Does this sound too tranquil? The Danish Pub is nothing if not a place to party. The at­­mos­­phere is easy going and you can choose from a variety of shots and even cocktails if you’re not in the beermood (Does that ever happen?). Reminder: If you thought you were in for a quiet night guess again, The Danish Pub features live music every night with special appearances and unadvertised happenings on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Put your musical knowledge to

the test at the Wednesday night pop-quiz; the prizes will surprise you.

Best local pub in Reykjavík Wherever you‘re from you’ll want to have a great time while vis­iting Reykjavík. The people of Reykjavík do anyway, so they flock to The Danish Pub for a beer “en øl” during the Happy Hour every day from 16-19. The place is crowded and you’re guaranteed to meet some fun, “lee glaath” people. WOW Challenge: Imagine there’s a potato in your throat and receive every drink with the words: “Tag skaadoo haw”. They’ll all think you´re from Copenhagen. Honest! Den Danske Kro Ingólfsstræti 3 I 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 552 0070 Opening hours: 14:00 – 01:00 Sun-Thurs 14:00 – 05:00 Fri-Sat

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Let´s go to the …

Lebowski Bar

The Reykjavik venue that rocks! From the entrepreneurs that brought you Café Oliver and Vega­mot, comes Lebowski Bar. You can take a quick guess where the name and inspiration comes from and even if you didn´t like the infamous 1998 movie we are cert­ain you will love this bar. Just walking in to this retro American bar puts a smile on your face and the mood is very 1960’s. You can hang out at the old fashioned porch and imagine you are in a real action movie. They don´t make bars like these anymore … oh wait they do, this one! Four big screens adorn the walls, so it’s also a great place to hang out when there are big events and sporting high­lights to be seen. And there’s also an “outside” area deco­­rated in a zappy Miami-sunshine yellow that will cheer even the dullest of days.

Dine and jive Lebowski Bar really captures the diner style with cosy booths and a fabulous jukebox containing over 1,600 songs guaranteed to get those hips swaying. If that´s not enough

there’s a DJ on every night of the week so you won´t feel the pressure of select­ing all the music by yourself. The menus are the biggest in Iceland … no literally! Their phy­­sical dimensions are huge! Doesn´t everyone say that size really does matter? Try their amazing burgers, there’s cheese, bacon, a béarn­aise sauce option and succulent beef tenderloin. If that’s not enough, choose from one of the 12 kinds of milkshakes to go with it.

Bar has taken this now-iconic drink to a new level, offering an astounding 18 varieties of White Russian, along with an extensive bar list.

Bowling at the bar The real icing on the Le­bowski cake, however, is the bar’s gen­u­­ine bowling lane – it’s a classic. How many bars have a bowling lane? In Iceland, not many, unless you count the bars at actual bowling alleys that certainly don’t have the cool vibe of Le­bowski Bar. DJs and a bass player add to the music mix at weekends and there’s room to dance. Check it out dudes, you’re guaranteed a good time. WOW Challenge: Dress up as a real rockabilly chick or dude before you go to the Le­bowski Bar. You’ll fit right in.

“Careful man, there’s a beverage here!” 

The Lebowski Bar Laugavegur 20a +354 552 2300

Jeffrey ‘the Dude’ Lebowski, the protagonist of the Coen brother’s comedy, is renowned for his penchant for ‘White Russ­ ians’ – vodka based cocktails featuring coffee liqueurs and cream or milk. The Lebowski

FIND US ON FACEBOOK and Twitter Twitter: @LebowskiBar Instagram: #LebowskiBar Open 11:00 – 01:00 Sun-Thurs and 11:00 – 04:00 Fri/Sat

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Lebowski Bar is my favorite place to hang out at. I love grabbing a good beer, a burger & topping it with a delicious milkshake. Lebowski Bar plays oldies music which makes the vibe like none other in Reykjavik. They also have happy hour from 4-7pm and who doesn’t love that! Bottom line, Lebowski Bar is a great mainstream bar where you can meet fellow travelers and have a drink with locals. Practice the word ‘SKÁL’ (Cheers) ~ Inga,@TinyIceland (


The English Pub

Save water, drink beer! For years, Iceland has enjoyed a diverse selection of restaurants and often sophisticated bars. However, one tiny grumble occasionally surfaced from the country’s Anglophiles – simply that there was no proper “pub”. And so the English Pub was born. From modest beginnings it has built a hearty reputation, seeking out, with the advice and guidance of its dedicated customers, the finest ale available to mankind. Today it offers its enthusiastic clientele the chance to sample 50 beers from around the world, as well as a staggering 15 Icelandic brands.

make the pilgrimage to the pub’s humble door. Located at the very heart of downtown Reykjavik, the walls of the English Pub are adorned with hundreds of photographs – like an album of the city’s history just waiting to be explored over a quiet beer.

A sporting chance Whisky galore Not content to rest on its laurels, the English Pub has ventured north of its virtual border and also offers the finest selection of whiskies anywhere in the country. The choice of some 60 malts include many of Scotland’s finest, ensuring that numerous Ice­­landers and worldly travelers

Live sporting coverage is amply catered for, with a choice of three big screens and TVs. In­­ side the pub there is room for up to 150 people, and an outdoor terrace can accommodate plenty more on those balmy Ice­­landic evenings! Whether it is foot­­ball (Premier and Champions League), rugby or golf, there are always

special offers when live events are being broadcast. Live music every night adds to the atmosphere and for anyone feeling lucky, there is the Wheel of Fortune. Regulars like nothing more than to spin the wheel and chance a “Sorry” or preferably win what used to be called a Yard of Ale. These days, it’s ine­vitably known as a meter of beer, but the winners don’t seem to mind! The English Pub Austurstræti 12 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 578 0400 Mobile: +354 697 9003

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old friends. This has often led to me getting to know new people.” What is the story behind Björk and Birkir? “I used to work with my friend Gunnar Karl at DILL restaurant. We were con­ stantly looking for tasty in­­gredients from Ice­­land’s nature. We climbed moun­­tains and tasted most of what we found, most of it was good and some of it made it into the DILL menu. “We really liked birch with its unique flavor. We used it quite a bit for desserts and to season meat and fish. And we kept experimenting with what would be a good venue for this excellent taste. Since we’re both natural drinkers we thought it would be interesting to make a liqueur to match with a fish dish we were offering at the time. Our guests really liked it so the next step was to bottle and sell it.”

Good food, good drink

Ólafur Örn Ólafsson:

An Icelandic foodie hipster by Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photo: Rakel Ósk Sigurðardóttir

Amongst the many people in Reykjavík who like to enjoy good food and drink Ólafur Örn Ólafsson (Óli Óla) is a rather well known name. He is one of those people who seem to know just about everybody who’s anybody. These days he’s even more well known around Reykjavík because for the past few weeks he’s been on television once a week as one of the judges on the Icelandic version of MasterChef.


li can also be credi­ ted for in­tro­ducing some novelties into the eclectic mix of Icelandic liq­ u­­eurs. He’s one of the thinkers behind Björk and Birkir, unique Iceland­ic liqueurs made from Icelandic herbs. Óli’s interests are good food and good drink, so we thought he’d be a per­­fect candidate to share some of his wisdom about eating well in Iceland and abroad.

So Óli, what’s your story, how did you get to be the “culinary megastar” that you are today? “Megastar? That sounds a bit extreme. If someone knows my face it’s probably because I’ve been fortunate enough to work in some of the best restaurants in Reykjavík for the past few years. I also have to admit that I have a tendency to forget pe­­­ople’s names or faces. So to play it safe, I often greet people that I don’t know at all as if we’re

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What is the latest and greatest in the Icelandic cuisine scene? “It’s a rapidly growing field. Farmers have started mak­­ing all kinds of good stuff right at their farms, such as ice cream and cheese, not to mention all the great crafts and clothing made from the sheep’s wool. “Micro-breweries have been popping up all over the country, some of them offer excellent beer, some of them not as excel­lent, but I welcome it all, even the not-so-good first attempts. All Icelanders who try and add to our rich food culture with new ideas deserve applause, in my book.” What do you recommend most in food and drink to foreign visi­tors? “Try the local stuff. Find a rest­au­­rant that pre­­ par­­es and uses local pro­­­­duce. In Iceland you can have some of the freshest fish in the world. When you ord­er fish in a good restaurant it’s often something that was swimm­­­ing in the ocean the day before. I also recom­mend skyr

to all for­eign visitors. In the summertime I sugg­est visits to the farmers who produce their own dairy pro­­ducts, and Frú Lauga, the farm­­ers mark­­­­­­et in Reykjavík, is a place that all real “foodies” should visit.” Since you’ve been in the rest­au­­rant business for so long, do you credit yourself for any of the recent restaurant-trends? “I’m very proud of hav­­ing been a part of start­­ing the New Nordic rest­­aurant at DILL. New Nordic cuisine is closely related to the “slow food” concept, which in short is the idea that ingredients should travel as little as possi­ble, meaning the distance from the farm to the plate (“from farm to fork”). When the New Nordic wave started here, Iceland­ic chefs and restaurant owners start­­ed thinking more about this. If I can be credited for play­­ing even a small role in this, it mak­es me very happy.” You’ve travelled quite a bit and tried a few diff­­erent things in oth­er countries’ restaurants, what are some of your more mem­ orable experiences? “I’ll always remember the first time I ate at NOMA, Copen­­ hag­en. You could say it was an in­­­fluential event in my life as a “foodie”. I had a twelve course meal where every course was a pleasant surprise. “I’ll also never forget eating in a small family restaurant in Thai­­land. We were greeted by a limping grand­­mother with one single tooth in her mouth. We were rather skeptical but it ended up being one of the very best meals I’ve ever been served. Fresh fish, lots of hot spices and everything cooked with love. Fabulous! If you were young and broke, but wanted to travel, where would you go? “Berlin! Berlin is so full of life and there are plenty of “ethnic restaurants” with affordable pric­es. They also have a super fun bar-scene and the people in Berlin are exceptionally cool and hip.”


Tapas Barinn A tasty ray of sunshine in downtown Reykjavík Imagine yourself in the hot sun of Anda­lucia, stepping into the cool interior of a typical bodega or wine bar. The whitewashed walls, simple wooden tables and a smiling patron with his friendly staff greet you. You might not realize that you are, in fact, in downtown Reykjavík. Tapas Barinn is a place bursting with delic­i­ous smells and flavors of traditional tapas. Along the walls are racks of fine wines and right in front of you the tasty dishes are being served to the diverse and very loyal clientele.

Temptations for the taste buds Tapas are small portions of food, hot and cold and because people are not focused upon eating an entire meal the serving of tapas encourages conversation to flow more easily. Like the Spanish, Icelanders go to bars to meet friends, chat, a ­ rgue, joke and flirt. Tapas Barinn is the ideal venue for this social activity, with their great food and service in a relaxed atmosphere. You are sure to be in for a happy evening.

The seduction of seafood When you enter Tapas Barinn you will immed­ iately be seduc­ed by the aromas of garlic, olive oil, shellfish, succulent meats and cheese. The well balanced menu contains over 50 dishes to suit all tastes. Any of these dishes can be ordered individ­ually or as part of a main course. If making a choice is too difficult just let the master chef pick his favorites for you. At Tapas Barinn you will get a stylish fusion of first-class service, fresh fish and seafood and Icelandic lamb. This combin­a­tion has made Tapas Barinn one of Iceland’s most popular restau­­rants. But don’t take our word for it, check it out for yourself and be convinced. Tapas Barinn Vesturgata 3b, 101 Reykjavík Tel: 551 2344

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This and that

Reykjavík City Center on the World Heritage List?


n an editorial that appeared in the popular, Márgenes Arqutetura, a Spanish architectural magazine’s September 2012 issue dedicated to Nordic capitals, it was suggested that Reykjavík City Center be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In their latest issue there’s several pages of coverage on Reykjavík’s architectural styles. Both of Márgenes Arqutectura’s editors are architects and among the buildings that they aret fascinated by are Harpa and a block of flats for senior citizens in Sóltún.

In the editorial they claim that this city center, which Jules Verne, who by the way never set foot in Iceland, described as a poverty struck quicksand is now a shining bright pearl that stands alone, unique in the world. No landmarks like the palac­es and great domes of Europe adorn the streets but the simpli­ city of the buildings in Iceland lend it character and charm. The connection with the past and the country’s history is also singular and they feel that it is time that UNESSCO let’s the world know about it.

© Reykjavík Museum of Photography

A WOW Web-award


he Icelandic Web-awards were presented on February 8 during a festive ceremony at Harpa Concert Hall. The Icelandic Web Industry celebrates each year by awarding outstanding websites to encourage growth and innovation in this field. Awards were handed out in seven categories with the addition of four special awards given by the selection committee. In a category for the Best Sales and Promotional Website brought home the prize.

The selection committee said: “This is a very young company that bases its sales almost solely on their website. The site is fresh and easy to use.”

The website was designed by Gummi Sig / Kosmos & Kaos, graphics are done by Brandenburg and text is by WOW air’s staff and Bragi Valdimar Skúlason.

Photo: Eggert Jóhannesson

He’s going to Malmö


he Icelandic entry for the 2013 Eurovision Song Context was chosen on the 2nd of February. The song is called “Ég á líf” (I’ve got life) and is sung by rocker Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson. Seven acts battled for a ticket to Malmö. Two super fin­alists were voted by a combination of the viewer´s televoting and an expert jury. These two finalists dueled for the nations‘ favor where Eyþór Ingi won by a landslide. “Ég á líf” is a rock ballad and it’s no surprise that Icelanders fell for Eyþór’s powerful vocals and interpretation. Eyþór himself is no stranger to singing competitions being the winner of a popular reality show called ‘Bandið hans Bubba’ (Bubbi’s band) a few years ago.

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Live entertainment most nights 10 min. drive from Reykjavík centrum You haven´t been to Iceland if you haven´t been to us Tel +354 565 1213 ∙ ∙


Made in Iceland

The Handknitting Association of Iceland Photo: © Visit South Iceland

A perfect base for a day trip Some of Iceland’s most iconic scenic attractions are located in and around Vík in Mýrdalur. It’s the per­fect base from which to branch out and explore the surrounding area to; do some hiking in the foothills of Mýrdalsjökull, go snowmobiling on a glacier tongue, take a boat tour around the Reynisfjara Sea Stacks and Dyrhólaey or take a stroll along the glistening black sand beaches. Any way you look at it, Vík is a great place from which to explore the many wonders of nature on Iceland’s south coast only a stone’s throw away. Located mid-way between

Reykjavík (186 km) and the famous Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon (193 km), the village of Vík is an ideal location from which to visit many of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations. Have a look at

© Visit South Iceland

The awe-inspiring Golden Circle


he Golden Circle Route, with Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir, is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring places, according to Trip­ Advisor, the world’s largest travel site. The Golden Circle is in good company with places like Antelope Canyon, The Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef, Angkor Wat, Trolltunga, Moraine Lake, Kyaikto, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Uluru and Jiuzhaigou World Heritage Site!

For many centuries, Icelanders have been depending on sheep to provide wool for warm knitted garments that helped them endure the long cold winters. Today knitting, which was once foremost a necessity, is still a pastime for many and a highly appreciated craft. The traditional hand knitt­ ed Icelandic sweater, known in Iceland as “lopapeysa”, is as popular as ever and no longer considered something you wear only when camping or herd­ing sheep. The Handknitting Association was created in 1977 when a few Icelandic women who had used their knitting to supplement family incomes, decided to join forces. Soon after an outlet was established. Today, business is flourishing and two more stores have been op­en­­ ed in Reykjavik. “Ever since the economic crisis there’s been a revival in the use of traditional Icelandic materials and hand crafted items including a resurgence in the popularity of hand knitted Icelandic sweaters. Perhaps it’s just to be thrifty but also it may be because the simple yet vari­ed designs can be adjusted to meet new fas­hion trends,” says Bryndís Eiríksdóttir general man­­ager of The Handknitting Association.

“From the very start the motto of the Handknitting Association has been: ‘Buy them directly from the people who make them’. We keep a high standard and each handmade gar­ment is quality checked be­­ fore it reaches our store she­­lv­es. In past years there have been sweaters being sold in Iceland that look like genuine Icelandic sweaters. These sweaters appear to be made from Icelandic wool and are marked as Icelandic design but in fact they are imported from China and other countries. Our customers can count on buying quality products made with unique Icelandic materials.” Naturally, with hundreds of active knitters there’s a wide range of products including special designs. The stores also carry a selection of wool­­ en products from leading Ice­­landic manufacturers. The main store is located at Skóla­­ vörðustígur 19, in one of the oldest parts of town. The Handknitting Association of Iceland - Skólavörðustígur 19 - Laugavegur 64 - Radison Blu Hotel SAGA

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going on? It’s not just the sun that’s coming up The days are getting longer with the sun reaching higher in the sky. Here’s what’s also coming up in Iceland.

The Icelandic Horse Festival, 29 March - 1 April This program will consist of various events ranging from breeding shows to saddle making. These events will take place at breeding ranches and horse club locat­ions in and around Reykjavik. A must see for all horse-lovers of the world and a true family entertainment. The final event will feature a day of celebration in Reykjavik Zoo and Family Park. Entrance is free.

Reykjavík Open Chess tournament, 19 – 27 February Reykjavik is the unofficial chess capital of the world. At least Spasky and Fisher thought so. The Icelandic Chess Federation in cooperation with the Reykjavik Chess Academy welcomes you to the Reykjavik Open, a chess festival, and probably the most spectacular playing venue ever. The tournament is held in the harbor at Harpa, Iceland´s new music hall.

Wish for peace, 21 - 28 February The Lennon Yoko Imagine Peace tower is a wishing well for peace and will be lit on the 21st of February during the week of the spring equinox. Go there and make your contribution to world peace by writing a message of peace and leave it for John Lennon to take forward.

Art Without Boundaries, 18 April - 2 May Here is a festival, which promotes the art of people with disabilities and facilitates cooperation between people with and without disabilities.

The first day of summer, 25 April The heat is on. Icelanders all over the country celebrate the first day of summer, even if there’s a blizzard ravaging through the land and tell-tale signs of summer aren’t anywhere to be seen. This is a day of parades and fun family events.

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International Reykjavik Blues Festival, 24 - 29 March Held at Hilton Reykja­ vik Nordica Hotel this festival features the best blues artists from Europe, Iceland, and North America performing together in some of the most unique jam sessions in the Northern Hemisphere. Young and promising blues artists of the future will also be there.

Reykjavík Art Festival, 17 May – 2 June

The Ugly Halfwits, 22 - 23 February

Reykjavík Art Festival is one of Northern Europe’s oldest and most respected arts festivals, promoting Icelandic and international culture in all fields of art. The programs offer a range of concerts, theater performances, exhibitions, dance and opera. In combination with its focus on Icelandic culture, past and present, the festival has hosted many outstanding international artists and performers. For more information visit www.

If you find yourself in the town of Akureyri you might want to check out these self-proclaimed halfwits. Their music is folksy rock and their stage performance gives you a night to remember. The Ugly Halfwits are playing two gigs at Græni hatturinn (The Green Hat) in Akureyri.

virtual to the actual on 24 March, kick off day for the EVE Fanfest 2013. The music was composed by Jón Hallur Haraldsson (aka RealX) for EVE online between 2002-2009.

A Fanfest symphony Celebrating music from the popular Icelandic computer game, EVE Online, The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra brings the


lager beer

We are located 100km north of Reykjavík where you can get guided tours in our micro-brewery. For more info visit

Welcome to

Reykjavík Folk Festival Have you ever heard horses sing? We haven’t either, so we’re inclined to think that all music is in fact folk music. Be that as it may, the Reykjavík Folk Festival is to be held at Kex Hostel on Skúlagata on 7 - 9 March. The aim is to put together an unforgettable music feast for all folk music lovers. Tickets available on

MONSTER TRUCKS • SNOWMOBILES • SUPER JEEPS Tel. (+354) 580 9900 - Issue one

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Simmering Southeast

A land of feasts and


Photo: Þorvarður Arnarsson

The Vatnajökull Region in Southeast Iceland offers spectacular nature, a variety of service for tourists and great local food. The area gets its name from Vatnajökull the king of Icelandic glaciers and the largest glacier in Europe. The glacier dominates the beautiful land that meets with the Atlantic Ocean, a source of food for the people of the region since the first settlers arrived in Iceland.

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Photo: Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson

The lobster capital of Iceland The Icelandic langoustine is a specialty of the area with the town Höfn known as the lobster capital of Iceland. There are many restaurants in the Vatnajökull Region and four of them are in Höfn. The restaurants pride themselves in offering local food supplied by the local food producers. Langoustine and other seafood are caught by local boats operating in the town’s harbor so the food travels only a short distance to your plate.

Breathtaking nature In addition to the great variety in local food, the clean and unspoiled nature is a hallmark of the Vatnajökull Region with breathtaking scenes of spectacular black beaches contrasted by the great white glacier. Nature’s gems in the region also include Jökulsarlón Glacier

Photo: Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson

Lagoon and Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. In this area, covering over 200 km of the Ring Road (Route 1), you will find many activities, a variety of accommodations and a selection of restaurants surrounded by beautiful and spectacular nature. A peaceful serenity combines with the dynamic forces of nature making a visit to the Vatnajökull Region a never-to-be-forgotten experience. Good to know In Icelandic the term „humar“ is a synonym for both lobster *(connoting the larger variety) and langoustine (a slim, orangepink lobster also known as the Norway lobster, Dublin Bay prawn or scampi). Therefore most people in Iceland use the term „lobster“ in English when referring to langoustine.

* Be sure to ask for the local beer Vatnajokull, which is made from icebergs from Jökulsárlón and arctic thyme.

Photo: Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson

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Time for a cold one

beer From ale to

When Icelanders decide to do something they more or less go to the utmost extreme. In the early ‘80s for instance, we discovered the VCR and it took us only four to five years to become the nation with the highest number per capita to have this wonderful technology installed in our living rooms.

by Jón Kristinn Snæhólm


aybe this fact is not so surpris­ ing when you come to un­der­­­stand that during these times we did not have any television on Thursdays and the whole month of July was the official holiday month of the Ice-

landic state own­ed television. But what has all this got to do with the brewing of beer? How do the Icelandic characteristics shine through the impressive revolution concerning how we came from being the hardest strong liqueur drinkers to a very sophisticated, forthcoming and innovative European nation

Microbar at Austurstræti 6 in Reykjavík offers a wide selection of Icelandic beers.

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concern­ing wine, food and drink? The answers to these quest­ions are very surprising but also amusing at the same time.

A short history of Icelandic brewing Since the settlement of Iceland, “öl” (ale) has been the favorite drink amongst Icelanders and it still was in the Middle Ages when the brewing developed for the better both concerning taste and shelf life. Instead of sweet gale (Myrica gale) the European method was adopted by using hops (Humulus lupulus) and then “öl” became “bjór” (beer). Im­­ port­­­ed beer became very popu-

lar in the 19th century especially from Denmark, Germany and Britain and today Icelandic beer brewing tradition derives mainly from these countries.

To beer or not to beer In 1915 a total alcohol-consuming ban took place in Iceland following the strong and vigorous political campaign of the non-alcoholic league in Europe. This sent the brewing of alcoholic beverages underground, thereby preserving the Icelandic tradition of moonshining and beer brewing. Many households in Iceland, especially in the countryside, became experts in

Kaldi Bar just opened at Laugavegur 20b in Reykjavík.

this banned industry and entre­ preneurs brought home the bacon due to high prices on these forbidden but popular products. Mainly two factors brought the alcohol ban to an end in Iceland. First and foremost, like always, it was the fish, which came to wine lovers rescue. Spain wanted to import wine to Iceland in 1922 in exchange for Icelanders importing salted cod to Spain. Secondly the ban did not actually serve its purpose by forcing Icelanders to drink less so it was in effect useless. On February 1st of 1935 the alcoholic ban was lifted in a national referendum. All alcoholic beverages were allowed … gin, whiskey, black death (the Icelandic brennivín), red wine and white wine etc. etc. Everything – except beer!

Freedom at last Until the year 1989, a considera­ ble political debate about the beer ban accrued within Al­­thingi, the Icelandic parliament, and several amendments where brought foreward in its chambers to allow the public to choose its own consuming habits. But the politicians said no until finally liberal politicians came to power that trusted the common electorate to purchase beer and drink it. What a concept! Finally, on March 1st 1989 at 09:00 o’clock, the state owned liquor shops opened their doors for beer lovers. Icelanders went on a beer drinking feast and to this day on the 1st of March every year the B-day is celebrat­ed as one of the milestones where the public got one of their principal freedoms from the poli­­ticians.

Something is brewing Today eleven breweries, mostly microbreweries, are operated in Iceland pouring out forty-five different lagers, ales, stouts and dark malt ales. Innovation is soaring and every­­thing under the sun is acceptable when it comes to brew­­ ing of ales and beers in Iceland. Whether it is using 10,000 year old water from Europe´s biggest glacier, Vatnajökull, or infusing this golden beverage with one of our high mountain herbs – everything goes. The popularity of bars that cater to the eclectic tastes of beer lovers is also on the rise and recently two bars that focus solely on Icelandic beers and especially the microbreweries have opened in Reykjavík; Micro­­bar and Kaldi bar. Even the rela­­tively small town of Akureyri in Northern Iceland has its place for local beer at Brugghúsbarinn.


ithout a doubt there will be no end to this wonderful new Icelandic industry. You see, we have this secret weapon, namely an ingredient that has been a great part of the winning streak of Icelandic beers in international competitions. Our unspoiled nature and our crystal clean water.

WOW-challenge: When out on the town, ask for an Icelandic specialty beer instead of your usual brew. Try ALL the beers!


Very nice Vegamót

The all-in -one restaurant This elegant but casual two floor restaurant is located in the heart of Reykjavík on Vega­­ mótastígur, close to Lauga­­­­vegur. The restaurant has been popular for many years, perhaps because of its wonderful quality of being an all-in-one, restaurant, café, bar and nightclub. You‘ll never want to leave!

ity, portions and presenta­tion and guests can choose from a wide variety of decadent dess­ erts – if they make it that far. Try their excellent selection of good beers. Every day there is a special offer on bottled beers worth a taste. Vegamót Vegamótastíg 4 I 101 Reykjavík Tel: 511 3040 I

Here the decor is rich on the Mediterranean side and yet elegant with a jazzy ambiance. In the summertime tables are moved outside to the sheltered terrace, probably one of the hottest places in Iceland during those short summer months. This place is famous for their ‘fresh fish of the day’, served all day from lunch hours. It has very reasonable prices for qual-

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MEATING POLITICAL LEGEND DAVÍÐ ODDSSON: Jón Gnarr and former mayor and Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson had a nice chat at a party held by artist Erró.

SUPPORT PUSSY RIOT: Jón Gnarr has been a vocal supporter of protest band Pussy Riot and spoke freely against their sentencing.

SALESMAN AT A FLEA MARKET: Jón Gnarr took part in a flea market event with his neighbors.

No ordinary Mayor

Gnarr’s Shenanigans! by Benedikt Bóas Hinriksson Photos: Birtíngur photo collection MAYOR GAGA: Jón Gnarr attended a ceremony in honor of Yoko Ono’s LennonOno Grant for Peace dressed as Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. Grant receiver Lady Gaga expressed her admiration of the get-up.

HIS MOST FAMOUS ROLE: Jón Gnarr is best known for his interpretation of a fictional character by the name of Georg Bjarnfreðarson – a quirky middle-aged man with “five university degrees” – in a popular TV series and one feature film. The role made him a star.

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Reykjavík’s Mayor, Jón Gnarr, is more famous for his unorthodox behav­ iour and his career as a comedian and actor than his politics. He’s still the most interesting mayor in the world, his latest stunt, fulfilling his dream of jumping fully clothed into a swimming pool.

dagur & steini

PINK CLOTHES: Jón Gnarr wore a glorious shiny, pink suit to work one day.

PRE-POLITICS: Jón Gnarr was one of the most popular comedians in Iceland.

INSANE SANTA: Jón Gnarr performed as a Yule lad, Sane Clause, for a local charity event called Crazy Christmas, in support of the Icelandic Mental Health Alliance.

FAVORITE ITEM OF CLOTHING: Jón Gnarr owns an impressive woollen sweater with Reykjavík city’s coat of arms. He often wears it on cold days.

Your personal audio guide on your drive through the wonders of Iceland Learn about history, geography, legends and folklore and experience the freedom and comfort of taking your own guided tour. Book your daytour now at or by contacting our reservation teams at Avis tel. +354 591 4000 and Budget tel. +354 562 6060.

HELP THEM: Jón Gnarr and actor Benedikt Erlingsson strutted their stuff at a runway show in support of the Salvation Army.


Northern Lights photo contest In our last issue we introduced a cool little competition for all photophiles, shutterbugs and happy snappers. Everyone who could hold a camera and aim it at the sky had the chance to send in their favorite picture (or video) of the Northern Lights in an attempt to win a return flight for two with WOW air from any of the airlines European destinations.

WOW air received tons of photos and now the verdict is out. 32 覺 WOW lifts you up where you belong

Northern Lights photo contest

In second place was this photo of the Reykjavík city skyline taken by Pawel Pardej.

Raymond Hoffman sent in this photo which landed him in third place. The winner of the Northern Lights photo contest is Geraldine Westrupp who sent in this breathtaking photo taken in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.


decided to enter the competition as I have a passion for taking photographs of the Northern Lights and, in my opinion, Iceland is the best for auroral photography. I took this image at the Jok­ uls­arlon Glacier Lagoon in October 2012 with a Nikon 7000 and a Tokina 11 to 16 mm lens (30 secs, F 2.8). This is just a stunning location for the aurora as the shapes of the ice are abstractly surreal, the sky over the Lagoon is big and open whilst both the water and the ice have incredible reflective qualities. In all, this location has truly awesome landscape potential with the aurora as the icing on the cake! On this particular occasion the aurora was particularly active and the lights were cascading overhead; they were seen in the UK on this night too! This image was taken on a Wild Photo­ graphy Holidays Northern Lights, Glaciers and Ice Workshop,” says Geraldine Westrupp. “I´m not sure when I want to use my ticket, but it will probably be in the spring and I would want to visit Snaefellsness Peninsula in the west of Iceland, another great aurora location.”

4th place: This photo taken in Grundarfjörður Fjord was sent in by Miles Cowton.

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Catch of the day

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Fishing on the shores of Landeyjar near the Hallgeirsey farm is a real-life adventure. Unlike leisurely salmon fishing in a creek that requires sensitive gadgets or tiptoeing along the river banks to avoid scaring the fish, fishing for the spiny dogfish shark is a totally different experience.


N essential rule before em­ barking on a shore fish­­ing expedition is to watch for high tide, the best time to catch the spiny dogfish. On the day of our tour high tide occurred at precisely 11:18 am. As we arrive at the Hallgeirsey farm at roughly 10 in the morning, farmer Sigurður Jónsson, nicknamed Siggi, comes out to greet us with open arms. Our eager anticipation to commence is such that we kindly decline a cup of coffee, just so that we can reach the shore as soon as possible. Our ride is a six-wheeler with a history; a military jeep from

the war years with serious power under the hood. In the words of Siggi’s father-in-law Guðbjörn who joins us on the adventure, “There is no other way to cross the sandy shore.” We arrive at the black sand beach after a short but a rough crossing over the gravel area. The sun is shining and the wind is quiet – it’s the kind of day when locals walk along the shore with bare feet splashing a bit in the shallow water. The view over Vest­­mannaeyjar (Westman Is­­ lands) and the lowlands in the south of Iceland is magnificent. Rods are prepared with Asian

Mack­erel for bait, a real treat for the spiny dogfish. A rubber band is wrapped around the bait to keep the rough waves from dragging it off the hook. It’s best to use rubber gloves to attach it because otherwise the fish smell will linger for days. The fishing equipment and other necessities are more robust than one might expect. The first task is to learn how to cast the rod as far as possi­ ble; a lesson that’ll take a few tries before getting the hang of it.

A thrilling battle Only three surf rods can be fitt­ed into the area where the spiny

Text and images by: Kristinn Magnússon and Óskar Páll Elfarsson

“The sun is shining and the wind is quiet – it’s the kind of day when locals walk along the shore with bare feet splashing a bit in the shallow water.”

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dogfish can be found and we take turns. The best chance to catch a fish is to learn from the locals, a rule that applies in many cases. Siggi and his men show us the ropes but even so, the first half hour is fruitless. The time is used to practice the right manoeuvres and gradually cast the line out further and furt­her. The mood on the shore is lovely with the company we’re keep­ ing, but we’re here to catch fish. Siggi says the best chance for a catch is during high tide. He’s right, at 11:18 am, we hook the first one.

The battle against the predator is thrilling; even though the rod is big and strong the spiny dogfish puts up a good fight. Compared to fishing in freshwater, to land to a fish from the shore is a whole other story, especially with the crashing waves. The method we learned was to let the waves carry the fish to shore, never eas-

The spiny dogfish Latin: Squalus Acanthias. Category: Predatory fish and scavenger. Size: 80-120 cm. Where: Here and there along the south coast. Feed: Roe, crustacean, small fish and other tasty morsels. Defence Mechanism: Two poisonous spines behind the dorsal fins.

Equipment: Surf Rod: Being both stronger and bigger than traditional fishing rods, they enable the user to cast further and with heavier feed. Surf fishing reel and a line: Bigger and stronger than traditional fishing reels. The equipment must be up for the task. Bait: Mackerel excretes fat and heavy odor. It is necessary to secure it to the hook with a rubber band and to use a big sinker.

ing up as the waves pull back. Half an hour later with big grins on our faces, we‘ve already landed three. A few escaped but we keep trying until one of them finally chews his way through the line. It’s about time to go. We gut the fish on the shore – if not it will release urine through its whole body and become inedible. Gutting it is a tricky business. The spiny dogfish has two sharp spines on his back that can easily puncture through skin and teeth as sharp as a knife.

A sharky sandpaper Back in the kitchen, we get ready to experiment with the catch of the day. According to the information given to us, the spiny dogfish is not so different to monk fish, so we can use the same

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recipes. Guðbjörn told us to cut off the head, tail, fin and flap. After that, the fish skin is peeled off - a task that requires gloves as the fish skin is very coarse. In ancient times it was dried and used as sandpaper. After the preparation stage, we cut the meat into pieces approximately 3 cm in width, and place them on the barbecue. They were seasoned with three different seasonings: Salt and pepper, barbeque sauce and a homemade mustard marinade. The spiny dogfish has a dense and wonderful texture. We en­ joyed all three tastes but the winner was the mustard marinade. For our next session, we’ll try other monk fish recipes. We will cherish our fishing adventure and experimental culinary feast for a long time to come.

The equipment can be purchased in most major fishing stores and is usually found in the section for coastal fishing equipment.

Spiny dogfish in mustard marinade 4 tbsp sweet mustard 6 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp of Fiskikrydd (fish seasoning) from Pottagaldrar (blends of natural herbs and spices) 1 tsp black pepper 1 tsp salt 1 tsp Aromat (general purpose seasoning) Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Slice fillets of the spiny dogfish in pieces 3 cm in width. Marinade them in the mustard sauce for a little while. Sear the fish over a medium hot grill until it’s golden on the outside. Serve with Icelandic potatoes fresh out of the ground, with cabbage and vegetables from the kitchen garden. It’s best with cold sauce (garlic or pepper sauce). A whole fish serves 6.

AwA r d -w i n n i n g P h o t o g r A P h e r s

l e in ava i l a b h englis ger m a n ic ice l a nd

P u bl i sh e d i n:

w w w.forlagid.i s – alvör u b ók ave rslun á net inu

Out to sea

Big time fishing in the

West Fjords!

Icelandic waters have been kind to man. Iceland, em­brac­­ed by the vast Atlantic Ocean, is home to curiously colossal species in popular demand among deep-sea fishermen. The small seaside villages of the West Fjords are held in awesome silence at the base of tall mountains along the shores. They are centers for local deep sea fishing tour operators that cater almost exclusively to foreign clientele who dream of venturing into one of the best fishing waters in the world. The two largest deep sea fishing operators in Iceland are Sumarbyggð and Hvíldarklettur, and in total, they manage and own a fleet of approximately four dozen boats distributed in harbors of five seaside villages. Text and photos by Róbert Schmidt

Heading home after a good day out fishing.


he story began in 2006 when the very first deep sea fishing com­pany was founded in Súðavík. A year later, Hvíldarklettur join­­ed the competition, primarily shipp­ing out from Suðureyri and Flateyri. The trips were in high demand for the first couple of years, that is, until 2008 when the economic crisis struck. Both tour operators survived the recession, and continue to receive visitors from all parts of Europe with their offshore fishing rods and dreams of catching gigantic halibuts and other large species. Unexplored waters became

“The fishing adventure begins in Europe’s airports from where hunting groups de­ part for Ice­­land‘s Kefla­vík International Airport (KEF). The groups are picked up at the airport and taken to a hotel for the night.”

grounds for excavations using only surf rods. The results were phenomenal. Gigantic halibuts took the bait and in the very first year a crew member from Hvíldarklettur caught a halibut weighing 175 kg and measuring 240 cm in length. For a while, the enormous halibut caught in these waters off the shores of West Fjords was the largest ever caught with a surf rod. A while later, the record was broken in Norway, but since then, the world‘s largest halibut caught with a surf rod was caught on a boat outside the West Fjords town of Bolungarvík. It weighed 220 kg and measured 250 cm in length. The companies have since expanded and spread their fleets into the local villages of Tálknafjörður, Bíldudalur and Bol­­ungarvík.

were recruited to sail out to the best fishing grounds with deep sea fishermen and enormous cods piled up in the boats. The harbors were crowded with fish every day. New jobs were created to meet the demands of this sudden rise in tourism, and hotels, guesthouses and new restaurants were established in the villages. Each day would see the fishermen exhilarated in the morning, tired in the evening and rejuvenated the following day. Many have become regu­lars on these expeditions, dream­­ing intensely about catch­­ing an even bigger fish or even rare fish species such as the northern wolffish, spotted catfish, coalfish A German fisherman with a spotted and ling. catfish weighing in at 15 kg. - A real catch

Dreams of big fish keep them coming back for more Fishing stories from the seaside villages in this remote corner of the world spread quickly. All of a sudden, busloads of tour­­ ists booked on trips with the local tour operators came from all over the world, creating a lot of excitement in the small communities. Local guides

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A fisherman carrying a wolffish weighing 11 kg.

“Each day of fishing starts in the wee hours of the morn­ ing, contin­uing through­out the day and sometimes into the evening. Part of the catch is prepared, cooked and served back in the cottages and enjoyed with fine wines.”

tubs, an arts and crafts center, din­­er, café, a three star hotel and a restaurant. An organized dining excursion in the village, trout and salmon fishing oppor­­ tunities, hikes to the slopes and mountains, and visits to the local fish-processing freezing plant are all available. Bus tours from the villages run daily to Ísafjörður, the largest town in the area, and from there travelers can choose from a variety of excursions such as island hopping to the island of Vigur, sailing in Jökulfirðir glacier fjords, hik­­es around Hornstrandir and the peninsula, whale and seal excursions, not to mention trips to museums and kayaking, to name a few.

Odd creatures live in these waters like this ribbon fish that measured at approximately 190 cm in length.

Simplicity is the best way The magic of this remote corner of Iceland is in the intimate quiet­ ness of village life and the sim­ple lifestyle, spectacular nature, and last but not least, the incredible experiences of life at sea where travelers can enjoy freedom in all its authenticity, fishing: with good companions. The villagers are graceful and inviting, and

A happy fisherman with an enormous halibut weighing in at 100 kg.

Plenty to do The fishing adventure begins in Europe’s airports from where hunting groups depart for Ice­­ land‘s Keflavík International Airport (KEF). The groups are picked up at the airport and taken to a hotel for the night. The next day, travelers catch a half hour domestic flight to Ísa­­fjordur in the West Fjords. They are then taken to their desti­­nations where they spend a week in a cottage with a boat and rental car on site. On stormy days when it‘s too hard at sea, excursions around the area give visitors an opportun­ ity to explore nature and the extraordinary features of the West Fjords, including waterfalls, mountains and glaciers and experience daily life in the region. Each day of fishing starts in the wee hours of the morning, contin­ uing throughout the day and sometimes into the evening. Part of the catch is prepared, cooked and served back in the cottages and enjoyed with fine wines. In the village of Suðureyri there’s a bank, post office, out­­ door swimming pool and hot

An epic battle with a cod weighing in at 20 kg on the hook.

Giant cods like this one weighing in at 27 kg are caught daily.

long-term friendships have formed between locals and ann­ ual visitors to the West Fjords. They learn about the local hist­­ory and its people, as well as tak­ing advantage of the good service and leisurely activities. At night, when the groups finish the dish of the day, it’s time for a nightcap and then some rest. The travelers,content with their catch of the day, dream of gig­antic halibuts. The forecast for tomorrow: Favorable weather for tomorrow’s adventures.

“The world‘s largest halibut caught with a surf rod was caught on a boat outside the West Fjords town of Bolungarvík. It weighed 220 kg and measured 220 cm in length.”

Suðureyri by Súgandafjörður Fjord.

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The garments of fishermen in the old days.

Sunbathe but don’t forget your umbrella! by Sigurdur Þ. Ragnarsson, meteorologist photos: Sigurður Þ. Ragnarsson and Birtíngur photo collection

The weather in Iceland is ever-changing – a bit like a rollercoaster ride at times. Tourists often wonder what kind of weather they can expect when they get here and it‘s safe to say that they are in good company. Such are the sudden changes in the weather that Icelanders, the very people who’ve inhabited this island since 874, can still be caught off guard. The range in temperatures has been known to measure from highs of 19°C to lows of -19°C in the month of January alone. That’s a big WOW.


uring the holiday season in 2011 there was so much snow in Reykjavík city that there wasn‘t enough room for it. Snow was literally shoveled into the ocean. The 2012 holi­day season was the exact opposite with hardly any snowfall recorded in Reykjavík during the autumn and winter months. But the ever-changing weather conditions in Iceland are changing. Global warming is causing climate change in Iceland with high temperature records being broken with increasing regularity. Extreme weather is also more common than before and Icelanders are witnessing the changes happening before their very own eyes. The droughts last summer came close to causing severe difficulties for farmers threatened with dry fields and crop failures

Extreme weather conditions are happening more regularly and that‘s why it is a good idea to check the weather reports before em­bark­ ing upon a journey.

Great diversification

east, towards Iceland and cross the country or the country‘s coasts onwards to Norway. It is this pattern that creates the constant change in weather. Lately, the barometric pressure has measured quite high, north of Iceland, causing the lows to drift off their traditional path. Thus, the Great Icelandic Low travels further south with its wind and rain – often striking the shores of Great Britain. In Iceland, one can wake up to a sunny day and gentle breeze – weather so pleasing that the desire to put on a sleeveless shirt is overwhelming. But all of a sudden, the wind picks up. Even the most dedicated sunbathers will keep a blanket handy while enjoying the sunlight. Then, the clouds pile up, one after another, and before you know it the rain is pouring down so hard and fast, dashing their best of efforts to keep their valuables from getting wet. In other countries, talk about weather in a conversation is often used as an ice breaker and there‘s not so much passion about it. Icelanders, on the other hand, love talking about the weather and it‘s usually the first topic brought up. Because of the great interest in weather a huge number of weather related expressions, have found their way into general non-weather related conversation. A good example is the phrase, “Maður veit nú bara ekki hvaðan á sig stendur veðrið” –

Iceland is but a tiny island – unsheltered from the brunt of rough weather conditions in the great North Atlantic. It’s a young island, juvenile in comparison to the vast landmasses on both sides of the Atlantic. But in spite of its youth and vigor there‘s a potential for massive erosion – a process that would gradually whist away the Iceland’s precious soil bit by bit were it “Extreme weather conditions are not for constant cultivation to secure it happening more regularly and that‘s in place. Iceland’s geographical location is near why it is a good idea to check the weather reports before em­barking the Polar Front where the lows tra­vel from Newfoundland in Canada to north- upon a journey.”

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literally translated, “One doesn’t know from where the weather comes”. It applies to instances when a person gets unexpected news or information. Also, the phrase “Ja, mér líst nú ekki á blikuna” – literally, “Well, I don’t like the look of this cirrostratus” – is used to describe a situation that is less than desirable or eerie. This expression refers to a cloud formation that in Icelandic has been given the name “blika”. Cirrostratus (Cs), as the phenomena is known as in Latin, is the messenger that brings news of weather changes, a messenger that is followed by an immediate low testifying to wetness and wind. Farmers would use this expression a great deal during the hay-making season when it was a matter of urgency to get the dry hay indoors – to prevent all their hard work out in the fields to having been done in vain.

Weather regulates livelihood Weather conditions in the North Atlantic have a big influence on the local livelihood in these upper regions of the world. It’s the final word on our travels, whether the local crop is a bumper or not, and whether our sheep can be captured for slaughtering in autumn. In the old days, before the use of modern technology, weather conditions were a much greater challenge. Men going out to sea in boats, using only their muscle to reach the fishing grounds, were in much greater danger than fisherman going out today. Other than protective clothing made out of some layers of sheepskin – a rare commodity in impoverished Iceland – men were subject to the elements. For this reason, reliable means to predict the weather were essential when deciding to take the boats out or not. Therefore, before advanced methods for forecasting were employed, man read in signs in nature to forecast weather and detect changes – even making long-term predictions. The unlikeliest of methods were applied and superstition often played a part.

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What lay ahead? Man acquired knowledge from studying animal’s innate abilities and nature’s signals to predict the weather.

Archaic weather forecast: Sought in nature

Holes inhabited by mice determined whet­he ­r the upcoming winter would prove to be harsh; harsh and enduring winter conditions could be expected when holes faced south. It was believed this was how mice protected themselves from the cold north wind. Nowadays, it’s not likely anyone would pay heed to how mice behave. First of all, mice are not welcome in residential quarters and secondly, by the time a mouse tweets, the exterminator is already on his way. Nonetheless, the manual clearly states that when mice tweet excessively, one can expect storm, downpour and freezing cold.

It’s astonishing to think that the first manual, a manual listing various useful signs to be read in nature, was published for young farmers in 1780 to help forecast wea­ther conditions. Without the mechanical tools to predict weather changes, man relied on good sense and past generations’ experiences. The manual was written and published to share knowledge based on experience from one generation to the next. Some of the content comes across as bizarre to modern day readers. An abbreviated edition of the manu­ al was released in 1930 and titled Archaic Weather Forecasting. No right-minded man or woman would Land of extreme weather. Sunbathing on the white sands of Nauthólsvík consider publishing a book so entitled in this beach in the summertime. The manual says birds too can forecast day and age. Yesterday’s forecast is totally weather with their behavior. One can expect “yesterday’s news”. freezing temperatures when they fly to sea The modern day person is not likely to pay or vast lake lands. Cockcrow is not only useheed to the sometimes-bizarre words of ful as a wake up call. A crowing cock might wisdom given in the original manual. A good very well be forecasting sudden change example is one that renders the power of in weather: Expect precipitation when the forecast to cats. A cat licking his feet, with which he then combs through his head, neck cock crows more than usual. Expect snow and cold weather when the hens rise later and shoulders, is a sign forecasting precipi­ than usual at daybreak and return to shelter tation. Yes, cats are a living barometer and earlier at nightfall. Even the black crow with also dogs. When a dog’s sac murmurs and its caw can forecast what will be. he digs a hole in the ground, precipitation is Thus, considering the effects of inclement to be expected. Some went as far as analyzweather conditions in and around Iceland ing the color of sheep urine. A worker would especially in times gone by, it shouldn’t surstand by and observe as the sheep urinated. prise anyone just how many Icelanders are If the urine was bright yellow, rain was to be expected the next day. The farmer would sigh still watching for the signs. and say: We won’t be haying tomorrow!

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• Jónsson & Le’macks

Because sometimes a gentleman needs to do business in the morning and climb a mountain in the afternoon.


Keeping Iceland warm since 1926

Going up

“A walk through the mall is more exhausting than climbing a mountain” Guðmundur Freyr Jónsson became interested in mountaineering in 2005. That was the year he climbed Mont Blanc in spite of his inexperience in hiking and climbing. The spark was ignited there and since then, life has revolved around the sport. In the process of discovering the world of hiking and climbing, he began to photograph his journeys. by Kristín Ýr Gunnarsdóttir “I enjoy most outdoor activities. But my favorite sport at the moment is ice climbing. So far, I’ve been to the Alps four times and abseiled into several caves,” Guðmundur says when asked about his passion. Guðmundur’s father is a fire fighter. He invited his son and several members of the fire department to join him on a climb up Mont Blanc in 2005.

“I didn’t have much experience mountaine­ ering but when I saw the opportunity I went for it. Once the spark was ignited in me there was no turning back. Climbing the hills in Iceland is no fun after you climb real mountains,” he laughs. The same trip fuelled his interest in photography when he des­perately wanted to capture the beauty before him. He started out with

a small pocket-size camera but since then evolved into bigger equipment and better photos. “I get so inspired with my capturing of the exquisite beauty during my mountaineering adventures that in spite of the rigors I feel more tired from walking back and forth at the mall than I do when I climb,” he says with a mischievous grin. Guðmundur has captured a number of interesting angles in nature but he is best known for his exquisite photo of the volcanic eruption in Fimm­vörðuháls. He went there with his friends on snowmobiles. As they watched the eruption from a distance, a large explosion occurred right as Guðmundur was filming. He captured the explosion moments before he realized he had to get out of the way. “We were just taking in the

Climbing/hiking Þverártinsegg Mountain

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An ice cave in Búahamrar Cliff.

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Going up beauty before us when one of my mates noticed the explosion and ran to safety behind the snowmobile. A number of people were present at the time and it was very fortunate no one was injured. Rocks rained down on us and I am not talking about pebbles. Thankfully, it turned out okay,” he says. Climbing mountains is not enough for Guðmundur. He also indulges in ice climbing and abseiling into caves. “The sights are extraordinary as I abseil down narrow holes into caves lit up by ravishing colors. Pushing down a hole sometimes as narrow as a toilet bowl is an incredible feeling. As you descend you can see the altitude and all the colors the cave has to offer. I love everything about the sport – even just standing on the peak of a mountain and taking in the view,” he says in conclusion.

“I didn’t have much experience mountaine­ering but when I saw the opportunity I went for it. Once the spark was ignited in me there was no turning back.”

The volcanic eruption at Fimmvörðuháls and the explosion Guðmundur accidentally caught on camera. It took him a little while to realize volcanic rocks were raining down.

An ice cave in the Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier.

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Ascending Þríhnjúkagígur Crater.

Abseiling in the cave Búri.


ÁLAFOSSVEGUR 23 - MOSFELLSBÆR OPEN: MON. - FRI. 9.00 - 18.00 SAT. 9:00 - 16:00 LAUGAVEGUR 8 CITY CENTRE OPEN: 10:00 - 18:00


A person of WOW

More than just her

husband’s wife Many of us have gotten some advice that has affected our lives. At some point in our youth someone has told us something that has helped us put things into perspective, something that we keep in the back of our heads while we try to figure out our direction. María Valdimarsdóttir has certainly followed the advice she was once given by a woman a little older than her: “You have to be more than just your husband’s wife.” By Dísa Bjarnadóttir


o put this into per­­spective, María met her hus­band when she was 17 years old. He was a professional football player and she moved with him to Stuttgart, Germany. They also moved to Norway, Denmark, Greece and Berlin. The wives of football players have a tendency to put their own ambitions on hold to sup­port their

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husband’s car­e­er but María knew that was not the way for her. So while they were moving around María went to school. She now has degrees in cosmetology, travel and business economics. Talk about taking advice to heart! Even though she looks like she’s only in her mid twen­ties María is a mother of three; two girls and a boy. She also owns and operates Ilma, a company that

imports and distributes cosmetics. When asked about her pro­ducts she mentions Young Blood as one of the brands (the starter kit is sold on board the WOW airplanes): “These products are so good because they don’t have any bad chemicals, such as parabens. They are also easy to apply and when it is on, it stays on. No need to re-apply. Really good for a flight attendant, she says with a grin.

E QUALITY SERVIC NCE CREATIVE EXPERIE DAY TOURS ACTIVITIES Can you share some traveling tips from any of the places you’ve lived? “It’s really fun to go to a football match at the Olympia Stadium in Berlin and have the whole ex­perience with a bratwurst and a beer. Berlin was very diff­e­ rent when I was there in 1996 because they were rebuilding it quite a bit. Now it’s different, but still a very happening place with many charming tourist places that I recommend visiting such as the Brandenburg Gate and all the little cozy outdoor markets.” “I loved getting the opportunity to live in all the different cities. I am by nature a very adventurous person and I love learning new languages and getting to know new places. But when I moved home I really appreciated the openness of the Icelandic landscape and the ice-cold water straight from the kitchen sink.” What do you like about working for WOW? “We’re expected to have fun at work, both with each other and

ing Whale Watch on The Blue La go cle The Gold en Cir ing Horsebac k Rid Car Rental Last-minute tio n Accommoda Geenla nd ... and more!

the passengers. That’s what I love about my job. Like this one time when we were doing the flight safety demo, one of my co-workers tripped and almost fell into the lap of a passenger. Rather than be embarrassed we all made a joke out of it. We get to be a little silly and have fun. For instance, when we’re flying people going on ski holidays we do the flight safety demo with ski goggles on. On one of my flights one of the crew members menti­o­ ned on the way to the airport that it would have been Elvis Presley’s birthday that day. We announced to the passengers that in honor of The King we’d offer a two for one on beers. It was fun and that’s what I like about it.”

“Even though she looks like she’s only in her mid twen­ties María is a mother of three; two girls and a boy.”

Tel.: +354 570 7770 visit our store locations

Downtown at Aðalstræti 2 Keflavik Airport Hótel Saga

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A trip to remember

“Souvenirs are an ideal way of enhancing and holding onto a memory.”


yjólfur is the owner of Epal, a concept store offering Icelandic designs and souvernirs and has been at the forefront of teaching Icelanders to appreciate quality designs and art, but what is his favorite souvenir? “Well the question is what can be ranked as a souvenir. I originally studied and trained in furniture making and therefore well finished wooden things have a special appeal to me. When I was studying in Denmark a poster of a policeman holding back traffic while a duck crossed the road with its ducklings hung in various locations all over town. The original photo was from Fredriksberg but was then used to advertise Tivoli. In 1959 the architect Hans Bølling made figurines based on that photo of the duck and her ducklings. “I bought the duck at one time and since then I have been collecting the ducklings. These objects are alluring to me because of their origin, the excellent design and they reflect on my trade beautifully.” In your store you offer Icelandic designs and souvenirs. What do you consider to be the best items to present at your stores? “There are many and diverse souvenirs on the market catering to individual tastes Handmade open ended woolen gloves and various things made of wool felt are very popular as well as things directly associated with Iceland and Icelandic culture.”

The duck that dazzled

the architect Souvenirs are an ideal way of enhancing and holding onto a memory. Many people collect certain items like thimbles, small glasses or miniature landmarks from the countries they visit. Over time these become precious collections and objects of interest to others. Eyjólfur Pálsson does not buy many souvenirs but with his keen eye for detail some objects manage to catch his attention. by Steingerður Steinarsdóttir photos: Kristinn Magnússon

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Dimmalimm – a fairy tale china

The sweet princess and her swan Every child in Iceland knows the story of Dimmalimm, the sweet and kind little princess that befriended a swan only to find out that he was a prince put under a spell by an evil witch. This beautifully illustrated story has become a part of Icelandic heritage and now a collection of endearing children’s china and cutlery is available that will most certainly enlarge the number of Dimmalimm fans. by Steingerður Steinarsdóttir Photos: Ernir Eyjólfsson

The painter Muggur is the author of Dimma­ limm. His real name was Guðmundur Thor­­ steinsson, born on the 5th of September 1891 and died on July 26th 1924. His father was a great industrial entrepreneur in Iceland and the family was wealthy and close knit. Within their intimate circle strange nicknames were common and thus the story of Dimmalimm came into to being when Muggur was enter­ taining his small niece Helga Egilson. Her nickname was Dimmalimm and she was the model for the kind princess that with her tears freed an enchanted prince from the shackles of an evil spell. Muggur, a talented and exceptional young man was not only a great designer, illustrator and painter but also a great performer, a skill that earned him the main role in the Danish film, Sons of the Soil (Borgslægten’s history) which was filmed in 1919.

A heritage of a family and a nation Muggur’s story of Dimmalimm has been translated into many languages, delighting and charming young audiences of all

nati­onalities with its simplicity and beauty. Dimma­­limm represents the innocence and good­­ness of children. The artist that de­­sign­­ ed this wonderful dinner set is Helga Egil­­son whose aunt and full namesake was the model for the original princess in the story. “I love re-awakening Dimmalimm, to direct her back into the hearts of people and introduce her to new generations. There is always space for fairy tales in people’s hearts and the message in the story of Dimmalimm, one of kindness and friendliness, always be­­ longs,” says artist Helga Egilson The Dimmalimm collection has three illu­­­­­­strations from the book; three different bowls and matching mugs, a bowl and a mug packed together, and three types of cutl­­­ery with different images on the handles. It is safe to say that these lovely porcelain pieces and charming cutlery are a wonderful new beginning of a porcelain set that will hope­­fully grow larger with time. The cutlery and china with the illustrations of Dimmalimm are available at the museum shop at the National Art Gallery, The National Museum, Kraum on Aðalstræti 10, Atmo on Laugavegur 91, Kokka on Laugavegur 47,

Epal in Skeifan, Harpa and Keflavík Airport, Líf og List in Smáralind shopping mall and at the Akureyri Library. For more information visit www.isafoldar­

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Designing Iceland

Cool and creative

Icelandic design is becoming more prominent than ever. Beautiful designs by various designers are found just about everywhere. Some designers seek inspiration in nature while others get ideas in their sleep. WOW contacted local designers who shared their designs and inspirations with us. by: Kristín Ýr Gunnarsdóttir Photos: from private collections

Candlesticks named Gígur and Keilir Guðrún Valdimarsdóttir has been praised for her candlesticks, designed for both tea lights and dinner candles. Guðrún started designing at the mere age of nine. Her first attempt was a technical drawing of a helicopter bicycle driven by foot pedals. She is never happier than when she’s executing her design ideas. The idea for her Keilir candlestick design came in the stages of hypnagogia. The idea for the smaller one, the one she named Gígur, meaning “crater”, was born on the development stages of Keilir, when she wanted to make use of the leftover wood. Guðrún also designed Hellur, multifunctional glass plates in collaboration with designer Alda Halldórsdóttir. All designs are available in designer boutiques Hrím and Epal.

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Dining Plate: Wheel of Nutrition Hafsteinn Júlíusson and his wife Karitas are the owners of HAF by Hafsteinn Juliusson. The aspiration behind their concept designs is to create an experience so their projects are multidimensional. Their best known design is no doubt the “Wheel of Nutrition”, a dining plate made of ceramic. A literal wheel of nutrition is imprinted on the plate and intended to help the user eat proportionally from each nutritional category. The company’s website is

Inspired by the Northern Lights Berglind Snorradóttir has always taken great pleasure from her creative process. At the age of 15, she became interested in the trade of goldsmithery, an interest that began when she got a job in the industry and led to her eventual training in the field. Her creative force needed more stimulation and her next move was to the city of Sheffield in England where she began professional training in the trade of furniture and product design. Then she moved to London where she worked for the esteemed design and manufacturing company, Established & Sons. Since her return to Iceland, she has designed her own jewelry line titled “Uppsteyt”, a word that in Icelandic means “riot” or “rebellion”. In Iceland, pieces from Uppsteyt are very popular and are now also available in Canada and England. Berglind’s latest inventions are a variety of tableware and gift merchandise made out of top quality steel. Berglind says her designs come from all over the place. Most of the time they are born from personal experience or sights she stumbles upon. Her favorite inspirational force are the Northern Lights, a phenomenon she refers to as “natural fireworks”. Her products are available in Reykjavík at Jens jewelry shop in Kringlan shopping center and in number of boutiques around Iceland. Her website is Her designs so far: Candlestick, Magazine rack, Uppsteyt jewellery, Glacier bowls, and Cheese knives amongst others.

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Designing Iceland

The Black Sheep and The Christmas Ptarmigans Ragnheiður Tryggvadóttir studied product design in Iceland Academy of the Arts. She is a country girl, brought up in the north of Iceland from where she draws her inspiration. Her product, The Black Sheep is her first to be sold in local boutiques. The Black Sheep first premiered during DesignMarch 2010. The idea comes from the local farming tra­dition of putting the heads of award-winning rams up on the wall once they’ve served their purpose. The Black Sheep never stands a chance to be honored in this manner, so Ragnheiður took it upon herself to honor him with her piece. The sheep is carved out of steel with laser and bent at the Slippurinn, a shipyard and metal working company located in the town of Akureyri. Her latest product, a Christmas ornament made out of steel, was released just before Christmas. The design is called The Christ­­mas Ptarmigan. To feast on the ptarmigan is an age-old holiday tradition in Iceland but originally the ptarmigan was poor man’s food eaten reluctantly by those who could not slaughter a lamb for the holiday season. Today, it has become a luxury product. Ragnheiður’s design is her way to give the ptarmigan a permanent place in the holiday season.















Creative Wool Designs Vík Prjónsdóttir is a cooperative, initiated in 2005, between five designers and Icewear (Víkurprjón) in the community of Vík í Mýrdal (Vík in Mýrdalur). The goal was to bring out new designs from Icewear and advance the company’s product development for woolen products. Today, the designers for Vík Prjónsdóttir are Brynhildur Pálsdóttir, Guðfinna Mjöll Magnúsdóttir and Þuríður Rós Sigurþórsdóttir. Wool is an important local material and all three designers felt it was important to be creative in their designs. Selurinn or “the seal” is one of the more popular designs and at the moment, a “remix” design of the product is in its creative stages and will be premiered during DesignMarch, an annual design event held from March 14-17 this year. The website for Vík Prjónsdóttir is

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Kormákur & Skjöldur Collection Located on the main shopping street at Laugavegur 59 downtown Reykjavik, Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar is a unique menswear shop that offers a great variety of clothing and accessories. The emphasis has been on traditional clothing, meticulous and classy but over the years there has been an increase in casual wear. Being carefully hidden in the basement, the 300m2 shop is a place that one might need to search for in order to find. With brands such as Barbour, Filson, Sebago, Ben Sherman & Hackett most say it´s worth the effort. In 2010, Kormákur & Skjöldur established their own clothing brand in collaboration with fashion designer Guðmundur Jörundsson. The brand is known for their twisted vision of traditional tailoring, an idea and atmosphere that has evolved from the store to the clothing brand. The tailoring part of the Classic Collection consists

of 3-piece suits in a variety of Harris Tweed fabrics, high-waist trousers with matching waistcoats and a double breasted suit. In addition to classic knitwear and accessories items, shirts have been added. They include both button-down as well as club collars with collar pins, something that has been hard to come by in recent times. The shop has a feel good decorative atmosphere and a staff that treats each person in a personal and gentle manner. Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar Laugavegur 59 101 Reykjavík Tel: 511 1817

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Design a plane

Photo: Sigurjón Ragnar

A smile goes a long


Last November WOW air offered people the chance to share their ideas for how the two Airbus A320 airplanes that will be added to the WOW air fleet in March 2013, could maybe look like. It’s not every day you get the chance to make your mark on something as large as an airplane and the ideas poured in. News of the contest raised international interest and even made the pages of The Wall Street Journal. This spurred international contestants on, many of them hoping to win tickets to Iceland in turn for their creativity. And the prize was a big one; the winner got free WOW air tickets for two for a whole year. 56 ı WOW lifts you up where you belong

Alda J. Rögnvaldsdóttir, a graphic designer and head of human resources at a big engineering company, had the winning idea which will be developed further by WOW air’s creative team. “I got the idea from my experience when I flew to London with WOW air last fall. It was a very fun flight. I knew the design for the plane had to incorporate this fun mood of WOW air while also having a connect­ ion to Iceland, which in itself is totally WOW,” Alda says when asked about her design. Alda has already started planning her next trips, “I obviously have an exciting year of travelling ahead of me that needs to be carefully planned. I’m going to start with visiting my friends abroad, I know people in London, Copenhagen and Zurich for instance. Then I would love to see Berlin, Milan, Salzburg and Stuttgart, and to go shopping in Amsterdam. To end the year I would love to take my husband to Paris. I’ve never been there,” Alda concludes happily.

Wait – there’s more Two more ideas got a special prize in WOW air’s competition. Natsha Nandabhiwat from Thailand and Elena Schneider from Germany ended up in second and third place. Elena works as a font designer and is looking forward to visiting Iceland next summer.

Over 1,000 entries were submitted from all over the world. second place

second place

third place

fourth place

Ten year old aviation enthusiast, Ísar Ágúst Kristjánsson was one of the top contenders, coming in fourth place. Airplanes of all types and sizes decorate Ísar’s room and he sometimes dresses up as a pilot. He also monitors the flight of airplanes around the world online. Ísar dreams of becoming a pilot and loves to travel, especially around airports. While Ísar’s hopes for making his mark in the world of aviation might not have been met this time, buckle your seat belts, by the looks of things he is on his way to a prominent place in the future.

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Icelandic fashion


about in style


he Iceland fashion industry is gaining a foothold in London, Paris, Rome and New York where haute couture icons have noticed this small island and its striking fashions. Iceland is a nation known for its creativity and many Icelanders enjoy expressing themselves through their clothes. New trends have always taken hold quickly and Icelandic women have a great eye mode and a certain savoir vivre. Shopping in Iceland is pure joy as an abundance of styles from the most classical of cuts to flowing comfort are on display in the boutiques lining Laugavegur, the main shopping street. During

In recent years the Icelandic fashion industry has seen an explosion in growth. A great number of fashion houses have earned international recognition and there is an abundance of young spirited designers displaying new and innovative styles. by Steingerður Steinarsdóttir

Designers March and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival these bou­tiques welcome guests on special fashion nights out. The designers themselves come to the shops giving invaluable suggestions and advice. A lot of goods are on special offer and sometimes live music or tasty bites are to be enjoyed. Marking their main event this year, the Icelandic Fashion Designers Guild is sponsoring an exhibition of Icelandic fashion drawings. The exhibition will showcase both the latest lines from each label along with older designs some of which are already classics. Some of the designers are working with artists on displaying

their drawings making the exhibition more provocative and diverse. Many Icelandic fashion houses, such as STEiNUNN, ELLA, ELM, Birna, KronKron, Mundi, Andersen & Lauth, E-Label, Spaks manns spjarir, Sruli Recht, VERA and Hildur Yeoman have gained a worldwide reputation and some of their creations are worn by Hollywood celebrities. Anyone interested in fashion and style is in for a feast while travelling in Reykjavík. The dynamics are all there and one can definitely go about in style in this northernmost capital of the world.

MUNDI Designs

The MUNDI label was established 2007 and is now well known for its beautiful textures and patterns. Mundi is a young designer and artist who since 2006, has been designing fashion along with all kinds of arts, graphic designs, installations, performances, paintings and sculptures. His works have been shown in many places around the world. Mundi’s clothes have an uncanny style and elegance. Ásmundur Ásmundsson described them thus in an article about Mundi: “The desire to be at the forefront of changes in mode becomes absolute, and personal appearance “within” the garment has become a key - if not THE key - ingredient of the full-length line. The Mundis (I like to call his garments the Mundis) are shaking the world of faithful followers of fashion, perhaps because the elegance of the ready-to-wear full-length line is recognized as avant-garde.”

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Icelandic fashion

“My collections are inspired by all the women I know or think I know. For me it’s really a lot about enhancing their body, the visible and the not visi­ble shapes,” is how Birna Karen describes her designs. The label BIRNA is built on a strong and independ­ent identity; a style that doesn’t change radically with each season but evolves and emerges in the spirit of the times. Combining timeless design with attitude, sharp tailoring, refin­ed details, exclusiveness and comfort BIRNA creates clothing that reflects rather than follows. Her flagship store is at Skólavörðustígur just off the main shopping street, Laugavegur.

Andersen & Lauth

Andersen & Lauth, founded in Reykjavík in 1934 was the first Icelandic atelier and tailor shop. From the beginning there was a dedication to the traditional skills of expert tailoring. In 2006 Andersen & Lauth was re-established by young Icelandic designers energized by the vibrant cultural scene of Reykjavík. Their lines today reflect contemporary Reykjavik with the same passion for excellence in craft and design as in the past. The brand is a virtual journey around the world, mixing vintage handmade fabrics with luxury and modern technology. The result is a vibrant mix of a modern classics, embellished details, elaborate craftsmanship and innovation. Their flagship store is on Laugavegur, the most popular shopping street in the heart of Reykjavik.

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BE WARM BE WELL Icewear Þingholtsstræti 2-4 101 Reykjavík Tel.: +354 561 9619

Suðurhrauni 12c 210 Garðabær Tel.: +354 555 7400

Víkurprjón Austurvegi 21, 870 Vík Tel.: +354 487 1250

The Largest Artwork

in the World Through social media, Artist Ingvar Bjorn is attempting to set a world’s record, with the most participants creating The Largest Artwork in the World, all in support of UNICEF. The existing Guinness World Record for “The most artists working on a single art installation” was achieved by 201,948 artists who contributed to Face Britain, displayed 19-21 April 2012. WOW air is a proud and active sponsor of this worthy project. Photos: Ernir Eyjólfsson

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The Largest Artwork in the World looked like this right before WOW magazine went to press.

“Being a part of something is more important than being the center of attention. The sweetest brush stroke is the one you share with the whole world!” says Goddur, professor at Iceland Academy of the Arts about this project.


he attempt to create The Largest Artwork in the World was ­launc­hed­ on February 7, 2013, and will last for 66 days – a day for each year UNICEF has been operating. The outcome, The Largest Artwork in the World, will then be painted on a great canvas and auctioned in support of UNICEF. The project was launched at the Reykjavík Art Museum, Hafnarhus, by the marina by President Ólafur Ragn­ ar Grímsson, and now brushstrokes are being added with intensifying speed.

Ingvar has created an applica­ tion for social media’s largest platform, Facebook, which performs like a brush to canvas. Every­one with an active Facebook user account can partici­ pate and leave their mark on art history by being part of The Largest Artwork in the World.

As usual the president’s wife, Dorrit Moussaieff, stole the center of attention by just being herself. “I forgot my password,” she exclaimed and President Grimsson bantered that this would make today’s news (which it did).

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“It’s been a privilege to witness the birth of The Largest Artwork in the World and to see Ingvar’s passion and drive to make his dream a reality. We at WOW air are proud to be a part of this great life art adventure,” says Skúli Mogensen owner of WOW air and main sponsor of the project. Art has no borders Ingvar’s ambition is to contri­bute toward uniting the world for thegood of all. This is the driv­­ing force behind his decision to perform this artistic feat. The ultimate goal of the project is to eliminate political and religious disputes and prove that art form has no borders. Through this platform, Ingvar is uniting people from all over the world, to create something great while making history together. The beauty of this artwork is that it enables people all over the world to take part in creating a better world while supporting UNICEF.

first time that my artistic talents are recogniz­ ed in this way.” Then, under Ingvar’s guidance, he logged on and put his mark on The Biggest Artwork in the World, a mark that was celebrated by a round of applause. People were in high spirits at the gathering and lined up to follow the president’s good example and to, hopefully, make art history.

The entrepreneurs at GreenQloud collaborate with Ingvar in his attempt to create The Largest Artwork in the World. The whole project is powered by GreenQloud and hosted on their servers in Iceland making it “green”, as their cloud computing services are powered by 100% renewable energy resources.

UNICEF chairman, Svanhildur Konráðsdóttir.

A unique opportunity As The Largest Artwork in the World was introduced at the Reykjavík Art Museum, UNICEF chairman, Svanhildur Konráðsdóttir, said Ingvar certainly had his heart in the right place and thanked him on behalf of UNICEF. “We do have a certain advantage coming in to this project as UNICEF has 22,000 Global Parents in Iceland alone.” She then added,

As an avid art collector, Skúli Mogensen is passionate when it comes to art. He gladly used this opportunity to make his mark on art history as well as sponsoring the project generously through WOW air.

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Artist Ingvar Bjorn.

“For us it is always the thought that counts: Those who believe that together we can change the world for the better.” President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson honored the gathering by making the first brushstroke from his Facebook page. “I like the way we are using this social media in a graphical way. I hear from the entreprene­ urs around me that slowly but surely the communications will become more and more graphic. Young people of the new generations who use this technology will increasingly turn away from the language discourse and let photos and art do the talking.” Grimsson added that this new form of communication would make it hard for governments of the world to monitor their subjects’ discourse as all monitor and control systems are based President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson made the first “brush” stroke to the artwork. on the spoken or written word. This artwork shows us that an imaginative Make your mark artist, in collaboration Any Facebook user is just two clicks away from making largest with a good cause and artwork and a better world. Log on to Facebook and look for new technology, can lead largest artwork fan page ( the way that others will After clicking on the “participate” button, accept short terms undoubtedly follow. The and then you become part of the artwork. When a user partici­ President also said he pates in the artwork, he or she will be given an icon which is was not sure that breakdetermined by the number of the user’s friends. Automatically ing the world’s record by participating, a shaped brush stroke will appear on the was of great importance, canvas along with the user’s icon. The brush stroke will be “The main goal here, I heading in the direction of the next user that will participate. think, is to invite others For example, if user X is in New York and user Y who particito participate in this inpated before was in London, the brush stroke from Y will head teresting progress where in direction to X in NY. Every user and every brush stroke idea, art, information matters and only at the end of the 66 day period will we know technology, the support the finished outcome of the artwork. of a good cause, but first There are six specially made colors by Ingvar that will appear and foremost the unity randomly in the brush strokes (green, yellow, purple, blue, red and empathy of people and white), and icons are black. The artwork has four shapes of around the world, is the brush strokes that are determined by the different time zones governing force.” from where the users participate. Before putting the first After participating your brush stroke will always be a part of brushstroke to the virtual the artwork. Whenever you feel like, you can locate and see canvas President Grímsyour brush stroke in the artwork. You can also share it on Faceson thanked Ingvar for book for others to see. allowing the rest of us to temporarily become Visit and artists, “I think this is the and make your mark.

Guided tours daily

Meet the music Don’t worry, it’s waterproof


Reykjavík Concert Hall & Conference Centre

Music to our ears

Soul infused pop to

Icelandic poetry Now that we’ve entered into a new year it’s time to look back and appreciate all the good things from 2012. Award season is upon us and The Icelandic Music awards have announced their nominations. One notable name pops up in most categories: Moses Hightower. Nominated for their second album: Önnur Mósebók (The second book of Moses), best song “Sjáum hvað setur” (Let’s see what happens), best male singer, best lyrics and best sound editing. Although I’m no expert I dare to say they quite deserve these nominations, because personally I think their second album is just that good. So I jumped at the opportunity to ask them a few questions about their history and their music.

By Dísa Bjarnadóttir

66 ı WOW lifts you up where you belong

Who is in the band? Andri Ólafsson, bass and vocals, Steingrímur Karl Teague, key­ board and vocals, Daníel F. Böðvarsson, guitar and vocals and Magnús T. Eliassen on the drums.

How did you guys start a band together? “Some of us met as teenagers in school and started playing together in various bands. Daníel, we met a little bit later in music school and through mutual friends. We started playing together as Moses Hightower because we all shared an interest in soul and funk music and in musicians like D’Angelo.”

Your music has been de­ scribed as “Bill Withers meets Prince”. How would you describe it? “[Long pause ...] Maybe there is something to this: “Bill Withers meets Prince” but I’d rather say ‘Soul infused pop music with Icelandic lyrics’. We listen to all kinds of music. But our main inspiration for Mos­ es is jazz, funk and soul music.”

Do you have any funny music industry stories you can share with us?


9:41:10 PM

“We played with Ég og Þú [a disco duet from the ‘80s] in

“Some of us met as teenagers in school and started playing together in various bands. Daníel, we met a little bit lat­ er in music school and through mutual friends. We started playing together as Moses Hightower be­ cause we all shared an interest in old soul and funk music.” Akureyri last Christmas. During our entire performance there were some rather drunk young ladies in the first row screaming the name of their lead singer [Helga Möller, Iceland’s number one disco diva in the ‘80s]. What was even stranger about this experience is that their dancing “prop” was the head of a shop dummy.”

To learn more about Moses Hightower we recommend a visit to their facebook site and/or their own website

SAKE BARINN sushi & sticks



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We offer you a 15% discount to try our delicious sushi and sticks Just take a picture and show it or cut this out

Just take a picture and show it or cut this out

Sushibarinn - Laugavegur 2 - 101 Reykjavík - 552 4444

Get burger and beer and receive a 15% discount Just taka a picture and show it or cut this out Bjarni Fel is a popular sportbar on the main street in downtown Reykjavík. We have 15 HD flat screen TV’s and the capacity of showing up to 10 different events simultaneously and over 1700 TV channels. We offer good food and friendly service in one of the oldest café in Reykjavík

Austurstræti 20 - 101 Reykjavík - 561 2240

Sakebarinn - Laugavegur 2 (2nd floor) - 101 Reykjavík - 777 3311

Try our delicious food and receive 15% discount on all food Just take a picture and show it or cut this out Hressó is a popular bar/café/restaurant and is on the main street in downtown Reykjavik. Hressó offers a big menu with everthing from breakfast to desserts. Our Todays specials always include traditional Icelandic cuisine like lamb and fish. On weekends Hressó offers live music and after that you can experience the true natur of Reykjavík’s famous nightlife.

Austurstræti 20 - 101 Reykjavík - 561 2240

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by Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Photos: Kristinn Magnússon Stylist: Ásgrímur Friðriksson Hair and make-up: Anna Kristín Óskarsdóttir Clothes: Red sweater – McQ by Alexander Mcqueen – GK Reykjavík Trousers – Acne – KronKron Coat – Acne - KronKron

Just getting started

Dreamed of selling

200 copies! Singer, songwriter Ásgeir Trausti is off to the best start any young musician in Iceland has ever had. It might sound amazing but before 2012 Ásgeir Trausti was a relatively unknown name among Ice­­landers. Except maybe in his home town of Laugabakki and Hvammstangi in Northern Iceland where he wrote the songs to his debut album in quiet solitude allowing only a handful of trusted friends and family members to hear his beautiful tunes. How did it happen that his name is suddenly on everybody’s lips and his songs on every­body’s mind? I met up with Ásgeir Trausti, who happens to be our latest WOW star, and got to hear all about it. Ásgeir Trausti just came back from The Netherlands where his band play­ed at Eurosonic, Europe’s main show­­case festival for music where the most current and promising acts get the chance to present them­­­selv­­es to an audience of music lovers and international music profess­­ionals.

Best lyricist. It has also been nominated for the Nordic Music Prize. Both award ceremonies take place this February. So far the album has only been released in Iceland but an English version is in the making with lyrics written by American musician John Grant.

Q: So how did that go? „We played two shows and got great response. The spring and summer bookings are happening and offers are pouring in. Next I‘m playing at by:Larm in Norway, a showcase festival similar to Eurosonic,“ answers Ásgeir.

Q: Have you signed on to a label overseas? “I have signed a contract with One Little Indian that is going to release my album, both the Icelandic and the English version, worldwide. We have also signed on to a big booking agency called William Morris Entertainment and they will take care of our bookings worldwide.”

At 20 years old, Ásgeir Trausti has had the best start ever for a debut artist in Iceland. His album, released in September 2012, took only six weeks to reach gold sales and less than three months after its release the album had reached platinum. The album has already received 6 nominations for the Icelandic Music Awards; Best album, Best song (Leyndarmál), Best male vocalist, Best songwriter, Best producer and

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“We are recording new material, it might become a new album and it might not. We don’t know if we are going to use it for anything yet. For now we are just having fun at the studio. We worked on my last album in exactly that manner. We improvised and played around and when we had about 10 songs we decided to release the album. In my mind that is precisely how this process should be. Playing and having fun with it until it’s done. I would never want to think about making a whole album that had to be ready within a certain time frame. I want things to be free and loose and stay in the flow of things.”

“I was terrified” Q: Will the English version of the album be different than the Icelandic one? “It’s not decided yet but it will be pretty much the same if not totally, except with English lyrics” says Ásgeir and admits that he has been spending a lot of time in the studio lately. Is there a new Icelandic album in the works?

It seems almost impossible that this musical adventure started only a year ago. How did this all happen? “It all started maybe last May. I had recorded a little demo at home. It was really just more for me than for anything else. I let my friends listen to it and many of them said I should do something more with it. Then I let Guðmundur Hólmar, listen to

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“I would like to have more free time to immerse myself in songwriting. But it’s no big deal. If I get into the song-writing-mood I just do it. May­ be the songs work out and maybe they don’t.” it. Guðmundur is a both a long time friend and a mentor. He has been teaching me music since I was 7 years old and he was also my track and field trainer so we’ve become very close over the years. He told me I had to do something more with these songs so I took my recordings to Kiddi [Guðmundur Kristinn Jónsson, aka Kiddi í Hjálmum; a renowned producer at Hljóðriti studio].” Q: Did you know Kiddi before you went to him? “No, I was terrified. He was one of the big ones. Then he called me up the

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next day and asked me if I wanted to record something with him. At that time we recorded the first song, called Sumargestur. Originally I’d just made up these kind of mumbo jumbo English lyrics. They were really only made so I could sing something to the tunes. In the studio we decided that the song should have Icelandic lyrics. I sent the song to my father and he put the lyrics together. Then Kiddi asked if I wanted to perform the song in Hljómskálinn [an Icelandic music TV-show] and it went on the air a few days later. That started the ball rolling. “We recorded more songs and kept to this process; I’d made a raw demo with my mumbo jumbo lyrics and then my father or my friend Júlli [Júlíus], who’s also in the band, wrote the ly­r­ics. It’s kind of just snowballed since then.” Ásgeir’s first TV appearance earned him some much deserved popularity and Sumargestur became a hit song.

His next single, Leyndarmál (Secret) also became a smash hit but Ásgeir admits that he had his doubts about that one. “It was a surprise when Kiddi decided to release the song Leyndarmál next. Originally I wrote the song as kind of a joke. I recorded it at home and then did some beat boxing for fun. We tried this in the studio and people didn’t really like it to begin with, maybe because it was very unlike my style.” Ásgeir’s girlfriend Tinna even says she thought this was her least favorite song on the album. “Most people would agree with her and I think it was because the song was so out of character. I even consid­ ered excluding it from the album. Then suddenly Kiddi decided to release it to the radio stations. It was also his decision to give it this electro-vibe and when the song became a big hit we were all very surprised.”

Q: So your future is it looking a lot diff­erent from what it was a year ago? “Yes, totally. I was going to apply for the Icelandic Academy of the Arts this fall. Well actually I was too late to send in an application, but that’s just typical me. But I was going to. The plan was to keep on learning to play classical guitar. Then I planned on teaching music in my hometown, and I did do that this winter. I kind of planned on struggling like most people do. And I was going to train like crazy. I even considered becoming a personal trainer,” admits Ásgeir who happens to be very athletic. Before music took over he was training power lifting and in his youth he showed a lot of promise in track and field. He even holds the Icelandic record for 14 year olds in the javelin throw; 63.38 meters. Q: Are you still thinking about growing old in your old hometown? “Yes, maybe I will someday. Maybe if everything gets to crazy or falls apart,” he says.

with other instruments, the drums for instance. There were about two years that I only played drums. I have these phases where I am super interested in just one instrument.” Q: So you taught yourself how to play the piano? “Yes, kind of. I learned a little from my mother who’s a classic organist but for the most part I picked it up on my own. I can’t even read notes for piano, only guitar. The piano is convenient though. When I think about harmonics for instance I use the piano.”

Let the tunes tell their own story For his album Ásgeir’s father, Einar Georg Einarsson, wrote most of the lyrics but some are by Ásgeir‘s friend Júlíus Aðalsteinn Róbertsson, aka Júlli. Studying the lyrics I find that they paint small pictures or scenes that are beautiful on their own but hard to interpret as a whole. This is especially the case with Leyndarmál. I asked Ásgeir Trausti for an explanation.

Q: Do you ever feel like your future has been decided for you? Like the old ideas of your future have been taken and new ones put in their stead? “Yes, but that doesn’t bother me. I was never really decided on anything in particular. I was still like “Yeah, maybe I’ll do that” or “maybe I’ll do this”. I never had my future set in stone like some people do.”

Q: Are you surprised that the album became such a hit? “Yes of course, but I try not to dwell on it. This is so incredible so I’m better off not thinking about it too much.”

Great plans ahead Like most guys his age, Ásgeir had some plans for the future. It is safe to say those plans have changed drastic­ally in the course of just one year. Did Ásgeir have any plans of becoming a hit? “No, never! I didn’t even plan on releas­ing a record. When we did release the record I hoped to sell about 200 copies. Just to friends and relatives; in my mind that would have been great results. So no, I didn’t expect anything so this certainly was not in my plans.”

Q: But growing old in your hometown and teaching music was your vision? “Yes, and that might still happen after some years. That vision is still on the table,” says Ásgeir and adds that he is very loyal to his old hometown. “Perhaps it’s because I go there so often. Once a week I drive up north to give music lessons to kids. I teach kids from the age of 6 to 16. It’s a great experience. Sometimes you can just see that some kids have a future in music,” says Ásgeir who himself has been playing the guitar since he was 3 although he did not start taking lessons until the age of 7. Q: You play the piano too; did you also take piano lessons? “When I was about 12 my sister, who’s 2 years older than me, was taking vio­ lin lessons and could play the piano a little. I’ll never forget when she said to me: ‘At least there’s one instrument I can play better than you, the piano’. This made me furious so I sat down at the piano and practiced relentlessly until I got it. At that time I was in a band in my hometown and we used to play during song contests in the local college and such. Pretty soon I was playing the piano in that band along with the guitar. There were a couple of months when I was only interested in the piano. I’ve done the same

Q: Who’s in your band? “We have been developing the band ever since we started, looking for the right balance. Júlli, my friend from the northern part of Iceland, plays acoustic guitar and sings backing vocals, Kiddi my producer plays keyboard and guitar, my half brother Steini plays bass and sings backing vocals and then there’s Jón Valur, our drummer. Sometimes Júlli and I perform as a duo but we’d like to use the band more now to keep a certain standard. I want to deliver my songs to the fullest when performing instead of having to play lighter versions of them because there‘s just the two of us.” Issue one

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Ásgeir and Júlli at the studio.

Mixing it up with Kiddi at Hljóðriti studio.

“Yes, I’ll admit that the lyrics to Leyndar­­mál are very strange but that is what I wanted. Actually, when I asked my father to write the lyrics I told him to make them vague, un­­clear and cryptic. I think the only song this doesn’t apply to is my first one, Sumargestur. That one tells a very definite story. All the other lyrics are open for interpretation; you can find so much in them. They could be about anything, or nothing, which is the case with Leyndarmál,” informs Ásgeir Trausti and tells us about some of the theories people have had about that particular song, “One man thought it was about incest,” … and here I was thinking it was about mush­­room picking.

lot of English lyrics without necessar­ily trying to understand them and they sound “English”. Possibly I could have gotten away with releasing these lyrics here in Iceland but had I taken this to foreign labels they would have figured it out,” says Ásgeir with a grin making us all wonder how these first lyrics must have sounded.

Q: You said once that you didn’t write your own lyrics because you place such high standards on your work. Are you a perfectionist? “Yes, I think I am a bit. I could write my own lyrics but when I know that someone close to me is more quali­ fied and would do a much better work, why should I? All of us are just working on making the best music we can and I don’t think I should try to have a bigger piece of that pie by making lyrics that are only going to be average when someone else can do a much better job.”

Q: I noticed you often play with your eyes closed. Are you shy? “I’m not sure. Before I go on stage I get into this different zone. I can‘t really describe it. My half-brother Steini has also talked about this, he gets this same feeling. You become somewhat shy and feel almost a little silly.”

Q: Have you ever disagreed with the words to your songs? “I did this one time when we were recording the album. When I write a song I think that song has a certain quality to it that should determine the topic of the lyrics. The tunes tell their own story. If the lyrics don’t match the ambiance of the song it becomes uncomfortable. I felt this was the case with one song in this whole process and then I asked my father to write something new. He did and the song came out great.”

“I’ve been writing songs since I was 10 years old and I’ve realized that eventually there always comes this point of total blockage. It can be a part of the year, it can be a part of the month, you never know. At first I got very irritated.” Q: Tell us about these mumbo jumbo English lyrics. Did none of them make sense? “Well some of them did – there were sentences here and there that were quite good but before and after there were just some words that sounded like English but really weren’t. A lot of people didn’t realize this at first, they thought I was singing in English even though they couldn’t understand a word I was saying. You can listen to a

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“I’m not exactly a social person” Ásgeir Trausti has an air of confidence without being cocky, a gentle­ man who knows who he is and is serious about his art. He seems easy going with a no-nonsense attitude and although he’s reserved he is in no way shut down.

Q: Is it stage fright? “Stage fright? Yes maybe. It’s not like a fear of something going wrong. I need this “zone”. I need the stress to get out on that stage. A little stress is essential. If I didn’t have that I think my performance would be­come weird. Stress, in modera­tion, is a good thing.” Q: How would you describe your character? “I have no idea. I’m just an ordinary guy.” Q: Would you say you were withdrawn or reserved? “Well, I’m not exactly a social person or outgoing, not at all. I feel best by myself. I’m not one to go barhopping downtown for instance. I do that maybe twice a year. I tried that scene because so many people went on about it, but I found out over and over again that for me it’s just awful. Why would I do that? It’s a total waste of time. Every time it was walking into a bar and that bar wasn’t good enough so we’d go to the next one but that wasn’t good either and then I’d just end up at home,” says Ásgeir who admits he prefers little home gatherings better or even just staying in on Friday nights to play his guitar. Ásgeir just finished college but ad­ mits he was never really a part of the college scene. “I’m not sure that the people in my college even knew I was there in those four years. I got to know a few guys and they are still my friends but I never wanted to join the actual social life. If I had a free period I went home. I checked it out of course, but I soon realized wasn’t for me. I would rather spend my time with close friends.

“I have a hard time getting to know people. I don’t just walk up to them. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing,” he explains.

The block-phenomenon While the only complaints I have heard about Ásgeir Trausti’s album is that it’s too short the fact is that he is actu­ally a very pro­­ductive composer. Q: How do you start writing a song? Does it just come to you? “I have many processes to create songs. For my first album I wrote most of my songs while in my hometown where there’s peace and quiet. Two of the songs were written shortly after I met my girlfriend Tinna. I wanted to show her that I could write songs and that it was no big deal. So I went home and wrote two songs to show her the next day. And they are on the album, Nýfallið regn (Rainfall) and Þennan dag (This day). These two were created under pressure that I applied to myself because I wanted to. At other times I write songs just because the mood comes to me. And sometimes, in the studio, when we are just fooling around, we just think of something to record and see how it comes out. The process is very varied. “I’ve been writing songs since I was 10 years old and I’ve realized that eventually there always comes this point of total block­ age. It can be a part of the year, it can be a part of the month, you never know. At first I got very irritated. I felt like I had lost my creative gift. But then it always came back to me. This happened over and over again and a few years ago I just came to terms with it. This “phenomenon” just comes, and I never know when. I pick up my guitar and try something out and I immed­iately know that nothing is going to happen, and then I just leave it alone, I don’t try to force it because I know it won’t work. I think it’s either that I am writing worse material or, and this is more likely, that I’m just not in the right frame of mind so I judge everything I do as worse. When these phases come I don’t write any­

Heading out. Ásgeir Trausti is taking his beautiful music to the world.

deal. If I get into the song-writing-mood I just do it. Maybe the songs work out and maybe they don’t.” Q: About this block- pheno­menon – do you have any exercises to get it out of you system? “No it can’t be done. There is abso­lutely nothing that I can do. I just know I have to wait. I might be fine tomorrow or next week. I don’t know. But I know when I am back on track and then I can write song after song.”

Q: Do you create your new songs differently now that you’ve made these professional arrangements and having been exposed to all this studio technology? “Yes I think I do, a little. It’s not like we’ve been all “OK now we need to compose some songs”. As I said, we’re fooling around. We have all “I think I did a lot more of that before this equipment and you can a song just using that all of this started. Playing music takes make alone so in that sense the up a lot of my time, even if I’m just creative process is totally different. On my album I wrote going somewhere to play for half an the songs mostly alone and hour, it’s on my mind all day like “oh out in the country with my yeah, we’re playing later today” guitar and I would like to get the time to do that again if we are going to get serious about thing at all but then I’ll have long periods making another album. I’d like to write music of time when my creativity is up and I can out in the country and to be totally focused pro­duce new material.” on the project.” Q: Do you try to write music every day? “I think I did a lot more of that before all of this started. Playing music takes up a lot of my time, even if I’m just going somewhere to play for half an hour, it’s on my mind all day like “oh yeah, we’re playing later today”. I feel kind of stressed and in these moments the guitar is just an instrument that I will take with me to work later that day. I don’t really think about sitt­ing down and writing something new. “I would like to have more free time to immerse myself in songwriting. But it’s no big

Q: What are the chances of you getting that time with your busy sched­ule? “I think we’ll manage. We might have to say no to some people, though,” he says with a wry smile.”

What’s important? From dreams of selling 200 copies of his album to the reality of selling 25,000. My eyes have króna-signs in them just thinking about it and I wond­er how Ásgeir is going to spend his part of the profit.

Q: Have you gotten anything yet? “No, I haven’t. But my ride is very substand­ ard so I was thinking about buying a new car. That’s the only thing I have thought about. As for the rest … I hope to use it wisely and for the right reasons. “ Next I asked Ásgeir Trausti about his motto, he took a long pause to think about that one and then he said: “I think it’s most fitt­­ing to say ‘Don’t over think things’. That has been very true in my life.” Q: Have you ever over thought things? “Yeah… well, when I over think things I tend to get my hopes up and that’s never a good thing. You have to know what’s important.” Q: What is important to you? “Music. And Tinna,” he says and hugs his girlfriend. “If you are thinking about the business side of music, for me that is dreadful. I should be totally focused on the music, like I was before this whole thing started. Not like I’m running a business. Of course it is kind of like running a business but I’m going to try and stay away from that side of it as much as I can and leave the business to other people.” Q: Are you excited to take your music out into the world? “Yes, but I’m mostly excited about releasing the album abroad. I’m excited to see what happens then. Everything that happens will happen because of that album, so that album, for me, is the main thing. And then I have to get used to going abroad, I really hav­en’t done a lot of that over the years. And getting used to dragging all this equipment around …”


n his way to meet the world, Ásgeir Trausti is not afraid to lose himself in fame and fast living. “I have no trouble taking a rest if something becomes ‘iffy’, going back to the country and finding my roots again.”

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Confucius once said, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without”. We at WOW magazine happen to agree and so we have put together this list of big music festivals happening in the great continent of Europe. If you can’t do without music you should really think about attending one of these in the near future. by Ólafur Valur Ólafsson

you will find Germany’s most popu­lar festival event, holding a capacity of 80,000 screaming rockers from all over the world. All of the most famous names in music have played on the stages of this festival. It’s a total “must go there” festival.

The Full Metal Cruise, 5 - 12 May, from Hamburg to Amsterdam Hands down, the most interesting festival in the world. The festival starts in Hamburg and heads to the harbors of Southampton (UK), Le Havre (F) and ends in Amsterdam (NL). That’s right; it’s a sailing festival - Truly an ambitious project. Around 20 bands will play on three stages, indoors, and out on the deck. There’s also a casino among several other things that will make this festival a Full Metal Cruise.

Greenfield Festival, 13 - 15 June, Interlaken, Switzerland The Greenfield Festival is an annual heavy metal music festival held in the outskirts of the Swiss city, Interlaken (close to Zürich). Festivals in both Switzerland and Belgium have already started to make a name for themselves around the world and Greenfield is one of the reasons.

Tomorrowland, 26 - 28 July, Boom, Belgium

Sonisphere, 8 June, Milan, Italy Sonisphere will hit Milan with all its force this summer. Good news for rock thirsty festival fans because the Sonisphere franchise just announced that the festival will not be taking place in the UK this year. Iron Maiden and Megadeath are among the bands that have announced their coming to Sonisphere, Milan. The beast is on the road.

Rock am Ring, 7 - 9 June, Nürburgring, Germany 70 km out of Cologne at the famous Nürburgring racetrack

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Glastonbury, 26 - 30 June, Somerset, UK In the small town of Somerset, England, one of the world’s best (if not the best) music festival welcomes guests from all over the world. This festival is so popular that the tickets have often sold out in hours. The line-up for 2013 will not be announced until shortly before the festival dates. Big names like U2, Coldplay, Beyoncé and Morrissey are just a few amongst the slew of great artists that have honored the festival in the past years.

WOW, where do I begin. If you like house music or electro … or techno, Tomorrowland is the place to be. This festival has grown enormously in the past few years. Why? Because they go full throttle. The DJ’s are the biggest names in the world, the atmosphere is great and Boom, even the name of the town it is held in is amazingly appropriate.

Reading Festival, 23 - 25 August, Leeds, UK One of England’s most beloved festivals. If you like indie, rock, punk or metal this is the festi­ val you need to check off of your bucket list. Big names like Emin­em and Deftones have already confirmed their arrival in 2013. The dates for the 90,000 capacity Reading Festival are confirmed on the bank holiday weekend.

Wireless Music Festival, 5 - 7 July, London, UK The Wireless Festival takes place in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and features a line up of primarily electronic and dance-oriented acts. Still no Wire­ less Festival lineup yet, but an announcement is expected soon.


Your paradise for high fashion

… board style!

Sónar Barcelona, 13 - 15 June, Barcelona, Europe Roskilde Festival, 29 June - 7 July, Roskilde, Denmark Denmark’s pride and glory was first launched in 1971 and is still going strong and getting better every year. Roskilde is Europe’s 6th biggest packed with fun festival and it goes on for an amazing 6 days. Not only does Roskilde deliver some huge names in music every year but this festival is also a great eye for new talent.

Sónar is Spain’s mash-up of music, film and video, all rolled into one big multimedia festival. You get installation art, audiovisual concerts, and media lab presentations next to DJ sets, electronic music, film and more. It’s the new media jet set in the heart of Europe.

Berlin Festival, 6 - 7 September, Berlin, Germany

Pinkpop, 14 - 16 June, Landgraaf, Netherlands Pinkpop Festival is clearly a hidd­ en festival diamond. Growing year by year it has become a big hit in the last years with a very diverse music line up. To prevent overcrowding the festival organizers decided to limit the number of tickets at 60,000. Pinkpop is the longest running annual music festival in the world.

Berlin Festival is a young, excit­ ing and dynamic rush to the head at the forefront of musical trends. This is one of the most innovative, fresh and exciting festivals in Europe. Big names such as Blur, Pet Shop Boys and Turbostaat have already been announced and if previous years are any indicator much more can be expected.

Rock en Seine, 23 - 25 August, Paris, France

When visiting Iceland be sure not to miss such attract­ ions as the Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle tours and of course one of Iceland’s most popular store, Brim. Located on Laugavegur, Reykja­vík’s most trendy shopp­ ing street, this two floor 360 sq. meter shop offers more var­i­ety than most in Europe when it comes to board fashion for all ages. Here you will find soft goods along with hard goods from over 20 major brands which all have one thing in common. They are all connected to skate, snow and surf. This 15 year old store has distribution contracts straight from the manufactures, for all their brands, making them able to offer better prices than the neighboring countries in northern Europe. Labels include such giants as Billabong, Element, 686, Rome SDS, Bataleon and Lobster

snow­­boards just to name a few. If you forgot to pack your bathing gear or even outerwear, or just want to see what’s brand new in the world of boardsports, be sure to stop by at Brim. Brim Laugavegur 71 and Kringlan shopping center 101 Reykjavík Tel: 5517060

Rock en Seine is the big August throwdown in Paris at the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, a park on the west side of the city. It features 4 stages on over 42 acres inside the metro area of Paris. The first names have been revealed; System of a Down, Phoenix and Paul Kalkbrenner.

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A WOW photo shoot Jumping with joy

The aircrafts of WOW air are filled with photogenic people, and we’re not just talking about the guests. WOW air’s staff is in fact so photogenic that the company decided to use them as models in their latest photo shoot. This became a whole day of fun as the flight attendants of WOW air got to dress up and jump around on a trampoline. The fun was so contagious that CEO Skúli Mogensen had no choice but join in as evident by his photo on page 6. But it does not just stop there. The staff of WOW air is not just photogenic; they are also fun and have varied interests. We got to know them a little better after the shoot.

Margrét Björnsdóttir I am an avid music enthusiast and I love going to music festivals. I have already bought a ticket to see Band of Horses playing at Harpa Concert Hall on June. I also love a good joke, especially good Icelandic humor and the stand up group, Mið-Ísland for example. This is why I love doing the announcements on board our flights; I get to make jokes and be funny and spontaneous.”

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Orri Þrastarson “Cooking is my passion and I have attended num­ erous cooking classes. I am always cooking and inviting people to dinner. My kitchen is fairly small so it’s amazing to see the feasts that come from it. Right now Indian food is my favorite. I am also an avid music enthusiast and I love going to concerts. I can often be found humming a tune, even on board our flights. I tend not to take life to seriously and I love singing but let’s just say that not all people agree with me on the quality of my singing voice.

Eiður Aron Arnarson “My favorite thing is to travel, both around Iceland and the world. I go snowboarding whenever I can and I love hunting wild game. Right now I am studying economics in Reykjavík University. I used to play basketball with Valur, a team in the premier league, but today I just play for fun with my friends in a little nondivision team we have going.”

María Valdimarsdóttir “I love dining out with my husband and we are very good at seizing such opportunities. My family has a cottage in the country and I love going there to relax and spend some time outside the city with my husband and children. We go gout boating and on hikes. I also love walking my dog. My cosmetic company, Ilma, is a big part of my hobbies and I also have a passion for interior designing. I love redec­or­ ating my home and I tend to take very fast decis­ ions when it comes to that. One time I repainted a room right before leaving for a flight, much to the astonishment of my family. When I have a quiet moment I like to knit or do a little crocheting but I rarely have such moments.”

Gríma Björg Thorarensen “I have a passion for cooking and as I am studying to become a nutritionist in the University of Iceland I am mostly interested in making healthy meals where I focus on nutritional value. I used to work at a health restaurant and learned a lot about healthy cooking there. Besides that I love traveling, especially to exotic places. Last year I went to India for two months. I also have an eclectic taste in music. I can listen to most anything.”

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And now for something completely different

A true paradise for film enthusiasts by Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photo: Kristinn Magnússon Icelanders love going to movie theaters. Perhaps it’s be­cause our winters can be long, dark and cold. It means that some­­times we just need a little escape from our own reality and to get lost in the stories told on the silver screen. Or maybe it’s just that we love movies.


or some reason the ma­ j­ority of Icelandic movie theaters show mostly big budget Hollywood films. But there is one notable exception: Bíó Paradís on Hverfis­ gata, which was founded by The Ice­­landic Filmmakers’ Association with the goal to enrich the select­ ion for Icelandic movie goers and promote Icelandic film-making.

And it’s off to a great start. In the two years Bíó Paradís has been operating, visitors have in­creased by 33 percent, even though gen­er­al visits to Ice­ landic cine­mas has decrea­sed by eight percent. One rea­son for this could be that Bíó Paradís is now the only movie theater in downtown Reykja­vík. It also has quite a cozy little café. There are

“Everybody is welcome to come here and just hang out. That’s why the tables and chairs and the chessboard is there.” 78 ı WOW lifts you up where you belong

tables and chairs, couches and a bar. Hrönn Sveinsdóttir, the managing director, describes it this way: “Everybody is welcome to come here and just hang out. That’s why the tables and chairs and the chessboard is there. We see it as a venue where you can sit down and have a beer with your friends, watch a film and then return to discuss what you’ve seen. We have a good selection of music and all of the employees are great DJs so we always have good music playing.”

A great way to learn about foreign places Bíó Paradís has also been gain­­ ing a growing reputation as a host to various events, such as Wednesday night game nights and Black Sundays. On Black Sundays a small group of horror movie fans have been showing other fans, movie buffs or just curious people a very eclectic col­ lection of horror movies, most of them quite out of the main­­stream. Hrönn says: “The best way to introduce a country’s culture is through their films.” So the

movie theater often hosts various events such as Polish, Chinese, and European film days to name a few. Each year it shows over 400 films from over 40 different countries. It has also become an annual tradition to show selected old and new Icelandic films throughout the summer, catering especially to foreign visitors.

Music festivals without the camping Hrönn says that in the summertime people who’ve been “going crazy all winter from light deprivation” aren’t as eager to go to the movies. That’s driven her and her colleagues to come up with fun, new innovative events. Last summer Bíó Paradís hosted concerts which were very popular. The cinema just improved their sound system so there’s a possibility they might broadcast from foreign music festivals in the summer. The ones of us that don’t get to go to Roskilde or Glastonbury could then go downtown to Bíó Paradís, have a beer and experience the concerts on the big screen.

Our Master Watchmaker never loses his concentration With his legendary concentration and 45 years of experience our Master Watchmaker and renowned craftsman, Gilbert O. Gudjonsson, inspects every single timepiece before it leaves our workshop. All the watches are designed and assembled by hand in Iceland. Only highest quality movements and materials are used to produce the watches and every single detail has been given the time needed for perfection. The JS Watch co. Watch factory and exclusive retail shop located at Laugavegur 62, in the trendy “101� area of Reykjavik provides customers with unique opportunity to meet the watchmakers who assemble and test their timepiece. The quantity of watches produced is limited, giving them an exclusive and truly personal feel.

WOW Cyclothon

Often the right motivation is all that’s needed to make changes in a person’s life. The difference lies in what spurs diverse individuals on. Wow air has proved to be a great motivator for a large group of people by sponsoring certain sporting events. WOW Cyclo­thon is a 1332 km cycling tournament in the form of a relay race. One team member passes the baton to the next and in the end they have circled Iceland. A group of people has already begun train­ing, bent on setting their mark on the race.

A midsummer night dream

Text: Steingerður Steinarsdóttir Photos: Eyþór Árnason


he WOW Cyclothon is the most popular event. This particular contest was created by CEO Skúli Mog­ ensen and Magnús Ragnarsson who, of course feel duty bound to compete in it. Last year they each led their own team and this year will be no diff­erent.

Magnús is training enthusiastically and is certainly going to be a tough opponent. How often does his team train? “It varies,” says Magnús. “Personally I cycle four to five times a week. Some team members go to spinning classes once or twice a week. But, it’s still early and they’ll probably get more into it and train more intensely in the spring. The WOW Cyclothon will take place around Midsumm­

acceptable level. Having a goal, like this tournament, can help. Interest in cycling competitions has grown enormously in the last few years. It’s been really exploding. I think the reason is that running is not particularly good for you and sports injuries are common among runners. They therefore turn to cycling and from there the step to triathlons is easy. We had a lot of triathletes in the competition last year but

“The motivation for many of us is to keep fit with our body weight at an acceptable level.” er Night so the greatest intensity will be during the spring months, but right before the tournament, athletes tone it down to be able to give their utmost during the competition.” Why the great enthusiasm and interest in this particular meet? “I guess it all started while I was trying to make physical training more enjoyable. No physical exertion can be described as fun so most people need something to spur them on. The motivation for many of us is to keep fit with our body weight at an

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as expected the thoroughbred cyclists came away as winners.” What keeps you going? Do you train on your own or as a group? “Definitely in a group, the company of others is invaluable in sports. While winter still reigns, most people work out indoors on trainers or take spinning classes. During spring and summer cyclists take to the road. We go on cycling tours to Þingvell­ ir, and Hvalfjörður is a really popular destination as well. It’s a 100 km circle from the tunnel to Ferstikla, a coffee house

just a little further than the old whaling station. You sit down for an espresso or cappuccino before heading back. It’s very rewarding.” Will the WOW Cyclothon be the only sporting event you will take part in this summer? “I’m registered for the Berlin marathon in the fall. I try to run some kind of distance at least once a year.” And spring is just around the corner for cyclists as well as runners so Magnús is taking things seriously. The thought of that rewarding cup of coffee as well as the WOW Cyclothon is likely to keep him going for a while. WOW Cyclothon promotes healthy living and outdoor acti­ vities in the beautiful nature of Iceland and raises money for a charity called Save the Children. Last year contestants raised quite a bit by collecting pledges for their teams. All contributions including corpo­ rate sponsorship also went directly to Save the Children. The total amount raised by the WOW Cyclothon was 3.8 million IKR.

Ása Magnúsdóttir works at Ís­lands­banki and has always enjoy­ed physical activity. She took part in the WOW Cyclothon last year and is looking forward to hitting the road this year. Have you started training for this event? “No, not for this particular event. I train on a regular basis for the triathlon and part of my program is cycling. I have always been very active. I also do yoga and weight training but last wint­ er the triathlon took over and I started exercising for that.” Have you already signed up for the WOW Cyclothon? “No, but I will. Last year I was working hard, finishing my mast­ er’s degree in corporate finance and working full time as well. A friend of mine suggested that we take part in the cyclothon but I told her I didn’t have time. She persisted, though and in the end I acquiesced without knowing exactly what I was agreeing to. We were on our way to the starting point when I began to ask to get an idea as to what I was letting myself in for. Fortuna­ tely I was relatively fit and as it turned out the experience was amazing.

“We cycled from one fjord to another and for energetic people such as myself nothing compares to exerting oneself beyond barriers through the mystical light of the Icelandic night. In fact the summer nights here are beautiful, the stillness and the glow is indescribable. Not repeating this experience was never an option.” Is this the only sporting event you will take part in this summ­er? “No, not by a long shot. I will run a half marathon over the Little Belt Bridge in Denmark in May. The bridge stretches across the Little Belt Strait and is 1178 m long. I will also compete in a half- Iron Man in Hafnarfjörd­ ur this summer. I turn 50 next fall and for that occasion I am planning to ask special guests to cycle with me along the Pilgrim Trail, St. James’ Road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. All these seem great fun to me and of course there are so many other wonderful and interesting events all over the world that I will probably never have time to participate in although a great many of them would certainly interest me.” Whether Ása will be able to exhaust the list of events or

not remains to be seen. She will, however be able to compare the Icelandic summer nights with twi­ light in Spain in the coming fall.

There’s still time An unknown philosop­ her once said: “To test a man’s charact­er, give him a bike.” If you want to test your own charact­er you can still sign up for the WOW Cyclothon to be held on the 19th of June 2013. Register at Registration has already begun and is open to everyone until May 15th 2013.

Iceland on the move

Run in the sun … even at night! It’s springtime in Iceland...well, it’s almost springtime. The darkest, shortest day of the year (December 21st) is behind us and the days are getting longer. That means that hibernation time is over and Icelanders are starting to get ready for summer. It’s time to get serious about training: whether it’s to hike up one of many of Iceland’s beautiful mountains, to take it a step further and run a marathon, or ride in a cyclothon. Here is some of what will be happening for those of us who like to kill two birds with one stone: experience Iceland’s bright nights and beautiful nature and run or ride to new lengths. by Dísa Bjarnadóttir

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Reykjavík Marathon The Reykjavík Marathon always takes place on the closest Satur­ day after August 18th which is Reykjavík’s birthday. This year that Saturday will be on August 24th. The Reykjavík Marathon is the first step in one giant city-wide party called Reykja­ vík Culture Night. There are various options for people of various strength and stamina, the shortest one being the Lazy Town run for the very youngest runners. There are also 3 km, 10 km, 21 km options and a relay race. Registration has begun on

A Midnight Run in Lauga­dalur WOW cyclothon Registration has already begun for the second WOW cyclothon, which will take place between June 19 and 22. It���s a bicycle relay race around the entire country along route 1 (the Ring Road). Each team consists of four bikers and up to two support drivers. The aim is for the teams to finish their circle around Iceland in 72 hours or less. The teams are also urged to collect pledges so that they can help with the goal of the competition: to raise money for children’s charity. This year even more people are expected to register for the WOW cyclothon as some new features are being offered such as the B group. The B group makes it possible for almost anyone to enter the race because the rules for the B group are more flexible: the teams can have up to ten team members and they have more time to reach their goal: up to 72 hours. To register go to or contact jorunn@

Just two days after the WOW cyclothon ends, on June 24th, the Suzuki Midnight Run takes place in Laugardalur (Hot Spring Valley), Reykjavík. Runners of all ages can choose from 3 distances: 5 K (for all age groups), 10 K (not recommended for under 12 years old) and a half marathon (age limit 15 years). Runners participating in all three

distances will start and finish in the blooming valley of Laugardalur. After the race contestants are invited to enjoy a midnight soak in the geothermal pools at Laugadalur. For more information visit

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon For those that are interested in more rural settings and exploring the nature outside of the city there is the Laugavegur 55 km Ultra Marathon on Saturday July 13th. Laugavegur, not to be confused with Laugavegur shopping street, is located in the southern highlands of Ice­ land and connects the nature reserves Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk. According to those who have participated, the course takes runners through outstanding natural beauty while at the same time being very challenging as runners are expected to confront sand, gravel, snow, ice, rivers and streams. Registration has already begun at

A Midnight Run in Lauga­dalur.

Laugavegur Ultra maraþon.

Laugavegur Ultra maraþon.

Arctic Open Running, cycling and swimming isn’t for everyone. Golfers also get their fair share of tournaments this summer but the highlight is probably the Arctic Open. This tournament features round the clock golf in mid-summer at high latitude in the northern town of Akureyri. Arctic Open will take place between the 27th and 29th of June.

“The Reykjavík Marathon always takes place on the closest Satur­day after August 18th which is Reykjavík’s birthday.” Reykjavík Marathon.

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Get moving

Run tourist, run! In the summertime when the sun never sets in Iceland it seems like the whole nation doesn’t stop moving. We run, swim, jog and ride our bikes as much as we can, while we can. Some of us go for leisurely bike rides around our neigh­borhood, some of us hike mountains but the most advent­ur­ous travel to a foreign city and run a marathon. Here are some interesting sports events in 2013. by Dísa Bjarnadóttir April 7, Berlin, Germany Berlin Vattenfall Half Marathon, Inline Skating Roll into spring in beautiful Amster­dam! Even though registration is fully booked for 2013, we will be keeping a keen eye on this event in the future, as some of us love to in-line skate

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(or roller-blade). In-line-skating is a hobby (for some a sport) that can usually be practiced only in the summer time (or at least when there is no snow on the ground) and preferably on smooth sur­fac­ es. For those of us that love warm weather and cool cities like Berlin this event will be marked in our

future calendars. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than in cool, fun and hip Berlin. Unfortunately this inline skating marathon is fully booked for 2013, but we recommend keeping an eye on this website for the future:

April 21, London, UK The London Marathon There is nothing like visiting London, except maybe sightseeing there in the springtime while parti­cipating in one of the five best marathons in the world: the London Marathon. Runners tread a largely flat course around the River Thames. The race begins at three separate points around Blackheath and finishes in The Mall alongside St. James Park. Participating runners will pass famous historical sites such as The Tower of London and catch sights of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and The London Eye. Unfortunately it’s too late to sign up to for the 2013 marathon as it is only a few weeks away. However, now is the perfect time to start training for 2014. Be sure to put your name on the list for 2014 at www.virginlondon­

you’ll have a great time, even if you’re not running! Registration is still open and must be submitted by May 1 5, 2013. To register go to

© / Ted Fahm

June 9, Berlin, Germany

May 19, Copenhagen, Denmark

© Berliner Vattenfall halbmarathon / Camera 4

The Copenhagen Marathon This Marathon ought to appeal to music loving athletes. Over the past few years the Copenhag­en Marathon has developed into a festive event for both runners and spectators. Many bands, dance and entertainment groups perform at the start, finish and along the course, creating a lively atmosphere, which Copenhagen is so famous for. The 2013 Marathon will feature more than 40 entertainment acts along the route. Over 15 cafes in restaurants along the course will offer some kind of special marathon deal, such as a marathon brunch, a marathon menu offer or a marathon discount. It sounds like the Copenhagen Marathon is so much fun that

Berlin Velothon - Marathon The sophisticated route of the Berlin Velothon follows Berlin’s main sights and the race has established itself as the second largest bicycle race of its kind in Europe, attracting more than 13,000 participants every year. Velothon offers three routes; a 60 km city course for beginners, a 120 km course for ambitious cyclists and the ProRace for professionals. The Velothon starts and finishes at Brandenburg Gate. For more information visit www.

The word “triathlon” is of Greek origin from the words “trei” (three) and “athlos” (contest). It consists of swimming, running and cycling, but various distances depending on difficulty. The easiest one is the “Sprint” whereas the hardest one, “Ultra Distance”, is also known as Ironman. An Ironman triathlon consists of a 3.9 km swim, 180 bike ride and a full marathon or 42.2 km.

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Get moving Thursday September 5, Kent, UK

The name “marathon” comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger. The legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in The Battle of Marathon. It’s said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly screaming “we won!” before he collapsed and died.

July 27-29, London, UK Virgin Active London Triathlon Held at the peak of the British summertime and known to some as the world’s largest and most iconic triathlon. A record number of participants are expected this year so that’s why it’s a good idea to sign up soon! A triathlon involves swimming, cycling and running in immediate succession and this triathlon is open to individuals of all abili­ ties, both beginners and longtime tri-athletes. The distances range from “Super Sprint all the way” up to “Olympic Plus” also featuring team relay options. To register go to

August 31, Copenha­ gen, Denmark Swimming in Christiansborg Canal This is a unique opportunity to experience some sightsee­ ing in Copenhagen while swimming around Christians­ borg Palace the seat of the Danish Parliament. The route is about 2,000 m long. It starts in Frederiks­ holms Kanal, goes past the Black Diamond, continues along the waterfront, under Knippelsbro Bridge, past the Stock Exchange, Højbro Plads and Gammel Stand and concludes in the straight in Frederkisholms Kanal. This is a unique chance for the brave and adventurous to dive into the city center. Registration is on a first come – first serve basis. For more information visit

July 28, Zurich, Switzerland Ironman Switzerland Ironman starts with a 3.8 km swim in water so crystal clear that it’s of drinking quality. After swimming, the bike course leads through the city center along the lake shore out of town. Contestants ride along grazing lands, small villages and the rolling country­ side of Zurich. The uphill chall­ enging parts of the route are called “The Beast” and “Heartbreak Hill”. For moral support, spectators line up cheering and ringing the cow bells. The four-loop running course leads through the parks of the city and along the lake. In Zurich, as typical for Switzerland, everything from shopping to spas and restaurants are very close to the race site and within walking distance. To register go to

© / Ty Stange

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Cyclothon UK This endurance team relay, road cycling race around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit is made up of an 8 hour and a 12 hour challenge. Teams of between 4-8 riders will cycle for as long as they want, before dipping into the pit lane to hand over the timing chip to the next rider on their team. The winning team will be the one that completes the most combined laps within the allotted time in each category. Prizes will be awarded to the winners of each category. Entry is open to all over the age of 16, male and female, to both experienced and inexperi­ enced riders, of all abilities. In this race you’ll find corporate teams, cycling club teams, friends coming together for a social ride, teams raising money for various charities, endurance solo riders, novice cyclists and a range of sporting celebrities.

September 14, Almere, Holland Challenge Almere-Amsterdam Triathlon Almere is known for its wonder­ ful parks, diverse woods, gorg­ eous lakes, well maintained canals and enchanting nature reserves. Almere is also a renown­ed name in triathlon hist­ ory. After Hawaii, The Holland Triathlon is the oldest triathlon in the World.

The Almere course is located 4.5 meters below sea level: at the bottom of what was once the Zuiderzee (South Sea), just 25 kilometers from the capital, Amsterdam. Still surrounded by water, it characterizes itself through the dikes, windmills and endless straight polder roads where you can’t protect yourself from the winds! The battle with the elements is a battle of endurance. The swim, bike and running course starts and finishes all on the Esplanade in Almere’s city center on the edge of the curved surface of the futuristic shopping center. Simultaneously the competition’s cultural festivities take place in the city. Another reason why you’d want the pleasure of visiting Almere. The Almere Triathlon offers the Business Team option, where each team consists of 4 athletes: 1 swimmer does 1.9 km, 1 cyclist does 90 km and 2 runners do 10.5 km each, to complete the triathlon together. Entering the Half Challenge Almere-Amsterdam as a Business Team is a great team building exercise. This is your challenge if your business is looking for an effective way to improve staff collaboration, morale and self-respect. One person teams are also encouraged to enter the Half Challenge, but in that case, of course, one person does all the work. To register go to www.chall­

14 destinations Now boarding!


We look forward to see you. We offer low prices, great atmosphere and a big smile on board our new planes — and by the way, we star in our commercials as well. We are WOW.


Copenhagen THE








Amsterdam Berlín Düsseldorf


Zürich Stuttgart Lyon




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Fit while flying

Land in style

With the help of these In-flight exercises! By: Halldóra Anna Hagalín Photos: Kristinn Magnússon

Just because you’re not walking or swimming there yourself doesn’t mean flying in a plane is not a strain on your body. We don´t want the guests of WOW air to be tired or worn out when the plane lands so we got Ásthildur Björnsdóttir, a registered nurse and personal trainer, to whip them into shape. If you are one of those, sitting in an aircraft right now, rest assured that you are in excellent hands. Now start moving those ankles! To combat poor circulation, swelling, sore joints and the “joys” of cramped flights you might try doing a short exercise routine; at the very least, you´ll entertain your fellow passengers.

When you´re sitting upright and inactive for a long period of time, several things can happen:

1. Shoulder roll: Hunch shoulders forward, then upward, then backward, using a gentle, circular motion.


The central blood vessels in your legs can become compressed, making it harder for the blood to get back to your heart.


Muscles can get tense, resulting in backaches and a feeling of excessive fatigue during, and even after your flight.


The normal body mechanism for returning fluid to the heart can be inhibi­ ted and gravity can cause the fluid to collect in your feet, resulting in swoll­en feet after a long flight.

Now that’s no way to start a vacation! While in-flight, move your legs and feet for three to four minutes per hour while seated and move about the cabin occasionally. Sure, these exercises are light; we’re not training you to be a body­build­er, still they can be effective at increasing the body´s blood circulation and massaging the muscles.

3. Triceps lift with a twist: Place your hands on the bar of your seat. Make sure there is plenty of space around you to do this exercise! Your elbows should point to the back. Now lift yourself up and down using the muscles in the back of your arms (the triceps). Try to have your butt and your feet off the floor. Try to do as many you can! 2. Sitting on your fists: Make fists with your hands and place them under your thighs, close to your knees. Push your weight forward and the pull yourself up. Your feet are off the ground and your butt is off the seat. Try to hold the position for 20 sec.

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Attention: Each exercise should be done with minimal disturbance to the other passengers and none of the exercises should be performed if they cause pain and cannot be done with ease.

6. Heavy lift: 4. Toning the inner thighs: Place the ankle of your right leg on top of your left leg. Now push your left leg up and down without your left A good way to tone the inner thighs foot touching the floor. Repeat at least 10 times and then switch legs. (adductors) is to make a fist with each hand and place them between the knees. Squeeze tight with all your strength for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times. You could also use a tennis ball if you got one with you.

7. Foot pumps: Start with both heels on the floor and point feet upward as high as you can. Hold for 10 seconds. Then put both feet flat on the floor. Next, lift your heels high as you can, keeping the balls of your feet on the floor and again hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this cycle 5 times every hour.

Airplane workout – Q&A Is it dangerous to exercise on the airplane? Because airplanes are moving and therefore not stable you should not perform the more extravagant exercises while the “fasten your seat-belts” sign is turned on. If the air currents are unfavourable you can always do the ankle circles and the neck roll. Aren’t people going to think I´m weird? Yeah maybe! Of course, if they’re sleeping they won’t notice. If not they may think you are a bit weird. But think of it this way: you’ll be the liveliest person leaving the aircraft. Well, you and the other weirdos, that is. Just bear in mind; Avoid disturbing passengers that might throw you out! How often should I do the exercises? The upper body exercises are perfect for every other hour but the lower body exercises should be done for about 3-4 minutes every hour.

5. Leg lifts – for the abs: Sit with your knees together. Pull your knees up and then lower them again with out touch­ing the floor with your feet. You can hold the armrests. Try to do this 10 times. Extra points to you if you´re wearing jeans!

8. Ankle circles: Lift feet off the floor., Draw a circle with the toes simultaneously moving one foot clock­ wise and the other foot counter clock­wise. Reverse cycles. Do each direction for 20 seconds. Repeat every hour of your flight.

WOW Challenge: Challenge your row to a workout competition and see who gives up first.

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Annie Mist

Annie Mist has done great things when it comes to CrossFit, including winning the Reebok CrossFit Games two years in a row, 2011 and 2012, winning her the title “The fittest woman on earth”. At the moment Annie is going back to hard training, having battled some injuries. What happened? “I wasn’t focused while training and sprained my back pretty badly. This was the first time I’ve ever gotten hurt while training.

Aim for the sky

Meet the WOW stars WOW air proudly supports a bevy of artists, athletes and projects. The people chosen are individuals who have done something WOW worthy, are good role models and an inspiration to others. WOW air’s goal is to help its stars reach their goals by sponsoring their international travels. Skúli Mogensen, CEO of WOW air says: “Iceland has so many noteworthy people doing good things in arts, sports and culture that it’s really unbelievable.” So far we’ve introduced four WOW stars to the world and we plan to keep our readers posted on all their endeavors.

Jón Margeir

Last year was a great one for swimmer Jón Margeir Sverrisson and it will be a hard one to top. After all, winning the gold at the Paralympics in London and setting both World and Olympic records in the 200 meter freestyle swim is not something you can do every year. For 2016 Jón Margeir is planning on competing in both the Olympics and the Paralympics in Rio, having already met the qualifications for the 1500 meter crawl swim. Jón Margeir took a deserved break after the London Paralympics but today he is training hard; swimming nine times a week and also doing stretches, cardio and bicycling every chance he gets. He loves mountain biking and regularly heads to the mountains near Reykjavík. Upcoming tournaments where Jón Margeir will compete include the Malmö Open in February, a few tournaments here in Iceland in the spring, then British International Disability Swimming Championships in the end of April, German Swimming Championships in Berlin in May and the IPC World Swimming Championships in Montreal in August to name a few. Lowering standards and taking a break are not on Jón Margeir’s agenda and he is hopeful to set more records in 2013 and in the years to come.

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Mentally it put a lot of strain on me and I was very stressed trying to get back on track. It was, however, a very valuable lesson for me and I learned a great deal about myself.” Annie’s goals for this year are to stay in Iceland as much as she can, teaching and training in CrossFit Reykjavík. She’s training hard for the Reebook CrossFit Games 2014, an Olympic weightlifting tournament and a smaller CrossFit tournament (CrossFit Open) in March and she will also compete in CrossFit Europe. We look forward to updating our readers on Annie’s achievements in the coming months.

Baltasar Kormákur

Through Baltasar, the up and coming filmmakers of Iceland benefit from his status as a WOW star. This great movie producer is currently working on the post production of a major Hollywood movie, 2 Guns, and was recently short listed for the Academy Awards (Oscar’s) for his movie Djúpið (The Deep). Although he did not make the final five, getting so far in this process was a great honor and an acknowledgement for his film which has gotten great reviews throughout the world.

Baltasar owns a production company in Iceland called BlueEyes Vision. It is soon to produce an Icelandic TV series among other projects. He also owns 30% in True North, a production company that has been servicing big movie companies that come to Iceland to shoot new movies. Making Icelandic movies and welcoming big Hollywood productions to Iceland is very important in his opinion. Not long ago Baltasar bought the movie rights to film Nobel laureate Laxnes’s Independent People and he tells us he also has numerous Icelandic projects in development. Next up for Baltasar is shooting a pilot for HBO show “The Missionary”.

Ásgeir Trausti

Our latest WOW star is Ásgeir Trausti, a singer songwriter that has become Iceland’s favorite during the past year. His agent told us the spring and summer bookings are going like crazy and Ásgeir is playing in at a multitude of music festivals and concerts on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in the coming months. Ásgeir just signed with One Little Indian and his Icelandic album is set to release worldwide very soon. Following that an English version of his album is on its way. Check out our big interview with Ásgeir Trausti on pages 68-73.

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WOW destinations

Where to next? Every city has its charm and usually there is also a dish favored by the locals. We recommend eating your way through Europe’s greatest cities. Tap into Barcelona Tapas is the dish and you will not be disappointed. The story claims that tapas was originally created when a slice of ham (or jambon) was put on top of wine or sherry glasses to keep sand or flies out, the word “tapas” being derived from the Spanish verb tapar, “to cover”. Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers. They may be served cold or warm, and in select bars in Spain, tapas have evolved into an entire, and sometimes sophisticated, cuisine.

While looking at the adventurous Barcelona architecture you should let yourself be lured into as many tapas bars as possible. Try one or two tapas at each bar, have a glass of wine or sherry, and then continue your journey through the city. These tapas bars came recommended: Quimet i Quimet, Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes 25 La Cova Fumada, Carrer Baluard 56 Roure, Carrer de Luís Antúnez 7 Morryssom, Carrer de Girona 162 Tossa, Carrer de Nàpols 291 WOW air flights to Barcelona are available next June through August on Mondays and Fridays.

Open wide for Warsaw For years, Polish cuisine was derided for its lack of invention, but things are changing as you’ll see by the incredibly varied array of Warsaw restaurants. As for Polish dishes, you will probably find Pierogi on the menu. It has been called the first stop on the journ­ ey through Polish cuisine. The name is sometimes translated as filled dumplings or ravioli but neither term does the Pierogi justice. These crescent-shaped parcels are filled with a number

of tasty fillings, from potatoes and cheese (Ruskie) to pork and cabbage and there are also sweet Pierogi with fruits. You should also look out for Bigos, a traditional stew consider­ ed to be Poland’s true national dish. Its composition can vary from region to region and it is a staple of every Polish family. Wash it down with shots of ice­-cold vodka for the authentic experience.

For restaurants that serve Pol­ ish cuisine try Amber Room, Al. Ujazdowskie 13, located in the Sobanski Palace and spec­ializing in Polish cuisine with a modern twist. Chlopskie Jadlo, Plac Konstytucji 1, where you can expect rustic, hearty dishes served in a dainty, folkish atmosphere (their Ruskie Pierogi comes highly recommended). And Figaro, ul. Zieleniecka 2, with its classic Polish cuisine, a perfect stop after a stroll through the Skaryszewski Park. Also try the exclusive Belvedere Restaurant, ul. Agrykoli 1 in the New Orangery of the stunning Royal Lazienki. WOW air will take you to Warsaw Chopin Airport on Mondays and Wednesdays all through next summer and once a week from the fall.

Lyons bite If you are going on a culinary adventure, Lyon should be on your list. This city is usually dubb­­ed the gastronomic capital of France, and even the world. The local deity goes by the name Paul Bocuse and his three­-star restaurant, where four highly train­­ed chefs recreate his famous dishes, is always in demand. Most culinary establishments are named after Bocuse and then there is of course Bocuse d’Or, the world wide professional cooking competition which just finished at the end of January.

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Lyons culinary status did not spring unannounced from the city itself but from the fact that Lyon is ideally located to be a gastro­ nomic capital. Nearby are gourmet food producers in the Alpine foot­hills, Beaujolais, Macon where the white grapes start, Burgundy, Côte Rôtie and Condrieu.

Try Café Comptoir Abel, 25, rue Guynemer, for an old fashioned quenelle. For the best bread, go to Boulangerie Saint Vincent, 49, quai Saint-Vincent. For an unknown gem visit Au 14 Février, 6, rue Mourguet Vieux. For the full Lyon experience you should visit at least one bouchon, a type of restaurant only found in Lyon that serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, such as saus­ ages, duck pâté or roast pork. In a bouchon the emphasis is on a convivial atmosphere and a personal relationship with the owner. A large number of establish­ ments describe themselves as bouchons but there are only about twenty officially certified traditional bouchons. Check out Café des Fédérations, 8 Rue du Major Martin, Le Bouchon des Filles, 20 Rue du Sergent Bland­ an, and Daniel et Denise, 156 rue de Créqui, for a real bouchon experience. WOW that you’ll go to Lyon! Just pick any Saturday next summer.

Slice it up in Copenhagen

to wipe the plates clean of any remaining food and eventually the food was placed on the bread instead as topping. Smørrebrød are a variety of open sandwiches and a daily staple for many Danes. They are truly a classic taste of the nation’s traditional cuisine. Invariably based on rye bread, smørrebrød can have an almost limitless number of different toppings, although smoked salmon should always be served on white bread. Try the smørrebrød at least once – While you’re at it try some of the delicious Danish beer and their Akvavit. These smørrebrød restaurants came recommended: Restaurant Schønnemann, Hauser Plads 16 Cafe Gl. Torv/Huset Med Det Grønne Træ, Gammeltorv 20 Kanal Cafeen, Frederiksholms Kanal 18 Slotskælderen hos Gitte Kik, Fortunstræde 4 Told & Snaps, Toldbodgade 2 Everybody loves smørrebrød so WOW air offers flights to Copenhagen almost daily all year round.

Just beet it in Kaunas Take a look at Kaunas, Lithu­ ania’s most populous city, approx­ imately 360 thousand people. This sounds good already. Lithuanian cuisine has much in common with other European cuisines and features the products suited to its cool and moist northern climate: barley, potatoes, rye, beets, greens, and locally grown mushrooms. Dairy products are one of its specialties.

When it’s time for one of those long and bright red hot dogs, a roller coaster ride and a carefree stroll down Strøget with a beer stop or two … Copenhagen is the place to go. The Danes know how to cook so get ready to indulge, be it authentic Danish, oriental, Italian or Spanish dishes.

Denmark’s signature dish is smørrebrød which dates back to the 19th century. It began when bread was used

Because of their long common history, Lithuanians and Poles share many dishes and bever­ ages. Thus there are similar Lithuanian and Polish versions of dumplings (pierogi or koldūnai), doughnuts (pączki or spurgos), and crepes (blini or blynai). What you should really look out for are the soups as the people of Lithuania consider them the key

to good health. Barščiai, or hot borscht, is a beet soup served uncreamed or blended with sour cream or buttermilk; sometimes chopped Boletus mushrooms are added. Try also the Šaltibarščiai (sal-ta-bar-shy) - cold borscht, a summer soup based on beets and soured milk. It is made with cooked or pickled shredded beets and various other chopped vegetables, such as cucumber, dill, or green onions. The soup has a fantastic pink or purple color and is a culinary experience to try at least once. Also make sure to taste the country’s popular drink Midus, made from vodka, spices and honey. For restaurants offering local dishes try Lietuviski Patiekalai, Laisves 21/13 and Berneliu Smukle, K. Donelaicio g. 11j.

could pay a visit to Nou Manolin, Calle Villegas, 3, El Buen Comer Restaurant, Calle Mayor n 8 or Cervecería y Restaurante Víctor, Calle San Agatangelo 37. Pack your sunscreen and your appetite, WOW air is taking you to Alicante as early as next March and until the end of August.

Zürich so good The biggest city of Switzerland has more to offer than just watches and cheese. Swiss cuisine is mainly known for its cheesy fondues and raclettes – and they are certainly worth a try. However, if you want to sample typical traditional and regional cuisine in Zürich that means sausages and potatoes,

WOW flights available every week in June, July and August.

the Berliners’ favorite is a street food known as currywurst. For this popular dish go to Curry 36, Mehringdamm 36, Kreuzberg, and if curry is not your thing you could also try another proletarian Berlin specialty such as the fried burgers and bouletten (meatballs/patties). If sitting down while you eat is a preference you probably won’t find a currywurst on the menu but there are a lot of other German dishes to sample. For a little more refined dining we suggest you pay a visit to Marjellchen, Mommsenstrasse 9, Cafe Bleibtreu, Bleibtreustr. 45 and Schneeweiss, Simplonstrasse 16.

Pastries in Paris A city for lovers, fashionistas, artists and art lovers, the culturally aware, culinary enthusiasts and all who want more beauty in their life. The gastronomic adventures in Paris are endless, from fine dining and foie gras to cafés and croissants. And then there are the street vendors with falafels and crêpes. If you love street food we recommend selecting crêpes vendors who make these thin and delicious pancakes as you wait. Also choose sandwiches from vendors who use the name “boulangerie” (bakery) to minimize the risk of getting stale bread or questionable toppings.

WOW-flights to Berlin are available all year. Twice a week during the winter and three times weekly during the summer. There are no excuses!

On the rice in Alicante Sunny sunny, warm warm! We love it, because, let’s face it, Iceland is not always warm and sunny and we need a little bit of heat sometimes, a heat that is not geothermal. If you like relaxing, sunbathing, having fun and going to the beach, and who doesn’t, this is a place for you.

Alicante has the Muslim culture to thank for its widespread consumption of rice. Throwing toget­her almost any combination of ingredients and experimenting with preparation methods throughout the centuries has yielded literally hundreds of rice dishes – most notably the infamous paella, which itself has a myriad of variations! The best way to sample Alicante’s rice dishes is to head to special rice restaurants called arrocerías, some of which offer over 100 rice dishes on their menu. Some of Alicante’s traditional food dishes that deserve a try are the Paella alicantina and Esmorçaret alacantí, a typical Alicante sea­ food dish which incorporates sar­ dines, fried eggs and sweet chilli. For fresh local dishes you

Stuttgart is outstanding most often in the form of rösti, a grated potato pancake. To try this local favorite your best bet is Restaurant Zeughauskeller located on the Paradeplatz, at noon. For other Zürich favorites, keep your eyes peeled for classic dishes such as Zurich Gschnetzeltes while scanning the menus. More great eateries in Zürich are Restaurant Waldgarten, Winterthurerstrasse 348, Lindenhofkeller, Pfalzgasse 4 and Kindli, Pfalzgasse 1. Take a WOW-plane to Zürich. Flights available every Saturday from June through August.

One bite for Berlin Cooking in the German state of Berlin is simple and downto­-earth, and meals are hearty and satisfying. Very common in Berlin are dishes with pork, goose, fish (such as carp, eel, and pike), cabbage, legumes (such as peas, lentils, turnips, and beans), pickles, and potatoes. We recommend tasting any of the traditional German dishes but as far as Berlin goes the real culinary experience and

We’re beginning to think Germans are all about street food and this is somewhat refreshing. In Stuttgart it is all about the Brezel. You’ll find them at the small wooden cabins on Königstraße and at any baker’s shop. A Brezel tastes even better with some butter on it. This is a popular breakfast and midmorning dish but if you’re looking for something a little more substantial you should look out for the Schwäbische Flädlesuppe, a real Stuttgart dish and typically local soup with strings of pancake in it. It sounds very strange, it looks very strange, but is tastes really good! If you are looking for tradi­­ t­io­­nal German or local food try Restaurant Fässle, Löwenstraße 51, Weinstube Löwen, Trollingerstr. 4, and Weinstube Fröhlich, Leonhardstraße 5. Seafood lovers should book their flights to Stuttgart for mid-July when the Hamburg Fish Market comes to town. This is a 10-day festival featuring seafood, beer, and vendors from the northern port city of Hamburg. The market fills Karlsplatz near the Schlossplatz in mid-July (actual date yet to be confirmed but most likely this festival will start on the 7th of July). Now just pick a date from the 23rd of May until the end of August. Throughout the summer WOW offers three flights a week.

But Paris is sweet, sweet, sweet in all senses of the word and pastries are the thing to try while out and about. Sink your sweet tooth into magnificent macarons and meringues, decadent cakes and tartes, perfect pain au chocolat, beautiful brioches and elegant éclairs, we could go on and on and on ... Just visiting Ladurée, famous for its macarons, at their Champs Elysées location, is an experience for all the senses. For other great pastry experiences try Café Pouchkine, 64, boulevard Haussmann, Dall­oyau, 101, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and 48-52, boulevard Haussmann, and Pain de Sucre, 14 rue Rambuteau. Pack your toothbrush, you’re going to need it. Paris is just a few clicks away. Five flights a week (WOW!) starting next June and through August.

Dutch delights in Amsterdam Foods of the Netherlands may not be as well-known as French or Italian cuisines but there are many Dutch delights which must be tried at least once. While touring this fair city keep an eye out for Poffertjes and Bitterballen. Poffertjes are small fluffy pancakes typically served with powdered sugar and butter and usually found at outdoor markets and on many street corners. Bitterballen are deep-fried, savory orbs that are

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WOW destinations Lap it up in London

ubiquitous in cafes and bars. The balls are made of a gooey mixture of chopped beef, broth, flour, butter, herbs and spices and then battered in a crunchy breadcrumb coating. They can be ordered at most cafés where they are typically served with mustard and are the perfect accompaniment to a round of beers.

The epitome of Dutch cuisine might be the Stamppot which is traditionally served during the wintertime. This is a heavy dish consisting of mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables such as kale or carrots and traditionally served with smoked sausage. This dish might be hard to find during the summertime, but ask around, one of the good things about Holland is that almost everybody speaks English. The year 2013 promises to be a festive year for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area so food or no food it really is a hot destination this summer. Find your desired event or activity in June, July or August on and book your WOW-flight before everybody else catches on. Three flights a week so you won’t miss anything.

Dishing out on Düsseldorf This city is an economic center of Western Germany located along the River Rhine famous for its nightlife, carnival, events, shopping and its fashion and trade fairs. Rhenish marinated beef with raisins, Flönz, a sausage speci­ alty, and pea soup are typical Düsseldorf dishes. Another classic dish is Halve Hahn, a cheese specialty served with caraway and onions. Those who enjoy things a little spicier should try “Mostert”, the famous mustard from Düsseldorf. And don´t forget to try the pork knuckles while you’re eating your way through the city. ‘Alt’ beer from Düsseldorf is one of the city’s specialties that have become internationally famous. Naturally, it tastes best in one of the local breweries.

Most of them are located in the legendary Altstadt, (old town). In some of them you can even see the huge brewing vat. Alt beer is top-brewed and copper-colored, tart in taste with a distinct flavor of hops. For the best local cuisine experience visit Im Fuchschen, Ratinger Str. 28-30, Heinemann Konditorei Confiserie and Koenigsallee 1, Schweine Janes, Bolkerstrasse 13. Let yourself be WOW-ed over there, 3 flights a week available from the end of May until the end of August.

Many suppers in Milan Every region in Italy has their own typical dishes and so, besides having your share of pizza and gelato, grab your forks and knifes and get ready to dig into the real food culture of the city. You will notice that the dishes in Milan are based with more high caloric ingredients such as butter and sausages due to the long, cold winters. A few of the must try dishes are Risotto alla Milanese, Panettone, Osso buco and Cotoletta alla Milanese.

For real Milanese food we recommend Boeucc’, Piazza Belgioioso 2, Scala, Da Abele, Via Temperanza 5, Loreto, and Il Brellin, Vicolo dei Lavandai, Navigli. Let WOW air lift you up where you belong, pronto. Flights available on Tuesdays and Saturdays next June through August.

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Turn a few pages and you will get to know more about this awesome city. The culinary scene of London is more than just English tea and crumpets. You can also feast on street food, ethnic eateries and fine dining, it’s all there. But for a real English meal you need to try the Sunday roast. This traditional British (and Irish) meal is served on (you guessed it) Sundays and consists of roasted meat, roasted or mashed potatoes and accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vegetables and gravy.

On Sundays you will find Sunday roast on the menu of most pubs that serve food. The quality varies of course and it’s probably best to follow the Londoners to see where they get theirs. We have a few recommendations if you want to have a taste of a quality Sunday roast; The Bull & Last, 168 Highgate Road, The Royal Oak, 73 Columbia Road, The Abbeville, 67-69 Abbeville Road, and finally The Crabtree, 4 Rainville Road. One long weekend in London will never be enough and that’s why WOW air flies to London several times a week all year round.

Energy for the slopes Salzburg’s attractions are loved by millions of visitors from all over the World making it one of Europe’s busiest cities all year round. This, however, is not the only reason to visit Salzburg. A short distance away from the bustling city you will find some of the best ski areas in Austria; Bad Hofgastein, Kirchberg and Saalbach-Hinterglemm. Fancy dinners beside a roaring fireplace and fun with friends at one of the many après ski’s in the villages of the Austrian Alp’s are a given but when you need energy to stay on your skis or snowboard that’s where käsespätzle and germknödel come in. Käsespätzle is a type of egg noodles with a soft texture mixed with grated cheese (typically Emmenthaler) and fried onions. For desert (or as a main course) the germknödel, a fluffy yeast dough dumpling filled with spicy plum jam and sprinkled with sugar and poppy seeds, is served with vanilla cream sauce. Yummmm! Available at most on-piste restaurants you will find these delicious and energizing local dishes that will get you down the hill and up again until it’s time for some après ski. When that time comes, be sure to try the glückwein. Ski lovers still have a chance to book their flights to Salzburg. One flight a week until the end of February – and then there’s always next year.




Jump on board!


14 destinations – We look forward to see you. We offer low prices, great atmosphere and a big smile on board our new planes — and by the way, we star in our commercials as well. We are WOW.

Out and about

London is not just gray

– It’s also green Oxford Street. Big crowds. Fast pace. Red buses. To many, that’s all there is to London. But there is so much more to see and do. Beautiful parks and boroughs, not to mention quaint little shops and boutiques just waiting to be explored. London is truly a city where all your heart’s desires can be realized. by Kristín Ýr Gunnarsdóttir

Covent Garden

The Comedy Store

A fabulous side of London with lively mark­ets and all sorts of street happenings. Covent Garden is a great place to visit on Sundays when young, upcoming opera performers or quartet’s can be found per­­ forming on the piazza. Walk through the market, check the local bars and pubs, listen to sweet music and watch life go by.

The Comedy Store that started out as a minor project organized by just a few standup comedians, has now become London’s most esteemed and popular comedy club. Be prepared to be knocked off your seat in a fit of laughter during the wide variety of shows staged there, ranging from stand-up comedy to improvisation. Another must-do is the London theater scene; it’s not cheap but it’s worth it. However, tickets to the Comedy Store are very affordable with prices ranging from £12 to £20. Don’t miss out on this hilarious experience.

Camden Town Camden Town is always full of life. A visit to the number of alternative shops and the assortment of stalls in the market place is an absolute must. The market with its element of hippie and grunge

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influences adds its notable diversity. The food section is the perfect place to grab a lunch and sample the rich selection of local food cultures. Camden Town is a popular tourist destination and travelers are encouraged to be smart when haggling over prices, in particular when purchasing little trinkets.

The Sampler A wine merchant with an excellent selection. You can purchase a sample, a single glass or a whole bottle of wine. The Sampler’s hidden secret is the raw but engrossing space below. Groups of friends often climb down to the basement to sample wine and enjoy each other’s company. Just ask the staff and they’ll show you the way.

Hampstead Being one of the highest points in London, the hills on the Heath provide spectacular views of the city. The quaint and charming little streets in the Hampstead Village are a rare find in Central London, and the picturesque landscape with its lush growth truly brings nature to the heart of the cityscape.

Photo: Rafale Pinho

Muriel’s Kitchen Greenwich

South Kensington

The most beautiful, not-to-be missed loca­ t­ion. Picnic in the lush park, amble through the Greenwich Market and browse in the chic alternative boutiques. To make a magical experience sail to Greenwich from Westminster. Along the banks of the River Thames stands the National Theatre and the heartland of the British film industry.

The district for the rich and famous. Take a casual walk about, drink good wine, feast on fancy cheese and discover some fine restaurants. Three restaurants that come highly recommended are:

At Muriel’s “no-nonsense” establishment, the kitchen is the heart and soul of homemade, healthy food. Grandmother Muriel’s secret recipes are served – in plenitude – to hungry travelers plus all the regulars.

Carnaby Street

A busy little shopping street situated off Regent Street. In the sixties, it was considered the headquarters of British fashion. In the years since, Carnaby Street has become a home to boutiques merchandising in designer labels among others. Still, its unresistable charm persists in this hidden corner surrounded by the fast-paced neighboring high streets.

Notting Hill One of London’s most famous sights. With the release of Notting Hill, a film starring Hugh Grand and Julia Roberts, the area has become a major tourist attraction. A number of interesting sights to explore are located along the narrow roads and during weekends, the legendary Portobello Market buzzes with life.

Photo: Rafale Pinho

Photo: Rafale Pinho

La Cave á Fromage A small cheese shop where you can delight in a mouth-watering selection of French cheese with a glass of wine. The perfect place to enjoy an entrée before diving into yet another South Kensington restaurant for the main course. Here‘s a tip - La Cave á Fromage is perfect for a romantic tête-à-tête.

Photos: Rafale Pinho

Box Park A pop up shopping center by the Shoreditch High Street tube station, constructed out of 40 feet storage containers. Each storage container is a home to shops and boutiques – a uniquely entertaining experience. Restaurants are located on the top floor, and among them is Hop, a Vietnamese restaurant that serves a selection of heavenly noodle soups. Don’t forget to check out the nearby Spitalfields Market.

Classic favorites

The London Eye, Big Ben, Kensington, Buckingham Palace and Spitalfield Market. Notting Hill Saturday Market. Photo: Rafale Pinho

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All about London

A Yankee in London City Hall by Jón Kristinn Snæhólm

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was born on the 19th of June 1964. He’s the son of Stanley Johnson, a former Conservative Member of the European Parliament and employee of the World Bank, and Charlotte Johnson Wahl, daughter of Sir James Fawcett, a barrister and president of the European Commission of Human Rights. Boris was born in the Big Apple, New York, making him the first Mayor of London who could end his political career as the president of the United States of America.

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Friends without benefits His 8th cousin, schoolmate and long-time friend David Cameron, the Prime minister of Great Britain, remarked when Boris´s campaign for London´s mayor was launched in March 2008, “I don´t always agree with him, but I respect the fact that he’s absolutely his own man.”

A privileged yuppie? Boris Johnson or “Bo Jo” to some of his friends was born and raised in an upper middle class society whereas the high positions of his father and granddad in Bruss­els at the European Parliament and the Commission ensured certain privileges. Despite popular beliefs today, mistakenly based on the mayor’s unorthodox political behavior, Boris has been describ­ ed as a rather shy and quiet kid. He suffered from severe deafness and had to undergo sev­eral operations in his youth. Boris was educated at the European School in Brussels, at Ashdown House School and at Eton College, where he was a King’s Scholar. At Oxford he read classics and became the President of the Oxford Union at his second attempt. Here in his early years on his road to academic life one can see some profound similarities between him and Winston Churchill, both of them choosing to go their own ways against official party lines and main stream thoughts. Some former schoolmates of Bo Jo have claimed that he touted himself as a supporter of the Social Democratic Party, then a dominant faction in the University, to win the Union presidency. Later he more than proved his independency as a pragmatic politician when he in August 2008 broke from the traditional pro­cedure of those in public off­ ice not publicly commenting on another nation’s elections when he openly endorsed then-Senator Barack Obama for the presidency of the United States. Here he also stepped in Winston’s footsteps. Winston twice openly supported Roosevelt’s re-elect­ ion campaign much to the fury of the Republicans. Although a relatively young poli­tician several books have been written about Boris’ political life and he himself is a prolific writer with ten publications under his belt, including a comic novel called Seventy-Two Virgins. His next book, The New British Revo­lution, is believed to be on its way, but Boris put the publi­cation on hold until after the 2012 Mayoral election.

A series of public appearances, including being left dangling on a zip wire waving Union flags and of course his involvement in the Olympic Games, have attributed to Boris‘s rise as the most influential man of Britain.

Charisma and wittiness Like Churchill, Boris has his own character trademark. Churchill had his everlasting cigar and victory sign, Boris has his white, fluffy and unruly hairstyle, pec­ u­liar humor and of course his bicycle. It has even become some­what of a national sport to steal the mayor’s ride. “One time the burglars just stole my seat,” he announced in front of the TV cameras with a big grin. Another thing he and Winston have in common is the wittiness of the spoken word. There Bo Jo is second to none in British politics today; a gift that surely will be useful in a forthcoming power struggle for the leadership of the country.

and on environmental issues he pledged to plant 10,000 trees in the inner city - paying for it by scrapping Mr. Livingstone’s free newspaper, The Londoner, which costs taxpayers over one million pounds a year. One controversial pledge the new mayor endorsed was the method of fighting crime. On the 7th of May 2008 Boris announced plans to ban the consumption of alcohol on the London transport network, effective from June 1st the same year to cut violent crime within the transport system. This was widely disputed and rioters damaged several trains to protest this non drinking law in the London underground. Clearly drinking on the go is important to some people! Boris personally contributed to the prevention of crime when on the 2nd of November 2009 he came to the rescue of one Franny Armstrong who was und­er attack by a group of girls, one wielding an iron bar. Boris was cycling past and responded to Armstrong’s plea for help. He picked up the iron bar, yelled after the girls and chased them on his bicycle before he return­ ed to Armstrong and walked her home. She later described Boris as her “knight on a shining bicycle”. The Mayor’s office has, however, refused to comment on this incident.

If you rule London … Boris’s biggest achievement is without a doubt last year’s Olympics which thoroughly affirmed London as one of the major capitals in the world. Many epical blunders were made during the preparations but it is widely believed that Boris’s stamina, leadership and charisma made the London Olympics 2012 one of the most successful games in the history of the Olympics. Recently Boris Johnson was nam­­ed by GQ as Britain’s “most in­­fluential man of the year”. Imagine how his friend James Camer­ on (his eminence the Prime Mini­­ster) felt when he limped in, at a meager third place! Bo Jo’s political popularity has a certain “Churchillian” flair soaring over its head. His unique style has made him virtually immune to scandals and perhaps the fact that he has never apolo­ gized for his upper class upbring­­ ing or denied accusations made to his persona has made him the fresh breeze Londoners wanted; a breeze that could well deliver Boris to a cozy living at number 10 Downing Street in the future.

“I want London to be a competitive, dynamic place to come to work,“ says Boris Johnson.

Mayor of London


n reference to his interna­ ti­o­­­­nal and cosmopolitan ancestry, Boris has sometimes described himself as a “one man melting pot”- with a combination of Muslims, Jews and Christ­ ians comprising his great grand parentage.

The knight on a shining bicycle Boris was voted the Mayor of London in 2008 with over a mill­ ion votes more than his oppon­ ent Livingstone (aka. Red Ken). This was the largest mandate of any politician in British history. In May 2012 he was re-elected, defeating Red Ken again. Part of Bo Jo´s political agenda for London is to endorse cycling within the city as he himself is a keen cyclist using his bicycle as the main means of transport to the city hall. Further on transport, he pledged to scrap the “bendy buses” in favor of the old, red and friendly Route master-style double-deckers Loncon City Hall. Photo: Rafale Pinho

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All about London

Icelanders abroad

While in London we met up with a few friends who have settled down in this great city. They shared their favorite places and activities with us and we recommend that our readers give at least one of them a try. by Kristín Ýr Gunnarsdóttir photos: Rafael Pinho and from private collections

Hyde Park

London Sealife Aquarium

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground is a fantastic place to take kids with jungle gyms and swings and a gigantic ship to play a game of pirates. Hot drinks are sold in the winter and ice cream in the summer. In the summertime swimming is permitted in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lido.

The exciting world of the London Sealife Aquarium provides the opportunity to see sixteen sharks up-close.

Science Museum Museums are dull establishments for most kids. However, the Science Museum is a whole different story with an assortment of fun facilities for children – among them are cars, airplanes and puzzle games to solve. Entrance is free so you can take your time and come back again and again.

A family-friendly London

Hadda Hreiðardsóttir has lived in the city of London for almost six years with her husband and three children. The family lives in Kilburn in northwest London. Four years ago, she and her husband opened a Lomography store in Soho. Hadda has found that London is a city with plenty of things to do with children and the following are some of her favorites:

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London Sealife Aquarium is right next to The London Eye, a very convenient location for a tour of the city with children.

London Zoo It’s easy to spend a whole day looking at the lions, giraffes, penguins and all the other animals.

Harry Potter’s world An incredible museum where families and friends can have a great day together. The museum is situated outside of London, where filming took place during its ten years of production. Visitors get to see the film sets and props as they walk through Hogwarts dining area among other recognizable sets from the film. An awesome sight!

Soho Theatre

“Get lost in London”

A fine but low-key theater with well esteemed stage performances. Ticket prices are excellent and the performances offer something new and exciting. The theater is located in the very heart of London and it‘s a good idea to stop by whenever you can to see what‘s playing.

Three years ago, Hreindís Ylfa Garð­ arsdóttir Holm moved to England to study the art of drama. She resides in the borough of Guildford just outside of London. London, to her is a city of universal appeal. With her connection to the world of theater, Hreindís Ylfa offers her recommendations for the theater scene:

Rainforest Café

Shakespeare’s Globe

A thrilling place for kids to satisfy their tummy and their taste for adventure. Situated in Soho, the restaurant’s decor is an imitation of a rainforest with animal sounds incorporated in the background.

The theater is a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre where Shakespeare’s very own theater group staged and performed many of his works before an audience. The original was destroyed in a fire. The theater and the building itself is a tribute to the Shakespearian era and the 17th century theater experience under the open skies. Most of the audience stands in the pit with tickets going for only £5. A performance in the Globe Theatre is a guaranteed amazing experience.

Queens Ice and bowling In walking distance from Hyde Park is a recreation center with a bowling alley and an ice-skating rink, facilities for gaming and a dining area.

The National Theatre While it is a phenomenal place to see a good performance, the National Theatre Bookshop is one of my favorite leisure places, with a collection of countless scripts and books about theater and related topics. The cosy café is a good place to relax - and it‘s nice to find yourself in the beautiful South Bank area when you exit the establishment with a brand new book.

Amusing to get lost in London One of my favorite things to do in London - besides going to the theater – is simply to get lost. I just jump on a bus going anywhere and explore a whole new side to London. This city has something to suit all tastes. A carefree walk through the city when you‘ve got some free time is a great way to pass the day.

All about London among many attractions. Also there‘s a delightful café and a charming little shop where both films and industry-related literature are available for purchase. Even with limited funds, it’s possible to go through an incredible collection of British films and programs and enjoy at least an hour or two of free viewing.

The 100 Club A fantastically entertaining music venue and dance club situated at the unlikeliest of locations: Oxford Street. The club’s long and distinguished place in history haunts the walls of the establishment. The music is always great whether it’s jazz, rock and roll, swing, or whatever genre comes to mind. Best of all is the dance floor! Every now and then, lessons in lindy hop and swing dancing are available to anyone who pays the entrance fee. Learn the steps and continue dancing into the night; even better, dress up for the occasion and truly get into the swing of things! Just listening to the music and dancing ever so slightly while watching the talented ones move their hips on the dance floor is such a gas. It’s all in the mood.

Enjoy the culture and the city life

Melkorka Óskarsdóttir moved to London in the autumn of 2005. Like so many, she came there to study theater and graduated in 2008. During that time she fell in love with an Englishman and they settled down together in London where she currently enjoys the culture and city life.

Barbican Centre Barbican Centre is situated in the City of London. The Kafkaesque ‘70s surroundings may seem dull and dreary from the outside, but on the inside, the Barbican Art Centre is a thriving home to the arts. At any given moment, an international dance and theater show, a classical music performance, a cinema showing alternative films and visual arts exhibitions of all genres is taking place in the center. It’s always a thrill to come to the Barbican Centre of Arts.

The British Film Institute The BFI is situated on the banks of Thames in South Bank where a magnificent view of the city can be enjoyed. A whole day inside the BFI is a day well spent. The vast selection of quality films screened, the festivals and themes held at the BFI, are

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The King’s Head Theatre and Pub The King’s Head is a typical British pub theater with a good reputation as an alternative theater. The theater is located in the highly fashionable borough of Islington, and surrounded by a number of exciting restaurants. The King’s Head has helped to dissolve the stereotypes by staging quite a few very successful operas, a novelty in the pub theatre culture, bringing the form closer to the general public. Live music is played from 9:30 pm at the King’s Head pub – generally very entertaining. The entrance is free.

Proud Galleries This bar/restaurant/club/cabaret in Camden Town is located in a 200-yearold horse hospital. It goes without saying that the decor is quite something with stables available for group bookings. The atmosphere varies from day to day but the live music scene is always worthwhile, with a number of new bands performing each night. The late night cabaret and burlesque shows also make for a pretty curious sight. The Proud Galleries is a great place for a good night out where you can dance the night away in the barn.



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All about London

Anna is a student that loves the city. “There is so much going on in London and you can always find different things to do or see. It amazes me.“ She recommends the Spitalfield Market in East London.

Lead me through the

streets of London by Kristín Ýr Gunnarsdóttir

Wow Magazine visited London and asked people on the street to name one thing they find amazing about London. We also asked them to recommend one thing for visitors to see or do.

Sharon is a personal assistant and says the views in the city are amazing especially from the London Bridge. “One thing no one should miss is going to the London Eye.” Alex is a theater director and he finds the huge amount of theater in London, amazing. “Besides classics like Shakespeare, there are tons of experimental plays with new and exciting themes.“ He enjoys the culture and says the National Theater is well worth a visit.

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Nicole is a display manager and stylist for Miss Selfridge. What amazes her about London is its capacity for acceptance. “London is a great place where you can be whoever you want to be and find so many others to be inspired by. She says the best way to enjoy the city is walking over the Waterloo Bridge on a clear day and taking in the view of London.

Andrew is a technology guru that says what amazes him most about London is the different types of people that inhabit the city. He loves walking and recommends walking along the Thames Path; “Starting in central London and enjoying the city and nature for few hours.”

José works in human resources and loves how multicultural the city is. He wouldn’t recommend any one particular place. “If you walk around central London you will always see new and interesting things.“

Satish works in finance and says Carnaby Street is amazing. He recommends going to a pub and playing scrabble with the locals

Melanie is a part-time solicitor that finds all the greenery and parks in London absolutely amazing. She says that the Shard, the highest building in London is a must see for new visitors.

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The fun is out there fireworks, 60 stages with con­­ certs and shows, 300 market and food stalls, spectacular shows at sea, on land and in the air and public transport around the clock. It’s Switzerland’s biggest event.

Europe is a diverse continent and there’s something going on any given weekend. If you’re still wondering where to go this spring or summer you should check out our list of fun festivals and happenings all over the mainland.

Street festivals International Workers Day, 1 May, Copenhagen The 1st of May is a major event in Copenhagen. The main festivities are held in Fælledparken on Øst­erbro and they attract over 100,000 visitors in what has lately become a 50/50 mix of a gigantic party and a political rally with speeches, happenings and concerts. Two travelling amuse­ ment parks also set up their gear for the day, one by the main en­trance at Trianglen and in the eastern part of the park.

CPH Distortion, 29 May - 2 June, Copenhagen What started as a one-day festi­­val celebrating club life back in 1998 has taken a life of its own, and is now a five-day mammoth mobile party that invades a different neighbor­hood of Copenhagen each day. Your idea of fun may not involve guzzling down beer at a street rave with party-crazed strangers, but with around 100,000 pe­ople participating each night there should be something for everybody. Look out for the more underground off-program events running in parallel. This year the Distortion Queer Edition party is expected to take place on Friday, May 31 at Kifak. Party ON!

Kirmes, 12 - 24 June, Düsseldorf

Karnival der Kulturen, 17 20 May, Berlin The Carnival of Cultures features opulent costumes, strong make­ -up, imaginative masks and decorated pushcarts. From Friday till Monday the Blücher­platz in Berlin-Kreuzberg chang­es into a colorful street festival with music from various regions of the world on four stages whilst culinary delights and handcrafts are offered from approximately 400 stands. The peak of the festivity is the street parade with around 4700 participants from 80 nations on Whitsunday, celebrating Berlin’s cultural diversity with tra­­ditional costumes and ritual dances. The caravan starts at the Hermannplatz at noon and moves to the Yorkstraße ending in the late evening. The carnival is accomp­anied by parties, musical events and a substantial children’s program.

Kirmes is a fun fair on the banks of Rhine. There are roller coast­ ers, a Ferris wheel, a flying jinny and at least a beer garden or two. Also watermelons are sold everywhere. It is the biggest fair along the Rhine and sure to add some great memories to your stay.

Bohnenviertelfest, 25 - 27 July, Stuttgart Bohnenviertel (The Bean Quart­ er) is located between the “Char­lottenplatz” and “Leon­ hardsplatz” squares and was one of Stuttgart’s first hous­ing areas to be built outside the city fortification in the 15th century. The name derives from the fact that most of its residents grew pole beans and vegetables in their gardens to feed their families. Today this quarter is the only originally preserved part of Stuttgart’s historic downtown area. The tradition of the Bohnenviertelfest dates back to 1991, when local merchants decided to form a business association to reestablish the quarter’s historic heritage. Ever since, patrons crowd the streets and alleys of the Bohnenviertel for the annual outing. During the street festival, visitors have the chance to tour and explore the bean quarter’s cobblestoned streets, hidden alleys and timber houses. Most stores are open all evening throughout the three days of the event. Regional bands and musicians will entertain the crowds with rock, pop, jazz, funk, soul and folk tunes. For more information, visit

Festival Latino Ameri­ cando, June - August, Milan Milan celebrates all things Latino at this festival on the out­­skirts of the city. Over 60 concerts, events and exhibitions celebrate Latin music, arts, dance, food, crafts and cinema. Top Latin musicians fly in to give per­­form­ ances. Find out more on www.

Züri Fäscht, 5 - 7 July, Zürich This weekend festival occurs every 3 years and 2013 is it. Attracting millions of visitors with a unique blend of folk festi­­val, carnival and parties, the Züri Festival is also called the “Festival of Festivals”. The 2013 festival features two musical

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Festes de Gràcia, 15 - 21 August, Barcelona This Catalonian celebration, held around the 15th of August each year, commemorates the Assumption. During the week of festivities that mark one of Barcelona’s most important fiestas, the city of Gracia ex­plo­ des with fun, excitement, color and fireworks. Many streets are decorated by the local residents. Live music, food in the street, and parties continue all night. If you miss the Gràcia you should try to catch the festivities of Festes de Sants, a similar but a little smaller festival held a bit later in August.

Food festivals Eat! berlin, 27 February - 3 March, Berlin For the last 20 years, Berlin has really grown as a gastronomic city. During the festival week a number of culinary events will take place all over Berlin and selected restaurants in collaboration with a prominent host invite their guests to an eat! berlin-menu. The festival pro­gram is colorful and varied; designed to bring the city to a boil. More information on

The Chocolate Festival, 22 24 March, London

Stuttgart Summer Festival, 1 - 4 August, Stuttgart The Summer Festival is Stuttgart’s most elegant open-air party. For four days in August, the Schlossplatz and the shores of the Eckensee Lake in the Oberer Schlossgarten park are given over to enormous white marquees erected for the enjoyment and relaxation of visitors and residents. A widely varied program of different music and entertaining acts on five stages put everyone in a good mood and provide the perfect backdrop for un­for­­getta­­ ble summer evenings.

Just in time to stock up for Easter. The Chocolate Festival at Southbank Centre opens up with lots of chocolatiers and other tasty delights to tickle your taste buds. This event will feature stands from award winning chocolatiers plus the attendance of renowned and new chocolate companies. Demonstrations, tastings and talks will take place in the main marquee, where attendees can learn about the health benefits of chocolate, how to include chocolate in savory dishes as well as tutored tastings. As always, there will be dozens of stalls all showcasing chocolate and chocolate products, such as hot chocolate, chocolate

cakes, crepes, churros, a choco­ late fountain, self-making kits and much more. If you are a chocoholic, or you know some­ one who is, then you simply cannot afford to miss this event.

Hamburg Fish Market, 11 - 21 July, Stuttgart The Hamburg Fish Market is on the road and you are invited. Culinary delights from the sea and pan, hamburgers, beer, candy and Küstennebel liquor served with jazz, shanties and songs, all bring a maritime atmosphere to Stuttgart - an experience that should not be missed. The market fills Karlsplatz near the Schlossplatz and entrance is free.

Taste of Amsterdam, 6 - 9 June, Amsterdam Take your taste buds to this culinary festival where you can explore the food of famous Amsterdam restaurants and their chefs. This four day feast of summer eating, drinking and entertainment brings to­ gether not just restaurants and food and wine suppliers, but a line-up of innovative and interactive programs on cook­ ing and eating. Restaurants will fashion special menus of starter sized dishes for the occasion, including signature dishes created by chefs to spec­i­ally reflect their philosophy and showcase seasonal and premium ingredients. More information on www.

International Berlin Beer Festival, 2 - 4 August, Berlin Quench your thirst at the Berlin Beer Festival where about 2000 types of beer from around the world are on offer. From A like “Adelscott”, past K like “Kilkenny” till Z like “Zunft-Bräu” everyone can definitely find a cold one to please their palate. Along the Karl-Marx-Allee, the 20 beer regions have the opportunity to present themselves with available sitting and drinking facilities.

Art and music MaerzMusik, 15 - 24 March, Berlin This festival of contemporary music is a direct reaction to new relations between sound and society today. Transcending borders between tradition and innovation the festival offers a broad range of orchestral and chamber music, innovative musical theater, experimental works and media art providing a fascinating and rich panorama of contemporary music.

The Holland Festival, 1 - 24 June, Amsterdam The Holland Festival is The Netherlands’ oldest and largest performing arts festival, and takes place every June in Am­ sterdam. It comprises theater, music, opera and modern dance and in recent years, multimedia, visual arts, film and architecture have been added to the festival roster. Performances take place in Amsterdam venues such as the city theater, the opera, the Concertgebouw and Muziek­ gebouw concert halls and the Westergas factory site. For more information visit www.

Vondelpark Open Air Theater, June - September, Amsterdam No need to pick a date, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from June to September the Vondelpark Open Air Theatre offers varied entertainment such as dance, cabaret, jazz, children’s theater, stand-up comedy and all genres of music. Head to the Open Air Theatre in the Vondelpark to catch a performance held every weekend throughout the summer. Entry is free, although all voluntary donations are appreciated.

More Iceland for less money

Explore the unique volcanic and arctic nature of Iceland

Tel: +354 511 2600


Issue one

ı 107

The fun is out there The Nuits de Fourvière, June - August, Lyon

Stuttgart Jazz Open, 4 - 10 July, Stuttgart

From June to early August, the Roman theaters host various shows such as concerts (popular music, jazz, classical), dancing, theater and cinema. International artists who usually fill up much larger venues are often seduced by the special atmosphere of the theaters. Keep your eyes peeled for these once in a lifetime performances when you visit the city of Lyon.

This almost week long event features American, European and other international per­formers at two downtown venu­es; one outdoors and one indoors. For more information go to

Fête de la Musique, 21 June, Berlin On this day all kinds of music is played around the city coordinating with a similar day in several French cities. Fête de la Musique, the Feast of Music or the Worldwide Music Day is celebrated in Berlin on the day of the summer solstice.

Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, 21 - 26 June, Warsaw The idea of Warsaw Summer Jazz Days festival was intro­ duced in 1992 and the festival itself immediately grew to be one of the most important jazz festivals in Europe. It promotes contemporary jazz, gathering creative artists of contrasting backgrounds and hosting the newest and most innovative performances.Warsaw Summer Jazz Days keeps an avantgarde character. Two days of innovative jazz followed by one day with a free entry jazz concert and the final day’s performance of best jazz artists. When it comes to world class jazz on polish stage, WSJD has become the most awaited event of the year. If you want to be up to date with every current jazz trend, this is the place to go.

Bergmannstraßenfest Kreuzberg jazzt, 28 - 30 June, Berlin Every year Kreuzberg’s Berg­­ mannstrasse, one of the most attractive and diverse areas in Berlin’s old city center, transforms into a must-see scene for jazz and music fans in general. Showcasing over 50 groups on a series of stages this festival has a reputation far beyond the city’s borders. The festival combines Kreuzberg’s characteristic lively atmosphere with stunning music, great food and a multicultural feel-good factor, irresistible for young and old.

underground! With a line-up of leading international singers and musicians - there’s something for opera goers of all ages.

Amsterdam Roots Festival, 5 - 8 July, Amsterdam

De Parade, 10 - 27 August, Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Roots Festival is a leading festival of non-west­ ern music. The festival attracts bands and artists from all over the world and approximately 60,000 visitors each year. It is considered to be one of the most important music festi­ vals in Holland. You can enjoy per­­formances of fado, zouk dance, hiphop, latin-jazz, rumba, flam­­enco and more non-west­­ ern music from all corners of the earth; Cape Verde to the Caribbean, Mongolia to South Africa. The festival takes place in different venues throughout Amsterdam, such as Paradiso and the Melkweg. The highlight of the Amsterdam Roots Festival is in the ‘Oosterpark’, where 50,000 people come together to watch and dance to over 40 performances. Make sure you don’t miss it!

Circus turns vintage, on an old-fashioned fairground with many different kinds of tents, the performers are each trying to attract their public, featuring spectacles of dance, theater, magic, art, animation and music. Set in Martin Luther King Park, this event offers a slew of live music performances, exciting activities, culinary delights and a truly unique atmosphere guaranteed to create a memorable day no matter what language you speak.

© / Kristoffer Juel Poulsen

Copenhagen Jazz Festival, 5 - 14 July, Copenhagen Featuring ten days of jazz this famous jazz festival is spread all around Copenhagen – parks, cafes, clubs, and theaters. The festival usually offers a few headline acts but there are more than 1000 concerts, indoors and outdoors, to choose from and the real attraction is often the obscure concert you bump into randomly in a park or square somewhere in the city. For more information visit www.

Film festivals British shorts, 11 - 14 April, Berlin Presenting the most exciting, funniest, strangest and most thrilling short films from the home of the dirty weather British Short Film Festival in Berlin has it all; drama, comedy, thrillers, animation, experi­men­tal, documentaries, horror, science fiction and music videos straight from Britain.

CPH:PIX, 11 - 28 April, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Od­ ense and Kolding This relatively new feature film festival is the result of a merger between Copenhagen’s two popular long running festivals – the Night Film Festival and the Copenhagen International Film Festival. Cinemas in four Danish cities will screen a record num­­ ber of more than 130 films from all over the world. For more information go to

Copenhagen Opera Festival, 28 July - 4 August, Copenhagen The Copenhagen Opera Festival is a must for any opera lover. It also appeals to the new curi­ous generation that wants to become familiar with opera and experience the drama and passion of this fine and magic art, performed in new spaces around Copenhagen – on the streets, on the water and even

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Sundance London, 25 - 28 April, London The spin off of America’s indie film festival founded by Robert Redford in 1987 will showcase films screened at the Utah-based film festival in January. Last year the film festival brought 27 film

screenings, including many European prem­ieres, and per­ formances by 17 musical acts. Prince Charles attended one of the premieres, and Rufus and Martha Wainwright performed live following the world premiere of Lian Lunson’s film about their mother’s music. If last year’s format is repeated, audiences will be treated to thoughtprovoking panel discussions featuring industry experts, live music performances, screenings and panel discussions.

Zulu Sommerbio, July August, Copenhagen Maybe not a film festival per se. In July and August Danish television station ‘TV2 Zulu’ plays open air films in various parks and squares of Copenhagen. There are movies in both Danish and English and they are free to watch. You can buy beer and popcorn and enjoy the show.

Cinema en Plein Air, July August, Paris Every summer, Parisians traipse to the ultramodern Parc de la Villette in northern Paris with blankets and folding chairs to take advantage of celluloid in the breeze. The open-air cinema, or “cinéma en plein air”, is generally free and hosts at least one show each evening for around a month in July and August, with a program chock full of both classics and recent hits. Many of the films are shown in English.

Parades St Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival, 17 March, London London’s Irish community has always celebrated St Patrick’s Day in the traditional manner, with church services, music, dancing and plenty of Guinness and whisky. The main performance stage is in Trafalgar Square with live shows, music and dance, from midday. Of course, the best places to celebrate are the pubs and Catholic churches throughout London, with their mix of relig­ion, music and good cheer. Keep an eye on where the real London Irish go after the parade and get ready for a memorable evening.

Christopher Street Day, 22 June, Berlin The Berlin gay pride parade, or Christopher Street Day as the German name their gay prides, is a well well-known annual political demonstration for the

rights of gay culture. Even if you are indifferent about the issue, the Christopher Street Day is usually a worthwhile sight as many participants show up in wild costumes.

which function as mobile sound systems (“Love mobiles”) drive along the lake side, starting from the east at Utoquai and ending in the west at Hafen Enge. Every year, this event attracts nearly a million visitors who dance in the streets to music heard from anywhere in the city. After the Streetparade the party doesn’t stop, there are open air parties along the route until midnight and club parties at various locations until late the next day. Don’t be surprised if the city’s cleanliness isn’t up to its usual standard the next day.

Bastille Parade, 14 July, Paris The French national holiday Bastille Day on the 14th of July celebrates the storming of the infamous Bastille during the French Revolution. Paris hosts several spectacular events that day, the best of which is known as the Bastille Parade, held on the Champs-Élysées at 10:00 and broadcast on television to most of Europe. The entire street will be crowded with spectators, so arrive early. The Bastille Day Fireworks is an exceptional treat for travelers lucky enough to be there on Bastille Day. The Office du Tourisme et des Congress de Paris recommends gathering in or around the champs du Mars, the gardens of the Eiffel Tower.

Gay Pride Amsterdam, 3 August, Amsterdam Gay Pride is one of the biggest festivals in Amsterdam with parties, performances, workshops and a boat parade on the Prinsengracht on Saturday afternoon. Always well worth seeing.

Streetparade, 11 August, Zürich Currently the biggest open air techno rave in Europe, the Zürich Streetparade happens on the second Saturday of August each year, when trucks

Explore Iceland on your own terms

The Techno Viking is a force to be reckoned with.

Fuckparade, 24 August, Berlin The Fuckparade is an annual summer techno demonstration in Berlin. The event began in 1997 as a demonstration against the increasing commercialization of culture and public life and the misuse of the right of assembly by purely commercial ventures, in particular the Love Parade. The general motto of the Fuckparade is “against the destruction of the club scene”. The music is quite different than at the Love Parade; mostly independent/alternative/ extreme electronic music. If you go there be sure to keep a look out for the Techno Viking.

Copenhagen Pride, 24 August, Copenhagen The week leading up to the lavish Copenhagen Pride para­de is usually full of comm­unity events and parties. Count on the City Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen) changing its name to Pride Square during the week and hosting live acts, con­certs and debates. For more information visit

With so much to see and do, why not rent a car and hit the road in comfort and style with Budget?

Tel. +354 562 6060

This and that

Suit up for Reykjavík’s swimming pools Rumor has it that Reykjavik´s controversial mayor, Jón Gnarr, has started a new trend when it comes to swimming in the capital. At a cultural opening by one of the city’s swimming pools he jumped right in claiming that suit-swimming had always been one of his dreams.

Photo: © Visit South Iceland

40 years since the West­ man Islands volcanic eruption


n January the people of Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) commemorated the 40th anniversary of the volcanic eruption on Heimaey, the only inhabited island of the Westman Islands archipelago. The eruption began unexpectedly during the night of January 23, 1973, when most of the around 5,500 inhabitants were asleep in their homes. Almost all the inhabitants were evacuated by fishing ships and moved temporarily to Þorlákshöfn and Reykjavík. The eruption lasted for five months. More than two thirds of Heimaey inhabitants moved back in the months following the end of the eruption and were quick to clear out the ash and rebuild. However, some people never returned and today the island has a population of around 4,500. In commemoration of the eruption, a ceremony, a torch parade and fireworks show was held on Heimaey on the anniversary day, January 23. An anniversary

concert was also held in Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík. These festivities will be followed by the more celebratory End of Eruption Festival (Goslokahátíð), held annually during the first weekend of July. Also on the occasion of the eruption’s 40th anniversary, the museum Eldheimar (“Worlds of Fire”) is being built centered on a house excavated out of a 15-meter thick layer of pumice as part of the project, Pompei of the North. The formal opening of the museum is scheduled in the summer of 2014.

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inally the EFTA court ruled that Iceland´s measures concerning repayments of the ICESAVE accounts in Holland and UK were legally justified. After Gordon Brown the former labor Prime Minister had Iceland put on the Anti Terrorist-list with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, forces of nature joined Iceland´s struggle with the former colonial states by offering ash instead of cash. The volcano in Eyjafjallajökull tried its best to help Britain, Holland, and Iceland to come to an agreement by offering many tons of fertile ash. Although grouchy Gordon Brown did not accept this generous offer, flower lovers throughout Britain are in awe. It turns out that Icelandic ash is a godsend, ideal for plant growth but regarding Icesave many would believe they did not reap what the sowed.

Hestheimar among 25 top B&B’s 2013

Staying warm

Photo / Visit South Iceland

Hestheimar guesthouse is among the top 25 B&Bs and Inns in Iceland for the year 2013, according to the renowned travel recommendations website TripAdvisor. “We are very proud of this acknowledgement and it inspires us to do even better this year. Hestheimar was also recommended by TripAdvisor in 2012 as a place to stay in Iceland,” says the host, Lea Helga Ólafsdóttir. Only a couple of months ago,

Hestheimar received an award from Icelandic Farm Holidays for an outstanding performance in 2012. The evaluation was based on guest reviews and the special features of the farm, according to the office of Icelandic Farm Holi­ days. This was the second time in only five years Hestheimar has been selected as an outstanding travel service farm. For more information visit www.


n spite of an unusually warm January we Icelanders need to be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Besides, “unusually warm” does not exactly mean bikini-weather when it comes to January in Iceland. This is why Icelanders need to pick warm clothes and be prepared for all kinds of weather. Woolen clothes are, of course, a given. We love this wool poncho called “Ása”, soft warm and available in three different color variations. The long opening at the front makes it easy to move around in. This is an ideal coat for camping and an even better one to just stay indoors and keep extra warm. For other kinds of “outdoorsyness” you should check out Justin (blue) and Janet (red), light down jackets that are sure to keep you warm throughout the winter. These jackets can be easily folded and even come with accompanying pouch, perfect for traveling or to keep in the car just in case. For more cozy designs visit


Kríunes Hotel

-The Northern Lights Inn-

Your vacation starts here

• Beautiful lake view rooms with luxury amenities, conveniently located just 15 minutes away from Reykjavik city centre. • We offer many outdoor activities, including custom guided tours. • Free pick-up service from Reykjavík BSI Bus Terminal may be arranged upon request. For further information please contact us: Tel: +(354) 567 2245 ~ Email: ~ Web: Kríunes ~ Vatnsenda ~ 203 Kópavogi ~ sími 567 2245 & 897 0749 ~ ~

Sudoku Really, really bored? Here are a few sudokus to make time fly. But how do I do it?

The object is to insert the numbers in the boxes to satisfy only one condition: each row, column and 3x3 box must contain the digits 1 through 9 exactly once. What could be simpler?

112 覺 WOW lifts you up where you belong

The Traveling Inquisition

Having her cake and eating it too! Thirty-two year old actress Vala Ómarsdóttir is like many people of her generation. She pursued her professional aspirations by attending schools both in New York and London. But after she experienced the world and completed her education she knew where she wanted to live and start a family; home sweet home in Reykjavík, Iceland. Vala’s most recent role is in real life as she welcomed a baby daughter four months ago. As far as her work goes she is an actress and theater artist and works with London based theater groups called Bottlefed and Tangled Feet. Last summer she starred in a production called “Mean Between Times” which was shown at an internati­ onal theater festival in London. According to Vala it’s an “unusual piece based in a train where the audience observes the complicated plot through head-phones.” Vala is now the second victim of our Traveling Inquisition and here’s what she had to say:

By Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photo: Kristinn Magnússon You lived in New York City before you moved to London, what is the main difference between these two cities? “People are generally much more polite in London. The Brits are so cute. I remember when I took the train in London for the first

time after moving there from New York, it was so wonderfully strange that nobody was loud and not a lot of strangers were talking to each other, compared to trains in Manhattan. New Yorkers have a disposition which I think can be both good and bad. It’s sometimes refreshing.”

How long did you live in London? “About seven years. I moved to Reykjavík a little over a year ago but I’ve been back to London when I’ve had projects there. “In the past ten years since I’ve been living abroad Reykjavík has changed so much that in many ways it feels like a foreign city to me. Still it’s a total luxury to be able to live in Iceland, close to my friends and family but still go so often to London. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.”

What do you recommend to people visiting London? “In warm weather I used to spend a lot of time in the public parks with my boyfriend and/or our friends. We’d bring a picnic basket, a blanket, magazines and perhaps a bottle of wine. It’s a great way to escape the pressures of the city. I love the theater so I recommend Barbican, National and Lyric Hammersmith which offer really good productions. And of course the Tate Museum is worth a visit also.”

How about good places to eat? “I like having pancakes with syrup in the Breakfast Club at Hoxton Square, close to the Old Street Station. It’s a very “artsy” place and it’s fun. Personally I avoid Oxford Street, but I recommend for those who do go there, to walk up Marylebone. There are some really nice places you can sit down and rest your tired feet. “For people that are looking to get a good meal for a low price I recommend Brick Lane. There’s a bunch of Indian restaurants there and the waiters often stop people in the street to make them an offer. You shouldn’t have to pay more than ten pounds for an appetizer, main course and a beer.”

How about a night on the town? “I like Shoreditch, Angel and Hoxton square, there’s a lot of fun clubs there but they’re not cheap. If you’re looking for a cheap beer the pubs at Samuel Smith’s will do. Actually there are cheap pubs here and there, especially if you’re not right in the center of the city.” Where would you recommend shopping for clothes in London? “I like Shoreditch where you can get lost in the many second hand and vintage stores. It also has other stores like Urban Outfitters.”

What do you recommend to people visiting Iceland for the first time? “I have brought some foreign friends to Iceland and they love going to the thermal swimming pools and just walking around downtown in nice weather. Maybe checking out a fun place downtown at night, like Kaffibarinn. But I really recommend traveling around the country for those who can, some of my favorites are Mývatn and Húsavík, it’s so beautiful there. That’s what I missed about Iceland when I wasn’t living here: going swimm­ing. And also going to a cabin out in the country with some good people and having a barbeque. Iceland has such a good vibe during the summertime, everyone is always looking to do something fun.”

114 ı WOW lifts you up where you belong

CONGRATULATIONS VILBORG! Your positivity, determination and courage got you safe and sound to the South Pole. Michelsen Watchmakers thank you for a great and successful collaboration.

"The watch did very well. I walked the whole time with the watch strapped on the outside of my jacket, next to the compass. The watch was unprotected and exposed in extreme weather conditions." - Vilborg Arna Gissurard贸ttir.

The official timepiece of the Solo to the South Pole expedition.

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