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e azin mag ISSUE SIX 2018

NORTHERN STAR Mads Mikkelsen filmed gripping survival saga Arctic in Iceland "The toughest thing I have ever done"

Plus: What to do in Iceland during the darkest months. YOUR FREE COPY -TA K E M E W I T H Y O U




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WOW Power to the people

The Lava Centre is situated at Hvolsvöllur on the South Coast of Iceland, surrounded by active volcanoes. It truly acts as the gateway to Iceland’s most active volcanic area. It’s a must-see for anyone wanting to get a better understanding of the incredible forces that have shaped Iceland. The Lava Centre just received two Red Dot Awards, which cement its position as a world class exhibition.

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Iceland Volcano & Earthquake Centre Austurvegur 14, Hvolsvöllur · South Iceland Issue six 3

Directly opposite of the geothermal area of the great Geysir & Strokkur

litli Geysir hotel Experience a wonderful stay with a front row seat to the unique Geysir area.

Geysir Glima restaurant – Coffee house with freshly ground coffee – Sweet ice creams & cakes – Traditional Icelandic meat soup – Fish soup & vegetarian soup – Local food WWW.GEYSIRGLIMA.IS


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Beautiful Nature & Fun activities

Elegant Restaurants • Design Shop • Hotel • Souvenir Shop • Soup Vegan Restaurant • Snack Shop • Camping Area



THE GEYSIR CENTER Directly opposite of the geothermal area of the great Geysir & Strokkur



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Pre-booking is required. Book online at

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WOW Power to the people

Issue six 9

A letter from the editor

In this issue

Power to the people – six 2018

12 A letter from the CEO 14 Experience is everything Check out these three recommended tours for your stay in Iceland. 18 Expedition into Lofthellir Ice Cave Lofthellir Ice Cave isn’t for claustrophobes. For the rest of us, it’s a unique adventure into a fascinating geological phenomenon. 22 The myths and legends of Iceland Iceland’s dark winters and barren landscape meant families tended to spend long evenings indoors telling each other stories to stave off sleep while they worked the wool by candlelight. 26 Romance in Reykjavik It’s the northernmost capital in the world and the middle of winter—arguably one of the most romantic times of the year in Iceland. 30 How your small change could make a big change Phenomenal nature is the top reason for visiting Iceland, but Icelandic nature is fragile and needs a little help.

Black Friday (and Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday …)


es, winter has obviously come and with it the darkness that turns every Friday into Black Friday without the fantastic discounts and offers. But fret not, we’ve put up some lights to celebrate the Holidays, and many of us leave them on until the days get, at least, a little longer. To put a brighter spin on things, there is romance and adventure to be found in all this darkness. The landscape is barren, and the twilight lasts for hours setting the imagination free. Dress warm, prepare some hot cocoa, check the weather forecast and get out there. For more ideas on how to enjoy the darkness check out articles on pages 26-28 and 44-46.





See you around! Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir WOW magazine editor-in-chief

On the cover


NORTHERN STAR Mads Mikkelsen filmed gripping survival saga Arctic in Iceland "The toughest thing I have ever done"

POWER TO THE PEOPLE – Issue six 2018

Plus: What to do in Iceland during the darkest months. YOUR FREE COPY -TA K E M E W I T H Y O U

We were pretty ecstatic to get Mads Mikkelsen to grace our cover, but we’re over the moon to have gotten such a perfect photo of this great, Danish actor. The photo was shot by one of the biggest names in fashion photography, New York-based photographer and fellow Dane, Kenneth Willardt, author of The Beauty Book and who’s worked for big fashion labels and publications such as Christian Dior, L’Oréal, Vanity Fair and Vogue to name only a few. Creative Director: Jakob F.S. Fashion Director: Vibe Dabelsteen Stylist: Julie Ragolia Set Designer: Reynaldo Davis Carter Hair: Wesley O'Meara Make up: MAKI

Attention advertisers! How would you like to see your company in our next issue? Contact our advertising representative and he’ll make it happen. He’s just that good!

WOW magazine staff Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Design and layout: Ivan Burkni - Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman Contributing writers: Shaun Busuttil, Anthony Adeane, Nanna Gunnars, Christopher Kanal, Einar Páll Svavarsson, Bogi Bjarnason, Einar KT Browne, Gerður Harðardóttir, Myla Twillie, Cindy-Lou Dale, Guðrún Baldvina Sævarsdóttir, Tom O’Connor, Caron Luteran, Oli Lynch, Alexandra Pereira, Evan Lewis and Svava Jónsdóttir


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34 34 Northern Star Fresh from winning the Creative Excellence Award at the Reykjavík International Film Festival and with new film Arctic, shot in Iceland, receiving critical acclaim, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is on top form. 40 The great Highland oasis Located in the Icelandic Highlands, Land­­ manna­laugar is full of fascinating natural wonders, including boiling hot springs, rare lava fields, geothermal activity, and unique geology.

WOW DESTINATIONS 86 LA’s Santa Monica Pier A perfect day at the pier might begin with a dip in the Pacific or sunbathing on Cali’s famed coastline. 88 From NYC to D.C. – A tale of four cities Whether you start in NYC or DC, you’re in for a good time if you take on this East Coast road trip. 92 The new heart and soul of Detroit Detroit’s resurgence is in full swing, and it shows. 96 Inspiration in Windy City America continues to surprise us with new, innovative, and downright awesome businesses. 98 Why Amsterdam is the best field trip ever! As it turns out, the canal metropolis is ideal for family travel and should be at the top of your list. India: Rajasthan rocks! In the Rajasthan region, independent and privately-owned hotel owners uplift their immediate communities and have savvy local guiding explorers around. This way, you get to see genuine village life without intruding— which is where the magic of travel truly lies. 104 The beautiful water world of Lake Como Lake Como is not only replete with picturesque scenery, but it allows for easy access to the grandeur of Switzerland and the Swiss Alps. With a stretch of 30 plus Italian lake towns, you are guaranteed a lovely lake view wherever you go.

44 The wild and wondrous wintertime Wintertime offers the curious visitor some unexpected, wondrous delights, and a more intimate, authentic view into the lives of Icelanders.

108 Finding your Christmas spirit in London Even if you’re more humbug than happy holid­ ays, the Christmas period in London offers some magical moments that even the hardest of hearts will find genuinely warming.

48 WOW entrepreneurs Lauf Forks has sprung from springs to fully assembled, off-road ready bikes that tackle gravel paths with technology born from a fortuitous marriage of opportunity and circumstance.

110 A guide to Copenhagen’s endless array of smørrebrød Take a dazzling, delicious (and maybe slightly schnapps-hazed) tour of Denmark’s national treasure: the open-faced sandwich.

50 The Christmas book flood Books and Christmas go hand in hand in Iceland.

112 You want more? Where do you want to go? Check out our other WOW destinations.

54 A WOW word of advice Check out the ultimate safety checklist for safe travel in Iceland. 72 The Vatnajokull Region Ice cave exploring is one of the more popular activities in the region during the winter season. 76 WOW design Creative, colorful and über-cool, Iglo+indi offers children’s clothes and accessories in a gorgeous color palette. 78 16 Tips for solo travelers Don’t let safety worries put you off traveling alone. 82 The U.S. Customs Declaration Form What is this? Why do I need to fill it out?

116 This and that …mainly this. 122 What’s going on? …quite a lot, actually. 126 WOW horoscope What’s in your future? WOW air’s famed astrologist has the answer. 128 Bored on board? Solve these Sudokus. 130 The Traveling Inquisition Musician ROKKY might have made it as a busker in Berlin, but her electronic dance songs are starting to get noticed as well.

P.S. Would you like your very own copy of WOW magazine? Take this one with you or contact us through and we’ll send you a printed copy. You can also check out WOW magazine online at

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BRING YOUR COSTCO CARD WITH YOU TO ICELAND! Costco Iceland opened in May 2017. Just like other Costco warehouses, Costco Iceland offers one of the largest and most exclusive product category selections to be found under one roof. Categories include groceries, confectionery, appliances, television and audio equipment, automotive supplies, tires, toys, hardware, sporting goods, jewellery, watches, cameras, books, housewares, apparel, health and beauty aids, furniture, office supplies and office equipment. The warehouse also has a self-service gas station.

Kauptun 3, 210 Gardabaer Phone: +354 532 5555 Email:

WAREHOUSE OPENING TIMES Monday - Friday: 10:00am to 9:00pm Saturday: 09:30am to 8:30pm Sunday: 10:00am to 6:00pm GAS STATION OPENING TIMES Monday - Friday: 07:00am to 10:00pm Saturday: 07:00am to 9.30pm Sunday: 07:00am to 7:00pm PHARMACY OPENING TIMES Monday - Friday: 11:00am to 7:00pm Sarurday: 10:00am to 6:00pm Sunday: 10:00am to 4:00pm

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A letter from the CEO

Another WOW Year! Many people have asked what inspired me to start an airline and while the airline industry is full of great entrepreneurs and colorful characters, the ones who have truly inspired me are some of the early aviation pioneers in Iceland. The men behind Loftleidir, who were incredibly entrepreneurial and resourceful in how they started and grew their company to become a market leader in transatlantic flights back in the 1960s. They pioneered the low-cost model and by using Iceland as a hub, were able to go up against much larger players successfully. Those early years in Icelandic aviation history were far from easy and this year has proven very challenging for many airlines. WOW air is no different, and we have had to make some very tough decisions on our fleet and network that has affected our entire company and our team. In some ways, we have had to take a step back to be able to take two steps forward in the future. This is never easy, however the WOW team has always been ready to do what it takes, and that is precisely what the WOW spirit is all about. I am incredibly proud of our team and what we have built together in the last seven years. We have repeatedly defied gravity as we pioneered the low-cost long-haul segment and competed against some of the largest and best airlines in the world. I am 100% committed to ensuring that the next phase in the WOW saga will succeed and that our team will continue to innovate and bring an excellent service to our guests at the best possible price. We have been, and will always be, committed to lowering fares wherever we go, and we look forward to continuing our mission to make air travel affordable for everyone as we enter a new year. Thank you for choosing WOW air and making the WOW dream a reality. I hope to see you aboard again soon. Sincerely, SkĂşli Mogensen Founder and CEO of WOW air


WOW Power to the people

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Experience is everything When visiting Iceland or any other destination it always helps to be prepared. Most travelers study up on the city or country they’ll be going to and decide what they want to see and do once they get there. Photos: and courtesy of respective tour operators


ooking your tours and activities in advance is a great way to ensure that you’ll get the best price and not miss out on popular tours. Through WOW air’s booking engine and websites, or directly through, you can now find some of the best tours in Iceland all at one place as well as multiple choices for other WOW destinations on both sides of the Atlantic. Here are three exciting tours and activities featured in Iceland this season.

1. THE WONDERS OF SNÆFELLSNES NATIONAL PARK The Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland is almost a miniature version of the island. In addition to its characteristic Snæfellsjökull Glacier, there are black sandy beaches, bird cliffs, spectacular mountains and volcanic craters. On this tour, you will, for example, stop at the small fishing village Arnarstapi, the ancient fishing village Hellnar, visit Djúpalónssandur Beach and pass by the iconic Mt. Kirkjufell. The stunning landscape of the peninsula has captured the imagination of people all over the world, ever since Jules Verne wrote his famous science fiction novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. Duration: 12 hours 30 minutes


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The stunning landscape of the peninsula has captured the imagination of people all over the world, ever since Jules Verne wrote his famous science fiction novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.

2. SÓLHEIMASANDUR QUAD TOUR This fantastic quad tour on South Iceland’s black lava sand dunes offers a visit to Dyrhólaey and Sólheimasandur where you’ll see the famous aircraft wreck! On this fun and adventurous excursion, you will experience different landscapes along the vast Icelandic flatland. To make the day even more special, you will stop at the magnificent Seljalandsfoss, which you can walk behind, and the powerful Skógafoss waterfall. Don’t forget to bring a valid driver’s license to ride the ATVs. Duration: 10 hours 30 minutes

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Enjoy relaxing at the Laugarvatn Fontana’s openair geothermal baths and reenergizing with delicatessen from the local style buffet.

3. WARM BATHS AND COOL LIGHTS With hopes of being enchanted with the magical Northern Lights later on in the evening, you enjoy relaxing at the Laugarvatn Fontana’s open-air geothermal baths and re-energizing with delicatessen from the local style buffet. After leaving Laugarvatn Fontana with a nourished body and a satisfied soul, this tour begins the hunt for a show of a lifetime, the experience of the Northern Lights dancing just for you. Duration: 7 hours


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Experience the amazing LangjĂśkull glacier from the inside A rare, once in a lifetime opportunity

k Ă­ v a j k y e R d n a r e t n e c l l e f a s Ăş H m o r f s Daily departure

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#intotheglacier Issue six 17


AN EXPEDITION INSIDE THE LOFTHELLIR ICE CAVE Dark underground passages, crawling through gaps in the rock, rope assisted icy accents, and wet bums—the Lofthellir Ice Cave isn’t for claustrophobes. For the rest of us, it’s a unique adventure into a fascinating geological phenomenon. by Shaun Busuttil

I’m not claustrophobic, I’m just a realist. From this angle, in this subdued light, I don’t see how I’ll fit through that small, narrow hole. But it’s the only way inside the ice cave proper, and, I’m told, it’s been done thousands of times before, and by much bigger men than me. Sure enough, after climbing up the jagged basalt and lying down on my stomach, I manage—only just—to pull myself through the rocky aperture with the help of a rope, emerging into an underground cathedral of ancient ice stalactites and stalagmites sculp­­tured over hundreds of years. I’m crawling inside the Lofthellir Ice Cave in Lake Mývatn, North Iceland, on a caving adventure through a permafrost ice cave within a lava tube. It’s a rare geological formation, to be sure, but not surprising in Iceland. Here, the two fundamental earthly elements of fire and water not only coexist and share dominance over the land but dance a geological tango, taking turns in forging a landscape at once dramatic, powerful and beautiful. In this dark, subterranean space, ice—lots of it—has replaced the fiery magma that once flowed here, like a scene change in the second act of some grand Icelandic saga. A RARE FIND Ice-filled lava tubes, such as the 3,800-yearold Lofthellir Ice Cave, are extremely uncommon and fragile, existing in only a handful of places on the planet: they’re the speleological equivalent of a needle in a haystack. Spotted from the air in 1989 after a part of its roof collapsed during an earthquake, the ice cave I’m exploring with Hannes, my knowledgeable guide, and five other brave souls, is just a 370-meter-long section of a much larger cave complex hidden underground at the foot of the Icelandic highlands. This unique geological treasure on private property is off-limits to the general public and only accessible via a super jeep tour with the folks at Geo Travel. To get here, we had to endure a 40-minute bone-rattling drive from the town of Reykjahlíð over an ancient lava field in the shadows of Mount Hvannfell. This was followed by a 30-minute hike through volcanic terrain incised by fault lines and decorated with pahoehoe lava and its characteristic rope-like formations. Ten minutes underground, and it’s already been worth it.


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This unique geological treasure on private property is off-limits to the general public and only accessible via a super jeep tour with the folks at Geo Travel. To get here, we had to endure a 40-minute bone-rattling drive from the town of Reykjahlíð over an ancient lava field in the shadows of Mount Hvannfell.

SUB-ZERO EXPEDITION I’ve never been inside an ice cave before, and to be honest, I’m a little outside my comfort zone. It’s about 0°C, darker than night, and extremely slippery: the floor is completely iced-up, like an underground skating rink. It’s a good thing we have spiked gumboots, helmets and head torches, but even still, sometimes our crampon-like wellies aren’t enough to stay on track, especially when traversing slippery descents further into the icy cavity. During these moments, we hold onto ropes to keep from accidentally damaging the precious stalagmites and frozen water­ falls—and angering the resident trolls.

It can also be a bit difficult when we need to get on all fours to slip through crevices and when making our way down slimy stair-like sections. In exceptionally tricky parts, we walk sideways as our spiked boots grip better that way. But it’s exhilarating to be on this sub-zero expedition through a lost world frozen in time. THE FIRST CHAMBER Hauling myself up an ice sheet the size of a hillock with a rope, I take small steps, putting faith in my boots to grip the slick surface until I reach the top at the opening of the first large chamber of the cave. Finally, I have a chance to stretch out and walk around a space colonized with glistening ice sculptures, many larger than the mighty Vikings who settled this land in the 9th century. In fact, the Lofthellir Ice Cave is home to the biggest ice sculptures ever found in an Icelandic cave. The chamber is also occupied by a massive floor-to-ceiling block of solid ice, as well as stalagmites of various sizes congregated in corners together like frosted trolls.

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Each step is a gamble as we go down a slippery staircase to the final chamber, a massive cavity of towering ice figures and shadows hidden within shadows. There’s still much more of this cave complex to explore beyond this point—but not for us.

“Shh!” exclaims Hannes all of a sudden. “Please be quiet, and turn off your head torches.” We oblige, unsure of what’s about to happen. Panic pricks up its ears and dissipates just as quickly as the chamber is immediately awash with color, courtesy of Hannes’ strategic placement of multi-colored LED head torches behind monumental stalagmites. Even the stalactites hanging from the ceiling, all crystal chandelier-like, are resplendent in reds, greens and aquamarine.

torches and keep silent. It stays dark this time, but punctuating the black silence is a soulful, harmonic ringing. It sounds like the cave is singing to us, but in actuality, Hannes is playing the cave, gently tapping a stalagmite in its sweet spot to produce a beautiful, resonant sound—like a small meditation gong. It’s totally unexpected, and sublime, especially in our heightened state. A surprise around every corner it seems.


Each step is a gamble as we go down a slippery staircase to the final chamber, a massive cavity of towering ice figures and shadows hidden within shadows. There’s still much more of this cave complex to explore beyond this point—but not for us. Turning around to head out the same way we came in, we first stop to pose for photos among the gigantic stalagmites and take a final look around the frozen chamber.

Besides being pitch black and bitingly cold, it’s also eerily silent in this frigid subterranean world—except for the pitterpattering of water dripping from the ceiling. “It takes about a day or two for rainwater to filter through the porous lava rock,” Hannes explains as we walk single-file through the ice cave onwards to the final chamber, ducking and weaving through majestic ice statues, occasionally gripping the jagged rock for added support in tough sections. Reaching another large cavernous space, we’re told, once again, to turn off our head

experience something truly unique. Only around 10,000 people have ever set foot inside the Lofthellir Ice Cave, and I’m so grateful for the privilege. Thank god, I’m not claustrophobic.


I’m not nearly as nervous crawling through the cave opening on the way back. After all, what goes in, must come out. And besides, it’s not every day you get to

You can book your Lofthellir Ice Cave adventure and other great North Iceland experiences with Geo Travel at

The hottest spots near Lake Mývatn Where to sleep: Hotel Laxá – Where to eat: Eldey restaurant at Hotel Laxá and Vogafjós – – try also the Geo Travel Food and Culture tour. What to see: Dimmuborgir, Hverfjall, The Bird Museum, Krafla, Askja, Lofthellir Ice Cave, Dettifoss Waterfall, Goðafoss Waterfall… the list goes on What to do: Amazing activity tours with, scenic flights with Mýflug Air, a dog sledding tour with, super jeep and snowmobile tours with and so much more.

KEF airport is the busy place to be. And because it’s the only shopping centre in Iceland that allows suitcases, you can skip waiting and start shopping. Be fashionably early.

W W W. K E FA I R P O R T. I S

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Tales of twilight

The myths and legends of Iceland by Anthony Adeane Photos:

Floating on its own in a vast swathe of the Atlantic Ocean, Iceland has always been an isolated country, and for centuries its barren, inhospitable landscape meant many of its inhabitants were just as isolated. The routes between farms were treacherous and difficult to traverse and the brutal weather conditions meant families tended to spend long evenings indoors telling each other stories to stave off sleep while they worked the wool by candlelight. These stories often centered on the otherworldly landscape that Icelanders call home. Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of Iceland. It is unlike anywhere else on earth. The Apollo astronauts trained in Iceland in the 1960s because of its similarity to the moon. There are black beaches, red hills, undulating lava fields, endless snow-capped highlands. And against this bleak, beautiful terrain, Icelanders conjured up all manner of myths and legends over the centur­ies. In the loneliness of these vast vistas, they have summoned a host of strange creatures to characterize the story of their land. HIDDEN FOLK AND CRAFTY TROLLS Iconic features of the landscape like a tower­ ing hill or a river crossing have long been designated the homes of the “huldufolk” or “hidden people.” The hidden people look like humans and live like them too, attending their own churches and farms and even maintaining a similar economy of livestock rearing and hay cutting. Some farmers won’t mow certain parts of their fields to keep from mistakenly decimating a mystical dwelling. But it’s not just hidden people that populate the Icelandic landscape. Trolls live in the hills—elf-women who wait at crossroads to tempt men into madness, and monsters that tap at the window while you sleep. These creatures are crafty, sometimes helpful, often not, their intentions hard to discern, and this might reflect the ambivalent relationship Icelanders have towards their unpredictable


WOW Power to the people

The hidden people look like humans and live like them too, attending their own churches and farms and even maintaining a similar economy of livestock rearing and hay cutting. Some farmers won’t mow certain parts of their fields to keep from mistakenly decimating a mystical dwelling.

surroundings—with its volcanoes, geysers, and sudden sand storms, Iceland’s terrain is both destroyer and provider, friend and foe. Mythical stories have often had practical use in Iceland; they were told to warn of the impending danger in such a hostile en­viron­ment. At the vast Vatnajokull Glaci­ er—once traversed at great personal risk by farmers from the north seeking access to the bountiful waters in the south during fish­ing season—the ice is said to reverberate with the sound of hymns sung by those who fell through the cracks. THE EXISTENCE OF ELVES But perhaps the most eye-catching story concerning myths and legends in Iceland, and certainly the most headline-grabbing, is that of the existence of elves. Stories abound of highways through Iceland being diverted to avoid using explosives on the home of hidden people, or of construction projects going awry when warnings about the presence

A very possible habitat for hidden people next to the Icelandic Ring Road. Photo: COffe72

Curb appeal! Photo: Andrew Mayovskyy

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Tales of twilight of supernatural beings went unheeded. In an oft-cited opinion poll from 1998, 54% of Icelanders replied that they believed in elves. This figure is often quoted in articles about why Iceland is such a curious place to visit. The subtext, often, is that Icelanders are somehow more credulous, perhaps even more backward, than people in other countries. The truth, in many cases, is very different. And it has more to do with the natural than the supernatural. Take, for example, an infamous story from the early 1970s, in which Icelandic engineers tried to build a highway to connect Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, with the west of the country. During construction, the engineers realized there was a large rock they needed to move to continue their work. This rock, however, was rumored to be the property of elves. The project’s lead engineer called in a clairvoyant to discern whether the elves would consent to having their rock moved. Apparently, they did. Then, disaster struck. When the

The stories of elves and trolls help to tell the story of the treasured land and the desire of its people to preserve parts of the country that might otherwise be made into roads. To bore into a rock is to destroy a part of the country’s history.

bulldozers tried to move it, it split in half. That very night, so the story goes, one of the bulldozers crashed into a nearby water pipe, resulting in the death of 70,000 fish at a nearby fish farm. The owners then sued the contractor. In other countries, this story might have been considered a freak coincidence. But in Iceland, it was taken as a prime example of what happens when you destroy elven dwellings. It would be misleading to assume that this is because all Icelanders believe in elves. More than anything, it’s because Icelanders are fiercely protective of their landscape. This has little to do with elves and far more to do with urbanization and modernity. Icelanders love the landscape, and they don’t want it to be destroyed by power plants and highways. The stories of elves and trolls help to tell the story of the treasured land and the desire of its people to preserve parts of the country that might otherwise be made into roads. To bore into a rock is to destroy a part of the country’s history. Icelanders support these stories not necessarily because they believe in elves, but because they believe in the land. LIVING MYTHOLOGY

At Dimmuborgir (Dark Citadel) in North Iceland. Would you believe no one lived there? Photo: Oleksii Liebiediev

Moss covered lava makes for great elven real estate. Photo: dennisvdw


WOW Power to the people

That’s what’s so compelling about myth in Iceland. It is both past and present, fictional and non-fictional, dead and alive. In the Sagas, one of the most astonishing literary works ever discovered, the line between myth and reality can be hard to unpack. Although these stories, written in the 12th and 13th centuries depicting the lives of Iceland’s first settlers, have supernatural elements, they are also some of the most accurate portrayals of how society functioned in all of European medieval

literature. In these stories about elves and trolls, where supernatural beings mingle with humans, you can learn as much about the rule of law in the 9th century as you would be able to from most history books. Elements of mythologizing even take place on the rare occasions when there is a seri­ous crime in Iceland. In 1974, two men disappeared. One was an 18-year-old teen­­­ ager named Gudmundur Einarsson who was walking back home next to the lava fields after a night on the town. The other was a man called Geirfinnur Einarsson who disappeared when he went to meet someone at a café in the town of Keflavik. The two disappearances would go on to become Iceland’s biggest news story, one that enveloped this tiny nation’s govern­­­ ment, judiciary, and press, and brought a major crime to a country that had long managed to avoid it. Six people ended up confessing to the crime, but curiously, none of them did it. Under intense interrogation and solitary confinement, some of them were pressured into inventing memories of a crime they had nothing to do with. To this day, despite all six having been very recently exonerated, the stories of the disappearance of Gudmundur and Geirfinnur still cling to the hills and valleys of the Icelandic landscape, telling a story that didn’t happen, narrating the details of a crime that didn’t exist. About the author: Anthony Adeane is an award-winning radio journa­ list and author. His first book, Out of Thin Air, tells the story of Iceland’s most infamous criminal case. It has been made into a feature length docu­­­ment­­­ ary with the same title on Netflix.

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WOW Power to the people

Baby it’s cold outside


It’s the northernmost capital in the world and the middle of winter—arguably one of the most romantic time of the year in Iceland. by Nanna Gunnars Photos:


f you are visiting Iceland on a short getaway, or a longer trip where you have some spare days in Reykjavík to enjoy with your loved one, here are some handy tips for how to sweep them off their feet.

FOR THE ACTIVE ONES Not everyone has the same idea about what romance is, but even if you aren’t the active type, it’s hard to deny the allure of trying something new or unusual together. In December, go ice skating on the Christmas ice rink on Ingólfstorg square downtown and, with a little luck, you’ll fall into each other’s arms. Sledding is also a lot of fun. Most supermarkets will sell cheap plastic sleds, or in a pinch, you can go down on a big plastic bag. Alternatively, enjoy a day out in the snow making snowmen and snow angels.

On the outskirts of Reykjavík, Heiðmörk Nature Reserve offers great activities such as horseback riding through lava fields or crosscountry skiing in spectacular scenery. Ullur or Everest rent skis, and The Icelandic Horse is a horse rental situated right across from the beautiful red lava hills Rauðhólar in Heiðmörk. Closer to the city’s center is the Elliðaárdalur Valley with its river and small waterfalls, and forest trails to follow. For some nice views of Reykjavik, take the ferry to Viðey Island where you can see the Imagine Peace Tower, an outdoor piece of art made by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon. Finally, if you really want to splurge, a helicopter tour over town, perhaps with a landing on the top of Mt Esja at sunset and a bottle of prosecco in hand, is a surefire way to impress (or propose!) REYKJAVÍK’S MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS When it comes to romance, you can’t beat great dining and a fantastic view. Grillið, one of Iceland’s famed restaurants, perched on the top floor of Hotel Saga has a spectacular view. Be sure to make reservations in advance and get a table right by the window. Their wine selection is superb, but if you’d rather just go for a drink with a great view, head over to Ský Bar or the Peterson Suite.

For a little romance without breaking the bank, check out the lively atmosphere at the local food markets at both Grandi Mathöll and Hlemmur Mathöll. For a seafood feast and bubbly, there’s Lax at Grandi and for a mix of street food and fine dining, there’s Skál! at Hlemmur. For a cozy brunch or lunch, head towards Kaffi Vest, Coocoo’s Nest or Café Paris, or enjoy the fish of the day for lunch at Sjávargrillið, where it’s like you’re stepping into an alpine cabin. For something sweet late at night, Eldur og ís serves some of the best hot chocolate in town, perfect before a stroll up picturesque Skólavörðustígur Street towards the lit up, towering Hallgrímskirkja Church. NOTHING SAYS RELAX LIKE A JACUZZI Reykjavík has a total of 17 incredible, public swimming pools, each boasting several hot tubs and a sauna or two besides their indoor or outdoor heated pool. This is the cheap option for a relaxing time, and believe it or not, the best jacuzzi experience is during a snowstorm! Snuggle up in the warm water, with snowflakes melting on your face, or, on a clear night, search the sky for stars and Northern Lights. For a real spa, a pricier but also a more secluded option with an opportunity for a massage head to Sóley Spa or Nordica Spa. Issue six 27

Baby it’s cold outside THE DAZZLING DISPLAY OF ICELAND’S NIGHT SKY Of course, one of the most romantic things you can do during Iceland’s winter nights is to admire the Northern Lights. When the sky is clear and the lights are active on a cold winter night the best way to stay warm is to head towards the lighthouse at Grótta, and sit down by the Kvika hot footbath (there’s no entry fee). This is also the local hotspot to watch the sunset, and equally as good to stay out late and watch the night sky.

ALL THE CLEVER CONVERSATIONS Exchange opinions while you soak up the local culture by visiting Reykjavík’s art house cinema Bíó Paradís located on the charming Hverfisgata Street. At Harpa Concert Hall, you might be able to catch a show, anything from ballet or a symphony to rock concerts or stand-up comedy. It’s jazz on the top floor on Wednesday nights! Reykjavík has several museums, but the Árbær Open Air Museum is by far the most enchanting one. Learn about life as it really was in the past, with a guided tour in English available daily at 1 PM.

If your timing is right, you might be able to catch some local bonfires that take place both on New Year’s Eve, and on the 6th of January, the last official day of the Icelandic Christmas. AND FINALLY, SOMETHING DIFFERENT The days are very short in December and January in Iceland, so you could plan a sunrise to sunset date. Drive to Reykjavík’s ski resort Bláfjöll in time for the sunrise (that will be between 10 and 11 am, depending on the date). On Saturdays and Sundays, the ski resort opens at 10 am (weather depending), so you might get some downhill skiing in. Or simply ride to the top in a chairlift to take in

the scenery, and hop back on it to go down. Find a lovely place in the city to enjoy lunch, then stroll around town. Go for a dip in a swimming pool or visit one of the city’s museums before heading to Grótta to watch the sunset with your loved one, sometime between 3:30 pm and 5 pm. For an evening stroll, visit the city’s central cemetery, a romantic experience, as it’s filled with trees and in an old part of town near the city’s pond. Icelandic cemeteries take on a special charm in winter time during the holidays when locals fill them with flowers, Christmas lights, lit up crosses and decorations.



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B O A R D !

Elevate your encounter with Iceland! Amazing helicopter tours around Iceland for individuals or groups. You can choose from a 20 minutes city sightseeing tour up to a whole day journey and everything in between. Our service team is on duty 24/7 and will happily assist you at any time. Check out our tours and prices on our website. ¡ (+354) 589 1000 ¡

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Give back to Icelandic nature

HOW YOUR CHANGE COULD MAKE A BIG CHANGE Phenomenal nature is the top reason for visiting Iceland but Icelandic nature is fragile and could use a little help. For this reason, WOW air wants to offer you the chance to give back to nature by donating directly to the Icelandic Environment Association, Landvernd, Iceland’s largest environmental NGO, which will put your coins into good use. Photos: Courtesy of Kristján Ingi Einarsson –


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Give back to Icelandic nature

Landvernd’s biggest conservation goal at the moment is the establishment of a national park in the Central Highland of Iceland.

HOW CAN I HELP? During your flight we’ll provide you with the opportunity to donate any foreign change or leftover currency that you would like to contribute. Your donations will be sent directly Landvernd, who will use the funds to support its efforts to safeguard and protect Icelandic nature. WOW air is simply the means of tran­s­ por­tation. The donations come from you, our guest, and go straight to Landvernd. Let’s all help Landvernd make sure that Icelandic nature will still be as incredible when our grandkids come to visit. WHAT IS LANDVERND? Landvernd is a non-profit environmental and nature conservation organization, established in 1969. The main goals of Landvernd are to protect Iceland’s nature and environment, restore degraded environments and promote sustainability in Iceland among residents and visitors alike. This is done through education, by influencing lawmaking and decisionmaking and by taking action. PROTECTING THE LARGEST UNTAMED WILDERNESS IN EUROPE Landvernd’s biggest conservation goal at the moment is the establishment of a national park in the Central Highland of Iceland. The Central Highland is one of Iceland’s greatest treasures, containing many active volcanoes, glaciers,


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Care for your food and the resources it is made from. Grocery shop responsibly and plan ahead. Shop locally produced foods. Make a delicious meal from left overs and top it with your favorite salad.

voluminous rivers and waterfalls, colorful hot springs and mud pools, vast lava fields and broad expanses of black sand, all contrasted with oases of vibrant but vulnerable vegetation. Such an amazing collection of natural jewels is rare in the world mainly because such vast, un­­popu­­ lated areas where nature alone rules, have been disappearing. You can see short videos of the stunning Highlands and sign their petition online to urge lawmakers in Iceland to designate the amazing, untamed Highlands as a national park.

FOOD WASTE Don’t feel like finishing that apple? Did you fill up your plate with food at the buffet and the leftovers ended in the trash? Did you know that food waste is actually a really big environmental problem? Food waste is one of the projects Landvernd has been working on. By throwing away food you are throwing away a lot more than you think. Every food item consists of the precious resources that were used to make it, such as water, land and someones’s hard work. Food’s worldwide transport has been for nothing and a useless CO2 footprint has been emitted if it ends in your trash. It is estimated that 1/3 of all food produced in the world ends up in the trash … now let

that sink in! This happens all through the value chain, from production to transport, from distributors to retailers, but a large amount of food waste comes from us, the consumers. Care for your food and the resources it is made from. Grocery shop responsibly and plan ahead. Shop locally produced foods. Make a delicious meal from left overs and top it with your favorite salad. If you can read Icelandic, check out some good advices to reduce food waste on or go to for English speakers. Good luck on reducing your food waste and remember to looooove your food! Thank you for your contribution toward protecting Icelandic nature. Now get out there and enjoy it! Photographer Kristján Ingi Einarsson was so inspired by this project he decided to let us use his gorgeous photographs for this article in addition to personally donating to Landvernd 5% of the sales from his latest photography book, Unique Iceland, available at most bookstores in Iceland. Big thanks from all of us to Kristján Ingi!

Read more about Landvernd and its efforts to protect Icelandic nature by visiting their website,

Discount for your journey

The Arion Currency Card is a better way to pay in Iceland, providing you with a wide range of discounts all around the country as well as a SIM card and Icelandic mobile number for your phone.

• Great discounts on popular excursions, in gift shops

and at selected restaurants, fashion shops, hotels etc.

• Save money – You don‘t have to pay international card transaction fees

• No need to worry about the currency rate • No need to carry Icelandic krónur in your wallet • Use it everywhere – The Currency Card is accepted in Iceland and internationally

Get your Currency Card at Arion Bank in Keflavík Airport, or the next Arion Bank branch.

Arion bank Currency Card Issue six 33


WOW Power to the people

Mads Mikkelsen

NORTHERN STAR Fresh from winning the Creative Excellence Award at the ReykjavĂ­k International Film Festival and with the new film Arctic, shot in Iceland, receiving critical acclaim, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is on top form. by Christopher Kanal Photos: Helen Sloan courtesy of Pegasus Pictures, and Cover photo: Kenneth Willardt

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Mads Mikkelsen “I lost 15 pounds in two weeks,” states Den­­­ mark’s finest export. “It was devastating, the toughest thing I have ever done. But it’s also a gift as you don’t have to pretend. If you are completely physically drained, your emotions tend to be right below the surface of the skin. It’s all there.” This is Mads Mikkelsen in forthright form. Courteous, direct and open, Mikkelsen, the man, is several dimensions away from many of the complex, anguished characters he has played in his career. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest European actors of his generation, Mikkelsen is colorfully describing to me, day-by-day, the grueling 22-day film shoot in Iceland of gripping survival saga Arctic. Despite the, at times, vivid de­­­ scriptions of what transpired on the shoot and having to deal with the worst weather Iceland could throw at them at the same time, Mikkelsen’s reflections on making the film come with often unexpected clusters of chuckles undercut with dashes of dry Danish humor. COOL AT CANNES Arctic is the debut feature of 31-year old Brazilian director Joe Penna and is the story of a crashed pilot Overgård, played by Mikkelsen, stranded in an unknown stretch of Arctic wilderness that is at once extremely isolated, ethereal and deadly. Initially alone, a botched rescue attempt brings Overgård to save an unknown young woman, played by Icelandic actor Maria Thelma Smáradóttir. Overgård subsequently attempts to save them both from their terrible predicament


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(2006) and subsequent award-winning portrayals of men in crisis, such as a teacher wrongly accused of pedophilia in the critically lauded Jagten (The Hunt, 2012) directed by fellow Dane Thomas Vinterberg. This got Mikkelsen the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor in 2012. Most recently Mikkelsen redefined the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the NBC television mini-series Hannibal. The latter a pretty impressive feat given how darkly the shadow of Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins looms over the role of the cultured psychiatrist and gastronome.

In September this year, Mikkelsen was the guest of honor at the Reykjavík International Film Festival, where he receiv­­ed the festival’s prestigious Creative Excel­ l­­ence Award. Mikkelsen has a close connection with Iceland.


by scaling frozen mountains and cliffs. This all while dragging the woman on an improvised sled. Arctic was part of the Official Selection for the 2018 Cannes Film Festival this May. The film received a 10-minute standing ovation when it had a midnight screening. He might be only 53-years old, but the Danish actor is a seasoned Cannes veter­an. His first time at the festival was almost 20 years ago in 1999. Today Mikk­ els­en is Cannes royalty after a sustained period of acclaimed, varied roles including Bond villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale

In September this year, Mikkelsen was the guest of honor at the Reykjavík International Film Festival, where he receiv­­ed the festival’s prestigious Creative Excell­­ence Award. Mikkelsen has a close connection with Iceland. He shot his first feature film here, a Danish film Vildspor (Wildside,1998). “Arctic is actually my third time filming here,” he says, “and I shot parts for Rogue One (2016) in Iceland.” Arctic’s story, written by Penna and Ryan Robinson, emphasizes the sheer isolation of Overgård’s place in the immensity and unfathomability of nature at its wildest. Overgård makes the best of his situation, and even in such desperate circumstances, creates a simple daily routine that allows him to retain not just his sanity but his sense of humanity. Arctic is filled with subtle details of his routine:

Each day Overgård catches fish; he sends distress calls using a wind-up transmitter and there is a striking sequence of him tending, almost like a zen gardener, to a gargantuan SOS sign he has etched with rocks on the frozen ground. “We knew we had fish and we had a polar bear,” admits Mikkelsen with a hearty laugh. “The character at the beginning is strictly a survivor, but eventually he becomes more and more alive.” Mikkel­­sen’s performance is complemented by the stark cinematography that has real moments of sublimity – from Overgård’s eyes transfixed on the beauty of the landscape that encircles and entraps him to a distant sighting of a solitary polar bear pacing languidly in the snow. “The landscape is a central character,” Mikkelsen asserts. “Every time Overgård has a chance to hold something alive, he does. He embraces that moment.” ROUGH SHOOTING Arctic arrives in the wake of two Hollywood blockbusters Mikkelsen starred in, superhero film Doctor Strange (2016), where he played the villain Kaecilius and Star Wars spin-off Rogue One. Dr. Strange was a tough shoot with filming in locations such as Nepal, but how did the filming Arctic in Iceland compare? “There is nothing that compares to it,” says Mikkelsen: “It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. The conditions were overwhelming. Our worst enemy and our biggest ally was nature.”

The film, co-produced by Icelandic production company Pegasus Pictures, was shot with a predominantly Icelandic production crew. The eerie, desolate but ravishing locations that form the backdrop of the story were captured by Icelandic cinematographer Tómas Örn Tómasson. Arctic’s filming locations included Fellsendavatn in the Highlands where Overgård’s crashed plane is. The mountain scenes were filmed in the geothermal area of Nesjavellir, near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Þingvellir and the Hengill Volcano, where the dramatic helicopter crash was shot. The cave where the young woman and Overgård encounter the hungry polar bear is in Bláfjöll, a 30-minute drive from Reykjavík. “I am a stubborn man, but I think the whole crew was extremely stubborn,” says Mikkelsen. “They are Icelandic, so they are used to everything. It was unbelievable with such a small crew what we could get away with. They are hard, hard-working people.”

“It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. The conditions were overwhelming. Our worst enemy and our biggest ally was nature.”

MYSTERIOUS CHARACTERS Very little is revealed about either Over­­­gård or the young woman’s past. “Most charact­ ers have a clear background,” explains Mikkelsen. “For this one it was difficult.” Smáradóttir spends the entire film in a state of mute semi-consciousness, and her life is revealed only tantalizingly in a family photograph that Overgård is determined to salvage for her. “Little things like that indicate that he has someone back home too,” he says. Overgård is a complete enigma. A pilot, it is only through his relationship, albeit onesided, with the young woman that facets of Overgård’s personality are revealed in occasional dramatic but discrete flashes: “For Arctic, we felt that the more infor­­ mation there was, the more we would narrow it down to a specific person. It was deliberate that we did not want to go down that path. Joe and I discussed Overgård’s job, his life, his family situation and agreed that we did not want to put that into the film.” The puzzle at the heart of Overgård’s char­­acter stylistically evokes what British novelist Graham Greene once described as: “The sliver of ice that runs through the heart.” The mystery is even more seductive given that Mikkelsen rarely speaks in the film. “It is a tricky thing,” he says. “When you read the script, which I loved, you think ‘Yeah, that’s a walk in the park, I don’t have to learn 200 lines every day’ but it’s not that easy. Language, one of the biggest tools for you as an actor, is taken away, so you have to figure

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Mads Mikkelsen out what to compensate with here.” There was also the even greater challenge that for a significant portion of the film, Overgård’s character is entirely on his own. “You can fall into the trap of boring yourself, and you want to produce something,” the actor acknowledges adding that he approached this obstacle with strict creative discipline, which if anything, subtly emphasizes Mikkelsen’s extraordinary capability and range as an actor: “The mere fact that you want to produce something is a bad signal, a bad sign. You have to really wake up and say, ‘Hold your horses, you cannot do this to make me happy.’ It must be honest to the film. There is a fine line that you have to watch all the time.” The end result is what motivates Mikkelsen’s performances. “I am not the kind of guy who does eight weeks of rehearsals in theater, and the end result does not matter,” he asserts. “Let’s get in there, we have to be serving the film not our egos.” SURVIVAL AND HUMANITY Mikkelsen loves making films because it is utterly goal-orientated. Despite this he reiterates to me, almost addressing the fact as a lesson, that “the process is constant, always constant” and that it is teamwork that holds a project together. “At the end of each day when we wrap and have dinner, we talk about what we did, what we’re going to do tomorrow and assure each other that we’re on the right track,” he says. “I rarely get super-surprised when the film is finished and say, ‘Oh my god this film turned out to be something completely different.’” The Danish actor spent a lot of time dragging Smáradóttir through the snow. “I made sure she didn’t desert!” he reveals with a kind laugh. “It was a wonderful idea to get a second actor into the film. We pretty much knew what it would be like to have someone to spar with. Maria Thelma has no lines, but she is playing a very difficult character. Since she is on the borderline of being conscious and unconscious, it’s a fine balance between doing too much and too little. I think she did a wonderful job.” The young woman’s presence awakens Overgård’s instinct to protect and save her, although there is a very unexpected twist. For Mikkelsen, the theme of survival in Arctic is universal and could apply as much in a bustling city as in the Arctic tundra. “We wanted it to be a story that we could all relate to,” he explains. PLAYING THE DANE “It was never my intention to be an actor,” Mikkelsen tells me. “Being a working-class kid in Denmark, it was not an option. You were an actor because your parent were actors, right?” Mikkelsen was born in Østerbro, Copenhagen, the second son of a nurse, and a bank clerk and trade union official. He was brought up in Nørrebro, a suburb of Copenhagen. His brother Lars Mikkelsen is also a renowned actor, best known to international audiences for his role as mayoral candidate Troels Hartmann in the acclaimed Danish drama series The Killing and as Russian President Viktor Petrov


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Mikkelsen’s current appearances in advertising campaigns for Carlsberg have achieved something of a cult status that has drawn inevitable comparisons with Blade Runner (1982) actor Rutger Hauer’s role in the iconic Guinness commercials from the late 80s and early 90s.

in House of Cards. “I grew up watching a lot of films and listened to a lot of radio theater with my brother,” he says. “We did all the voices, and I think we were subconsciously fascinated with that world, but like other kids we didn’t want to be that actor, we wanted to be that character on screen.” Mikkelsen’s heroes in his youth were legendary martial artist Bruce Lee and silent film star Buster Keaton: “I was fascinated by them both. You could tell an awful lot about what was going on inside of them just by looking at them. Although it was a little hard to read exactly what they were expressing, it was never boring to watch. When they would finally smile, the entire sky would open.” He trained to be a gymnast and dancer at the Balettakademien ballet school in Gothenburg. During his dancing career, Mikkelsen met choreographer Hanne Jacobsen, whom he married in 2000 and with whom he has a son and a daughter. He was a professional dancer for almost a decade until he decided to study drama at the Århus Theatre School in 1996. His breakthrough role was as Tonny, the drug dealer in the first two films of the Pusher film trilogy in the late nineties and early 2000’s. Since then his acting has brought not just acclaim but a clutch of awards and honors. In 2010 Mikkelsen was appointed Ridder (Knight) of the Order of the Dannebrog in Denmark. In 2016, the French government made him a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of the highest cultural honors the Fifth Republic can bestow. Despite such success, Mikkelsen remains down-toearth and exceptionally modest. He never chose to cross the Atlantic for the City of Night, L.A. Mikkelsen’s home is and has always been Copenhagen. BADDIES AND BÊTE NOIRES It is for playing villains that Mikkelsen is perhaps most widely known. His breakthrough performance which turned him into an international name was as the Bond villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, one of the best-regarded Bond films, opposite Daniel Craig and Eva Green.

Mikkelsen turned Ian Fleming’s Le Chiffre into a compulsively watchable character, a complex, vulnerable villain. With the success of Hannibal, Mikkelsen has established himself as a major Hollywood talent but does he ever feel pigeonholed cast as the European villain? “Not a bit,” he says. “That is more of a journalist’s approach,” he asserts. “Actors don’t put them into boxes like ‘Baddies’ and ‘Goodies.’” Even Hannibal? “We see them as interesting characters and if it turns out they do something terrible then hopefully we’ll find the human side to the reason why they are doing it,” reflects Mikkelsen with more than a sliver of passion rising in his voice. “I always say that to play the villain you have to find something likable at least and a mission that people can relate to. If you play the good guy, you’ll have to find the flaws and all the cracks in the armor. It is not such a big difference.” However, from Johann Friedrich Struensee in A Royal Afffair (2012) starring opposite Alicia Vikander and Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas (2013) where he played the title role of Heinrich von Kleist’s controversial hero and which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Mikkelsen has had his pick of complex, enviable roles. “Luckily I don’t have to choose,” he says. “I get offered a little of everything. Hopefully, I can continue to do both.” BEER AND ICELANDERS Mikkelsen’s current appearances in advertising campaigns for Carlsberg have achieved something of a cult status that has drawn inevitable comparisons with Blade Runner (1982) actor Rutger Hauer’s role in the iconic Guinness commercials from the late 80s and early 90s. A beer aficionado, Mikkelsen has sampled local Icelandic tipples on his visits here. “I just generally like beer,” he says, dryly. As a Scandinavian, and particularly as a Dane, the actor has a strong kinship with Iceland. “I feel a strong connection,” he says. “Obviously there is a strong history, particularly between Denmark and Iceland as it was ruled by the Danes for many centuries. They have a sort of love/hate relationship with the Danes, but we have a lot in common.” Iceland remains Mikkelsen’s favorite country. “It is absolutely astonishing how it looks, this kind of spiritual feeling that is seeping through nature,” adding that this spirit is part of the people that live here. “They are amazing people, so proud and embracing. It feels like home every time I come here.” Mikkelsen only stopped over for two days to pick up his award at RIFF but assures me he will return. “Iceland is a place where you want to stay for some time,” he cocedes. “It’s in everyday life that you figure out how Icelandic people are. And they are very different from the rest of us.” Arctic will be released in the US and Iceland in February 2019.


Laugavegur 37

Hólmaslóð 2 / Grandi

Collection available at Keflavik Airport Fashion Store


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The great Highland oasis Tourists often ask natives about their favorite place in their homeland. Where do Icelanders go when they want to see something exciting or unique in a country that offers so many opportunities regarding natural wonders and outdoor activities? Do people in Iceland just take the usual Golden Circle or the South Coast drive? More often than not, Icelanders answer this question with: “Landmannalaugar”. by Einar Páll Svavarsson


ocated in the Icelandic Highlands, Landmannalaugar is full of fascinating natural wonders, including intriguing landforms, boiling hot springs, rare lava fields, geothermal activity, and unique geology. You can spend days there and always find something interesting to see. It’s where you can experience a one-of-a-kind atmosphere and multiple hiking trails loaded with colorful mountains and diverse landscapes. The place is exotic! GEOLOGICAL HISTORY IS THE KEY

This development is still going strong as the island is still sitting on the hotspot and has about 30 volcanic systems on the rift between the tectonic plates. And it is still delivering magma to the surface through its volcanoes. The last eruption occurred in 2014.


One of the main reasons Iceland has so many fascinating natural wonders is the fact that the island is very young in geological terms and still volcanically active. It first appeared when two tectonic plates collided around 16 million years ago, pushing the seabed on both sides above sea level. This part of Iceland, still under development is known as the West Fjord Peninsula and the East Fjords, and they are the oldest parts of Iceland. Coincidently, some millions of years later, a hot spot appeared below the middle of the rift zone between the plates and started delivering magma to the surface. In an infinite number of eruptions and ongoing volcanic activity, spanning long periods of the last ice age, 1.6 million years ago, as well as warming periods, the island expanded and grew. This development is still going strong as the island is still sitting on the hotspot and has about 30 volcanic systems on the rift between the tectonic plates. And it is still delivering magma to the surface through its volcanoes. The last eruption occurred in 2014. THE GEOLOGICAL MOTHER OF LANDMANNALAUGAR One of these active volcanic systems, the Torfajökull System, is the volcanic mother of Landmannalaugar. Contrary to the overwhelming volume of basalt lava in most other volcanic systems, the unique feature of Torfajökull is its very high level of acid in the magma. This combination is the main contributor to the colorful rhyolite mountains and the spectacular geothermally active landscape, often described as an out of this world experience. HIKING TRAILS Landmannalaugar is a summer destination visited from July through September. During the winter, at 600 meters above sea level, everything of interest is covered with snow. In the summer you can choose from among many exciting hiking trails. The most popular one is the Laugahringur, often including a trek to the top of Brennisteinsalda Volcano (the name literally means Sulfur Wave).

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Landmannalaugar How often do you get an opportunity to climb up to a volcano? Another trail takes you to Bláhnúkur Mountain or the more challenging Suðurnámur Mountain Ridge. Also, there are longer hiking trails where you can go deep into the mountains south of Landmannalaugar. And if you are ready for the challenge, there’s the 54-kilometer four-day hike to Þórsmörk, known as the Laugavegur Trail. Along the way, you cross over the tops of mountains, go through deep valleys, ford rivers and creeks, and stop by one small glacier. It is one of the most sought after hiking experiences in the country. All this is part of the Torfajökull Volcanic System. A STUNNING VIEW WITHOUT MUCH EFFORT From the top of the Brennisteinsalda Volcano, you’ll get a spectacular 360-degree view of the colorful mountains, at least three glaciers, glacial rivers starting their journey to the coast, and a


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big chunk of the Highland. You will also have a view of Landmannalaugar’s small lava field, Laugahraun, which was the consequence of an eruption some five hundred years ago from the volcano you are standing on. It was a peculiar eruption, as the magma came from another volcanic system about one hundred kilometers northeast of Landmannalaugar—the terrifying and dominant Bárðarbunga Caldera. The Bárðarbunga Caldera which sleeps under an eight hundred-meter-thick ice cap, occasionally wakes and erupts with a lot of mayhem. It is the volcano that was responsible for Iceland’s latest eruption in 2014 north of the Vatnajökull Ice Cap. That is why we sometimes claim that the unusual lava field in Landmannalaugar is an illegitimate child of another volcano. GEOTHERMAL POOL For decades, one of the main attractions of Landmannalaugar has been its natural geothermal pool. It is one of the most

popular geothermal pool in Iceland. Formed entirely by mother nature by blending a hot geothermal stream and a cold springfed creek, both coming from under the Laugahraun Lava Field, it is as natural as they come. The geothermal pool is a convenient and relaxing addition to any hiking tour in Landmannalaugar. For many visitors, it is a most exotic experience—dipping into a natural jacuzzi outside in the nature, deep in the Highland not far from the Arctic Circle. And everything is heated by the magma lurking somewhere below the earth’s crust. A ONE OF A KIND PLACE Without a doubt, Landmannalaugar is a unique place. There are few places in Iceland or the planet that offer such variety and distinctiveness in landform and outdoor experience. It’s a remarkable place indeed.

About the author: Einar Páll Svavarsson is a political scientist turned photographer and writer with decades of interest and experience traveling in Iceland. Einar is the owner and creator of one of the largest information websites about Iceland – Hit Iceland. For more see


Visit our flagship store at Skólavörðustígur 43 Shop online at Issue six 43

Photo: iStock.

Dark days ahead

Making the most of Iceland’s wild, wondrous wintertime Wintertime in Iceland, may not sound like the perfect time to visit. Perhaps the vast, stark-white environment of mid-February at first might appear a bit ominous, or the frequent weather warnings are enough to inspire daydreams of the mossy summertime terrain. by KT Browne Photos:


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Issue six 45


Photo: Sergdid


ut take heed—don’t let these things deter you! Wintertime offers the curious visitor some unexpected, wondrous delights, and a more intimate, authentic view into the lives of Icelanders. So don your warmest winter gear, make sure your rental car has winter tires, and get ready to take advantage of the longest season by getting to know Iceland’s cozier side. STEAM AND SWIM Did you know that nearly every town in Iceland is home to at least one hot tub and swimming pool? Icelanders have long been water-lovers, and sinking into a steamy tub of geothermally-heated water is one of the most effective ways to enjoy the winter here. Aside from being just so enjoyable, taking a dip in one of Iceland’s many pools is known to purify the skin, increase energy, stimulate circulation, and provide much-needed socialization. If you’re lucky, a wintertime swim might even offer a personal light show; gaze upwards as you soak, and you’ll be surprised how colorful the sky can get. WINTER TRAVEL WATCH: THE WHITE WALL Part of the thrill of visiting Iceland during the winter is the inevitable adventure that driving through it brings. Snow, sleet, ice, slush, wind—you name it, Iceland has it. If you plan on driving around Iceland during the wintertime, make sure your tires are fitted with “studs,” or small metal spikes that grip into the ice to prevent slippage. regularly updates road conditions, so be sure to check it before setting out into our wild, winter wonderland. But beware—often when there is a storm, wind speed is fast enough to whip the snow so violently that visibility reduces to almost zero. So if you happen to hit what Icelanders call “The White Wall” while driving, be sure to stop and put on your hazard lights. Don’t worry about the other drivers. Chances are they’re camping out, too! REYKJAVÍK’S WINTER LIGHTS FESTIVAL Perhaps one of the best ways to make the most out of wintertime darkness is to celebrate it! And Reykjavík knows how to do just that. The annual, 3-day Winter Lights Festival, held in February, draws crowds from all over the country for a celebration of the darkness that includes— appropriately—light installations and outdoor


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Part of the thrill of visiting Iceland during the winter is the inevitable adventure that driving through it brings. Snow, sleet, ice, slush, wind—you name it, Iceland has it.

activities such as concerts and literary readings. Wander the streets of Reykjavík for an otherworldly experience as buildings drip with magenta, green, and turquoise lights—colors that mimic the brilliant hues of the Northern Lights. The city’s pools also celebrate along with everyone else by opening their doors for free for a day.

NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR Bonfires, political satires, and fireworks—Icelanders sure know how to ring in the new year. As midnight approaches, they start off the evening by visiting a local bonfire, then returning home to watch an annual comedy show called Áramótaskaup, which satirizes the major news events of the year. And when the clock strikes midnight, the whole sky above Reykjavík lights up in an extraordinary fireworks display. And who organizes this spectacular event? None other than the people of Reykjavík themselves—nearly the entire population of the city (roughly 200,000 people) set off 500 tons of fireworks from their backyards and driveways, making the Icelandic New Year’s Eve a night to remember. THE CULINARY JOYS OF ÞORRABLÓT For centuries, Icelanders have celebrated midwinter by coming together, eating, drinking and being merry. The midwinter festival, otherwise known as Þorrablót, is typically held in January or February each year and features traditional songs, storytelling, dancing, and an exceptional menu. Unusual culinary delicacies such as fermented shark meat, sour ram testicles and boiled sheep head jam are enjoyed by many, and of course, washed down with Brennivín—a caraway seed flavored schnapps made from fermented grains or potatoes. Þorrablót celebrations are held in nearly every town across Iceland, but if you don’t happen to find one during your wintertime visit, be sure to check out the menus of local restaurants—many feature a few Þorrablót items that visitors are encouraged to try.


West-Iceland and to Vestmannaeyjar of the South coast. Book your trip on Issue six 47

WOW entrepreneurs

Lauf Forks: Blazing a smooth path through the dirt Not long after an idea first formed over a couple of brewskis on a cold December night in 2010, the ReykjavĂ­k based bike company Lauf Forks has sprung from springs to fully assembled, off-road ready bikes that tackle gravel paths with technology born from a fortuitous marriage of opportunity and circumstance. They include the single most sought out feature of hardcore cyclists the world over, a built in bottle-opener. Continuing with the above beer metaphor, the bikes are built small batch for a discerning clientele that savor high-end performance as much as they do a very hoppy IPA from an obscure microbrewery in small town Oregon. by Bogi Bjarnason Photos: Arnold BjĂśrnsson and Bogi Bjarnason


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"Starting in the US, the gravel bike segment is becoming the largest segment in the bicycle industry and we happen to have the best and most efficient suspensions design for such bikes in the market today."

The (hop) seeds for Lauf Forks, first sown in the heavy composite fields of the leading prosthetic limb manufacturer ÖSSUR, were where Columbia University engineering graduate, Lauf’s CEO and co-founder (together with Guðberg Björnsson) Benedikt Skúlason tended a crop of artificial legs. Amid the daily experience of the very building blocks of would-be suspension, success sparked an entrepreneurial flame in Skúlason that soon flared into furious engineering feats, marrying the right mind to the proper materials with a wedding band made from a suitable hobby. THE LAY OF THE TRACK Lauf Forks operates in an emerging market segment wedged between street bikes and mountain bikes, known as gravel biking which bridges the gap that started to form as mountain biking grew into an ever more extreme beast that furiously pedaled farther and farther uphill from its asphalt bound origins. Among the wants and needs specific to this niche are an obsession with low equipment weight and a suspension system that does not absorb the frequent and heavy shocks inherent to mountain bike riding. Instead it effectively filters out the near constant

vibrations associated with speeding down a gravel track. Within that segment, the Lauf Forks suspension system occupies a narrow niche of aftermarket custom add-ons. Its expansion, by definition, is completely restricted by the growth of its parent segment and attaining a dominant market share will therefore only guarantee a large slice of a tiny little pie. Hence, lasting company growth will only be achieved by pivoting to full-scale bike manufacturing and, in the case of Lauf Forks, exploiting an expertise in the core competencies of the segment to bring customized solutions to a broader audience by incorporating the high-end into the consumer-ready and using its brand driver—its namesake fork—to power sales of high-margin best-selling gravel bikes. THE ROAD MORE TRAVELLED The crossroads into that wider market segment were ultimately reached in the fall of 2017 with the release of the True Grit, an end-all-be-all gravel marvel and proverbial head-scratch inducer to Johnny Layman while perusing the spec sheet. “Starting in the US, the gravel bike segment is becoming the largest segment in the bicycle industry and we happen to have the best and most efficient suspensions design for such bikes in the market today. With the True Grit, we now also have the bestreviewed made-for-gravel bike out there,” CEO Skúlason says, elaborating on the role of Lauf within their newfound market. THE FINAL VERDICT

Benedikt Skúlason and Guðberg Björnsson at the office.

Moreover, the accolades do indeed overflow. We at the WOW magazine obviously hold ourselves to the same journalistic standards as The Washington Post and The New York Times, and this reporter thus endeavored to fact check these bold claims with all the broad and far-reaching powers of Google at his command. What he found was a dark and deep rabbit hole riddled with thick jargon of nerd-boggling obscurity. He emerged none the wiser about the specific properties of the bike, but was left with the distinct impression that it was, in fact, pretty damn great. RACING TOWARDS THE BOTTOM-LINE In business, there is seldom a finish line, but always a bottom-line. The True Grit and its complementary lines of Lauf bicycles is thus not an end goal in a race, but a checkpoint on a journey that adds value to that bottom-line. With a projected yearover-year sales growth of consumer-ready bikes for 2019 that exceeds 100%, the bottom-line is starting to look very healthy indeed. Although Mr. Skúlason claims to have no designs on going mainstream with mass manufacturing of “just another bike” any time soon, the Lauf leaf seems to have caught a steady updraft that should carry the company towards lasting success for as long there is a market for passionate innovation. Should that demand ever run dry, the only function of handlebars is to pivot. Issue six 49

The Christmas book flood

The gift of a good read Books and Christmas go hand in hand in Iceland. In a country with a population of just 340,000 people, over 800 books are published each year, and Icelanders love a good story starting with the timeless and historically significant Icelandic Sagas, featuring stories that date as far back as the ninth century!


uring rationing in World War 2, materials for Christmas gifts were scarce but paper was readily available, meaning that books became the go-to Christmas gift. To this day, it is customary for families and friends to give each other books and sit and read them long into the Christmas night.

Because of this, most books in Iceland are published in the lead up to Christmas, in what is called the annual "Jólabókaflóð" which translates simply to “the Christmas book flood.” Whether you are spending your Christmas in Iceland this year or not, you can share in this lovely tradition and spread the joy. In partnership with Vintage Books, we’ve compiled a list of five perfect books to read and gift to your loved ones next Christmas Eve.

FISH CAN SING BY HALLDÓR LAXNESS For the one who loves the classics / For the one who has read everything This is a beloved and profound coming-of-age-tale from Iceland’s Nobel Laureate that is, indeed, a gem of a classic. With a blend of light irony and dark humor, Halldór Laxness is perhaps the most famous Icelandic author. Fish Can Sing provides a portrait of the peculiarities and hardships of life in beautiful rural Iceland and is the perfect book to introduce the Icelandic literary tradition.

THE SHADOW KILLER BY ARNALDUR INDRIÐASON For the one who loves a mystery / For the one who isn’t scared of the dark The internationally bestselling author of Jar City, Indriðason has been writing award-winning crime fiction for 20 years with his books published in 26 countries and translated into 24 languages. The Shadow Killer is his latest book. Immerse yourself in the noir world of Reykjavík, August 1941. Gripping stuff that will keep you up reading late into the night.

A VINTAGE CHRISTMAS – ANTHOLOGY For the one who loves Christmas We all know that someone who has their tree up in October, who squeals at the first sight of snow, and still firmly believes in Santa. A Vintage Christmas is a beautiful little hardback book from the Vintage Mini-Series, bringing together Christmas writing from some of Vintage Books’ best writers, and capturing all that is good and true in the festive season. With stories from Charles Dickens, Alice Munro, Louis de Bernières, Laurie Lee, Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Carver and Stella Gibbons, A Vintage Christmas is a perfect Christmas Eve reading.

21 LESSONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY BY YUVAL NOAH HARARI For the one who knows everything / For the one who would rather read the news Professor Yuval Noah Harari is a publishing phenomenon and one of the greatest thinkers of our time. Following his international bestsellers Sapiens and Homo Deus, 21 Lessons explores the most pressing questions facing the human race: from data to fake news, to what we teach our children. Harari’s readers are known to interrupt every quiet moment by quoting a fact or an argument from the book to anyone who will listen. It’s too good not to share.

THE MERMAID AND MRS. HANCOCK BY IMOGEN HERMES GOWAR For the one who loves a good story / For the trendsetter Every now and then, a new writer appears with a story so good that you wonder how it ever was that it hadn’t been told before. The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock is just such a story. One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be... a mermaid. This spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession is an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit. For more information on Vintage Books, recommendations, author exclusives and competitions, head to


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Refuel at Olís We welcome you to our service stations around Iceland where you can refuel and enjoy our services. Great variety of tasty food and beverages and everything else you might need on the road. Visit us at



Wide range of fresh GRAB & GO



Servicing travellers since 1927


Issue six 51


WOW STOPOVER IN ICELAND WOW air's stopover option gives you the chance to break up long-haul journeys and enjoy a longer layover in Iceland en route to your destination. The WOW stopover is available to book on round-trip flights between North America, Europe and Asia in either direction.


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Issue six 53

Stay safe on the roads A WOW WORD OF ADVICE

When Mother Nature created Iceland, she was in a mood. Getting killed is an actual threat when travelling in the spectacular, yet brutal, Icelandic wilderness. The natural forces should be respected and feared, this is not the place to be reckless. And yet, it is far too common for foreign travelers not to take this threat seriously, even at a fatal cost. by Eygló Árnadóttir Photo: / Jindřich Blecha


celandic roads are mostly narrow with little room to pass, even with risky surroundings on each side of the road. Pulling over onto the shoulder can be very dangerous and can interfere with other drivers’ sight lines. Far too many foreign drivers underestimate the danger and simply pull over to the side whenever something photogenic catches their eye. Don’t do that, as it is both illegal and dangerous. There are many side roads, farm entrances and lookout spots where you can pull off. Just wait a bit instead of taking the risk, there are plenty of breathtaking views ahead. And please note that off-road driving is strictly forbidden in Iceland!

HEADING TO THE HIGHLAND? The gravel roads to the Icelandic Highland are normally open from the beginning of July until the end of September. These risky roads require a 4x4 truck and the drivers’ complete focus as they can be very rocky, steep and muddy. They also often make it necessary for drivers to ford rivers, which is a tricky business and can easily go wrong. Some rivers aren’t even passable on a regular 4x4 truck, let alone a small car. With no warning signs showing the safest way to enter a given river, many foreign drivers simply head on without hesitation, making summer a busy season for the Icelandic Search and Rescue teams who repeatedly have to save stranded passengers in cars that

Drivers beware. Unpaved roads are more common in Iceland than one might think.


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In case of an emergency call 112. Download the 112 Iceland app to your phone, where pressing one button calls for help while sending your location by text.

get stuck. Even when everyone gets out safely, water damages to rental cars make for sky high repair bills – and rental car insurances do not cover river crossings! What a way to spoil a great vacation. DO THE HOMEWORK! Educate yourself on how to stay safe in Icelandic wilderness. Follow every safety warning and always listen to your guide – Icelanders are a relatively laid-back bunch, so when they shout danger they mean it. When driving you always need to know the road status. For information on road conditions and weather, call 1777 (or +354 522 1100); open 8-16 in the summer. Call 1778 for an English answering machine with similar information.

Icelandic Lamb Free roaming since 874, Icelandic Lamb continues to be a rare specialty that’s humanely raised on family owned and operated farms. Flavored by the wild pastures and raised without any hormones or antibiotics in one of the purest environments in the world, Icelandic lamb meat is wonderfully lean, flavorful and tender. The distinctive taste is a result of the wild pastures; the grass and the aromatic and spicy herbs on which the lambs graze.

LOOK FOR THE SHIELD When dining in Iceland always look for the Icelandic Lamb Shield. Our Symbol of Trust, Consistency and Quality for Genuine Icelandic Lamb Products.

Issue six 55

Sæta svínið – Gastropub Opening hours: Every day from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm

Sæta svínið – Gastropub Hafnarstræti 1-3 101 Reykjavik Tel 555-2900

Local food done right One of the newest additions to the Reykjavík food scene is the newly opened gastropub Sæta svínið (e. Sweet pig).


astropubs are all about bringing upscale food to casual dining and Sæta svínið has proven that the format is a popular one with both locals and visitors. Sæta svínið’s culinary focus is on tasty and fun food made with fresh and local Icelandic ingredients. The “Icelandic journey” is ideal if you want to try various Icelandic produce, both the adventurous; from smoked puffin to horse carpaccio and the staples; market fresh ling, traditional “flatkaka” with cured arctic char, free-range Icelandic lamb and “skyr.”


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Other must-try options are the Icelandic lamb dishes, lamb sandwich lamb shoulder and lamb shank. And for a great sweet ending the mini version of the Icelandic pastry “kleinur” is perfect for dessert.

Local beer Sæta svínið offers a unique selection of Icelandic beer—20 bottled and 10 on draft. You can also try one of the Icelandic beer tours, where you can taste four sample-size varieties of Icelandic beer. Or you can stop by the happiest happy hour in town every day from 3-6 pm where all drinks are half price and

small plates are on special happy hour price. Sæta svínið is a perfect place to drop by for lunch, late lunch, dinner or drinks in a casual and fun atmosphere. With their eclectic décor full of fun pig references, the atmosphere is both fun and friendly.

"Gastropubs are all about bringing upscale food to casual dining and Sæta svínið has proven that the format is a popular one with both locals and visitors."

Where the locals go Two local secrets on the Reykjavik restaurant scene that will leave you wanting more.

Grái kötturinn

The Gray Cat prides itself on its home­ made bread, tuna salad, hummus and pancakes. It is fre­quented by local artists and intelle­ctuals.

The right place to energize for a busy day


he Gray Cat” is a cozy, dimly lit, book-lined café in an old townhouse, and a must visit when in Reykjavik. It opens early (perfect for those who have arrived on the red-eye) and focuses on American style breakfast, lunch and brunch. Although the Cat is famous for their big breakfast dish known as “The Truck,” you will find more on the menu, such as sandwiches, bagels, hummus, eggs & bacon and last but not least; American pancakes. The Gray Cat prides itself on its homemade bread, tuna salad, hummus and pancakes. It is frequented by local artists and intellectuals. So do like the locals; sit down, read a book or plan your day while you eat eggs, pancakes or bagels and drink good coffee (Icelanders take the latter very seriously).

Grái kötturinn I Hverfisgata 16a I 101 Reykjavik I Tel: +354 551 1544 I I Mon-Fri; 7:30AM-2:30PM I Sat-Sun 8:00AM-2:30PM

Messinn at Grandi

The restaurant is located in an old fishing area close to the city center and offers a relaxed atmosphere and a great view, overlooking the Reykjavík Harbor.

If you want the best fish in Reykjavík, look no further


essinn by the Reykjavík Harbor is a new fish buffet restaurant that offers pan fried fish served in cast iron skillets, emphasizing fresh quality material in every way. The restaurant is located in an old fishing area close to the city center and offers a relaxed atmosphere and a great view, overlooking the Reykjavík Harbor. Another Messinn restaurant, located in the city center offers similar dishes and is rated as one of the top five restaurants in Reykjavík on TripAdvisor. The most popular courses are the fried Arctic char with honey and almonds, the Atlantic wolffish in a creamy mushroom sauce and the plaice fried with tomatoes, capers, lemon and butter.

Messinn I Grandagarður 8 and Lækjargata 6b I Tel: +354 562 1515 I

Issue six 57

Slippbarinn Opening hours: Sundays to Thursdays: 11:30 am – midnight / Fridays and Saturdays: 11:30 am – 1:00 am / Happy hour: every day from 3-6 pm.

Mýrargata 2 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 560 8080 Email:


lippbarinn became an instant hit, with its emp­hasis on fresh ingredients, creativity and high-quality hand-crafted cocktails. Many fine bars have since followed in Slippbarinn’s footsteps, making the Reykjavík scene exciting to any cocktail connoisseur. But no one else quite lives up to the endless innovation, ambition and sheer style of the inimitable Slippbarinn.

Bright flavors and bold presentation In the kitchen as in the bar, Slippbarinn is guided by its philosophy of flux and creativity. Starting with the solid foundation of a classic dish, the chefs


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The birthplace of Icelandic cocktail culture It has already been five years since Slippbarinn opened its doors at the trendy and ­delightful Iceland­air Hotel Reykjavík Marina, but it is still as popular as ever. As it turns out, Reykjavík in 2012 was ripe for a cocktail revolution.

bring their own twist, sometimes bold, sometimes subtle, but always deeply satisfying. An everevolv­ing menu consists of dishes that combine fresh and hearty, wholesome and flavorful, with a dash of adventure. Some classics have earned a per­manent place, however. Be sure not to miss the legendary charcuterie (created to share), the expertly prepared calamari, or what might be the best fish soup in the entire city!

Your perfect harbor hangout Almost every town in Iceland is a fishing village at heart. At Slippbarinn, you get right in touch with

Reykjavík’s roots. Located on the old harbor, in view of a still-operational dock, it’s where you can watch fishing vessels being repaired. Slippbarinn is the perfect place to while away an afternoon over a whiskey sour and the catch of the day. When it is time for a caffeine fix, head over to Slippbarinn’s baby brother, the adjoined gourmet café Kaffi­ slippur. The pastries will melt in your mouth and you will dream of them ever after.

Slippbarinn is the perfect place to while away an afternoon over a whiskey sour and the catch of the day.

VOX Restaurant Tel.: +354 444 5050 |

Geiri Smart Restaurant Hverfisgata 30 | Tel.: +354 528 7050 |


Icelandair Hotel Akureyri Tel.: +354 518 100 |

Satt Restaurant Tel.: +354 444 4050 |

The Drunk Rabbit Irish Pub Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 12 pm-1 am Friday – Saturday 12 pm-4 am Happy hour: every day from 12-19 pm.

Austurstræti 3 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 553 1041 E-mail:


f you happen to be in Reykjavik on St. Patrick’s Day, which is also The Drunk Rabbit’s anniversary, be sure to join the celebration.

Happy hour The happy hour, or should we say happy hours, at The Drunk Rabbit are unique with great offers on beers, wines, spirits and ciders from 12-19 every day. Besides the Guinness, eight different local beers and ales are available on tap and more in bottles. The bar is full and the whiskey selection is ex­cel­ lent. Irish whiskeys, Scotch whiskeys, bour­­bons and even an Icelandic single malt called Flóki.


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The Drunk Rabbit

Let’s make it Irish The Drunk Rabbit Irish Pub is an authentic Irish watering hole in the heart of downtown Reykjavik. Since its opening on St. Patrick’s Day 2016 it has become a favorite venue for people from all over the world as well as locals. The Drunk Rabbit serves the best Guinness on tap, has perfect Irish coffee and great craic.

Food The Drunk Rabbit is not a restaurant but as in every good Irish pub, there is a small food menu for the hungry ones. The fish & chips are probably the best you’ll find in Iceland.

Entertainment There is always great craic at The Drunk Rabbit where you can watch live sports, football, rugby or whatever you’d like. Just ask the staff if they can show your game and they will try their best to find it. Live music is a big part of the craic here and it’s on seven days a week from 10 pm ‘til closing with

different musicians from all around the world every night. Tuesday nights are session nights starting about 8:30 pm.

The happy hour, or should we say happy hours, at The Drunk Rabbit are unique with great offers on beers, wines, spirits and ciders from 12-19 every day. Besides the Guinness, eight different local beers and ales are available on tap and more in bottles.

Kaldi Bar Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday: 12:00 pm - 01:00 am Friday & Saturday: 12:00 pm 03:00 am Happy our every day from 4-7 pm

A breath of fresh air

Cool as Kaldi

Laugavegur 20b 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 581 2200

Kaldi Bar is one of Iceland’s most unique bars. An oasis in central Reykjavík.


t might not be spacious but it makes up for it with great relaxing atmos­­­ phere in a rustic setting. Besides the congenial atmosphere, there’s a great out­­side seating area in a cozy back­­yard. Known for its wide collection of local micro brews both on draft and in bottl­es, Kaldi Bar is very popular among locals who check in at happy hour to get their fill of the unfiltered Kaldi brew. Drop by and get to know everybody, they might even give you some good tips on how to become a local.

Kaldi Bar is one of Iceland’s most unique bars. An oasis in central Reykjavík. It might not be spacious but it makes up for it with great relaxing atmos­­­phere in a rustic setting.

Issue six 61

Bastard Beer & Food Open: 11:30 - 01:00 (Sun-Thurs) and 11:30 – 04:00 (Fri – Sat)

A whole new brew Vegamótastígur 4 Reykjavík +354 558 0800

Newly opened in summer 2018, Bastard is an aspiring microbrewery in the heart of Reykjavik. H ­ aving already launched two Bastard beers, brewed by Bastard friends—a hearty New England IPA and a gentler amber ale—it is now adding the finishing touches to the gorgeous shiny tanks on show ­upstairs that will enable it to brew in-house. Propping up the bar are 11 other draft beers, with guest appearances from a range of Icelandic breweries.

Small, yet perfectly formed As well as beer, Bastard Brew & Food does a great line of adventurous gins, craft cocktails, wine and spirits and, of course, food. The menu may be small, but it’s tasty and tempting, with hugely popular Bastard burgers. The crispy grilled flatbreads (think nachos, come pizza) are dripping with garlic butter and adorned with tasty toppings; try a duck confit with pickled chili, or some Parma ham with Portobello mushrooms and Parmesan. Or maybe a soft tortilla with beef, pulled pork or something else that takes your fancy. And, if you get there before 3 pm, you can even get an egg and bacon brunch, perfect with beer!

Cheers Attracting a diverse and lively crowd, Bastard Beer & Food is open every day, and happy hour is from


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4-7 pm. The staff is friendly and the building itself is a fitting tribute to beer and beverages, with its stylish décor, leather stools, bookshelves and banquettes. There’s even a sun terrace (should you be so lucky). Rock up at the weekend for some great music, that adds soul, funk, and disco from decades past to the mix.

Having already launched two Bastard beers, brewed by Bastard friends—a hearty New England IPA and a gentler amber ale—it is now adding the finishing touches to the gorgeous shiny tanks on show ­upstairs that will enable it to brew in-house.

American Bar Open: Mondays to Thursday from 11:00 am - 1:00 am - Fri - Sat: 11:00 am 4:30 am - Sun: 11:00 am - 1:00 am

Austurstræti 8-10 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 571 9999 Mobile: +354 697 9003 Find us on Facebook/AmericanBarIceland

American Bar American Bar captures the American spirit; land of the free, home of the brave with a unique selection of beer and a simple yet delicious menu. American Bar is a must-visit when in Reykjavik.

Beer selection second to none With more than 50 different kinds of beer you are sure to find the beer that suits your taste. There’s beer made in the Hawaiian Islands as well as beer made from the famous Icelandic water.

Location and experience Located at the heart of Reykjavik, American Bar is easy to find. Once inside you’ll feel at home right away, especially if you’re an American; with decorations like football helmets (find your favorite team) and the American flag.

Live music, live sport and the Wheel of Fortune Live music every night brings the right atmosphere and if you want to shake it up a bit you can hit the

dance floor on weekends and dance into the crazy Reykjavik night. If you are feeling lucky you can always spin the Wheel of Fortune. Must see that game in the English PL or the Champions League? You will be well taken care of at the American Bar. HD-screens and TVs in every corner make sure that you won’t miss one second of your favorite sport.

Inside and out—all day long With more than 100 seats inside and a great outdoor area on the sunny side (for those wonderful sunny Icelandic summer days) you will always find a seat at a good table. The outside area is truly remarkable, overlooking Dómkirkjan Cathedral and Alþingi (Parliament House). When you think of central Reykjavik this is it! The menu

is simple, yet delicious. The hamburgers, ribs and chicken wings are well-known to the locals for being unique and tasty. Lunch or dinner, live music or dancing, beer or cocktails; the American Bar has it all and is truly worth the visit!

Life is short—Drink early! Located at the heart of Reykjavik, Ameri­can Bar is easy to find. Once inside you’ll feel at home right away, especi­ally if you’re an American; with deco­­rations like football helmets (find your favorite team) and the American flag.

Issue six 63

The English Pub Opening hours: Sun-Thurs: 12:00 - 01:00 Fri-Sat: 12-04:30 Open at 11 am from May 1st to September 1st.

Austurstræti 12 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 578 0400 Mobile: +354 697 9003

The English Pub – Save water, drink beer For years, Iceland has enjoyed a diverse selection of restaurants and often sophisticated bars. However, one tiny grumble occasionally surfaced from the country’s ­Anglophiles – simply that there was no proper “pub”.


nd 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 try a great variety of beers, foreign brands, as well as many local beers that are a must try.

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. Acclaimed assortment of malts includes many of Scotland’s finest, ensuring numerous Icelanders and worldly travelers make


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

A sporting chance Live sporting coverage is amply catered for, with a choice of six big screens and two TV screens. 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. In addition to the happy hour from 4-7pm every day, and for the ones feeling lucky, there is the Wheel of Fortune. Regulars like nothing more than to spin the wheel and chance a “Sorry” or preferably, win what used to be called a Yard of Ale. These days, it’s inevitably known as a meter of beer, but the winners don’t seem to mind!

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.

The Lebowski Bar Opening hours: 11:00 – 01:00 Sun-Thurs and 11:00 – 04:00 Fri/Sat Twitter: @LebowskiBar Instagram: #LebowskiBa

Laugavegur 20a 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 552 2300 email:

Lebowski Bar The Reykjavik venue that rocks! Walking into this American retro bar, is stepping back in time. And right away you know it’s the right bar for a few White Russians and a real good time. With carefully chosen music from the 50s to the 80s, the atmosphere in Lebowski Bar comes together giving the good vibration that the Dude would definitely abide by! Just walk in to see what condition your condition is in...


ll kinds of people come here,” the staff proudly explains. “Icelanders, tourists, every­­­body. With food and music that suits everyone, our customers range from age 20 to 85.” On those rare, but beautiful “warm” days in Iceland, Lebowski is the place to be: the huge outdoor terrace opens whenever the temperature rises above “a steamy 5°C.” But even with all this going for it, what Lebowski Bar prides itself most on is its delicious, diner-style menu with one-of-a-kind burgers, thick and creamy milkshakes, and oh yeah— White Russians. White Russians. Lebowski Bar has over 23 different variations of White Russians, the most popular one being the Cocaucasian, a regular White Russian topped with Cocoa Puffs. Some call it the brunch of champions, others Cocoa Puffs Russian … Either way, it’s delicious!

Where’s the Burger, Lebowski? Made with 150 grams of beef—that’s more than a quarter pound, for the metrically-challenged— Lebowski Bar’s classic burgers always hit the spot and boast a tempting array of toppings and sauces, from chili-marinated bacon to Japanese mayo.

With its perfect balance of sweet and savory, the Honey Boo, a honey-glazed bacon and BBQ-sauce burger, has been called “the best bacon burger in town” (and there are a lot of them to choose from). The Other Lebowski, a steak burger made from extra juicy beef tenderloin, is a staff favorite. Wanna go big? Check out the “Burger of the Month” specialty offerings. Past specialty burgers have included the Once Upon a Time in the West, made with steak tenderloin marinated in La Trappe Quadrupel Ale and served with Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce and caramelized onions, among other tasty toppings. Another limited-time option was the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a piquant patty served—appropriately enough—with pepper cheese and chili sauce. Burgers are clearly the house specialty here. For non-beefy options, Lebowski Bar has something for you, too. Try the Bunny Lebowski Chicken Burger, which was declared “gorgeous” by one happy visitor on Trip Advisor, or The Stranger Veggie Burger. And if you’re looking for something lighter, there are plenty of bar snacks—from cheese-stuffed jalapeños to onion rings—to enjoy with your beer.

You’re not wrong, Walter Lebowski Bar opens 11 am for lunch and there is a DJ every night from 9 pm. All big sports events are shown on all 5 Full HD screens. “This Reykjavík place is mind-bending,” Trip Ad­­visor user Graham enthused after a recent visit. “The burgers are massive, the chips chunky and the beers and White Russians flow. There’s a happy hour to bring down Iceland’s high prices, and regular bands playing to bring the film’s rockin’ ethos to life.” Sounds good to us. But you know, that’s just, like, his opinion, man.

Wanna go big? Check out the “Burger of the Month” specialty offerings. Past specialty burgers have included the Once Upon a Time in the West, made with steak tenderloin marinated in La Trappe Quadrupel Ale and served with Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce and caramelized onions, among other tasty toppings.

Issue six 65

Den Danske Kro Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 12:00 – 01:00 and Fri-Sat 12:00 – 05:00

Den Danske Kro Ingólfsstræti 3 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 552 0070

When in Iceland, go Danish! A vibrant place on the Reykjavík social scene is Den Danske Kro or “The Danish Pub,” a popular downtown venue with locals with happy hour and with live music every night.


en Danske Kro serves a variety of beers, in addition to familiar names such as Tuborg and Carlsberg, the Danish Pub serves a selection of seasonal beers from both Denmark and Iceland. During the Christmas months, Den Danske Kro is the home of the Tuborg Christmas Beer or “Julebryg,” a popular drink in Iceland during the darkest months.

check out the interior of the pub and you’ll discover an off-the-wall design in its most literal sense! Den Danske Kro is a great place to hang out with friends, play darts, watch sports, enjoy the occasional sun and watch the world go by on the outside terrace. And to get into the spirit of things, we recommend you try a glass of the customary Gammel Dansk bitters, a traditional Danish schnapps.

Cozy Copenhagen style

The place to party

The Danes have a word to describe a cozy, friendly atmosphere—“hyggelig” and that’s something the owners of the Danish Pub have worked hard to create in this home away from home within a pub. Just

Den Danske Kro, as said before, is a popular venue among locals, and as soon as happy hour kicks off, the place starts filling up with people from the neighborhood and others who want to finish the


WOW Power to the people

workday with a cold beer. Every night there’s live music where you can request your all-time favorite. During the weekend Den Danske Kro is open late. The bartenders will be happy to see you and you are welcome to dance and sing with the guests until the morning.

Den Danske Kro serves a variety of beers, in addition to familiar names such as Tuborg and Carlsberg, the Danish Pub serves a selection of seasonal beers from both Denmark and Iceland.

Kopar Restaurant Opening hours: Mondays to Thursday from 11:30-22:30 Fridays from 11:30-23:30 Saturdays from 12:00-23:30 Sundays from 18:00-22:30

Kopar Restaurant by the old harbor Kopar Restaurant is situated by Reykjavik‘s romantic harbor, in one of the old green fisherman‘s huts.


he fishing industry still thrives in Reykja­­­vik, so the old harbor is full of life. In the morning, fishermen go out to sea and return later with their catch of the day. As you stand on the pier you can feel the history of Reykjavik and watch the harbor life: fishing boats, fishermen, the catch, and young kids with their rods trying their luck off the pier. Meanwhile passersby are walking about and enjoying life. This fresh and energetic atmosphere of the old harbor is all part of the experience when you dine at Kopar. Kopar is a seafood restaurant

featuring locally caught seafood and crustaceans. They are especially proud of their crab soup, made with Icelandic rock crab from Hvalfjordur. Kopar offers a variety of Icelandic produce, including wild game, although the main emphasis is seafood, the fruit of the ocean. Kopar‘s head chef, Ylfa, is a member of the gold medal winning national culinary team. She pre­­­ pares the seafood in a unique and delicate manner, in­­tent on giving you an unforgetable experience.

Geirsgata 3 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 567 2700

Delight yourself with great service and atmosphere, delicious food and the best view in town. When visit­ ing Reykjavik, enjoying a night out at Kopar is a must.

Kopar‘s head chef, Ylfa, is a member of the gold medal winning national culinary team. She prepares the seafood in a unique and delicate manner, intent on giving you an unforgetable experience.

Issue six 67

KRYDD Restaurant & Bar Opening hours: Sun-Thurs: 11:00 am – 12 pm and Fri-Sat: 11 am – 1 am.

KRYDD Restaurant & Bar Strandgata 34 220 Hafnarfjordur Tel: + 354 558 2222 – Email:


The Gastric Gem of Hafnarfjörður! Located in the heart of Hafnarfjörður, the quaint yet funky town known as Iceland’s “Notting Hill,” the fabulously fun KRYDD Restaurant & Bar is a feast for the eyes and taste-buds.

his newly opened and vibrant dining experi­ ence, offers an original and exciting concept with a bold blend of chic modern and rustic, organic wooden touches. KRYDD is unique, with its roomy high ceilings, beautiful timber finishes, comfortable, relaxed seating and chill areas … and an impressively large bar made from reclaimed harbor wood! The walls are decorated with striking original Icelandic artwork that fuses perfectly with the elegant yet earthy feel of this impressive, new dining spot. The fabulously different and funky décor and hip relaxing ambiance promise a fun night out!


WOW Power to the people

KRYDD’s extensive, fun and varied menu offers just about anything for anyone and caters to vegans and vegetarians as well. With a vast array of surprising gastric delights, KRYDD’s kitchen is open from 11 am to 10 pm every day and the bar (with light dishes off the menu available) stays open until midnight on weekdays and 1 am on weekends. One of the few places in Iceland to offer brunch, KRYDD has a delicious “all you can eat” buffet brunch available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm. Cocktails, cocktails and more cocktails and an extensive wine and beer list, KRYDD’s bar has happy hour every day between 4 and 6pm!

From brunches to happy hour, lunch, dinner and a fabulous and professional bar service, KRYDD should be your choice for a unique dining and drinking experience, any day of the week!

The walls are decorated with striking original Icelandic artwork that fuses perfectly with the elegant yet earthy feel of this impressive, new dining spot. The fabulously different and funky décor and hip relaxing ambiance promise a fun night out!

Never mind the chocolate, puffin dolls or the key ring. If you really want a souvenir that will last, a tattoo is the way to go.


You can also shop our merchandise and more at our shop or online at /reykjavikink


We are open Monday – Saturday 12 pm-8pm - We are located on Frakkastíg 7, 101 Reykjavík

Issue six 69

Base Hotel Hostel at Ásbrú

Valhallarbraut 756-757, 235 Reykjanesbær, Iceland Tel: +354 519 1300

The Base at Ásbrú e-mail:

The recently opened Base HotelHostel at Ásbrú is a budget accommodation conveniently located near Keflavik Airport on the Reykjanes Peninsula.


he Base by Keflavik Airport is at a former NATO base used by the US Army until 2006. The hotel is actually located in two buildings where US Army families once resided and it embraces the 55-year history of the army’s presence in Iceland in its overall theme, with quirky little touches and photographs. “We looked to the area’s history and decided to create a positive concept revolving around that history. A big part of the design process was creating a warm, comfortable and fun space that could hold all this modern art that’s now on display. To add to the challenge, everything we did had to be low-cost and to keep costs down we kept a lot of the furniture that was left in the house. A good example of that are the rocking chairs found in most rooms, which have been sat in by many soldiers these past decades,” said hotel designer Leifur Welding. PERFECT FOR STOPOVERS The Base is perfect for short stopovers in Iceland and as a base for exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula and Southwest Iceland. The affordable rooms cater to all types of travelers. “Base Hotel has something for everyone, the lone traveler just looking for a place to rest, the couple for a fun place to be, or the family needing more space. With their community kitchens, laundry room, TV lounges, library, game room, 24-hour reception


WOW Power to the people

and bar and shuttle to the airport we try to meet everyone’s needs without abandoning our policy of being the most affordable accommodation in the area. The Base is not just a place to stay, it’s a place to live, even if it’s just for a few days,” says Base Hotel manager Richard Eckard. At The Base you’ll find hostel-style dorm rooms for the extremely cost conscious, suites for the private but thrifty and anything in between for everyone else who just like to stay within their budget but still get a good night’s rest. YOUR BASE IN ICELAND The Base seeks to celebrate the history of “the Base” while offering cheap accommodation and giving guests who travel to Iceland the perfect base to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula. The Base is conveniently located close to Keflavik Airport providing ease on your arrival and departure days and saving you precious time during a brief WOW Stopover. The Reykjanes Peninsula is a geologically young area displaying Iceland’s magnificent nature. From the Northern Lights to helicopter flights—whale watching to geothermal springs, the Reykjanes Peninsula’s got it all. Get comfortable and check out for more information and booking.

Issue six 71

Vatnajökull Region

A world of wonders The Vatnajökull Region, located in the southeast of Iceland, covers 200 km of the Ring Road. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the island, where fire meets ice. The Vatnajökull Region is filled with contrast with its black sand beaches, white glaciers, red volcano rock, green birch forest and the blue Atlantic Ocean. Serenity and the forces of nature combine to make a visit to the region of Vatnajökull an unforgettable experience. by Nejra Mesetovic Photos: Þorvarður Árnason, courtesy of Visit Vatnajökull


he region has many fas­­ci­­nating places to stop and see, and dur­­ ing both summer and winter it is stunningly bea­utiful. But during the winter, be­­sides being able to see the ice fields and the glaciers appearing bluer with fresh snow on top, parti­­ally frozen waterfalls, blue ice caves and icebergs, it is the best time to see the Northern Lights. The Vatnajökull Region offers stunning views of this phenomenon, away from the city light pollution. MUST VISIT PLACES In the Vatnajökull Region, you will encounter many beautiful places. One of them is the Jök­­ uls­­­­árlón Glacier Lagoon. Huge ice­­bergs that break of the mighty Vatna­­­­jökull Glacier float in the la­­goon and slowly move towards the sea, pushed by the current into the Atlantic Ocean. Some ice­­bergs are pushed back by the

Waterfall. Skaftafell is a popular destination for winter visitors in Iceland. For those seeking a short hike in the park (1-2 hours) during the winter months, the trail to Skaftafellsjökull Glacier Outlet is recommended. Another short hike is to Svartifoss, a stunn­­ing waterfall bordered on both sides by tall black basalt col­­umns. Additionally, Skaftafell has a visitor center where visitors can access practical information about the nature, activities and service in the area. EXPERIENCE THE REGION One of the more popular acti­­­vities in the region during the winter season is ice cave explor­­ing. The ice-cave season starts mid-November and lasts until mid-March. You will find diff­­erent companies in the area that offer a variety of ice cave tours in Europe’s largest glacier. Local guides seek out caves that are formed during the winter

„If you’re lucky enough and weat­her allows you might be able to see the Northern Lights. The prime conditions for experi­­­enc­­ing them is a clear, cold and cloudless night between Novem­­ber and March.“

strong wind and waves, ending up on the shore along Diamond Beach. There you’ll see chunks of crystal-clear blue ice sitting perfectly on the black beach, hence the name. Rain, shine or snow, this is an essential stop on any road trip in Iceland. Look out for wildlife because seals often come out to play among the float­­ing icebergs and herds of rein­deer are also a common sight east of Jökulsárlón. Another must visit is Skaftafell National Park and Svartifoss


WOW Power to the people

months. These guides know every crevice of the glacier that can be dangerous for newcomers and for this reason you should always have a professional guide with you when exploring the ice caves, and wear the appropriate gear. If you are looking for breathtaking views, great hiking, and unfor­­ getta­­ble glacier trips, this is certainly Iceland’s top location. Numerous outlet glaciers des­ cend from the main glacier plate­­ au of Vatnajökull. The glacier off­­ers the opportunity of a

uniq­­ue experience. A trip into the ice caves of Vatnajökull crawling glaciers is an adventure that no one should miss. The colors and refracted light in the ice reveal a world of wonders, providing a thrill for photography enthusiast and nature lovers alike. MEET THE PEOPLE There is one town in the area, Höfn, a fishing town with a popu­­ lation of 1,800. The south­­ern part of Vatnajökull National Park is situated within the municipality and the scenery from the town of Höfn is breathtaking. The town is known as the “Lobster Capital” of Iceland and has many restaurants offering this pre­­ cious product, as well as various other local specialties yearround. Be sure to ask for the local beer Vatnajökull, which is brewed from icebergs in Jökulsárlón and the local herb arctic thyme. After a long day of exploring what the magnificent area has to offer, a good way to rewind is to go and soak in the public thermal pool or the natural hot tubs in Hoffell. If you’re lucky enough and weat­ her allows you might be able to see the Northern Lights. The prime conditions for experi­­­ enc­­ing them is a clear, cold and cloudless night between Novem­­ber and March. If you wish to travel off the beaten track in search of the Northern Lights, you will be sure to find ex­­perienced guides in the area that know the best and most picturesque spots for Aurora hunt­­ing and photographing. For more information go to

Issue six 73



Borgarnes Akranes Geysir


Hveragerði Reykjavík Reykjanesbær Kópavogur 2 stores

Garðabær Hafnarfjörður Mosfellsbær



20 stores






WOW Power to the people

Monday-Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

11:00 - 18:30 10:00 - 19:30 10:00 - 18:00 12:00 - 18:00

Dettifoss Akureyri 2 stores






Skรณgafoss Reynisfjara


Discount Stores around Iceland

Issue six 75

WOW Designs


by Gerรฐur Harรฐardรณttir Photos: Saga Sig

WOW Power to the people

Iglo+indi Iglo+indi is an Icelandic fashion label for children, created in 2008 by fashion designer Helga Ólafsdóttir. Creative, colorful and über-cool, Iglo+indi offers children’s clothes and accessories in a gorgeous color palette, often drawn with the cutest prints imaginable. Clothes by Iglo+indi provide and outlet for a child and parents to express a certain mood and the child’s character, as the clothes are designed to be playfully mixed and matched, through unlimited options.


glo+indi is a company with strong social ethics and high awareness of how toxic the textile industry can be for our environment. The clothes are only made in factories that follow a strict fair-trade policy, including the well-being of the workers. The clothes themselves are made exclusively with fabrics free of toxic chemicals, which can be harmful to young children, often from organic GOTS-certified fabrics. Today the Iglo+indi label is sold to happy custom­­ers in selected stores all over the world, from Scandinavia to Russia, United Arab Emirates, China and the US. The brand is also highly visible on popular lifestyle and fashion blogs and on social media platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram where beautiful and inspiring images with the hashtag #igloindi are on the increase. Besides eco-friendly cotton pieces adorned with cute and quirky handmade illustrations of puffins, hares, lightings and cherries, the winter 2018 collection ups the glamour ante. It features a lavender faux fur jacket with a boho vibe, black jacquard kimono with leopard prints on the sleeves, black full-width organza dress, star-shaped silver sequin bag, and gold rose sequin skirt, all bound to bring back childhood memories of fun times going through mom’s closet, and trying on some of her finest party dresses.

The clothes themselves are made exclusively with fabrics free of toxic chemicals, which can be harmful to young children, often from organic GOTScertified fabrics.

Iglo+indi flagship store is located at Garðatorg 4, Garðabær but their designs are also available in Iceland at Geysir Haukadal, Blue Lagoon and at Elding, whale watching tours. For more information, check out


Skólavörðustígur 19 & Borgartún 31

t: +354 552 1890

Issue six 77

The WOW life

16 Tips for solo travelers Don’t let safety worries put you off traveling alone. With hundreds of solo trips under my belt, I’d like to share my hard-won travel advice for lone travelers. by Cindy-Lou Dale


espite the horror stories that make the head­­ lines, bear in mind you’re usually at no more risk while traveling than you are at home. How­ever, we can feel more vulnerable when we travel, and sometimes unwittingly put ourselves in dodgy situations through lack of local knowledge. So, here are a few common-sense rules that I follow when traveling solo that should help keep you safe on your adventures, too. 1. RESEARCH YOUR DESTINATION Be as prepared as possible—this doesn’t mean plann­­­ing out every detail of your trip, but instead being financially secure, having things like travel insurance and visas sorted, and of course, reading up on cust­ oms. Understand your destination when it comes to planning what to do if something goes wrong.

It is a fact that more incidents happen at night so if you’re going to em­­bark on long journeys, try and travel during the day. To avoid unwanted scenarios be sure to prear­­­range your air­­port transfer if arriv­­ing at night.

2. NETWORK Network and find travel buddies. Put up a Facebook post to see if your friends know anyone in new places you’re traveling to. Even if your friends aren’t the type to travel, you might be surprised by who knows whom and where. Forums are also a great way to meet other travelers—check out Nomadic Matt’s Forum, and the Thorn Tree Forum by Lonely Planet. There are often regional Facebook groups, like Chiang Mai Digital Nomads and Backpacking Africa, for example. There are new apps as well, like Wandermate and Tourlina, that are designed to connect solo travelers. 3. TRAVEL DURING THE DAY WHENEVER POSSIBLE It is a fact that more incidents happen at night so if you’re going to embark on long journeys, try and travel during the day. To avoid unwanted scenarios be sure to pre-arrange your airport transfer if arriving at night. 4. DON’T HIRE A TAXI OFF THE STREET Make the most of reliable local sources such as hotels and restaurants who’ll book legitimate and trustworthy public transport. 5. DOOR SECURITY One of my best tips for solo travelers is to carry a little plastic doorstop. It takes up no space and is great to have to shove under flimsy hotel room doors at night.


WOW Power to the people

Store the phone number and address of your hotel on your mobile phone. Also, have it written down in the local language, in case you get lost.

Drink in moderation and always be aware of your surroundings. Male or female, getting plastered while traveling alone is never a good idea and increases the likelihood of running into trouble.

6. DRESS APPROPRIATELY Over the years, one of the best lessons I learned traveling alone is how to blend in, and that means dressing like a local when necessary. Sometimes this may mean covering your hair or wearing long sleeves, which is why you need to research your destination beforehand, checking out what the local customs are regarding modesty and the meaning of gestures. Also, I always wear a wedding band. 7. BE CAUTIOUS WITH YOUR POSSESSIONS Most people travel with a camera, a smartphone and a tablet or laptop. Try and avoid flashing these around and only take them out of your pack when necessary. It is also smart to keep these possessions within reach, along with key documents such as your passport, visa and wallet. 8. LOOK LIKE YOU KNOW YOUR WAY AROUND Don’t look too touristy—use a local carrier bag and avoid taking out maps or guidebooks on the street. Instead, find a safe place to step aside and find your bearings before moving off again. 9. HAVE CONFIDENCE Standing around with a paper map and looking confused can often attract the wrong kind of attention. Acting with confidence even when you are in an unfamiliar location will go far. If you feel uncomfortable, use your best judgment and seek help. 10. LEARN A FEW KEY PHRASES Practice commonly-spoken words and phrases in the local language. Not only will it make you feel more familiar with your surroundings, but it will help you to engage with people in the area, who will admire you for it. 11. DON’T BE AFRAID TO CALL FOR HELP Now you know some of the local language; don’t be afraid to use it and make people aware if you are in trouble. Often, bystanders will step in if they know you’re in trouble. 12. ALWAYS LET PEOPLE KNOW WHERE YOU’RE HEADING Whether you check in on social media or send a simple message to family or friends back home, letting people know where and when you will be traveling is a very good safety net. 13. FIND OUT WHICH PLACES YOU SHOULD AVOID Store the phone number and address of your hotel on your mobile phone. Also, have it written down in the local language, in case you get lost. 14. MAKE CONTACTS IN THE DESTINATION YOU ARE VISITING Whether it’s friends of friends, long-distant relatives or a travel community, make use of people that you know in the places you are visiting. 15. GET DOWN WITH THE LOCALS Talking to locals is one of the safest things you can do because they are the ones that know about the area and can tell you where to visit and what to stay away from. Bonus: I always get really good info about where to eat or where to go next when talking to a local person. 16. BE SMART Drink in moderation and always be aware of your surroundings. Male or female, getting plastered while traveling alone is never a good idea and increases the likelihood of running into trouble. Solo travel isn’t lonely, and it’s not as daunting as you might think. It gives you time to plan and think and very soon you’ll find yourself surrounded by other solo travelers who all initially had the same misconceptions. It’s all about taking that first step and embracing the adventure. Issue six 79

me up

HOW HIGH WOULD YOU GO FOR MORE COMFORT? You can now fly in even more style to your destination. The WOW me up service makes it easy for our guests to bid on a seat upgrade before a flight.


o check if you are eligible for an upgrade and read the terms and conditions, go to and insert your booking number and last name. Bid on a BigSeat, XXL or XL seat, stating what you would be willing to pay for the upgrade. As soon as we’ve received your bid, you will get an email confirmation. At least 24 hours prior to your flight we will let you know whether your offer has been accepted. Easy-peasy right?


WOW Power to the people


* BigSeat The spacious BigSeat is our most comfortable and luxurious seat available. The seats are extra wide and offer lots of legroom with their 37-inch pitch. Only two seats per row mean more personal space if you win the bid. To secure a BigSeat for your trip, you can, of course, add it to your flight or book the WOW premium option all the way.

* Extra legroom seats These seats may be normal but the pitch is out of this world. Treat your legs to more space on board for an even more comfortable journey. You can bid on seat pitch from XL-XXL (32-35 inches) but to secure such abundant legroom you must add it to your flight or book the WOW comfy option.


2,300 ISK


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Siggi is one of our experienced drivers

Quick and convenient airport transfer

Free Wifi on board

Tickets available directly on the bus or online

Comfortable, modern coaches

Book now at or call us in +354 540 1313 (24/7)

Issue six 81


s Declaration Fo

The U.S. Custom

Pour remplir ce formulaire, utilisez uniquement des majuscules. Si vous faites une erreur, notre personnel vous donnera un nouveau formulaire. Chaque voyageur entrant ou chef de famille entrant doit fournir les informations suivantes (UNE SEULE déclaration par famille)

What is this and why do I need to fill this out? Before you arrive in the U.S., you will need to fill out the US Customs Declaration Form. If you‘re traveling with your family only the head of the family needs to fill out the form. When you arrive on US soil you will hand this form to the U.S. Customs agent.

Français Le formulaire de déclaration en douane américaine

Qu’est-ce que c’est et pourquoi dois-je en remplir un? Avant votre arrivée aux États-Unis, vous devrez remplir le formulaire de déclaration en douane américaine. Si vous voyagez avec votre famille, seul le chef de famille doit le remplir. Lorsque vous arrivez sur le sol américain, vous donnez ce formulaire aux autorités douanières américaines. Si vous voyagez avec des fruits, nous vous recommandons de les jeter avant ou pendant votre vol vers les États-Unis mais que se passe-t-il si vous répondez « oui » à l’une de ces questions ? Ce n’est pas aussi terrible que ça en a l’air et dire la vérité vous évitera pas mal d’ennuis et une amende pouvant aller jusqu’à 300 $. Consultez la page 84 pour obtenir plus d’informations si vous répondez « OUI ».

browse and shop over 870 ICELANDIC BRANDS tax and duty free


WOW Power to the people


Nom, Prénom, Initiale du deuxième prénom.


Date de naissance Jour/Mois/Année.


Nombre de personnes voyageant avec vous.


(a) Adresse Aux États-Unis (Destination ou nom de l‘hôtel) (b) Ville (c) Etat


Lieu de délivrace du passeport (nom du pays)


Numéro de passeport


Pays de résidence


Pays visités pendant ce voyage avant l‘arrivée aux aux Etats-Unis

9. Ligne aérienne / numéro du vol / Nom de vaisseau 10. Vous voyagez pour raison d‘affaires: OUI/NON 11.

Je suis / nous sommes porteurs de (a) fruits, plantes, produits alimentaires, insectes: OUI/NON (b) viandes, animaux, produits provenant d‘animaux ou d’animaux sauvages: OUI/NON (c) agents pouvant causer des maladies, cultures cellulaires, escargots: OUI/NON

This Space For Official Use Only

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Welcomes You to the United States

(d) terre. J‘ai / Nous avons visité une exploitation agricole en dehors des Etats-Unis: OUI/NON

12. J‘ai / nous avons touché ou traité du bétail: OUI/NON 13.

Je suis / nous sommes porteurs d‘espèces ou d‘instruments monétaires d‘une valeur équivalente en monnaie des États Unis ou de tout autre pays (Voir définition d‘instruments monétaire au verso) á plus de 10 000$ US: OUI/NON


Je suis / nous sommes en possession de marchandises commerciales (articles des tinés à la vente, échantillon de démonstration ou tout autre article autresque des effets personnels): OUI/NON


Résidents - la valeur totale des biens, y compris la marchandise commerciale, que j’ai/nous avons achetés ou acquis à l’étranger (y compris les cadeaux pour une autre personne, mais pas les articles envoyés aux États-Unis) et que je/ nous rapportons aux États-Unisest de: montant en USD

Visiteurs - La valeur totale de tous les articles qui resteront aux États-Unis, y compris la marchandise commerciale est de : USD Signez sur la ligne pour déclarer que votre déclaration est véridique.

Customs Declaration


19 CFR 122.27, 148.12, 148.13, 148.110, 148.111, 1498; 31 CFR 5316

Each arriving traveler or responsible family member must provide the following information (only ONE written declaration per family is required). The term "family" is defined as "members of a family residing in the same household who are related by blood, marriage, domestic relationship, or adoption." 1 Family Name Middle

First (Given) 2 Birth date




3 Number of Family members traveling with you 4 (a) U.S. Street Address (hotel name/destination) (b) City 5 Passport issued by (country) 6 Passport number 7 Country of Residence 8 Countries visited on this trip prior to U.S. arrival 9 Airline/Flight No. or Vessel Name Yes


(a) fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, food, insects:



(b) meats, animals, animal/wildlife products:



(c) disease agents, cell cultures, snails:



(d) soil or have been on a farm/ranch/pasture:



12 I have (We have) been in close proximity of livestock: Yes


11 I am (We are) bringing

(such as touching or handling) 13 I am (We are) carrying currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 U.S. or foreign equivalent:





(articles for sale, samples used for soliciting orders, or goods that are not considered personal effects)

15 RESIDENTS—the total value of all goods, including commercial merchandise I/we have purchased or acquired abroad, (including gifts for someone else but not items mailed to $ the U.S.) and am/are bringing to the U.S. is: VISITORS—the total value of all articles that will remain in the U.S., including commercial merchandise is:


Read the instructions on the back of this form. Space is provided to list all the items you must declare. I HAVE READ THE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON THE REVERSE SIDE OF THIS FORM AND HAVE MADE A TRUTHFUL DECLARATION.

X Signature

Die US-amerikanische Zollerklärung

Was ist das und warum muss ich dieses Formular ausfüllen?

The transportation of currency or monetary instruments, regardless of the amount, is legal. However, if you bring in to or take out of the United States more than $10,000 (U.S. or foreign equivalent, or a combination of both), you are required by law to file a report on FinCEN 105 (formerly Customs Form 4790) with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Monetary instruments include coin, currency, travelers checks and bearer instruments such as personal or cashiers checks and stocks and bonds. If you have someone else carry the currency or monetary instrument for you, you must also file a report on FinCEN 105. Failure to file the required report or failure to report the total amount that you are carrying may lead to the seizure of all the currency or monetary instruments, and may subject you to civil penalties and/or criminal prosecution. SIGN ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THIS FORM AFTER YOU HAVE READ THE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOVE AND MADE A TRUTHFUL DECLARATION.

Wenn Sie auf Ihrer Reise Obst mit sich führen, empfehlen wir Ihnen, dies vor oder während dem Flug in die USA zu entsorgen. Aber was geschieht, wenn Sie eine dieser Fragen mit Ja beantworten? Das ist nicht so schrecklich, wie Sie vielleicht denken, und Ehrlichkeit spart Ihnen eine Menge Ärger und eine mögliche Geldstrafe von bis zu 300$. Siehe Seite 84 für weitere Informationen zur Antwort JA.

Bitte verwenden Sie beim Ausfüllen dieses Formulars nur Großbuchstaben. Falls Sie einen Fehler machen wird Ihnen unsere Crew ein neues CBP (List may continue on another CBP Form 6059B) Value Use Only Formular geben. Jeder ankommende Reisende bzw. jedes verantwortliche Familienmitglied muss die folgenden Angaben machen (es ist pro Familie nur EINE schriftliche Erklärung erforderlich) Description of Articles

(see definition of monetary instruments on reverse) 14 I have (We have) commercial merchandise:


Vor der Ankunft in den USA müssen Sie das Formular der US-Zoller­ klärung ausfüllen. Wenn Sie mit Ihrer Familie unterwegs sind, braucht nur das Familien­ober­haupt dieses Formular ausfüllen. Wenn Sie US-Boden betreten, übergeben Sie dieses Formular dem US-Zoll.

(c) State

10 The primary purpose of this trip is business:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for protecting the United States against the illegal importation of prohibited items. CBP officers have the authority to question you and to examine you and your personal property. If you are one of the travelers selected for an examination, you will be treated in a courteous, professional, and dignified manner. CBP Supervisors and Passenger Service Representatives are available to answer your questions. Comment cards are available to compliment or provide feedback. Important Information U.S. Residents—declare all articles that you have acquired abroad and are bringing into the United States. Visitors (Non-Residents)—Declare the value of all articles that will remain in the United States. Declare all articles on this declaration form and show the value in U.S. dollars. For gifts, please indicate the retail value. Duty—CBP officers will determine duty. U.S. residents are normally entitled to a duty-free exemption of $800 on items accompanying them. Visitors (non-residents) are normally entitled to an exemption of $100. Duty will be assessed at the current rate on the first $1,000 above the exemption. Agricultural and Wildlife Products—To prevent the entry of dangerous agricultural pests and prohibited wildlife, the following are restricted: Fruits, vegetables, plants, plant products, soil, meat, meat products, birds, snails, and other live animals or animal products. Failure to declare such items to a Customs and Border Protection Officer/ Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist/Fish and Wildlife Inspector can result in penalties and the items may be subject to seizure. Controlled substances, obscene articles, and toxic substances are generally prohibited entry.

Date (month/day/year)

CBP Form 6059B (04/14)


Familienname, Vorname, Zweiter Vorname


Geburtsdatum / Tag/Monat/Jahr Total

3. Anzahl der mit Ihnen reisenden Familienmitglieder PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT STATEMENT: An agency may not conduct or sponsor an information collection and a person is not required to respond to this information unless it displays a current valid OMB control number. The control number for this collection is 1651-0009. The estimated average time to complete this application is 4 minutes. Your response is mandatory. If you have any comments regarding the burden estimate you can write to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Regulations and Rulings, 90 K Street, NE, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20229.


(a) Adresse/genaue Anschrift in den USA (Name des Hotels/Reiseziel) (b) Stadt CBP Form 6059B (04/14) (c) Staat

Don’t worry about your airport shopping and souvenirs . You are allowed to take on board both your carry-on luggage and your airport shopping.

W W W. K E FA I R P O R T. I S

Issue six 83


s Declaration Fo

The U.S. Custom 5.

Pass ausgestellt von (Land)




Ständiger Wohnsitz (Land)


Auf dieser Reise besuchte Länder vor Ihrer Ankunft in den USA

(c) Krakheitserreger, Zellkulturen, Schnecken: JA/NEIN (d) Erde, oder waren Sie auf einem Bauernhof/ einer Ranch/ Weide: JA/NEIN 12. Ich war (wir waren) in unmittelbarer Nähe von Vieh/ Nutztieren (z.B. Anfassen oder Umgang damit): JA/NEIN

9. Fluggesellschaft/Flugnummer oder Name des Schiffes 10. Der Hauptanlass dieser Reise ist geschäftlich: JA/NEIN 11. Ich (wir) führen folgende Waren ein: (a) Früchte, Pflanzen, Lebensmittel, Insekten: JA/NEIN (b) Fleisch, Tiere, Tier- oder Wildprodukte: JA/NEIN


Ich führe (wir führen) mehr als $US 10,000 in Bargeld oder Zahlungsmitteln oder den Gegenwert in anderen ausländischen Währungen mit (Siehe die Definition von Gegenstände zum persönlichen Gebrauch gelten): JA/NEIN

14. Ich führe (wir führen) kommerzielle Waren mit. (Verkaufsware, Muster zur Werbung von

Aufträgen oder Artikel, die nicht als Gegenstände zum persönlichen Gebrauch gelten): JA/NEIN


US-Bürger - der Gesamtwert aller Waren, einschließlich Handelswaren die ich/wir erworben habe(n) oder im Ausland erworben habe(n) (einschließlich Geschenke für andere, nicht aber Sendungen in die USA) und in die USA einführe(n) lautet: Betrag in US-$ Besucher - der Gesamtwert aller Artikel einschließlich Handelswaren, die in den USA verbleiben ist: $

Auf der Linie unterschreiben, um zu erklären, dass Sie eine wahrheitsgemäße Erklärung abgeben.

What happens if you say “Yes”? Sometimes we just want to avoid trouble and think that saying NO to everything will make things easier. That’s not the case and in fact, it can even cause more problems, delays and even fines. Be truthful on your Customs Declaration form and all will be good. Worst case scenario they’ll confiscate your banana but we promise you can buy a new one once you’re out of the airport. Yes to 11 (a), (b) or (c) Your customs officer will refer you to an agricultural specialist who will ask you additional questions and might ask to inspect your food items. In many cases, you’ll be allowed to take your food with you. This often depends on where you got the food and how it’s been processed. Fruits, vegetables and raw meats are usually confiscated. You can research ahead of time at which is a U.S. Government run site. Yes to 11 (d) and/or no. 12: An agricultural specialist will ask to inspect the soil or clothes, shoes or luggage that has been in contact with livestock or farm soil to determine if they contain any dangerous organisms. If they find potentially dangerous substances they will disinfect your items before allowing you to bring them in. For bringing soil into the US, you need a permit. Yes to no. 13 or 14: If you are carrying currency worth over $10,000 you will simply be given a special form to fill out for the Treasury Department. For items intended for sale, you should have already filed a “formal entry” before embarking on your journey. You could do so “on the spot” but these matters are subject to many rules and regulations and can be complicated.



Le formulaire de déclaration en douane américaine

Die US-amerikanische Zollerklärung

Que se passe-t-il si vous répondez « OUI » ?

Was passiert, wenn Sie JA sagen?

Certaines personnes semblent penser que répondre « non » à toutes les réponses leur évitera des ennuis. Ce n’est pas le cas et en fait, cela peut même vous causer plus de problèmes, des retards et des amendes. Dites la vérité sur votre formulaire de déclaration en douane et tout ira bien. Dans le pire des cas, ils confisqueront votre banane mais promis, vous pourrez en acheter une nouvelle à votre arrivée à l’aéroport.

Einige Leute nehmen an, dass sie keinerlei Ärger bekommen, wenn sie überall NEIN sagen. Das ist nicht so. Tatsächlich kann dies sogar mehr Probleme, Verzögerungen und sogar Geldbußen verursachen. Seien Sie bei Ihrer Zollerklärung ehrlich, und alles wird gut. Im schlimmsten Fall konfisziert man Ihre Banane, aber wir versprechen Ihnen, dass Sie sich eine neue kaufen können, sobald Sie den Flughafen verlassen haben.

Oui aux questions 11 (a), (b) ou (c) Votre agent douanier vous dirigera vers un spécialiste agricole qui vous posera des questions supplémentaires et qui pourra inspecter vos fruits. Dans de nombreux cas, vous sera autorisé à garder votre nourriture. Cela dépend souvent de la provenance la nourriture et de la façon dont elle a été transformée. Les fruits, les légumes et la viande crue sont généralement confisqués. Vous pouvez faire des recherches avant de partir sur le site qui est un site du gouvernement américain. Oui aux questions 11 (d) et/ou 12 : Un spécialiste agricole inspectera la terre ou les vêtements, les chaussures ou les bagages qui ont été en contact avec du bétail ou le sol d’une ferme pour déterminer la présence d’organismes dangereux. S’il trouve des substances potentiellement dangereuses, il désinfectera vos objets avant de vous laisser les garder. Pour importer de la terre aux États-Unis, il vous faut un permis. Oui aux questions 13 ou 14 : Si vous transportez des devises d’une valeur supérieure à 10 000 $, vous devrez simplement remplir un formulaire spécial pour le ministère des finances. Pour les objets destinés à être vendus, vous devriez déjà avoir rempli un « formulaire d’entrée officielle » avant de prendre votre vol. Vous pouvez faire cela sur place mais ce genre de chose est soumis à de nombreuses règles et règlementations et peut être compliqué.


WOW Power to the people

Ja zu 11 (a), (b) oder (c) Ihr Zollbeamter wird Sie an einen Spezialisten für landwirtschaftliche Produkte weiterverweisen, der Ihnen zusätzliche Fragen stellen wird und evtl. darum bittet, Ihre Lebensmittel inspizieren zu dürfen. In vielen Fällen wird man Ihnen erlauben, Ihr Essen mitzunehmen. Oft hängt es davon ab, wo Sie die Lebensmittel erworben haben und wie sie verarbeitet wurden. Obst, Gemüse und rohes Fleisch werden in der Regel beschlagnahmt. Sie können vor Abflug auf der Website der US-Regierung nachlesen, was erlaubt ist. Ja bei 11 (d) und/oder Nr. 12: Ein Spezialist für landwirtschaftliche Produkte wird Sie darum bitten, die Erde oder die Kleidung, Schuhe oder das Gepäck inspizieren zu dürfen, welche(s) in Kontakt mit Tieren oder landwirtschaftlichem Boden war, um zu bestimmen, ob diese gefährliche Organismen enthalten. Wenn er potenziell gefährliche Stoffe findet, werden Ihre Gegenstände desinfiziert, bevor Sie die Erlaubnis erhalten, diese einzuführen. Für das Einführen von Erde in die USA benötigen Sie eine Genehmigung. Ja bei Nr. 13 oder 14: Wenn Sie Bargeld im Wert von mehr als $10.000 mit sich führen, erhalten Sie einfach ein besonderes Formular, das Sie für das US Finanzministerium ausfüllen müssen. Für Gegenstände, die für den Verkauf vorgesehen sind, sollten Sie bereits vor Ihrer Abreise eine „formelle Einfuhrgenehmigung“ einholen. Sie tun könnten dies auch „vor Ort“ erledigen, aber diese Vorgänge unterliegen vielen Regeln und können sehr kompliziert sein.




Discover Santa Monica pier

California Dreamin! Route 66 @ Santa Monica Pier

The best kicks on Route 66 When we’re not traveling, me and my son become local tourists in our own backyard. One of my favorite places to hang with the little one is the Santa Monica Pier at the end of Route 66. It can be a few hours or a full day of fun. Thanks to an evolving LA Metro system, the pier and surrounding Westside attractions are easily accessible and scalable to every budget. by Myla Twillie – @myghtyink


amously known as the Main Street of America, U.S. Route 66 served as the major path for migration to the west and an economic boost for the cities it passed through. The iconic stretch of highway originally began in Chicago stretching across the middle of America, down through Kansas to Texas and New Mexico, ending in Santa Monica, California. LA’s coastal communities have been a destination favorite for families through­­ out the city’s history for vaca­­­tioning and permanent relocation. Today millions of local and global tourists pour onto the pier to catch a glimpse of California life. It’s the perfect place to take a selfie, catch a sunset, people watch, dine, walk, bike and shop. CALI SWAG A perfect day at the pier might begin with a dip in the Pacific or sunbathing on Cali’s famed coastline. The pier is located just below the bend in the coast as it stretches north to Malibu and Ventura


WOW Power to the people

LA’s coastal communities have been a destination favorite for families through­­ out the city’s history for vaca­­­­­tioning and permanent relocation.

County. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the beach essentials like an umbrella. As long as you arrive early or visit on a weekday, you can catch a spot under the boardwalk. It’s poetically perfect. Do bring dry clothes and start phase two of your pier fun at the Pacific Park. There are rides and games for all ages. You’ll hear shrills from the Sea Dragon and the West Coaster. Inkie’s Scrambler also gets big screams from scared victims. The Pacific Wheel has the most stunning views of North Santa Monica Bay. EATS N’ TREATS Every palate can find satisfaction on the pier. Food options vary from American diner and seafood cafes to boardwalk staples and carnival treats. No matter what you choose, you’re dining at the Pacific Ocean and it’s AWESOME! Let’s be clear, you’re at the pier and we’re not counting calories. French fries, burgers, dogs, and custard from Pier Burger are a must. And I mean all of them; order the whole menu and

share. Be aware of the pigeon population that also frequents the popular eatery. It’s not uncommon for them to wander in as if waiting for their names to be called. If you’d rather have a sit down burger and a cocktail combo, and listen to live music there’s Rusty’s Surf Ranch or seafood at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Or you might want food on the go, in which case Japadog is a foodie haven featuring a dog for every season. The food truck is parked on the pier just past the arcade. Again, when you’re at the pier you’re not counting calories; we always grab a fresh churro at some point in our wanderings. JUMP INTO L.A.’S URBAN OUTDOORS If you’re still worried about consuming so many yummy calories, you can always get into LA’s outdoor experience. Rent bikes, take a walk, play a game of beach volleyball or get a sidewalk table at one of the restaurants and just relax. For the adventure seekers, there’s even an outdoor trapeze school. While I still haven’t mustered up the nerve

No trip to the SMP is complete without visiting the Playland Arcade. Our whole family— granny and great granny’s included—enjoy playing games, amassing tickets, and choosing prizes.

to try it, I have friends who have that swear it’s one of the most liberating experiences... I’m taking their word for it! WE LOVE IT! There is so much to see and do but what makes the pier one of the best family destinations is that everyone can enjoy it together. A day pass at Pacific Park goes a long way to unlimited fun. Ride all day and night. Save a few bucks and purchase your pass online. The pier is also home to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium located off the bike path under the board­­ walk. Plenty of marine creatures are on display to see and even touch—sharks, sea stars, eels and marine fossils. Just a few steps from the Aquarium is the famous Santa Monica Pier Carousel housed in the Hippo­­­ drome, a historical landmark building. No trip to the SMP is complete without visiting the Playland Arcade. Our whole family—granny and great granny’s included—enjoy playing games, amassing tickets, and choosing prizes. What I love most about the pier is each time we go, I am filled with childlike wonder. And watching my son enjoy games or soaring high on Sea Planes is the perfect ending to beautiful sunsets. The Pacific Wheel shines brightly at night when you can no longer fully appreciate the beauty of the ocean. You hear the waves crashing and arcade games going off, feel the Cali breeze and know it’s been a lovely day.

California is beachin’! Take the whole family out for fun and games at the Santa Monica Pier.

Way up high—Somewhere over the Pacific…

WOW air offers cheap flights to Los Angeles several times a week all year round.

Issue six 87

From NYC to Washington, D.C.

A tale of four cities Whether you start in NYC or DC; you’re in for a good time if you take on this East Coast road trip. by Caron R. Luteran Photos:


WOW Power to the people

THE ART OF NAVIGATING NEW YORK My tale of four East Coast cities adventure began the moment my flight landed at Newark Airport (EWR), and a 35-minute train ride deposited me at NYC’s Penn Station. To avoid that dreaded feeling of FOMO; I planned my route carefully so I would be able to see parks, art, museums and food halls by bus, bike and on foot. My first stop after settling in was on the High Line, a free elevated 1-1/2 miles’ walkway ( This peaceful walking/leisure spot in the urban jungle opens around 7 AM and closes around 10 PM. It has access points about every 3 streets from West 34th Street to the Meatpacking District around 14th Street. This put me right in the middle of Chelsea where I was spoiled for choice with established modern/ contemporary art galleries such as Gagosian, David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth as well as some up and coming smaller galleries. Check out ( or for more information. After about two hours of seeing weird, wonderful and anything and everything art and sculpture; hunger called. A stop at Chelsea Market food hall at 16th Street and 9th Ave hit the spot where I enjoyed a big bowl of ramen noodles at Mokbar and a brownie at Fat Witch Bakery. Still hungry for art as well as cool architecture had me scoot over to the Whitney Museum of American Art at 99 Gansevoort Street where it was pay-whatyou-wish from 7-10 PM on Friday night. The next morning, I took the subway up to 57th Street where I accessed Central Park on 59th Street and Fifth Ave. The park goes until 110th Street and over to Central Park West. After a scenic stroll, I jumped on a blue Citi Bike and rode over to Grand Central Station on 42nd Street to see the famous train station and its commuter rush. To top off the tour I went to the Empire State Building on 34th street and enjoyed the spectacular views of the Big Apple. My next stop: Philadelphia, PA. SELFIES IN PHILADELPHIA I arrived in Philly via Megabus after a 2-hour trip and walked over to Reading Terminal Market, a vast indoor food hall with cuisines from all over the world. Here I feasted on some Cajun food and then hopped on an Indego bike ( nearby and cycled up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the famous Rocky statue at 26th Street and Ben Franklin Parkway. Since Philly is the City of Brotherly Love, I wanted to see the colorful pop art sculp­­tur­­es AMOR on N. 18th Street and LOVE by Robert Indiana at JFK Plaza/Love Park. They are both perfect selfie destinations! Wanting more cool experiences, I went on a mural tour ( and then found myself going down a very tiny alley to enjoy happy hour at Graffiti Bar on 124 S. 13th Street. Any visitor to Philly knows a cheesesteak is a must eat so I indulged in a cheesy one at Jim’s Steaks at 400 South Street. Geno’s is good, too, and is open 24 hours.

Issue six 89

From NYC to Washington, D.C. I left DC with a lot more to do, but it was time to go to Baltimore via the MARC train where I visited the Inner Harbor and ate Maryland crab cooked all ways with a little bit of Chesapeake Bay Seasoning that gave it a little extra spicy and zingy flavor.

to the National Zoo where I saw elephants, monkeys, pandas, snakes and tortoises. I only wished it was April, so I could see the city’s pretty pinky white cherry blossoms in full bloom. A SHORT STOP IN BALTIMORE I left DC with a lot more to do, but it was time to go to Baltimore via the MARC train where I visited the Inner Harbor and ate

Maryland crab cooked all ways with a little bit of Chesapeake Bay Seasoning that gave it a little extra spicy and zingy flavor. In fact, I felt so full that a trip to the R. House food market was out of the question, but I’ll be back as I’m not done with the East Coast yet, and with that, I was off to BWI airport to catch my WOW flight back home. And that’s how you start off in one city and end up seeing four. Easy!

Before I left Philly, I knew I had to see pieces of American history here, so I arrived in time for the morning American flag raising at the Betsy Ross House and went to see the iconic Liberty Bell before taking the bus to Washington, D.C. GREAT DAYS IN DC Three and a half hours later, my bus arrived into DC’s beautiful Union Station which put me right in the center of the nation’s capital and near many of its 17 free and amazing Smithsonian Museums & the National Zoo. I learned all about stamps at the Postal Museum, saw countless books at the Library of Congress and discovered the many meanings behind its ornately painted walls/ceilings. I reveled in smelling all the fragrant scents at the U.S. Botanic Garden and whizzed by the White House on a red bike ( over


WOW Power to the people

WOW air offers cheap flights to the USA, with several destinations on the East Coast, the Mid-West and the West Coast. Make the most of your vacation and take a road trip. From east to west or north to south, WOW air will get you there, and back.

The Ghost Centre T he Ghost Centre features all of Icelands most famous ghosts. Ghost appearances are frequently mentioned in the sagas, dating back to the beginning of Icelandic history. Ghost can appear in all living shapes or forms and some of these are still around today.

draug asetrid@draug | www.icelandicwonder



ART HOSTEL Art Hostel is situated in the charming former small fishing village of Stokkseyri,on Iceland’s south coast, just south of Selfoss. Art Hostel offers panoramic views,over the very colourful village of Stokkseyri, inland to Mount Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull volcanoes and southwards over the expansive North Atlantic Ocean. | Issue six 91

Old town – Fresh Polish cheesemongers, and coffee roasters are permanent fixtures every day. Colorful hand-painted murals on many of the buildings create a vibrant streetscape. It’s a convenient area to spend the day shopping, dining and exploring. During summer peak, The Eastern Market draws daily crowds of over 30,000 people. CHECK OUT MIDTOWN AND CORKTOWN Midtown may be the city’s most resurgent neighborhood. Once neglected, the area is now thriving with new retail and restaurant options. One highlight is the Canfield Street Building which houses Third Man Records, Shinola and the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery. Third Man Records should be on the hit list for any music lover visiting Detroit. Founded by musician Jack White, this place is both a record store and a funky novelties lounge. Large windows connect it to a fully operational vinyl record pressing plant in the back. Public tours allow vinyl buffs an up-close experience. Two doors down is Shinola’s flagship store. The warm and open space is perfect for perusing the company’s sleek product line. An in-store café serves fresh-brewed Shinola coffee. Recharge after shopping at the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery. More midtown destinations include City Bird, the spot for local handmade goods. There’s also Avalon International Breads, famous for cinnamonbrioche buns and delicious coffee. Historic Corktown is also within easy reach of downtown. Find quirky retail shops, bars, and restaurants here. Most lie in and around the eerie shadow of the monolithic Central Train Depot. Renovation plans are in place for the abandoned landmark. Inside Guardian building.

The new heart and soul of Detroit Detroit’s resurgence is in full swing, and it shows. The tide has shifted with more people moving downtown than away from it. Old buildings are getting a fresh polish. Creative food and drink options are filling in the gaps. There’s a lot to see and do, and the energy is contagious. by Tom O’Connor


etroit had a long history of attract­ing innovators and earned its nicknames “The Motor City” and “Motown” with pride. But fortunes turned, and the city languished through some rough times. Now, after struggling to rebuild, there’s a new sense of oppor­­ tunity here. The innovators are back. BUILT IN DETROIT One company leading the charge is Shinola. With a fresh take on design and an emphasis on quality, the company is aiming to bring manufacturing jobs back to Detroit, and it’s working. Shinola’s watches, turntables and hand-built bicycles have made it a global lifestyle


WOW Power to the people

Visiting Detroit can be easy. Stay downtown, tour architectural gems and check out the hot list of dining options. No need to venture very far.

brand. The “Built in Detroit” concept is creating a lot of new jobs for Detroiters. Next up for the company is The Shinola Hotel, opening soon in the heart of downtown. Where else? Visiting Detroit can be easy. Stay downtown, tour architectural gems and check out the hot list of dining options. No need to venture very far. Many new places and classics spots are downtown and in easy-to-reach neighborhoods like Midtown and Corktown.

Astro Coffee in Corctown.

WHERE TO START? FOLLOW THE FOOD The sprawling Eastern Market near down­­­ town is a hub of culinary activity. Fresh pro­­ duce is abundant on Saturdays when local farmers take over. But restaurants, butchers,

The Apparatus Room inside The Detroit Foundation Hotel.

The Guardian Building downtown is an architectural gem and a highlight of the city. The 1920’s interior is jaw-dropping. Open to the public, the place is perfect for self-guided tours. Avalon International Breads bakery outpost in Midtown.

Third Man Records should be on the hit list for any music lover visiting Detroit. Founded by musician Jack White, this place is both a record store and a funky novelties lounge.

Slows Bar-B-Q, an early Corktown pioneer, has mouthwatering BBQ and killer mac & cheese. Nearby Batch Brewing Company serves up tasty small­­-batch brews. Batch’s community tables add a beer hall vibe, and the menu is a crowd pleaser. The friendly staff knows its beer and is happy to talk about it. For a quick perk-up check out Astro Coffee. Serious coffee lovers line-up for artful pour-overs. A few doors down sits Sugar House, a dark and cozy gem that Esquire Magazine named one of the “Best Bars in America.”

The Eastern Market ner downtown Detroit.

Open to the public, the place is perfect for self-guided tours. The Detroit Institute of Art has one of the finest collections of art in the world including Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” frescoes, and the Heidelberg Project is a permanent outdoor art exhibit that draws rave reviews. WHERE TO STAY The Detroit Foundation Hotel makes the perfect base for exploring the city. The beautiful boutique hotel is located in the old Detroit Fire Department Headquarters. The smart design incorpo­­ rates historical elements with exquisite detail. The gorgeous Appara­tus Room takes over the ground floor. This hotel restaurant and bar has old firehouse doors that open to the side­­walk. Popular with evening crowds, it buzzes with the energy of a changing city. GETTING AROUND

The Guardian building in downtown Detroit.

THE ART OF THE CITY The Guardian Building downtown is an architectural gem and a highlight of the city. The 1920’s interior is jaw-dropping.

Both the People Mover and The QLine offer limited transit options downtown. But generally, Lyft and Uber are safe bets. Detroit has a bike share service called MoGo and Lime and offers shared scooters downtown that max out at speeds of 15mph.

WOW air offers cheap flights to Detroit four times a week, all year round Motown—Mo’ fun! Head out to the city of reinvention and experience the revitalization.

Third Man Records - The record store and pressing plant in Midtown.



Mexican food that is a true fiesta for your taste buds! We are at eight locations in the Reykjavik area and one in Akureyri: The N1 service stations at Hringbraut and Bíldshöfði. The shopping malls Kringlan and Smáralind and Akureyri center among other places.

Issue six 93

Chicago’s designers


WOW Power to the people

Inspiration in Windy City

America continues to surprise us with new, innovative, and downright awesome businesses. Like the corner store with a bike-through window, a mobile shop that sells vintage clothing from a 60s trailer, a pizza museum, and a Chinese restaurant that serves Pac-Man-like dumpling characters— not forgetting the food trucks and mobile shops that sell their wares on wheels. by Cindy-Lou Dale

Should you not be based in Chicago, fear not. You can design your custom bag online! First select one of 26 base styles—small bags, crossbodies, totes and shoulder bags.


in Chicago, creativity knows no bounds and enables entrepreneurs to identify new opportunities to grow their businesses, further generating innovation. These are the top three on the Cool Business List. THE BAG LADIES You’ll stop and stare at the stylish hand­­­ bags displayed in the window of Laudi Vidni on West Armitage Avenue—a Chicago-bas­­ ed boutique that believes every woman should love her handbag, not just like it. The way they see this happening is for women to design it themselves. “Talk to a woman about her handbag,” says Laura Kofoid, “and she will likely say, ‘I love this bag, but...’ which is why Grace Tsao-Wu and I created Laudi Vidni. We want women to love their bags, with no ‘buts’ to speak of. We’ve become good listeners and know that every woman’s handbag-needs differ and that they have a desire to create their own— which is why we created our Chicago-based boutique where you can do just that.” Should you not be based in Chicago, fear not. You can design your custom bag online! First select one of 26 base styles—small bags, crossbodies, totes and shoulder bags. Now choose from 50+ types of leather. Everything from soft grain metallics to fuchsia snakeskin and leopard print. De­­­pending on your design, you can select leathers for the body, the handle and the strap. After your leathers, pick a lining— basically, you decide what color you want to pop when you open your bag. Finally, choose from silver or gold hardware. If customizing isn’t your thing, you can also shop their online collection of beautifully curated pre-made handbags.

THE HAT MAN Walking through the doors of Optimo Hats (West Jackson Boulevard), you at once sense you’ve entered the last surviving bastion of another decade—a time when Chicago men traditionally wore custom-made hats. As an apprentice, Graham Thompson worked in the shop of legendary Chicago hatter, Johnny Tyrus. The shop was small and packed with hats—and sometimes he’d be allowed to hang out behind the

counter to observe the mix of customers, which occasionally included famous blues musicians. Having bought the business from his retiring mentor, Graham continues to provide custom-made hats to enthusiasts around the world and performs fitting in his shop and over the phone. Set up in a converted Chicago firehouse which opened at the height of hat wearing in 1915, and using original equipment, his team create hats working artifacts dating back to the 1920s. Optima’s customers see a hat as something more than a fashion statement and wear their hats with style and panache, despite fashion trends.

THE BICYCLE GUY Since Schwinn left the city in the 70s, Heritage Bicycles are the only outfit in Chicago to hand-make bicycles. Their hand-built works of design art have earned them an international reputation as a mecca for discerning cyclists. Here we’re talking fully-customized, all American-made, hand-welded bikes cre­­ ated inside—wait for it—a trendy coffee shop. Merging Chicago’s manufacturing industry with a contemporary space where lovers of good coffee amass must surely be every hipster’s dream. Whether you pop in to do some work, to hang out, or peruse the Heritage shop (stocked with brands like Brooks, Yakkay, Lezyne, Velo-Orange, Abus, as well as jewelry crafted out of recycled bike parts) be sure to watch the mesmerizing show put on by the bike mechanics in the “garage.” It’s a classic “Proud to be American-made” storefront, transformed into a sanctuary for coffee aficionados that’s much loved by the locals and a few celebs like Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Pack a bag, put a hat on and pedal over to Chicago to meet its innovative designers. WOW air offers cheap flights to Chicago every day of the week, all year round.

Issue six 95

Going dutch


WOW Power to the people

Why Amsterdam is the best field trip ever! I know Amsterdam doesn’t sound like the perfect family (including children) vacation. But my mini-traveler and I frequent off-the-kid-grid destinations and are becoming masters at customizing our experiences. by Myla Twillie – @myghtyink Photos: Myla Twillie and


aintaining my “off the beaten path mantra,” I settled on Holland for our annual trip. Yes, I’m the mom that takes a five-year-old to Amsterdam to see my favorite band. Crazy right!?! Not really. As it turns out, the canal metropolis is ideal for family travel and should be at the top of your list for Best Field Trip Ever!

Amsterdam Windmill: Nothing says you’re in Holland like a windmill. Photo: iStock / Prasit Rodphan

I DREAM OF DUTCHLAND My planning began with Googling coffee shops. Enter search: What do you do with your kid when visiting a coffee shop? Results: You don’t go to coffee shops or any of the other “shops” with your child. There is no kid check, and puffing in the open Dutch air or downing space cakes is off the table too as all consumption must take place at the shop. Thankfully, there is plenty to see and do in the Renaissance-set city that doesn’t require cannabis. Our to-do list included tulips, art, canals, bikes, good eats and... Jamiroquai!

and entry to several museum attractions. Totally worth it! However, one of the most important exhibits, The Anne Frank House, is not included. I struggled for like five­­-minutes as to whether I should take my boy Jay to this one. I mean Anne Frank might be a bit heavy for a kindergartener. But then I considered, he’s going to be a man one day. If you haven’t been to the Anne Frank House... Go! The experience is trans­formative. Humanity, suffering, happiness, despair, hope, fear and love consume the senses as you asc­end the annex building. I watched with great humility as my little boy expressed deep empathy and a hung­­ering for understanding. Don’t worry if your child hasn’t read Anne’s diary or you haven’t discussed her story beforehand (we didn’t); the exhibit meets everyone who enters right where they are. The Van Gogh Museum and Amsterdam Tulip Museum, where we learned about the history of tulips in the Netherlands, were also on the bucket list. Who knew such a gorgeous blossom was native to the harsh mountainous regions of Central Asia and Turkey?

Our trip was filled with pancakes— thinly grilled as big as the plate or coin-sized with endless toppings and flav­­or combinations. We tried savory recipes with bacon, spinach, and of course... CHEESE! Then there were the sweet ones with apples, cinnamon and chocolate, and topped with caramel-drizzled whipped cream. My son made up several sign­ ature recipes during our stay.

the cheese museum, I can’t give a comprehensive report as to what makes cheese so wonderfully yummy in Holland, but never mind the reason; when you go to Amsterdam... EAT CHEESE! CANAL STREETS There’s something so magical and dreamlike about Amsterdam’s canals—those waterway streets runn­­­ing through its vibrant urban center. A thousand words cannot describe just how beautiful and calm­­ing the canals are. Trees, bicycles, double-arched bridges, and houseboats drift by as we sail through awe-inspiring scenes on the canal tour. We even found a few dream houses along Brou­­­wers­­ gracht, once voted Amster­­dam’s most beautiful canal street and the Prince’s Canal, the longest canal in the city center. The best part about canals is that you don’t have to be on a cruise or live in a houseboat to enjoy and take in their beauty—bike rides, the city train, walks, and plenty of cafe dining are all a part of the canal milieu.

Yes, I’m the mom that takes a five-year-old to Amsterdam to see my favorite band. Crazy right!?!

I love cheese, and my favorite ad­­ ventures in the bike nation were at the cheese stores. Since we missed

Our Dutch vacay was one of the most fun excursions we’ve had to date. We danced the night away with space cowboys and cosmic girls, bonded along tree-lined water-paths giving way to Fall, stuffed our bellies full and became regulars in the city. When we got back home, learning to ride a bike became a top priority for my son. I often dream of our return to explore more of the water-land of windmills.

Rijksmuseum was an unexpected cherry on top. The fairly contemp­ or­ary art collection is pretty impress­ive. We even got to leave a mess­age to the art community in the guest drawing room.

The Netherlands is known for canals, windmills, dairy products, art and millions of bicycles. During our visit we took in a good part of the country staying forty-five minutes outside the city in Alkmaar. MUSEUM HOPPING A tighter than tight budget meant I started with free (not a lot there) and moved on to an Iamsterdam card. The card gives you access to the metro in Amsterdam, discounts on restaurants, a free canal cruise (not the booze one),

Bulb blossoms: Tulips anyone?

STACKING CAKES, MAKING CHEESE After coffee shops, the best invention in Amsterdam is the pancake. Dutch pancakes are a cross between a pizza and an omelet in pancake form.

Amsterdam Bike Canal: Bike nation: You can’t help but be a born again biker in the A. Photo: iStock / Prasit Rodphan

WOW air offers cheap flights to Amsterdam every day of the week, all year round. Find your flight to the Netherlands at Amsterdam is definitely kid-friendly especially if the grown-ups are on their best behavior.

Issue six 97

India experiences


WOW Power to the people

Rajasthan Rocks!

Travelers are wising-up to staged “local encounters” which have become little more than human safaris. In the Rajasthan region, for example, independent and privately-owned hotel owners uplift their immediate communities and have savvy local guiding explorers around. This way, you get to see genuine village life without intruding—which is where the magic of travel truly lies.

by Cindy-Lou Dale


isiting a remote Garasia tribal village, accessible only on foot, I meet an elderly lady and her mother, who together oversee the village during the day, looking after the children, while the fathers tend the fields and the mothers sell vegetables at the market. The ladies live in a home with a grass reed roof held up by four posts and two reed walls. There are raised reed beds directly beside a goat pen, a fire pit for cooking, and suspended reed baskets for the chickens to sleep in at night. While the children do their chores, the daughter proudly shows me around, then invites me to squat under a Banyan tree, makes tea, and tells me about her modest life. LIKE STAYING AT THE MUSEUM Where you’ll find these deeply cultural experiences are off-the-beaten-tourist-track villages and the privatelyown­ed hotels in them, like the Ghanerao Heritage Hotel. The streets of Ghanerao village are clean, the ramshackle homes are painted in vibrant colors, and the locals are happy to see visitors. There are definite Best Exotic Marigold Hotel charact­­er­ istics to a stay at the Ghanerao Heritage Hotel but in the best possible way imaginable. Forget the 21st century, this is living history. Although crumbling and somewhat rundown, this once dilapidated, incredibly picturesque castle, draped in bougainvillea creepers, with hidden courtyards and sun-trap terraces, has been restored one room at a time. Built in 1606, by a gallant Rajput soldier of Mewar, Ghanerao Heritage Castle is a huge maze-like mansion with hidden tunnels and passageways. It’s like sleeping in a museum filled with interesting artifacts that provide

magical insight into the lavish lifestyle of past royalty. Each of its 15 renovated guest rooms is unique. Some have canopied beds and stained-glass windows; others have antique sofas, chandeliers, ornate alcoves and frescoes, but all are furnished with genuine antiques, some restored, most not. Dinner is a take-what-you’re-given affair, which is authentic, flavorsome and aromatic Rajasthani dishes. The trade-offs are no mod-cons—the internet is available only on the beautiful marble terrace and there’s no real reception desk, so it’s difficult to reach service staff (inroom phones). The aircon is iffy and if you remember to turn on the water heater, you may have a warm shower. But the hotel does offer an escorted tour of the village, where you’ll no doubt be followed by cows seeking treats, meet the man who repairs bicycle punctures, a lady that hand-makes leather slippers and another milling grain. You may instinctively want to opt for modern five-star luxury, but in this case, the compromise is worth making as the atmosphere, history and art are genuine and everything is sufficiently comfortable. So, go with the flow and forget Western-world’s ideals as this is “Incredible India” in every sense of the word. Must do: Spend a morning with a local Raika tribe and learn how they milk their camels—standing stalk-like on one leg, directing the milk flow at a jug balanced on one knee. This is followed by camel milk tea brewed on an open flame, and a quick overview of the medicinal benefits of camel milk which, due to its high nutritional value is regarded as a staple part of their diet. The Raika use it not only as a drink but as a complete food supplement.

Issue six 99

India experiences

LEOPARD SPOTTING AT CASTLE BERA Castle Bera, an equally authentic hotel found in the small hamlet of Bera in the Jawai region is renowned for its leopard population located in the nearby granite hills. It’s a grand 300-year old ancestral castle, once home to the son of the great ruler, Maharana Pratap. This 16th-century castle has five spacious, air-conditioned guest rooms. It’s run as a home-stay and is overflowing with antiques, hunting trophies, memorabilia, family history and displayed on the walls are pictures of stiffly posing royalty. As with Ghanerao, there’s no in-room phones, 24-hour room service or wi-fi. The garden is immaculate, and a magnet for local birdlife and butterflies. The food is traditional with no menu choices, which allows you to try out a large selection of new and exceptional tastes—none of which will disappoint. And you’re pretty much guaranteed several leopard sightings at the dawn and dusk safaris. There’s a sense of faded grandeur to this grande dame, yet its immensely comfortable, with basic facilities but genuinely courteous, unhurried service. Don’t go expecting 5-star luxury but do anticipate being wowed by the generosity of Castle Bera’s young owner, Yadu Singh, and his father Winku, who’ll regale you with historical tales of the castle’s royal hunting grounds. Must do: Partake in a cooking class using traditional recipes from Castle Bera’s hereditary cookbook; and take a royal picnic at the nearby Jawai Dam.

LUXURY AT THE MOUNTBATTEN LODGE Should you be hankering after unadulterated five-star luxury, head to the Aravalli Mountains near Ranakpur; you’ll find opulence in abundance at the modern Mountbatten Lodge. The common areas are adorned with tented ceilings, ornate chandeliers and hard-wood colonial furniture. You’ll meet the Singh family empire, in their royal regalia, proudly


WOW Power to the people

displayed in paintings and photographs. Style, finesse, and luxury permeate from every one of Mountbatten Lodge’s four suites. Some have four-poster beds, private swimming pools and patios, but all are dressed in priceless colonial antiques, heirloom rugs, bronze curtains that puddle on the polished wooden floors, large mirrors and hammam-style bathrooms. Sitting under a 300-year old Banyan tree, indulging in a spectacular Anglo-Indian lunch, 40s jazz playing softly in the background, owner Reggie Singh, grandson of Maharaj Ratan Singh of Jodhpur, speaks about his Marwari horse safaris. There are not many breeds as intriguing, noble and courageous as the tall and majestic pointy-eared steeds. These former warhorses and mounts of the maharajas and princes of India, now trek through the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, transporting his visitors from one designer campsite to another and through protected forests filled with wildlife and temples. There’s also the opportunity to swap the Marwari horses for elephants. You also get to partake in a horseback leopard safari, deep in big-cat terrain, near Castle Bera. Must do: Enjoy a hilltop sunset, sipping champagne and join a Garasia tribal village visit.

Whenever asked where to go on the first-ever visit to India, I now have the definitive answer: aromatic and color-soaked Rajasthan, a region that indulges your every romantic notion of India, complete with camels, turbaned tribesmen, palaces, snake charmers and kings. Here old rituals of politeness and respect hold sway.

India is a vast land worth exploring so take the route less traveled and immerse yourself entirely with unique and genuine Indian encounters and experiences. WOW air now offers cheap flights to New Delhi, India from both North America and Europe with a stopover in Iceland. You’ll find your New Delhi flight at

“The Icelandic Museum of Rock 'n' Roll is as eccentric in its telling as the tale it celebrates.” David Fricke, Rolling Stone.


Visit Iceland's largest music museum and enjoy our history of Icelandic rock and pop music. Browse through the timeline of Icelandic pop and rock music with the Rock 'n' Roll app on Ipads, spend time in our soundlab, cinema, karaoke booth, gift store, exhibitions or simply grab a cup of coffee at our café (free wifi!).

The museum is located in Keflavík only 5 minutes away from Keflavík International Airport. Open daily from 11am - 6pm For more go to

The Icelandic Museum of Rock 'n' Roll

Issue six 101

Milan and Lake Como

The beautiful water world of Lake Como If you’re going to Milan you might want to add on a side trip to Lake Como. It’s easy! Fly with WOW air to Milan and from there drive or take the train to Lake Como. by Caron R. Luteran Photos:


fter I had seen Milan on foot, tram and bike ( and done all things Milanese—such as drinking coffee while standing up at local coffee bars, enjoying single and double scoops of gelato, indulging in retail therapy on the upscale street Via Monte Napoleone and at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan’s oldest shopping mall, staring up in awe at the Duomo’s statues, marble and spires which took almost 500 years


WOW Power to the people

Lake Como (Lago di Como) is a scenic area in Italy with a stretch of 30 plus Italian lake towns where you see a confluence of mountains, lake and sky, tall, skinny Cypress trees and Italianate villas.

to build, visiting the artsy Fondazione Prada and strolling along the canals of the Navigli District which Leonardo Da Vinci was involved in—it was time to leave Milano behind and set off for Lake Como! Ciao Milano! WATER VIEWS It’s quick and easy to get to Lake Como by train from Milan Centrale, taking about 45 minutes with a round-trip ticket that cost

about 18 Euros. Lake Como (Lago di Como) is a scenic area in Italy with a stretch of 30 plus Italian lake towns where you see a confluence of mountains, lake and sky, tall, skinny Cypress trees and Italianate villas. It doesn’t matter which town you set foot in; you’re guaranteed a lovely lake view. The beauty of this region can be best enjoyed from spring to early autumn. Not only is the area replete with picturesque scenery but it allows for easy access to the grandeur

Completing the Golden Circle

Geothermal baths - Natural steam baths Local kitchen - Geothermal bakery Summer Winter

Get 15% discount if you book online using the promo code: WOW2018 Bookable on

Open daily 10:00 - 23:00 11:00 - 22:00

Issue six 103

Milan and Lake Como of Switzerland and the Swiss Alps. Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna are where waters intersect and make up the Lake Como triangle. FOOD AND FERRIES After my train arrived in Como, I took a short walk from the train station to the ferry landing where you can be whisked away to any of the lake-based towns. Check out for ferry information. Passing by many lively ristorantes, bars and gelato shops, I spied locals and tourists feasting on pasta, pizza and gelato. Since the ferry wasn’t leaving for a while, on that Spring Sunday, I visited the nearby local outdoor food market to procure some traditional Italian fare (focaccia bread, cheese, salami and olives) for a simple and tasty picnic lunch eaten al fresco. Then I took the fast ferry to Menaggio which cost about 15 Euros and lasted 1 hour. On the way to Menaggio and for the rest of the day; I remained mesmerized by harbor views in between bites of pizza and sips of wine. Travel by hopping on and off the ferries is the best way to get around Lake Como. THE ORIGINAL BELLAGIO The next morning, I headed to Bellagio via the Varenna Ferry for about 5 Euros where I went on a 1-hour historical tour of Bellagio, the “Pearl of Lake Como,” and the inspiration for the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. However, this is a small town version compared to the larger than life extravaganza in the US. To see more of Bellagio, there’s a 2-3-hour walking tour of its suburbs and hamlets on its eastern side. Check out for more information. Another 5 Euros provided me passage on the ferry from Bellagio to Tremezzo where I strolled around town and visited Villa Carlotta and its fragrant gardens. Lunching on a mozzarella panini with a glass of vino at Red & White Bar on Via Portici San Pietro, hit the spot. If you prefer a luxurious dining experience, then there’s the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. I figured a bus ride to get a feel for the land was in order after so much water travel and the hour-long ride on the C10 bus from Tremezzo to Como allowed me a quick peek at a few different towns. Once in Como again, I ended my visit with a 7-minute ride on the Como-Brunate funicular for 5.50 Euros round-trip giving a lovely aerial view of the lake, and an aperitivo. It didn’t disappoint! I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t spotted George Clooney, one of Como’s famous residents, on my travels, but perhaps next trip. Ciao for now Lake Como! I’ll definitely be back!

Resources for visiting Lake Como: Bike & CO,,,, and

Planes, trains and automobiles will get you to Lake Como and back. Don’t skip out on this Italian adventure! WOW air now offers cheap flights to Milan, Italy all year round. Find your flight on


WOW Power to the people #myvatnnaturebaths Issue six 105

‘Tis the season

Finding your Christmas spirit in London Charles Dickens has a lot to answer for! London’s image as a romantic Christmas destination has undeniably been enhanced by A Christmas Carol as well as modern films like Love Actually. But is the city really a festive feast, or merely a soggy sandwich? by Oli Lynch Photos: Courtesy of respective venues


f you’re in London during December you’ll find plenty to get you feeling the festive spirit. Even if you’re more hum­­bug than happy holidays, the Christ­­mas period offers some magical moments that even the hard­­est of hearts will find ­genuin­ely warming.

FESTIVE MARKETS If there’s one thing London isn’t short of at Christmas, it’s markets. The masses head to Winter Wond­ er­land in Hyde Park, which can get incredibly busy especially on weekends. Packed full of funfair rides, the biggest outdoor ice rink in the UK and a bevy of circus attractions, Winter Wonderland, is made for kids (big and small) who love to revel in seasonal kitsch. For a more adult and romantic riverside wander, complete with festive lights and maybe a warm­ ing glass of mulled cider, head to the Southbank Market. Stretching from the London Eye to the Nati­ onal Theatre, there are Alpinestyle chalets selling everything from food and drink to handmade trinkets. Don’t forget to check out the South­bank Centre for their line-up of music and theatre, including this year an original production of Rumpelstiltskin. You’ll also find Christmas pop up markets at Leicester Square, Tow­ er Bridge/Bankside (near London Bridge), Kingston on Thames and Clapham Common. ICE SKATING What can possibly be more festive than gliding around an ice rink with sparkling backdrop of lights and magic? Even if you’re less Olympic standard and more barely


WOW Power to the people

standing, get your skates on at these iconic locations. Somerset House is probably the best place for the holiday tingles. The majestic backdrop certainly creates an atmosphere but gets booked up quickly. Pre-book before you arrive to avoid disappointment. Or to really pull out the stops, head to Hampton Court Palace ice rink for some real wow factor in your holiday snaps!

Don’t forget to check out the South­bank Centre for their line-up of music and theatre, includ­­ing this year an original pro­­ duction of Rumpel­­s­­­til­­ tskin.

SHOPPING You already know London is a shopp­­ers’ dream, and at Christ­­mas, even more so. Oxford Street, Regents Street and Carnaby Street are all illuminated with stunning winter light installations. And of course, Harrods has been tempting shoppers with its traditional window displays since the early twentieth century. If you’re looking for unique gifts away from the high street, head to Spitalfields Market, Portobello Road or Camden Market.

So, what can you do on Christ­mas day as a tourist? Join Londoners on a trip to their local pub.

CHRISTMAS DAY IN LONDON If you’re in the city on December 25th, you probably should know that most places shut down. Public transport stops running, and most major shops and all tourist attractions close for the day. So, what can you do on Christmas day as a tourist? Join Londoners on a trip to their local pub. A warming beer and a big lunch is the order of the day for many, and most pubs are open for lunch or for reduced time in the evening. If you’d prefer something a bit differ­­ ent, you’ll find chain, and ethnic restaurants tend to be open. Look to areas such as Brick Lane, White­­chapel, Chinatown, and parts of Shoreditch. You can also visit one of the many beautiful churches and cathedrals across the city for Christmas service. St Paul’s Southwark Cathe­ dral and St Martin’s in Trafalgar Square are both open on the 25th. As the roads are mostly empty, touring London by bike or foot is a pleasure on Christmas Day. All the parks are open, so head to Hampstead Heath or Regents Park, or wander the Thames Path which runs all the way to the Cots­­ wolds! You probably won’t get that far in one day, but the riverside stroll is a great way to see the city.

EARLY CHRISTMAS LUNCH When you need warming up after all that sightseeing and shopping, grabbing a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings will put you right. Pretty much every pub in London will have a Christ­­ mas lunch option over the festive period (and if they don’t tell them off from me). For some culinary indulgence head to The Jugged Hare (49 Chis­­well Street, Barbican, EC1Y 4SA) or The Freemasons Arms (32 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, NW3 1NT). Both are top quality gastro­­ pubs renowned for their fine fare. Alternatively, search online for gastropubs in your area.

WOW air offers cheap flights to London every day of the year, all year round. Whatever you do, enjoy your stay and have a very Merry Christmas, and a fabulous New Year!

Issue six 107

Delicious Denmark

A guide to Copenhagen’s endless array of smørrebrød Take a dazzling, delicious (and maybe slightly schnapps-hazed) tour of Denmark’s national treasure: the open-faced sandwich, in all its various guises. by Alexandra Pereira


tep one: prepare to unbutton the top button of your trousers. Step two: leave your bike at your hotel because you will be convinced to enjoy more than a few glasses of schnapps during your lunch, at some places more than others. Step three: follow our guide below to discover which spectacular smørrebrød joint is for you. MOUTH WIDE OPEN We recommend making time in your vacation for more than one open-faced sandwich stop and leaving at least an hour or two to indulge. A French baguette outside Le Sacre Coeur this is not, nor a German bratwurst on the street before you hurry onto the next museum, smørrebrød is a great Danish tradition which is to be entertained and enjoyed at leisure with friends. You will see just as many aging gentleman smashing aquavit glasses over their smoked mackerel on rye at the city’s best traditional restaurants as you will see bustling tourists. ASIAN-FUSION WONDERLAND: ROYAL SMUSHI The newest of all smørrebrød spots is conveniently located right next to the Royal Porcelain Factory should you be hunting for a souvenir. This quirky and kitsch café takes English and Japanese tra­­ditions to a whole new level of a mashup, and serves up sushi-inspired afternoon tea in the form of Danish open-sandwiches including fresh and smok­­ed salmon, traditional mackerel and yolk, tartare and delicious edamame and green side salads. Also on the menu are a smattering of fresh cakes and sweet pies, plus the traditional Danish dessert of cream and red berries rødgrød med fløde. Enjoy an Alice in Wonderland inspired decor of high ceilings and girlish charm. Crank up your afternoon tea with sparkling wine after a pot of Earl Grey. FIT FOR A KING’S GARDEN: ORANGERIET After a stroll in Kongens Have (the King’s Garden) and a peruse of the crown jewels at the Rosenborg Castle next-door, take a seat in this gorgeous, light-filled restaurant—the former orangery of the royals and also the former premises of famed new Nordic hotspot Geranium. The


WOW Power to the people

The newest of all smørrebrød spots is conveniently located right next to the Royal Porcelain Factory should you be hunting for a souvenir.

standard still remains high here: expect visual twists on traditional chicken and tarragon mayo which are served looking like works of art with delicate peels of apple and fresh herbs. Avocado and shrimps on rye and their curried herring also fly out of the kitchen. The poached pear with lemon thyme, blackberry sorbet and warm white chocolate foam dessert is a fantastic palate-cleanser, and all this seated in under heaters in the perfectly manicured garden, couldn’t feel regaler if you tried. THE ULTIMATE DELUXE GENTLEMEN (OR WOMEN)’S LUNCHEON: KRONBORG This inner-city dining room, with green and white checked tablecloths and immaculately dapper waiters is a Copenhagen institution for longstanding regulars and gastronomy connoisseurs the world over. Request to be served by the fantastic Ib, and outside on the

street so you can people-watch. Be ready for their epic “Gentlemen’s Lunch” with an empty stomach prepared for all the fried place and sweet remoulade, roast pork with apple sauce and fresh beef tartare with raspberries you can handle. Each mouthful will be punctuated with a different schnapps—homemade on site, I recommend the dill, then the horseradish as you move from seafood to meat respectively. Expect to roll yourself away and over the cobbles of this old, crooked, atmospheric street at least two hours later like a true gent. WINTER HYGGE: TOLD AND SNAPS Another traditional mainstay, candlelit and extremely hygge, and positioned conveniently close to the picturesque Nyhavn for all your boat-watching and theater-going. Told and Snaps is run by a legendary woman-about-town and serves up insanely good Norwegian salmon on

white bread, fried pork, and fresher than fresh tartare with a full golden yolk. Sol over Gudhjem, a traditional Bornholm island dish of herring with yolk and raw onions on rye is immensely popular in this underground cavern. The staff is young, friendly and knowledgeable to the crowd—a mixture of international tourists and old Danes celebrating birthdays or the fact it is lunchtime and they can justify three schnapps.

WATERSIDE TRADITIONAL MEETS CONTEMPORARY: KOMPASSET Right on actual Nyhavn’s colorful stretch and a stone’s throw from the open expanse of the sea canals is this darling contemporary Danish lunch and dinner spot. Midafternoon, after the mad rush in this tourist haven, is perfect for your afternoon tea smørrebrød with a difference. Sip on national craft beers before indulging in a little tipple of homemade St John’s Wort schnapps: the ultimate anti-depressant. Start with pork and truffle croquettes or monkfish, pea puree and yuca bites before ordering a selection of their wonderfully named sandwiches: Basic Instinct is tartare with Jerusalem artichoke cream, aioli, black garlic, yolk and vegetable crisps, while The Patriarch comprises of fresh shrimps, lemon mayonnaise and salsify. Their vegan option is also a delight: crisp and clean asparagus, avocado oil, mushroom purée, pearl barley, and plum compote. Compliment with sea buckthorn schnapps: the ultimate Scandinavian berry in potent liquid form. A FLYING VISIT: AAMANNS To ensure your whirlwind break in the Danish capital comes complete with a fairytale end, pay a visit to Aamann’s conveniently located branch in the relaxed departures lounge at Copenhagen Airport. Slide onto their chic stools and order curried herring, Icelandic salmon with chervil emulsion, kohlrabi and gherkin, eggs with cauliflower and roasted almond, and grilled sirloin with béarnaise and chanterelles. Compliment your last beloved Danish open-faced with a lovely schnapps and get planning your next visit to Copenhagen. Hop on over to Copenhagen and discover smørrebrød, Denmark’s famous open-faced sandwich. WOW air offers cheap flights to Copenhagen every day of the year, all year round.

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WOW destinations

You want more?

WOW! We’ve got so many destinations we don’t have room for articles about all of them. WOW air now has over 30 destinations and will continue to add more as well as increase flight frequency to top destinations such as London, Paris and California. You can check out all our flight destinations and low fares at


WOW Power to the people

ALICANTE Warm up by the Mediterranean Sea and taste the best of Spain. WOW air now offers cheap flights* to Alicante from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada.

to its name and great shopping for everyone, Berlin won’t let you down.

mussels this cool destination will surprise you.

Hop onboard. WOW air offers cheap flights* to Berlin, Germany from USA, Canada and Iceland, every day of the week, all year round.

WOW air offers cheap flights to Brussels 4-7 days a week, all year round.

BOSTON The city that’s famous for Cheers and good shopping. WOW air offers cheap flights to Boston from Iceland all days of the week all year round. Connecting flights* to Boston are available from most WOW destinations in Europe. BARCELONA Barcelona truly is the perfect destination; tasty tapas, seaside promenades and mind-blowing architecture. Getting there is the easy part. WOW air offers 2-4 flights a week to Barcelona from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada. BERLIN The capital of cool and quirky is one of our most popular destinations. With history on every corner, a nightlife scene that truly lives up

BRUSSELS A trendy hot-spot with a wide range of tourist attractions, Brussels, Belgium is a perfect destination for a fun family vacation or a short city break. Known for fine chocolate, tasty waffles, premium beer and

WOW air now offers up to four flights* a week to Edinburgh from USA, Canada and Iceland.

DUBLIN Dublin has become a modern European city without losing the grip on its Irish roots and just a stone’s throw away is the spectacular Irish nature. WOW air flies to Dublin every day of the week, all year round with available connections from USA and Canada. DÜSSELDORF


This great city on the Rhine is famous for its art and culture, luxury fashion and lifestyle.

Frankfurt am Main, aka “Mainhattan” is Germany’s most cosmopolitan city but that doesn’t mean history isn’t appreciated there. When you visit Frankfurt don’t miss out on the Mosel Valley for a taste of Germany’s best wines. Prost!

WOW air flies to Düsseldorf, Germany from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, three times a week during the summer season. EDINBURGH Enjoy Scottish hospitality, listen to the smooth sounds of bagpipes, swim with the Loch Ness Monster,



taste the national dish—haggis— and wash it all down with some fine Scottish whiskey. We guarantee you’ll get hooked on Scotland!


WOW air offers cheap flights* to Frankfurt am Main from USA, Canada and Iceland, every day of the week, all year round.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum is one of the most informative, humorous, and unusual museums in the world. The world famous “Penis museum” in Reykjavik is the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country. The founder, Sigurður Hjartarson started the collection 40 years ago and made it first accessible to the public in 1997 with the opening of the museum. The Icelandic Phallological Museum contains a collection of more than 220 penises and penile parts belonging to all the land and sea mammals that can be found in Iceland. There is also a foreign section that holds more than forty examples and a folklore section that has some twenty pieces on display. All in all, more than 380 biological examples. In addition to the biological section of the museum, visitors can view a collection of about 350 artistic oddments and practical utensils related to the museum’s chosen theme. The museum is in a 250 square meter location on the upper part of Reykjavik’s main shopping street, Laugavegur, only a 10 minutes walk from the city’s centre. There is a souvenir corner with a small exclusive selection of things related to the museum’s theme.

Seeing is believing! No pornography or offensive material in the museum.

Laugavegur 116 • 105 Reykjavík • Tel.: (+354) 561-6663 (+354) 690 3774• • Opening hours: Summer: Daily from10 am - 6 pm • Winter: Daily from 11 am -6 pm • Next to Hlemmur bus station Issue six 111

WOW destinations

GRAN CANARIA The city of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria is warm all year round so it’s a perfect destination for both the chilly and the chill. WOW air offers weekly flights to Gran Canaria from December until April 2019. LYON Experience the gastronomic capital of France with all its history and vibrant cultural scene. WOW air flies to Lyon four times a week* during the summer season, (from May to September 2019) with available connections from USA and Canada. MONTRÉAL This cultural gem has been nicknamed La Belle Ville or the Beautiful City and it’s more European than American at its core. Here you’ll find design, art, culture, nightlife and culinary scenes that rival the best in the world. And don’t forget about the hockey. WOW air flies to Montréal, Canada four to seven times a week, all year round.

TEL AVIV For sunny fun and great food, Tel Aviv is the city to visit. Known for its lively and vibrant nightlife, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere and amazing history and architecture, the city of Tel Aviv will be a pleasant surprise. Get ready for a whole new experience. WOW air flies to Tel Aviv, Israel, three to 4 times a week*, during the summer season. STOCKHOLM


The capital of Sweden is a city of contrasts, an urban paradise full of fun and history but with a relaxed and modern atmosphere.

The capital of Poland has some historic charisma and is a great destination if you’re on a budget.

WOW air flies to Stockholm Arlanda airport, from USA, Canada and Iceland, offering 3-4 flights* a week, all year round. TENERIFE

PARIS The city of lights sparkles with art, culture and culinary delights. Experience the passionate Paris and all it has to offer. Just say Oui!

Relaxing on a tropical island sounds like a dream and Tenerife is a dream come true. WOW air offers 2-3 flights a week to Tenerife Sur from Iceland all year round.


WOW air offers flights to Warsaw from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, two times a week during the summer season.

This hip and happening city is a cultural melting pot where you’ll find world renowned restaurants, a vibrant nightlife and super friendly Canadians. Check out Canada! WOW air offers cheap flights* to Toronto from Europe, several times a week, all year round.

WOW air offers cheap flights* to Paris from USA, Canada and Iceland every day of the week, all year round. SALZBURG Looking for that perfect winter destination? European ski resorts are known for being budget friendly and the Austrian Alps’ best ski resorts are just a short drive from Salzburg Airport. Pack your skis; WOW air flies to Salzburg from Iceland once a week from the end of December to the beginning of March 2019.

The WOW Stopover When flying between North America and Europe take advantage of our WOW Stopover option.

The WOW Stopover allows you to visit Iceland on your way to your destination. It’s kind of like getting two vacations instead of one. Find out more at

* Note that the availability of connecting flights between USA and Europe/Asia may vary depending on the flight frequency to each city. Our flight schedule is subject to change. WOW air connects London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Lyon, Stockholm, Alicante, Barcelona, Milan, Warsaw, Tel Aviv and New Delhi to New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and in the US and Toronto and Montréal in Canada.


WOW Power to the people

Issue six 113

This and that …

mostly this

by Evan Lewis / Photos: and from private collections

With a top-notch music selection and a convenient and cozy design, it’s easy to see how 12 Tonar was selected as the world’s best record store.

No pineapple pizzas will be served at Bessastaðir, at least for the next few years. Photo: Kristinn Magnússon

Icelandic president apologies for pineapplegate AIceland’s president, Gudni Johannesson, apologized in a recent interview stating that he “went a step too far” when he jokingly proposed a ban on pineapple pizza in 2017. The president’s comments made international headlines, and he has, since then, come under attack from pineapple activists far and wide (pineapple-on-pizza advocates were literally freaking out), causing him to clarify his position. Gudni has stated that he does like pineapple,

just not on pizza, and that, “as much as he does not like pineapple on pizza, the individual freedom of having the topping of your choice overrides that.” Though his apology seemed rather forced, it has, to some degree, subdued the turmoil that Pinapplegate has created. It should also be noted that the Icelandic president has recently stated his appreciation of seafood on pizza. Seafood on pizza?! Gross!!

Marcus Barnes selects 12 tonar as best record store in the world Popular music journalist, Marcus Barnes, has named Reykjavik’s own 12 Tonar Record Store as the best record store in the world and if he says so, then it must be true! This music land mine hosts selections from current local musicians as well as earlier Icelandic efforts and is run by Icelandic artists whose musical genius exists on a completely different wavelength than your average human being’s. Not to call you average or anything, but these folks really know what they are doing. They will even handpick records for

you based on your specific tastes. There are couches with CD players and headphones in the basement where you can just chill out and listen to sweet jams until you recognize Icelandic music for what it is—THE BEST MUSIC ON THE PLANET! You can stay longer if you’d like; no one will drag you out. With a top-notch music selection and a convenient and cozy design, it’s easy to see how 12 Tonar was selected as the world’s best record store. At this point, all other record stores can politely sit down.

Opening of Brewdog A mermaid or a pond dog – you decide. Photo: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson

What is in the pond? As if the Icelandic Phallological Museum wasn’t enough to satisfy Iceland’s infatuation with the phallus, a new sculpture was installed in Tjörnin Pond as part of a music and arts festival that takes the form of a bare sausage and flat out resembles a…uhh…well, you know where this is going. The sculpture has been coined “The Little Pond Dog” or “The Little Mer-Sausage” and its crafter, Steinunn Gunnlaugsdottir,


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stated that “it is both a mermaid, which is generally female, and also a penis, in that it’s pretty difficult to work with this sausage form without it turning into a penis. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing.” Steinunn says that it is her dream for a bronze cast of the sculpture to be installed in Tjörnin permanently. Hopefully then, Iceland’s inclination towards the phallus will be assuaged.

It’s hard to imagine that beer was prohibited in Iceland from 1915 to 1989. That’s a whole 74 years! Though the craft beer scene in Iceland is still in its primitive stages, it has evolved at a relatively rapid pace since prohibition ended 29 years ago. In keeping up with the craft beer trend, Scottish craft brewery, BrewDog, recently opened in September at the corner of Frakkastigur and Hverfisgata in downtown Reykjavik. Hop lovers can

rejoice as there are 9 different IPA’s on tap and many more in bottles. BrewDog has had major success internationally and has recently been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies worldwide. We are sure that many locals will be disappointed with Reykjavik hosting yet another chain establishment but how can you be upset with having more booze options in the city?! We almost forgot to mention that they also serve food…

This and that …

mostly this

Although the Atlantic puffin is on the verge of extinction, it is still being offered in several restaurants around Iceland.

Icelandic puffins critically endangered There’s no room for shyness at the Krafla toilet and shower facility but the Reykjavik swimming pools are another matter.

Undressed and unseen A win for tourists, the city of Reykjavik has recently announced that all swimming pools within its city limits will be equipped with private shower cubicles for disabled people and those who are uncomfortable disrobing in front of others. Though often ignored by tourists, it is a rule in Iceland to get completely naked and wash thoroughly before entering the pool. Because of Iceland’s high standards, hygiene levels in the pools are kept high and the chlorine level is kept low. Due to this requirement many tourists have expressed their dissatisfaction at not being able to shower with their swimsuit on and have written personal letters to local establishments expressing their disbelief that showering naked is mandatory. We aren’t sure what it is about nudity that frightens people, but for those who are reluctant to flaunt what their mama gave them, you now have your safe space. With an increase in guests at Reykjavik swimming pools, hygiene measures are important and should be followed.

Ladies and gentlemen, stop eating puffin. A new report in Iceland shows that the nation’s puffin populations are becoming extinct. The study found that there has been a 40% reduction since the millennium and that if the current trend continues, the puffin stock could be reduced by 90% in the next 50 years. Although the Atlantic puffin is on the verge of extinction, it is still being offered in several restaurants around Iceland. While the threats driving the extinction are varied, they are mostly of humanity’s making. Iceland’s environmental minister is looking into whether a hunting ban should be enforced.



@aurorareykjavik @aurorareykjavik





Can’t catch the Northern Lights? Don’t worry, we have already done it for you Visit us and enjoy our multimedia exhibition

OPEN EVERY DAY FROM 09:00 - 21:00

Grandagarður 2 - 101 Reykjavík. Near the old harbour. Tel: (+354) 780 4500 -

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This and that …

mostly this

The humpback of Reykjavik harbor

Easily visible from the walking path and buildings along Sæbraut, a humpback whale made the waters of Reykjavik Harbor its fishing grounds for a few days this November much to the amusement and amazement of tourists and residents alike. According to those in the know, there was plenty of herring (one of the whale’s favorites) in the bay at the time but still … humpbacks are by no means a common sight in the Reykjavik Harbor. We’ll always recommend a stroll along the Sæbraut walking path, but for a better chance of a whale sighting, you should book a designated whale watching tour. Go to to book the whale watching tour of your dreams.

Our beloved humpback whale close to Viðey Island. Photo courtesy of Elding Whale Watching.

The infamous yule cat gets lit A dangerous monster from Icelandic folklore, the Yule Cat (Jólakötturinn) roamed the Icelandic countryside in search of those who had not received a new item of clothing before Christmas. He ate the unlucky ones and if he was really hungry, this huge and feral beast also ate all the Christmas food in the house. The threat of the Yule Cat was an incentive for workers on farms to finish processing the autumn wool before Christmas. A nice little trick at a time of great superstition and little education. Today, although not many fear the vicious Yule Cat and clothes are easy to come by, Icelanders still talk about “possibly getting caught by the Yule Cat” if they haven’t gotten new clothes before Christmas, so his memory is alive and well. This Christmas the Yule Cat’s name is an even more popular subject as the City of Reykjavik has set up a giant light-up Yule Cat in Lækjartorg Square. The plan is to make the it an annual fixture in the Christmas decoration of Reykjavik. It’s the perfect spot for a selfie, and as a bonus, it will probably encourage people to buy clothes from the neighboring shops. The Reykjavik Yule Cat is available for selfies with fans – just make sure to get some new clothes first. Photo: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson

Tourist mishaps The rise of the tourism in­­ dustry in Iceland has brought with it several unfortunate inci­­­dents involving happy-golucky tourists throwing caution to the wind. Recently, a tourist traveling with a group on a Northern Lights tour maintained first and second degree burns from toes to thigh after wandering off of the walking path and into a hot spring. The man was marveling at the Northern Lights when he strayed from the group and drifted into a darker area where the hot spring was not visible. Icelanders hate putting up signs so when they do, they really mean it! Photo: MarcoRof


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In a separate incident, rescue teams and a national coastguard helicopter were called to rescue a tourist who had fallen into the Svinafell Lagoon in Southeast Iceland. The man managed to get out of the lagoon by himself and was transported to a health care center in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Sometimes not heeding instructions can have fatal consequences. Iceland is a country that puts nature on display in all of its rough and raw splendor. Enjoy all of the exhilaration that it has to offer, but by all means, stay informed, stay focused, and stay safe.

This and that …

mostly this



It seems as if Reykjavik is gaining more and more international re­­­cogni­­­ tion as we head into 2019. In late October, the distinguished food & travel magazine, Olive, published an article that ranked Salt Eldhus among the top 10 immersive cooking classes in the world. The kitchen, located in central Reykjavik, offers a slew of cooking classes that showcase the Icelandic culinary culture. One can expect to immerse themselves in classes that focus heavily on Icelandic fish and the free-roaming Icelandic lamb. Salt Eldhus has also, for the 3rd consecutive year, been awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. For those traveling on a budget, the popular open class “Cook & Dine” is now available for lunch and dinner— perfect for couples, small groups, and families. So, whether you aspire to be a Top Chef, or are simply looking to impress your partner with your


masterly culinary prowess, Salt Eldhus will help you get the ball rolling. Not only will you learn about the food that is eaten but also a good amount about a nation that considers puffin meat a delicacy.


WHALE WATCHING That’s not Sámur – but for 6 million ISK, it could be. Photo: brunorbs

FORMER FIRST LADY PLANS TO CLONE HER DOG In a decision that surely signals the arrival of the future, Former First Lady of Iceland, Dorrit Moussaieff, has expressed her wish to clone her Icelandic sheepdog, Sámur. A DNA sample has been sent to a company in Texas where Sámur will be cloned upon his death. Beyond the fact that several bioethical issues are surrounding the act of reproductive cloning, cloning a dog

is very expensive and can cost up to six million Icelandic króna. Talk about luxury! Former President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson plans to keep Sámur’s cell samples stored away for many years, telling his grandchildren that “when they have homes and children of their own they can order their own Sámur from Texas.” I’ll take three Sámurs, please.


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Issue six 117



What’s going on over here? Quite a lot actually, and if you know where to go you can live each night in Iceland like there’s a full blown festival going on.

by Evan Lewis Photos: From respective events

Photo: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson

WHAT: Christmas Markets WHEN: December WHERE: Various locations in Reykjavik During December, several Christmas markets will open their doors around the city. The Children’s Christmas Workshop will be held at the Reykjavik City Hall from early December to early January. Children are invited to participate in craft workshops in which they make their own Christmas decorations. There will also be a Christmas Cave for them to explore. Ingolfstorg Square in downtown Reykjavik will host a market with a wide variety of handcrafted gifts, decorations, Christmas music and food for sale. The main attraction here is the ice-skating rink which is open from mid-December until Christmas.

A movie lover’s paradise Located in the heart of downtown Reykjavík, Bíó Paradís is a nonprofit organization run by Iceland’s professional filmmaking guilds. Screening the latest art house releases from all around the world as well as cult films and Icelandic film, it is Iceland’s first and only art house cinema. The theater provides a warm, cozy environment for film lovers of all kinds—both in its three-screen theater and its well-stocked bar.

Events in December and January WHAT: CHRISTMAS PARTY SCREENINGS WHEN: Fridays and Saturdays in December at 8 PM Come Celebrate Christmas pre­­para­­­ tions with us for some festive screen­­ ings in December of some Holiday classics. All films in English with Ice­­landic subtitles!

On the weekend before Christmas, at Fótgetagarðurinn, in the heart of Reykjavik, the city’s most excellent restaurants will come together to prepare Christmas themed, fine dining, street food which will be offered to the public. A Christmas Food Market will also take place on the ground floor of Harpa and will consist of vendors selling food crafts, sweets, and other gift items. All markets create an exceptional Christmas atmosphere and are perfect for holiday shopping.

* December 7: Die Hard John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. *December 8 and 15: Home Alone 1 Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old trouble-maker, must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.

WHAT: Thirteenth Day of Christmas WHEN: January 6 WHERE: All over Iceland Considered one of the most unique and heathen holidays in Iceland, the Thirteenth Day of Christmas marks the official end of Christmas celebrations and the day when the hidden people, or elves, make themselves visible to humans. There will be a slew of fireworks and bonfires all over the country. It is said that the elf queen and king visit each bonfire and join the humans in celebration. The Thirteenth Day of Christmas is also the day when the last of the thirteen Yule lads return to the mountains. If you are in Reykjavik and wish to partake in this celebration, there will be three bonfires in the capital area. Fireworks will also be displayed all throughout the city.


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WHAT: FARTS IN PARADÍS WHEN: Monthly Thursday Night screenings at 8 PM These are monthly movie screenings curated by artist Hugleikur Dagsson, where he will screen the best/worst movies throughout the history, movies that are so bad that they actually turn out to be amazing! Hugleikur invites a special guest for discussion after each movie.

* December 15: Home Alone 2 One year after Kevin was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself in New York City, and the same criminals are not far behind. * December 21: How the Grinch Stole Christmas On the outskirts of Whoville, there lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch (Jim Carrey) who plans on ruining the Christmas holiday for all of the citizens of the town.

WHAT: BLACK SUNDAYS WHEN: Every Sunday Night at 8 PM On Black Sundays Bíó Paradís’ special team of experts screen old cult classics. The program is curated by Hugleikur Dagson the famous cartoonist/comedian, Sjón renowned author and Sigurjón Kjartansson one of Iceland best known screenwriter/ comedian/musician. The film of the week is announced on their Facebook page: SvartirSunnudagar * December 16: From Dusk Till Dawn Two criminals (George Clooney & Quentin Tarantino) and their hostages (Harvey Keitel & Juliette Lewis) unknowingly seek temporary refuge in a truck stop populated by vampires, with chaotic results.

* December 26: Eyes Wide Shut – SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SCREENING ON the SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS (Wednesday not Sunday) A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. * January 13: The Princess Bride While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride, about the most beautiful woman in the world, the hero who loves her, and the evil prince who says he wants to marry her.

* January 27: Drugstore Cowboy A pharmacy-robbing dope fiend and his crew pop pills and evade the law. Drugstore Cowboy is one of the best films in the long tradition of American outlaw road movies.

* December 13: Battlefield Earth It’s the year 3000 A.D.; the Earth is lost to the alien race of Psychlos. Humanity is enslaved by these gold-thirsty tyrants, whom are unaware that their ‘man-animals’ are about to ignite the rebellion of a lifetime.

* January 10: Rocky IV Rocky Balboa proudly holds the world heavyweight boxing championship, but now he must defend his title and America’s honor against a new challenger in the ring: Drago, a six-foot-four, 261-pound fighter who has the backing of the Soviet Union WHAT: New film premiers WHEN: Several dates in January * January 4: One Cut of the Dead Things go badly for a hack director and film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility, when they are attacked by real zombies.

* January 11: Shoplifters A family of small-time crooks make ends meet by the means of shoplifting, but thee unusual routine is about to change as the family opens their doors to a beleaguered young girl. The reasons for the family’s habit and their motivations come under the microscope. * January 18: First Reformed A priest of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.

A WARM WELCOME Fur store and workshop Feldur is a family run fur brand that specializes in design and production of high quality fur products. The shop and workshop is located in the heart of ReykjavĂ­k where you will find a wide collection of fur products. Inside you can also see the furrier at work, altering and repairing old fur coats and making new products.

Issue six 119 Store and Workshop | Snorrabraut 56, 105 ReykjavĂ­k | Collection and online shop



What’s going on over here? Quite a lot actually, and if you know where to go you can live each night in Iceland like there’s a full blown festival going on.

Artist Leave Ya at Harpa Concert Hall. Photo: Anita Bjork, courtesy of Sónar Reykjavik

WHAT: Sónar Reykjavik 2019 WHEN: April 25-27 WHERE: Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik Tickets are now available for this intimate music festival where the prestigious brand of Sónar redefines itself in a smaller location and at smaller venues. Sónar Reykjavik strives to deliver the experience, and artists lineup Sónar Barcelona would be proud of. It takes place on five stages with a total capacity of 3500 guests. Besides the two main stages, a part of the concert hall’s underground parking will be changed into a nightclub where local and international DJ’s will perform during the festival. The lineup will include a balanced mix of both international artists and the most current ones from Iceland’s thriving music scene.

WHAT: Icelandic Sagas: The Greatest Hits WHEN: Several dates in December and January WHERE: Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik Icelandic Sagas: The Greatest Hits is a fast-paced and hilarious 75-minute theatrical comedy in English that takes you on a journey through Iceland’s literary heritage. The Icelandic Sagas are narratives, mostly based on historical events that took place in Iceland in the 9th-11th century. They tell of heroes and anti-heroes, villains, feisty females, betrayal, dispute, love, hate and last but not least, pillaging, plundering and murder. The Sagas are often hilariously grotesque; they hint at homosexuality, make light of gory killings and happen in a world where innocent things, like where to sit at a party, can turn into bloody family feuds, and good poems can get you out of trouble with angry kings. It, of course, makes for great theater. Get your ticket to Icelandic Sagas: The Greatest Hits at and e craft beer loving folks from all over the world.

WHAT: Olafur Arnalds WHEN: December 18 WHERE: Harpa Eldborg To say that Olafur Arnalds is making a name for himself would be far from the truth. Olafur Arnalds has made a name for himself, not only in Iceland but also internationally. His extensive 2018 tour follows hot on the heels of the release of his latest LP, Re: member, which hit the airwaves in August of this year. Incorporating an eclectic mix of atmospheric, electronic, classical, ambient, and even pop music, Olafur’s sound is simply from another dimension. His performance at Harpa will feature a percussionist, a string quartet, and this year: two self-playing pianos. With a string of sold out shows, including London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall, Olafur will close out the year in his home country. Tickets available at Poto: Christian Bertrand /


WOW Power to the people

NO NEED TO WAIT FOR YOUR BAGS if you do what the locals do and pick up some duty free goods in the arrival store before your luggage

THE DUTY FREE ALLOWANCE IS 6 UNITS OF ALCOHOL, ANY WAY YOU LIKE IT Use the duty free allowance calculator on our website,, to determine how to make the best use of your allowance.

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What’s going on over here? Quite a lot actually, and if you know where to go you can live each night in Iceland like there’s a full blown festival going on.

Photo: Kristinn Magnússon

Photo Lilja Jónsdóttir.

WHAT: The Annual Icelandic Beer Festival WHEN: 21-23 February 2019 WHERE: KEX Hostel We had to fight, for our right to party, but we won. On March 1, 1989, the 74-year spell of prohibition was lifted off Iceland’s bent but not broken back, rebuilding social spirit and reassuring every man, woman and child, that NO force would ever block beer’s inevitable conquest . Next February KEX Brewing will celebrate the existence of beer

in Iceland for the 8th time along with the craft beer loving elite of the world. The full schedule and breweries will be announced soon but expect the festival to be nothing less than a spectacular experience for the craft beer loving folks from all over the world. Festival tickets available at kexbeerfestival. is but for a full package trip to Reykjavik with accommodation and tickets to the festival go to


WHAT: Dark Music Days WHEN: January 26 - February 2 WHERE: Harpa Dark Music Days is a festival held annually that showcases new and contemporary music. It takes place during the darkest period of the Icelandic winter at Reykjavik’s state of the art concert hall, Harpa. Originally a festival for only Icelandic com­­ posers to present their work, today it serves as a platform for local as well as international artists. Dark Music Days focuses on showcasing works that

incorporate mixed techniques where the boundaries of con­­­ temporary music per­­form­­ance are explored. There will also be performances in other smaller venues around the city center such as Iðnó, Húrra, and the experimental music space Mengi. A beacon of light in the darkest days of the year, this festival is sure to make your winter in Iceland much brighter. You can purchase tickets and learn more about the festival at

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WHAT: Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival WHEN: February 7 - 10 WHERE: Various locations in Reykjavik As the days become longer and the darkness of winter begins to subside, a celebration of the season’s passing is held in the world’s northernmost capital. The Winter Lights Festival provides entertainment for locals and guests alike and consists of inspiring light displays, outdoor events, and other cultural activities. Local businesses and institutions will take part in the festivities. The most popular event, Museum Night, is on February 8 in which museums across the capital area will be hosting dances, plays, literature readings, lectures, live music, films, and much more, free of charge. All city pools will be open to the public free of charge on February 9.


For further information visit


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What’s going on over here? Quite a lot actually, and if you know where to go you can live each night in Iceland like there’s a full blown festival going on.

WHAT: Rainbow Reykjavik Winter Pride Festival WHEN: March 7-10 2019 WHERE: Various locations The annual Rainbow Reykjavik Winter Pride Festival is a neatly arranged, glorious 3-day getaway planned by Pink Iceland. Several events are taking place within and outside the capital such as Queer Bingo Extravaganza, Aurora hunting, Reykjavik Herstory Walk, Blue Lagoon dipping and a full-blown 90s glowstick and blue light party. Finally, there’s the Pink Party Masquerade Ball aka the social event of the season, hosted by the one and only Detox. Category is: Masquerade! Meet the out, proud and fabulous people, and you better werk as awards will be handed out for the best mask/costume. It is the most popular LGBT party of the season, so you better show up. Tickets are sold at the door. For more information on the Rainbow Reykjavik Winter Pride Festival go to www. Photos courtesy of Pink Iceland

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locations around Iceland

WHAT: WOW Reykjavik International Games (RIG) WHEN: January 25 - February 4 WHERE: Laugardalur As part of the Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival, the city of Reykjavik will be hosting the eleventh annual WOW Reykjavik International Games at its premier sporting facilities in Laugurdalur. This festival of sport consists of various competitions in about 20 different categories and takes place over a two-week period. An off-venue program has also been crafted for the public, part of which includes the popular WOW Northern Lights Run. It is projected that 500 foreign participants will take part in RIG along with about 2,000 Icelandic athletes. To find out more about this event visit


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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.

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ary 2018

December - Janu

ARIES 21 MARCH - 19 APRIL You will be struck by a strange realization this week concerning the paranormal that will result in your fourth viewing of the hit horror film The Sixth Sense, which will then result in you losing sleep for a few nights. Don’t worry, sweet Aries, that noise coming from your closet is just the house settling.

TAURUS 20 APRIL - 20 MAY You stand out like a strawberry in a bowl of peas. Use this to your advantage on Monday, and you will be headed for the big screen in no time.

GEMINI 21 MAY - 21 JUNE We had a very witty horoscope for you, but we forgot it…sorry.

CANCER 22 JUNE - 22 JULY Going “raving” on the weekends is just not your thing anymore. This month you will suddenly come to peace with your transition into adulthood. It’s OK, you will now have time for the more important things in life like Netflix, pizza, and boxed-wine.

LEO 23 JULY - 22 AUGUST We foresee that your future will be bright and joyous. Though, we really had to squint to find that one out.

VIRGO 23 AUGUST - 22 SEPTEMBER You are a great con artist and it will get you far. Not very far, but far enough. You will also step in cow dung this week.

LIBRA 23 SEPTEMBER - 23 OCTOBER You may not be in the best of moods this week but make sure you laugh when your Taurus friend tells you that funny story about Billy who was eaten by gigantic Atlantic land shrimp. Taurus’s love it when Libra’s laugh at their jokes.


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SCORPIO 24 OCTOBER - 21 NOVEMBER There is a great cloud of uncertainty hovering over Scorpio this week. Be sure to stock up on toilet paper, gum, and blackcurrant jam.

SAGITTARIUS 22 NOVEMBER - 21 DECEMBER Adventure is in store for you this month. You will eat many new and odd things like lamb penis and jellied moose nose. Just please try to avoid brown liquor and taxis.

CAPRICORN 22 DECEMBER - 19 JANUARY Messiness and debauchery are in the cards. After your birthday week, you should highly consider taking a few days off work recovering and reconsidering your life goals.

AQUARIUS 20 JANUARY - 18 FEBRUARY You probably don’t believe in horoscopes, so we are going to save ourselves the time. It’s just ironic because you are likely the first to read an article telling you “Which Type of French Fry Matches Your Astrological Sign.”

PISCES 19 FEBRUARY - 20 MARCH It just so happens that your horoscope is written on an inscription that is somewhere in the town of Arnarstapi on Snaefellesnes Peninsula. It’s not a coincidence that you will visit Arnarstapi in the near future as it was already written in the stars.

Disclaimer: This horoscope is total and utter nonsense. Any accuracy, real or imagined, is purely accidental.

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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? Kids




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Issue six 129


Busking in Berlin

She calls herself ROKKY. She’s a musician, the daughter of Icelandic parents, born and raised in England but lives in Berlin. Recently one of her dance songs got picked up by Esprit and is being used in their advertising campaign worldwide. Read on for her favorite places in Iceland and abroad. by Svava Jónsdóttir Photos: Lucia Maraver and Neil Hoare – courtesy of ROKKY


y name is ROKKY, and I’ve been making music for as long as I can remember, whether in my head or on a laptop,” she says. “For the past few years I’ve been busking in Berlin train stations, playing folk and country songs in cozy bars and open mics, meanwhile always working on my electronic dance songs at home. I have lived in Berlin for nearly six years now and recently, to my total surprise, one of my dance songs got picked up by Esprit and is being used in their advertising campaign worldwide! This really boosted my confidence and I decided to self-release my first single, ‘My Lips.’”



The second time I went up the mountain, there were five of us—including Diesel—and for some odd reason, someone (I won’t say who), decided that we should take a new route up, which was a very silly and very dangerous idea. The rock is quite light and crumbly and the higher we got, the more we realized that to carry on we’d have to go on all fours. My palms were sweating and I just kept looking up at Diesel, who was of course watching over us. We finally reached a little cave in the side of the mountain where we could give our hands a

She was born and raised in England and now she lives in Berlin. “I always love coming back to Iceland to see all my family and breathe the wonderfully fresh Icelandic air. This vast change in atmosphere and the whole landscape is so incredibly different and beautiful. I love putting on layers over layers of warm clothing and stepping outside of the house and into the strong billowing winds. It completely clears my head and gets me ready to go back into the warm house to create new songs.”


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One of ROKKY’s favorite places in Iceland has to be the top of Mount Vífilsfell. “The first time I hiked to the top was with my mum, Elly, who’s a volunteer with the Icelandic Search and Rescue team, and our Afghan hound, Diesel. He would always run ahead and watch over us from way above while we slowly caught up with him. As we got higher up the mountain, I realized how different it was to any other mountain I’d climbed before. The way the wind formed the rock over time is amazing. The grooves in it are so soft and long, it takes your breath away. What a magical place. Then, when you get right to the top, you have the view over the city, ocean and other mountains. I was so surprised that I hadn’t heard about this hike before!

little break. Thankfully, we took the normal route on the way down, instead of sliding down on our bums.” ROME Italy has to be one of ROKKY’s favorite places to visit, “The food, the architecture, the language, everything; it’s so alive, I just love it. I’ve been to a few different places in Italy and I still have a lot to see. I also heard there’s even some surfing going on on the coast, which I absolutely have to check out! From the places I’ve been to in Italy, I think Rome has to be my favorite. The white marble in the courtyards, the whole history and the beautiful buildings are just spectacular. And the pizza… don’t get me started! It’s such an amazing place and I’d love to go again to explore more and hear that lovely Italian accent.”

Check out Rokky’s music and stay tuned for her next single due in January 2019.

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A design studio & retailer of carefully selected fashion brands & products from around the world.

132 WOW Power to the people MEN: Skólavörðustígur 16. WOMEN: Skólavörðustígur 7 & Kringlan. HOME: Skólavörðustígur 12. GEYSIR: Hafnarstræti, Akureyri and Haukadalur.

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WOW magazine Issue 6 2018