mag azin e
Issue one 2014
WOW star: Vilborg Arna
Going where few women have gone before Lighten up:
Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival
#southpoleselfie your free copy take me with you
Cool adventures in Iceland
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HOTEL GEYSIR ELEGANT RESTAURANTS, MUSEUM, BEAUTIFUL NATURE & FUN ACTIVITIES
GEYSIR TOP 25 BEST PLACES TO PHOTOGRAPH ON THE PLANET EARTH
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hotel geysir WWW.GEYSIRCENTER.COM GEYSIR@GEYSIRCENTER.IS TEL +354 480 6800 WWW.TWITTER.COM/HOTELGEYSIR WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/HOTELGEYSIR 4
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WELCOME TO G E YS I R
Reykjavik Keflavik Airport
The Geysir CenTer is direCTly oPPosiTe The GeoThermal area of Geysir and sTrokkur sTay aT The hoTel, enjoy The BuffeT aT The resTauranT, TasTe The loCal food aT The BisTro or Try The meaT souP aT The snaCk shoP This landmark of Iceland is a spectacular natural phenomenon beyond description. The geothermal field surrounding the Great Geyser is the definitive geyser, having given its name to the geological phenomena. Walking about this natural wonder, one experiences the intensity of the forces of nature.
The geysir cenTer haukadalur w w w. g e ys i r c e n t e r . i s Phone: +354 480-6800 g e ys i r @ g e ys i r c e n t e r . i s w w w. fac e b o o k . c o m / h ot e l g e ys i r w w w. t w i t t e r . c o m / h ot e l g e ys i r Issue one
In this issue 8
A letter from the CEO
10 This and that … mostly this 14 What’s going on? Concerts, events, openings and all that
A letter from the editor
A new beginning
18 Everybody wants to WOW WOW air got 1,200 appli cations for the available cabin crew positions. 20 Fired up and ready The firefighters of Iceland have got some aces up their sleeves. 24 Extreme in Akureyri Get ready for the biggest snowboarding event of Iceland. 26 Just a moment … Not all moments can be WOW moments. 30 A perfect vision for the future A greener Iceland – with greenhouses. 32 Let there be light Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival
WOW! Every year is a new beginning and this one is no different but it also marks a new beginning for WOW magazine, which is now published by WOW air. That means I am now working at WOW air’s headquarters which is a pretty cool place with some pretty cool people. But enough about me … How’ve you been?
40 Just beer it March 1 is the national Beer-day in Iceland. 52 WOW Cyclothon The boys from Basel are getting ready for the race of a lifetime.
Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Design and layout: Ivan Burkni /Arnardalur sf. E-mail: email@example.com Contributing writers: Dísa Bjarnadóttir, Hjördís Erna Þorgeirsdóttir, Paul Michael Herman, Guðrún Baldvina Sævarsdóttir, Cindy-Lou Dale, Eymar Plédel Jónsson, Lilja Björk Haraldsdóttir Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman
Tel: 00 354 590 3020 entun: Oddi umhverfisvottuð prentsmiðja E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ERFISME HV R M
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76 Sliding down Iceland’s mountains and wilderness have ample opportunities if you’re look ing for some fun in the snow. 80
Ice climbing In a land where there are mountains, glaciers and daredevils there are bound to be some ice climbers.
Dive in! One of our Icelandic correspondents went snorkeling in Silfra. Read all about it!
A pool? No a spa! The real attraction of the Icelandic swimming pools are the hot tubs where Icelanders go to relax.
A view of the world Olafur Haraldsson has a special way of bringing faraway places to your computer screen.
88 WOW stars Brush up on the latest news from our WOW stars. 90
Inside Room 313 Mixing and recording engineer Addi800 works his magic in Room 313.
92 Fun aboard The WOW air cabin crew has made flying fun again.
sure to bring out the heat next summer.
108 Careful now Here’s a little guide to safety in Iceland, because we want you to come back again and again. 110
Underground London Few people know there’s an underground city beneath London.
114 High tea in Paris Paris’s seductive charms are legendary, and for good reason. The city is also home to some exquisite Japanese tea rooms. 118 Trabanting in Berling It was about when the Berlin Wall went up that East Ger many started producing Trabant cars, the automotive joke of the Cold War. 122 The edgy Danish fashion When you visit Copenhagen, shopping should definitely be on your to-do list. 126 Your WOW horoscope Check out what the stars have in store for you. 128 Bored on board? Get a pen and solve these sudokus. 130 The Traveling Inquisition “I don’t have a clue what’s going on here,” says comedian and editor, Helgi Jean Claessen.
94 My hero, Madam President Find out why Icelanders born in the ‘80s still struggle with the words “Mr. Presi dent”.
Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir, editor in chief email@example.com
WOW magazine staff
74 #wowselfie WOW air is taking the shameless selfie trend to a higher level. Join us!
Going up Our latest WOW star, adventurer Vilborg Arna Gissurardottir, had just finished her solo walk to the South Pole when she decided to take on the Seven Summits.
62 The Vatnajokull Region The reason Iceland got its name. 64
Brothers on board Snowboarders Eirikur and Halldor Helgason are definitely the best known Icelanders when it comes to extreme winter sports.
68 Taking over Antarctica Arctic Trucks have been modifying vehicles for Icelanders since 1990 but a few years back they started rewriting the history of polar travels.
Dressed for the occasion What is the first elected female president in the world supposed to wear?
A person of WOW WOW air’s product manager, Jón Kári Hilmarsson, describes himself as a super social hermit.
100 The inside WOW It’s not just our guests that get to enjoy the WOW, the staff has fun too! 102 Gained in translation Adam Jacot charges the language barriers. 104
Coming up in Copenhagen The Danes know how to have fun and we want to make sure you get there.
106 Plan your summer Alicante and Barcelona are
Attention advertisers! Shouldn’t your company be in our next issue? Contact our advertising representative and he’ll make it happen. He’s just that good! firstname.lastname@example.org
Ice climbing Issue one
the beginning of the year; you start fresh, full of energy, promise and hope! It’s a time when we reflect on the past and prepare for the future. Many of us set goals, some small, some grandiose like our fantastic cover star, Vilborg Arna, who is on an amazing journey of climbing and exploring the Seven Summits along with the North and South Pole and will likely be the first Icelandic woman to finish the Adventurer’s Grand Slam. She is a great inspiration to all of us, showing what can be done with dedication, hard work and positive attitude. We at WOW air are super excited about the year ahead and continue to be 100% dedicated to our core goals: To offer the lowest prices to and from Iceland, to be the most punctual airline in Iceland, to offer the newest airplanes in Iceland and of course to always offer the best service with a smile. I am very proud of our achievements in 2013, and thanks to the continued support and recommendations of our guests, all of us at WOW air are inspired and committed to doing even better in 2014. Thank you for flying WOW air. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Skúli Mogensen WOW air CEO and founder
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Keeping Iceland warm since 1926
66north.com Issue one
This and that …
Mainly this The future of Icelandic photography
To the record store
Our Ultimate Fighting Champion Gunnar Nelson will return to the Octagon at the UFC in the O2 Arena in London on March 8.
Gunnar’s big fight Our Ultimate Fighting Champion Gunnar Nelson will return to the Octagon at the UFC in the O2 Arena in London on March 8. His opponent will be the Russian fighter Omari Akhmedow. According to the official UFC website Omari is undefeated with 12 wins on his record. Gunnar himself will be putting his undefeated record on the line against the Russian. Gunnar is now training two times a day before his big fight at his favorite local gym in Reykjavik, Mjölnir. All of us here at WOW air wish Gunnar the best of luck.
It’s that time of year when all the good things of last year get rewarded and February is the time for the Nordic Music Prize in Oslo. Any albums published in 2013 are eligible for nomination. About 100 individuals from the Icelandic music business select the 10 albums that are sent on to the Nordic panel of judges. The panel then has to select 12 nominations from the 50 albums they get from all over the Nordic countries and then an international panel of judges selects the final winner at the award ceremony.
February 15, after 5 semesters of intensive study, 15 students will graduate from the School of Photography. To celebrate this milestone they have put up an exhibition of their collective works in Nesstofa in Seltjarnarnes. The opening starts at 15:00 (3 pm) on February 15 and the exhibitions will stay up until February 23. Opening hours are from 3-8 pm on weekdays and from 1-6 pm on the weekends. The graduating students have worked hard these last years and their photos bring forth some interesting and existential questions like “Is rock n’ roll black and white?”, “Is there beauty in death?”, “What does a blind man’s day look like?” and “Can you interpret feelings with photographs?” Take a short drive to Seltjarnarnes to see the future of Icelandic photography. You won’t regret it.
Here’s the list of the 10 Icelandic albums sent to the Nordic Panel and the two they selected for the finals: Hjaltalín Enter 4 (Selected by the Nordic Panel) múm Smilewound (Selected by the Nordic Panel) Emilíana Torrini Tookah Grísalappalísa Ali Mammút Komdu til mín svarta systir Ojba Rasta Friður Samaris Samaris Sigur Rós Kveikur Sin Fang Flowers Tilbury Northern Comfort
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Portret of a hermit. Photo: Valdimar Thorlacius
Sleepless in Ásbrú Last year the All Tomorrow Parties Music Festival was held in former NATO base Ásbrú, near Keflavík for the first time. Next year’s ATP festival is scheduled for July but despite being a few months away, all passes with accommodations are sold out. There are of course other available accommodations a little further away and judging by this early interest ATP 2014 is promising to be a big event. The biggest acts of the festival are Portishead and Interpol. Beside them are a bevy of great Icelandic artists such as Soley and Mammút. You can get passes and more information at www.atpfestival.com and of course WOW air will make sure to offer cheap flights to Iceland.
Some places have a certain something about them. People just want to be there. And if you are lucky you get to spend some time at one of those places. Atli Bollason shared an apartment at Ingólfsstræti 8a few years ago with two friends. He never knew who would be there or what would happen when he got home. Sometimes it was a café, sometimes a cinema and after the bars closed there would maybe be a line outside. People just showed up. Ingólfsstræti 8 Skál fyrir þér!
This and that …
What better place to eat fish than close to the sea where it’s always as fresh as can be? Icelanders are crazy for sushi and have some good quality options when it comes to sushi restaurants. Next time you get that sushi craving try Osushi.
Blue Eyed Pop
The Osushi restaurants really are one of a kind! Dedicated sushi lovers will definitely be fascinated sitting by the unique Osushi conveyor belt while it goes round and round with an endless array of colorful and tasty sushi. Now you can also order the delicious Osushi online and it will be ready and waiting for you to sit down and enjoy at one of their restaurants in Reykjavik and Hafnarfjörður or to take out if you prefer.
Late last year Iceland’s pop guru Dr. Gunni (Gunnar Lárus Hjálmarsson) published the English version of his Iceland ic pop history, called Blue Eyed Pop. David Fricke, one of Rolling Stone’s editors and a big fan of Icelandic music, gave the book a raging review in his overview of the year 2013. Blue Eyed Pop is the ultimate guide to Icelandic music history and culture, a musthave for any serious fan of Icelandic music, a funny and insightful read from a trusted inside source, featuring an abundance of rare and cool images. Buy it online at www.blueyed popdotcom1.wordpress.com or come to Iceland and buy it in a regular book store.
many famous people are regulars here
If you visit Iceland in March don’t be alarmed by all the rugged male handsomeness and the incredible number of mustaches going around. In most countries, November is a time for growing your mustache for a good cause. Icelanders, always trying to do things a little differently use March for their mustache growing and because this is such a small island this trend really catches on so the number of mustaches becomes monumental during this time. Some grow it just to fit in but others to compete, either solo or in teams, and raise funds for cancer research. Overall, this fun event encourages men of all ages to talk about the dangers of cancer with each other and get checked out.
A decent exposure Artist Curver Thoroddsen is going to do something unusual for a few weeks and he’s going to do it naked. Curver’s performance, called Verk að vinna / Paperwork, is an ongoing real life perform ance that opened January 18 in the Ketilhús in Akureyri. As in his previous performances, his daily life is the focal point and Curver is set on blurring the line between his personal life and his art. In his Paperwork performance, Curver will go through his mail and personal documents that have piled up in the last 20 years and he expects it to be an emotional rummage through his life. To do this Curver is going to barricade
himself inside the Ketilhús for a month and sort through his various papers, naked. On the upper floor of Ketihús there’ll be an exhibition of other selected performances by Curver on film. The Ketilhús is a public space and in contrast, Curver will be completely exposed while doing this very personal thing, his per formance, a play on public and personal space. As social media increasingly lets us project our personal space out in to the pub lic space, the lines are getting more and more blurry. Curver’s performance is open every day from 12-5 pm until February 16 and admission is free.
the finest Thai restaurant in Iceland
1/10 The Best Restaurants In Iceland
the best thai food 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013
Laugavegur 130, ofan við Hlemm 12
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Tel : 692-0564
An Icelandic star in Pepsi’s super soccer team For the last 15 years Pepsi has put together a super soccer team with the best soccer players of the world. The 2014 team was unveiled recently and among the stars are Lionel Mezzi, Robin Van Persie, Sergio Aguaero, Jack Wilshire and Vincent Kompany. Gylfi Sigurdsson from Iceland is one of Pepsi’s stars for 2014, the first Icelander ever to be selected for the team. The soccer stars will play an important role in an international campaign for Pepsi, playing soccer against each other in TV commercials and posing for photos that will grace the bottles of Pepsi and Pepsi Max. Gylfi won the “Athlete of the year” awards in Iceland at the end of last year and plays for the English football team, Tottenham. Congratulations Gylfi.
Explore Iceland on your own terms My Way – perfect day tours for the independent traveller. My Way is your own audio day tour consisting of a suitable car for you and your friends together with an audio guide programmed into the GPS system. Sold in cooperation with Avis and Budget car rentals.
With so much to see and do, why not rent a car and hit the road in comfort and style with Budget?
To book your own day tour • Visit the My Way website mywayiniceland.is • Contact Budget, tel. 562 6060. • Ask the hotel or next information centre to book it for you.
Tel. +354 562 6060 www.budget.is Issue one
What’s going on over here? Quite a lot actually, and if you know where to look you can live each night in Iceland like there’s a full blown festival going on.
Ingólfur Arnarsson installation view: The Chianti Foundation, Marfa
Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival
The new concert house Harpa and the joy of music will be a stark contrast against the Icelandic winter and the arctic darkness.
6-15 February The people of Reykjavik really needed to lighten up during these dark winter months so they decided to do it in style, inviting everyone to join in. This festival promises a superb collection of sparkling events, all delivered with customary commitment to quality and diversity. Read more about the Winter Lights Festival on pages 32-36.
Get in the zone 13-15 February Sónar Reykjavík is an intimate music festival that portrays how a prestige brand can rede fine itself in smaller locations and venues. The new concert house Harpa and the joy of music will be a stark contrast against the Icelandic winter and the arctic darkness. Sónar Reykjavik is also an experiment in how music can reach those who truly seek it by those performing it and seeing that it’s not always the largest stage and the biggest crowd that matters. The line up includes a balanced mix of both international artists and the most current ones from Iceland’s thriving music scene. Tickets available on www.midi.is
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13 February – 22 March Art gallery i8 has set up a two person show by Ingólfur Arnarsson (Iceland) and Sachiko M. (Japan). The exhibition will combine drawings and concrete reliefs by Arnarson and a site specific sound-installation by Sachiko M. Both artists’ work emerge from a nothingness. Their sympathetic approaches share a reductive elegance arriving from the contrary poles of the organic and manmade, the hand and the machine. Sachiko M, is an improviser who has gained international attention for manipulating sine waves of a sampler’s internal test tones, extremely simplified minimalist sounds using switching noise. Early in her career she was involved in the cut-up and “plunderphonic” sampling movements and has been active as a sampler player since 1994. Ingólfur Arnarsson works are of a pristine and delicate nature–abstract drawings, made with pencil on paper, and concrete wall-reliefs with water color surfaces. Arnarsson creates these pieces as installations in response to specific architectural settings such as his permanent installation at The Chianti Foundation, Marfa, Texas.
German Film Days 13-22 March The German Film Days are now celebrated on an annual basis. Hosted by Cinema Paradise in cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Denmark the German Film Days will show you some of the very best current titles that German Cinema has to offer. The opening film, Two Lives / Zwei Leben (2012) directed by Georg Maas and Judith Kauf mann is a drama and thriller that has won several awards on known film festivals around the world. It was shortlisted for the Oscars this year in the foreign language film category.
Led Zeppelin tribute 21 March The cream of Iceland’s rockers will play the best songs of this legendary rock group in the Harpa Concert Hall. Tickets available on www.midi.is.
That folksy feeling 6-8 March
What’s going on over here?
Take your kids to the movies 20-30 March The Reykjavík International Children’s Film Festival is held for the second time in Cinema Paradise and is one of a kind here in Iceland. Last year more than 3,000 children attended free screenings held every day and there was also a great turnout for the program offered nights and weekends for families. The goal of this festival is for children and teenagers to see films that have been acknowledged and awarded in festivals around the world, and for the first time in Iceland provide the opportunity to experience a “Film Festival”.
Held in Kex Hostel the Reykjavík Folk Festival will bring together both young and old folk musicians who will join forces to create a three-day feast of folk music. Folk music has a long history in Iceland, from the rhyme songs of the old Nordic sagas to the recent success stories of young folkinspired artists like Of Monsters and Men, Ólöf Arnalds and Sóley. The idea behind the Reykjavík Folk Festival is to celebrate the diversity and breadth of the Icelandic folk music scene by mixing together artists and bands of different ages and styles that all share a common link to the wonderful world of folk music. Wristbands and one day tickets available through www.midi.is.
Cinema Paradise is located on Hverfisgata, parallel to Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavík.
Black Sundays Every Sunday at 8 PM
A festival of food 26 February - 2 March Food & Fun is a festival that mixes out standing culinary skills and fresh natural ingredients, an Icelandic outdoor adventure and the world famous Reykjavik nightlife to create the ultimate recipe for fun. Acclaimed chefs from around the world collaborate with some of Reykjavik’s finest restaurants where they each prepare a special menu. The restaurants participating this year are SushiSamba, Steikhúsið, Sjávargrillið, Fiskfélagið, Dill, Fiskmarkað urinn, Grillmarkaðurinn, Kolabrautin, Grillið, VOX, Höfnin / The Harbor, Við Tjörnina, Kopar, Rub23, Slippbarinn and Gallery Rest aurant Hotel Holt.
Reykjavík Shorts&Docs 2014 3-9 April Reykjavík Shorts&Docs offer a screen selection of short films, animations and documentary films from around the globe that are challenging, sexy, funny, outrage ous, educational and simply cannot be missed. The 12th Reykjavik Shorts&Docs Festival will take place in Cinema Paradise from 3-9 April 2014! Check out their web site http://www.shortsdocsfest.com.
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On Black Sundays Cinema Paradise offers old cult classic films. The program is curated by Hugleikur Dagson the famous cartoonist/ comedian, Sjón renowned author and Sigurjón Kjartansson one of Iceland’s best known screenwriter / comedian / musician. The film of the week is announced on the program’s Facebook page, www.facebook. com/SvartirSunnudagar.
10-12 April The Tectonics Music Festival was first held in March 2012 to critical acclaim. The festival invites Icelandic artists to join the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra to introduce music in an innovative and unique way. The various acoustic elements of the Harpa concert halls will be used to the fullest under the artistic directorship of Ilan Volkov. A special emphasis will be on new Icelandic music. Tickets available at www.harpa.is.
Easter in Iceland 14-21 April Founded by musician Mugison in a 2004 music festival, “Aldrei fór ég suður” (I never went south) has now become one of the most popular music festivals in Iceland, especially considering that it’s held in the town of Ísafjordur, the capital of the West Fjords, during the Easter weekend. Be prepared for an amazing musical ex perience and listen to the best of Icelandic music in a magnificent environment. If you’re going, make sure you’re there by Thursday. As tradition dictates, a little fore play is in order before the real program starts on Friday. Entrance is free of charge. You just have to get yourself over there.
Get ready for the Icelandic summer!
A preview of the line-up: MassiveAttack Woodkid Kerri Chandler Damian Lazarus Skream Boddika Droog Waze & Oddysey Oneman Jackmaster Artwork Klose - One Mia Dora Harrimannn Sísí Ey Sóley Infinity Ink Gorgon City Josh Butler Francesca Lombardo Clive Henry Múm
The crowd will go wild as MassiveAttack takes the stage in Laugardalur and the burning hot Woodkid is also amongst the international line up.
The Secret Solstice Festival 20-22 June Get ready for the event of the summer! The Secret Solstice Out door Festival in Central Reykjavik’s Hot Spring Valley (Laugardalur) features many of Iceland’s hottest music artists as well as various global names. The crowd will go wild as MassiveAttack takes the stage in Laugardalur and the burning hot Woodkid is also amongst the international line up. Woodkid is playing some of the largest music festivals in the world this year, including Coachella and Sonar Barcelona, he’s also a multi-award winning music video director and has worked with international stars such as Rhianna, Lana del Rey, Katie Perry
and Drake. His youtube video Iron has gained over 25 million views. With various stages–outdoors and indoors –offering a wide selection of super cool music, Secret Solstice is set to become one of the year’s most exciting events, right at the year’s longest days with the Midnight Sun providing a most unique lighting show during the mysterious solstice in the high north. There are hostels, guesthouses, luxury hotels and camping sites within a five minute walk from the area. The largest thermal pool in Iceland, Laugardalslaug, is right there on the site, a perfect place to recoup after a wild night out. WOW air is proud to be a founding sponsor of Secret Solstice; 20-22 June 2014 and will offer flights to Iceland from all over Europe. Tickets on sale from February 5 via midi.is. Issue one
The WOW crew grows A little while ago WOW air sought out aspiring flight crew members and asked them to apply for a position. It’s apparent that Icelanders are very interested in the world of flying because we got 1,200 applications for the positions available.
Everybody wants to be
is even more than last year and it’s refreshing to see that more men are now applying for this job. Many of the appli cations were very impressive and we’ve had actors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, dancers, engineers and star athletes apply for these positions,” says Ragna Emilsdottir, Manager Cabin at WOW air. This spring will see new destinations and more flights so additions to the WOW crew are in order. To find out which of the applicants had the WOW factor 300 appli cants were handpicked and got to take the WOW test. Initial flight crew tests are well known in Iceland and it’s not uncommon to hear people’s opinion on the common knowledge questions, like who’s the prime mini ster of Iceland and what’s the name of the tallest Icelandic mountain (FYI it’s Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and Hvannadalshnjukur). Of course we hold common knowledge in high regard but we also want that little bit extra because that‘s WOW. The test day started out with a frantic sharp “We’re looking ening of 300 brand new pencils, a job the for individuals current WOW crew took on with a smile. And who can think as punctuality is very important at WOW air, the doors to the exam hall were closed at quickly on their exactly 11 o’clock when the test time started feet, evaluate which left a few applicants stranded on the different circum wrong side. “We’re looking for individuals who can stances and think quickly on their feet, evaluate different find solutions to circumstances and find solutions to any any problems. problems. Good people-skills are essen tial and so are communication skills, being a good listener and being able to provide good and personal service to all our guests. We are also looking for language skills, especially English of course but a third and fourth language is definitely a big plus. And then there’s the WOW factor which can be a combination of so many things but first and foremost it is being happy and lively, able to adapt easily to any circumstances and thinking outside the box,” says Asta Bjarnadottir, Chief People Officer at WOW air. “The test is designed to pinpoint the WOW factor of our applicants and during the test time we tried our best to rattle the applicants. Those who get the best results will go into a six week intensive training program where they will be constantly evaluated to make sure they are up the Icelandic Transport Authority (ICETRA) standards and of course up to our standards,” says Ragna.
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WOW Power to the people
From the land of firefighters and ice
Fighting fire with fire Every other year over 12,000 firefighters and other public safety athletes from all over the world gather at the World Police & Fire Games where they compete in over 60 sports to qualify in over 1,200 medal events. About 15 years ago Icelandic firefighters decided it was time they had their contestants at the games and they’ve used some creative ways to get there. by Gudrun Vaka Helgadottir Photos: Courtesy of the Icelandic Firefighters
e sent our first team to the games in 1999. We skipped 2001 but since the Barcelona Games in 2003 we’ve always sent a team and it’s been getting bigger each time,” says firefighter and team leader Óttar Karlsson. Next World Police & Fire Games will be held in Fairfax, Virginia in 2015 and Óttar says they already have anumber of firefighters that have signed up for the team. So what are these games about? “We compete in all kinds of sports, all traditional competition sports really, like swimming, football, track and field, basketball, handball, golfing … Then there are specific events that have to do with our occupation like the Ultimate Firefighter where you have to roll out a hose, run up stairs, carry a dummy and “We compete in all kinds stuff like that, all while wearing heavy smoke-diving equipment, either as a of sports, all traditional team or a solo competitor. There’s also competition sports the TCA or Toughest Competitor Alive really, like swimming, football, track and field, event which consists of eight challenges basketball, handball, like running 5 km, shot put, 100 m swim, golfing … 100 m sprint, pull-ups, bench presses etc.” Last year, 40 Icelandic firefighters competed in the World Police & Fire Games in Belfast, Northern Ireland. “We’ve always done pretty well in these games,” says Óttar. “Last time we brought home a gold and bronze medal for swimming, gold for weight lifting and basketball and silver for the javelin throw and fishing. We usually have a team and a solo competitor in the Ultimate Firefighter event and one time our team Issue one
Firefighter and team leader Óttar Karlsson.
came in fifth which is very good considering this is one of the most popular and competitive events of the games.” He adds that the games are not just a nice break from work but also an opportunity to network with other firefighters and follow the latest technology in the field. “It differs between games but there’s always an exhibition during the games of the latest fire protection and rescue equipment.” We asked Óttar to give his opinion on Icelandic firefighters vs. their colleagues overseas. “They’re good and in some areas they are at the forefront. However, here in Iceland they have to be many things at once. Besides fighting fires they also man the ambulances, respond to chemical spills, cut people out of wrecked cars and rescue hikers that get in trouble. Many nations have more speci alized teams for all that. So I would say that Icelandic firefighters are very versatile,” says Óttar. “It differs between games Since 2007 the but there’s always an exhi bition during the games of Icelandic firefighters the latest fire protection have used a very and rescue equipment.” interesting way to raise funds for their travels to the games. “The 2007 games were held in Australia so it was a long and expensive journey for us. A few of us here at the station were growing tired of driving between firms asking for support and we’d discussed the idea of making our own calendar to sell. We’d seen it done before but never here in Iceland so we decided to go for it. We didn’t have a clue what we were getting into but the calendars were an instant hit and we sold all 3000 copies that year,” says Óttar. Getting the boys to pose for the calendar was no problem Óttar says, “They’re always ready for some fun.” The calendar has been a staple of the firefighters fundraising since then but this year they added something new to the mix. “It’s a deck of playing cards,” says Óttar. “We had all these photos from previous calendars, and we took some new ones to get up to 52. No two photos are the same and we got a girl who was working with us last summer to pose for the queen,” says Óttar. You can have endless fun with a deck of cards, and even more when the cards have photos of handsome firefighters on them. The playing cards were the talk of the town when they were released and if you’re on your way to Iceland you can get your own deck at the fire station in Skógarhlíð 14 in Reykjavík and in Kostur supermarket on Dalvegur in Kópavogur, close to the Smáralind shopping mall.
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AK Extreme is a four day event with a notorious grand finale held in the middle of town. Close to 7000 spectators gathered to watch the big container jump in downtown Akureyri last year. Built from 15 large shipping containers the great jump is a venue where all the best snowboarders of Iceland come to compete.
Let’s get extreme in Akureyri AK Extreme is an annual event that brings snowboarding right into the center of Akureyri, Iceland’s northern capital. First held in 2002 this cool competition is now one of the country‘s biggest snowboarding events.
Photos: Þórir Tryggvason
King of the Hill The opening event of AK Extreme is a sort of “Chin ese downhill”, an off-piste competition starting at the top of Mt. Hlíðarfjall all the way down to the ski hotel. Competitors carry a glass of energy drink down the slope and are punished for every spill. There are 10 poles on the way down that serve as a lottery ticket for those who are able to grab one giving them a chance to win great prizes. This event starts at 7 pm so it’s the last run down the mountain before closing time. It ends with a great barbecue party next to the ski hotel.
The Burn Jib Session The Burn Jib event takes place in Akureyri’s main shopping street on Friday night, and has become one of the more popular events of AK Extreme.
The fun never ends at AK Extreme and the Akureyri nightlife is vibrant during those days with numerous musicians and DJ’s keeping the party alive until the early hours.
Slopestyle for beginners AK Extreme also has something for the younger generation. The future of Icelandic snowboarders gathers at Mt. Hlíðarfjall (10 minute drive above Akureyri) on Saturday morning to compete in the Slopestyle event.
The big container jump Saturday night it’s time for the main event that draws the biggest crowd. Due to its extreme nature only the best of the best are invited to show their skills in the big container jump. A giant screen is set up so the audience won’t miss a thing.
Nighttime fun The fun never ends at AK Extreme and the Akureyri nightlife is vibrant during those days with numerous musicians and DJ’s keeping the party alive until the early hours.
WOW Power to the people
Magnificent moments Every day our guests share their awesome WOW moments with us through moments.wow.is or moments.wowiceland.co.uk. You can have a WOW moment anywhere in the world, some don’t even have to leave their house. Here are some of our favorites.
WOW moments is still going strong so it’s not too late to send in your WOW moment.
Photo: Anna María Pálsdóttir. “A penthouse pool in Barcelona!”.
WOW Power to the people
Photo: Anita Rübberdt. “I skate Iceland!”
Photo: Gerður Rún Ólafsdóttir. “In 2012 I had a wonderful vacation in Barcelona. It’s the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to and the experience was as far-out as this photo shows.”
Sigríður Árnadóttir. “Copenhagen is a great place to be … and pick someone’s nose :-)”
Photo: Hjördís Lilja Sveinsdóttir. “Frolicking near the Fonts d’Algar waterfall close to Altea in Alicante.”.
Photo: Martyna Daniel. “Strokkur about to explode! When I took this picture I couldn’t believe it. For the first time I felt like I took a picture at exactly the right time.” Photo: Jenný Gunnarsdóttir. “ For a history buff like me, taking in the Berlin Wall and being able to touch this part of history was a magnificent WOW moment.”
Photo: Rannveig Vigfúsdóttir. “The mother-daughter duo cycled around Copenhagen and got to see a lot in a short time.”
Photo: Pontus Lundström. “After looking for awhile in our small Toyota we found this hidden hotspot in northwestern Iceland. -2°C in the air and about 35°C in the water. Awesome!” Issue one
Connect with culture!
Enjoy the nature!
Recharge and relax!
See the Sights!
Take a dip in our thermal pools!
Discover Icelandic Design
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Enjoy Reykjavík with one easy to use card The Reykjavík Welcome Card offers great value for money by giving you FREE ADMISSION to all of Reykjavík’s thermal pools and museums, with unlimited travel on Reykjavík buses, free ferry rides to Videy Island and DISCOUNTS at selected shops and restaurants. The card is available for 24, 48 and 72 hours. For more information on the Reykjavík Welcome Card visit www.visitreykjavik.is. You can purchase your card at the Official Tourist Information Centre or at one of our many sales outlets.
The Official Tourist Information Centre in Reykjavík Adalstraeti 2 101 Reykjavík Tel +354 590 1550 email@example.com www.visitreykjavik.is Issue one
A perfect vision for the future Imagine this; it’s the summertime, and you’re driving out to a growing community where you’re thinking about moving. When you arrive first thing you see is lush fields. It’s been a good season and if it continues the harvest will be abundant. There are a few people working in the fields, some middle aged, some young and some old. Everyone looks happy. As you drive on you see lovely gardens, lots of vegetation and some unique and beautifully designed buildings. Big buildings in the center house large scale organic food production facilities and an industrial complex where a wide variety of ecologically friendly goods are being manufactured. by Paul Michael Herman Photos: Courtesy of Pálmi Einarsson
ell placed in vari ous locations are restaurants, a geo-thermally heat ed swimming pool, a health spa, educational and research centers, a hotel and a senior citizens enclave. A public relations officer greets you and gives an ori entation. “Our biggest industry is organic food production and processing. Because of the weather conditions in Iceland we grow a lot of food indoors which means fresh food all year round. Everyone here eats the ‘homegrown’ fruits and vege tables, and families and indi viduals can come any day and pick what they like, depending on the season. Senior citizens have an option of working a few hours a day in the main gardens and groves, but some of them have a little plot where they grow whatever they want. Either way, working the grounds keeps them active and fit. “Another industry we’ve devel oped is the manufacture of finished goods made of industrial hemp from our own fields. A lot of people don’t know it, but hemp can solve many of our modern day problems. There’s always a lot going on. During the school year we get weekly visits from the local students. Teenagers come and teach the elderly how to use new technology and the elderly share the old way of doing things with them. Besides this, guests often come from abroad to learn
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what we are doing. Some of them take courses. Many of the things we do here can be duplicated in other countries, and if geo-therm al energy and hydropower is not available, industrial hemp can be used; a cheap and environ mentally friendly material that grows easily and; not many people know this, is exactly what Henry Ford built a car out of in 1937 and used hemp ethanol to run it.” This surely sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Now back to present day reality and meet Pálmi Einarsson. As an industrial designer Palmi is always looking for ways to improve things. For the past year he has been giving his attention to Ice land’s economy anad environment and to the health and well-being of its people. In a recent interview, I asked Palmi to elaborate. “My background education is problem solving. To me, design is 90% research and 10% design. So when a designer gets a project, one of the fundamental things he or she has to do is become an expert on the subject.”
Perspective and prospective After posting his blog on his ideas recently and giving a couple public speeches Pálmi began receiving media attention in Ice land. He told us why he started thinking about these things. “Two of the problems our planet is facing are food production and job creation and we keep being told that there is very little we can
do about it. Now, in Iceland we have an abundance of renewable energy from our geo-thermal plants and from hydropower; valuable commodities. But up to the present day, we, as a nation have been selling this energy in bulk to private foreign corpo rations. This has created many jobs in the country. However, the revenue from this, for the general population has been primarily from income tax revenues of the workers in these factories. So far we are getting very little revenue from the energy sales. The main profit for these factories ends up in the hands of a few private foreign investors. Besides this, these ventures have been taking their toll on the environment, both on the land and potentially in the ocean where it can affect our fish stocks, another big natural resource of ours, that is, if we go ahead and start doing the offshore drilling [for oil] that we have been talking about,” says Pálmi.
foreign investors and only tiny returns coming back through the revenues from income taxes many decades have to pass before replenishing the taxpayers’ invest ment. We need a better return on that investment,” he stated. What Palmi and growing number of people in Iceland are looking for are long-term compressive solutions that serve the nation as a whole making sure the general public is both informed and in control of the steps that they believe must be taken to bring the kind of progress that a wise appraisal and a concerted eff ort can bring. “Today in Iceland we already have a huge amount of electricity just sitting in our electrical grid. One suggestion from our poli ticians has been to invest in an electrical line from Iceland to the UK and to start competing on the energy market there. On the one hand, this will probably not produce many jobs for Icelanders; on the other hand, it will be a massive investment for our small population.”
Fruits and vegetables, fiber and fish
Pálmi Einarsson, industrial designer.
“So far we are getting very little revenue from the energy sales. The main profit for these factories ends up in the hands of a few private foreign investors.” “Compounding the problem regarding the factories is that they have, at times been built in small towns or rural areas where large sums of taxpayers’ money has been used to develop the infrastructure e.g. schools, private homes, roads, electrical lines etc. to serve the people moving in to work in these factories. With the bulk of the profits going to
Learning about the problems is always good, but what about solutions; I listened with compell ing interest. “What I’ve suggested is to esta blish our own businesses and building our own facilities that in the beginning will be paid for through taxes, therefore, owned by Icelanders, manned by Icelanders and powered by cheap energy. The products created would include organically grown fruits and vegetables and other goods made from them. Presently, we import 1700 tons of tomato based products annually. Whatever it cost, we can do better and without leaving a carbon footprint from overseas transport. The other main production item we can produce can be finished products from in dustrial hemp. This way, we would be taking the profit from the sale of the items; not just the energy while building a healthy and eco-friendly industry,” says Pálmi. The main goal of Palmí’s plan is to create jobs based on sustaina bility in harmony with nature.
Crops would be grown and food production facilities for Icelanders would be spread around the country so everyone could get fresh fruits and vegetables and finished products from what’s locally grown. Then, Palmi adds assuredly “One can grow pretty much anything with artificial lights; all one needs is energy, soil, water, shelter and knowledgeable people with their heart in the right place.” Anyone can have a vision of an ideal community but not eveyone can give a detailed explanation of the practicalities involved in realizing it. Palmi does not claim to have all the answers but he does have some clear ideas and suggestions that deal with the real issues. “Since the foundation would be owned by the people, the profits from our production would always go toward expanding the operation and creating more beautiful, sustainable jobs. For example, we could start growing fruits and vegetables right away and as soon as there’s a profit, we would hire, say, 10 engineers and 10 technicians because now were going to start manufacturing salsa, or developing machines to process the industrial hemp. In addition to organic farming, another way to create healthy food and organic fertilizer is to select locations for these pro duction cells by little creeks or rivers. We would raise salmon smolt indoors and then release it in large quantities into the river/ creek. In the spring when they are ready, they will run to the ocean going the natural feeding route only to return to the same river/creek a year later as full grown salmon. We Icelanders have a lot experience doing this for our sportfishing industry. We are seeing 2-3% return of full grown salmon from the release; the lost smolt will help feed other biological life forms. This is how we could create lots of summer jobs for students because netting and processing the salmon provides seasonal work during a short period of time in the summer. We would sell them as natural wild salmon filets and use the leftovers to create organic
fertilizer for our fields,” Pálmi explains. “This is of course how any nation should farm salmon rather than the usual methods. In most places, salmon are confined in a cordoned off area where they defecate continuously, suffocating and destroying the marine flora below. Because they are grown in such a restricted area, due to lack of exercise, farmed salmon are very fat and not as healthy or tasty. The other thing we should do is get the farmers in Iceland to team up with us and start growing industrial hemp. Hemp can grow well during Iceland’s long days of sunlight in the summertime. We would then harvest it in the middle of September and use the winter to manufacture environ mentally friendly products such as industrial textiles, consumer textiles, paper, building materials, foods, industrial products and medicine; products we are curr ently importing made from other materials loaded with pollutants.” How would you run this foun dation? “Whatever you might say against capitalism, one thing we’ve gotten out of it is a lot of people who have learned how to run businesses in a profitable way. We should run this foundation exactly as we run privately owned businesses; meaning hiring people based on their education, experience and knowledge. The difference however is that now the board of directors would be the adult population of Iceland.” What do you mean by that? “Because we would be funding the foundation with our own tax money, every Icelander with voting rights would be a stock holder. There are other options but I think this would be the best.”
Direct democracy in action There was a time when news traveled slowly and decisions had to be left with elected represen tatives who were better informed. But it’s not like that these days. “Today, thanks to the internet we have the technology for every one to participate in the decision making process. We would simply open up a website where we would advertise job openings, for example, for a CEO and a
few project managers. We would post job requirements for each position and anyone can apply for the openings. The selection process would be a matter of the stakeholders either ‘liking’ or ‘disliking’ an applicant. By doing it this way we will remove the risk of cronyism and other forms of inefficiency and corruption and we should get the most qualified people for each position.”
The perfect gift to our children
Palmi explained how by using the pattern of private corpora tions, a business model can be formulated but in this case the board members are all the qualifi ed voting public thereby placing the interests of the nation as a whole in the forefront. “Like any other private corporation we should have a clear statement of purpose and core values. Our values should all be based on love, compassion and cooper ation, and everything we do should be based on these values. The group should create the foun dation for our short- and longterm objectives that will then be brought up to the board of direct ors. The board will then vote, giving us a clear list of objectives along with a plan of action for the foundation to work from. The foundation will then be run according to these objectives and like any other good business, give quarterly progress reports posted online for the board to review and comment on. If any of the board members have information about any wrongdoings of the officers this should also be posted as a comment with the relevant evidence and then the people could decide whether the individual should stay in their po sition or not.
would be a unique expression of the environment, resources, local culture and creativity of the people. My vision is that these centers will be self sustainable for energy – completely un plugged. Icelanders have a lot of knowledge due to our long history of producing energy from our geothermal and hydropower resources. We should team up with our engineers to start researching and developing alternative energy sources with a goal of making each facility completely self-sustainable in energy production so there won’t be the need for more land de struction from our power plants. “After developing completely sustainable production cells, producing food and consumer products completely in harmony with the people on the planet and the planet itself and leaving a system and a way of life we can be proud of, then we’ll give our children an inheritance, they can enjoy and develop into something even better for future generations.” Currently a website is being built for the project and the address is going to be www.arfurinn.is (Arfurinn means inheritance in Icelandic). This is where progress reports and feedback from partici pants will be posted.
Palmi is confident that people all over the world have within their reach solutions to the economic and environmental that they are facing today, and that it’s time to start working on them. “The foundation should establish a number of sites that would operate in a similar way but the design of each location
The Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival In 2001, Mrs. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísla dóttir, then serving mayor of Reykja vík, recruited a team from the Office of Culture and Tourism to put on the first ever official, city sponsored Winter Lights Festival which would make its debut in February 2002. Photos: Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson
he idea was to create an exciting annual festival that would devel op as successfully as Reykjavík’s famous Culture Night, with the main difference being that the Winter Lights would take place over a few days and would incorporate a different range of themes and activities.
The festival has now been developed into a ten day celebration and has become one of Iceland’s most important events on the festival calendar. Last year’s Winter Lights attracted over 40,000 guests with 220 registered events taking place throughout the city of Reykjavík.
Museum Night Apart from the spectacular opening event, each year has seen the addition of new key features, such as Museum Night – which was introduced for the first time in 2005 with 100% participation from the city’s museums. The idea behind Museum Night was to illuminate this fascinating sector of Reykjavik culture by reopening the museum doors at night and inviting city residents and guests to explore the facilities during the more enchanting and magical hours until midnight.
Last year’s Winter Lights attracted over 40,000 guests with 220 registered events taking place throughout the city of Reykjavík.
Pool Night Another key feature of the Winter Lights Festival is Pool Night. It was introduced at the 2012 festival and has since become a firm favorite in the program of events. Like Museum Night, Pool Night also invites guests to experience the facilities from 8pm until midnight, with the added attraction of thrilling in-pool activities, music and pool illuminations. This year the event takes place on Saturday, February 15th from 8pm, where guests will be able to enjoy the unique Reykjavík pool experience free of charge at Laugardalslaug, Sundhöll Reykja víkur and Grafarvogslaug swimming pools. More pools are expected to be opened and include a program.
Wait, there’s more Other key features for the year 2014 include snow sculpting, Denver Calling Reykjavík, a concert with musicians from Denver held in Iðnó, a conference dedicated to light art installations, as well as fantastic exhibition of light installations. Also featured at this year’s annual Reykjavík Winter Lights Festival will be a number of sensational works of light art, all sponsored by the Scandinavian art and culture fund Kultur Kontakt Nord. These highly anticipated art commissions, which will also be exhibited in both Torshavn and Manchester, include pieces by: Tine Bech (Denmark), Inuk Silis Høegh (Greenland), Arild M. Kalseth (Norway) and Amelie Desc hamps (France), Kitty Von-Sometime (UK), Kristján Kristjánsson and Örvar Halldórsson (Iceland) and Ulf Pederson (UK).
Other works of light artists are by: As a midwinter festival, Winter Lights was partly modelled after the Lux Helsinki Light Festival, placing primary importance on light art installations while highlighting the dramatic contrasts between darkness and light experienced in Iceland. In addition, the Reykjavík Winter Lights Festival would also make use of another fundamental feature of Icelandic nature and draw attention the country’s famous extremes in weather conditions. Putting to good use Iceland’s abundance of clean, green energy the festival would shine a light on Icelandic nature, art, artistic expression, education, sports and entertain ment; furthermore, the festival would not be limited to the city center and would rely on collaboration between some of the city’s major institutions.
WOW Power to the people
Museum Night 2014 will take place on Friday, February 7th, with a total of forty museums across the capital area opening their doors to the public for free. Each museum will offer a tempting program of captivating and unusual events for guests of all ages to enjoy.
International Children’s Day International Children’s Day has been a key feature since 2005 and has been hosted at Gerðuberg Museum in Breiðholt since 2007. This year’s event takes place again at Gerðuberg Museum on February 8th and welcomes children and families to participate a number of engaging activities, ranging from workshops in sound technology to the creation of shadow theaters and sky lanterns.
Marcos Zotes, who won the competition for the opening light installation in 2012 and 2013. Marcos will exhibit a new video installation at the Reykjavík Art Museum. The art group TURA YA MOYA who will change the lobby of the National Museum of Iceland into a multimedia installation and a group of artists from Faroe Islands who will exhibit their works of light art during the festival. Dario Nunez Salazar, Architectural Lighting Designer, will light up the Custom House with the purpose of emphasizing its modernistic style.
Find the most exciting events and venues for you at www.winterlightsfestival.is.
Let there be light!
Circle 6 Photos: Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson
The primary goal of the Winter Lights Festival is to brighten up the darkest (and shortest) days in February with a variety of events and happenings, both big and small. As the world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavík tends to be rather gloomy during these months so the luminous effort of this spectacular festival is much appreciated by locals and definitely enjoyed by visitors.
stallation built around the concept of a healing circle – but in this case it’s a healing machine embracing the energy and aura of light. Circle 6 is an interactive event that invites spectators to explore the vivid and vibrant relationship between light and movement. Visitors are not merely passive observers; instead they are active participants in both the dazzling display as well as the collective project. The experimental and interactive lighting installation by Circle 6 lets guests actively influence their own personal and comprehensive experience of the project. The Spiritual Light Installation is not defined by anything in particular; rather it is described as a revealing and expansive synergy between space, sculpture and area. The project refers to traditional
Light up the city The unique and dynamic impact of these days of darkness will be celebrated in Reykjavík. The Light events will take place all over the city with buildings and public spaces illuminated in a variety of ways. The Winter Light Art will be located at popular spots across the city with the main goal of highlighting the lure of the capital for both visitors and natives and to revel in the experience through light, play and architecture. The opening entry is a work by the multinational artist group Circle 6 and the formal opening of the Winter Lights Festival will be set on Thursday 6 February at 19:30 at the Einar Jonsson Museum in Eiriksgata. Circle 6 is a three dimensional experimental light in-
Circle 6 is an interactive event that invites spectators to explore the vivid and vibrant relationship between light and movement.
WOW Power to the people
by Hjördís Erna Þorgeirsdóttir
The experimental and interactive lighting installation by Circle 6 lets guests actively influence their own personal and comprehensive experience of the project.
group healing, holy sites and seeks to bridge the visible and the invisible. Guests can explore this spectacular event while contemplating the significance of light and color in the creative mental process. The artists behind the Circle 6, Inuk Silis Høegh from Greenland, Arild M.Kalseth from Norway and French-Canadian Amélie Deschamps, work in the interdisciplinary field of contemporary art, industrial design and science while sharing a common interest in spiritual and philosophical matters often reflected in their works.
From the Winter Lights Festival in 2012. “Pixel Cloud” by Marcos Zotes.
From the Winter Lights Festval in 2012. "Electric Nature" by Marcos Zotes
Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival by Hjördís Erla Þorgeirsdottir photos: Courtesy of Visit Reykjavík
A museum marathon! On the night of Friday, February 7th, the Reykja vík Winter Lights Festival presents Museum Night, a massive and versatile event that is completely free of charge and open for everyone. Over 40 museums across the Reykjavík area will be open until midnight so guests can check out at least a few of the many enticing events presented in various locations. In the National Museum of Iceland (whose entrance will be transformed by multi-media art group TURA YA MOYA), a wide select ion of family activities will be available and female choir Katla will perform. In Maritime Museum Víkin the atmosphere will also be family friendly as well as mystical with games of shadow hunting, a children’s play about ghosts and the opportunity to enter Coast Guard Vessel Óðinn while hearing Soaked in culture mysterious stories told by members of the First introduced in 2012, Pool Night has rapidly becrew. come one of Winter Lights Festivals major events. Music and art lovers can visit the ASÍ Art This year, Pool Night will take place on Saturday, Museum where the work of artist Ingileif February 15th, (the last day of the festival), in vari Thorlacius (1961-2010) will be displayed and ous locations. Several swimming pools the late artist’s sister, singer across the city will be open from 8pm Sigríður Thorlacius will perform Don’t miss out until midnight for everyone, free of live. There are also many proon this unique charge. grams in Kópavogur, Hafnar opportunity to Unwind in the hot tub, go for a swim fjörður, Grafarvogur, Breiðholt, end your day by in spacious pools or sweat it out in the Mosfellsbær and Garðabær so enjoying some of sauna, while enjoying the tempting guests are encouraged to visit the best things programs designed to sooth and the festival’s homepage for offered by man. stimulate your senses. The Pool Night further information about the programs are brimming with live-music events. including DJs, Wave Disco, a brass band and even Oh, and don’t forget the Museum Night a choir, so feel free to take your pick! Quiz where you can answer questions and For those seeking to relax or relieve some ten collect stamps along the journey. And to sion, there is water yoga and floating Gong-relaxmake sure you won’t miss out on this speation available in Álftanes Pool. But if you’re in the cial night, a complementary Museum Night mood for some serious fun and games you can bus service will be available for guests.
WOW Power to the people
participate in the splashing contest in Grafarvogslaug. In Nauthólsvík, you can enjoy a cozy, albeit winter, beach setting where the soft glow of torches set the mood for a pleasant evening. Downtown Sundhöllin will provide guests with a cultural experience where the voices of writers and poets take this magical evening to whole new level (you can even listen to poetry underwater). The delicate sensation of being immersed in hot water lapping your skin as you gaze into the dark sky carries with it a kind of strange serenity. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to end your day by enjoying some of the best things offered by man and nature – simultaneously.
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Worth the experience Issue one
Capturing the moments by Hjördís Erna Þorgeirsdóttir Photos: Courtesy of the Reykjavík Museum of Photography
The Reykjavík Museum of Photography Guests of the Winter Lights Festival (as well as everyone else passing by) are especially encouraged to visit the Reykjavík Museum of Photography. Preserving a grand collection of about 5 million photographs dating back to 1870, this culturally significant museum was recently voted one of the 10 best European museums by The Guardian.
The impressive collection of photographs date back to 1870, offering guests the unique opportunity to explore a wide and rich selection of historical and contemporary photography, both Icelandic and international. Presented in an artistic-, social- and cultural context, the variety of themes range from personal family photographs and stunning landscapes to advertising Museum was and press photography. recently voted During Museum Night visitors can participate in a Photo Quiz that deter one of the 10 mines how accurately they recognize best European parti cular angles and landmarks of museums by old Reykjavík. Another Museum Night The Guardian. feature is a guided tour (in English) by Katrín Elvarsdóttir on the photography exhibition called “Betur Sjá Augu” (From a Different Angle) that presents the photographic works of 34 women, all of whom have worked as photographers in Iceland from 18722013. The photos are presented in the categories of “land scape/nature”, “family/home life”, and “portraits/social life”. Current international exhibitions include Behind by Elo Vásquez (Spain) and Petites Pauses by Vincent Malassis (France). From a Different Angle, curated by Katrín Elvars dóttir, opened January 25 and closes on March 11 Be sure to take your time while visiting the Reykjavík Muse um of Photography, you won’t regret it. Reykjavik Museum of Photography is located in Grófarhús, Tryggvagata 15 in downtown Reykjavik. You can also check out www. ljosmyndasafnreykjavikur.is.
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Just beer it!
by Eymar Plédel Jónsson Photos: Toni Fiori and Ozzo Photography / Courtesy of Ölgerðin
Something aleing you? Beer is good, without a doubt one of mankind’s greatest inventions or, as Benjamin Franklin once said: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”.
Their first beer was named Skjálfti (Earth quake) and ironically the region suffered a massive earthquake only two days before the off icial opening of the brewery.
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Few Icelanders would disagree with Mr. Frank lin but unfortunately there were a few too many of them back in the days. Beer, as well as all alcoholic beverages, was banned in 1915 to make sure that Icelanders wouldn’t drink their wits away and although Spanish red wines were legalized again in 1922, beer remained a big no-no until March 1st 1989 even though, in desperation, someone invented Bjórlíki – a mixture of non-alcoholic beer and strong spirits such as vodka or whisky. That means that on March 1st we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of beer in Iceland. Weird right!? At first only two companies, Ölgerð Egils Skalla grímssonar (now known as Ölgerðin) and Vífilfell had the capacity and know-how to produce beer. They mainly produced light and crisp lagers and until 2005, that’s pretty much all Icelanders knew about beer. And then the microbreweries arrived. First came, Bruggsmiðjan with their Czech pilsner, Kaldi. Bruggsmiðjan is located in the northern part of Iceland, near Akureyri, and their whole philosophy revolves around Czech traditions. All ingredients, apart from the water of course, are imported from the Czech Republic and even the brew master, David Masa, is Czech. Next came Ölvisholt, a brewery set up in a farm near Selfoss on the south coast of Iceland. Even though they came second, they are regarded by many as the pioneers of Icelandic beer culture. Their first beer was named Skjálfti (Earthquake) and ironically the region suffered a massive earth quake only two days before the official opening of the brewery. They went on to produce the first Ice
landic red ale, the first Icelandic wheat beer and the first smoked imperial stout called Lava, a bold choice for a name given the consequences of Skjálfti. As interest in beer rapidly increased in Iceland more followed and today there are six functional microbreweries in the country, including Brugg smiðjan and Ölvisholt. Both Vífilfell and Ölgerðin opened their microbrew eries, called Einstök and Borg, in 2010 and the newest additions on the scene are Gæðingur situated in Skagafjörður and Steðji near Borgarnes. Borg is by many regarded the best of the lot, producing a large range of hugely interesting and well brewed beers, such as Surtur Nr.8 and Gilja gaur Nr.14 – a massive barley wine that will give your taste buds a worthy challenge. In 2012 Gæðingur opened up the first serious beer bar in Reykjavik called Micro-Bar which was an instant hit. Located downtown and boasting of a selection of over 100 different beers, both Icelandic and international, this place is bound to satisfy even the needs of hardcore beer aficionados. Kex Hostel is also a bar worth visiting if you’re looking for a good beer in Reykjavík and so are the trendy K-Bar and Hlemmur Square.
Osushi is a unique rest aurant in Iceland. The method of dining involves snatching small plates from a conveyor belt. Pricing is distinguished by the color and pattern of the plate – most range between 230 - 440 ISK. Everything off the convey or belt is tasty and if you don´t really fancy sushi, you can instead choose for example teriyaki chicken, noodle salad, tempura and desserts. The vibe in Osushi is friendly and relaxed. The restaurant is located almost next door to Althingi (the parliament) which is in the heart of the city.
Pósthússtræti 13 / Borgartúni 29 / Reykjavíkurvegur 60 HF. Tel: 561 0562 / www.osushi.is Issue one
Steikhúsið / The Steak House Tryggvagata 4-6 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 561 1111 www.steak.is
What’s in a name?
“Steikhúsið” simply means “The Steak House” and that is in tune with the main focus of the restaurant; to bring you steaks unlike any others. According to Trip Advisor, Steikhúsið is fulfilling their promise and people are also raving about the service and surroundings. The old harbor in downtown Reykjavik has in recent years blossomed into a lively neighborhood of restaurants, cafés and artisan shops so make sure you have time to walk around the neighborhood before you settle down for dinner.
You can find Steikhúsið online at www.steak.is. Check the menu and wine list, and even book a table.
Steaks and steaks On top of a wide range of juicy steaks there are great vegetarian options, for instance a barley patty that is renowned for its taste. The agony of choice. There are quite a few starters to choose from and if you can’t decide there is a mixed plate of all the best. Pick your steak and how it’s prepared and then pick from a variety of side dishes and sauces. Be adventurous and mix sauces and side dishes with your friends or, if you prefer, there are a few courses on the set menu that the chef has put together to give your taste buds a grand adventure. The set menus vary with the seasons but always provide the freshest and best ingredients available. Rough with the smooth. The interior is rustic and makes for one of the most welcoming surroundings you’ll ever see. Wood from old crates has found new life as table tops and the Mason jar lights with replicas of Tom Edison’s first light bulb give a warm glow that reflects the heart of the place. In the Mibrasa coal oven your steaks are cooked according to your wishes. You can find Steikhúsið online at www.steak.is. Check the menu and wine list, and even book a table.
WOW Power to the people
"for the first time in Iceland I get some kind of an "local pub" feeling at a bar. and being a person that normally does not like beer, I love Kaldi beer. do I need to say more?" TripAdvisor.
Happy-Hour from 16:00-19:00 Kaldibar cafĂŠ, Laugavegur 20b, 101 ReykjavĂk tel: 00354 858 0104, https://www.facebook.com/KaldiBarCafe
The English Pub Austurstræti 12 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 578 0400 Mobile: +354 697 9003 www.enskibarinn.is
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. 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 make the pilgrim age 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 Live sporting coverage is amply catered for, with a choice of three big screens and TVs. Inside 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 min
WOW Power to the people
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.
Vegamót Vegamótastíg 4 101 Reykjavík Tel: 511 3040 firstname.lastname@example.org I www.vegamot.is
Very nice Vegamót
The all-in -one restaurant This elegant but casual two floor restaurant is located in the heart of Reykjavík on Vegamótastígur, 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 and bar. You‘ll never want to leave! 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 quality, portions and presentation and guests can choose from a wide variety of decadent desserts – 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.
Try their excellent selection of good beers. Every day there is a special offer on bottled beers worth a taste. Issue one
Hressingarskálinn Austurstræti 20 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 561 2240 facebook.com/hressingarskalinn
Coffee house, restaurant & night club Hressingarskálinn is a warm place with plenty of seating and a great loca tion in downtown Reykjavik. It’s one of the few places that open at 9 AM to serve breakfast for hungry travelers or locals. Hressingarskálinn is a big part of Reykjavík’s history; the house was built in 1802 and the restaurant was established in 1932. The house has hosted Hressingarskálinn since 1932.
The menu consists of great select ions and offers everything from break-fast to a fantastic dinner.
WOW Power to the people
Sitting down for a coffee has a magnetic effect on Iceland’s most talented art ists and writers. Smokers can have a seat on a heated patio with service all day. Over the summer, this place really comes alive. The yard is completely sheltered from the wind, allowing you to enjoy food and beverages in the bright sunlight. Thursday to Sunday is usually packed with people from all over the world. It’s a great place to meet strangers for some interesting story sharing. Live bands play on Fridays and Saturdays, guaranteeing a crowd before all the popular DJ’s hit the floor with party tunes from 01:00-04:30 AM. The menu consists of great selections and offers everything from breakfast to a fantastic dinner. Hressingarskálinn offers Icelandic food for curious visitors. You can always try the traditional Icelandic meat soup. If not, there’s lamb or the fish stew – You won’t be disappointed. Hress ingarskálinn is stylish and old at the same time, a history well preserved. Check out Hressingarskálinn for great prices and awesome fun!
Sakebarinn Laugavegur 2 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 777 3311 www.facebook.com/Sakebarinn
The one and only choice for Sushi & Sticks …so you can check it off your bucket list
Located in a loft on Laugavegur, the main shopping street, in one of Iceland’s oldest buildings (1886) is a great new restaurant with a great view and an amazing atmosphere called Sakebarinn. In its beautiful location, surrounded by windows that look down on Austurstræti, (an extension of Laugavegur leading to the Old Town) and up Skólavörðustígur (known for its cafés, local boutiques and art shops with native works), Sakebarinn lies in the very heart of downtown Reykjavík. In the winter you can see the Northern Lights from the balcony and in the summer, the amazing summer sunsets over the harbor.
Along with the local seafood, Sakebarinn also carries some more exotic things like octopus, just to keep it interesting, and with a little something for everyone.
The owners of Sakebarinn have a keen interest for the arts and crafts and a wealth of creative assets to play with. Although Sakebarinn has a strong foundation in pure Japanese cuisine the current style of the restaurant proves that the owners are not afraid to break some of the rules. To them sushi is meant to be an art form. Along with its handcrafted sushi, Sakebarinn also offers a selection of sticks and other meat courses, featuring whale and horse and anything that’s fresh and interesting that day. Why live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic if you’re not going take advantage of the natural fauna? Along with the local seafood, Sakebarinn also carries some more exotic things like octopus, just to keep it interesting, and with a little something for everyone. There’s love on every plate – You will feel it with each taste. It’s no accident that the place is named Sakebarinn. It does feature the country’s largest selection of sake and a shot before a meal can truly enhance the feel of real Japanese dining. It comes in a surprising range of flavors too, everything from really girly fruit sake to the fire spewing alcohol content of some of the more butch types; potato sake, warm and cold sake and Japanese plum wine. And then of course are the bottles that didn’t make it on to the menu because no one could read the labels and therefore no one knows what they are. Mystery sake! Sakebarinn is a place born to showcase the talents the staff have collected over the years working at their first Sushi restaurant called Sushibarinn, which is located on the first floor in the same house. A year and a wild ride later, this sushi family has incorporated a bunch of new and talented people with some great new recipes and skills they didn’t know they had and didn’t even know existed. The walls are hand painted by them, the wine selected by them, the menu is designed by them and the place is loved by them. They also love to present food so their clients become part of their love for sushi. The look on your face is what they are aiming for, the look of enjoyment.
Sakebarinn Opening hours: Mon-Sun 5:00 PM – 00:00 Issue one
Tíu dropar Le Chateaux des Dix Gouttes Laugavegur 27 101 Reykjavík 0Tel: 00 354 551 9380
Tíu dropar / Le Chateaux des Dix Gouttes 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 Gouttes 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 Gouttes 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 mood is set in the early evening. It’s safe to say this is just the kind of place that was missing from the brimm ing Icelandic bar and café scene - a perfect setting 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 twitter feed and find both café and wine room on Facebook.
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 Gouttes or the Castle of the Ten Drops.
WOW Power to the people
The Lebowski Bar Laugavegur 20a +354 552 2300 email@example.com www.lebowskibar.is
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 into 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 that 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 Miamisunshine 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.
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 (www.tinyiceland.com)
“Careful man, there’s a beverage here!” Jeffrey ‘the Dude’ Lebowski, the protagonist of the Coen brot her’s comedy, is renowned for his penchant for ‘White Russians’ – vodka based cocktails featuring coffee liqueurs and cream or milk. The Lebowski 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 genu ine 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 be fore you go to the Lebowski Bar. You’ll fit right in.
FIND IT ON FACEBOOK and Twitter Twitter: @LebowskiBar - Instagram: #LebowskiBar - Open 11:00 – 01:00 Sun-Thurs and 11:00 – 04:00 Fri/Sat Issue one
Den Danske Kro Ingólfsstræti 3 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 552 0070 www.dendanske.is
When in Iceland, go Danish! You know that Iceland used to be a Danish colony, right? Even though independ ence from the Danish Crown was necessary, Icelanders still celebrate everything 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”).
Get carefree or “ligeglad” (leeglaath), shoot some darts, try the customary Gammel Dansk bitters 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).
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 Icelanders) as “hyggeligt”. 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” (lee-glaath), shoot some darts, try the customary Gammel Dansk bitters 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 mood for a beer (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!
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 14:00 – 01:00 and Fri-Sat 14:00 – 05:00 50
WOW Power to the people
Welcome to Tapas house Tapas is so much more than just food. Tapas is a way of life.
Tapashúsið - Ægisgarður 2 - Sólfellshúsið - 101 Reykjavik +354 512 81 81 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.tapashouse.is
Basel Boy Hans cycling at the Swiss Cycling Alpenbrevet
The Basel Boys
by GVH Photos: From private collection
WOW Power to the people
The annual WOW Cyclothon is a 1332 km relay race, circling Iceland where one cyclist passes the baton to the next in teams of 6-10 people. Held from June 19-22, the longest days of the year, in rain, mud and lots and lots of sun, the event is becoming quite the summer highlight and for some it’s the highlight of the year.
he WOW Cyclothon isn’t just a race and a good time, it’s also a charity event where teams collect pledges and all corporate sponsorship goes directly to charity. In 2013 the WOW Cyclothon raised 4,274,328 ISK for the Save the Children Iceland foundation. The event is also meant to encourage outdoor activities and subsequently healthy living. This race is becom ing increasingly popular among work colleagues from all kinds of companies. And it’s not just Icelanders who compete. We got in contact with a few enthusiastic boys in Basel who are preparing for the race. Team “Basel Boys” consists of cyclists Kristinn, Antony, Hans and Rubén and a driver, Tom, who, besides driving will take care of the food, mechanics, schedule
and overall physical and mental well-being of the team during the race, including massages “although we are still working on convincing him on that last one,” say the Basel Boys’ cyclists. “Meanwhile, we are in the process of getting a local assistant to help us out during the race, bringing some local knowledge and shar ing the big burden with Tom.” Did you hear that? The position of the sixth member is open! The Basel Boys all work together in the legal and IP department of a multinational agricultural company based in Basel, Switzerland. The first idea of participating in the WOW Cyclothon was brought up by Kristinn one evening during a departmental meeting. “Everyone took to the challenge, although perhaps not yet considering all the consequences. We have
since then been getting good support from our colleagues, our bosses and also the company who has agreed to further support us. The company we work for is very international, which is well reflected by the composition of our team. Although we all have lived and worked in Switzerland for a long time, Kristinn is Ice landic, Antony is English, Rubén is Spanish, Tom the driver is Ameri can, and last but not least, Hans is the only genuine Swiss guy in the team, even though he was born in the UK,” they explain. Although they’ve never cycled together as a team, before the idea of entering WOW Cyclothon was raised, the team members say they are looking forward to getting to know each other on the bikes outside work. Some are more experienced than others.
WOW Cyclothon “We have all been active cyclists for pleasure, but without any question Antony and Hans are the team’s most experienced and enthusiastic bikers.” Antony is the fittest member of the team and the boys say he is actually a cycling maniac. He recently finished the Eiger Bike Marathon in Switzerland and the South Downs Way Cycle Race in the UK. Meanwhile, Hans has completed the Swiss Cycling Alpenbrevet one of the most challenging public cycling events in the Alps, a few times, and he has cycled the infamous Mont Ventoux five times over the last two years for personal pleasure, but the Brevet du Ventoux is still to be achieved. For Kristinn and Rubén this will be their first real cycling event,
Bike Company’s last years’ time of 41:51.” The team has already started training: “After gathering some further information about the competition, we realized the level of fitness required, so we started our winter training late last year. We have set up customized individual training plans based on our current fitness levels and needs—to best prepare for the big physical challenge the WOW Cyclothon will be for a bunch of office dwellers like us. At the moment, we are training mostly indoors on the roller trainer, in our living rooms, laundry rooms and garages but try to cycle outside on weekends if it is not snowing. Someone suggested we should replicate the race at the
admit to having gotten a little overexcited. “We started plann ing for the race already in November last year, before we even started training. We have discussed a lot about sleeping, food, changeovers, repairs and massages, but we still need to sort out these things in detail. Kristinn also met over Christmas with his cousins who participated in last year’s race and gathered lots of helpful information about tactics, road conditions, eating sleeping and timings.”
What to expect? “The weather will likely be one of the major unknowns and that scares us a bit. To be on the safe side, we will bring everything from sunglasses and shorts to gloves and other winter gear Overall, we expect the road to be rather smooth and compared to most of the training areas here in Switzerland, the mountains in Iceland should be manageable; although we are concerned about the unpaved section in the East which will be hard to replicate in training. On the other hand, all
Antony is the fittest member of the team and the boys say he is actually a cycling maniac Ruben training hard indoors.
and as they feel like they have some catching up to do, they are training the hardest. “Little else comes to their minds when they meet at the coffee machine than their training programs and results. Tom the driver, being from the US, has driven hundreds of thousands of kilometers in his life,” the boys say.
Why WOW Cyclothon? “First of all this is a great opportunity to raise funds for a good cause while forcing guys like us, who spend most of the week sitting on a chair in the office, to go outside and stay healthy… and where else can you experience such breathtaking landscapes with lava fields, glacier lagoons and hot springs?” the team members say. “Kristinn has the added challenge of beating his cousins’ team, the
so we don’t expect any major surprises.” What do you think will be most difficult during the race? “Sleeping while Tom is driving! Although seriously, maintaining the speed throughout the race will likely be the most challenging part and having to perform with out any real possibility to rest and sleep will be demanding,” the Basel Boys say. Are you aiming for victory or just gathering experience for next year’s race? “Of course, we always take on such challenges to win! However, we are not underestimating the major challenge awaiting us and will be more than satisfied with finishing the race in a decent time! This will be our first WOW Cyclothon after all and for most of us, the first time in Iceland. At the end of the day we are taking part for the experience, and we are sure it will be great fun no matter what.” The Basel Boys say they are looking forward to celebrating and enjoying Reykjavik’s famous midsummer nightlife after the race. Actually some well-deserved sleep and a long recovery at the Blue Lagoon is at the top of their agenda. “In addition, Tom has set up an incentive program for us; if we finish within our target time he will buy us the best dinner in town, and if we don’t we will need to compensate him for driving the extra hours,” they add with a smile. “Once we have crossed the finish line, we will surely have achieved something to be proud of, raised money for a good cause and hopefully have many funny and interesting pictures to share with our loved ones and our colle agues at work.”
The Basel Boys: Kristinn, Antony, Tom, Hans and Ruben. Still looking for their sixth member.
Swiss Indoor Velodrome, cycling 48 hours nonstop around their 250m track but we realized that the Icelandic wind factor would be missing. In the meantime, Tom trains by continuously playing Mario Kart for 48 hours,” say the Basel Boys. When it comes to strategizing for the race the Basel Boys
of the 1,300 km will be unknown to us, so there will most likely be some odd surprises for us to cope with as we pedal along. “Rubén is our team’s chief technical officer and in charge of computing and electronics and has done some extensive research and technical analysis. We trust his graphs and figures
The registration for WOW Cyclothon 2014 has already started. Gather your friends and/or co-workers and have the adventure of a lifetime.
grand Vilborg Arna’s
WOW Power to the people
by: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Photos: Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir, Ármann Guðjónsson, Aaron Lindsau and from privar collection
Around Christmas in 2012 Icelanders waited with bated breath for news of the first Icelandic woman ever to walk solo to the South Pole. Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir was her name and while one might think that walking to the South Pole was quite enough of an adventure, Vilborg says she is nowhere near done completing the challenges of the world. This is why Vilborg Arna is our latest WOW star. Going up
climb and the climber’s physical and mental stamina. Reaching the highest peak of Mt. Everest is never a given and when the height and cold come into play every thing is that much harder. Despite all of this I am very excited and look forward to taking on the world’s tallest mountain. How did your other climbs go? “So far the expeditions have gone well. Mt. Denali was very physically demanding since I had just recently finished my 60 days at the South Pole. I also felt the height during the acclimatization process but then I had strong days higher up in the mountain which made a huge difference for me. When I climbed Carstenz Piramyd I entered a world I had never seen before. I witnessed a totally different culture and poverty beyond my imagination. This experience had a great impact on me. We travelled with locals through the jungle and they got paid for helping us with our equipment and provisions. This journey really made me think deeply and reevalu ate my status as an individual living in a western society. I hope I never forget to be thankful for everything I have in life.”
Let Vilborg Arna serve as an inspiration to us all, a real life proof that dreams can come true. This everyday woman had a dream, set a goal, laid out plans to make it happen and put all her energy into it. In January 2013 her dream came true when she finished a 60 day solo ski walk to the South Pole. She reached her goal through her positive attitude, courage and relentless stamina rather than some inherent talent or chance opportunity which goes to show that goals can be reached when we are willing to step out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves. Her next adventure is already well on its way and that is completing the Seven Summits Challenge.
Where did the idea to climb the Seven Summits come from? “This is a popular challenge among mountaineers and many dream of finishing it. However most who do, take it a little slower, usually over a few years. I wanted to do it in just one year and what I’m really going for is finishing the Adventurers Grand Slam, a challenge that consists of the Seven Summits and reaching both the North and the South Pole. “I think in my heart I always knew that if I would reach the South Pole success fully I would go for this challenge, which is why I was able to come to my decision so quickly after I came home. The weird thing is that during my last days walking toward the South Pole I was so tired, all I wanted was for this expedition to be over. I asked myself several times if I would ever take on another journey like this and the truth is I was not so sure. I was just so tired. But it wasn’t long before I changed my mind. As soon as I lay down in my sleeping bag at the Pole I knew where I was going next.”
Higher and higher The highest mountains in each of the seven continents are known Packing up as the Seven Summits and summiting all of them is considered a Obviously one does not simply walk up the world’s biggest mountains or to the big mountaineering challenge. Vilborg will soon complete this chall South Pole without some special equipment and provisions. We wonder what’s in enge in just less than one year. “As you can expect this means a lot Vilborg’s “suitcase”. “Well, it depends on what mountain I’m climbing. At some of of traveling and it’s a big challenge both physically and mentally. At them you have to be ready for extreme cold and the coldest I’ve seen so far was the same time you get to see and experience different cultures and a -40°C with wind. When I climb Everest I’ll need oxygen to deal with the extreme meet a lot of people. This is definitely a growing experience and it’s height and on Mt. Carstensz, a very technically challenging climb, I had to have a important to process all of it.” lot of climbing gear with me. Vilborg’s latest adventure started last May when “And then there’s the food. You have to be well “This journey really made she climbed Mt. Denali, the highest summit in North nourished during these expeditions but at the same me think deeply and America. “Denali is considered as a very challenging time you have to travel as lightly as possible which reevaluate my status as an summit. Next I climbed Mt. Elbrus in Russia and in means freeze dried food. ‘Just add hot water’ and you individual living in a November I went to Indonesia to climb Carstensz Pira have a delicious supper,” Vilborg says with a smile. myd in Papua, New Guinea (also known as Puncak Jaya) Western society. I hope I When Vilborg went to the South Pole, she went it which lies on the Australian continental shelf. I ended the never forget to be thankful alone but that is not the case with her Seven Summits for everything I have year with a trip to Antarctica to climb Mt. Vinson.” Challenge. “Going solo to the South Pole was very This January Vilborg was in South America climbing maturing and being alone allows a certain amount of in life.” Mt. Acouncagua and in February she will be in Africa freedom. I’m really pleased that I challenged it and I climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. In April and May Vilborg is scheduled for might do it again someday. At the South Pole I had to do everything by myself Mt. Everest. and endure the hardships on my own. My Seven Summit Challenge is almost the “Mt. Everest will probably be the biggest challenge of them all and opposite of that. for various reasons. It’s a long expedition where a lot of things have “I’ve sought out company for these climbs and invited any Icelanders who are to come together regarding weather, overall conditions during the willing and able to join me, especially on Mt. Elbrus, Acouncagua and Kilimanjaro.
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Some climbs I must do on my own but it’s fun to share these expeditions with others. Reaching the top is such a unique experience and there’s a very special bond that can form between the group members.”
A 9-5 job Can you ever come down after climbing the Seven Summits? Vilborg’s next big challenge is the North Pole in 2015 to finish the Adventurers’ Grand Slam making her the second woman in the world to reach the South Pole by the longer route, climb all seven mountains and reach the North Pole. But she has various other projects going on. “A good friend of mine and I are planning to write an outdoor activities book for children next summer. I’ll also be guiding other mountaineers here in Iceland and overseas along with a few other projects,” Vilborg says and it’s hard to imagine that she could ever work a 9-5 job. “I used to have a routine like that, before I decided to follow my dream. That was a very hard decision because I had just landed a very good and exciting position where my MBA degree was really put to use. Eventually my dream had a stronger pull and I knew I could never be at peace until I tried to fulfill it. You could say that I laid everything on the line to arrive where I am today. I have no regrets and I en courage everyone to make their dreams come true, to climb their own ‘Everests’. I have many projects that I want to realize and very few of them involve a 9-5 job although some of them have to do with running some sort of business.”
On Mt. Elbrus. Photo: Ármann Guðjónsson.
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“Of course I do physical training as well, I have trainers and I do crossfit. If the expeditions are close together I try to rest so I don’t exhaust myself. I also take care to eat healthy and I stay away from alcohol when I’m preparing for a trip.” Photo: Courtesy of 66° North
Vilborg says she has already found her dream job. “I have it right now. I climb mountains and take on challenges with others, sometimes as a guide in foreign countries. I’ve also been lucky enough to get to share my experience with people through motiva tional seminars. Giving motivational speeches is one of the most fun things I do.”
Becoming a mountaineer You can’t just decide one day that you’re going to be a mountaineer and then go climb a mountain, can you? How do you become a mountaineer and a polar traveler? “Following your dreams takes a lot of work. You can’t really take a break from it as these expeditions require constant preparation. What matters is to believe in your dream no matter what other people might say. Most people experience a lot of rejection when they work on their goals and I think I got at least 50 NO’s before I got that first YES! You should never lose sight of your goal; whether it’s to become a mountaineer, a musician, a lawyer or a president, you have to hold on to your dream.” How do you prepare for these expeditions? “The preparations are very important especially the mental preparations. I have chosen my own personal values: positivity, audacity and courage and they have become like my mantra. When I feel down and things aren’t going too well I think about these
An acclimatization walk on Mt. Cheget.
values, what they mean to me, and without exception I always manage to talk myself into a better state of mind. I use the power of visu alization and picture myself in these scenarios before I take them on in reality. This is very important, especially when an expedition is going badly, then I visualize myself at the top taking that “at-the-top” photo. “Of course I do physical training as well, I have trainers and I do crossfit. If the expeditions are close together I try to rest so I don’t exhaust myself. I also take care to eat healthy and I stay away from alcohol when I’m preparing for a trip,” says Vilborg but admits that she loves sweets. “Yes unfortunately I am a great candy hog and my guilty pleasure is chocolate covered licorice.”
“I think one of the craziest things I did during my South Pole walk was dancing with my shadow one time when I was in a zone.”
Daydream believer The mind must have wandered during long climbs and the solo walk to the South Pole. What do you think about during those times? “I think about a lot actually. I allow myself to daydream about all sorts of things. I think daydreaming is healthy for everyone and that we should allow ourselves to do it from time to time. When we daydream we travel to places and accomplish things we would like to. This could lead to doing remarkable things.
Journey to the North Pole
Mt. Everest might be the biggest challenge of the Seven Summits but the North Pole is definitely the biggest chall enge of the Adventurers Grand Slam. “The biggest obstacle about the North Pole is that it’s drift ice. The ice has melted a lot these past years so in some parts of the journey you have to go over an open sea. The ice is drifting towards you so during the night you drift backwards away from the pole. In addition there are great ice ridges that you have to go over with the heavy gear. Last but not least there is the danger of predators since this is the home of the polar bear.” If Vilborg succeeds in her expedition to the North Pole she will be one in less than 100 people to have reached both Poles and one in less than 10 women.
What is the craziest thing that has popped into you mind during these trials? “Wow … there are so many things. I think one of the craziest things I did during my South Pole walk was dancing with my shadow one time when I was in a zone. Everything is possible with good music in your ears. Being completely alone with yourself doesn’t have to be boring, especially when no one is watching,” says Vil borg, smiling.
Sharing the joy of life We asked Vilborg what she could picture herself doing in five years, or even 10 years. “I hope I’ll still be climbing mountains, that I’ll have published two more books and doing some other exciting projects. I also hope to have my own family someday, a husband and children to share all this joy.”
Christmas Eve at Antarctica. Photo: Aaron Lindsau.
A group photo at the Elbrus summit.
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BE WARM BE WELL
Þingholtsstræti 2-4 » 101 Reykjavík » Tel.: +354 561 9619 Fákafen 9 » 108 Reykjavík » Tel.: +354 568 7450 Austurvegur 20 » 870 Vík í Mýrdal » Tel.: +354 487 1250 Issue one
The Vatnajokull region 62
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ildlife is rich in the Vatnajokull area with thousands of migrating birds passing through and herds of reindeer a common sight. If you’re lucky you’ll spot a seal at Jokulsarlon or an arctic fox running through the land. You will also find a number of companies offering all sorts of activities year round, diverse accommodation and great restaurants with local food. The Vatnajokull region is in southeast Iceland and covers over 200 km of the Ring Road from Lomagnupur in the west to Hvalnes in the east. It spans the accessible southern side of Vatnajokull glacier and photo enthusiasts should find the area particularly delightful as it provides countless magnifi cent views of the glacier and mountains in daylight but also at night when the aurora borealis light up the sky. There is one town in the area, Hofn, a lively fishing village with a population of 1600. Hofn is additionally celebrated as the lobster capital of Iceland. Delightful restaurants offer this precious product as well as various other local specialties.
Activity, accommodation and restaurants
paradise Photo: Þröstur Ágústsson
You will find the real reason why Iceland got its name in the Vatnajokull region. The area is dominated by Vatnajokull glacier, the largest glacier in the world outside the Arctic region. You will also find some of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions such as the spectacular Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Hvannadalshnjukur, the highest peak in Iceland and a popular hike and Skaftafell, the jewel of Vatnajokull National Park The Vatnajokull region is filled with contrast with its black beaches and white glaciers. Serenity, energy and a combination of the forces of nature make a visit to the Vatnajokull region a never-to-be-forgotten experience.
Have you ever imagined looking inside a glacier? Wintertime at Vatnajokull glacier offers the opportunity of a unique and extraordinary experience. A trip into the ice caves of Vatnajokull’s southern crawling side is an adventure that no one should miss. The colors and refracted light in the ice reveal a world of true wonders, providing a thrill for any photo enthusiast. Local guides who know every crevice of the glacier seek out caves formed during the winter months and offer tours. Travelers should only go on such trips with a guide. Much of the activity in the area of Vatnajokull revolves around the glacier and the nature around it. In addition to the ice cave tours you can choose between glacier walks and ice climbing, a thrilling snowmobile ride on Vatnajokull or a comfortable tour of Europe’s largest glacier in a super SUV. There are also ATV tours and geothermal baths at Hoffell, northern light tours, reindeer excursions; there’s the Thorbergssetur cultural museum, the local handicraft store, the petting zoo at Holmur and much more. There are various possibilities in accommodations to suit you and you’ll be sure to find a warm reception by knowledgeable hosts. Several restaurants are in the area and most of them offer local food. Be sure to ask for the local beer Vatnajokull, made from icebergs from Jokulsarlon and arctic thyme.
Accessible year round The realm of Vatnajokull is well accessible the whole year around due to good weather conditions and frequent transportation. Eagle Air has a daily flight from Reykjavík to Hofn airport during the summertime and five days a week during other seasons. Buses between Reykjavík and Hofn are scheduled daily during the summer and three days a week in other seasons. There are also three car rental companies in Hofn. For more information go to www.visitvatnajokull.is
The brothers Eiríkur and Halldór Helgason are definitely the best known Icelanders when it comes to extreme winter sports. Closely watched by the snowboarding world since they were teenagers, they have now been sponsored by big international companies.
by Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photos: Petter Fosshaug
Halldór wowed the judges at the 2010 Games in the Big Jump Category, scoring a gold and since then the brothers have gone on to start their own com panies, get a place in Monaco, make videos and party. When this goes to print Eiríkur will be in the finals in X-Games Real Snow and by the time you read it the results will be in. The brothers travel the world snowboarding and in between rest in Monaco to soak up the sun and charge the batteries. Lucky for us they had a brief stop in Iceland during the holidays and we got to ask them a few questions. How old were you guys when you started boarding? “I started when I was 12, in 1999, and felt immediately that this was my sport and have been boarding ever since,” Eiki says and Halldór adds, “I was nine and I just started because Eiki was doing it.” Was it popular in those days for people to be snowboarding? “It was “fashionable” when I first started,” says Eiki. “A lot of people were doing it then but about two years
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later there weren’t that many left so there was really no place to practice. We and our friends started building our own stuff, like a ramp that we kept in our backyard and we also practiced on all the handrails in town. It eventually caught on and other people became interested again.” How far away were the mountains from where you lived? “It took us about 10-15 minutes to drive to the slopes. On good days we could go all the way to the top and board all the way down to our backyard, which was awesome!” the brothers say.
Did you have any snowboarding role models in those days? “When we weren’t snowboarding we watched a lot of snowboarding videos so we really looked up to all the dudes in the videos. Two of the guys we really looked up to were JP Walker and Jeremy Jones,” they agree.
A boarding school or a snow boarding school? How did you guys become pros? “It started with us making our own snowboarding videos,” says Eiki. “I
borrowed my grandmother’s video camera and we started recording ourselves every day. Then we met Geiri (Ásgeir Höskuldsson) and he saw something in us. Because he believed in us, he started helping out with the videos and got us noticed. We got snowboards from a store called Brim in Reykjavik and then my friends Gulli and Viktor and I decided to go to Sweden and enter a snowboarding school. That’s where the ball started rolling and in 2006 I got my first sponsor ship from Oakley and from Rome Snowboards the same year. After that there was no turning back!” Halldór’s story is a little different. “I was lucky. I always got to tag along with my brother and his friends until they moved to Swed en. Then I stayed back in Akureyri for three years to finish school during which time my friends and I did a lot of filming. Every year I got to visit the guys for two weeks, which was awesome, and as soon as I finished 10th grade I moved out and spent one school year with all of them. During that year I got a sponsorship from DC and my ball started rolling too!” Halldór says.
is perfect. There are good mountains about 40 minutes away and we are closer to everything that has to do with the snowboarding world. It’s really nice when you’ve been “chasing the snow” to go “home” to the sun and nice weather to recharge the batteries.” You guys have also started businesses of your own. Would you tell us about that? “Because we had separate sponsors we were hardly ever snowboarding together. When our contracts concurrently expired we saw it as the perfect opportunity to start our own business. We make “I always wanted snowboards that are a little to live somewhere different than the usual ones warm where you can and we started with Lobster just chill out on the Snowboards using TBT (triple beach and Monaco base technology) which is perfect. There are means that the bottom isn’t flat but a little curved like a good mountains boat. This means that the about 40 minutes board floats better in powderaway and we are closer to everything snow and you’re less likely to fall forward or backward that has to do with the when stopping, which is great snowboarding world. for beginners. It’s also easier to do tricks on the ramps because you can spin faster, so we would recommend them!” the brothers say. Their website is www.lobstersnowboards.com. “Then we started thinking it was weird that nobody was making snowboard belts so we decided to be the first
From white mountains to Monaco So you guys live in Monaco. How did that happen? “It’s brilliant to live in Monaco. You can’t find a better place to chill out,” says Halldór and Eiki adds, “I always wanted to live somewhere warm where you can just chill out on the beach and Monaco
ones. We make belts, shoes and other accessories and what’s really gotten us noticed are the shoelace-belts. You can see them at www.7-9-13.com. We also have a company that does snowboard bindings. What’s special about these is that there are no screws, except the ones to the board of course, and if you need to fix something it works like Legos—you don’t need a screwdriver—all the parts just snap in and out!” Eiki and Halldór also like to help out their friends. “Hoppipolla Headwear is our friend who’s had this hat company for a few years just for fun and we decided to join in and help out. We make good quality hats that are getting more and more popular all over the world,” says Eiki. “It’s way more fun to have your own company. You can do everything you want and when you do some thing good it all comes back to you, so as long as we’re not losing money on this we’re happy with it!” Halldór adds. What are your hobbies when you’re not snowboarding? “I started out skateboarding, snowboarding was really just a way to be able to board during the winters but then I started doing really well on the snowboard, the focus shifted. But I love to skateboard and don’t plan on giving that up anytime soon,” says Eiki. Who is Thunder? “Thunder is Johannes Brenning, our coach. I met him when I had just moved to Sweden and he had just left the school that I was going to. He was editing and making videos and Halldór and I had just started our blog, helgasons.com. Johannes suggested that he’d join us and that we focus on our blog full time. Halldor and I knew that he’d be the right man for it because he gets so many strange and original ideas,” Eiki explains. “At the time that he got the idea for the video blog no one else was doing that in the snowboard scene so that was really helpful for us,” Halldor adds. Any last words before we let you go? “Check out www.helgasons.com for all the latest!”
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“It’s way more fun to have your own company. You can do everything you want and when you do something good it all comes back to you, so as long as we’re not losing money on this we’re happy with it!”
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Taking over Antarctica A lot has changed since the 80’s when some Icelanders, thirsty for adventures in the highlands, started to modify their own 4wd utility and sport utility vehicles. For a while it was like the Wild Wild West until a number of foresighted 4x4 enthusiasts presented the government with regulations to issue in these matters. From this demand for much more capable vehicles sprung a company that’s now called Arctic Trucks.
by Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Photos: Courtesy of Arctic Trucks
Arctic Trucks started out as a little addition to the Icelandic Toyota Distributor in 1990, modifying mainly Toyota Land Cruisers, Hilux and 4Runners, but has since grown into its own multinational company not only modi fying vehicles but also offering their vehicles, services and experience to tourists who want to drive in the highlands. And just a few years back they started rewriting the history of polar travels. Arctic Trucks’ first goal was to meet Icelanders demand for specially equipped vehicles that made it possible to explore the Icelandic glaciers and venture into the high lands during winter, among other things. In 1997, after years of experience and trials in Iceland they sent their first car to Antarctica to use and test it in collaboration with the Swedish Polar Institute. Crossing the Greenland icecap was next but then for a few years nothing newsworthy happened. In 2007 Arctic Trucks helped British TV show Top Gear reach the Magnetic North Pole and that’s when the wheels started spinning, literally. Arctic Trucks’ name became instantly known in the world of polar travels and people started seeing the opportunities and the usability these highly modified trucks could bring to all polar vent ures. In 2008 Arctic Trucks sent four vehicles to Antarctica and ever since, their rise has been gradual in the cold continent. They offer services that few, if any, can provide for travelers and scientists on this continent, namely be ing able to move around with speed and ease that was unheard of before. The Arctic Trucks can go 3-6 times fast er than any traditional belted vehicle and at the same time they are 5-10 times more fuel efficient. We recently sat down with Emil Grimsson, chairman of Arctic Trucks, and Guðmundur Gudjonsson, manager of polar events, who have each spent over four months com bined on the Antarctica plateau for Arctic Trucks. Emil had actually just been to the South Pole on an Arctic Trucks expedition with Walking with the Wounded where Prince Harry and actors Alexander Skarsgård and Dominic West walked alongside three teams of wounded soldiers to the South Pole. “Walking with the Wounded was a very large project,” says Gudmundur. “We used two cars and two drivers serving mainly as support for the soldiers, carrying a doctor and a paramedic plus provisions. We also used another two cars and drivers to support a filming crew that was there to film everything that went on,” he adds. For reasons beyond human control, Arctic Trucks’ role became even bigger during the expedition as twice they had to move the teams closer to the pole. Emil was project manager of that expe dition: “First we moved the teams 65 km closer to the pole, simply because the time allotted to this venture became shorter than was planned due to weather delays and the airplane that brought the skiers had to land much further away from the South Pole than originally planned due to unfavorable snow conditions. After 90 km of racing it was obvious that there was too much strain on many of the wounded soldiers and as the walk was not meant inflict more injuries a decision was made to move everyone for ward again so they only had 1 degree left (ca. 111 km). We supported them the rest of the journey and then took them to our camp close to the pole where we celebrated and waited for their flight,” says Emil. “Walking with the Wounded was a great experience and it was just one of the projects we had in Antarctica this
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“We used two cars and two drivers serving mainly as support for the soldiers, carrying a doctor and a paramedic plus provisions. We also used another two cars and drivers to support a filming crew that was there to film everything that went on,” he adds.
season,” Emil says. “Another project was supporting British adventurer Maria Leijerstam, who was cycling to the South Pole from the edge of the Ross Iceshelf. Many have tried to achieve this goal but she was the first to succeed. She reached the South Pole in just over 10 days, so not only did she achieve a “world’s first” but also a world record as “fastest to the pole from shore,” says Emil and Gudmundur
adds, “We also worked on a few more projects, for example we provided logistical support to a project called the Willis Resilience Expedition where a young man, Parker Liautaud attempted to set a new world record for skiing across Antarctica from Coast-to-Pole and becoming the youngest male to reach the Pole.” Parker set himself the target of 22 days but actually reached the pole in 19 days setting a new world record. After listening to Emil and Gudmundur’s stories it started to sound like Antarctica was getting kind of crowded; is that the case? “No, not at all,” Gudmund ur says. “Fewer people have reached the South Pole than the top of Mount Everest. Antarctica is enormous in size and the solitude of driving over 2,300 km from Novo to the South Pole brings a very special feeling and it’s a great place to lose weight easy. We do have a very exciting time ahead, there are many parts of this continent that few or no people have been to and we can now offer access to some of these.” Issue one
From trucks to tourists You could say that Arctic Trucks has evolved from being simply a car building company into being a very self-sufficient travel agency specia lizing in fully equipped trucks. “Yes, we’ve been slowly realizing that we are indeed a travel company. Of course, Antarctica is a big part of that but in Iceland we can offer some great ex periences as well for a lot less where we can mix the car experience with the fantastic nature and outdoor life. These experiences are becoming increasingly popular, especially among medium sized groups who rent a number of trucks and one driver guide who mentors them through the journey and makes sure everyone stays safe while giving the group a chance to really test their skills; crossing rivers, driving on the unpav ed highland roads and on glaciers.” Gudmundur emphasizes that Arctic Trucks is an Icelandic company built on Icelandic ingen uity and experience and that the South Pole projects also generate business here in Iceland. “We use Iceland as training grounds for people who are using our services at the South Pole. They come here to train on the Icelandic glaciers before venturing to Antarctica. Prince Harry came here with Walking with the Wounded and we also had a team of executives from Willis come to experience this. We are planning to offer more of these tours. It’s unique to be able to offer people the Arctic experience so close to hotels and modern comfort.
But how do the Icelandic glaciers com pare to Antarctica? “I would actually say that they are more trying. The most diffi cult thing about them are the temperat ure changes. You go from +5°C to -5°C in the span of just 10 hours which is very difficult. In Antarctica there’s always frost and the climate is very dry but here it is relatively humid making camp life more uncomfortable. After 4-5 days on the glacier your sleeping “We couldn’t have been luckier regarding the bag gets heavy and damp but weather. It was still and very cold, so it was in Antarctica it stays exactly as close to Antarctica as you could get. I think the same even after 2 months most of them were speechless, both by the level in the tent. There’s no humidity of difficulty and by the how rewarding this there,” explains Gudmundur. whole experience is.” “The hard part about Antarc tica is the cold of course,” “When the team from Willis arrived they started Emil adds. “We’ve seen anything down out in a luxurious hotel. The morning after, we to -56°C and at such low temperature drove them to a glacier, gave them skis and they everything becomes very fragile. And walked the whole day. When night came we set then there’s the altitude, up to 3400 m, up tents and gave them freeze-dried food. They which equals over 4000 m at the equa even had to melt their own water, just like you tor so people can get altitude sickness have to at the South Pole. The next day they walk and have trouble breathing” ed a little bit more on the glacier and were then picked up by a helicopter that brought them back What’s Antarctica like? to luxurious civilization. “Being there is just a unique exper “We couldn’t have been luckier regarding the ience,” says Gudmundur. “There’s noth weather. It was still and very cold, so it was as ing but ice wherever you look, 360° of close to Antarctica as you could get. I think most blue horizon and no one and nothing in of them were speechless, both by the level of sight. It’s a very special, strong feeling difficulty and by the how rewarding this whole but at the same time it’s a challenge. experience is,” says Gudmundur. When you’re in Antarctica you’re not going home until your expedition is over. No matter how much you might want to What’s the difference? or if you don’t get along with your fellow Emil and Gudmundur both say that Iceland is in travelers, you’re not going anywhere. many ways ideal for training before going to the Mental strength is very important and South Pole. “I don’t think many places are as simil you need that support from home. We ar to these extreme circumstances as the glaciers all have families and it’s important for us here, especially not in Europe,” says Gudmundur.
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to know that everything is going smoothly for them back home,” Gudmundur adds. Emil agrees and adds, “All the day to day things become very distant. The only contact you have whith home is an Iridium phone which you don’t use unless it’s absolutely necessary. All the work emails and calls cease to matter. What matters is staying healthy and making sure the basic needs are met. When you’re down there you start to understand Amundsen, Scott and the other adventurers that risked their lives venturing into the unknown. You sense that there’s something about this experience, a need to explore that lies deep in every man and it makes you able to keep going and want to return again. Antarctica leaves you with very different kinds of memories and impressions than after any other trip I’ve ever been on,” says Emil and adds: “This is no ordinary summer vacation.” Find out more about Arctic Trucks and their Antarctica adventures at www.arctictrucks.com.
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Did you notice all the #southpoleselfies we had in this issue?
Emil Grímsson, chairman of Arctic Trucks.
Tag your travel pics with #wowair so we can follow along on your trips.
Guðmundur Guðjónsson, Manager of Polar Events at Arctic Trucks.
know our readers can‘t very well all go to the South Pole for a selfie but here’s a thought … You’re probably on your way to a fun and exciting destination (Why else would you be reading WOW magazine, right?), so snap an extreme selfie while you’re there, share it and hashtag* it with #wowair and #wowselfie. Let’s all take this shameless self-portrait trend to a higher and more exclusive level. A WOW level! You can also share your awesome travel photos and extreme selfi es through our WOW moments page, moments.wowiceland.co.uk where you’ll have a possibility to win a return ticket to a destination of your choice.
Let’s all take this shameless self-portrait trend to a higher and more exclusive level. A WOW level! 74
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Skiing in Iceland
If winter sports are your thing then a trip to Iceland will not disappoint you although extreme weather conditions might make things a little more challenging. by Lilja Björk Haraldsdóttir Photos: Courtesy of the ski areas
celand’s mountains and wilderness have ample oppor tunities if you’re looking for some fun in the snow. Skiing and snowboarding are popular sports here and to provide some ideas for your winter-vacation were giving you a list of our favorite locations.
Reykjavík and the South Bláfjöll and Skálafell Bláfjöll or the Blue Mountains are the capital’s biggest skiing area situated about 25 minutes southwest of Reykja vík. A great area for skiing, snowboarding and crosscountry skiing, Bláfjöll has 16 lifts, great slopes and beautiful surroundings. Skálafell, situated 25 minutes east of the city, is a smaller area with only 4 lifts but great slopes for skiing and snowboarding as well as cross-country skiing. If you can’t travel beyond the city limits there are three areas where you can have a mini-skiing adventure or just a fun day in the snow with the family. They are located in Ártúnsbrekka, Breiðholt and Grafarvogur and are perfect for children or absolute beginners. These areas are free of charge and open when conditions allow. Check out www.skidasvaedi.is for more information.
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The West Ísafjörður and the two valleys The two valleys are Tungudalur and Seljalandsdalur in the fjord Skutulsfjörður. In Tungudalur there are a diverse slopes, 3 lifts, a ski lodge and a service center. At the base of the valley you’ll find a nursery slope for those just starting out and for the experienced there are semi downtrodden slopes that make it easy to ski off track. The area also offers great fun for snowboarders and when conditions allow, border-cross tracks and snow ramps are constructed. In Seljalandsdalur, conditions are perfect for cross-country skiing with down trodden routes of 2.5, 3.5 and 5 km. There are two ski lodges in the area, both with extensive offers of food and beverages and one with overnight accommodations.
The North Hlíðarfjall – Akureyri A true skiing paradise situated next to the northern capital of Akureyri. Hlíðarfjall is without a doubt the most popular skiing area in the country with around 70-80 thousand visitors a year. It boasts of great slopes for downhill skiing and snow boarding with 24 marked routes and 7 lifts in addition to one of the best conditions for cross-country skiing in Iceland. With two service centers where between sessions you can rest your legs, grab a bite and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery, this sure sounds like the makings of a great vacation. And of course they run a ski school and rent out all necessary equipment. We certainly recommend a trip to this Northern Winter Wonderland. Visit www.hlidarfjall.is for more information.
Skálamelur og Stallar – Húsavík In the north there are generally good condi tions for winter activities and the area of Skála melur and Stallar, located just beyond the town of Húsavík, offers great opportunities for down hill skiing as well as cross-country with a num ber of marked routes from 3 km up to 20 km. You can even experience great cross-country skiing all the way into the summer months on Reykjaheiði when snow conditions allow.
The East Oddsskarð Oddsskarð is a truly great skiing area located in the beautiful east of Iceland between the small fishing towns of Eskifjörður and Nes kaupsstaður. Also known as the East Icelandic Alps, Oddskarð has an amazing view over the nearby mountains of eastern Iceland, the
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coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. Oddskarð has been in operation since 1980 and has, ever since been improving conditions and faciliti es. The area has two lifts that take you up to 840 m above sea level and a ski tow in the nursery slope, which the locals call Sunshine Slope due to the sun shining brightly there in the early mornings. The ski lodge built in 1986, offers a number of refreshments to satisfy your hunger and sleeping accommodations for up to 35 people. Oddskarð is accredited by the International Ski Association and is approved for hosting international ski and snowboarding tournaments. See www.oddsskard.is for more information
Stafdalur Between Egilsstaðir and the small town of Seyðisfjörður lies Stafdalur which many
consider to be among the best slalom, ski and snowboarding areas in Iceland. Only a 10 minute drive from Seyðisfjörður and 15 minutes from Egilsstaðir and is easily reacha ble by anyone travelling in the east, weather permitting. The slopes suit most skiers as they have a 1 km long disk lift as well as a beginner’s lift close to the ski lodge. The area has excellent conditions for snowboarders and for those crazy about snowmobiles there is enough of open space in every direction.
An incredible experience
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Self-drive tours with guide.
Only few people have had the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of a powerful 4x4 in one of the world’s most unique places. Arctic Trucks has now made it possible to experience the remote areas of Iceland, in cars that are known all over the world from the BBC television show Top Gear, on their journey to the Magnetic North Pole. Have a great stay and drive safely in Iceland
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Arctic Trucks Experience Kletthals 3 · 110 Reykjavík Tel: +354 540 4900 / +354 617 8000 www.arctictrucks-experience.com firstname.lastname@example.org Issue one
Vertical daredevils Ice climbing
by Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photos: Guðmundur Tómasson (www.verticaliceland.is)
In a land where there are mountains, glaciers and daredevils there are bound to be some ice climbers. We caught up with one of Iceland’s most experienced climbers, Freyr Björnsson and asked him a few questions about this winter sport.
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“I’ve always been a nature lover,” Freyr says. “I used to work at my grandparents farm in the summertime and got to experience various things there. I used to live close to an outdoors store that was called Skátabúðin (The Scout store) and I would go in there just to look at the equipment, magazines and books. There was also a climbing wall there that we used to climb. “I joined one of the Icelandic search and rescue teams in 1996 and had to go through various trainings, such as mountain climbing, hiking and abseiling. So that’s where my interest comes from.” What is the best place to ice climb in Iceland? “There are quite a few places here that are among the best in the world, both when it comes to the accessibility, quality and experience of the sport. The main problem though, is that the weather can often be hard to predict so it’s hard to tell whether the ice is there to stay.” Is it dangerous? “Ice climbing is categorized by length and difficulty. The steeper and longer the climb, the higher the degree of difficulty. This is a grading system that is common in climbing sports. What makes ice climbing different from the rest is that the ice is so alive. It is just frozen water that will not always be in this form and shape. Then someone brings the axes and decides it’s a good idea to climb it. It’s not very smart of course. But at the same time the ice climber is challenging himself and living in the now. Nothing else matters and each movement is carefully calculated. You constantly have to weigh the pros and cons of each movement. Is the axe stuck or shall I try again? How thick is the ice? Try not to let your hands get to tired, change your position and control your mind. The mind sometimes just wants to get scared under these circumstances because the surroundings can be so overwhelming.” Is this something anyone can try? “There is a lot to think about for ice climbers. It is not enough to be in good shape and to have the equipment. You are traveling in the mountains in the wintertime. The weather, layers of snow and darkness, add on to the actual ice climbing. That’s why a lot of people start by taking a lot of mountain hikes before venturing into climbing.” What is your favorite place to climb? “I don’t have a favorite. For me this is about the company, the weather, the condition of the ice, the difficulty level and even the lunch you bring! Each and every one of these factors can decide whether you have a crappy day or a fabulous one. And by fabulous I mean a kind of magic that is hard to describe, climbing ice in magnificent surroundings and the only thing that got you to the top was yourself. You and your own power.” It may not be for the uninitiated but after reading Freyr’s description of it, it sure sounds like it would be a great experience. Better get in shape and start climbing mountains!
Gathering the ropes after a climb.
Climbing the Little Finger in Svellgjá.
Freyrs climbing companions Berglind Adalsteinsdottir and Arnar Þór Emilsson climbing in Svellgjá in Haukadalur.
Snorkeling in Silfra The day after Christmas I took a drive with my family to Þingvellir National Park. We had been debating whether it was too cold to take a walk but put on layers and layers and decided to go anyway. Imagine our surprise when we saw people, loads of them, getting ready to go diving into the icy cold waters of the river Silfra. by Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photos: Dive.is
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hese people must be crazy, I thought. But I needed to find out more. I contacted Hössi from dive.is and asked him what the deal was. Who’d go diving at this time of year? He told me that most of the people there had been snorkeling, not diving, that this time of year was as good as any and in many ways better. “If you’re going to write about it, you have to try it,” Hössi said. Not being much of an adrenaline junkie (never gone skydiving) and even a bit of a neurotic type I wasn’t sure whether I could do it. But he convinced me. “Silfra is one of the best places in the world, to dive and snorkel. What’s unique about it is that in Þingvellir you’re right there between the Eur asian and North American tectonic plates.” I was convinced and it didn’t take long for me to convince my adrenaline junkie of a mother (who has a scuba diving license and has swam with the dolphins in Hawaii) to accompany me. Late in January we were picked up by AJ, a charming, outgoing Polish man who has lived in Iceland since 2008. He had a nice, well paying office job in Poland, but was bored, so he gave it all up, moved to Iceland and started doing what he loves for a living. “You can’t take money with you when you die. But if there is an afterlife, you can maybe bring your experiences,” he said and it seemed to us that AJ was the kind of person who enjoys his life to the fullest.
It’s not swimming, it’s flying! Along with AJ in the mini-bus were two Americans and a Swiss coup le. Everyone was very excited to snorkel in Silfra. The first part of the adventure were the dry suits. These are very, very tight, and cover your entire body. The zipper opening on the suits is on the upper back though and I got to be the first person to get help into the suit. At a picnic bench I put my legs in, one at a time. Then I needed AJ’s help to lift me up to get the rest of me completely into the suit. It was a strange experience. When time came for my head to go through the tiny opening the whole group laug hed long and hard saying it looked like I was being born as my head
squeezed through the very tight latex turtleneck. It was my turn to laugh at them not much later. This was followed by gloves, a hood and a snorkel mask, so the only parts of the body in contact with the water were a tiny area around the mouth and nose and the forehead. With the swimming fins on our feet we made our way, one by one into the water and when my face finally went underwater something AJ said in the car came to my mind: “Today I’m not taking you swimming, I’m taking you flying.” Hovering by the surface of the water slightly moving the legs and the arms does in many ways com pare to what flying must be like. Looking down into the depths of Silfra through the crystal clear water, glacial run-off, filtered through rocks is truly unbelievable.
High on life AJ frequently took his snorkel off and dove down underneath the group to catch pictures of the swimmers hovering on the surface. Watching him go downwards, moving his fins both at the same time, he looked like a fish. Some of the more adventurous wanted to follow his lead, but it takes skill to do that. After a while in the water I started to realize that this was a go-at-yourown-pace type of trip and many of us took our snorkels out and rolled over onto our backs from time to time to chat about what we were seeing below. It was a shame to do too much of that though; so much to see! After we had navigated the waters it was time to free-swim and explore. On our way back we passed a cliff about 5 meters high, leading into a really deep pool of water and AJ told us that we’d have to jump off it if we wanted to get hot chocolate. So we jumped. Some of us more than once, with the Americans screaming “I love Iceland!” Even though the hot chocolate at the end was quite a nice reward for our bravery, nothing compares to the adrenaline and that highon-life feeling that followed for the rest of the day, and will whenever I visit this experience in my memory bank in the future. I would definitely recommend this to anyone. Visit www.dive.is for more information.
Iceland‘s wonderful water Photos: Courtesy of ITR
A pool? No a spa!
The most popular pools (spas) in Reykjavík are Laugardalslaug and Vesturbæjarlaug.
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probably heard about the superabundance of geo thermal water in Iceland. We use it to heat our homes and we harness the steam to make electricity, ohh… and we take looong showers with impunity just because it feels sooo good. We even lavish great quantities of it to heat our sidewalks during the winter. But that’s not all. Icelanders often gather at swimming pools and while they may swim a few laps the real attraction are the hot tubs where they love to talk, listen to the others or just relax and let their minds wander. These places really ought to be called spas
because they have everything a spa could offer; steam baths, Jacuzzis, showers, an exercise area and many even have massage therapists although those have to be booked in advance. There is no better way to get rid of jet lag or relax after a good hike around town than a soak in the hot tub. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the darkest of winter or the most perfect summer day. Actually the winter is a perfect time for going; you are warm the whole time, except, of course when you leave the water. The darkness makes for a very cozy atmosphere and when it snows you can enjoy watching the flakes float down and vanish in the warm water. Ask anybody who’s tried it; the thermal pools in Iceland really give you a lot. Some would even say that they make you a better person! The most popular pools (spas) in Reykjavík are Laugardalslaug and Vesturbæjarlaug. Highly recommended in southern Iceland are Laugarvatn Fontana and the Hveragerdi swimming pools and in the north there’s the Þelamörk and Akureyri pools If you’re traveling with children the Icelandic pools are an ideal place. Most pools have awesome waterslides and toys for children of all ages but don’t forget to equip them with arm floats.
If you’re traveling with children the Icelandic pools are an ideal place.
All you need in one place • Skólavör›ustígur 19 tel.: (+354) 552 1890 SWEATERS AND SOUVENIERS, NO KNITTING MATERIAL:
• Radisson Blu, Hótel SAGA tel.: (+354) 562 4788 • Laugavegur 53b tel.: (+354) 562 1890 Issue one
A view of the world by Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Photos: Courtesy of Olafur Haraldsson
It’s almost like being there If you follow WOW air’s awesome Facebook page you’ve probably seen the equally awesome 360° photo of the northern lights we shared recently. We know it doesn’t look the same on paper but we would like to introduce you to the man behind this cool trend, Olafur Haraldsson.
“The 360° photos look like the viewer is inside a bubble where he can look out in all directions, up, down, left or right, to change his view within the photo.
Olafur is, as far as we know, the only Icelander who has a master’s degree in interaction design which means that he specializes in everything that has to do with user interface, user interaction and service design. He has also been focusing on making three dimensional models from photos and has his own business that specializes in just that. “Interaction design is an opportunity to give people that “being there” experience, without them having to go there. I can give people access to places that they normally wouldn’t see or go to. For instance I have taken some photos in New Zealand and Australia, a place that is so far away that most Icelanders never get the chance to actually go there. I can also give people the chance to see places that have to be preserved and are therefore closed to the public,” says Olafur. He recently
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photographed the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center in this 360° fashion. “I love great archi tecture and photographing buildings is one of my favorites. When I show people the 360° photos of Harpa, and I’m talking about Icelanders here, that have never seen the inside of the building, they’re all like “WOW, I have to go there.” The reason I also make these 3D models from the photos is to give people a chance to travel through this documented space as if they were actually there, but in the comfort of their own office or home.” How does it work? “The 360° photos look like the viewer is inside a bubble where he can look out in all directions, up, down, left or right, to change his view within the photo. It’s most fun to look at these photos using a tablet because you can move the tablet to change the view. When taking these photos I use a special mount on my tripod so I can turn the camera to every possible angle. Of course “When I show people the you need a good camera and lens too. After I 360° photos of Harpa, and I’m shoot the photos I remove the tripod from the talking about Icelanders here, picture.”
that have never seen the inside of the building, they’re all like “WOW, I have to go there.”
Photography always follows Olafur has been taking photos for the last 14 years and although he chose to study interact ion design he says photography has always followed. “This all stems from my passion of mixing photographs and computer technology to make works of art. These works have been used as backdrops for commercials, it saves time to not have to take a whole crew to a locations to shoot a certain object and so forth. When you use a photo that’s been taken like that you can move it inside the scenic environment later on. I’ve also done some work for the movie industry.” Is nature your main focus? “You could say that it’s nature and buildings, or archi tecture. I am an environmentalist and I love shooting this grand scenery to help people explore it like they were there, especially places that are almost inacc essible.” As we said – paper does not do these photos justice so we urge you to take a look at them, preferably from your tablet if you have one, at his webpage, www.olihar.com. Also make sure to follow WOW air’s social media sites for exclusive shots in the future. www.facebook.com/ wowiceland.
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 are 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.”
Ásgeir Trausti Ásgeir Trausti became the most popular singer/songwriter in Iceland in just under a year; his first album selling over 20,000 copies and named “Album of the Year” at the Icelandic Music Awards. An English speaking album, In the Silence, has just been released in Europe and like the rest of us here, the critics are loving it. Ásgeir is leaving for Asia this February to perform alongside big bands like Mogway and The National. Ásgeir is already getting attention in Japan. When this was written his single King and Cross was at the top of the Billboard Hot Overseas list and at 13 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100. As far as we know no Icelandic artists have landed on these lists so this is no small feat for Ásgeir. He also happens to be nr. 1 on Billboard’s Next Big Sound list, where the fastest and biggest selling artists of the previous week are listed. We think congratulations are in order.
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“We’re finally on the final stages, a special hospital bed is ready and so are the splints that will be used after surgery.” Guðmundur Felix Guðmundur Felix leads a full life as a father of two grown girls while running a business despite the loss of both his arms at the shoulders in 1998. His persistence got the attention of French doctors who have agreed to make him the world’s first double arm transplant recipient. Last June, Guðmundur moved to Lyon where he’ll be residing during the preparations for, and recovery from the transplant. “I’ve been here for 7 months now and it’s been tough sometimes but enjoyable for the most part,” Gudmundur said in a recent conversation with us. He celebrated his first Christmas away from home last December but he wasn’t alone: “Thanks to WOW air’s sponsorship my whole family was able to spend a very joyous Christmas with me.” The preparations for the big operation are in full swing and unlike Icelanders, who tend to charge at big projects and then see how it goes, the French don’t get started until every little detail is attended to. “We’re finally on the final stages, a special hospital bed is ready and so are the splints that will be used after surgery,” Gudmundur says. As Gudmundur’s French gets increasingly better the suspense rises as he’s likely to get on that transplant list very soon.
Margrét Edda Gnarr Margrét Edda Gnarr is a 24 year old bona fide Viking girl. She has a black belt in taekwondo, is daughter of our legendary mayor, Jón Gnarr and oh, yes, she recently became IFBB Women’s World Champion resulting in her pro status at the IFBB Pro League. Through the years she has battled some demons of her own, overcoming the consequences of bullying in her youth and a serious eating disorder.
Margrét Edda recently became IFBB Women’s World Champion resulting in her pro status at the IFBB Pro League.
She is now happy, healthy, running her own online personal training service and in the best shape of her life, ready to take the world of professional bikini fitness by a storm. Her next big challenge is the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio where she’ll be in good company with the brightest stars in the fitness world such as Nathala Melo, Amanda Latona, Ashley Katwasser and many more. Only 16 IFBB pros get an invitation to compete in the bikini fitness category. Margrét has spent all of January preparing for the big tournament which starts March 1st. You can watch the pro categories live on www.bodybuilding.com.
Inside Room 313 Iceland’s main cultural export is undisputedly music. Both established and emerging artists have entered the global scene with a storm, and probably everybody can agree that a small nation like Iceland can be proud of the immense output of high quality music produced here. by Pétur Jónsson Photos: Gassi
ost of our readers will know at least a handful of Ice landic artists and have heard of the music festivals and fantastic concert life. But good recorded music does not happen by itself. It’s almost always a collaboration of artists and skilled technicians that help make a good song into a pleasant and moving listening experience with a lot of that important work happening far from the spotlight, behind the scenes. This is where we find Addi 800, one of Iceland’s most sought after and experienced recording and mixing engineers. Addi has had a final hand in an amazing amount of significant Icelandic music projects as well as many global releases, ranging from albums, films, documentaries, concerts and commercials. From his state-of-the-art studio, ROOM 313 – in the old fish-packing district of Reykjavík which in recent years has become the home of the creative industries of Reykjavík – he churns out music of every conceiva ble genre and style.
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“The recording process has been made easier, more accessible and a lot cheaper for bands and artists.”
His clients include Björk, Blur, Barði Johannson, Dad Rocks, Danjál, Diego Buongiorno, Eivør, Gus Gus, Gluteus Maximus, Hafdís Huld, Jan Erling Holberg, Leaves, Mezzo forte, Mimas, Morten Harket, Ólafur Arnalds and Sigur Rós as well as most other Icelandic artists at some point in their career. “The music industry has changed a lot in the recent decades, and it’s safe to say that the recording process has been made easier, more accessible and a lot cheaper for bands and artists,” says Addi. Gone are the times when music labels habitually rented big expensive studios for months to work on albums. Even so, the studio business has hit hard times globally, but Addi says that this has not changed much for him. “When it comes to the final touch, the putting together of all the elements, be they recorded in big historic studios or in small bedrooms, the final process of mixing is usually left to dedicated mixing engineers—and for a good reason. They are specialists focusing on improving all the separate musical elements and getting them to work together. This process can make or break a song,” Addi says. For more information check out Addi’s homepage: www.addi800.com
northern lights tours! RE-62
northern lights tour sRE-63
glacier & monster truck Adventure!
wE’ll tAKE You thERE! All thE most ExcItIng plAcEs In IcElAnd BooK noW
warm Baths & cool lights
by calling 580 5400
at your reception
ExpERIEnCE A gREAT EvEnIng WITh uS!
hotspot on board our coaches.
More Tours available in our brochures
And on ouR WEBSITE WWW.RE.IS
why not buy a tour with us on board this flight? – just ask the cabin crew.
the Blue lagoon
FAst, FREquEnt & on schEdulE EvERY dAY oF thE wEEK!
BSÍ Bus Terminal Reykjavík City
Trip duration approximately
Reykjavík International Airport (KEF)
there is no better way to start or end your Iceland adventure than by bathing in the famous Blue lagoon. Reykjavik Excursions offer great flexibility in Blue Lagoon tours and the buses are located just outside the terminal building.
You can easily buy your Blue lagoon ticket on board this flight – just ask the cabin crew.
BSÍ Bus Terminal 101 Reykjavík +354 580 5400 email@example.com • www.re.is www.flybus.is
You can easily buy your flybus ticket on board this flight – just ask the cabin crew or stop at our tour desk in the arrival hall at Reykjavík International Airport (KEF).
We wish you a WOW flight
The magnificent WOW cabin crew is not only good at serving the guests aboard the WOW airplanes. They also make sure that everyone has fun. We‘ve had some regular appearances from talented individuals from Circus Iceland with their balloon artists, face painters and gymnasts and also from Jon Vidir the magician. There have also been quite a few esteemed guests aboard the WOW airplanes such as the Peace Light, musicians, film stars, royals and footballers. We‘ve even found fictional characters such as Waldo. Take a look at the WOW atmosphere aboard and give the cabin crew a big smile.
We’re not just making this up. Here’s a letter from one of our guests: I have just returned from Iceland with WOW air and I would just like to congratulate you on your airline and staff. I have made many flights with different airlines and I have to say WOW air is the best. From the moment we boarded to the moment we got off we were made to feel like friends rather than just passengers. The flight was clean, the staff sooooooo friendly, it was a brilliant start to the holiday. And the flight home was even better (even though I thought it couldn’t be any better). We were greet ed by name (yes we are actually people) and we were made to feel so welcome from the moment we stepped onto the plane. We even had inflight enter tainment in the form of two circus artists, one a face painter the other a balloon artist. The lady painted anyone who wanted their face painted even the flight attendants, and the man with the balloons fashioned them into anything you wanted. It was such a party atmosphere. Usually the flight home leaves me feel ing flat as it means the end of the holiday, but not this one, it just made me look forward to the next time. Please can you send on my thanks to the cabin staff on both of these flights. Once again thank you sooooooo much. Vanessa P.
We‘ve had some regular appearances from talented individuals from Circus Iceland with their balloon artists, face painters and gymnasts and also from Jon Vidir the magician. 92
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e c r u o s A ealth h f o O N LY*
isk. 600 TS ADUL 130 isk. CHILDREN
Th er m al sw im m in g po ol s
Hot t ubs and jacuzzi
Sa un as , steambat hs an d sh ow ers
Se ve n lo ca t io ns
Op en earl y un t il la te
Thermal hermal pools and b baths in n Reykjavik are a so source of health, relaxation and 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 • www.spacity.is
*Admission January 2014 . Price is subject bj t tto change h
Reykjavik's Thermal Pools
Iceland’s fourth president, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir I am born in 1980, the same year Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was elected president of Iceland and became the world’s first woman democratically elected as head of state. She served four consecutive terms so it wasn’t until I was 16 years old that I was faced with the startling reality of a male president.
My hero, Madam President by Guðrún Baldvina Sævarsdóttir Photo: Gunnar Elísson courtesy of the Museum of Design and Applied Art
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Icelandic nouns are assigned to gender and take on different articles and inflections accordingly. The Icelandic noun “forseti” or “presi dent” is a masculine noun much like most nouns with the same ending. And yet 18 years after Vigdís Finnbogadóttir’s last term in office when Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was installed as president I still struggle with the address “Mr. President” instead of the usual “Madam President”. It also took me a while to accept the fact that presidents could be married. I, along with the rest of my generation, was raised to a presidential icon of a single, working mother. The rather petite, fair-skinned woman of elegance, charm and wisdom became the unifying symbol of Icelanders, men and women. Make no mistake about it, every Icelandic president before and after Vigdís has been male and I am fully aware that, globally, female presidents are few and far between but as a result of this female role model I grew up to, I have no qualms about women’s ability to lead the free world.
Lækjarbrekka is a classic Icelandic Restaurant situated in heart of old Reykjavík, Lækjarbrekka specialises in Icelandic cuisine with a la carte menu and first rate service. Scan QR Code for more information.
Bankastræti 2 -101 Reykjavík Tel. (+354) 551 4430 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.laekjarbrekka.is
And yes, in true Icelandic fashion I see no difference in being the president of Iceland or say… the United States of America. The then 50 year old single mother was already a public figure, having worked as artistic director of the Reykjavík Theater Company for many years and was frequently seen and heard in television and radio. With degrees in French, English and education, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir devoted her presidency to the preservation and integrity of Icelandic culture and at 83 years old she’s still a prominent figure in Icelandic society, doing various humanitarian works and getting involved in pressing issues of equality and human rights. The other day I was out walking in really bad weather when some friendly driver stopped their car to let me cross the street. As I peered through the rain and wind to wave a thank you at the driver I saw the smiling face of Madam Vigdís Finnbogadóttir behind the wheel. The same smiling face I often see at the grocery store, swimming pool or art galleries. That’s the thing about Iceland, icons and heroes are usually your neighbors, sometimes your friends and almost always a relative.
The then 50 year old single mother was already a public figure, having worked as artistic director of the Reykjavík Theater Company for many years and was frequently seen and heard in television and radio.
Dressed for the occasion
Are you ready, Madam President
by Guðrún Baldvina Sævarsdóttir Photos: Gunnar Elísson and Kristján Maack courtesy of the Museum of Design and Applied Art
One of Iceland’s youngest public museums is the Museum of Design and Applied Art located in Garðabær, a 10 minute drive from the center of Reykjavik
The museum’s next exhibition “Are you ready, Madam President?” will be its largest to date. It will present clothing, shoes, purses and other accessories from the wardrobe of Mrs. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland, from her 16 years in office, 1980–1996. The items are from Vigdís’ private collection who participated in the preparation for the exhibition by sharing the stories behind the clothes and her personal account of the role of clothing during her presidency. The museum’s focus, as the name implies, is on design in its various forms, including collecting, documenting and preserving items of design. Museum director Harpa Þórsdóttir points out that “clothing design is design and fashion is the concept of a changing undercurrent in clothing design.” This all seems quite basic but a museum exhibition of used clothes and clothing design from a historical perspective (and a relatively recent history mind you) is more than unusual in Iceland. It’s actually never been done before. This is in line with the museum’s need to be mindful of their own “zeit geist” and historical periods in order not to lose track of historical trends and thus fall behind on its role in preserving history in the relevant fields.
The importance of appearance The perspective of Vigdís’ clothing is much more than a historical overview of formal wear for heads of states at that time. As the first democratically elected female head of state, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir had very little to base her formal wardrobe on. She was not a queen, not a princess, not a bride and definitely not Winston Churchill. What should she wear during her inauguration? What should she wear during public visits to other countries? How about an open horse carriage ride in the middle of winter, waving to the local public The museum’s for 40 minutes next to royalty or an opening next exhibition ceremony for a new institution? Most of these “Are you questions would have been easily answered for men in her position at the time, but for ready, Madam a woman they posed a brand new field of President?” will choices that had to be made and sometimes be its largest with incredibly strategic planning. to date. With her background in the theater she was aware of the importance of presence and appearance. Her choice of relatively high heels was not based merely on elegance but also height. The rather petite woman was constantly meeting, greeting and posing with other influential and important national leaders whom she wanted to meet on equal ground and at eye level. Over the course of her successful 16-year presidency, Vigdís not only blazed a trail to new prominence for women in Western societies, but shaped a sartorial tradition for women in such positions. Vigdís’s pres ence at events was always sought after, requiring that she pay constant attention to her wardrobe for the different occasions; an added burden to the many responsibilities of the president and her staff.
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Icelandic wool and Valentino The exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to understand Vigdís’s emphasis in choosing a wardrobe, as well as learn about her own and others’ personal memories of garments and occasions. It further illuminates various traditions and codes of conduct from the world inhabited by heads of state, both in their day-to-day work and on official visits. Due to the high profile nature of When walking through a forest of Vigdísthe clothes, the exhibition will shaped manikins dressed in an incredible also be a feast for fashionistas array of designer clothing, it suddenly hits who get a rare opportunity to you what a big role clothing really plays walk amongst tailored dresses by for people who stand in iconic positions. For heads of state, who serve a role as the Valentino and suits by Christian face of a nation and are thus constantly in Dior and Louis Féraud. formal and symbolic situations, clothing is obviously a huge factor in their appearance and personality. There is a rich and important note on feminist history to be found here. One of the more unusual items on display is a three piece dress, made of Icelandic wool in the traditional sheep colors. It shouts the Icelandic nationality just as loud as any classic Icelandic woolen sweater but the three piece cut bears the resemblance of a typical power suit for women in high profile professions and is likely the only time a woolen sweater has been transformed into a suit. The story behind this wool dress is no less unusual. During Vigdís’ first campaign in 1980, a woman from Akureyri, by the name of Steingerður Hólmgeirsdóttir, knitted the dress and sent it to Vigdís, instructing her not to wear it until it was clear that she would win the election. Vigdís followed her instructions and wore the dress, waving to her supporters from the balcony of her home after the results were in. Steingerður, an avid support of gender equality, never met Vigdís, but according to her family, was very pleased to see her dress in action. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this exhibition’s focus is on Vigdís Finnbogadóttir’s presidency. Rather, it’s an exhibition on clothing design with insight as to the reasoning behind the choices that were made, including the requirements purses needed to fulfill for a president and how or whether they differ from an ordinary woman’s night on the town. Due to the high profile nature of the clothes, the exhibition will also be a feast for fashionistas who get a rare opportunity to walk amongst tailored dresses by Valentino and suits by Christian Dior and Louis Féraud. The exhibition opens on February 7th on Museum Night, an annual affair that’s part of the Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival, when a total of 40 museums open their doors to the public free of charge until midnight, offering various entertaining and interesting events. And don’t worry, you have plenty of time to see the exhibition as it will remain open until October 5, 2014. The Museum of Design and Applied Art is Located at Garðatorg 1, open Tuesdays to Sundays from 12 pm – 5 pm and offers guided tours at 12 pm on Fridays.
The super social hermit A Person of WOW
by GVH Photos: From private collection
Jón Kári Hilmarsson is WOW air’s versatile product manager. He’s worked at the WOW Headquarters for a year but he certainly isn’t new to the business of flying and traveling as he’s been working for other airlines for many years. At the office he will answer to his own name but also, Sir Dance-a-lot; we just found out that he’s a real creature of the night.
what does he do? A jack of all trades would be a good description. “My title is Product Manager in the Marketing Department. I’m in charge of communicating with online travel agencies (OTA’s), social media marketing, working with the cabin crew in keeping the WOW factor on board our airplanes, event management and many other things. Due to my Photoshop and illustrating skills I do a lot of design work for different departments within the company,” says Jón Kári and then adds, “I love the versatility of my job. This is a great place to work and always fun. To me that is WOW.” Jón Kári is a world traveler and never tires of visiting new places. Where have you travelled and where would you like to go next? “I used to be a flight attendant for some years and through my work I have traveled to many exotic desti nations like Thailand, the Caribbean, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, La Reunion, Venezuela, Guyana not to mention the US, Canada and most of Europe. I usually travel to an area I like for a few years in a row and then change to somewhere new. I really like France and the Mediterranean. My favorite was the Caribbean until I discovered Thailand, the Middle East is a very interesting place but next I want to do South America. I want to dance the Tango in Argentina and the Samba in Brazil. And then go to Thailand and countries nearby. Copenhagen and Paris are also two favorites of mine, I can always go there for a fun weekend break,” says Jón Kári. When he’s not hard at work, Jón Kári says he mostly spends time with friends. “Although I love spending time alone. I sometimes call myself a social hermit. I go out a lot socially but I love sitting at a cafe or a bar read ing a book on my Kindle. Historical fiction mostly, mixed with some educational books. I also travel a lot and I have friends all over the world I like to visit.”
Up all night Jón Kári’s outgoing nature became an occupational opportunity and he’s been running a nightlife guiding service in Reykjavik for over 12 years now. How does that work? “I provide groups and individuals with a VIP guide that makes sure they get into the right places, gets through VIP lines, arranges bottle tables and helps break the ice with the locals. I have lived in downtown Reykjavik for about 20 years and I know all the ins and
WOW Power to the people
“Well, I am getting older and there is less stamina for staying out late, for sure.”
outs of the social life there. While having worked in the travel business for most of my working life I used to take visiting clients out on the town. Through the years people started to contact me saying they were friends of someone I used to take out and were told I was the guy to contact. After doing this for a few years I kept telling my friends that I should get paid for this. One of them asked me “Why not start a web site?” One day I did and this became a business,” says Jón Kári who’s been publishing a monthly pamphlet called Nightlife Guide for 8 years. “I distribute it in downtown Reykjavík. I think of it as a guide for those who cannot afford the VIP guiding service,” Jón Kári says.
With the team at Astraeus Airlines.
“I just love meeting friends and people I know and even more importantly, meeting new interesting people.
Where does this interest about nightlife come from? “Living in downtown Reykjavik, with all the restaurants, bars and clubs around and within walking distance makes it a bit difficult to distance oneself from that scene. I am single and being an über-social person with many friends, makes staying home alone on a Friday or Saturday night hardly an option. The hermit takes over from Sundays to Wednesdays. Also having worked in the travel business makes it natural to want to share my knowledge,” says Jón Kári and we wonder if he ever gets tired of all this socializing. “Well, I am getting older and there is less stamina for staying out late, for sure. But I’ve never been a
Monkey business in Thailand.
This gem, situated in the heart of Reykjavík, offers a homey Mediterranean atmosphere along with great food from the freshest ingredients. Finding Nemo in the Red Sea.
Jón Kári and legendary TV character Bogi the Bum (played by actor Örn Árnason).
heavy drinker and I don’t stay out very late like many of my friends. I also have rules regarding drinking that I stick to. If I had a problem with alcohol I would definitely not have been able to do this for so many years. I’ve now retired myself from the guiding part. Most of my clients are younger than me and most of the people in the clubs that we take them to are a lot younger. Instead I employ some of my younger friends to take the clients out and when I go out I do it for my own social needs,” Jón Kári explains with a smile.
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 email@example.com 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
ends On week played is c si u live m s classic u o m by our fa r Símon H ye guitar pla eating an cr Ívarsson able unforgett . ambience
Where do you get the energy to stay out late and party? “I just love meeting friends and people I know and even more importantly, meeting new interesting people. Through the guiding service I have made a lot of good friends from all over the world that I keep in contact with. I never get serious hangovers and I live alone so I can sleep longer if needed. A lot of people have kids and don’t go out as much so when they do it takes a bigger toll on them. I know I am not going to be doing this for the rest of my life but I am still enjoying it so ...,” says Jón Kári. If you are looking for a guide to the Reykjavik Nightlife look no further. Jón Kári has the answer at www.nightlifefriend.is.
The lunch was a rather stinky affair as the traditional Thorri food usually consists of sheep products cured in lactic acid, such as sheep head jam, blood pudding and ram’s testicles, cured shark and pickled whale blubber.
Husband’s day January 24 was the first day of Thorri according to the old Icelandic calendar. This day is known as Husband’s Day so the WOW women decided to be extra nice to men of the house greeting them with a standing ovation and song when they came down for lunch. The lunch was a rather stinky affair as the traditional Thorri food usually consists of sheep products cured in lactic acid, such as sheep head jam, blood pudding and ram’s testicles, cured shark and pickled whale blubber. Don’t worry though, those who are not of the pickled persuasion were offered some fresh food. During lunch renowned witch Sigríður Klingenberg gave the boys a good reading.
… or hardly working? It’s important to keep the WOW spirit at WOW air. In the WOW headquarters people are hard at work all day but every once in a while they go a little crazy …
Dress up Run of the year Some of the WOW staff felt a bit heavy after the holidays so they formed a track team and are now jogging two times a week. Look how healthy they look after the first run of the year.
WOW Power to the people
We have some colorful characters here at WOW air and they love to dress up and run around town. Well, some days at least.
Are you here for the nature and northern lights?
Is the weather funking it up? Then visit us and experience our multimedia exhibition It's only a ten-minute walk from the city center
Grandagarður 2 - 101 Reykjavík Open every day from 10:00 - 22:00 Maritime museum CCP
The Northern Light Center
The old harbour Harpan Music hall Reykjavík Art museum Kolaportið fleemarket
Gained in translation
Noticeboards abroad By Adam Jacot de Boinod Illustrations: Jane Pycraft
In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts
In a German lift: Do not enter the lift backwards and only when lit up
In a Norwegian lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar
For visitors to the Czech Republic: Take one of our horse-driven city tours: we guarantee no miscarriages
can have problems with both the vocabulary and grammar of the complex and idiomatic English tongue. The following misusages have been spotted around the world:
In a Bangkok drycleaners: Drop your trousers here for best results
In a German maternity ward: No children allowed in the maternity ward
In a Hong Kong dress shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs
In a Paris hotel: Please leave your values at the front desk
In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid
In a doctorâ€™s surgery in Rome: Specialist in women and other diseases
In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time
On a box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong: Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life
In a Thai advertisement for donkey rides: We have our own ass if you would like to take a ride
On a detour sign in Japan: Stop: Drive Sideways
Over the bathroom sink in a Mexican hotel:
In a Danish airline office: We take your baggage and send it all directions
The water has been passed personally by the hotel manager
In a Japanese hotel:
In a hotel room in Cambodia:
In the lobby of a Bucharest hotel:
Sorry for guests who have problem, and thank for guests who have no problem
Outside a Paris couturier: Dresses for streetwalking
WOW Power to the people
You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable
In an Athens hotel: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9and 11 A.M. daily
In a Viennese hotel:
as domestic. Sometimes it’s just an odd mix: the Danish for jeans, for example, is cowboybukser (cowboy pants). While in Japan sebiro means a fashionably cut suit (being their pronunciation of Savile Row, London’s famous street of tailors).
In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter
In an Acapulco hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here
On a sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:
On the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it
In the window of a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin
In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man
by Adam Jacot de Boinod Photo: Photos.com
It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose
The global village
One man’s coal dust is another man’s edible earth Say it with Flowers Don’t give red flowers in Hungary unless you are in love with the lady and want to compete for her, and certainly not red roses. White and yellow roses are OK. Giving red roses in West Germany signals that you have strong romantic interests. Throughout history, the rose has signified secrecy.
Japanese Bowing For the Japanese, bowing is an important part of the process and a sign of respect: ojigi is the act of bowing; eshaku describes a slight bow (of about 15 degrees); keirei, a full bow (of about 45 degrees); while saikeirei is a very low, worshipful type of bow that involves the nose nearly touching the hands. When one meets someone extrem ely important, one might even consider pekopeko, bowing one’s head repeatedly in a fawning or groveling manner.
English Clothing Adam Jacot de Boinod is the author of The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books, and the creator of the iPhone App Tingo, a quiz on Interesting Words.
English words for items of clothes have slipped into many langu ages. Sometimes the usage is fairly literal, as in the word smoking to describe a dinner jacket in Swedish or Portuguese; or pants for a tracksuit in Spanish. Sometimes it’s more metaphorical: the Hungarians call jeans farmer, and their term for a T-shirt is polo. In Barbados the cloth used for the lining for men’s clothes is known
When it comes to the extraordin ary things that people enjoy putting in their mouths around the world, it’s certainly true that one man’s meat is another man’s poison: ampo (Malay) edible earth poronkieli (Finnish) reindeer tongue kokorec (Turkish) roasted sheep’s intestines nama-uni (Japanese) raw sea urchin acitron (Mexican Spanish) candied cactus somad (Sherpa, Nepal) cheese that is old and smelly calimocho (Spanish) combination of Coca-Cola and red wine marilopotes (Ancient Greek) a gulper of coal dust
Whistling On the tiny mountainous Canary Island of La Gomera there is a language called Silbo Gomero that uses a variety of whistles instead of words; (in Spanish silbar means to whistle). There are four ‘vowels’ and four ‘con sonants’, which can be strung together to form more than four thousand ‘words’. This bird like means of communication is thought to have come over with early African settlers over 2500 years ago. Able to be heard at distances up to two miles, silbadors were until recently a dying breed. Since 1999, however, Silbo has been a required language in La Gomera schools. The Mazateco Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico are frequently seen whistling back and forth, exchanging greetings or buying and selling goods with no risk of misunderstanding. The whistling is not really a language or even a code; it simply uses the rhythms and pitch of ordinary speech without the words. Issue one
Coming up in
Michael Bublé February 26 The Canadian super crooner, Michael Bublé, will perform at the music venue Forum Copenhagen. Michael has established himself as one of the largest and most recognized singing talent in recent times and is often compared to legends like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Where: Forum Copenhagen, Julius Thomsens Plads Tickets: http://www.billetlugen.dk/
It is important to be at the right place at the right time and while Copen hagen is most assuredly a very happening WOW city and always the right place and time, we’ve prepared a list of awesome musical events coming up soon so you don’t miss a thing.
Go deep – Go Purple 11 February Experience one of rock music’s legend ary bands in Copenhagen. They’ve been around since the late ‘60s and are still going strong. If you haven’t seen them yet, or simply want to see them again because they are awesome, now’s your chance. Where: Falconer Allé 9, Frederiksberg Tickets: www.billetnet.dk
WOW Power to the people
30 Seconds to Mars 21 February Last time Thirty Seconds to Mars was in Copen hagen the band visited the Tivoli Gardens where they gave a concert in front of 17,000 fans. They’re returning to Copenhagen and will give a concert at Falconer Salen in Frederiksberg. The progressive rock band just released their fourth album Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams, which debuted in the top ten in 15 countries. Where: Falconer Allé 9, Frederiksberg Tickets: www.billetlugen.dk/musik
OneRepublic March 12 In March, the American band, OneRepublic, plays concert at Falconer Salen in the Copenhagen area, Frederiksberg. Since their debut in 2007, OneRepublic has made a large number of hits like Counting Stars, Stop and Stare, Apologize, All the Right Moves, Good Life and Secrets. Were: Falconer Allé 9, Frederiksberg Tickets: www.billetnet.dk
All you need is love … 15 March Relive the good old Beatles days with a grand Beatles show at the Falconer Salen in Copenhagen. “All you need is love” is a music biography about the life of the most famous band of all time. Certainly, it’s not the original mop heads but they’re the no less excellent quartet “Twist & Shout”. They’re so excellent in fact, that they can get you to believe that John, Paul, George and Ringo are actually performing live, giving the real Beatles feeling as soon as they step on stage. Where: Falconer Allé 9, Frederiksberg Tickets: www.billetlugen.dk
Back street’s back, ALRIGHT! March 15 The popular band of the 90s, Backstreet Boys, returns to Copenhagen and will give a concert at the music venue Forum Copenhagen in Frederiksberg. Last time the group visited Denmark was in 2011 where they toured with New Kids on the Block. This year, the Backstreet Boys celebrate their 20th anniversary, and now the superstars are ready for a new world tour with their eighth album In a World Like This. Where: Julius Thomsens Plads 1, Frederiksberg Tickets: www.forumcopenhagen.dk or www.billetlugen.dk
Is your heart set on Dixie? March 20 For the first time, the American country band Dixie Chicks is visiting Denmark. The Dixie Chicks are from Dallas, Texas and are known for songs like Wide Open Spaces, Cowboy Take Me Away and Long Time Gone. They’ve won a total of 13 Grammy Awards and in 2010, the band toured with the Eagles in the US. Where: Falconer Allé 9, Frederiksberg Tickets: http://www.billetnet.dk/
Connan Mockasin March 15 Brace yourself for a flamboyant night out with the New Zealand-born pop boy wonder and noted dolphin lover, Connan Mockasin. With his charismatic hair, distinctive croon and laid-back, psychedelic songs, he resembles American weirdo Ariel Pink. However, don’t be fooled–Connan is like no other. The album ‘Caramel’ is a fascinating dive into Connan’s own surreal world, where innocence meets sultry in a Twin Peaks inspired universe. Disturbing—maybe—but undeniably charming too! This eccentric gentleman will play at Bremen Theatre, a place previously owned by Copenhagen’s flamboyant Simon Spies. If that isn’t a match then we don’t know what is. Where: Bremen Theatre, Nyropsgade 39 Tickets: www.billetlugen.dk
Katie Melua March 30 Katie Melua celebrates her 10th anniversary with a tour and for the first time plays an acoustic version of her greatest hits. In September, Katie Melua released her sixth album, Ketevan. The album contains a variety of romantic and melancholic songs with a jazzy and retro-inspired expression that clearly shows how Katie has evolved over the last decade. Where: Koncerthuset, Emil Holms Kanal 20 Tickets: www.billetlugen.dk
Also coming up in Copenhagen: May 6 – Justin Timberlake / May 13 – Nine Inch Nails / May 28 – Cliff Richard June 4 Miley Cyrus / June 11-13 Copenhell Metal Festival / June 17 – John Mayer / July 8 – Dolly Parton Is London more your scene? Here are a few examples of what’s coming up in London March 14 – Franz Ferdinand / April 1 – Justin Timberlake / May 6 – Miley Cyrus / June 6 and 8 – One Direction
WOW summer cities Photos: Photos.com
Plan your summer After a long winter it’s nice to know that you can get the recommended dose of vitamin D next summer. Just book a flight to Alicante and Barcelona and buy that bikini you’ve always wanted. These WOW summer cities are ready when you are.
Just imagine all the relaxing, sunbathing and fun at the beach—you can almost feel the warm sun on your skin.
Family friendly Alicante Just imagine all the relaxing, sunbathing and fun at the beach—you can almost feel the warm sun on your skin. And if you need a more vertical excitement don’t worry. It’s all there. Run up the hill to Santa Barbara and enjoy the view, visit the Church of Santa Maria, stroll down the Alicante Harbor or investigate the modern sculptures in Collecia Capa. The food in Alicante is sublime. Just try some of the famous rice dishes, there are hundreds of them. And don‘t forget Alicante is a paradise for golfers. This is the perfect vacation spot for the whole family. With beaches, theme parks and play areas in abundance, children of all ages are sure to have fun. You can go to Alicante as early as April and all through next summer. See the flight schedule and book your tickets on www.wow.is or www.wowair.com.
WOW Power to the people
Beautiful Barcelona Sangrias, tapas and some pretty interesting architect ure, what more could you wish for? Barcelona has it all, and it just happens to be warm and sunny too. There’s an incredible array of things to do and see in the Cata lan Capital. Try the waterparks or jog to the top of the hills surrounding the city. The view is breathtaking. In the unlikely event that you get your fill of the city you can make a day trip to some of the small villages in the area. Sitges and Cadaqués are recommended. WOW air flights to Barcelona are available from May. See the flight schedule and other fun and interesting things about the city on www.wow.is or www.wowair.com
There’s an incredible array of things to do and see in the Catalan Capital.
Safe in Iceland
by GVH Photos: Photos.com and courtesy of The Icelandic Association for Search & Rescue
If you’re going to Iceland (and even if you live here) you need to be careful. We want you to be safe so you can come back again and again.
Common sense Let’s start with common sense. You know what they say about common sense right; that it’s not so common and as a result countless travelers have had to be saved from dire circumstances that they needn’t have to be in. Driving in Iceland, in any city or within town limits is usually safe except in extreme weather. However, as soon as you leave the urban area the roads can be dangerous especially during the winter. This is Iceland after all and the roads get … well icy. We also have wind, snow, darkness and rain to make it even more difficult and dangerous to drive during winter. If you are going to venture outside the city limits please make sure you have a proper vehicle, preferably a four wheel drive, with good snow tires— or hire a professional. Even during the summer driving too fast (or too slow) on the Ring Road can be dangerous; the road is rather narrow and has a speed limit of 90 km an hour, sometimes even less due to maintenance.
Plan ahead Now you’ve got the vehicle all fueled up and are heading for the wilderness. Did you check the weather? Did you check if the roads are open? Did
WOW Power to the people
To be safe in Iceland all you need is common sense, a good plan and to let someone know you’re here. Sounds easy right?
you remember to pack food? If the answer to any of these questions is a “no” you need to rethink your plan. Iceland might not be big but it seems pretty big if you get lost. Even if your car is a four wheel drive you can’t assume that you’ll be able to venture into just any road you see on your map. Many roads are closed during the winter and others close suddenly if the weather is bad. Some roads are only accessible to SUV’s or super jeeps the whole year round! The rule of thumb is that the more digits there are in the road’s number the more likely it is to be inaccessible. And if the road has an F in front of its number you should only take it if you are an experienced driver and happen to be driving a well-equipped SUV; yes even during the summer time.
Also the chances of finding little shops, open gas stations and open restaurants in the long stretches of wilderness, slim down considerably during the winter but even in the summer many travelers have been caught without food in the Icelandic highlands trying to find a convenience store. Good luck with that.
Is there anybody out there? To plan a successful trip you need to let some one know you‘re out there. We mean other than your friends and family back home. Well think about it, if no one knows you’re here who will know if you get To plan a lost? Fortunately the successful trip Icelandic Association you need to let for Search & Rescue someone know (SAR) has the solution. you‘re out there. Go to www.safetravel. We mean other is and leave your travel than your friends plan with them. They and family back also have a free app for download which allows home. anyone to call them, send an SOS message with a location and, when everything is going good, leave a trail of locations so that if anything happens later the SAR rescue teams knows where you were last and have a parameter to work with. Also important: Whatever you do, NEVER venture onto a glacier by yourself! Not even if you’ve let someone know.
The Icelandic Association for Search & Rescue * Almost every member of the SAR rescue teams is a volunteer. * SAR runs mainly on donations. * SAR has around 100 rescue teams all over Iceland. * Every day of the year about 4,000 volunteers are ready to gear up day or night. SAR wants you out of here alive and so do we. Read up on safety in Iceland and download the 112 app on www.safetravel.is.
Blikavellir 3 // Keflavík Airport // Tel: 773 7070 // firstname.lastname@example.org // www.bluecarrental.is
We also offer luggage storage at our office Issue one
Few passengers careering between tube stations know there’s an underground city beneath London. We sent our UK correspondent, Cindy-Lou Dale, to investigate.
London by Cindy Lou-Dale
long the entire 255 mile underground track, some forty underground stations have fallen into dis use. Several remain almost intact, trapped in a sooty time capsule of the era when they were closed. Aldwych, for example, is at the end of a disused railway siding right in the heart of London, Down Street is where Churchill held several WW2 cabinet meetings and there’s Brompton Road which was used as a WW2 anti-aircraft command center; military maps can still be found on their underground walls today. During the Second World War the platform levels of St. Mary’s (White chapel Road) were bricked up and used as an air raid shelters. Rooms were created by bricking up the plat form which is still accessible via an entrance at surface level.
Tunneling forward An innumerable number of docu ments need to be studied before any development can take place in the city as a detailed map of the tunnels and the capital’s subterranean inn ards does not exist. In the 19th century, digging under water deep level tunnels was hazar dous. Numerous attempts to cross the Thames going underground, failed with many lives lost. Today, the East London Line uses the Brunel Thames Tunnel, the first successful under Thames crossing. When steam traction was exchang ed for electricity, deeper tunnels could be dug, using compressed air and a large circular drilling shield, which were then lined with cast iron rings. Tunnels were speedily mined and many stations were built on each of the lines created, most of which are still in use today.
The cut-and-cover stretch of line shared by the Metropolitan & District Line between Paddington and Bays water predates electrification. The steam locomotives that historically served those lines needed to surface periodically to vent off steam and smoke. So, when riding this line, you may spot flashes of daylight because when developing this stretch of the
During the Second World War the plat form levels of St. Mary’s (Whitechapel Road) were bricked up and used as an air raid shelters. line it became necessary to demolish numbers 23 and 24 Leinster Gard ens; part of an upmarket street of terraced houses. This demolition would form a break in the uniform row of homes and was met with council resistance. So it was decided to build a facade which matched the houses on either side of the break and use the gap behind the facade as a steam venting point. The illusion is quite effective; the painted windows and doors have an identical appearance to the sur rounding buildings.
Secret passages? The abandoned tunnels and pass ageways on London’s underground
WOW Power to the people
The invention of the passenger escalator was one of the inno vations that made deep level under ground stations possible.
shafts and their access tunnels abandoned. Many such lift shafts and tunnels can still be found at Shepherd’s Bush station on the Central Line, St. Paul’s or South Kensington’s Picca dilly Line, for example.
In times of war network on the whole, do not lead off to secret government laborator ies nor are there secret passage ways to Buckingham Palace or the Houses of Commons. However, many of the underground tunnels are remnants of the early days of the stations. Vauxhall Cross is a fictitious station in the James Bond film ‘Die Another Day’ and Broadcasting House does not have a secret platform on the Bakerloo Line for the BBC. When the underground network was first devised and built, esca lators had not yet been invented. As such, access to all the deeper stations could only be made with elevators. The invention of the passenger escalator was one of the innovations that made deep level underground stations possible. In fact, almost all the deep level stations on the Central, Piccadilly and Northern lines were originally built for access via elevator, with a spiral emergency staircase built in a secondary smaller vertical shaft. As the use of the stations increased and escalators became more widely available, most of the busy stations were converted for escalator use. This left the lift
As Northern Line congestion in creased in the ‘30s, a plan was developed to build a second tunnel that would act as an express route beneath the existing Waterloo branch of the Northern Line. These plans were shelved at the outset of WW2; instead work began in 1940 on building deep level bomb shelters. In fact, ten shelters accommodating some 8,000 bunk beds were built. However, several were reassigned to the military as General Eisenhower used the Goodge Street Tunnel as the HQ
of America’s wartime operations in Europe. During the 1930s three subterrane an civil defense strongholds were installed in north London and ‘the hole in the ground’ was excavated under the Treasury in Westminster to provide secure space for top politicians and civil servants. Four subterranean fortresses were built more recently beneath central London to house vital government activities in event of nuclear war. The northern section of Kingsway Tram Tunnel has been equipped as an emergency control center should London be faced with a major disaster. Although Tower Subway was not strictly part of the underground system, it was the world’s first underground railway. Constructed using the circular drilling shield, it housed a single carriage, which was cable operated and used as a shuttle service between the two banks of the Thames. Apart from being used as an air raid shelter during the Second World War, Aldwych tube station also stored priceless art pieces from the British Museum. Today Aldwych is being maintained by London Underground mainly as a museum piece and film set. The ticket hall is frequently hired out for art exhibitions, book launches and private parties.
Get down in London WOW air flies to London 13 times a week, all year round.
of the Underground Sightings of ghosts and strange exper iences have always formed part of Tube legends. It’s not surprising given that the railway is nearly 150 years old and more than 255 miles long; much of it in dark tunnels and along routes that pass near or under sites that mark significant events in London’s history. Allegedly, there are passengers who appear and disappear, tales of strange reflections and reports of folk who feel they’re not entirely alone, even though there is no one else in the vicinity. A 15-strong TV crew recently looked into reports of the supernatural beneath the lively West End at Ald wych, one of London’s disused sta tions, where it is said to be haunted by an actress from the old Royal Strand Theater which stood above the station. At Elephant and Castle Station, there have been reported sightings of a pretty girl who walks the length of the last train, only to disappear before she gets to the front. At Covent Garden a tall man in a frock coat and a top hat has been spotted on the platform for the past 50 years. The figure is said to be actor William Terris, murdered near the Adelphi Theater at Christmas 1897. Before the British Museum station closed in 1933, the ghost of an anci ent Egyptian dressed in a loincloth and headdress would appear late at night. This tale took a stranger turn when the black and white thriller, Bulldog Jack, was made in 1935. It included a secret tunnel from the station to the Egyptian room at the Museum. But on the same night the film was released, two women disappeared from the platform at Holborn, the next station along from the British Museum. Unusual markings were later found on the walls of the closed station and more sightings of the ghost were reported. Hat maker Anne Naylor was murd ered at Farringdon Station in 1758 by her boss and his daughter. Some claim to still hear her screams on the platform. People living close to Highgate Station still claim to hear eerie sounds from an abandoned wartime cutting. There have been reported sightings of a train screeching through South Kensington Underground Station with an ear-piercing whistle and a guard hanging off the side. But it disappears into the tunnel, never to be seen again Insider London offers excellent historic London Underground tours www.insider-london.co.uk.
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confectionery explained “Toraya is one of the oldest makers of traditional confectionery in Japan. They’ve been supplying confectionery to the Japanese imperial family since the 16th century – and still do,” says our UK correspondent, Cindy-Lou Dale, who recently visited their Parisian tea room.
aris’s seductive charms are legendary, and for good reason: inviting sidewalk cafés, gleaming boutiques, world-class museums and a fabled restaurant scene all go to making Paris the runway model of European cities— beautiful, fashionable, confident, inspiring envy at every turn. Paris is the kind of place where you’re certain to find a window you’ll want to look through, a cafe you’ll want to get to know, and views you’d like to call your own. Froggy, my Parisian friend and tea room guide, was waiting for me on the storied street of Rue StFlorentin, off Place de la Concorde, an area of exquisite history, cream facades, chiselled stonework and intricate wrought iron balconies. Froggy guided me to a nearby cozily seductive bistro for a coffee and croissant where we settled down and waited for the city borne of romance to awaken.
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“Toraya,” Froggy announced, “is like most Parisian tea rooms. It’s understated with an elegant ambi ence; exotic even. But that’s where the similarity ends. The interiors are what one would expect from a high-end jeweller, complete with glass fronted display cabinets. But instead of exhibiting priceless jewels, they have cake art on view.”
Cakes like jewels We were guided to our table where a profusion of ornate and brightly colored mini cakes were presented to us on square slate plates. “This,” our hostess pointed at two small bowls, “is the recommended tea to enjoy with Japanese pastry – wagashi. The beverage, matcha, is a sparkling and frothy whipped green tea that’s slight bitterness offsets the delicate sweetness of the wagashi.” I introduced a little matcha to my lips while she proceeded to explain the origins of wagashi, which dates back to when cakes and dumplings were made of rice and millet. Their small shapes and vivid colors are supposedly inspired by the four distinctive seasons in Japan, the Japanese way of life, the arts and other aspects of the Japanese cult ure. “They are made largely from fiber rich beans and grains that are staples of a traditional Japanese diet like the delicate red or white azuki beans. Usually they are cooked into a paste called ‘an’ and used in a range of confections.” “Kanten,” she continued, “is a fibrous gelatine made from seaweed used mostly in jellied confectioneries such as yokan. Our fragrant sugar cane is unique too. Wasambonto is super refined, almost a powder and
comes from the island of Shikoku. We also use a variety of rice and corn flours. All of these ingredients go into the painstaking creation of the most exquisite, most delicate taste experience your palette is likely to have.” Our hostess led us to the cake cabinet. “This one is To-Zakura and depicts spring,” she said, pointing out a truffle decorated in white and pink, representing the cherry tree blossoms in Japan. And this is the good omen of Usagi-Man the adorable miniature snow white rabbit. That one over there is Kozue no aki which pays homage to the three colors of maple foliage in autumn.”
stood before a fan-shaped piece of translucent crystal, beautifully flecked with white and red down each fan fold. It glistened like a precious jewel. It could well have been a paper weight. “That one is Hana-ogi celebrating the Festival of Stars.” We moved along and came to a bright yellow flower. “This is Natsu Goku, the valiant chrysanthemum which flowers under the bright sun at the beginning of the summer.” I inspect ed it closely; it looked like a piece of glass art but was made of rice semolina, and the paste of white azuki bean.
Tasteful art Back at the table I stopped listening after tasting my first mouthful. Japanese style cakes have a light, melt in your mouth texture and also contain considerably less sugar than American style cakes. In fact I’m certain I’ll now find western cak es far too sweet! Sweetness aside, wagashi appeals to much more than just taste. The shapes and designs are prepared with unparalleled craftsmanship producing a cake that is as much a work of art as it is an indulgent food. Then there’s the delicate fragrance that enhances the confectionary without overwhelming the flavor of the tea served beside it. To my mind, even the lyrical names of the confections resonate with poetic beauty: The buds of namagashi; cherry blossom wafers of monaka; steamed buns of manju. Not forgetting the teas: gyokuro, a glorious tepid green tea and
sencha; genmaicha, a green tea with roasted rice; soba-cha infused with seeds and buckwheat and of course matcha, now my personal favourite.
Trip to heaven With time to spare, Froggy and I elected to walk off the cake, en route to our next tea room visit. We stopped off at a cozy looking sidewalk cafe for me to go over my notes. Nat King Cole spilled out of an open window of an upstairs apartment across the street. Pools of warm light gave tantalizing glimpses of the apartment’s walls which were lined with books and decorative antiques. A woman in a mink coat was encouraging her white poodle to leave a doodoo on the sidewalk while love-struck teenagers kissed in a doorway. It was all so romantic and intrinsically Paris. Froggy and I entered the tea universe of Mariage Frèses on rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore. “They’re a specialist Parisian tea shop with more than 600 tea varieties,” Froggy claimed, “and they date back to the mid 1800’s.” I ordered a citrus fruit iced tea and a delicate slice of Mariage Frèses Opera Matcha. “Marco Polo is our most popular tea,” said Philippe Cohen-Tanugi, Mariage Frèses CEO. “But our most exclusive is the Sacred Tea from Nepal.” He drew in his breath, warm ing to the tale about to be told. “There’s a small monastery in Nepal that has only three tea bus hes in its garden. These bushes are harvested once a year with a pair of golden scissors and produce only 5kg of white tea. This sells for €68 per 20g tin. I believe the last emperor of China used to drink this tea.” “Who would pay that kind of money for tea these days?” I asked. Philippe smiled, elegantly twirling his hand at the mere thought of a potential indiscretion. “… No this, I cannot say,” he whispered hoarsely. “But I can divulge who some of our more famous clients are,” he gazed at me confidently. “One’s who would not mind me telling you this.” He cleared his throat. “There is the beautiful Mademoiselle Charlize Theron, Madonna, Naomi Camp bell, Reese Witherspoon, Claudia Schiffer, Bill Clinton, Johnny Depp, Barbara Andres, Dita Von Teese …” He drew in a deep breath and Issue one
“I’m in heaven,” I exclaimed. “My editor would kill me if I did not return with this recipe.” continued, “then there’s basket ball’s Anthony Johnson of the Orlando Magic team. We also have world famous politicians and designers as clients but they, I think, would prefer me to exercise my discretion.” Satisfied with these names, I now turned my focus to the Mariage Frères Opera Matcha cake pres ented to me earlier and spooned a soft mound into my mouth. After a moment of startled delight I began emitting a series of involuntary rapturous sounds of intensity suffi
cient to summon stares from across the room, but I could not bring myself to care. “I’m in heaven,” I exclaimed. “My editor would kill me if I did not return with this recipe.” Philippe clicked his thumb and middle finger summoning a waiter from across the room. He asked that Frank Desains, their culinary designer, join us. This is the recipe he divulged. “Recreating the Mariage Frères Opera Matcha cake is simple really,” Frank announced. “It’s a dark chocolate sauce, a white chocolate sauce and a tea syrup that is layered through an Italian sponge cake:
ou start by making the chocolate ganache: heat 30 cl cream, 30 cl sugar and 15 g trimoline in a saucepan to just before boiling point. Break up 90 g chocolate and put in a large bowl, now pour the hot cream/sugar mix over it. Stir the mixture and
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incorporate 15 g of butter a little at a time. Keep this in the refrigerator. Next make the mousse au matcha by heating 60 g of heavy whipping cream to just before boiling, then pour it over 80 g of white chocolate that you’ve broken into pieces in a large bowl. Add 12 g of Matcha Uji Tea Powder and mix well. Fold in 6 g of gelatin that’s been soaked in cold water, and then fold in the cream. Now make the matcha syrup by adding 300 g of sugar to 20 cl of water. Bring to boil, add the Matcha Uji Tea and remove from heat. Make the chocolate syrup in the same way – add 10 g of cocoa powder in the boiling syrup which is made up of 50 cl sugar and 50 cl water. Cut a sponge cake into three horizontal layers, and place one
at the bottom of a springform pan. Soak it with some matcha syrup and then spread on a layer of mousse au matcha. Add the second layer of sponge cake and soak the cake with some of the chocolate syrup. Spread on the dark chocolate ganache that has cooled to room temperature. Finally, add the last layer of cake soaked in matcha syrup, and then cover it with the mousse au matcha. Once assembled, you can either sprinkle white chocolate powder on top of the cake or confectioners’ sugar, or spread out a thin layer of melted white chocolate. Unhinge the pan and transfer the cake to a serving plate and serve chilled.
On my way back to London I came to the conclusion that it’s time someone pen a letter to President Hollande and tell him that Paris’ ruinously expensive sidewalk cafes in no way measure up to the city’s understated tea rooms and that serious consideration should be given to re-educating all of Paris’s pastry chefs in the art of wagashi.
Sweeten up Paris WOW air flies to Paris three times a week during the winter and spring and every day starting next June.
A tea room trip to Paris Toraya 10 Rue Saint-Florentin, 75001 Paris Ph +33-1-42601300 www.toraya-group.co.jp/paris Mariage Frèses 250 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris Ph +33-1-43466000 www.mariagefreres.com I overnighted at the elegant Hotel Saint Paul, a small and privately own ed Grande Dame dating back to the 17th century found in Paris’s Latin Quarter. The decor is exactly what you’d expect from a chic Parisian hotel but their affordable rates came as a pleasant surprise, as too does their adorable resident cat, Sputnik. Check their website for specials. Hotel Saint-Paul 43 Rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006 Paris www.hotelsaintpaulparis.com
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 â€œ101â€? 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.
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Checkpoint Charlie It was about when the Berlin Wall went up that East Germany started producing Trabant cars, the automotive joke of the Cold War. We sent our intrepid UK correspondent, Cindy-Lou Dale, to the once-divided city to road test a surviving Trabant Cabriole. by Cindy Lou-Dale
sufficient material to build a car. It may not have faired too well in crash tests but actually proved to be superior to some modern-day hatchbacks. Although this two cylinder, two-stroke motor, with only five moving parts, spews out more clouds of CO2 than a jet liner (and sounds as if it belongs in a barn), it’s the first car with a body made entirely of recycled material. Eicke took me into the eastern part of the formerly divided capital, by driving by the Gendarmenmarkt, Palace Square and Alexander Square. We spluttered along Although this two cylinder, two-stroke Karl-Marx-Allee to the trendy motor, with only five moving parts, spews Friedrichshain, past the East Side Gallery to Red Townhall. out more clouds of CO2 than a jet liner, it’s the first car with a body made entirely From there we continued to Berlin Cathedral and Museum of recycled material. Island, via Ebertstrasse, past the Memorial dedicated to the kindly and deferential guide from Murdered Jews of Europe, pressing Trabi-Safaris behind the wheel. on to the city’s most famous land “The life expectancy of a Trabi mark – the Brandenburg Gate– a was around 28 years,” Eicke monument comprising of Athen claimed. “This baby is a modest ian-like stone columns topped by performing Trabant 601, built around 1967 and is one of the faster models. a statue of the goddess Victoria driving a chariot of four horses tow It takes 21seconds to reach 60 miles ards the city center. We parked here per hour and her top speed is about for a while watching a free spirited 75,” he announced proudly, whilst individual prancing between the lunging unexpectedly down a sidecolumns in his fairy costume until street. The features of the Trabant (which we were encouraged by the local constabulary to move along. was in production without any significant changes for nearly 30 years) that most impressed East Germans was that it had room for four adults, a little luggage and was light and hard-wearing. Additionally it could be delivered within a few short years of placing the order! Its styling was very simple, its interior frugal, and its body was made entirely from Duraplast, a plastic resin containing wool or cotton which East Germany considered hile Saabs were born from jets and Jaguars were born to perform, Trabants were born out of desperation. From 1957 to 1991 as West Germany made BMWs, Porsches and Merc edes-Benzes, East Germany took the road less travelled in vehicl es manufactured of plastic and a 26-horsepowered 2-stroke engine. As fortune had it I found myself folded into the backseat of a Trab ant convertible, being propelled along Ebertstrasse with Eicke, my
We continued through the govern ment district, past the imposing Reichstag and the Federal Chanc ellery into hip Scheunenviertel with the golden domed New Synagogue on Scheimannstrasse. We valiantly coughed our way along Dirksen strasse, each mile taking us further away from the internet cafes, de signer stores and the usual tourist haunts. Eventually the city gave way to grey apartment blocks and essentially local traffic. On Heinrich Heinestrasse, Eicke pointed out a dilapidated building about ready for the wrecking ball. He claimed it to be a notorious nighttime haunt frequented by the city’s darker side. I quietly wondered if it had ever been willingly visited by an outsider.
Trabi talks Eicke and I spoke at length about Trabant’s. In 1991 when nearly 4,000,000 Trabant’s had been built, production stopped. The factory where they were produced in Zwic kau is now a car museum. We stopped off at the Trabi-Saf ari office so I could take a few photographs of their fleet. Stepping into the warehouse charged me with an unfocused electric buzz of energy. It felt as if I had uncovered a squadron of Cold War era time machines.
urban site before him – gleaming new architecture standing side by side with relics from the past. “The history of Berlin will deter mine its future more than in other cities; something new will always follow,” he observed thoughtfully.
Evidently my admiration was etched on my face as Eicke enquir ed if I would like to take custody of the steering wheel. He ran through the series of temperamental quirks in getting the world’s simplest car going: turn the fuel tap to A, pull out the choke, step on the acceler ator, start the engine, depress the clutch, put it into first gear, then slowly release the clutch pedal. It
What to see: Berlin is nine times larger than Paris – 891.82 square kilometers (556 square miles) in all and one of Europe’s top three destinations with 175 museums, three opera houses, eight major symphony orchestras and 130 theaters. Berlin is truly a rare place steeped in ancient history; a city you’ll need to explore thrice over; the first tour should be on a tour bus so you can be driven around with your mouth hanging open, the second you should do on a hop-on hop-off bus and your final tour should be with a Trabi-Safari guide who will overdose you on the city’s remarkable history. Visit the Berlin Tourism Office website for the latest happenings and special offers at www.visitberlin.de or www.berlin-tourist-information.de If nothing else, you must partake in the chilling Third Reich Tour offered by New Berlin Tours; visit the site of Hitler’s bunker, the Nazi Air Force HQ, the SS and Gestapo HQ and see the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Try www.newberlintours.com. You also might like to visit the Kennedy Museum which is in the square opposite the Brandenburg Gate www.thekennedys.de. Book your Trabi-Safaris tour via their website www.trabi-safari.de or call them on 01-1-49-30-27592273. Rates start at $30 per person.
Where to eat: A block from where the Berlin Wall once stood is Fassbender & Rausch, a heav enly chocolate shop with a renowned chocolate restaurant on the floor above where the likes of Clint Eastwood prefer to dine. Austrian born Executive Chef, Walden Markus, continually re-creates his delectable menu which currently includes gastronomic wonders such as smoked garlic soup, chocolate, potato dumplings with ground cocoa beans, sole fillets roasted in cocoa butter, and saddle of venison basted in chocolate. “Chocolate, she is not only sweet,” Chef Walden explained, “chocolate is like a beautiful woman, she can be soft and subtle, rich and aromatic, or tart, providing you with taste tensions that you’ll need to experience again and again.” Fassbender & Rausch Chocolate Restaurant, Charlottenstrasse 60, 10117-Berlin, Tel 01-1-30-20458443 – Call for reservations. Website: fassbender-rausch.com Email: email@example.com
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took a moment before the little car gathered the energy required to inch forward. Initially the movement was glacially slow and I found it difficult to find a gear I particularly desired on the column shift. Then a smoky bang from the exhaust thrust us forward ten feet, paused and then with the aid of a fresh explosion took off with a velocity seldom seen outside a Road Runner cartoon. Shrieking hysterically we flew down Oraniestrasse like an Exorcist Mis sile, creating scenes reminiscent of the streets of Pamploma when the bulls are running. Motorists and pedestrians alike fled in terror be fore me as I inadvertently chased a flock of purple haired tourists off a zebra crossing. In an extremely agitated state Eicke urged me to pull over. “Meine Liebe Gott,” he gasped. “Well, they were jaywalking,” I observed helpfully. Eicke shot a final threatening scowl and suggested that perhaps he should drive.
Checking on history Checkpoint Charlie was our next stop; a former border crossing for the Allies, and icon of the Cold War with its small wooden guardhouse on the West side, a white borderline across the cobblestones, a guard tower and a much photographed sign warning in several languages that ‘You are now leaving the American sector.’ When the Wall went up, Charlie became the main area of international concern when several American tanks rolled onto the Soviet Sector and parked several yards inside East Berlin, facing off Soviet tanks. Kennedy visited Charlie on his famous Berlin trip and Charlie is where Reagan stuck his foot across the borderline, mocking the communists, daring them to shoot. This was also the border point where John Le Carré brought his spy in from the cold. To keep the dark days of the Cold War fresh in our minds, a manned reconstructed guardhouse remains. Eicke considered the historical
See the Berlin sights WOW air offers flight to Berlin three time a week during the winter and spring and five time a week starting next June.
TRABI’S ARE EVERYWHERE The rock group U2 used Trabant’s as props on their Zoo TV Tour, including several vehicles suspended from the ceilings of concert halls. These cars can also now be seen suspended from the ceiling at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. A feature film about the Trabant, Go Trabbi Go, is a comedy about an East German family making their way across Europe released shortly after reunification. In it, they highlight the performance gap between it and newer models, but regardless it was a film laced with admiration. A bright blue Trabi features in Good Bye Lenin!, the award-winning German film made in 2003 about the fall of the Wall. A scene in the movie Black Cat, White Cat by Emir Kusturica shows a Trabant being eaten slowly by pigs. This is referred to by the Serbian rock group Atheist Rap (Ateist Rep), which has a song named “Wartburg limuzina” in which they mention that pigs ate half their Trabant. They also have a separate song, “Blue Trabant”. In the 1996 Czech film Kolja, the protagonist is ecstatic at finally getting a Trabant. The American movie Spy Game (2001) features a car chase involving a Trabant being driven by the spy Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt), who is trying to smuggle an East German from East Berlin over to West Berlin. The name of the Czech band Trabant is an obvious pun, as is the name of Icelandic electro-rock band Trabant, and the Polish rock band Los Trabantos. The Trabant can also be seen several times in the videogame Half-Life 2 produced by Valve Corporation. The Trabant also appears in the videogame Interstate ‘82 as a secret car, the Stein PappKarton. According to the game, the PappKarton was made in an East German refrigerator factory. The German word Pappkarton translates to cardboard box. A long-running parody in the U.S. automotive magazine Car and Driver in the late 1980s (before the Berlin Wall opened) showed its competitor Motor Trend fawning over the Trabant and declaring it Car of the Year.
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Great materials When you visit Copenhagen, shopping should definitely be on your to-do list. Not many places can boast of having so many mid-priced shops with modern, high quality fashion. Danish design is a big part of this. By: Connie Westergaard Photos: Courtesy of visitcopenhagen.com
The edgy Danish fashion D
anish fashion is functional with an edge, cool, wearable and fast becoming inter nationally known. Ever heard of the term democratic fashion? Think Danish fashion and you are almost there. The term covers wearable and high quality clothes which are affordable to most. This rings true to most of Danish fashion which – like Danish design – is functional with an edge.
From classic to cutting edge Not only are Danish fashion design ers earning international recogni tion, Copenhagen is also home to Scandinavia’s largest fashion week. In fact, since the sixties, Danish fashion has developed into one of the most successful Danish export industries. Designers such as Mads Nør gaard, Rützou and DAY have been around since the 90’s, and to this day make wearable clothes of great materials. And new designers such as Henrik Vibskov, Stine Goya,
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Soulland, Wood Wood and Peter Jensen are all internationally re nowned for their more avant-garde and humorous take on fashion. Ranking among the top ten fas hion centers in the world and a cool no. 1 in Scandinavia, Denmark has gradually risen to a high level of fashion consciousness with the designers and shops to match. Copenhagen is great for shopp ing. Not only because of the variety of the shops, but because the city is compact and easy to navigate. Start your shopping trip in the inner city of Copenhagen. At one of the longest pedestrian streets, Strøget, you will find most of the big chain stores, and as you make your way to King’s Square (Kongens Nytorv) the shops get more exclusive – from Gucci to Louis Vuitton. The real gems, however, are found in the side streets. Try the small streets parallel to Strøget and Købmagergade. Here you will find both vintage, Danish designers such as Wood Wood, DAY, Malene
Birger and Henrik Vibskov, as well as small jewelry and ceramics shops. Streets outside the inner city that are worth checking are Istedgade, Gammel Kongevej, Elmegade, Jægersborggade and Østerbro gade. Enjoy, and remember your walking shoes.
Famous Danish designers Malene Birger Designers Remix Henrik Vibskov Day Birger et Mikkelsen Mads Nørgaard Wood Wood Stine Goya Baum und Pferdgarten Ivan Grundahl Bruuns Bazaar
Vintage and second hand You will find several vintage stores in Copenhagen. The vintage stores hand-pick the clothes and offer beautiful dresses from another
Photo: Tuala HjarnĂ¸.
Not only are Danish fashion designers earning international recognition, Copenhagen is also home to Scandinavia’s largest fashion week.
and a high concentration of vintage shops. This store, a cool boutique for both men and women’s wear – is funky with a focus on the 70’s and 80’s. Here you’ll find cool leather jackets, pumps, shirts, dresses, hand bags, hats, boots, scarves, raincoats and jewelry.
Atalier Décor Rømersgade 9
time and antique jewelery. Another second hand concept flourishes in the city; luxury second hand stores. Here you can buy second hand luxury clothes, which are only a couple of seasons old. Below is a selection of what we believe to be some of the best. And if you don‘t believe us, visit www.cphtreasures. com for a more comprehensive guide.
Carmen & Fantasio Larsbjørnsstræde 11
Carmen & Fantasio is one of Copen hagen’s oldest and best vintage shops. Located in Larsbjørnssstræde (nicknamed Pisserenden), the area is full of cool stores, a young crowd
The vintage shop Atelier Decor in Copenhagen is run by Lone Riis and has been operating for over 30 years. Vintage usually means a piece of clothing of good quality and with a unique design which makes it worth preserving. You can explore 100 years of fashion in Atelier Decor.
Devantier Vintage Hyskenstræde 14
Devantier Vintage is located in the heart of Copenhagen close to Strøget and Gråbrødre Square. Here is a large selection of vintage clothes, shoes and accessories. Devantier Vintage has a wide col- lection of vintage clothing from brands such as Cacharel, Dior and
Moschino. Everything in the store is carefully selected by owner Anna Devantier.
FN92 Vintage Larsbjoernstræde 6
Owner of FN92 Vintage, Pauli Tvill ing, collects only clothes of good quality and mostly from bygone decades. Some of the clothes have been redesigned. So expect lots of fine lace, brooches in all shades and shoes and hats worthy of a day at the derby.
shop in Østerbro selling second hand luxury goods. Here the focus is on fashionable brands. In the store, you will be able to find Chanel bags, Diane von Fursten berg dresses and Isabel Marant jackets as well as other high end brands all second hand. This is a place for great bargain. Besides clothes, you can find shoes and accessories.
Time’s up Krystalgade 4
Time’s Up is a vintage store in the middle of Copenhagen. Behind the store is a group of fashionistas who do their best to be one step ahead of current trends. The store is located in Krystalgade, and sells clothes, shoes and accessories by brands like YSL, Gucci, Versace and Chanel. It is also possible to purchase goods online at their website: www.timesupshop.com
Ive Lina Luxus Secondhand Nordre Frihavnsgade 10
Ive Lina Luxus Secondhand is a Photo: Tuala Hjarnø.
Shop ‘til you drop in Copenhagen WOW air flies to Copenhagen 10 time a week all year round.
Photo: Christian Alsing
Photo: Ty Stange.
Photo: Robert Thomason.
Photo: Slobodan Milankovic.
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Photo: Ty Stange.
Photo: Morten Bjarnhof.
All our rooms are large and comfortable. We offer everything from single rooms all the way up to rooms for families of six. The larger rooms have two seperate sleeping areas, perfect for families with children or to people looking to save money.
Great Value: Large and comfortable rooms Free pick up service at the aiport Breakfast is included Free shuttle service to airport
All rooms have private bathrooms Satellite TV Comfortable seating area Billiard room Free access to WI-FI Free parking Check-in available 24-7
Call us when your plane lands and we will pick you up at the airport. Tel. +354 426 5000. Gistihús Keflavíkur · Keflavíkurflugvelli · Valhallarbraut 761 · 235 Reykjanesbæ Sími 426 5000 · email@example.com · bbkeflavik.com
We only offer brand new cars from Toyota, regular family cars, 4x4 cars RAV 4 and Land Cruiser 150, that provide our customers with reliability and comfort as well as ensuring that their travels in Iceland will be as pleasurableas possible.
Great Value: All insurance included (SCDW, GP, TP) 10% Discount on rentals in July and Agust 25% Discount in May June and September FREE Airport Pickup/Dropoff NO prepayment on bookings Unlimited milage and discounts on Fuel Quality personal 24 hour service Discounts on hotels, sightseeing trips and more
Call us when your plane lands and we will pick you up at the airport. Tel. +354 552 1700. MyCar Rental Iceland · Keflavíkurflugvelli · Valhallarbraut 761 · 235 Reykjanesbæ Sími 552 1700 · firstname.lastname@example.org · www.mycar.is
be born under such a lucky star. Of course this means 1/12 of the whole human race is going to get lucky so don’t go buying a new car just yet. An old woman is stalking you. Perhaps you should visit your grandmother.
anyway? Virgos are known for trying to be trendsetters but it’s just not working for them. Follow the herd, please!
Capricorn 22 December - 19 January
Libra Cancer Aries 21 March - 19 April The Aries is packing a few holiday pounds and is very self-conscious these days. All your efforts in the gym have yet to pay off. Perhaps because you keep stuffing you face with choco late every chance you get. Hey, we’re not here to judge! An impromptu dinn er party will be your undoing later this month after which you decide to join a convent and spend three months in silence and solitude (the word decide must be emphasized as you don’t actually do it. It’s just what you tell everyone).
22 June - 22 July All your credit cards seem to be in some kind of mutiny against you and for reasons unknown to you they don’t work in any store. The stars have no explanation for this either so we recom mend visiting a witch to do a thorough cleanse on your wallet. Let your friends know how you really feel about them this month, regardless of how you really feel it will be worth it just to see the look on their face.
20 January - 18 February
Scorpio 23 July - 22 August
20 April - 20 May The Taurus doesn’t care about losing or gaining weight; the Taurus is “free -form”, or so you claim anytime some one pinches your belly. You never tell anyone that you are a gym member or that you actually show up to exercise. What a concept! After a good lone soak in your over sized bathtub, you get the courage to write that poem that’s been dancing around in your head for the last two months. Don’t show it to anyone just yet though!
They’re going to hear you ROAR but it’s not what you think. The lion also roars when it’s in trouble, and when it’s hungry or happy or excited or … the list goes on. Just make sure to ROAR and they will hear you. Later this month you will become victim of a practical joke that goes too far. We hope reading this will make you more careful so you can steer clear but if you stumble into this situation your best bet is to smile and wave no matter what.
All the Gemini of the world rejoice as they win a lottery of some sort or another. Now take a moment to consider just how blessed you are to
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You get fixated on your lips, especially the bottom lip and as you become more and more obsessed you chew on it making it a bit swollen and red. Try not to do this and it will all blow over in a week or two. Perhaps we shouldn’t have said anything ... An umbrella is a good idea if it rains but you’ll soon find out that it does not work well as a boat.
Pisces Sagittarius 22 November - 21 December
23 August - 22 September
21 May - 21 June
24 October - 21 November
Your job as a telephone operator is not going to fulfill you, no matter how much you love talking. When you get a new job opportunity you need to jump on it and hold on tight. Getting married is in these days but vow renewal is. If you want to get married just act like you already are and then invite your friends to the vow renewal party. Just don’t expect the gifts to be as lavish as if it were a wedding.
19 February - 20 March
A man in green boots will ask you a question in the coming weeks. Your answer will be “No” and that’s all we have to say about that; well except that this small interaction will change the course of history, but hey, no pressure! Make sure to carry lots of spare change with you in the next days, to pay the meter and such. It’s not written in the stars, it’s just a very smart thing to do.
23 September - 23 October
You just started a new job and you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. Acting like you’re a know-it-all will not improve this situation and makes your new colleagues think you are a real bore. Beware of the guys from the IT department; they will make you believe your computer is working just fine but as soon as they leave the room it’s just as useless as before. This is what’s known as IT humor. Make sure to laugh along when they tell you that.
Your shower was tepid this morning but still managed to steam up the mirror so you didn’t really see what you looked like before you went out the door. Don’t worry, no one is looking at your face, they are all too mesmerized by the clothes you threw on. What is that green velvety thing
You’ve been so good and one would think you should now reap what you sowed but unfortunately the world just doesn’t work that way. Your reward will be slightly better fitting clothes and a discount of fruits and vegetabl es at the supermarket. Don’t turn you noses up just yet. This will prove to be a big blessing for you as you can now continue to be “good.” Don’t go to the gym on a Friday afternoon, just … don’t!
A competitor for everyone’s love and attention has entered your home in the form of a lean mean robotic cleaning machine that now goes by your name as if this is some sort of a joke. You act like you love it but secretly you despise it and plan on its demise. Your significant other is a little stressed out these days, just bear with it and while the stars really have no idea hopefully it will all get better. Destroying the cleaning robot, though, will push your spouse over the edge. Disclaimer: This horoscope is total and utter nonsence. Any accuracies, real or imagined by readers, are purely incidental.
Your home in the north
GAMLI BISTRO & BAR
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?
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The Traveling Inquisition by Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photo: From private collection
“I don’t have a clue what’s going on here” Helgi Jean Claessen is the editor of www.menn.is, which is, according to him the most popular entertainment website for young people in Iceland. He’s also written a few books, which he says are short, but make up for it in entertainment value. Recently Helgi has been venturing into the world of stand-up comedy where he could possibly have a blossoming career ahead of him based on the hilarious sess ion we saw him perform recently. The Traveling Inquisition captured Helgi to see if he had some funny travel stories to share.
What is your most memorable travel experience? “It was in the Greek island of Crete. Because of some valid and less valid reasons I ran naked from a large pool party through a forest and to my hotel, only to find that I was locked out. I ended up climbing up to the balcony of my room, where I fell asleep on a blowup pool-mattress. Yes, alcohol was a part of this experience. Thank you for that, alcohol.” What is your favorite place abroad? “I want to sound cultured and well-traveled and say the Pyramids of Giza—and since no one knows if I have been there ... I’ll just say that. Such is the power of words!”
“Icelanders going to Copenhagen should seek to find a really wonderful little shopping street. I recommend writing the name down, it’s called Strøget.
Where would you like to go but haven’t yet been? “That would have to be to the Pyramids of Giza.”
We know you used to live in Copenhagen, any insider tips about the city you’d like to share with us? “Icelanders going to Copenhagen should seek to find a really wonderful little shopping street. I recommend writing the name down, it’s called Strøget. You’ll find an amazing store called H&M there that has something for everyone and a vast selection of tailor-made clothes at unbelievably low prices. One extra bonus of shopping there; it’s a place where you’re most likely to run into other Icelanders, which might be the grand highlight of an otherwise delightful trip to Copenhagen.”
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What do you recommend for visitors to Iceland? “Every time foreigners ask me about Iceland I realize that I don’t have a clue what’s going on here. That’s why I recommend that people go to YouTube and find videos of famous actors in chat shows. They’ve seen more of the country than I have.” Whether the famous film stars have actually seen more of Iceland than Helgi or not, we don’t know but we doubt they’ve climbed naked up to the balcony of any hotel and fallen asleep on an air mattress!
â€Ś for outdoor enthusiasts
Michelsen Arctic Explorer Designed for Icelandic weather, by Icelanders
Laugavegur 15 - 101 ReykjavĂk - Tel. 354 511 1900 - www.michelsenwatch.com
WORN OUT FOR CENTURIES We offer c lot h i n g & ot her mer c h a nd i s e t h at r em i nd s u s of go o d old Ic el a nd
– Visit our stores: 101 Reykjavík, Akureyri and Haukadal. www.geysir.com –
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