Page 1

e azin mag Issue three 2015

The Food Issue

Get a real taste of Iceland!

y o u r f r e e c o p y-ta k e m e w i t h y o u

We welcome you to KEFairport on your journey back home. Explore and experience Iceland and then indulge yourself with the Icelandic products and design available at the airport.

1 5 - 11 0 5 — H V Í T A H Ú S I Ð / S Í A

Please share your KEF experience with us: #wheninKEF.


WOW Power to the people

BEST AIRPORT in Europe Even though we have been voted the best airport in Europe* we feel obligated to do better. The airport now offers more space, better facilities, diverse restaurants, more products at better prices.

Enjoy your stay at KEF airport

*Keflavik airport won the ASQ award for best airport in Europe in 2014 and was inducted into the ACI Director General’s Roll of Excellence.

Issue three


HOTEL GEYSIR elegaNt restauraNts, spa with hot spriNg jacuzzi, beautiful Nature & fuN activities

Geysir TOp 25 besT places TO phOTOgraph On The planeT earTh

Nice aNd cozy rooms iN chalet or oNe wiNg hotel right opposite of the hot spriNg geyser area gourmet a la carte restauraNt local luNch buffet every day hotel & spa outdoor activities all year rouNd amaziNg NortherN lights


hotel geysir 4

WOW Power to the people

WELCOME TO G EYSIR the geysir ceNter is directly opposite of the geothermal area of the great geysir aNd strokkur e


geysir glima bistro Coffee house With freshly ground Coffee sWeet iCe Creams & Cakes traditional iCelandiC meat soup fish soup & vegetarian soup loCal food museum of hot springs, volCano and iCelandiC glima

The geysir cenT er haukadalur / / tel: +354 480 6800 / / Issue three


Insidethe Volcano Take part in a great adventure. Descend 120 metres into a volcano and explore an underground world.

For the first time in history, travelers have the opportunity to see what a volcano looks like on the inside. Descend into a 4.000 year old magma chamber and experience a new underground world. Book now


WOW Power to the people


• Several departures a day • Maximum 15 people in each tour • Duration: 5-6 hours • Minimum age: 12 years • Fitness level needed: Moderate. No knowledge of hiking or climbing is required. Price: ISK 37,000 39,000 per person More info at

Issue three



Blue Lagoon has limited availability Book 8 WOW online at Power to the people

Issue three


In this issue

Power to the people – Issue Three 2015

A letter from the editor


28 Go into the glacier! Booking a trip inside Langjökull glacier is easier than you think. 30 Catching the moment We’ve all taken photos of our food and shar­ed it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook but professional photographer Karl Petersson knows that there’s a lot more to food photography. 36 More than just adventurous fare “Icelandic cuisine is many things, but boring it is not,” say professional travelers Danika and Chris Garlotta who visited Iceland last February.





Contributing writers: Marvin Lee Dupree, Svava Jónsdóttir, Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson, Gerður Harðardóttir, Einar Skúlason, Kári Gunnlaugsson, Fjóla Helgadóttir, Sylvia Sabes, Danika and Chris Garlotta, Leon Hill and




Oddi environmentally certified printing company All rights reserved. Reprinting, direct quoting or recapitulation prohibited except with a written permit from publisher.

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


WOW Power to the people

y o u r f r e e c o p y-ta k e m e w i t h y o u

54 Explosively popular ice cream Ice cream parlor Valdís makes their own ice cream and waffles and is always creating new and exciting ice cream flavors. 70 Just a moment … We love it when our guests share their WOW moments. 72 The original Candy Crush Chocolate covered licorice and Prins Póló are among our favorite tasty treats. 74 The history of the Icelandic sjoppa A “sjoppa” is basically a small mom and pop establishment that once was a popular hangout for teenagers. 76 Artisan chocolate OMNOM chocolate is Icelandic candy at its finest!

80 Eight cozy cafés in Reykjavík Indulge in a cup of coffee in one or two of Reykjavík’s many cafés. Better yet, try them all!

Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Assisting editor: Fjóla Helgadóttir Design and layout: Ivan Burkni / Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman

Tel: 00 354 590 3020 E-mail:

GeT a real taste of Iceland!

78 Reykjavik’s most famous street food In the center of downtown Reykjavik stands the hotdog joint Bæjarins beztu serving the best hotdogs in town.

WOW magazine staff

Issue three 2015

24 Glitter, glitter everywhere! British born artist Kitty Von Sometime is the artist behind The Weird Girls Project, an ongoing art film series that empowers the women who take part.

Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir, editor in chief

umhverfisvottuð prentsmiðja

m ag

22 Party in the midnight sun! Secret Solstice Music Festival returns for its second year in Laugardalur valley, offering a massive lineup of international artists such as Wu Tang Clan, Kelis and FKA twigs.

Stay fresh and have a great culinary experience in Iceland.

© WOW air Katrínartún 12 105 Reykjavík Iceland

Issue three 2015

The Food Issue

Power to the PeoPle

We’re definitely not ready to shed our winter weight just yet as this issue is dedicated to Iceland’s great food. There used to be this misunderstanding that the height of Icelandic culinary experience was tasting soured rams testicles and rotten shark with a shot of brennivín. This is probably due to Icelander’s willingness to prank visitors into tasting the weirdest food available and then laughing when their faces turn green in shock and disgust. It is of course part of the traveling experience to taste something new and weird while visiting a new country but don’t be afraid that you’ll offend the kindhearted person offering you rotten shark if you say no. They’re probably just looking for a good laugh at your expense anyway. Tasting the good food, the food Icelanders actually eat on a regular basis, is a whole other story and we definitely recommend that you have a go at the Icelandic hot dog as well as the fine dining to be had all over the country. You can even catch your own food in some of the famed salmon rivers of Iceland.

WOW magazine – The FOOd issue

14 WOW Cyclothon The biggest bicycle race in Iceland just got a little bigger. Join us and witness the competitiveness and camaraderie on the road in June.

az in


12 Letter from the CEO

40 Feeding Reykjavik Hrefna Rósa Sætran had to jump through some hoops to get her culinary career started but today she’s a household name in Iceland and owns two of the top restaurants in Reykjavik. 46 Journey to a deluxe culinary experience Take a drive out of Reykjavik and check out the epicurean delights of Snæfellsnes peninsula. 48 Kolaportið, the cultural melting pot Down by the harbor in Reykjavík, you’ll find Iceland’s biggest flea market. 52 Not your average hotdog Icelandic hotdogs are by some considered the national dish of Iceland but why not go for the veggie variety? Say what?

84 The northeast feast Remote and majestic with long fjords and high mountains, northeast Iceland is emerging on the scene of fine dining. 86 Something fishy Back in the good old days Icelandic kids played with fish bones and sheep jaws like it was no big thing. 88 There’s a bug in my protein bar! Two Icelandic entrepreneurs have developed a protein bar called Jungle Bar made with cricket flour. 90 Realm of Vatnajokull The Vatnajökull region is filled with contrasts: black beaches, white glaciers, red volcanoes, a green birch forest and the blue Atlantic Ocean. 92 If these walls could talk

Attention advertisers! Will your company be in our next issue? Contact our advertising representative and he’ll make it happen. He’s just that good!

On the cover On the cover is renowned chef Hrefna Sætran who owns two of the top restaurants in Reykjavik. Check out our interview with Hrefna on pages 40-44. Hrefna was photographed by Karl Petersson, Iceland’s leading food photograph­er who also happens to be interviewed in this issue (see pages 30-32). Special thanks go to seafood vendor Hafið Fiskverslun who gave us their last whole salmon for this photo shoot. The Parliament House in Reykjavik has an interesting history. 94 Take a hike Find your inner author at the Poets Path. 98 The multicultural food of Amsterdam Two friends decided to bring food tour culture to the streets of Amsterdam. 100 Beautiful Berlin Berlinur, a tour company owned by two Icelandic women, offers tours around the beautiful city of Berlin. 102 Let an Icelander show you around Dublin Kristín Einarsdóttir has a passion for tour guiding and loves to show people around in Ireland. 104 A Parisian picnic Heard of a place dreamier for a picnic? Didn’t think so! 108 The new Nordic food of Copenhagen! Danish cuisine has been through drastic improvements over the last 10 years. Food touring the city is the way to go if you want to get to know the new Nordic food wave. 110 Take a bite out of Boston The South End neighborhood in Boston is a smoking hot culinary destination right now. 112 Eat your way through DC Everyone can find tasty treats in the US capital. 114 Creating the right textures Icelandic chef Agnar Sverrisson is wowing Londoners and visitors with his Michelin starred cooking. 116 This and that …mainly this. 120 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 Interior designer Auður Gná studied and lived in Barcelona for 10 years.

Summer is here Issue three


A letter from the CEO

Me and my new baby girl, Freyja; a brand new Airbus A321 aircraft named after the Nordic goddess of love.

Time flies when you’re having fun! Dear guests I love this time of the year. Everything comes to life! With 24 hours of daylight you can feel the energy everywhere. If you are visiting Iceland I highly recommend taking advantage of the abundant daylight. Go hiking up Mt. Esja at midnight or do a round of golf after dinner on one of the numerous golf courses around the country. You can even do some spring/ summer skiing up at Tröllaskagi which is an amazing adventure in itself. Or simply go for a walk and witness the unique light that can only be captured during the late night twilight. We at WOW air are of course also celebrating the summer solstice by doing our annual WOW Cyclothon (see pages 1420 in this issue). This is one of my favorite events of the year as we bike nonstop around Iceland, over 1300 km, in teams of 4 or 10, with some bold adventurers doing the entire distance on their own. What a spectacular experience, being on your bike in the middle of the night in total silence enjoying the incredible scenery of Iceland! So if you are driving on the Ring Road from June 23-26 please be careful as there will be over 1,000 WOW Cyclothon participants on their bikes, winding around the country. We also have another reason to celebrate as on May 31st we celebrated our third anniversary here at WOW air and this year we introduced new routes to Boston, Washington BWI, Dublin, Tenerife, Rome and Billund. It is amazing to look back and see what we have accomplished in such a short time. I am tremendously proud and grateful for the feedback and response we’ve enjoyed at WOW air from day one. We have grown very rapidly and continue to expand as we will carry 750,000 guests this year, up by 50% from last year. This growth and success would have been impossible if it was not for the fantastic team at WOW air who are working day and night in order to bring you the best possible experience at incredibly low prices. To them and all of you I want to say thank you and Happy WOW Birthday! Thank you for choosing WOW air and I look forward to seeing you again on board one of our new Airbus 321 aircrafts.

Sincerely, Skuli Mogensen


WOW Power to the people


WOW Power to the people


ycling is not that hard, especially when you can share the steep hills and the rest of the burden with your team. What will eventually floor you when taking on a race like WOW Cyclothon is the nature, the 24 hours of daylight and the calmness of cycling in The Middle of Nowhere, Iceland by the light of the midnight sun.

WOW Cyclothon

A good cause WOW Cyclothon promotes healthy living and outdoor activities in the beautiful nature of Iceland while raising money for a good cause. The funds raised during WOW Cyclothon 2015 will go toward funding a physical activity center at the University Hospital of Iceland’s Psychiatric Department, Kleppur. Research indicates that people who deal with mental illnesses are more likely to be physically inactive and have unhealthy dietary habits which impair their quality of life. The benefits of exercise for this group have been proven and physical training therefore should be a part of their treatment, but due to lack of funds the University Hospital’s Psychiatric Department has not been able to offer this. Mental health issues are often somewhat of a taboo and are shrouded by misconceptions and prejudice. In addition to raising funds for facilities and staff for the physical activity center WOW Cyclothon’s organizers want to put their efforts toward dispelling those misconceptions and raising awareness about matters of mental health. 2015

WOW what a race!

History WOW Cyclothon, a relay bike race where team members take turns cycling on Iceland’s Ring Road in less than 72 hours, is the brainchild of Magnus Ragnarsson VP of Media and What could we say about WOW Cyclothon? Markets at Iceland Telecom and Well, actually, having taken a road trip to WOW air’s CEO Skuli Mogensen, follow up on all the teams in last year’s race both of whom have somewhat we can say quite a lot. We were amazed by the of a competitive streak. While talking and comparing notes on great spirits of each and every team that went their previous challenges, mostly the distance, the competi­­­tiveness and cama­ triathlons, and brainstorming raderie on the road. This is not just a race what challenges to take on around Iceland but rather an unforgettable next they realized that no experience that everyone who can ride a bike such challenge existed in Iceland. They concluded that should try at least once in their life. if they wanted to take on a big challenge in Iceland they would have to create one themselves. Then the idea of cycling around Photos: Kristinn Magnússon the country came up. and from the teams’ private From this great idea the WOW Cyclothon became a reality and collections has been gaining momentum ever since. In 2012, 20 teams, each with four cyclists and two drivers, competed in tandem with raising money for a good cause. Last year ca. 500 contestants took on the challenge and raised a record amount for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the National University Hospital of Iceland. This year participation has more than doubled as over 1000 cyclists and drivers will be on the road during the race, enjoying the great outdoors, each other’s company and the good feeling from their charitable and exhilerating endeavor. The more the merrier Each year has seen some significant change in the structure of the competition; from just the A category (4 cyclists, 2 drivers) in 2012 to A and B categories (10 cyclists who take turns driving) in 2013 and a solo category (1 cyclist, 2 drivers/assistants) in 2014. This year a category for the Hjólakraftur project has been added. Hjólakraftur (Cycling Power) is a project led by Þorvaldur (Valdi) Daníelsson, who wanted to introduce cycling as a sport for children and teenagers who, for various reasons had been losing the battle to all sorts of lifestyle diseases and had not found their place in the more common team sports. Hjólakraftur had one team last year and won the hearts of everyone following the race. This year Valdi is bringing five Hjólakraftur teams to the race that will participate in their own category. Issue three


Let’s hear it from the teams

Taking their gold to the bank It’s a well-known fact that the B teams have more fun and 39 teams of 10 cyclists signed up for last year’s WOW Cyclothon. Four of them took the lead in the beginning, Team Landsbréf, Workforce B, Team Nýherji and Team Arion Banki and it was clear that those teams were in it to win. In the beginning, the race was on, but a luxurious break for the Workforce B resting unit just before Öxi is said to have lost the team their chance of first place. Team Landsbréf led the race after that, all the way to the finish line, completing their journey in 40 hours and 36 minutes.

There’s a great variety of teams competing in the WOW Cyclothon; longtime friends, work colleagues, family members and gym buddies; there are all women’s teams, all men‘s teams and blended teams. Some take part to win, some to enjoy the nature and others do it for the extraordinary fun but all are in for the challenge of a lifetime in a race around Iceland they will never forget. Five teams were awarded in 2014; the first teams of the A and B category, the first all-women’s team in the A category, the winners of the newly added Solo category and the winners of the pledge competition.

May the force be with you Seventeen teams signed up for the A category and all finished, most within 10 hours from the first team’s arrival to the finish line. Three teams, Örninn TREK, Workforce A and Team Hleðsla, led the race in the beginning but shortly before Egilsstaðir in east Iceland, Örninn and Workforce A managed to break away from Team Hleðsla. The two teams battled each other throughout east Iceland and the south coast. Shortly before the finish line both teams sent out all their cyclists in a strategic effort to shelter and help their number one cyclists, realizing that this would now become a battle all the way to the end. “Suddenly all eight of us were on the road, 27 kilometers left and we were racing like the last 1,300 kilometers had just been a little warmup for this moment,” says Ingvar, cyclist for Workforce A. Then began the most exciting final race that WOW Cyclothon has ever seen with all members of both teams putting all their energy into those last few kilometers. Örninn Trek was in the lead but just as their number one cyclist neared the finish line Ingvar managed to speed up and beat him to it. The results after a 1332 km race around Iceland … both teams finished in 39 hours and 12 minutes, a new WOW Cyclothon record, with barely a noticeable difference but Workforce A took first place. “This feeling is indescribable and it was without a doubt the biggest victory of my career. It’s all thanks to a great team effort as well as a great “This feeling is collaboration with our rivals from indescribable and it Örninn Trek. It’s hard to imagine that a was without a doubt 39 hour race around the country can the biggest victory end with such exciting final moments, of my career. It’s all after riding hunched on a bike or thanks to a great inside a small bus. Some people say team effort as well as that this race will go down in history a great collaboration and if so we are more than proud to with our rivals from be part of that history,” Ingvar says in Örninn Trek.” conclusion.


WOW Power to the people

The members of Team Landsbréf consisted mostly of colleagues from Landsbankinn Bank and Landsbréf Fund Management plus two ‘outsiders.’ Their goal from the beginning was … WINNING! “You could say that the team started out as sort of a group therapy but even before the race we knew we had the strongest team in the B category and we always planned to take this race and make it ours. We also set as our goal to finish the race in under 41 hours. We were actually a little surprised that the tempo of the race was so slow in the beginning and decided to leave the other teams behind around the Öxi mountain road. After that we were cycling solo for first place,” says Team Landsbréf’s spokesman. “We had a hard time believing in our position while we were cycling the south coast so we sent the resting unit’s vehicle back to check on the other teams’ progress and measure our advantage,” he adds. Team Landsbréf used two vehicles in the race and left half the team to rest in Akureyri in north Iceland. “Our resting unit was supposed to meet the racing unit halfway from Egilsstaðir but they overslept and the racing unit had to take the whole journey to Egilsstaðir by themselves. That’s why we decided to forgo our rest the second night of the race. The resting part of our plan was very well executed; the rule was to never sleep in a moving vehicle and that comes from experience,” the team adds. Despite their great victory in 2014, the team will not race in this year’s Cyclothon, although some of its members will participate with other teams. “One gold is quite enough,” they say, adding, “This was a great race, our team was good and everything worked out for us.”

Health care raced to a new level Sadly there haven’t been many all-women’s teams in the history of WOW Cyclothon but hopefully that will soon change. Last year the race saw two all-women A category teams and the first one to reach the finish line was the Medical Racing Divas.

Issue three


reaching Akureyri way ahead of schedule, all the downhill speeding and the adrenaline rush we got and finally reaching the finish line after battling up Hellisheiði Moor; we came in screaming and laughing with a healthy dash of happy tears.” The Divas say that good company was imperative on the road. “We were getting pretty tired when we reached the southeast corner of Iceland but all such hard moments during the race were quickly turned into good times. Cycling and working beside our good friends the Iron Grandpas really gave us the boost we needed. They were real good company on the road and helped us get through it. We’d made a deal with the Grandpas around Öxi that we would do this together and enjoy the race after the other teams split from us and we never had to go through the drama of strategizing against our friends during the race.” After their perfect race last year will any of the Divas be competing this year? “Three of us will compete in an all-women’s B category team called HFR-Stelpur and one will compete with the Vikingur group as a driver along with her husband. WOW Cyclothon 2014 was definitely one of the highlights of our summer and we all agree that it’s the most fun race we’ve ever competed in. Experiencing the Icelandic nature while riding a bike and the feeling of victory when finally reaching the finish line, was indescribable. Now all of you out there, put on your helmets and let’s ride!”

The name of the team derives from the fact that all members are educated and work in the health care sector. “We had an occupational therapist, a nurse, a pharmacologist, a doctor, a physical therapist and a specialist from the Ministry of Welfare. It’s safe to say that we had the healthiest team in the race,” say the Divas adding that the WOW Cyclothon had been on all of their “to-do” lists. “This was a group of women that fitted very well together and that’s really important in a race like WOW Cyclothon. Our goal was to enjoy the race but also to be the first all-women’s team to reach the finish line. Being an all-women’s team was important to us. Female participation in the cycling community is increasing year by year but for some reason women seem to be reluctant to compete. We can understand if they’re simply not interested but it’s a shame if they are interested but afraid to participate. We encourage all women to take on the WOW Cyclothon, especially the A category. We held our own with quite a few of the other male teams,” the Divas say. The Divas’ race plan was fairly simple and their goal was to get a good start and be ahead of the other female team, Stelpurnar (The Girls). “We had our first changeovers well planned based on ability, speed and technique, we started strong and everything we planned worked out. The Girls had some great cyclists but their start wasn’t as good as ours and after Hvalfjörður we formed an alliance with a few good teams, The Iron Grandpas, Team Herbalife, Team Risk and Team Kraftwerk,” say the Divas. Working with four other teams poses its challenges. “Because we had five teams working together we couldn’t change cyclists more than every 25 minutes. Our drivers and team leaders had this all under control making sure to document every kilometer and how much rest each of us got. The biggest challenge during the changeovers was finding a spot where five large vehicles could stop and prepare their next cyclists. It was hard but we managed and the changeovers were always a lot of fun, the atmosphere was so great.” “This atmosphere and the sheer joy of being out on the road is what kept us going—that and of course the great support we got from home. There were so many who pledged to our team and we had a big fan club following our progress throughout the race. Some of our family members even brought us hot food and Danish on the road,” say the Divas. We asked the Divas about their most memorable high and low points during the race. “Boy we had so many,” they say— “the start, the rain and the excitement during the first few hours in Hvalfjörður, “Female participation in the cycling community is increasing year by year but for some reason women seem to be reluctant to compete. We can understand if they’re simply not interested but it’s a shame if they are interested but afraid to participate.”


WOW Power to the people

South Coast & Waterfalls

Snowmobile on the top of a glacier

Airport Terminal to City Center Price from: 1.700 ISK

Tickets: Arrival Hall

The Golden Circle 6 times daily

Paragliding on the South Coast

Book your tour now! Contact Information - 24 hour booking service Book now at or call +354 540 1313





There’s no “I” in team! Five brave men signed up for the first WOW Cyclothon Solo race and three of them finished the race, Sigurður and Þórður, who cycled side by side, and Eiríkur who cycled the whole Ring Road all by himself. “The companionship was the best part of the journey. When you go through something like this with someone you bond in a very special way. I know I have a friend for life,” says Þórður adding that he and Sigurður also enjoyed the company of Jón Halldór, a fellow solo cyclist, before they reached Akureyri. “Of course we had ups and downs during the race but luckily for us we never had them at the same time, so we always had each other’s backs when we felt completely exhausted,” Þórður says. Siggi agrees and stresses the importance of taking the whole race one little bit at a time. “First you think about reaching Kjalarnes, and when you get there you think about reaching Kjós, and once there you think about finishing Hvalfjörður and so on.” Emotions ran high, and after leading the whole solo race together neither Sigurður nor Þórður felt like competing against each other for first place. “I don’t think we ever thought about who would win; we weren’t even sure that we could finish the race. I asked Þórður to do this with me for the companionship. We took on this challenge together and winning wasn’t the goal although we wanted to lead the race,” says Sigurður. Exhausted and emotionally drained they stopped right in front of the finish line, stepped off their bikes and walked hand in hand those last few steps, sharing the first place and the honor of being the first to finish the WOW Cyclothon solo. Sigurður and Þórður finished the Ring Road in 74 hours and 28 minutes, well within the allotted time frame for the solo competitors.

The most important thing to remember, according to Siggi and Þórður, is to have fun and be happy to be able to do this. Þórður adds that his support team was really on point mealwise. “They made sure I was fed properly and I completely trusted them with all my food and water consumption. They told me ‘eat this and you’ll get a treat!’ and then they’d give me a few Skittles and I was so happy to get a treat. It really


WOW Power to the people

kept me going!” Sigurður says he made sure his three main goals were met, that he was warm, fed and happy.” The two are also very thankful to all the people who showed up by the side of the road or by the finish line to cheer them on as well as those who supported them in the pledge competition. “It’s unbelievable how much those people inspired us and kept us going throughout the race. Every gesture counted,” they both agree. Eight solo cyclists have entered this year’s WOW Cyclothon. We asked the two to share tips for cyclist competing this year. “Don’t do it!” Sigurður says jokingly. Þórður recalls how much he loved brushing his teeth as a way to pass time on the bike so he encourages everyone to remember their toothbrushes. “The most important part though is to rest well once the race is over. Lie down with your

feet up in the air, literally, to give the feet their welldeserved rest and prevent any blood circulation problems,” says Sigurður. He advises everyone who competes in a race of this kind to see a doctor for a checkup afterwards, just in case. “Despite this warning I still wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on this experience for anything,” he adds. v

The young cyclists who could

Last year teams raised pledges to buy some much needed equipment for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery of The National University Hospital of Iceland and it was Team Hjóla­­­ kraft­­ur that took the pledge competition by storm, collecting a whopping 1,148,000 IKR, the only team to go beyond the one million mark. All in all, WOW Cyclothon managed to raise 15,237,244 IKR. Team Hjólakraftur consisted of 6 teenagers, aged 13-18, and their four grown-up leaders. “Hjólakraftur is a project that aims to get children and teenagers that haven’t found themselves in other sports, to give cycling a chance. Most of the young people that we have met have learned about this project through the National Children Hospital’s Health School (Heilsuskóli),” says Valdi who contacted the doctors at the health school when the idea for the project came up. “They were very positive and that is actually how we managed to pilot the project,” Valdi adds.

In 2013, when Valdi was talking to the group and their parents he told them that if they would work very hard he would want to take them to the WOW Cyclothon in 2014. “It goes without saying that they all thought that I was mad, but I was sowing a seed. At the end of the year I started receiving messages from the kids, asking when we would start preparing for the race. After that there was no turning back.”

Hjólakraftur’s goal was not to win first place but rather to conquer themselves by finishing the whole Cyclothon within the allotted time frame, and hopefully winning the pledge competition. All eyes were on the young and inexperienced cyclists and Hjólakraftur had a lot of fans throughout the race. Members of other teams even asked their friends, families and coworkers to send their pledges to Hjólakraftur instead of their own teams, tipping the scales further in Hjólakraftur’s favor. For the 2015 WOW Cyclothon, the Hjólakraftur project is currently preparing members to fill five teams in the newly added Hjólakraftur category. That means 50 people, out of which there are around 30 teenagers. “The goals are the same: Don’t finish first! The emphasis is on overcoming any obstacles team members might have, proving that when you put your head in the game the sky is the limit!” says Valdi. v

Proud members of Hjólakraftur got to deliver a giant check to Páll Matthíasson CEO of The National University Hospital of Iceland and Yngvi Ólafsson chief physician at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery a few days after finishing their race.

See you on the Ring Road WOW Cyclothon 2015 will be held on June 23-26. Follow WOW Cyclothon on Facebook and Instagram and and check out our live feed from the competition. Add WOW Cyclothon (wowcyclothon) on SnapChat for additional material and fun. Visit for more information about the race.

ICEWEAR offers an extensive collection of clothing for the outdoor



from high-tech down jackets to unique wool products made in Iceland. We strive to offer colors and cuts in line with the latest trends, quality materials and competitive prices.

icelandic design since 1972 Issue three

W W W. I C E W E A R. I S


Top music festival Secret Solstice returns!

Party in the midnight sun! Ever wanted to attend a music festival where you can party for three days at a time and the sun never sets? Well, if you’re landing in Iceland during the summer solstice weekend between the 19th and the 21st of June, you’re in luck. by Leon Hill Photo: Brynjar Snær

Secret Solstice will be hosting the world’s first gig underneath a glacier on the Friday evening of Secret Solstice 2015.


amed the “Midnight Sun Music Festival” due to the 72 hours of continuous daylight during the event, the festival, also known as the Secret Solstice, returns for the second year to the Laugardalur entertainment precinct in the center of Reykjavík, no more than a fifteen minute walk from most hotels. While it was held for the very first time in 2014, Secret Solstice was named one of the top festivals on Earth by TIME Magazine, BBC and many others.

Pool parties and hip hop legends! This year’s three day event features a massive lineup of international names over seven stages, including hip-hop legends Wu-Tang Clan, FKA twigs, Kelis, the Wailers, Charles Bradley, Skream, Flights Facilities, Nightmares On Wax, MØ, Zero 7, Foreign Beggars, and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, as well as MTV’s Jackass star Bam Margera’s band Earth Rocker. Local talent from Iceland will be provided in the form of GusGus, HAM, Mugison, Hjálmar, Helgi Björnsson, Retro Stefson and many more.


WOW Power to the people

With around 150 names in total attending, there’s sure to be something that’ll get your body moving. But it’s not only the music that should have you excited, as Secret Solstice also boasts geothermal pool parties next door to the festival site and on-site camp­ing for those who don’t want to leave the action at all. Finally, Secret Solstice will be hosting the world’s first gig underneath a glacier on the Friday evening of Secret Solstice 2015 as an additional ticketed event. It will be held within the Icecave of Langjökull, Europe’s second largest glacier. Only 70 guests will be able to tick this once-in-a-lifetime party off their bucket list, which is something that’s sure to be the envy of your friends for years to come if you’re one of the lucky ones. v Tickets are available for 19,900kr (approx. £96/$150/€134) until sold out, and guests are being directed to for full information on Iceland’s ultimate summer festival.

the maritime museum

the art museum

thermal pools #reykjavikloves




Choose a card that suits your stay: 24, 48 or 72 hours




All that glitters. From the shooting of Kitty Von-Sometime’s latest episode in

The Weird Girls Project. Photo: Birta Rán Björgvinsdóttir. 24 WOW Power to the people

The Weird Girls Project

Glitter, glitter everywhere! Artist Kitty Von-Sometime originally comes from England but moved to Iceland over 9 years ago. She is best known for her video artworks called The Weird Girls Project, an ongoing art film series that empow­ ers the women who take part. Her latest installment to the series was a music video set to “Dim the Lights” by CREEP featuring SIA.

Issue three



on-Sometime has made 24 videos in The Weird Girls Project series since she began the production. Most of them are made in Iceland and more recently, especially those abroad, were commissioned pieces. The last in­stall­­ment of The Project was made in May 2013 in Germany but the last time Kitty filmed an episode of The Weird Girls Project in Iceland was in late 2012. Fed up of the media marketing of what a woman’s figure should look like especially in pop culture, Kitty started The Weird Girls Project, using the “music video” format and involving voluntary in­­ dividuals rather than professional performers or models. The women vary in ages, backgrounds and experience and do not know each other before the day of the shooting. “I guess you could call my emphasis on the female body central. I want to emphasize that women are different shapes and sizes and I think that’s generally why people like the ethos of The Project.” Dim the Lights Feeling that The Weird Girls Project was long overdue for a new episode, Kitty contacted her friends from the electronic duo CREEP and asked them if they could recommend any witch house music she could work with for her next piece as she wanted an eerie yet powerful soundtrack. They had more than that and sent her a track they’d made with Sia (Chandelier, Elastic heart) called “Dim the Lights” from their album Echoes, released in 2013. The piece produced was shot in the middle of April in an empty warehouse in Kopavogur and even though the piece was crowdfunded and made almost entirely with the help of a crew of volun­­ teers, Kitty still invested a lot of her own money in the project. “I want to be clear that this is not a com­­missioned music video per se, if CREEP like it, we have agreed that they have permission to use it as their official music video. It is my concept, vision and desire to promote a balanced healthy body image. CREEP were kind enough to let me use their song as they love my series and the principle behind it,” Kitty says.

From the shooting of Kitty Von-Sometime’s latest episode in The Weird Girls Project. Photos by Birta Rán Björgvinsdóttir

Episode 2: Spandex Attack. (June 2007) Episode 2 of the Weird Episode 11: Secret Garden (July 2010). Kitty felt it was time to pull out the girls project revolved around custom made spandex suits and true challenge to body consciousness and produce an episode without the concept of ‘freak’. Photo: Hörður Sveinsson costume. Photo: Katrín Ólafs

Think big Just because Kitty was able to do her video with a limited budget doesn’t mean it was a small project. 60 people were on set, 40 crew and 20 fe­­male participants who were painted black from head to toe and then doused in solid gold glitter. “I want every woman to feel beautiful and have pride Special Episode: Exocoetidae. (July 2012). The Blue Lagoon special in her body but I think some of the women had focuses around rebirth with the concentration on confidence. Photo: Óskar Hallgrímsson. doubts when we told them they would be wearing nothing but a paper C-string and make up during the filming. I give every woman the right to veto her leg and the third kind on my other arm. When you frames in the video during the post-production but only have one day and no budget you have to test I do take care to pick the frames well, so I’ve never everything on yourself,” says Kitty and adds that had that happen so far.” she couldn’t have been luckier with I want every woman the location. “We had planned to The Project operates within the to feel beautiful and boundaries that until the day of shoot the video in a studio but it got shooting the participants know booked by someone with a bigger have pride in her nothing about the shoot—location, budget so we ended up shooting in body but I think concept, costume—and it always this warehouse which was very raw. some of the women gets shot within one day to maintain In retrospect I’m very glad that we had doubts when the concept of reaction to the lost our studio as we would have we told them they unknown. Due to the elaborate never been able to clean up all the makeup, Kitty and her makeup team would be wearing glitter and water from the shoot had some vigorous testing to do in time. There was glitter literally nothing but a paper before they found the right type of everywhere!” C-string and make make up. “One day I had this kind of black make up, glue and glitter on my up during the Next up, more videos! filming. right arm, another concoction on my But what about the future; could


WOW Power to the people

Episode 4: Bunny Revolution. (March 2008) Photo: Ben Mathis

The Weird Girls Project’s latest episode to “Dim the Lights” open any doors for Kitty and her Weird Girls Project? “It might, but regardless of that I’m happy to have made the video even though I wish I could have paid the hardworking people that helped me and we were dependent on many favors and good will. Making this kind of video art is very rewarding to me so what I hope will come out of it is only to be able to make more episodes in the series and other videos.” v

Find out more about Kitty Von-Sometime and The Weird Girls Project on

Issue three


Let’s go into the glacier

A man-made ice cave!

Visiting Iceland, people may experience funny little quirks like the weather being as unpredictable as a Bjork song and the sun refusing to retire in midsummer. Longtime visitors and lovers of our precious treasure island pack their suitcases accordingly, looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead. Adding to their to-do lists is an essential trip inside Langjökull glacier, the second largest ice cap in Iceland. by Fjóla Helgadóttir Photos: Roman Gerasymenko and Into the Glacier


t a two hour drive from Reykjavik stands the majestic Langjökull glacier. On the 1st of June the world’s biggest man-made ice cave officially opened its doors to the glacier’s 500 m long tunnels with guided tours from the company Into the Glacier. Transporting visitors up to the cave is a specially modified 8 wheel glacial super truck. Once inside, visitors can expect breathtaking views of LED lighted walls of the blue ice and carved cave rooms like the chapel which can be booked for weddings or parties.


WOW Power to the people

Daily depart­­ures into the glacier are scheduled from Reykja­­vik and Húsafell during the summer.

Find out more about trips into the glacier at

Into the Glacier offers several different tours with a classic one lasting 2-3 hours that lets the visitors explore around, on and within the glacier. A 9-hour day tour includes bonus trips to Deildartunguhver, a geothermal spring, and Hraunfossar, a magnificent waterfall near Langjökull. An extended tour for up to 13 hours also includes trips to Kaldidalur, Thingvellir and to top it all off, the Golden Circle with a stop at Gullfoss and Geysir. Into the Glacier also offers a helicopter tour beginning with an aerial view over Reykjavik, moving along to Thingvellir and up to the glacier.

Don’t forget your camera! A trip inside a glacier offers a truly extra­ ordinary experience. Naturally visi­­­tors are advised to be careful to follow the in­structions given by the guides. The tour guides provide each person slip-on cramp­ons to put over their regular foot­­­ wear as the snowy floor can be slippery. Dress warm, but not too warm as the temperature inside the glacier is just around 0°C, and book yourself an exper­­ ience inside the glacier. Daily depart­­ures into the glacier are scheduled from Reykja­­ vik and Húsafell during the summer. To be on the safe side, sunglasses are a must. v

HELICOPTER TOURS It was without a doubt my highlight of the whole trip. I’ve been flying before but completely nothing can be compared to flying in Iceland. The views you see… it just made me speechless, my heart was racing, a big smile on my face… as if I was in love!

reykjavíkurflugvelli Issue three 292500 562


WOW Power to the people

Catching the moment

When food is great It was the love of a good woman that brought Swedish photo­grapher, Karl Petersson, to Iceland some 15 years ago. (Takk Harpa!) Since then, armed with an impressive arsenal of cameras, lenses, reflectors, snoots and fake ice cubes of various sizes, Karl, or Kalli as he is affectionately known, has established himself as one of the country’s leading food photographers. by Gerður Harðardóttir Photos: Karl Petersson. Photos of Kalli by Jonatan Gretarsson


n adventurous gourmand who knows his way around the kitchen as well as the studio, Kalli is an immensely talented photographer and technical geek par excellence who loves to talk about all the latest photography gadgets—and food. He’s also a great guy to hang out with and I was lucky to do just that the other day at his studio located on the second floor of an old paper making factory. From the beginning “I’m from Gothenburg, Sweden and that’s where I first studied photography. I did a very classic photography course at Sven Winquist Gymnasium. After graduation I went to LCP in London called London

Coll­ege of Communication, today. This was back in the beginning of the 90s,” says Kalli. It was in London that he met his future wife which set the path of his future on a course to Iceland. “When I was doing the course in London I shared a flat with an Icelandic guy. At his birthday party, I met an Icelandic girl and my fate was basically sealed there and then. We lived in London until the summer of 2000. Then we decided to skip London and try Iceland for a bit. I’ve been living in Iceland for 15 years now. I love Iceland!” Ever since he arrived in Iceland Kalli has been working on something to do with photography. He started working for the Morgunblaðið daily newspaper’s digi­­tal department, taking care of pictur­­es, fixing them up and doing a lot of Photo­­

“I started to realize that if I’m going to do a picture of a really nice steak it does not work to give people the mental image of a cow.”

shop work. “Today that kind of work has largely disappeared since today’s photo­­­graphers tend to do that part of the work themselves. At the time it was just working with other people’s pictures but occasio­nally I got a chance to work on my own photography. Photography tends to be very dependent on having a great network in the sense that you need to build contacts and solid network of people who know what you can do. That’s one of the problems with being too much of a travelling photographer, like I’ve been. I’ve pulled up my roots a couple of times and moved away and it’s always kind of difficult because you have to rebuild your network and professional contacts from scratch. People need to get to know who you are Issue three


and what you are capable of doing so it will be my number they dial when they need a photographer,” Kalli explains. Like fish in a water In 2007 Kalli started working for Birtíngur, Iceland’s largest publisher of magazines, which among others publishes the Gestgjafinn Culinary Magazine, Iceland’s only magazine that specializes in food and wine. “Their ‘go-to’ food photographer had just quit and they needed someone who was into food, which I definitely was” says Kalli laughing. “At Birtíngur, I was working with really good journalists, chefs and stylists and it was genuinely good fun. Editorial food photography is so different from commercial food photography. The frames for your assignments are totally different, something you don’t get to understand when you work just one field. It’s when you have to jump back and forth that you start realizing how big a difference there is. They both have their challenges but very different ones depending on which sort of photography you are doing. With editorial photography you can go nuts and push the boundaries and do the most insane things. And sometimes I did. My editor once told me that I was responsible for both the bestselling magazine cover but also the worst selling magazine cover of all time,” Kalli says. The worst selling cover was a photograph of a fish plunged into water. “I started to realize that if I’m going to do a picture of a really nice steak it does not work to give people the mental image of a cow. I actually think it’s really sad because I think it’s important to know and respect the origin of the food that you eat. If you are going to eat meat I think you should not be hypocritical about the cuteness of animals. I think that is the best way of changing from ‘factory’ produced meat in particular, but the same goes for fish and vegetables. The solution is to eat less but better quality and then we can also, as consumers, ask the producers to respect the food they produce and move away from mass factory production. I am talking now about the ethics of food production. Unfortunately I don’t have the solution to food distribution in the world,” says Kalli. From food to photos Kalli says he’s always had huge interest in food photography and he had done it quite a lot before he started working for Gestgjafinn Culinary Magazine. “In food photography I get to combine two of the things I like best in life, food and photography,” Kalli explains. But would he say that food photography is his favo­rite kind of photography? “It’s very difficult to say favorite. But food pho­­ tography definitely has something that I find intriguing. It’s not necessarily the photographing bit, it’s mostly the food itself! It’s so easy to get emotionally con­­­ nected to food. When you eat something really well cooked, when the chef has done something extraordinary, then people connect food, flavors, looks and smell


WOW Power to the people

“Food pho­­tography definitely has something that I find intriguing. It’s not necessarily the photographing bit, it’s mostly the food itself! It’s so easy to get emotionally con­­­ nected to food.”

to certain memories and feelings. Food can bring back or trigger memories of an ex­perience with positive or negative associations in a fantastic way. A wellcom­­posed meal can be a journey in your head. That is what amazes and amuses me. My challenge is to trigger that kind of feeling by how I shoot an image of a certain produce or meal. If my image can make you ‘smell’ the mushrooms or ‘taste’ the oysters, then I’ve achieved what I set out to do. This is entertainment for me—good fun. I love food and it definitely shows on my waistline!” Working with the Wild Chef During his days at Birtíngur Publishing, Kalli got to know one of the country’s best known chefs, Úlfar Finnbjörnsson, aka The Wild Chef, which resulted in a number of collaboration projects between the two.

Úlfar, aka The Wild Chef, in action.

“Úlfar and I worked together at Gestgjafinn Culinary Magazine and we just hit it off really, really well, becoming close friends. I’ve had some fantastic experiences working with Úlfar. Although I’m not a hunter myself and not really personally interested in hunting either, it was amazing to look at the way he approaches the hunting of animals, the killing and processing of his catch and his knowledge when it comes to treating the meat. And while hunting doesn’t stimulate me at all, I love to photograph the action. It’s just really good fun to be out and about in nature with a hunter who is in such good sync with his environment. “I remember one time when I was photographing with Úlfar, it was the open­ing of the salmon season. We got this salmon, basically picked up straight from the river and made ceviche right there on the riverbank, flavored with sorrel and angelica—just the raw fish with local herbs and lemon juice, which unfortunately isn’t a local ingredient; not that many lemon trees about in Iceland. But almost everything else was very local. When you talk about wine you talk about terroir, that is tasting the environment, the minerals, the soil in the wine you are drinking, coming from how the grapes grow. That salmon ceviche we had on that river bank was terroir out of this world. You had the smell of the grass, the herbs, the soil around you and the feeling of the water of the river just a couple of meters away. Something like this is an incredibly beautiful and totally unforgettable experi­ ence. If I can to any extent portray that feeling and ambience through my work as a photographer, then I’ve done my work properly,” says Kalli. Shoot the food So far Kalli and Úlfar the Wild Chef, have published two cookbooks, first came Stóra bókin um villibráð (The Big Book of Icelandic Wild Game) and before last Christmas there was Stóra bókin um alifugla (The Big Book of Icelandic Poultry). “We mostly worked out of his fantastic, little house in Mosfellsbær,

H V Í TA H Ú S I Ð / S Í A


Save both time and effort by using the Duty Free Express service. Discounts are available regardless of what passport you may hold or which country you are flying to or from.

Order online and pick up at the Duty Free Store. Issue three


on the outskirts of Reykjavík. Úlfar has a professional kitchen in the basement of his house, not big but very well designed. It was such good fun because while we were photographing, and you can see it in the book if you look for it, we worked through the seasons. You can see that during the winter we shot mostly dried and preserved things like dried mushrooms and such. But during the summer Úlfar would run out into his garden to pick ingredients for his dishes. I personally have learned immensely from him, like the tricks of his trade, how to prepare things and just generally to appreciate using local ingredients in the way he has taught me. Our book got a really good reception, not only in Iceland but also abroad although it has never been translated from Icelandic. Despite that, the book ended up in the finals of The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2011 and took seventh place. I was quite pleased with that.”

“What really warms my heart is what in Icelandic is called “mömmumatur” (mama’s food), basically the flavors that our mothers and grandmothers created.”

Icelandic food Despite having tasted almost every great dish in Iceland Kalli maintains that he hasn’t got a favorite Icelandic dish. “It’s always the latest, that’s the greatest and it’s always changing. I have a little bit of a project going on where I ask chefs what they consider the best Icelandic produce; not a specific dish but produce. They make a dish out of that produce and I shoot it. I’ve tasted some fantastic flavors from chefs who have cooked some amazing stuff. What I like about food is that it takes me on a journey. One chef takes me to one place and another chef takes me to another depending on how they prepare their dishes.

“What really warms my heart is what in Icelandic is called “mömmumatur” (mama’s food), basically the flavors that our mothers and grandmothers created. The flavors of that kind of food trigger coziness and warmth and can take us back to our childhood. Food should touch you emotionally. That’s when it is great.” Any fun food related travelling experiences in Iceland? “I’ve had some great travel-related food experiences while going around the country with Úlfar working on our two cookbooks. I remember having some fantastic smoked cormorant. It was hot smoked in a steel tin at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning, it was pissing down with rain and I was absolutely frozen to the bone. And there is Úlfar, putting some wood chips in the bottom of the steel tin, putting the cormorant meat in the tin and placing it on the fire. When it was ready, he took the meat and cut it into pieces which he placed on a piece of bread, along with a bit of a delicious horseradish sauce that he’d prepared beforehand. That’s an amazing memory that ended up in our book. The famous French chef Paul Bocuse said many years ago that he didn’t want to cook for hungry people. But you cannot underestimate the flavor you get from that kind of experience, when you are cold and frozen and hungry, because then it becomes that whole trigger of memories. “Then there’s a bunch of great restaurants I’ve had the opportunity to visit and photograph here in Iceland, both in and around Reykjavik and all over the country. I feel truly privileged to get a chance to work in this field. It certainly is a treat and a pleasure.” v

Check out more of Karl Petersson’s photography at


WOW Power to the people


Free WiFi



on this flight

Why not buy a tour with us on board this flight? – just ask the cabin crew.

The Golden Circle Tours! RE-04

The Golden Circle RE-24

Gullfoss, Geysir & Þingvellir SRE-74

The Golden Circle & Fontana Wellness SRE-44

Gullfoss, Geysir & Langjökull Snowmobiling

More tours available on our website AND IN OUR BROCHURES! BOOK NOW

BSÍ Bus Terminal 101 Reykjavík +354 580 5400 •


at your reception


Issue three


Fine dining

Five Icelandic restaurants that offer much more than just adventurous fare We can tell you this: Icelandic cuisine is many things, but boring it is not. The menus being offered up by the five restaurants below prove it.


rom fermented shark and sheep’s head, to sour rams’ testicl­­es, it’s fair to say that the type of food Iceland is traditionally associated with can be described as “ad­­vent­ur­­­ous.” These bold dishes aside, what many people outside of Iceland may not realize, is that this small island country is home to an excep­­tional number of young chefs who are dramatically chang­ing the perception of what Icelandic cuisine is. From restaurants that give traditional foods a 21st century makeover (like The Fish Company) to eateries that fuse local ingredients with Italian traditions (like Kolabrautin), it’s easy to understand why Iceland is fast becoming known as a cul­inary paradise. After sampling the food from many of the best restaurants in the Reykjavik area, we came up with our list of the top dishes you must try in Iceland!

The Fish Company: deconstructing Icelandic food

“After sampling the food from many of the best restaurants in the Reykjavik area, we came up with our list of the top dishes you must try in Iceland!


WOW Power to the people

The Fish Company does not just push culinary boundaries, it completely breaks them (pine needle ice cream anyone?) By taking traditional dishes from Iceland’s past and deconstructing them, the Fish Company remains true to regional tra­­­di­­tions, while giving each dish a thoroughly modern twist. Our favorite dish from The Fish Company was a filet of cod with shrimp, prepared with apple slices and celery carpaccio, and a fennel salad with estragon foam. The food was not only artfully presented, but each bite was filled with amazing flavors and textures. Our standout favorite was the desert; a soft spruce sponge cake served with Icelandic skyr sorbet, salted caramel and whey cream with lemon meringue and oatmeal crumble. Price per person: 8,900 ISK (approx. $70 per person). Wine pairing is available for an additional price.

Issue three


lamb with drizzles of hazelnut and celeriac puree, perfectly highlighted how the chef applied modern touches, to traditional Icelandic ingredients.

Kolabrautin at Harpa Concert Hall: an Icelandic twist on Italian cuisine Located on the top floor of the newly constructed Harpa Concert Hall, Kolabrautin gives guests the opportunity to dine inside one of Reykjavik’s most recognizable buildings. While the award winning architecture and panoramic view of downtown Reykjavik will surely capture your attention, it’s the food here that will bring you back. Creativity and technique are evident in every dish with all the expected Italian flavors. It’s a regional take on traditional Italian fare, and it’s good… really, really good! The house-made gnocchi was served with pecorino, baked kale, pearl onions, and smoked pine nuts—and it was so good, that we’re convinced it rivaled anything we’d eaten in Italy. The meat course was a skilfully prepared Icelandic lamb filet accompanied by slow-cooked pork belly with turnips and charred onions.

“The Icelandic landscape is what brought us to Iceland but the food just might be what brings us back!”

4 course tasting menu: 6,500 ISK (approx. $50 USD per person) With wine pairing: 7,390 ISK (approx. $55 USD per person)

Lava at the Blue Lagoon: Icelandic dishes from an award winning chef

The Grill Market (Grillmarkaðurinn): a trendy restaurant with a hearty tasting menu If you ask any concierge or local in Reykja­­ vik for a restaurant recommendation, many will point you to The Grill Market (Grillmarkaðurinn). This place is con­­ sidered one of Iceland’s hottest restau­­ rant’s and for good reason. Their decor is chic, their bar is a rendezvous for the in-crowd and their food is really good. The Grill Market’s 8 course tasting menu (you must come hungry) is served family style and features a stunning array of Icelandic ingredients with a bit of Asian influence. Every dish on the menu is prepared using only fire, smoke, logs and coal, which is evident in every bite. The grilled chicken wings marinated in oyster sauce with home-made peanut butter and “popcorn” was quite unique and the Icelandic filet of cod with bits of chorizo was delectable!

Perlan: visually stunning with a fabulous foodie offering


WOW Power to the people

Price per person: 9,200 ISK (approx. $70 per person) With wine pairing: Varies

Built into the side of a towering lava cliff overlooking the famed Blue Lagoon,

Price per person: 9,100 ISK (approx. $70 per person) With wine pairing: 17,900 ISK (approx. $135 per person)

My father visited Perlan in 1998 and insisted we give this classic restaurant a try. Turns out, my dad wasn’t the only fan, as Perlan is widely regarded by cele­­brat­­ed chefs and locals alike as the best restaurant in Iceland. Perlan Rest­­aurant is nestled high on a hill in a revolv­­ing glass dome above Reykjavik and was one of the first fine dining restaurants in the capital. The spacious dining room is classic luxury—white tablecloths, waiters in fine suits and the type of class that is somewhat lost in the more contemporary style restaurants. The Perlan tasting menu featured culinary highlights from around the world, each creatively prepared and presented. At Perlan, produce is center-stage, with vegetables given equal presence on the menu alongside traditional meat and seafood options. The warm winter salad of Jerusalem artichokes and ruccola was exotic and delicious. The main course of

Lava provides a dramatic setting for lunch or dinner. As soon as you enter you immediately know you’re somewhere special; lava rock, lines the walls of the restaurant, and floor to ceiling windows provide you with a wonderful view of the lagoon’s steamy waters. The menu at Lava features high quality Icelandic ingredients at the heart of each dish. Everything from the fish and lamb, to the skyr is locally sourced, and amazingly fresh. The pan-roasted cod tossed in a creamy langoustine sauce and perfectly cooked tenderloin served with wild mushrooms and Icelandic carrots was so savory and decadent! Even if you don’t go with the tasting menu (you should) you must order these dishes!

Price per person: 9,400 ISK (approx. $70 per person) With wine pairing: 17,900 ISK (approx. $135 per person)

Written by Danika Garlotta with photos from Chris Garlotta who visited Iceland in February 2015. Chris & Danika quit their jobs, sold their stuff, rented out their San Francisco home and left to travel the world. They have been to through 18 countries and 50 cities with no plans to stop anytime soon. You can check out more travel stories from Iceland and other destinations around the world on their travel blog, “No Destinations” at



A detailed and beautiful presentation of Iceland and Icelanders

Issue three

w w w .f o r l a g i d . i s | Bóka b úð For la g s ins | Fis k is lóð 3 9



WOW Power to the people

Feeding Reykjavik

Owning the job

Throughout history there’s been no short­age of great female chefs but for some rea­­­son professional kitchens seem to have been dominated by men for centur­ies. Hrefna Rósa Sætran is one of the leading chefs in Iceland today. Hrefna had to jump through some hoops to get her career start­­ed but now she‘s a household name in Iceland and owns two of the top restau­­­­rants in Reykjavik; proof that when it com­es to good food you don’t need big “cajones,” just a great vision. Photos: Karl Petersson

Issue three



s I started my culinary studies I walked between so many restaurants asking for an apprenticeship contract, as all aspiring chefs must do, and every one of them turned me down. There weren’t a lot of female chefs working during this time and I had a very hard time trying to find a place that would take me on,” says Hrefna of her first steps into the culinary world back in 1999. After six months of no’s she was offered a job as a kitchen assistant at a brand new restaurant called Apótek. “Even though this wasn’t the apprenticeship contract I was looking for I decided to take it just to get the experience of working in a professional kitchen; this, at least, was a start. The guys at Apótek weren’t going to take on apprentices but they knew I wanted a contract and I did a good job in their kitchen. Finally they got an apprenticeship permit and took me on. Apótek was a great place to work. It was the hott­­­est restaurant in town at the time and I feel very lucky that I got to work there. Everyone was on their toes regarding the latest culinary trends, the hottest ingredients and stuff like that,” says Hrefna who stayed on at Apótek for “What I really wanted to 4 years while finishing her do was to start my own culinary degree. “I also used restaurant. I wanted to put my my off-shifts at Apótek to do fingers into every aspect of unpaid internships at other the business and have control restaurants such as Gallery Restaurant at Hotel where I over the overall experience of learned about French cuisine. my guests.” I was determined to learn as much as I could.”


WOW Power to the people

Starting from scratch After graduating in 2004 Hrefna began working at the Sjávarkjallarinn Restaurant, then, one of the trendiest establishments in Reykjavik, and owned by Ágúst Reynisson. “At that time I discovered that what I really wanted to do was to start my own restaurant. I wanted to put my fingers into every aspect of the business and have control over the overall experience of my guests. I told Ágúst about my plans when I started working at Sjávar­kjall­arinn. I worked my way up to becoming their head chef and when Ágúst decid­ed to leave the restaurant in 2007 to start something new he came to me.” Together Hrefna and Ágúst opened their own restaurant called the Fish Market (Fiskmarkaðurinn) in August 2007. “We never took any loans and decided to do everything ourselves. We carried heavy things, tore down walls and painted. Anything that we were able to do ourselves we did and we only sought professional help when we absolutely needed it such as with the electricity and such things. It was all very low budget, no fancy designer and all based on our own ideas,” says Hrefna.

Two of Iceland’s hottest restaurants The main concept behind the Fish Market is of course the Icelandic fish but there‘s also Hrefna’s affinity to Asian culinary and taste. “I love fish and I think the Icelandic fish is among the best. I know foreign guests like to try it and so do Icelanders who don’t usually cook a lot of fish dishes at home except when they boil their haddock or cod. I got acquainted to Asian fusion when I worked at Sjávarkjallarinn and really took to that flavor and style. We offer meat at the Fish Market too, of course, but the emphasis is on the fish,” Hrefna explains. Despite hitting a rough period following the global financial crisis the Fish Mark­et soon earned great respect on the

restaurant scene. “There were a few nights when the place was almost empty and during those times we invited our friends and family to dinner to keep the flow going. It took about two weeks and then things picked up again and we’ve been almost fully booked ever since,” says Hrefna. Before Hrefna left Sjávarkjallarinn Restaurant she got to know Guðlaugur Frímannsson, aka Gulli, a student chef whom she brought with her to the Fish Market. Together with Ágúst, Hrefna and Gulli then opened the Grill Market in 2011 in a brand new building. “The house was completely empty when we got it and we had the luxury of deciding where everything should go,” says Hrefna. The Grill Market has a raw, natural and cool vibe framed with elements such as moss, columnar basalt and trestles. “As soon as we got the space we knew that we wanted people to walk in and immediately see the kitchen, see our chefs in action and start salivating at all the temptation. This is a restaurant after all. From that initial idea we decided the rest of the place,” says Hrefna. “Going from one restaurant to two is sort of like having baby number two. The two restaurants are not the same and they are run separately. Of course we have to divide our time between them and if we focus too much of our energy into just one, the other one suffers. Still we’ve been very lucky with our staff. We employ around 170 people. I think people often don’t realize how big this is,” says Hrefna.

“As soon as we got the space we knew that we wanted people to walk in and immediately see the kitchen, see our chefs in action and start salivating at all the temptation.” “This men’s world has become my world and still today I’m surrounded by men, most of our head chefs are male, my co-owners are male. I’d say I’m pretty used to it.”

Issue three


Cooking shows and books From not being able to get an apprenticeship contract to becoming a household name Hrefna says she owes her success in part to her participation in the National Culinary Team of Iceland. “I participated as an assistant from 2001 and became a full member of the team in 2004 when I graduated. As the first and only female on the team at that time I got a lot of attention which then resulted in advertising deals. For a while I was a spokesperson for Icelandic butter,” says Hrefna and adds that being a part of the all-male team was not that different from her classes at culinary school. “There were no other wom­­­en in my class. The scene was still pretty ‘old school’ and men dominated the professional kitchen. I’m used to being the only woman when everyone is talking football or some guy things that I might not be interested in. This men’s world has become my world and still today I’m surrounded by men, most of our head chefs are male, my co-owners are male. I’d say I’m pretty used to it,” says Hrefna. You can get known for being “the woman” for a short period of time but Hrefna’s talent is what has helped her stay at the top on the Icelandic culinary scene. Besides promoting butter she’s hosted 7 series of her own cooking show, “Matarklúbburinn,” at the Skjár 1 TV station plus a series of grill episodes for the National Broadcasting Service of Iceland. She published a book in Icelandic and English for the Fish Market and also has a range of products, such as various sauces and a lobster soup with her name on it. “From the moment we decided to open the Fish Market we knew we wanted to publish a book with recipes and a range of products that would help us connect to people. We wanted to bring our good food to their homes and we started working toward this goal as soon as we opened,” says Hrefna.

and the dishes were served as towers with a froth on the side; today they want their fish cleaner and the setup of the dishes more sophisticated or fine,” she says adding that the menus for both restaurants are under constant reconsideration but still staying true to the core concept of each restaurant. “You won’t come in tomorrow and find that everything has been changed. Our revisions are about seeking the “next level” one step at a time—doing things better. Some of our dishes have been on the menu from the beginning. At the Grill Market it’s the minke whale and dried fish that’s been deep fried along with squid. At the Fish Market there’s a cod dish that we’ve taken off the menu twice but brought back in due to popular demand from our regulars.”

Fully booked

Some changes in the Icelandic restaurant scene have been brought on by the Zeitgeist, and the global financial crisis is still a big influence. “When I worked at Sjávarkjallarinn, before the financial crash, we bought around two cases of various Tai vegetables a week. That’s not something restaurants in Iceland can do today. It’s why so many have sought out Icelandic materials. Slowly some of these exotic ingredients are making their way back onto the menu but I don’t think they’ll have a Drinking coffee with the farmers full blown comeback like before the crash.” Hrefna’s emphasis for both of her restaurants is authentic, high quality Many are of the opinion ingredients. “I would not necessarily call this slow food but we do go the extra that the restaurant mile to ensure that the main ingredients in our dishes are Icelandic. However business in Iceland is we are not a 100% Nordic or 100% slow food as we do use ginger and garlic catering mostly to tourists. and other ingredients that are not grown locally if we feel they will enhance “When we opened the Grill the dish. It’s very hard to get all-Icelandic ingredients in the quantity that we Market our customers need for such large restaurants,” Hrefna explains. Her choice to use mainly were almost exclusively Icelandic materials does not always come easy; to ensure the quality of her Icelandic but we were raw materials, she’s established a personal relationship with the farmers soon discovered by travellers. We are almost always fully booked and because that procure her meat and vegetables. “It would be so easy to just pick up the foreigners are more organized and call in advance to book their table, the phone and order everything but we decided to take the road less travelled evolution has been that Icelanders, that are not as organized, can’t get a table. when it comes to what we use. Before we opened the Grill Market I took a little Icelanders tend to make quick decisions, like deciding research trip around Iceland with my husband who’s a photographer. We’d decided to visit the farmers and had “When I caught my first one on a Thursday to take a party of twelve out for a dinner the following Friday night. That’s almost impossible to do a chat with them over coffee. We stayed for almost three I cook­ed it at home and as now and I think that’s the reason that fewer Icelanders hours at Halla’s farm and I did a little impromptu interview I was trying to utilize the are going out to dinner; the tables are usually all booked that we put on our webpage []. We fish as well as I could we when they finally call,” Hrefna says. learned a lot during our journey. For instance, Halla raises Hrefna’s restaurants are indeed busy every day. “The ate salmon for four days a part of her lambs on a little island where they only eat Grill Market offers both lunch and dinner but a short angelica. This results in a meat with a unique flavor that’s straight. I loved it but my while ago we decided that the Fish Market should be an absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately this is such a small scale husband was kind ­of losing evening place only. Lunch and dinner are such different production that we have only one dish at the restaurant with patience.” concepts. At the Grill Market we felt we could easily do this type of lamb but this is just an example of the things we both but we wanted the evening experience at the Fish Market to be exclusive learned during our trip,” says Hrefna. so we began working on that concept full force and it’s really paid off as the restaurant now holds the number one spot on TripAdvisor. Staying on top of her game In Hrefna’s opinion, Icelanders are very demanding when it comes to their food and so the evolution on the restaurant scene is fast paced. “Restaurants that don’t measure up will close down and make room for new ones. I really like the renewal of this scene and I think those who are doing things right will always have enough to do.” According to Hrefna there are a lot of trends going around but some seem to make their way by being only followers. “Whenever someone does something noteworthy it seems that a lot of people jump on it and try to make it theirs. We’ve seen some variations of our dishes around, for example. The hottest trend today I think is fancy bar food; small dishes that can be delivered in short time like chicken wings, burgers and ribs but made with high quality ingredients and made part of a fine dining experience. We were the first to do that. We had chicken wings and mini-burgers on our menu before it was cool,” says Hrefna and adds that there are of course several places that are doing their own thing and doing it well—“I could name restaurants such as Dill and Matur & Drykkur,” she says. When it comes to the fast paced evolution of Icelandic restaurants Hrefna makes sure to keep her eyes open. “You definitely have to be ready to evolve in this business. Icelanders love innovation and seek it out. There’s no point in being behind the trends. A few years back everyone wanted marinated fish


WOW Power to the people

Salmon, salmon and, again, salmon Hrefna admits that she does favor one ingredient in particular. “Salmon—I love salmon. I can eat it in any form, raw, cooked, cured, smoked … I love it!” says Hrefna who recently began catching her own salmon. “This will be my third salmon fishing summer. We’ve been to Laxá River in Leirársveit, Litla Þverá River and other places. I’m a pretty lucky angler; I always catch a fish. When I caught my first one I cooked it at home and as I was trying to utilize the fish as well as I could we ate salmon for four days straight. I loved it but my husband was kind of losing his patience,” Hrefna says laughing. This summer she’ll be taking a big fishing tour with some of her colleagues from the restaurant where they’ll try to catch enough salmon to offer their guests fresh caught wild salmon for at least a few days. “We’re hoping to catch around 10 and utilizing them as well as possible at the Fish Market,” says Hrefna. Despite Hrefna’s success with her two restaurants she says a third restau­ rant is not in the works at this time. “We have a lot of ideas and we talk about doing a lot of things but we don’t want to start anything new until we feel that both restaurants have gotten into a 100% rhythm. We want to make our restaurants great and really give them our full attention,” says Hrefna. v

Issue three


Kirkjufell in Grundarfjörður.

Snæfellsnes peninsula

Journey to a deluxe culinary experience Reykjavík is well-known as a hub for culinary excellence with a wide choice of popular rest­­ aurants. During the summer this reputation spreads to the streets where there are an increasing number of international and indigenous street food stalls operating. Looks like Iceland is striving to rival European capitals such as Budapest and Amsterdam. Yet, if your venture into the culinary landscape of Iceland is restricted to the capital, well, you will certainly miss out on the broad choice of epicurean delights the other regions have to offer. by Marvin Lee Dupree Photos:


ocated in west Iceland, roughly 200 kilo­­­met­­ers from Reykjavík, a prime place for exploring these delights is the Snæfells peninsula. Snæfellsnes’ majestic nature has been the setting for two of Nobel prize winning, Halldór Laxness’ popular novels, World Light and Under the Glacier—yet the sur­­rounding towns that dot the peninsula are often missed, not only by tourists in Iceland but by natives as well.


WOW Power to the people

The secret life of Stykkishólmur One of those towns, Stykkishólmur, recently gain­­ed international fame for playing a crucial part in the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Pre­­viously, it was known for being in the vicinity of Journey to the Center of the Earth, in which the prota­­gonists of the famous novel descend into the nether regions of the Earth via Snæfellsjökull glacier. Yet, there is far more to this region than hosting this geological phenomenon.

If your venture into the culinary landscape of Iceland is restricted to the capital, well, you will certainly miss out on the broad choice of epicurean delights the other regions have to offer.

Stykkishólmur is a charming little town. For example, one of the thriving culinary upstarts in the region is the Icelandic company Blue Mussels and Seaweed, which is based in Stykkishólmur. As their name indicates, they grow mussels. These are sold to the domestic market and served in numerous restaurants in Iceland. The sea where they grow is so fresh and clean underlying their high quality. As well as cultivating mussels,

the company utilizes the sugar kelp that grows in tandem with the mussels. The consistency and taste of the kelp is quite similar to its Japanese counterpart “kombu.” In addition, it is quite rich in antioxidants and nutritional mineral sand highly touted for its medicinal properties. Although Stykkishólmur is small, with population of a little over a 1,000 people, it has a rich history as an old trading post. Currently it boasts of a thriving culture and a vibrant restaurant scene, especially during the summer months. This is largely due If you happen to be travelling to its ferry to the island through this region in the middle Flatey. Also, while in of August, be sure to attend the Stykkishólmur, a stop at nationally famous Danskir Dagar Narfeyrarstofa will surely (Danish Days) Festival where delight, as reflected in its you are likely to taste a variety predominantly excellent of Danish-Icelandic fusion reviews on the site, cuisine and experience the added TripAdvisor in addition to pleasure of mingling with the the great plaudits of the locals. locals. The in­­terior of the hundred-year-old house offers classical Nordic furnishings that em­­phasize minimalism and embrace elegant refinement. The culinary philosophy of this esta­­blish­­ment is to utilize fresh, quality regional ingredients, while ensuring a lush and aest­hetic presen­­ta­­tion of the cuisine. Among their most popular dishes is the sea­­sonal seafood entrée. Other delicacies Nar­­feyrarstofan has a glowing reputation for are their savory mussels dish fresh from the Snæfellsnes region, as well as the scallop and premium dried-fish dishes. Beside these,favorites among reviewers include the shellfish soup and the blue ling dish. Just make sure to make a reservation while travelling during the summer ( To en­hance the magic of the moment there is an exten­sive wine-list along with a selection of craft beers. If you happen to be travelling through this region in the middle of August, be sure to attend the nationally famous Danskir Dagar (Danish Days) Festival where you are likely to taste a variety of Danish-Icelandic fusion cuisine and experience the added pleasure of mingling with the locals.

A short ferry ride into the past You would think that living on an island would be sufficiently remote for the Ice­­ landic people; however some Icelanders manage to isolate themselves even more by living on a tiny island offshore, specifically Flatey Island. According to anecdotal evi­­dence, the population of Flatey during the winter can apparently be counted on one hand. Never-the-less, Flatey is one of Iceland’s wonderful little jewels, residing smack in the middle of Breiðarfjörður Fjord.

Icelanders own summer homes on the island. Avian lovers should also be enticed by the diverse and rich bird life that the island has to offer. Another intriguing feature of the island besides the astounding scenery is the geological curiosities it offers; if you find the right spot, in sunny weather, you can comfortably go swimming or bathing in the otherwise cold ocean because the surface clay is heated, warming parts of the surrounding water. But make sure to talk to a local before trying it out.

Blue mussels fresh from the sea of Breiðafjörður. Photo: Símon Sturluson.

It was once the location of a monastery for the Augustinian order, which was founded there in 1172 and houses one of the old­­ est if not the oldest library buildings of Iceland. In fact, many of the houses in the old town’s center are built from timber and have, through renovation, preserved the appearance and atmosphere of an Icelandic commercial hub from an earlier age. During the summers, Flatey is busy since some

As you can see, there’s a reason Flatey is cherished by many Icelanders, so if you’re itching for a romantic getaway, a dinner and a night or two at Hótel Flatey might be just the place. For those that are still single, you can always spend a lovely time with friends in this idyllic setting. The smaller but equally as charming sibling A twenty minute drive from Stykkishólmur will reveal the quaint village of Grundar­ fjörður with its towering Mt. Kirkjufell. This is one of the most photogenic mountains in Iceland and a favorite with intermediate climbers. Another popular pursuit there is whale watching. The ocean surrounding the fjord is thriving with orcas and sperm whales; then, after that amazing experience, the new restaurant Bjargarsteinn is ready to welcome you. This 107-year-old house from Akranes, has been renovated and is currently being used as a restaurant. It offers a magnificent view of the fjord from which it draws its name as well a breath­­ taking view toward Mt. Kirkjufell. We definitely recommend getting out of the city for a few days and taking in all this region has to offer. v

At the Stykkisholmur harbor on Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Issue three



WOW Power to the people

All kinds of everything

Kolaportið, the cultural melting pot

The Kolaportið flea market in downtown Reykja­vík is a great venue to find all kinds of inexpen­ sive stuff, such as clothes, books, shoes, jewelry and various foods and to meet people of different nation­ alities and cult­ ures. Text and photos: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson


he market is actually underneath the offices of the Ice­land­ ic Custom service on Tryggvagata and close to the harbor. It has been in business since 1989, but first opened in the car park of the Central Bank of Iceland in 1989, before moving to its current location. On average 20,000 people go to Kola­portið on weekends and it is open from 11 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Bookbank Some just come for one weekend to sell their stuff; others come more often and quite a few are there all year round. Local Rúnar Sigurður Birgisson is at Kolaportið every weekend, selling books. He maintains that he is a bank manager, because you can draw interest from the books you invested in like interest from the money you invested in your bank account and you can do this over and over again each time you refer to the book. Hence, the name of his stand: Bókabankinn, The Bookbank. “In the beginning I had no idea what I was getting into. I just brought two suitcases with books to sell and was planning to be here for a couple of weekends, but now it’s been more than 8 years,” says Rúnar. He has 8,000 titles on offer and clients from all over the world looking for something unique, even ordering from abroad.

All kinds of everything are for sale at this stand at the Kolaportið flea market in downtown Reykjavík.

Issue three


“Kolaportið is a big social gathering place for families and friends, whether they are buying or selling or just meeting each other in the café. This place is always interesting and full of local people and tour­ists. I have had customers from a variety of faraway places, for example Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, China and Australia. Most are interested in books about our culture.” Rúnar is very knowledgeable about matters of the city. “It is inter­­ esting to arrive downtown these days. It is like a scene from a movie, there are so many tourists around. To me it’s breathtaking. And in my oppinion we need a lively downtown area to keep it thriving. Kolaportið is a cultural melting pot for all to experience,” says Rúnar.

People are there from different cultures and everyone has something to sell or share. It is a small community within a community, an indoor adventure, and a place to save money too.

Selling and sharing His words ring true. Around the corner from his stand is Paul Ramses from Kenya, a man with a mission. Paul came to Iceland 11 years ago as an exchange student to experience a different culture and wound up a citizen of Iceland. What he sells provides cash to build schools in Kenya. “I run a charity foundation which helps support less privileged women and kids in Kenya. Women back home make bone and stone necklaces which I sell and use the money to build schools for kids,” says Ramses. “We also teach people to be more self-reliant. People are friendly both here and at home but women are not as highly valued in Kenya and men can have 3-4 wives who have to work very hard. We hope that by being here and raising funds, with time we can educate women back home to be more independent

and free.” Ramses is performing a truly honorable service and it is just one of the many things you can experience in Kolaportið. People are there from different cultures and everyone has something to sell or share. It is a small community within a community, an indoor adventure, and a place to save money too. v

The Bookbank has over 8,000 titles and the owner, Rúnar Sigurður Birgisson, has worked there for more than 8 years.

You can buy many kinds of local food and have a taste of some which are prepared in a very traditional way. Shark meat, dried fish, horse meat, lamb and all kinds of fish products are on offer.

The Kolaportið Flea market in downtown Reykjavík is a great venue to find all kinds of inexpensive stuff, such as clothes, books, shoes, jewelry and various foods and to meet people of different nationalities and cultures.

Paul Ramses sells handmade items from his native Kenya to support women and children in his home country.

Kókosbolla is a fluffy and tasty (albeit often messy) chocolate covered coconut cream treat, here surrounded by bits of licorice. Both kóksbolla and licorice are quite popular in Iceland and made locally.


WOW Power to the people

Handmade wool garments in various colors and sizes are among the things sold at the Kolaportið flea market.

The best health and body experience Iceland has to offer

A world where water, art and design play together in perfect harmony Laugar Sundlaugarvegur 30a 105 Reykjavik Tel. +354 553 0000

Opening hours

Mon - Fri 06:00 - 23:00 Saturday 08:00 - 21:00 Sunday 08:00 - 19:30 Issue three 51

by Marvin Lee Dupree Photos: Courtesy of Svavar Pétur Eysteinsson

Not your average hotdog

No meat! Say what? Icelandic hot dogs are considered in many circles to be gourmet food at an affordable price. Recently, foreign publications have taken to claiming them as the unofficial national dish of Iceland.


eck, even Bill Clinton has had a hotdog at the internationally famous hotdog joint Bæjarins Bestu, which is the de facto supreme top dog vendor of this delicacy in Iceland. The popularity of the outdoor kiosk is evident since it al­ways seems to be jam-packed with cust­omers during lunch and dinner—even when there is a blizzard The ingredients they outside. The quality of use for Bulsur are Icelandic hotdogs is mashed together and often attributed to the placed in plastic sausage delicate and savory casing, with the whole mixture of beef, lamb production devoid of and pork and the ever animal products, perfect so delightful mixture for animal welfare of condiments such as enthusiasts. Icelandic rémoulade, fried onions, raw onions and sinnep (a mild but slightly sweet mustard concoction). If you ask for all of the above along with ketchup, you are getting “eina með öllu” or one hotdog with the works. Veggie hotdogs on the other


WOW Power to the people

hand are not exactly a product Iceland is known for. However, that might be changing with the introduction of such trendy products as Bulsur. Veggie hotdogs with turnip chips on the side There is a famous episode of The Simpsons where Lisa Simpson decides to become a vegetarian, however after constant haranguing from her family and in a moment of self-doubt, Lisa rushes to the Kwik-E-Mart to buy a hotdog from Apu—yet once she bites into it he informs her that it is made from tofu but nobody really notices. This little anecdote has quite a bit of bearing to Icelandic culture, since it was and still is a bit uncommon to be a vegetarian in Iceland. After becoming a vegetarian over four years ago, the musician Svavar Pétur Eysteinsson along with his wife and fellow band member Berglind Häsler decided to develop their own version of veggie hotdogs, called Bulsur. The name is a play on words, since

pulsur means hotdogs. Citing the reason why he set off on this venture, Svavar explained that the thought occurred to him in 2011. After becoming a vegetarian he had a sudden longing for hotdogs, so he decided to develop his own. Svavar’s inspiration was to utilize Icelandic ingredients while avoiding soya. After a year in development in collaboration with the Icelandic Food and Biotech entity, Matís, Svavar and Berglind released the product in 2012, and thanks to money raised through the Karolina Fund, the base for this successful family business was established. After the great initial success with Bulsur, Svavar and Berglind branched out by developing turnip chips. Regarding the production process, Bulsurs are created from scratch out of locally farmed Icelandic barley, chia seeds and kidney beans, among other things. Besides being talented musicians and entrepreneurs, Berglind and Svavar are now farmers in the local area of Djúpivogur, in the eastern part of Iceland. The ingredients they use for Bulsur are mashed together and placed in plastic sausage casing, with the whole production devoid of animal products, perfect for animal welfare enthusiasts. As for the turnip chips, they are baked to perfection until the water has evaporated, not fried as most chips are. Sjoppu nation For a nation, at least a large segment of

it, raised on a kind of street food provided by “sjoppur,” (see pages 74-75) it might seem like a small wonder that marketing such a product could work at all. Svavar mentioned how fortunate they have been that people have found Bulsur an exciting product and for it to have had such a good reception—but it has also met some resistance, apparently, there is still some bias against vegetarian products because for a certain segment of the population, veggies are for chickens or rabbits, not people. However, nothing can be farther from the truth, especially when you have such imaginative minds at work. Berglind and Svavar’s webpage includes a listing of recipes, including the aptly named “bebberonibizza” (a play on the word pepperoni pizza). Despite the initial skepticism from some, Svavar says the fan base is constantly growing. This family business is thriving and they are receiving great feedback on a daily basis, including constructive criticism. Svavar and Berglind also often introduce the product by offering free tastes at food markets. In addition, to such traditional methods, they have also hosted a Bulsu-disco party/ concert at their farm Karlsstaðir. Quite cool indeed, since Svavar is one of the hottest musical acts in Iceland performing under the moniker Prins Póló. As for future plans, Svavar says that he and Berglind are ruminating over some plans about using simple products from their garden. v

e to Welcom úsavík H

BOOK online NOW : or call +354 464 7272 Issue three


Cool down in the capital

Anna, Gylfi and their son Arnar Orri at the Valdís ice cream parlor. Gylfi’s favorite flavor is chocolate and coco­­­nut but he has made close to 150 different flavors.

Explosively popular ice cream They say a good salesman can sell ice to the Eskimos but selling ice cream to Icelanders seems a lot easier. On a good day Valdís Ice Cream Parlor in Reykjavík is visited by more than 1,000 customers and no wonder; their ice cream is delicious.

T A group of gymnast girls from Gerpla enjoying their ice cream at Valdís. Valdís is a popular stop for many groups.

he concept behind Valdís originates with the owners, Gylfi Þór Valdimarsson, an experienced chef, and actress Anna Svava Knútsdóttir. “I think it’s because we are always changing our flavors and we’ve made 150 different ones in the two years we’ve been open that we got off to such a flying start. Our customers are excited to see what’s new each day. We make our own ice cream and bake our own waffles and that also makes the difference,” says Anna.

Through the roof Gylfi and Anna got help from Gylfi’s father, Valdimar, to start their business. That’s why the parlor is called Valdís. “The ice cream parlor was a hit from day one. We sold over 30,000 ice creams in the first three weeks, it was like an explosion and it was hard work. During this time I was almost in tears. It was an overwhelming period as the sales went through the roof. I had to learn a lot in a short time and things were very hectic and stressful, it was Waffles for the ice cream cones are made fresh daily. like being in school during finals again,” says Anna. And having their brand new son, Arnar Orri adds to the intensity for Anna and Gylfi. “After his birth I was at home for 3 weeks pacing around with a crying baby, but after visiting the ice cream parlor again I realized he sleeps best here, in a car safety seat! So now I do light Our customers are work around the parlor and it excited to see what’s feels good to be around people.” new each day. We make our own ice Cool karma cream and bake our Anna and Gylfi’s story is actually own waffles and very cute. Anna told us how that also makes the she and Gylfi met. “I was 35 difference,” says years old and felt my chances Anna. of finding a good man were fading. But one day I organized a surprise wedding for a good friend of mine. She had been living with her boyfriend for 15 years. I secretly planned a wedding party for the two of them with him involved. The party was at Hotel Borg, where they’d first met.


WOW Power to the people

“On this evening he proposed to her and she said yes. Shortly after they walked into a room full of friends and family; she was totally surprised. They got married on the spot, and it she was very emotional. “Later that night I went to a club called Austur, and that’s where I met Gylfi by chance and we just started talking. Funnily enough it was actually his first night out in Reykjavík after arriving from Copenhagen where he’d been working for many years. We’ve been together ever since and now we have an ice cream parlor and a baby. I guess I had good karma, after organizing that surprise wedding,” says Anna cheerfully. v

If the weather is good Valdís can attract around 1,000 customers in one day.

Licorice ice cream is popular these days and tourists order it a lot, but Gylfi and Anna give you plenty to choose from.

ENNEMM / SÍA / NM69061

Spectacular Whale Exhibition












“Power and grace” This is a new exhibition. Not intimidatingly big or scientific, it gives a vivid, unforgettable realisation of the power, grace and magnificence of these huge sea-creatures.


Come and see full-scale models of the 23 whale species that have been found off Iceland’s coastal waters. Walk amongst life-size models, check out the interactive media and explore these majestic creatures in our family-friendly exhibition.


Walk Amongst the Giants

We are here

WELCOME TO OUR CAFÉ | GET A SOUVENIR IN OUR GIFT SHOP | BOOK A WHALE WATCHING TOUR Fiskislóð 23-25 | Reykjavík | Tel. +354 571 0077 | Open every day 9 am – 7 pm |

Issue three



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

Lebowski Bar

The Reykjavik venue that rocks! From the entrepreneurs that brought you Café Oliver and Vega­mot, comes Lebowski Bar. You can take a quick guess where the name and inspiration comes from and even if you didn’t like the infamous 1998 movie we are cert­ain you will love this bar.


ust walking into this retro American bar puts a smile on your face and the mood is very 1960’s. You can hang out at the old fashioned porch and imagine you are in a real action movie. They don’t make bars like that anymore … oh wait they do, this one! Four big screens adorn the walls, so it’s also a great place to hang out when there are big events and sporting high­lights to be seen. And there’s also an “outside” area deco­­rated in a zappy Miami­-sunshine yellow that will cheer even the dullest of days.

Dine and jive Lebowski Bar really captures the diner style with cosy booths and a fabulous jukebox containing over 1,600 songs guaranteed to get those hips

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

to a new level, offering an astounding 18 varieties of White Russian, along with an extensive bar list.

Bowling at the bar

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

The real icing on the Le­bowski cake, however, is the bar’s gen­u­­ine bowling lane – it’s a classic. How many bars have a bowling lane? In Iceland, not many, unless you count the bars at actual bowling alleys that certainly don’t have the cool vibe of Le­ bowski Bar. DJs and a bass player add to the music mix at weekends and there’s room to dance. Check it out dudes, you’re guaranteed a good time.

Jeffrey ‘the Dude’ Lebowski, the protagonist of the Coen brot­­her’s comedy, is renowned for his penchant for ‘White Russ­ians’ – vodka based cock­­ tails featuring coffee liqueurs and cream or milk. The Lebowski Bar has taken this now-iconic drink

“Try their amazing burgers, there’s cheese, bacon, a béarn­aise sauce option and succulent beef ten­der­loin.”

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

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


WOW Power to the people


Lavabarinn Lækjargata 6 a 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 845 88 68 email:


At the center of the scene Lavabarinn represents what Reykjavik is famous for … nightlife! Admit it, you’re not here to collect stamps. You’re here to travel, take photos and brag about it all while sitting at a fantastic lounge drinking delicious cocktails. That’s exactly what the Lavabarinn is all about and the architecture and design is beautiful.


avabarinn focuses on high quality cock­­­ tails, mixed by highly skilled bar­­­tenders. The age limit is 25 so leave the kids with the babysitter and dress up. This is no place for sneakers and hoodies. If you require VIP services, then this is your place. Lavabarinn has a secret room with a secret door that leads up to the top floor; very 007. The VIP service doesn’t stop there as you’ll have your own private drink elevator, private bathroom and security to hold off all your fans.

After drinking magical cocktails that taste like paradise, why not move down to the lower floor and shake it to some high class music by hot DJ’s from all over the world. It doesn’t hurt that Lavabarinn also has a Funktion-One sound system, the most respected sound system in the world. Downstairs also has a large make-up room for everyone that chooses to freshen up while in there and seats to cool down after a great dance session. There’s even an excluded outdoor smoking area for those who are absolutely smokin’ and they can

bring their drinks along for the break. You won’t be disappointed by either the cocktails or the music at Lava­­­barinn. You might want to get in early before the line starts and secure your spot. If it’s nightlife you seek, it’s nightlife you’ll find at Lavabarinn.

“After drinking magical cocktails that taste like paradise, why not move down to the lower floor and shake it to some high class music by hot DJ’s from all over the world.”

Lavabarinn Open: Thursdays from 5pm-1am—Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm-4:30 am. Happy hour Thursdays-Saturdays from 5-10pm. That’s perfect. Issue three



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

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 sample 50 beers from around the world, as well as a stagg­­­er­­ ing 15 Icelandic brands.

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


WOW Power to the people

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

at­­mos­­­­phere and for anyone feeling lucky, there is the Wheel of Fortune. Regulars like nothing more than to spin the wheel and chance a “Sorry” or pre­­­fer­­ably win what used to be call­­ed a Yard of Ale. These days, it’s ine­vitably known as a meter of beer, but the winners don’t seem to min

A sporting chance Live sporting coverage is amply catered for, with a choice of three big screens and TVs. In­­side the pub there is room for up to 150 people, and an out­­­door terrace can accommodate plenty more on those balmy Ice­­landic evenings! Whether it is foot­­ball (Premier and Champions League), rugby or golf, there are always special offers when live events are being broadcast. Live music every night adds to the

“Located at the very heart of down­­town Reykjavik, the walls of the English Pub are adorned with hundreds of photo­­­ graphs – like an album of the city’s hist­­ory just waiting to be explored over a quiet beer.”


Vegamót Vegamótastíg 4 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 511 3040 email: vegamot@vegamot .is www.vegamot .is

Very nice Vegamót

The all-in-one restaurant This elegant but casual two floor restaurant is located in the heart of Reykja­vík on Vega­­mótastígur, close to Lauga­­­­vegur.


he restaurant has been popular for many years, perhaps because of its wonder­ful quality of being an all-in-one, rest­aurant, café and bar. You‘ll never want to leave! Here the decor is rich on the Medi­­­terr­­ anean side and yet elegant with a jazzy ambiance. In the summertime tables are moved outside to the shelt­er­ed terrace, probably one of the hottest

places in Iceland during those short summer months. This place is famous for their ‘fresh fish of the day’, served all day from lunch hours. It has very rea­­sonable prices for quality, portions and presenta­ tion and guests can choose from a wide variety of decadent dess­erts – if they make it that far. Try their excellent selection of good beers. Every day there is a special offer on bottled beers worth a taste.

“The restaurant has been popular for many years, perhaps because of its wonder­ful quality of being an all-in-one, rest­aurant, café and bar. You‘ll never want to leave!”

Issue three



Hressingarskálinn Austurstræti 20 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 561 2240

Coffee house, restaurant & night club Hressingarskálinn is a warm place with plenty of seating and a great loca­­tion in down­ town Reykjavik. It’s one of the few places that open at 9 AM to serve breakfast for hungry travelers or locals. Hressingarskálinn is a big part of Reykja­vík’s history; the house was built in 1802 and the restaurant was established in 1932. The house has hosted Hress­ingarskálinn since 1932.


itting down for a coffee has a magnetic effect on Iceland’s most talented art­­­ ists and writers. Smokers can have a seat on a heated patio with service all day. Over the summer, this place really comes alive. The yard is completely sheltered from the wind, allowing you to enjoy food and beverages in the bright sunlight. Thursday to Sunday is usually packed with people from all over


WOW Power to the people

the world. It’s a great place to meet strangers for some interesting story sharing. Live bands play on Fridays and Sat­urdays, guaranteeing a crowd before all the popular DJ’s hit the floor with party tunes from 01:00-04:30 AM. The menu consists of great selections and offers everything from breakfast to a fantastic dinner. Hressingarskálinn offers Icelandic food for curious visitors. You can always try the traditional Icelandic meat soup. If

not, there’s lamb or the fish stew – You won’t be disappointed. Hress­­­ingar­­­skálinn is stylish and old at the same time, a history well preserved. Check out Hress­­­ingar­skálinn for great prices and awesome fun!

“The menu consists of great sel­­ect­­ions and offers every­thing from breakfast to a fantastic dinner.”


Sakebarinn Laugavegur 2 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 777 3311

The one and only choice for Sushi & Sticks …so you can check it off your bucket list Located in a loft on Laugavegur, the main shopping street, in one of Iceland’s old­est buildings (1886) is a great new restaurant with a great view and an amazing at­mosphere called Sakebarinn. In its beautiful location, surrounded by windows that look down on Austurstræti, (an extension of Laugavegur leading to the Old Town) and up Skólavörðustígur (known for its cafés, local boutiques and art shops with native works), Sakebarinn lies in the very heart of downtown Reykjavík. In the winter you can see the Northern Lights from the balcony and in the summer, the amazing summer sunsets over the harbor.


he owners of Sakebarinn have a keen interest for the arts and crafts and a wealth of creative assets to play with. Although Sake­­barinn has a strong foundation in pure Japanese cuisine the current style of the restaurant proves that the owners are not afraid to break some of the rules. To them sushi is meant to be an art form. Along with its handcrafted sushi, Sakebarinn also offers a sel­­ection of sticks and other meat cours­­es, featuring whale and horse and anything that’s fresh and interesting that day. Why live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic if you’re not going take advantage of the natural fauna? Along with the local seafood, Sakebarinn also carries some more exotic things like octopus, just to keep it interesting, and with a little some­­thing for

everyone. There’s love on every plate – You will feel it with each taste. It’s no accident that the place is named Sake­­bar­­ inn. It does feature the country’s largest sel­­ection of sake and a shot before a meal can truly enhance the feel of real Japanese dining. It comes in a sur­­prising range of flavors too, everything from really girly fruit sake to the fire spewing alcohol con­­tent of some of the more butch types; potato sake, warm and cold sake and Japanese plum wine. And then of course are the bottles that didn’t make it on to the menu because no one could read the labels and therefore no one knows what they are. Mystery sake! Sakebarinn is a place born to show­­case the talents the staff have collected over the years work­­ing at their first Sushi restau­­rant call­­ed Sushibarinn, which is located on the first

floor in the same house. A year and a wild ride later, this sushi family has in­­corporated a bunch of new and talented people with some great new recipes and skills they didn’t know they had and didn’t even know existed. The walls are hand painted by them, the wine selected by them, the menu is designed by them and the place is loved by them. They also love to present food so their clients become part of their love for sushi. The look on your face is what they are aiming for, the look of enjoyment.

“Along with the local seafood, Sakebarinn also carries some more exotic things like octopus, just to keep it interesting, and a little some­­thing for everyone.”

Sakebarinn Opening hours: Mon-Sun 5:00 PM – 00:00 Issue three



Tíu dropar Le Chateaux des Dix Gouttes Laugavegur 27 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 551 9380

Tíu dropar / Le Chateaux des Dix Gouttes Tíu dropar (Ten Drops) is a café located in the cellar of Lauga­veg­ur 27. This is one of the oldest cafés in Iceland and for the last 30 years to this very day they serve freshly baked pancakes and waffles á la the grandmothers of Iceland, with lots of whipped cream and Icelandic jam.


en Drops is also known for its home­­ made cakes, baked from scratch ac­­cord­ing to old re­­­cip­­­es, and of course, their hot cocoa, known by many of their guests as ‘The Only Real Hot Cocoa on Earth’. If you’re not in the mood for old fashioned Icelandic good­ies you can choose from an assortment of light dishes, tea, wines and beer. We recommend the French meat soup, a pop­­ular dish and another old favorite.

Where did the café go? Don’t be surprised if you can’t find the café after 18:00. Some­­thing happens around that time that trans­­­­forms this little cellar into a French wine room known as Le Chateaux des Dix Gouttes or the Castle of the Ten Drops. This is a lovely place to sit and enjoy good win­­es along with cheese, ham or

other light dishes for as little as 500 ISK a plate, and don’t worry, the coffee, co­coa and pancakes are still there! Lovely French music sets the mood and the ambiance is perfect for a deep conversation. Guests want­­­ing to break out in song can have their turn after 22:00 on the weekends, as long as they can find some­­one to play the antique piano given to the café’s owner, David Bensow, by a regular.

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

Check out the ten drops twitt­er feed and find both café and wine room on Facebook. 62

WOW Power to the people

Intimate climate The little wine room and café seat only 40 guests and the mood is set in the early evening. It’s safe to say this is just the kind of place that was missing from the brimm­­­ing Icelandic bar and café scene - a perfect sett­ing for a small group of friends to reminisce over the good old days or for a first date. Be sure to taste David’s “wine of the week” or let his fair beer prices amaze you.

“Don’t be surprised if you can’t find the café after 18:00. Some­­thing happens around that time that trans­­forms this little cellar into a French wine room known as Le Chateaux Des dix Gouttes or the Castle of the Ten Drops.”


Kol Restaurant Skólavörðustígur 40 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 517 7474 www. kolrestaurant .is

Cocktails and feel good food at Kol Restaurant Be prepared for a memorable night out at Kol Restaurant.


ituated at Skólavörðustígur 40 in Reykja­­­­­­vík, Kol Restaurant’s design con­­­­­cept is a mixture of warm modern Icelandic feel with international touc­­ h­­es and the furniture of designer Tom Dixon playing the central role. The rest­­­­­­­­aur­­ant is on two floors with an open kitchen and a mighty bar. Both floors are divided into spac­­ es with cozy leather couches and a variety of diff­­­er­­ ent table settings. Kol Restaurant centers on the bar where the country’s best cocktail bar­­tenders

serve craft cocktails from the best ingredients available and offer an ambitious cocktail list to begin and complete the dining experience. The selection is feel good comfort food with a twist on classic cuisine. The menu offers a variety of finger food, salads, fish, steaks and dess­­ erts. The head chefs, Einar Hjaltason and Kári Þor­­­­­steinsson, have over 20 years of ex­­­perience at Reykjavik’s best restaurants as well as work ex­­­perience in several known restaurants in London, for example Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons, Dabbous,

Noma, 28/50 and Texture. Don’t miss out on this brand new gem on the Reykjavik restaurant scene. This is a great place to begin a fun evening.

“Kol Restaurant cent­­ers on the bar where the coun­try’s best cock­­tail bar­­tend­­ers serve craft cocktails from the best in­­ gredi­ents available and offer an ambi­­ tious cocktail list to begin and com­­plete the dining exper­­ience.”

Kol Restaurant Open: Monday-Friday 11:30-23:00 / Saturday-Sunday 17:30-23:00 Issue three



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

When in Iceland, go Danish! You know that Iceland used to be a Danish colony, right? Even though inde­­pend­ence from the Danish Crown was necessary, Icelanders still celebrate every­thing Danish, so don’t expect to meet a big Danish crowd at The Danish Pub, they are all Icelanders just act­ing like they’re Danish. Really!


his bar has made a name for itself in the Reykjavik social scene and is known locally as Den Danske Kro (we all just want a reason to speak Danish in public). This popular downtown venue serves a remarkable selection of beers in­cluding the famous Danish white beers, the darker more malt brews and of course the tra­­ditional and almost obligatory Tuborg and Carls­­ berg. If you come during the Christmas sea­­son you can taste some of the renowned Christ­­­mas brews, very popular in demand. Just ask for Julebryg (“you-le-bree”).

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

Does this sound too tranquil?

Do as the Danes do

The Danish Pub is nothing if not a place to party. The at­­mos­­phere is easy going and you can choose from a variety of shots and even cocktails if you’re not in the mood for a beer (Does that ever happen?).

The owners of the Danish Pub strive to create the true Danish atmos­phere known among the Danes (and Danish-prone Ice­­landers) as “hyggeligt”. If you truly are Danish this can be your “home away from home”. And in this spirit, check out the “house”

Reminder: If you thought you were in for a quiet night guess again, The Danish Pub features live music every night with special appearances and unad­­vertised happenings on Wednesdays, Fridays

Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 14:00 – 01:00 and Fri-Sat 14:00 – 05:00 64

WOW Power to the people

and Saturdays. Put your musical knowledge to the test at the Wednesday night pop-quiz; the prizes will surprise you.

Best local pub in Reykjavík Wherever you‘re from you’ll want to have a great time while vis­iting Reykjavík. The people of Reykja­ vík do anyway, so they flock to The Danish Pub for a beer “en øl” dur­­ing the Happy Hour every day from 16-19. The place is crowded and you’re guaran­­teed to meet some fun, “lee glaath” people.

“Get carefree or “ligeglad” (lee-glaath), shoot some darts, try the custom­ary Gammel Dansk bitt­ers or catch some live football. Watch the world go by on the outside terrace and have a taste of the traditional smørre­brød (fantastic open sandwiches).”


Kaldi Bar Laugavegur 20 b 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 581 2200

A breath of fresh air

Cool as Kaldi 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 atmos­­­phere 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.”

Opening Hours Sunday-Thursday: 12:00 noon - 01:00 am Friday & Saturday: 12:00 noon - very late / Price list Beer on draft 0.5 – 1,100 IKR Glass of vine – 1,200 IKR / Happy hour 16:00-19:00 / Beer on draft 0.5 – 650 IKR / Glass of vine – 650 IKR Issue three



Kopar Restaurant Geirsgata 3 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 567 2700 www.koparrestaurant .is / info@koparrestaurant .is

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 Reykja­­­ vik, 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.

Delight yourself with great service and atmosphere, delicious food and the best view in town. When visiting 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.”

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 66

WOW Power to the people


American Bar 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.

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!

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

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.

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 Issue three



Matur og Drykkur Grandagarður 2 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 571 8877

Matur & drykkur

Inspiring traditional Icelandic cuisine Take good old traditional recipes and the best Icelandic ingredients, give them a modern spin and what do you have? MATUR OG DRYKKUR—The name simply means food and drink. It’s a quirky eatery located in the downtown Reykjavík harbor area and it shares a location with the popular Saga Museum


ith Matur og Drykkur, Head Chef Gísli Matthías Auðunsson is making his debut on the Reykjavík restaurant scene following the success of his restaurant SLIPPURINN which he and his family opened in 2012 to rave reviews on his stomping grounds, the Westman Islands.

Building on old traditions Matur og Drykkur’s vision is to make Icelanders proud of their cuisine traditions and heritage. The menu draws on extensive research into old manuscripts and recipes carried out by Gísli and his team of chefs. Building on the old traditions they have created tantalizing dishes incorporating all the best and freshest ingredients Iceland has to offer. Handpicked farmers, fishermen and pro­­­ducers

provide Matur og Drykkur with the fresh­­est fish, the leanest lamb and locally grown fruit, vege­­tables and herbs. The end result is an alluring pre­­sentation of Icelandic cuisine and local chef expertise.

Noon and night The restaurant has a separate lunch and dinner menu. At lunchtime Matur og Drykkur emphasizes bigg­­er bistro dishes such as traditional halibut soup with mussels and bay leaves, oxtail pie with mashed sunchokes and potatoes as well as “catch of the day,” which depends on what is the best and freshest from the local fishermen each day. In the evening, the dinner menu is made up of smaller plates, at very fair prices, so as to allow the guests to enjoy the wide array of dishes and tastes. Choices range from dried haddock chips with dulse, double smoked lamb with buttermilk and

Opening hours - Sunday to Wednesday 11:30 – 18:00 - Thursday to Saturday 11:30 – 23:30 68

WOW Power to the people

salted cod croquettes to bigger courses for sharing, like whole roasted rack of lamb and adventurous dishes like cod head cooked in sugar kelp and rich chicken stock. Delightful desserts such as skyr with whey and blueberries or a twisted doughnut with homemade birch-smoked whey caramel are among the delicacies on the dessert menu. The drink program will leave you amazed as the chefs and bartender play around with different kinds of infusions and freshly made syrups from handpicked herbs to create the delectable drink selection!

Iceland’s cuisine is as old as the Icelandic people. The sea and the hills are full of life and rich in herbs that have been used in recipes for over a thousand years.

Amazing 6 course menu

A unique Icelandic Feast Smoked puffin with blueberries, croutons, goat cheese, beet root “Torched“ arctic charr with parsnip purée, fennel, dill mayo Lobster cigar with chorizo, dates, chili jam Reindeer slider with blue cheese, portobello, steamed bun Lamb “lollipop“ with coriander, pickled red cabbage, fennel, butternut squash purée, chimichurri

And to end on a high note .... Icelandic “Skyr“ panna cotta with raspberry sorbet, white chocolate crumble, passion foam, dulche de leche

6.990 kr.

Our kitchen is open 17.00–23.00 sun.–thu. 17.00–24.00 fri.–sat.

Sushi Samba Þingholtsstræti 5 • 101 Reykjavík Tel 568 6600 •

taste the best of iceland... ... in one amazing meal icelandic gourmet feast Starts with a shot of the infamous Icelandic spirit Brennívín Followed by seven delicious tapas

late night dining Our kitchen is open until 23:30 on weekdays and 01:00 on weekends

Smoked puffin with blueberry “brennivín” sauce Icelandic sea-trout with peppers-salsa Lobster tails baked in garlic Pan-fried line caught blue ling with lobster-sauce Grilled Icelandic lamb Samfaina Minke Whale with cranberry & malt-sauce White chocolate "Skyr" mousse with passion fruit coulis

6.990 kr.

RESTAURANT- BAR Vesturgötu 3B | 101 Reykjavík | Tel. 551 2344 | Issue three 69

Just a moment…

We love getting WOW moments from our guests. Please keep them coming!

Have you ever gotten such an awesome photo that you think the world deserves to see it? We love it when you share, and those who share a WOW moment have a chance to win round-trip tickets with WOW air, which means another great chance for a WOW moment. Send in your WOW moment through or and you could be one of those happy snappers. Here are some WOW moments so you can check out the competition. Don’t forget – if you live at any of WOW air’s destinations you could send in a WOW moment from your hometown to win tickets to our hometown.

th t at Sou momen ndon is “WOW o L . n o Lond you Bank in ever let ly si at will n a city th and you can ea ts omen down m t of WOW trip. have a lo . It was a good fn jö S n n there ru Jó Sent by laugsdóttir Guð “Floatin g beautifu away at the am a l Sent by Jökulsárlón.” zingly Julia Ga rner

ern “Amazing north y to lights on our wa a WOW y rel Su d. lan Ice moment!” dur Sent by Guðmun Örn Magnússon

“Twilig ht (Maryla on the Chesap nd) on my pare eake boat! H nt’s eaven! Sent by Jórunn Sjö Guðlaug sdóttirr fn

“Had an amazing dinner of mussels at Sjavarpakkhusid in Stykkisholmur!“ Sent by Ellen



Let us tag along @ us to your travelgrams with @wowair and tag your awesome photos with #wowair or #wowmoment.

WOW Power to the people

“Watch in geyser g the erupt – so co ol! Sent by Amanda Roeder





“Definitively the best in Husavik”

“This is what I call whale watching! wowwww” · “A little piece of heaven” · “Highlight of the summer” · “The most remarkable experience I have ever had” · “Family bonding & fun with Gentle Giants” · “Exceeded my expectations” · “Everything was perfect during the whole trip!” · “Memorable experience, forever engraved in my memory” · “Best whale safari ever!” · “A thrilling wildlife experience” · “Do not miss out of this experience”





Booking: Tel. +354 464 1500 · · Issue three 71 HÚSAVÍK


Nóa Kropp is basically a corn-puff candy covered with chocolate, but tends to be eaten in copious amounts by many Icelanders.

Lindu Buff - to describe this gooey treat simply does it no justice. Your palate is hit by a marshmallow con­­coc­tion, dipped with just the right amount of chocolate.

A candy bar that is still going strong is the Polish delight known as Prince Polo.

Sweets for my sweet

The original Candy Crush Frequently discussions of Icelandic dietary habits and culinary traditions have swayed toward a slight tendency to focus on culture shock for the person discovering Icelandic food (rotten shark anyone?). Indeed, this habit has also become entrenched into the mindset of certain foreigners when they are discussing or writing about Icelandic sweets.

N Obviously to those less enlightened, it is quite common to find it incredibly strange how passionate Icelanders are about licorice; some would argue it is a fetish.

ot long ago a writer for Vice caused an uproar in Iceland by casting aspersions on Icelandic food, including the pathological need Icelanders have to “contami­nate” chocolate with licorice. Obviously to those less enlightened, it is quite common to find it incredibly strange how passionate Icelanders are about licorice; some would argue it is a fetish. Nonetheless, Icelanders along with their fellow Scandinavians and northern European brethren, the Dutch for example, love their licorice unabashedly. But is lico­­­rice the sole thing that distinguishes Ice­­­land’s culture of sugary delights and confectionary from the rest of globe? I want candy! Most individuals will easily notice that Ice­­­ landers are voracious consumers of candy;


WOW Power to the people

by Marvin Lee Dupree

stores are chock-full of it from all around the globe not to the mention the staggering myriad of domestic products for an island nation of merely 320,000 souls. Heck, even Saturdays are known as the official candydays among the youth and ‘bland í poka’ (a potpourri of candy in a bag) will be sold at a discount. It is safe to claim “bland í poka” as a vaunted cultural institute of Iceland. In fact, if you visit the Hagkaup grocery store in Kringlan shopping mall on a Saturday, you will notice it is jam packed with kids. To back such generalizations up, consider this: consumer consumption of candy in Iceland is rather high. A cursory glance at some numbers released by Statistics Ice­­land reveals that during the years of 2010-2012, most Icelandic homes in the capital area were consuming an equivalent of 82,000 ISK of candy per residence, while in regions outside the area the expenditure

was 4,000 ISK higher on average. To put that into perspective, that is more than a quarter of some peoples’ monthly salary. Such extravagance would have been uni­­­magin­able to people of my grandparents’ generation, especially since a piece of fruit during Christmas was considered a valued luxury. Although that was a reality for most, there were occasional treats such as kandís (brown sugar crystals), lozenges, apothecary licorice (Did you really think we would forget our licorice?) and an array of other old fashioned candy. A Polish-Icelandic lovechild Most Icelandic children of the 70s and 80s have scrumptious memories of two things. One is drinking Coke with a makeshift licorice straw (yes, again with licorice). Yet for some reason this habit seems to have mysteriously ceased over the past two decades. The other consumption habit that is still going strong is the Polish delight known as Prince Polo. For many years, Prince Polo was the most popular candy bar in the country and in the minds of most Icelanders it was a quintessential Icelandic delicacy. This obvious love was enshrined into musical history when in 1981 there was even a song called “Prins Póló.” Not surprisingly, it was about a vivacious sailors’ tune—with a zest for life and Prince Polo. And one cannot forget to cite the fact that one of Iceland’s hottest bands today takes its name from this delicacy. The origins of this Polish chocolate is that it arrived on Icelandic shores back in 1955; before that time Iceland had strict import restrictions in place and to circumvent the problem, the importer of Prince Polo registered it as a cookie. According to a news article by the Icelandic news portal, at the height of its popularity in 1970, each Icelander consumed a kilo of Prince Pole annually, which in its regular size amounts to about 30 bars for each person. Yes, Icelanders were so crazy for Prince Polo that even the Polish press was surpris­­ed when they reported on its history in Iceland last year, and they also showed off a front-page headline from the Icelandic newspaper Morgun­­blaðið, stating: Prince Polo is sold out. Crazy for chloroform Another one of the oldest Icelandic candies on the market are the tiny licorice lozenges Opal, which back in the 50’s, were often advertised as throat lozenges. Since their inception, they have almost had an unremitting phase with the same hypnotic and iconic design. It was only in 2005 that an attempt to “modernize” the candy occurred, the distributer Nói Siríus altered the packaging to make it more futuristic; in addition to these radical changes, the blue version of Opal was discontinued that year. The reason for the discontinuation was that the main ingredient had been discontinued and all efforts by the company to find a similar tasting ingredient were unfruitful. So, instead of offering an old product with a new taste, Blue Opal was retired. Of course, being Iceland this tale has a more surreal take; the mysterious substance in question was chloroform. Interestingly enough, Icelandic newspaper reports from 1984 also reveal that Blue Opal was discontinued for a few months in order to alter the recipe, since new regulation allowed only a 2% amount of the chemical, but in collaboration with the Swiss company Givaudan, the now defunct Opal company, managed to get the percentage down to only 1.4%. But back in 2005, much to the dismay of many segments of the Icelandic population, Blue Opal was forced into retirement because the European Union put a stricter regulation into place, especially concerning the chemical as an additive in food products—since studies reveal it can be carcinogenic, among other things. In addition, the concentration of chloroform should also not exceed 0.1% according to weight, and this includes cleaning products, ouch. But hey, it sure was a sweet tasting candy as is attested by the sentimental longing that preoccupies thousands of Icelanders who are members in a Facebook group demanding its return. Some individuals have even bought old packages from over a decade ago for thousands of ISK. So yes, Icelanders are loyal to their candy.

One of the newer additions to the “Icelandic Candy Hall of Fame” candi­­dates is Djúpur (idiomatically: deeps).” This licorice candy is coated by milk chocolate and white sugar coating and has made more than a few people overdose on them, including myself, so approach these devilish delights with caution.

“Another one of the oldest Icelandic candies on the market are the tiny licorice lozenges Opal, which back in the 50’s, were often advertised as throat lozenges.”

The wild bunch If you are in an exploratory mood and feel a need to unearth the other sweet delights this island nation has to offer, you have plenty of options. A perennial classic in Iceland is the “kókosbolla.” Imagine the white filling of a Twinkie, just much tastier, and sans the moist flour casing; instead you have a chocolate covered delight sprinkled with coconut shavings. To experience this delight, head out to the famous flea market Kolaportið (see pages 48-50) in downtown Reykjavik for a more genuine experience. Another stellar candy bar is Draumur, which is essentially a candy bar that consists of two tubes of black licorice covered by milk chocolate. Quite tasty and always available at the cinemas lest there be disgruntled customers. One of the newer additions to the Icelandic Candy Hall of Fame” candidates is Djúpur (idiomatically: deeps). This licorice candy is coated by milk chocolate and white sugar coating and has made more than a few people overdose on them, including myself, so approach these devilish delights with caution. Finally, there are two classic treats that must be mentioned; one is Lindu Buff. To describe this gooey treat simply does it no justice. Your palate is hit by a marshmallow concoction, dipped with just the right amount of chocolate. The texture is sublime but constant consumption of these babies will easily introduce you to diabetes. Finally, there is Nóa Kropp that is so ubiquitous that it is a stable on baked cakes and at birthday parties. Nóa Kropp candy is basically a corn-puff candy covered with chocolate, but tends to be eaten in copious amounts by many Icelanders. As you readily imagine, licorice is far from the only sweet thing that the makes Iceland a distinct player in the world of confectionary consumption. Icelanders are candy fanatics, fiercely passionate about their candy. Also, try to appreciate our licorice—and for the love of god, don’t mock Icelandic candy—or you might not get any! v

Another stellar candy bar is Draumur, which is essentially a candy bar that consists of two tubes of black licorice covered by milk chocolate.

Issue three


It would be culturally dishonest to write about Icelandic food and not include the cultural phenomenon known as “sjoppa” and the “sjoppumenning.”

by Marvin Lee Dupree Photos: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson

The history of the Icelandic sjoppa

Let’s get nostalgic

I Drekinn (The Dragon) a sjoppa close to Reykjavik’s busy Laugavegur shopping street.


WOW Power to the people

diomatically, this phenomenon translates into “shop culture” however a “sjoppa” is basically a small mom and pop establishment. Once you could easily find one in almost every neighborhood in the capital, and you could bet on each village having one sjoppa, if not two where adolescents, as well as children, would consort either inside or outside. Hanging out in front of the sjoppa like an American 50s teen was the classic thing to do and it was where some kids would also try to sneak smokes. It was a place for the cool kids to be seen and for others to buy and collect Garbage Pail Kids stickers during the 80s— and NBA basketball cards in the 90s. Going into a sjoppa, you could always grab a sandwich with roast beef or shrimp salad, along with a glass bottle of Coke, and a Prince

Polo on the side, or if you were really greedy, a bigger dessert with an Icelandic twist. Legions of Icelanders grew up loving an ice cream flurry, which is ice cream with gobs of chocolate, licorice and/or M&Ms mixed into a calorie laden, dentist promising treat. It bears mentioning that there were multiple variations of the sjoppa. Some specialized solely in treats, while others were more entrepreneurial, rented out VHS cassettes and were a hangout of sorts with arcade cabinets offering popular games like Street Fighter II and NBA JAM. If you were lucky, at least in the eyes of some, you could find a seedy one that allowed you to play the slot machines or even sell you cigarettes despite being Hanging out in front of the sjoppa like an American 50s teen was the classic thing to do and it was where some kids would also try to sneak smokes.

underage. Considering all of this, you would be hard pressed to find a person born in 1970-1985 in Iceland who does not have powerful nostalgic memories of his or her favorite sjoppa. Old Iceland meets American consumerism Tracing this cultural touchstone of Iceland provides an interesting peek into the psyche of the nation. Before and during WWII, the expansion of the city prevented workers from going home for a meal; so little “restaurants” popped up that served snacks and an array of meals. The word sjoppa quickly became associated with the phenomena; and is most likely derived from the English word “shop.” The archetype for such an establishment for workers would be BSÍ restaurant and a major bus terminal, which has lost much of its former sjoppalike cuisine and become more international due the influx of tourists. Before globalization, joints such as BSÍ would serve the staples of Icelandic traditional cuisine; including such dishes as singed sheep’s heads and skyr (our delicious version of yogurt, similar to Dutch kwark). We should mention that BSÍ actually still offers these dishes, just go there and order their “Kjammi og kók” offer (a half head of sheep and a Coca Cola). This is what generations of Icelanders were raised to eat—and actually loved. However, after the arrival of the American military, the cultural hegemony of America began to seep into Iceland and affect its social and dietary habits. Of course, increased affluence and more disposable income also facilitated the transition, allowing for products such as bubblegum, nylon socks, rock and roll records, fast food and assorted treats to become mainstream. So in Reykjavík, a sjoppa basically functioned somewhat like a diner plus convenience store.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Many such establishments began to multiply outside of the city. Certainly, one of the most important rea­ sons for the proliferation of this cultural insti­­­tu­­tion can be linked to the following factors: iso­­­lation and governmental restrictions. For a long time during the 20th century, Iceland had strict capi­­tal and currency controls. Because of this, few Ice­landic families could travel abroad and so domestic travel was the social norm; in addition it was more common to live in rural areas and in the country­side than the densely concentrated capital area.

RIP? As said, Icelandic adolescents had a remarkable affinity with the sjoppa for the reasons already mentioned, but also it was where you could latch onto the newest craze (basically it was a place to show off)—whether it was yo-yos, roller blades or Pokémon. Nowadays, many of these establishments have closed down due to consolidation in the market, the demise of VHS and DVDs, not to mention the fact that personal interaction has been dramatically altered by the Internet and social media. The youth of today are

Litla Kaffistofan (The Little Coffee Shop) a family run road sjoppa between Reykjavik and Selfoss; one of the few real road sjoppas that remain on the Icelandic Ring Road.

Icelandic families would often escape during the summer to different parts of the country as semi-tourists or simply to visit relatives—so before the advent of time saving routes such as the Hvalfjörður tunnel it would take much longer to reach places such as Akureyri. And when you factor in rapid, technological achievements in the automobile industry, it is fairly obvious that frequent breaks during long family road trips were a sorely welcomed break for all. In fact, some establishments were nationally famous and going to these places fostered warm memories among families in the old days.

not as keen to hang out in these establishments and diversification in the market factors in as well. So for example, now you will rather go to Valdís (see page 54) or Vesturbæjarís for your ice cream after having a burger at one of the premium burger joints in Reykjavík. Still, if you are travelling around the countryside or if you manage to find a classic sjoppa in Reykjavík, you can always ask for a hot dog with the works (“ein með öllu”) with a mixed bag of candy (“bland í poka”) and gain some idea as to how it was to be an Icelander in the days when dial-up modem Internet was cutting edge technology. v

Issue three


Icelandic candy at its finest

Artisan chocolate After reading about the history of Icelandic candy in this magazine (see page 72-73), you might feel safe in thinking that a nation raised on a simple candy bar might not appreciate fine chocolate. Still, it might seem unfair to single out Prince Polo as an example of Icelanders’ taste in chocolate, but it is unequivocally a candy bar that the majority of Icelanders love and have loved for over half a century. by Marvin Lee Dupree photos: Courtesy of Omnom Chocolate


WOW Power to the people


wenty years ago the statement that Icelanders were not big fans of fine chocolate might have had an empirical justification—yet in recent years Ice­­­land has undergone a gourmet renaissance in all culinary fields, including chocolate. Nobody is saying that Icelanders did not make great candy before, but Omnom has established itself as firmly belonging to a loft­­ier realm fit for chocolate connoisseurs. The bean to bar experience Two years ago, a group of chocolate lovers decided to sate their curiosity and branch out from the food and restaurant industry by creating handcrafted chocolate. After setting up shop in a former gas station, the plan was launched. The initial result was five chocolate bars created under the label Omnom. The aesthetically pleasing packaging reveals an edgy but elegant design; while also showing the bean to bar experience for the customer, because the creation of this product is not only focused on the taste but on the packaging as well. Omnom’s cacao beans come from places such as the Dominican Republic, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea as evidenced by the names of the range of chocolate bars available. Since the beginning Omnom has received accolades from avid fans domestically and internationally. The first bars in­­cluded Dirty Blonde, a white chocolate hybrid—and of course for a nation with insatiable lust for “the black gold”, a licorice and sea salt version, with the salt coming from the Icelandic salt company Saltverk. For those who love coffee and chocolate together, Omnom recently released a chocolate bar that features organic coffee beans from Nicaragua.

Icelandic Willy Wonkas Since its humble beginnings Omnom has been making waves both home and abroad and a short descriptive anecdote might help explain the quality: Imagine if Oompa Loompas had escaped from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with one of Willy Wonka’s most precious recipes and decided to sell the products made from it in wickedly hip and Nordic inspired packaging, then you might have an inkling of what Omnom Chocolate is all about. While this may seem like excessive praise, the accolades the company has accumulated back it up. During the last year, it has received the Academy of Chocolate Awards, Scandinavian International Chocolate Awards and European International Chocolate Awards. With Omnom leading the way, the Icelandic candy scene might soon be known for more than its licorice crazed aficionados. If you are seeking out some hip chocolate to give as a present, Omnom will un­­ doubtedly please the recipient—but make sure to treat yourself as well. v

Check out the Omnom deliciousness at

River Rafting

Price from: 12.990 ISK

Go home with a story worth telling! BOOK YOUR ADVENTURE NOW

Downtown Sales Office – Laugavegur 11 Open every day from 08:00-22:00

Snorkeling in Silfra Fissure Price from: 16.990 ISK

Glacier Hiking Day Tours

Price from: 19.990 ISK

#arcticadventures | | +354 562-7000 | Downtown Reykjavík Sales Office at Laugavegur 11 Rafting • Ice Climbing • Snorkeling • Diving • Glacier Hike • Canoeing • Hiking • Kayaking • Cycling • Surfing • Boat Ride • Hot Spring • Swimming • Climbing Super-Jeep • Caving • Horse Riding • Sightseeing • Snowmobile • Whale Watching • ATV • Incentive • Skiing • Mountain Hut • Camping • Combo Trips

Bæjarins beztu is open even during hard winter days. A couple of redwings wait in line hoping for some crumbs.

In 2004 former US president Bill Clinton had a taste of an Icelandic hot dog with the world press around.

Once upon a time: Kristmundur Jónsson, Guðrún’s father, serving a hot dog. The line at Bæjarins Beztu is often long but people don’t mind the wait.

The presidential pick

Get a taste of Reykjavik’s most famous street food by Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson Photos: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson and courtesy of Bæjarins beztu

Ever since former US president Bill Clinton tried an Icelandic hot dog from a historic hot dog stand in downtown Reykja­vík, business there has been booming.


ill Clinton, former US president got a lot of media coverage when he tried an Icelandic hot dog in 2004. The hot dog stand, known as Bæjarins beztu (Best in town) is only 7 square meters and has been run by the same family since 1937. A family business “My grandfather started this business and later my grandmother and father took over. I have been running it for 30 years now,” says Guðrún Kristmundsdóttir, owner of the Bæjarins beztu hot dog stand in Reykja­vik. “I am the third generation in the busi­ness and my son is the fourth, as


WOW Power to the people

he has now started working for the company. A similar kind of hot dog has been sold here for 78 years. We see no reason to reinvent the wheel,” says Guðrún who after taking control of the business started advertising the hot dog stand on Tryggvagata in foreign media. “After Clinton had his hot dog, there was an explosion in sales and I have not needed advertising since. Maria Einars­­ dóttir, who has worked for me for a long time saw Clinton walking on the street and encouraged him to try one. ‘The best in the world,’ she told him. He got curious and all his security guards came over too,” says Guðrún.

All in moderation In modern times, there is much focus on health food and some would say that a hot dog is not too healthy. “Everything is good in moderation. Besides, today’s hot dogs are much better quality than the ones in the old days. They are mostly made of lamb meat, also pork and beef. The key is to have only quality meat. The bread is made by a specialist bakery and an Icelandic company makes the ketchup. I feel our hot dogs are better than the ones in many other countries, but in America they also have good ways of making hot dogs as street food,” says Guðrún. Customers from all over the world The hot dog stand in Tryggvagata is open 365 days of the year, come rain or shine and many famous visitors have tried it out, but Guðrún has a policy of being tight-lipped about who eats there. She feels all people are entitled to their privacy. She also believes everyone must stand in line, famous or not. “A lot of Japanese people visit us, and I remember a crew and a chef from a Japanese tuna boat that came by. They were so impressed that the chef bought a whole bunch of hot dogs so he could cook them on board on their way back to Japan. I think we’ve had custom­ ers from all over the world,” says Guðrún. v

e c r u o s A ealth h f o O N LY*

isk. 600 TS UL AD 130 isk. CHILDREN

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

Hot t ubs and jacuzzi

Sa un as , steambat hs an d sh ow ers

Se ve n lo ca t io ns

Op en earl y un t il la te

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

Issue three

Tel: +354 411 5000 •


*Admission January 2014 . Price is subject bj t tto change h

Reykjavik's Thermal Pools

Black—two sugars

Eight cozy cafés in Reykjavík Text and photos: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson

Icelanders love their coffee so it’s no surprise that there are a lot of cafés in Reykjavík. We put on our walking shoes and paid a visit to those we found interesting one way or another. It was quite a feat to choose only eight because they all have something special to offer.


ll of these cafés have received a 4-5 star-rat­ing from travelers on Trip­­ Ad­­visor, so they are a safe bet. Most cafés in Reykjavik have free internet, but some café owners prefer that you speak person to person, which for some is a blessing.

Café Babalu.

WOW Power to the people

Café Flora Botanical Gardens, Laugardalur valley Tel: 555 8872 Experienced coffee making Elda Thorison Faurelien from Haiti started Café Haiti from scratch with her husband, in a former fishing hut down by the old harbor. Her coffee is imported from Haiti, burnt and milled on the spot. Elda knows the ropes as she was raised working with coffee beans in her native country. Live music and local artwork is often displayed on the premises, and when you’re sitting out on the veranda, the fresh sea air nurtures the soul.

Grandma’s kind of place Going to Café Babalu is like going to your grand­­mother’s home for hot chocolate or coffee. The decorations are old fashioned and some are quirky, but the whole experience is warm and friendly. People love to play chess here or various board games which are on offer. The café is run by New York born Glenn Barkan and a lot of tourists stop by as it is very close to Hallgrímskirkja church, a popular tourist attraction. Café Babalu Skólarvörðustígur 23a Tel: 555 8845


Café Flora.

Enjoy the flower power You can’t get any closer to nature in a café than at Café Flora, situated in the heart of the Botanic Gardens in Laugardalur valley. Some of the food on offer is grown with love and care right outside the café. You can sit inside a glassy greenhouse or outside in the garden; birds chirping. A short distance away is Reykjavik’s Family Park and Zoo, a very popular destination for those who travel with children.

Cafe Haiti.

Cafe Haiti Geirsgata 7c Tel: 588 8484

Going to Café Babalu is like going to your grand­­ Issue three 81 mother’s home for hot chocolate or coffee.

The Mokka Café.

Reykjavik Roasters.

Meet the deep thinkers If you want to meet philosophers, artists, poets and deep thinking people and experience echoes of the sixties, go to the quiet Mokka Café. The interior is almost the same since the café was opened in 1958 by the couple Guðný Guðjónsdóttir and Guðmundur Baldvinsson, and the café is still run by their family. Most of the coffee is Italian and while sipping it you can enjoy the artwork on the walls which is changed every 4-6 weeks. Mokka Skólavörðustígur 3a Tel: 552 1174

Kaffihús Vesturbæjar.

Swim and sip Close to one of Reykjavik’s more popular swimming pools, Vesturbæjarlaug, on the west side of the city is Kaffihús Vesturbæjar. A few television celebrities decided to open a neighborhood café and it got a flying start. They collected used furniture from friends and family and the café was an instant hit. Go there if you’d like to meet locals, hear tunes from vinyl records and get that classic feel.

of the café and it’s a great place for reading or studying or snuggling up beside a loved one after a long downtown walk. Memories: The place once housed a popular antique store called Aunt Frida. Stofan Café Vesturgata 3 Tel: 546 1842 The Mokka Café.

“If you want to meet philosophers, artists, poets and deep thinking people and experience echoes of the sixties, go to the quiet Mokka Café.”

Stofan Café.


WOW Power to the people

Reykjavik Roasters Kárastíg 1 Tel: 517 5535 Fourth generation baker The Sandholt bakery is run by a fourth generation baker, so expect a lot of tradition and experience. There is a big glass window in front of the kitchen and baking area so you are welcome to watch the food and pastries being prepared. There’s also a large selection for take away. Sandholt is on the main shopping street and favored among the staff from neighboring shops.

Kaffihús Vesturbæjar Melhaga 20-22 Tel: 551 0623 Knock on wood If you are searching for a café in the center of Reykjavík, Stofan Café (The Living Room Café) is the obvious choice, just a few meters away from the central tourism office. The café is in an old house on two floors with a stone and wooden interior and a striking wood structure that compliments it. The cellar is a quiet area

Burning and brewing A mix of old chairs, tables and big windows attracts the many who pay a visit to Reykjavík Roasters, located close to Hallgrímskirkja church and not too far from the main shopping street, Laugavegur. The owners are proud of their hand-brewed coffee from Colombia and their big roasting machine expresses that fact. The coffee is brewed to different strengths—a real treat for coffee nerds.

Sandholt Bakery.

Sandholt Bakery Laugavegur 36 Tel: 551 3524

Tank up at N1 on your way around Iceland

While you might stop for fuel, you can stay for the food, travel necessities, books and magazines, or grab a cup of coffee before heading out again.

Your convenient one-stop on your journey

Ă?SLENSKA/SIA.IS ENN 73332 05/15

N1 operates a network of 95 locations all around Iceland. To find your nearest location and plan your trip, log on to

To find your nearest location and plan your trip, log on to

Keep moving

Something is happening

THE NORTHEAST FEAST Northeast Iceland is remote and majestic; long fjords, high mountains and herds of Reindeer, and who would think? There’s a renaissance going on there: the Northeast Feast, a new food scene is being born. Here are some tips from for those who want to check it out. by Kári Gunnlaugsson Photos: courtesy of the respective restaurants

Aldan - Seyðisfjörður

When you come down the mountain to the waterfalls and see the long fjords stretched out to the sea, you will know you are in a special place. Here in the beautiful surroundings of this little coastal village there’s fine dining! On the 1st floor of Hotel Aldan there’s a French restaurant with a local twist. Their goat cheese salad will only heighten your expectations from the kitchen that’s a treasure full of passionate dishes! On the 2nd floor there’s a genuine sushi station presenting it super fresh. With a history of great chefs, quality food and a friendly atmosphere, Aldan will be on your list of favorites.

Egilsstaðir Guesthouse - Egilsstaðir

Perfectly situated on the riverbank, the restaurant serves excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is taste bud rock ’n’ roll with an emphasis on handpicked local produce prepared by chefs who mean business. And the word is that this summer they are out to make a name for themselves. Also, while enjoying your meal you might want to keep your eyes on the river for a glimpse of the Lagarfljótsormur serpent.


WOW Power to the people

Hótel Hallormsstaður - Hallormsstaðaskógur

You half expect elves and orcs to come stumbling out of the woods here; an enchanted spot for sure in the center of Iceland’s largest birch forest. The restaurant proudly presents a dinner buffet and a seasonal menu well worth a few visits. Their cold cuts are a savory choice and the game is divine—an ambitious kitchen, a lovely place and a fine memory.

Skálanes - Seyðisfjörður

They could serve sand and seawater here and I would still want to spend the night. They do fortunately serve a solid and very satisfying menu, soup for lunch, cod and lamb for dinner. Be sure to make reservations. The view is absolutely breathtaking and that’s without counting the puffins, seals and whales, often spotted. And after a day of hiking around the nature reserve, relaxing in the Jacuzzi will feel like floating somewhere between heaven and earth.

Kaffi Klaustur - Skriðuklaustur

Deep in the valley, is Skriðuklaustur Museum, part of which is dedicated to the memory of well-loved writer Gunnar Gunnarsson and to the archeological findings of a 14th century monastery. The lunch buffet is probably the cherry on top of the Northeast Feast. Mushrooms from the forest, potatoes from the garden, lamb from the mountain and cakes that satisfy the soul; everything absolutely delicious. It’s local cuisine at its most innovative best. Issue three


WOW design

Something fishy by Gerður Harðardóttir

Back in the day, before Barbie, Lego, Frozen and PlayStation, simple sheep bones were the toys of choice for kids in Ice­ land. I bet that my great-grandparents would have loved to add the novel fishbone model making kit, Something Fishy to their extensive sheep head toy collection.


o such luck! Something Fishy is a much more recent invention by product designer Róshildur Jónsdóttir of Hugdetta. With Something Fishy, bones from North Atlan­­ tic cod, haddock and wolf fish magic­­ally mutate into warriors, monsters, space­­ ships and trolls. Something Fishy is ideal for kids 8 years and older, the perfect tool to trigger their


WOW Power to the people

al­­ready lively imagination and creativity even further. The kit includes up to 100 pieces of fish bones, several different color paints and a paintbrush. The bones go through an eco-friendly cleaning process where enzyme technology is applied, leaving the bones totally sterile and safe. Something Fishy reminds us that each year tons of bones and other side products of fish get thrown away, products which

Something Fishy is ideal for kids 8 years and older, the perfect tool to trigger their al­­ready lively imagination and creativity even further. The kit includes up to 100 pieces of fish bones, several different color paints and a paintbrush.

might easily be re-usable, if only we were a bit more creative. Something Fishy is available at Spark Design Space, Farmers Market, My Con­­­cept Store, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik Maritime Museum and online at . v



Try on the clothes and weapons of the Viking age. Great fun and a great photo opportunity.


The Saga Museum brings the Viking age to life. There you’ll walk among some of Iceland’s most famous heroes and infamous villains portrayed in their defining moments; the Viking settlement in 874, Leif the Lucky’s discovery of America, the founding of the world’s first parliament and the epic clan feuds that marked the settlement. This is as close as you’ll ever get to meeting Vikings in the flesh. The shop has a wide selection of traditional Viking handiwork, souvenirs and clothing.

Saga Museum • Grandagarður 2 • 101 Reykjavík • Tel.: (+354) 511 1517 • Open: Daily from 10 to 18

Issue three


WOW entrepreneurs

There’s a bug in my protein bar! Two Icelanders have started producing bars made partly with crickets and they think you’ll be willing to take a bite. Text and photos by Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson


úi Bjarmar Aðalsteinsson and Stefán Atli Thoroddsen are the founders of an Icelandic startup called Crowbar Protein. They just launched a new protein bar that is made with a dash of cricket flour. It is called Jungle Bar and will be produced in Canada.

The Jungle Bar’s name is derived from the rainforest to create a sense of excitement and mystery.


WOW Power to the people

Edible insects There are around 1,000 edible insects in the world but crickets can rightly be called superfood due to the nutrients they provide, plus they’re one of the most sustainable protein sources around. “Our main target is to be part of a process of sustainable culture in the world. I thought of this when I was doing a project on food production in school. Insects create a cycle in the food chain by breaking down what nature has made,” says Búi about this project which was included in the local business accelerator program, called Startup Reykjavik. “I wondered how I could put my idea in practice by making food with something

containing insects. First, I made a concept called the Fly Factory which is a machine that farms insects that can be used as food ingredients. The response I got gave me the confidence to develop something else that would promote edible insects. Insects are a protein rich part of the food chain and they are also viable for humans. Since we are running out of arable land for meat production, we will have to find new solutions,” says Búi. They’re actually good Some may cringe at the idea of eating something made of insects but Búi is convinced he has the right idea for the future and so does his colleague, Stefán. “The food culture in the western world does not contain a lot of insects yet, so under­­standably there is resistance. But insects taste good when prepared in the right manner. When we offered the Jungle Bar to people, 99% were willing to try it. It looks like, tastes like and feels like a normal protein bar and the crickets have a mild and nutty flavor. They are ground into

powder, so there are no eyes or legs sticking out as some might think. The bar is made with dates, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, chocolate and cricket flour,” says Stefán who is a marketing expert, while Búi is the designer and thinker. Stefán and Búi found cricket farmers in America, experts in farming the insect for human consumption, to provide the cricket flour they use in Jungle Bar. The crickets are fed on a grain based diet. They are then dried and ground into fine flour which is then mixed in with the other ingredients. The latter part of the production takes place in Canada. Thinking of the future Jungle Bar has grabbed the attention of wholesalers and companies around the world. “For future projects we have many ideas on insect infused products but today our main focus is on the Jungle Bar. We decided to crowdfund the first production of our protein bar on Kickstarter, which is a great venue for feedback and for getting people’s opinion. Thinking outside the box is the way to go in the field of food production. Things are developing faster in the US in regards to edible insects than in Europe, but people in Europe are slowly waking up,” says Búi. And you could say

Icelandic entrepreneurs Búi Bjarmar Aðalsteinsson and Stefán Atli Thoroddsen want to help out in the world’s food industry with a positive and healthy input.

Búi himself woke up at school. He was tired of designing normal things, lacked a sense of purpose and almost quit school because of it. Then he found his calling. “I wanted to do something new, make something sustainable and got help from various people in Iceland. Then I read the UN report on edible insects and did some research on what was happening in

byproduct of contributing to a more sustainable food industry. If Jungle Bar sells well one of our ideas is to start working on developing processes where people can sustainably grow their own foods.” “We can grow things using less arable land. You need space and resources for a single cow. Growing crickets can be done in a small cage in a house to

The crickets are ground into flour, which is added to a mix of dates, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and chocolate. The Jungle Bar is gluten, dairy and soy free.

the food industry. I realized that we need to change in regards to how we think about food. I am sure that insects will play a bigger part in the future, be it in one year, five or ten years.” Less space, more food Stefán and Búi are not driven by dreams of fame and fortune, they want to make a difference in the world. “We know this is a visionary project. To get people asking themselves, ‘Would I eat an insect?’ That’s the first step. Making money will only be a

start with. This is something you can do in baby steps, perhaps just for Sunday lunch. Little by little we can build a society which is self-sustainable, be it with our ideas or those of others. We need to rethink food matters and our input for now is the Jungle Bar. If there is a way of simplifying the food process, that would be of benefit for all. We are not here to compete with anyone, but to add a new product that is beneficial for everyone. Like we are all one big happy family,” says Búi. v

Harpa Regulars They’re always around Pearls of Icelandic Song

How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes

Get acquainted with some of the most beloved Icelandic songs, folk music, art songs and classical Icelandic music.

A comedy stand–up in English which teaches you everything you need to know about being Icelandic and living in Iceland.

Guided Tours

Expo 360° Cinematic Experience

Winter time Weekdays: 15:30 Weekends: 11:00, 15:30 Summer time Daily: 09:00, 11:00, 13:30, 15:30

Iceland in all its diversity, projected onto four walls and the ceiling, forming a cube that surrounds its guests.

Reykjavík Concert Hall and Conference Centre

Austurbakki 2 101 Reykjavík Iceland +354 528 5000

Harpa is open every day 08:00 – 24:00

Harpa box office 09:00 – 18:00 Weekdays 10:00 – 18:00 Weekends

Issue three


Realm of Vatnajökull

Land of Ice and Fire In the realm of Vatnajökull you find the real reason why Iceland got its name. The area is dominated by Vatnajökull glacier which is the largest glacier in the world out­ side the Arctic regions. You also find some of Iceland’s most popu­ lar tourist attractions there such as the spectacular Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Skaftafell which is the jewel in Vatnajokull National Park and Hvannadalshnúkur, the highest peak in Iceland and a popu­ lar hike. Photos: Ragnar Th.


he Vatnajökull region is filled with contrast in the nature with its black beaches, white glaciers, red volcanoes, green birch forest and blue Atlantic Ocean. Beauty, serenity and the forces of nature combine to make a visit to the realm of Vatnajökull a never-to-be-forgotten experience. Wildlife is rich in the realm of Vatnajökull with thousands of migrating birds such as puffins and the arctic tern passing through, especially in the spring and summer. Herds of reindeer are also a common sight and if you’re lucky you might spot a seal at Jökulsárlón or an arctic fox running across the land. You will also find dozens of companies that offer all sorts of activities year round, diverse accommodation and great restaurants with local food. Photographers paradise The realm of Vatnajökull is in southeast Iceland and spans over 200 km of the Ring Road from Lómagnúpur in the west to Hvalnes in the east. It covers the accessible southern side of Vatnajökull National Park and photography enthusiasts should find the realm of Vatnajökull particularly delightful as it provides countless magnificent views of glaciers and mountains in the 24-hour daylight in the summertime. The Vatnajökull Region offers a wide range of experienced guides and photographers who can take you to the picture perfect spots!

Höfn and the Lobster Festival There is one town in the area, Höfn a lively fishing town with a population of 1800. Höfn is also famously known as the lobster capital of Iceland and at the end of June each summer the locals throw a celebration in honor of this delightful delicacy. During the Lobster Festival you can enjoy a pure Icelandic town festival with a taste of that precious product offered by the lovely restaurants as well as various other local specialties year round. Höfn is also a great base for exploring the magnificent lands of Vatnajökull National Park and be sure to drop by at the park’s Visitor Center in the beautiful historical building, Gamlabúð, by the harbor. Taste of Vatnajokull Within the Vatnajökull region lies a wealth of local food producers that are using the fresh water from Vatnajökull to produce fresh, pure


WOW Power to the people

products for the local restaurants. Visit the beautiful area and experience local food direct from the producers. Along with its lobster or langoustine the region also offers other fresh locally grown edibles such as vegetables, farm fresh ice cream and meat products. The local restaurants use these pure locally grown ingredients providing a great way to get a taste of the Vatnajökull region. Activity, accommodation and restaurants Much of the activity in the realm of Vatnajökull revolves around the glacier and the surrounding nature. You can choose between glacier walks and ice climbing, a thrilling snowmobile ride on Vatnajökull or a comfortable tour of Europe’s largest glacier in a super jeep. The area also offers ATV tours and Höfn is also geothermal baths famously known as at Hoffell, reindeer the lobster capital of excursions, a visit to Iceland and at the the Thorbergssetur end of June each cultural museum, summer the locals a local mineral throw a celebration stone collection, in honor of this the local handicraft delightful delicacy. store, the petting zoo at Hólmur and much more. There are various possibilities in accommodations to suit different needs and you’ll be sure to find a warm welcome by knowledgeable hosts. Several restaurants are in the area and most of them offer local food made in the realm of Vatnajökull. Be sure to ask for the local beer Vatnajökull, which is brewed from the icebergs of Jökulsárlón with the local herb arctic thyme. Accessible year round The Vatnajökull region is well accessible the whole year round due to good weather conditions and frequent transportation. Eagle Air has daily flights from Reykjavík to Höfn Airport during the summertime and five days a week during other seasons. Buses between Reykjavík and Höfn (Strætó) are scheduled daily throughout the year. There are also three car rental companies in Höfn. v

For more information check out

Issue three



WOW Power to the people

The Parliament House in Reykjavík

If these walls could talk The Parliament House in Reykjavík is located at Kirkjustræti on Austurvöllur square and stands next to Iceland’s cathedral. In the heart of down­town Reykjavík these old buildings are reminiscence of old times. If these walls could talk ... by Svava Jónsdóttir Photos: Kristinn Magnússon


he Icelandic Parliament (Alþingi) was the first parliament in the world; established in 930 AD in an area called Þingvellir, which is now a national park. On the 1st of July 1881, Alþingi gathered for the first time in the Parliament House in Reykjavík. Since then, it has held all its meetings in the house with the exception of few festival meetings at Þingvellir.

An architectural gem The Danish architect Ferdinand Meldahl designed the Parliament House which is made of dolerite, a basaltic local rock. You’ll notice the rough cut of the almost black stone of the neoclassical building with its horizontal lines. The walls on the ground floor are almost 80 cm thick. The neoclassical style reigns inside the building too. The lobby has huge paintings with one of them showing the national conference in 1851. The house is The Pavilion connects the old Parliament House not open for visitors but you can enjoy this architectural jewel from the outside as it to new times with glass has interesting elements in its architectural and lightness without disregarding the buildings structure. At the top of the building you can see the crown and symbol of the historical importance. Danish king Christian IX as Iceland was a part of the kingdom of Denmark from around 1380 until Iceland gained home rule in 1904. Over the windows on the second floor you can see the elements of the heraldry of Iceland; a giant, a bird, a bull and a dragon. Other institutions that have also set up camp in this historic building over the years include the University of Iceland, founded in 1911, the National Museum from 1881-1899, the National Archives and the National Library. The offices of the president of Iceland were also housed in the building until 1972.

Osushi is a unique rest­aurant in Iceland. The met­­hod of dining involves snatching small plates from a conveyor belt. Pricing is distinguished by the color and pattern of the plate – most range between 230 - 440 ISK. Everything off the con­vey­­or belt is tasty and if you don’t really fancy sushi, you can instead choose for ex­­ample teriyaki chicken, noodle salad, tempura and desserts. The vibe in Osushi is friendly and relaxed. The restaurant is located almost next door to Althingi (the parliament) which is in the heart of the city.

First flower garden in Iceland The Parliament Garden behind the house is open to the public. It was the first official flower garden in Iceland and its design has not changed much from the original layout. Tryggvi Gunnarsson, a carpenter who studied agricultural science, made the original plans and made sure the garden had various types of trees and plants. The cost of this project went way over budget so Tryggvi paid out of his own pocket to ensure the garden would get finished. So much time did Tryggvi spend working on the Parliament Garden over the years he requested that the garden would be made his final resting place. The request was granted and the garden was consecrated as a home burial site. And there the body of Tryggvi rests, on the south side of the garden, under Icelandic flowers and a bust sculpture of himself made by sculptor Ríkharður Jónsson.







Vit as


ga ta




a agat


ta ga

ar Pósthússtræti 13 / Borgartúni 29 / Reykjavíkurvegur 60 HF. rð ja N Tel: 561 0562 /




ga ta

The glass pavilion The Parliament has long since outgrown the Parliament house and in 1986 a competition was held for additional buildings on the property that would service the parliament with additional offices and meeting spaces. The winner was architect Sigurður Einarsson but his ideas were on too grand a scale to be done all at once. In 1998 a prime committee agreed to start work on the building now known as Skálinn (The Pavilion) a glass building that now serves as the main entrance to the Parliament House as well as a service center and meeting place for the members of Alþingi. The Pavilion connects the old Parliament House to new times with glass and lightness without disregarding the buildings historical importance. v


Issue three



Gljufrasteinn, the home of Mr. Halldor Kiljan Laxness and a museum dedicated to his life and work.

Take a hike

Find your inner author at the Poets Path When driving to Thingvellir National Park from Reykjavik you’ll travel through Mosfellsdalur Valley. Just before you drive up the hill to Mosfells­heiði moor, ­­ the white house of Gljufrasteinn can be seen on the right side of the road. We recommend you stop, park the car and discover the Poets Path. Text and photos by Einar Skúlason


he Poets Path derives its name from the late Mr. Halldor Kiljan Laxness, the Icelandic author that was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature back in 1955. The Nobel Prize committee stated that it was “for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland.” The poet Mr. Halldor Kiljan Laxness was born at the farm Laxnes close by and he built the house of Gljufrasteinn in 1945 after living in Reykjavik and abroad for a number of

Helguholl, home of the hidden people and according to the legend, the final resting place of the troll Helga.


WOW Power to the people

years. Audur, his wife to be, took charge of the operation to build the house since he was busy writing his next book. They got married on Christmas Eve the same year and moved into their permanent home. Mr. Laxness considered his daily walks to be of crucial importance for his creativity and energy in his writing and one of his favourite routes went from his home along the river Kaldá up to the Helgufoss waterfall. Perhaps you will find the author within when you walk this route too. The route A few years back Laxness’ hiking route was marked with small poles by the town of Mosfellsbaer, so you shouldn’t lose your way. The route leads up the banks of the river Kaldakvisl (Cold River) all the way to Helguhvammur, which is like a small valley. In there you will first see Helguholl, a sizeable hill with hidden people living there according to old tales. As with any home, please treat it with respect and greet the inhabitants when you walk past. Helgufoss will now become visible, around 12 meters high and nicely located at the top of Helguhvammur. According

The Poets Path derives its name from the late Mr. Halldor Kiljan Laxness, the Icelandic author that was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature back in 1955.

to one story Helga, daughter of a troll named Bardur Snæfellsas who lived in Snæfellsjokull glacier, came to live in Helguhvammur for a while. She wasn’t very happy, the story claims, and ended her life by disappearing into Helguholl. Some claim they can see her figure in Helgufoss, so it‘s possible that she disappeared into the waterfall. After spending some time in Helgu­­­ hvamm­ur, just head back the same way to Gljufrasteinn. Visit the museum to gain more insight into the life and work of Mr. Halldor Kiljan Laxness. Good to know You should wear good hiking boots, since the route takes you through some wetlands. Sneakers should be okay though on a warm summer’s day. You will not pass any houses, let alone restaurants, so bring something to eat and drink on the way. You can also drink the water straight from the river. This hiking route near Reykjavik is accessible all year round, but of course it can be difficult in the winter, so don’t take any chances; inform people of your plans before you do any hiking in Iceland during the winter months. The whole route back and forth is 6 km and around 100 m in height increase. It should take about 2 hours. v

The track for the hike can be found here:

A delicious journey


Amtmannsstíg 1 28.1.2015 09:33 1 • 101 Reykjavík • +345 561 3303 •

Issue three



Boston Washington D.C.



WOW Power to the people



Billund Vilnius Dublin

Copenhagen London Amsterdam Paris


D端sseldorf Stuttgart Lyon



Salzburg Milan




Issue three


The only friends you’ll need!

Taste the multicultural food of Amsterdam Zosia and Esther-Hanna are two friends with a passion for street food. Their company, Hungry Birds Street Food Tours specializes in food adventures around Amsterdam. by Fjóla Helgadóttir Photos: Courtesy of Hungry Birds

Hungry birds take off The idea of starting Hungry Birds was born when Zosia travelled to Asia in 2012 with her boyfriend and participated in a street food tour that took place on the back of motorbikes. “It was wonderful and very inspiring, mostly because it didn’t feel like a tour, but rather a fun and easygoing day out with friends, tasting their way through the city.” During her trip around Indonesia, Zosia met EstherHanna. “We had a dream of creating a delicious, down to earth, local street food experience in Amsterdam. By creating Hungry Birds and following our hearts we became the feeders and storytellers of the city.”


WOW Power to the people

Bringing Amsterdam to the world The girls at Hungry Birds aim to create fun street food adventures. “We bring Amsterdam to the world through its street food, culture and daily life in a more open, casual and creative way. We believe in the universal language of eating the local food, hearing the stories, experiencing the diverse culture and all in all, having a good time. We like to think of ourselves as your local friends in the city. Your friends with

“We had a dream of creating a delici­ ous, down to earth, local street food experience in Amsterdam. By creating Hungry Birds and following our hearts we be­­ came the feeders and storytellers of the city.”

whom you eat and travel locally and share experiences that connect you with the heart of Amsterdam through your stomach.” The Hungry Birds groups are kept small to make sure they’re personal and conversational. “Our guests discover a city together with other travelling food lovers from all over the world and experience Dutch “gezelligheid” (coziness). It’s more of an interactive food adventure. We ask our guests to be themselves, connect with other travelers, ask questions,

Amsterdam street food is very diverse because of the multicultural character of the city. You can for example visit Waterlooplein street market for a very authentic taste of Greece (visit Vasilis and taste his bougatsa) or Japan (visit Taka for his amazing Ramen soup and okonomiyaki). Dutch street food has been influenced by ethnic foods, mostly Indonesian and Surinamese due to the country’s colonial past. “After the Second World War many Indonesian people moved to The Netherlands and they brought along a great Indonesian food culture. Rijsttafel (rice table) which consists of many side dishes accompanied by rice—I call it Indonesian tapas’—gives you a chance to taste many typical Indonesian dishes during one, big meal.” Traditional Dutch food is quite different though. “Probably the most fun and unique Dutch tradition when it comes to food, is eating a herring. Following the traditional way, you are served a cleaned herring with a tail, garnished with raw onions. You grab the fish by its tail and eat it by holding the herring above your mouth.”

share some humor, stories, inspire and hopefully, get inspired.” The food tours can be enjoyed either by foot or by bike. Either way, the experience lasts for about 4 hours and during a typical tour they visit between 10-12 locations, sampling the city’s typical Dutch food as well as colonial and ethnic specialties. “We believe that sampling the local food from non-touristy and non-commercial,

Amsterdam street food is very diverse because of the multicultural character of the city.

family run stands and shops, as well as learning the story about the food and its producers, gives our guests a proper insight into how the city ‘breaths.’ It stimulates tourists to be more open-minded about a new destination and new tastes. It makes them curious and more active in searching for something different than the main ‘city attractions.’”

When in Amsterdam … “Try to discover the local eateries and places situated outside the main center of the city when you’re in Amsterdam. Going out into areas like De Pijp, Jordaan, De Baarsjes, Noord and Oost will give you a better idea of what Amsterdam really is. Try to eat in small, family run restaurants, which are not too hipster and fancy but provide you with good, ‘home-made’ meals prepared with love, care and attention. Do some online research and ask local people for a piece of advice. Enjoy the city and try not to be too much of a ‘tourist.’” v

Check out the Hungry Birds’ Food Tours the next time you visit Amsterdam. For more information and booking visit their website at

Do you have an appetite for Amsterdam? WOW air offers cheap flights to Amsterdam from USA via Iceland all year round. Find your flight on

Issue three


Beautiful Berlin Getting the knowledge The dynamic duo has sought information about Berlin from books, numerous documentaries and museums. “The most valuable knowledge though comes from conversations we’ve had with our German friends and family. Suddenly we start­­ed interrogating them on historic events. Their stories mesmerized us and we wanted more. We started listening to strangers that came up to us on the streets (yes, that happens quite often in Berlin) and became best friends and heard their stories,” Katrín and Margrét Rós tell us.

Take the tour Berlin is an awesome city full of amazing things. We fully recommend getting acquainted with the city by taking a guided tour with Berlínur, a company formed by two Icelandic women living in Berlin who will be glad to show you around town. Photos: Courtesy of

Berlínur are Margrét Rós Harðar­­dóttir and Katrín Árnadóttir who both have strong ties to Ger­many.


argrét Rós is an artist and has lived in Berlin since 2012 and Katrín studied media and communications and started working in Berlin in 2007, first for the Icelandic Embassy and later for Sagenhaftes Island - Iceland Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2011. “I moved to Berlin with my husband after I received my diploma from the University of Siegen. I got a job here and then fell in love with the city. I’m glad that I got to know other cities first. It’s very hard to top Berlin!” says Katrín. A perfect match Katrín and Margrét Rós were neighbors in Berlin for over a year before their paths crossed in 2013 at a group for Icelandic mothers. Once their children started kindergarten they were both at crossroads in their life. “We were both ready to get back out into the workplace


WOW Power to the people

but we wanted to do something fun and rewarding,” they agree. Katrín was used to introducing Iceland to Germans, both at the embassy where she worked and at the Sagenhaftes Island, and now she wanted to introduce Berlin to Icelanders. Margrét Rós had similar ideas, albeit a more artistic approach. “We started seeing each other more often, talking about what we wanted to do,” they both say and add that Katrín has the planning abilities while Margret is a natural born performer. “We felt we might just be a perfect match and we both wanted to invite Icelanders for a walk around Berlin. Margrét Rós dusted off an idea she’d had about a gourmet tour in Reykjavik and we made it about Berlin instead. As soon as the Gourmet Tour was ready we thought it would be good to have a historical tour so we put together the Mauer Tour (Berlin Wall Tour) which has been very successful. We dubbed ourselves Berlínur and took off,” says Katrín.

Berlínur offer their tours around Berlin in Icelandic and English. Check out their website at for information about their tours and all sort of useful in­­­for­­ mation such as how to travel from the airport, what train tickets to buy and where to shop. They regularly post new articles on all things Berlin with great tips for travelers. You can even like them on Facebook so you won’t miss a thing, just search for “Berlínur.”

Tours to take Berlínur started out with one tour, the Gourmet Tour around Prenzlauer Berg where they educate their guests on German food and food traditions. “Everybody gets to taste the food and sense the multi-cultural influence when it comes to food in Berlin,” says Margrét Rós and Katrín. “We also talk about the different styles, especially vegetarian food, sustainable food and vegan food, as Berlin has become the mecca of vegans,” they add. The Mauer Tour was soon added to their repertoire in which they walk around the area where the Berlin Wall once stood and tell their guests about life in a divided Germany from 1949-1989; personal stories of people who lived through it, and about The Stasi and what events finally brought the Berlin Wall down. “The Mauer Tour is our biggest hit as it is somewhat of a “must” for anyone interested in history or visiting Berlin for the first time,” Margrét Rós and Katrín say. Their latest addition is the Multikulti Kreuzberg tour, a walk among the multicultural Kreuzberg neighborhood that hosts a lively community of Muslims,

Berlínur started out with one tour, the Gourmet Tour around Prenzlauer Berg where they educate their guests on German food and food traditions. “Everybody gets to taste the food and sense the multicult­ural influence when it comes to food in Berlin.”

Gypsies and Africans to name a few. If you take this tour on a Thursday it ends at the Street Food Thursday market in Markthalle Neun, held each Thursday. Berlínur also offer bike tours around Berlin where guests can see the most popular monuments and landmarks of the city and get a rough history lesson on the way. “Right now we are working on an idea about World War II tour, the city kind of calls for it. Every day history is right in front of us and all we have to do is grab it and make sure to tell others,” say the Berlínur duo. Favorite places in Berlin Margrét Rós and Katrín obviously feel good in their adopted city but do they have a favorite place to hang out? “I’ve just discovered the perfect place that joins

together a great concept and a location with a view,” says Margrét Rós. “It’s called Klunkerkranich and is located at the top of a shopping center in Neukölln. The place is very raw but they have good food and drinks and you can listen to music and do some gardening. They have a rooftop garden where everyone can join in and learn about urban gardening; that’s very “in” these days. In my opinion this is one of the most romantic places in the city,” Margrét Rós adds. “My favorite place is Clärchens Ballhaus in Auguststrasse in Mitte,” says Katrín. “It’s a dancehall that was first opened in 1913. They’ve been dancing there ever since and the atmosphere is like nothing else. Everybody comes to enjoy themselves and dance; nerds, hipsters, grandmothers and that rare breed of real Berliners,” she adds.

What to taste? Seeing as this issue is food themed we thought to ask the duo about their favorite food in Berlin. “The spaghetti ice cream is something you must try,” says Margrét Rós. “For a long time the idea repulsed me but when I finally tasted this dish I was pleasantly surprised. It’s really just pressed vanilla flavored ice cream but the cream in the middle and the puréed strawberries make all the difference,” she adds. The spaghetti ice cream can be found at any real Italian ice cream shop in Berlin. Katrín has a different taste. “I’m totally hooked on Häppies, a restaurant in my neighborhood and I’d been meaning to go there for two years. A short while ago I finally went and was shocked to find I’d lost out on two years of their delicious stuffed buns. I usually order a bun stuffed with tofu and curry served with coconut sauce with peanuts or the one with goat cheese, cranberries and rocket pesto. Divine!” v

Find cheap flights to and from Berlin at

You can never get enough of Berlin so WOW air offers year round flights to Berlin from USA and Iceland. Auf Wiedersehen!

Issue three


Experience Ireland!

Let an Icelander show you around Kristín Einarsdóttir is an Icelandic founder and manager for a humanitarian aid organization called Humanity for Good, which donates used medical equipment around the world. Now Kristín lives and works in Dublin. While helping out a friend, who desperately needed an Icelandic speaking guide, she took a group of people on tour to the Monastery City in Glendalough and instantly fell in love with tour guiding. “Guiding combines my interest in travelling, art, culture, history and politics,” says Kristín who now runs a tour guide and event management company in Dublin called Ireland Iceland Travel (Írlandsferðir).


WOW Power to the people

Bram Stoker, and Samuel Beckett. Everywhere you go within the school’s campus you will smell, feel and touch history—unshakeable in the face of constant change.” Trinity College is a permanent anchor in Dublin’s city center and Kristín says it’s a city well worth the visit as it is a place of many charms. “It is old school, courteous, welcoming and a bit conservative and yet I always manage to get a rush of the youthful energy the capital offers. Irish people are incredibly well read, they have a great sense of humor and a dry irony that pervades so much of everyday Irish life. Most surprising about the city is the calmness and the stillness of the people in this buzzing city. People take time to greet each other and that was the biggest change for us; we had to mellow out a lot.”

Old school yet youthful “My partner and I were both accepted into Trinity College. We packed up our home in Iceland, booked the flights, and off to Dublin we went with our 9 year old boy and not for a single moment have we regretted that decision. It’s been an honor to walk in the footsteps of some of the college’s noted alumni—among them Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde,

and an organic food experience. “We also offer shorter guided walks like the Howth Cliff Walk and the Bray Graystone Cliff Walk for people who want to get out of the city, but we do guided city walks as well.” We also offer the Irish the opportunity to experience Iceland and this fall we are planning two trips; a yoga and knitting retreat in West Iceland, where we combine yoga, mindfulness, floating and nature experiences and another one where the focus is on empowering women through yoga, motivational talks and nature.” Kristín adds.

Gala dinner or a ball? With Icelanders as her main clients, Kristín makes sure they get to know the city which has become one of the most popular destination in Europe “Now when WOW air is offering direct flights be­tween Keflavik and Dublin, it’s easy for Iceland­ers to make the two hour flight between the two islands that have so much in common and vice versa for the Irish to visit Iceland. I want to serve my customers with all the best Ireland has to offer which is a rich history, culture and of course the most wonderful scenery. Kristín welcomes both small and large groups visiting Dublin, whether a large group of friends or a small corporate group, everyone will get to know

Food to try Given the coastal location, fish should be the order of the day. Dover sole on the bone, baked sea bass, pan-fried halibut, lobster, slow-cooked organic salmon and the famous Dublin Bay prawn (which are what Icelanders usually call lobster) are well worth trying. Dublin has three Michelin starred restaurants, including Chapter One, which is an affordable fine dining experience. The choice is spectacular: Irish-caught yellow fin tuna with fennel and squid braised in saffron, and Connemara mountain lamb with rump glazed in mustard and white truffle honey are among the delights. You can follow them up with Irish raspberry poached meringue, almond and pistachio cracknel, and lime anglaise. “The menu speaks for itself, but sometimes it is also just nice to pop in to one of the old local pubs and get a decent Irish stew, soda bread and a pint of Guinness. One thing is guaran­­ teed, you will get your money’s worth,” says Kristín.

Ireland. “The primary aim behind any corporate event is uninterrupted, unobtrusive flow from start to finish—a day or night function with no glitches, no snags, no problems and absolutely no fuss. Our guided tours are both on foot and by bus,” says Kristín, who’s most recent tour is a combined Yoga and knitting retreat in the Boyne Valley, a long weekend where you combine these two with walks

Kristín would like to encourage those visiting Dublin to enjoy some of the many treats Dublin city and Ireland have to offer. “Relax and enjoy some of Dublin and Ireland’s finest culture and above all, lose yourself in conversation with an Irishman or a woman; it is an exciting and engaging experience, guaranteed to enlighten and entertain any visitor.” Kristín adds. v Check out Kristín’s tours at

Feeling lucky like the Irish? WOW air offers cheap flights to Ireland from Boston and Washington via Iceland all year round! Lucky you!

Issue three


Location, location, location

A Parisian picnic Paris! It is hard to imagine a dreamier place for a picnic. It’s like a Holly­ wood set, almost too good to be true. But it is all joyfully real; stunn­ ing backdrop scenery, stage set gardens and markets overflowing with gourmet props providing the perfect plot for a happy ending. by Sylvia Sabes Photos: Paris Picnic and Sylvia Sabes


inding food is easy. Even the most basic grocers will have everything you need for a picnic with undeniably French flavoring. A package of Caprice des Dieux cheese, sliced ham, a baguette and a basket

of strawberries and you’ve got the makings of a fairytale. Or do it like a movie star and splash out at La Grande Epicerie de Paris for the ultimate one-stop shop in putting together an over-thetop picnic. The foie gras is just waiting to melt in your mouth, caviar is always an option and the champagne is on ice. For a French film feeling, it can be even more fun to visit a market street, like the rue Lourmel below the Dupleix metro stop in the 15th arrondissement,


WOW Power to the people

a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower. Here you’ll find Meilleur Ouvrier de France Laurent Dubois selling irresistibly aromatic cheeses and the boulangeire Alsacienne with baguettes still hot to the touch. Lourmel rotisserie has finger-friendly roast meats

ready for a nibble and the fishmonger next door is happy to prepare a shell-full of shrimp to go. There is also a fruit and vegetable stand and La Cave de Lourmel wine shop to top things off. Where to picnic? In Paris, the picnic options are virtually endless: the selfie-seductive Place des Vosges; the lauded Luxembourg Gardens? There are parks and squares pocketed into every neighborhood,

although it is important to note that many of them provide those picturesque green benches because you’re not allowed on the grass. Check for signs before spreading out your blanket. For something truly special, the quays of the Seine are car-free along the Rive Gauche, as are the two islands in between, providing the perfect space for picnics à deux, with legs dangling toward the river as it meanders below. Ideal for families, the Champs de Mars stretches out from under the skirt of the Eiffel Tower, creating a large picnic-ready green space with a playground and a view that sings “Paree.” If you’re a group, or looking for locals, head to the Canal de l’Ourcq as it runs into La Villette park in the 19th arrondissement and take your pick between land or sea. Adventurers may want to capture the vibe of the great outdoors in either the Bois de Boulogne or the Bois de Vincennes. To the extreme east and west of the city, both parks offer rolling lawns with tiny corners to tuck into and large lakes for an afternoon row. Picnic souvenirs If you’d like to bring home the picnic version of the Oscar, French company Peugeot has a repu­ta­tion for serious kitchen utensils and they are particularly famous for their sommelier cork­­screws, available at their car showroom on the Champs Elysées. Opinel makes the classic (and very affordable) picnic knife that can be found in every French kitchen and is perfect for cutting into your cheese course. Available at hardware stores throughout the city, the biggest selection is at the BHV department store on the rue de Rivoli.

Issue three


Hardware stores, like Droguerie Thanner at 30 rue de Buci in the 6th arrondissement, carry Opinel knives and the Parisian market baskets, for a picnic that’s ready for the silver screen. A blanket is a picnic basic and nothing is more French than Jacquard, which you can find at Rêve Blanc, 28 on the charming market street rue Daguerre (another great option for finding your fixin’s!) Picnic perfect If this is a special picnic and you want everything to be just so without spending your time hunting down supplies, Paris Picnic is the perfect picnic producer. Russian born, US bred Katya spent her honeymoon in Iceland, and moved to Paris shortly after being wed. She fell in love with picnicking in Paris and set out to make it better for everyone. While she is open to special requests, like a basket of nothing but chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne, Paris Picnic offers four different paniers with everything you need, delivered in a charming vintage three wheeled truck, exactly where you need it, for a Paris Picnic ready for “lights, camera, action!” v

Get around in style There is hardly a more perfect way to move around Paris with a picnic than a bike. Like so many other great cities Paris has a bike service. Just find a Vélib station and follow the onscreen instructions. Then take out a bike and roll around Paris like a boss. When you’re done you can return the bike at any Vélib station. Find out more at

Find cheap flights to and from Paris at

Are you dreaming of a Parisian picnic of your very own? WOW air offers cheap flights to Paris from the USA via Iceland all year round.


WOW Power to the people

Travel in Iceland the smart way Take the bus and pay with the app. Pay the bus fare and get ticket info with your smartphone. Find your routes, plan your journey, locate the nearest bus stop and track your bus on a real-time map. You can only pay with the app in the capital area

Catch the bus to ReykjavĂ­k from KeflavĂ­k International Airport Get tickets at the 10/11 shop when you arrive, opposite where you exit customs. The bus stop is close to arrivals and is well marked. From June 7th buses to the airport will stop at arrivals and buses from the airport will stop at departures. ind us on Facebook:

Issue three


Food touring in Scandinavia

The new Nordic food wave hits the streets of Copenhagen! Up until three years ago the city of Copenhagen did not offer its guests guided food tours around the city. That all changed when Peter Rasmussen took a trip to Rome and fell in love with the concept of food touring. He opened his own food tour company, and hired Maria Beisheim as his first guide. She has some great insights to share with you. by Fjóla Helgadóttir Photos: Courtesy of


was hired on as the first guide as I have a back­­ ground in archaeology and food. In the beginning we started slow, 3 times a week, decid­­ing what tasting locations worked best and what we wanted to focus on.” Now, three years later, offers tours every day, except for Sundays, at 10 and at 14:30, and company tours after hours. They have also opened up tours in Stockholm and in Oslo. “Generally a food tour is a presentation of food and history. While walking through Copenhagen we explore the history of the city and its people through its food. We go to the out-of-the-way places, the markets, the little corner shops, and at each stop the group gets to


WOW Power to the people

taste typical local food. Our most popular tour is the 4-hour tour in Copenhagen. Here the tastings make up a full meal, as well as enough time to go into the stories. There are also many fun anecdotal details about the city that we describe as we pass some of the most famous monuments.” Maria says she loves walking through the city on nice sunny days and share her insights and at the same time people can eat. “If you have never been to Copen­ hagen before I would recommend our 4-hour tour. It will give you the best introduction to the city as a whole and the broadest introduction to the food. If you have visited many times, or if your time is limited, you might like to try something a little

more specialized like our Licorice Tour as licorice is a Danish favorite, and more than just a candy, as licorice is fast becoming as ubiquitous in certain countries around the world as pepper. You could also try our 2-hour tour, or a tailor-made private tour.” New and improved Danish cuisine “Above all, our goal is to show people what good Danish food is. As with any other town, we have good and bad restaurants and unfortunately the bad ones are often in and around the most visited areas. Danish food has undergone a huge change in the last 10 years; we have so much amazing food now. This is the sort of food we wish to show people.”

Ten years ago a lot of Danish food was very in­­dustri alized, of poor quality, and frankly dull. How­­ever, for the last 10 years the New Nordic Food wave and the increased interest in good food, slow food, local food and farm to table theories have led to an explosion in quality. “We try to give an overview of how and why this change occurred. We also try to combine the classic Danish food tastings with foods that have that little twist, that little something extra which characterize the new Nordic food wave. For an example, we have open-faced sandwiches, with that little twist. Later we stop at the oldest candy shop in town to try the country‘s most traditional candy.” Get all senses involved “All human history, in my opinion, can be told through food. Wars are fought over it, trade is undertaken in its name and it can make or break civilizations. Therefore telling the story of the food is telling the story of a nation and its culture, and it’s an important gateway to getting to know someone. Furthermore, going on a food tour is a great way to get all the senses involved and to

create a memorable experience. I am particularly fond of going through the Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen and seeing the flowers and edible plants come up in spring. There are also beehives

here and we serve fresh honey from these local bees. I love the connection of the tasting and the place as it makes me feel I can taste the park around me!” v

Get a taste of Denmark with Food Gorge on licorice and have your fill of smørrebrød. See for more information and booking.

Denmark is delicious. WOW air offers cheap flights to Copenhagen from USA and Iceland, several times a week, all year round.

Issue three


Explore Boston one bite at a time

On foot adventure! After living in Seattle, Alyssa Daigle decided to move back to the place she calls home, Boston, and start a food touring company, focusing on the South End neighborhood of Boston. by Fjóla Helgadóttir Photos: Courtesy of Bites of Boston


started Bites of Boston Food Tours in October 2011. I loved the whole concept of this type of tour and knew the South End would be a great place to showcase in this manner with its eclectic mix of foods and culture. A food tour com­­bines the elements of touring and eating for a truly unique and filling experience. Our tour is a walk­­ing tour, so you have the chance to move about on foot, which, in our opinion is the best way to explore an area. The tours combine the oppor­­tunity to stroll through the neighborhood


WOW Power to the people

streets experiencing the local culture, see sights of historical, architectural and cultural interest, sample foods from local restaurants, cafes and specialty food markets and savor a one of a kind activity perfect for locals and visitors alike.” Fun and fulfilling Alyssa hopes to expand to other Boston neigh­bor­ hoods in the future but right now her main focus is food tours in the South End and it looks like she’s got it down to a T. “Our tour takes place in a very

diverse neighborhood from both a culinary and cultural standpoint. As such, we have access to a diverse selection of ethnic foods. The neighborhood is a very hot culinary destination right now and many popular local chefs have opened new eater­ ies with fun concepts. On our tour, you sample a range of foods from chef-inspired sandwiches, Venezuelan appetizers, authentic New England fried clams, local artisan cheeses and more. We visit eateries that have been in the South End from 6 to 106 years! Our tour currently runs for 3 hours

bow front homes and learning about the history and modern culture of the neighborhood as much as they enjoy sampling the local fare! The South End has a colorful past and a vibrant present and also happens to be the largest intact Victorian row house community in the United States (listed on the National Register of historic places). Our aim is to give our guests a taste, both literally and figuratively of Boston’s South End.” Food tours are a great way to explore what are often less travelled

from start to finish and covers just over a mile of walking. It’s a fun, flavorful and fulfilling on foot adventure for those who enjoy walking, exploring and eating!” A literal taste of Boston The South End is a gorgeous neighborhood that has been through its share of ups and downs over the years since it was first constructed in the 1850s. “Our guests love seeing the beautiful brick

and less touristy areas of a city in the company of an expert local guide. In addition, a food tour enables you to sample local cuisine from a number of restaurants in a short period of time. When tak­en at the beginning of your visit to a city, food tours are a great way to not only explore local food and culture, but also to gain an introduction to a num­ber of eateries you may want to visit for a meal later during your stay.”v

Bites of Boston offers tours between April and November. They do have gift certificates available and you know what they say, experiences make great gifts! Check it out:

Feel like going to Massachusetts? WOW air offers cheap flights from Europe to Boston 4-5 times a week all year round.


Freshly caught seafood and free range lamb – with a modern twist

DINNER – 6 COURSE MENU STARTS WITH A “REFRESHING“ SHOT OF THE NATIONAL SNAPS BRENNIVÍN FOLLOWED BY A BITE-SIZED TASTE OF PUFFIN ICELANDIC OCEAN PERCH Slow cooked ocean perch, beetroot purée, spicy butter, serrano ham, beetroot ICELANDIC MINKE WHALE Shallot vinaigrette, crispy Jerusalem artichokes ICELANDIC SEA TROUT Yuzu mayo, truffle mayo, crispy quinoa, apple ICELANDIC PLAICE Samphire, green asparagus, blood orange, lime beurre blanc RACK OF FREE RANGE ICELANDIC LAMB Lamb fillet, leeks, pickled onions, browned celeriac, baked carrots, spinach and dill cream Dessert by pastry chef Axel Þ.

Austurstræti 16

101 Reykjavík

Tel: 551 0011

CHOCOLATE ROSE Chocolate mousse, raspberry gel, Sacher layer

Issue three


Hungry for Washington, D.C.

Eat your way through DC’s neighborhoods! It is safe to say that everyone can find tasty treats that tickle their fancy in the US capital. What better way to get to know a city than to follow its food? by Fjóla Helgadóttir Photos: Thinkstockphotos and courtesy of DC Metro Food Tours


eff Swedarsky, owner of DC Metro Food Tours, started building his company in late 2007 and ran his first tour in 2008. Although his first tour didn’t go quite as planned, he now runs thousands of tours and events in over 20 cities. “I started because I wanted to do something that I truly love, and food tours combine much of that together. I have lived in several countries and travelled extensively throughout the world. I love how food and drinks are so important in defining different cultures. It tells the history of the people


WOW Power to the people

and is a source of their pride. It took me some time to actually start my first food tour company. The first tour I ever did, I planned to make perfect. Instead, it rained so hard that I had to drive the two elderly women from New York who had signed up for the tour, from place to place. It was a wonderful time but a rough start.” Gourmet Georgetown At its roots, a food tour is a guided

“Food tours are a great opportunity to explore the city and give people a chance to taste food from a number of places in a short time. It also gives them a good look at the place they are visiting.”

activity that teaches you about the history, culture, architecture and food of a particular area. During the tour, there are 4-5 stops at great local places where you get specially created dishes and drinks that really tell the story of the area. Jeff says their most popular tour is the one in Georgetown, which was once part of Maryland, and there is regional food that represents its roots and great stuff from today too. “Picking a favorite tour is like favoring

one of your kids but some of the many great ones include: West Side Market, Cleveland, Little Ethiopia, DC, French Quarter and beyond New Orleans. There are tours that are less adventurous and ones that are more historic. Some are very ethnic centric and others are tasting tours like stand up/market style tours. It really depends on what you like.” Get to know the city If you visit Washington, D.C. and go on one of Jeff’s food tours you can expect trying food and drink that is local or significant to the area of a specific tour in some way or another. It should make sense to the area as much as the history or the notable people. The food will be either family or tapas style but for an individual. “Food tours are a great opportunity to explore the city and give people a chance to taste food from a number of places in a short time. It also gives them a good look at the place they are visiting. They are also a great value, especially when it’s a food tour and not a tasting tour. And, to be sure, they’re also a lot of fun!” v Work up an appetite and check out your dream tour of DC with DC Metro Food Tours at

Hungry for more? WOW air offers cheap flights from Europe to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore 4-5 times a week all year round.

We bring you closer to your loved ones MoneyGram money transfer is available at more than 30 post offices across Iceland Easy. Fast. Reliable. Service number: +354 580 1200 For calls to this number from mobile phones an additional fee may be charged by your provider.

© 2015 MoneyGram. MoneyGram and the Globe are registered trademarks of MoneyGram. All other marks are the property of their respective owner. MoneyGram International Limited is authorised and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Issue three


Icelandic chef in London

Creating the right textures Icelander Agnar Sverrisson is a well-respected chef in the heart of London with an excellent sense of the food culture. by Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson


gnar and Xavier Rousset own the Michelin starred restaurant, Texture on 34 Portman Street and three sister restaurants in Fetter Lane, Marylebone and in Mayfair going by the name 28°-50°Wine Workshop & Kitchen. Agnar recently got involved with the restaurant at 101 Hotel in Reykjavík and also owns two fast food places called ‘Dirty Burger & Ribs’ in Reykjavik city. A dream come true After Agnar arrived in London in 2001, he began working at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons in Oxford for Raymond Blanc, a two Michelin starred chef. Agnar worked his way up and got to know Rousset who was Head Sommelier at the time. “I began in the lower ranks in the kitchen with 50 cooks in a big operation. In three years, after a lot of hard work, I became head chef. To reach

There is ample room to relax in front of the bar.


WOW Power to the people

Agnar prefers to have the same people in his team working all days to keep the same high standards so Texture closes on Sundays and Mondays to allow the staff to have their required rest.

the top in this profession, you need a strong mind, endurance, cooking skills, good judgment in managing the staff, and commitment.” Agnar dreamt about opening his own restaurant in London. His dream became reality in 2007 with the opening of Texture, a restaurant with the largest champagne list in the UK and a dining room that seats 50 guests. Texture received

a Michelin star in 2010, which is considered an outstanding and much valued achievement. “We needed one million pounds to get started. It was hard to find investors and we spoke to 150 of them before finding a group of twelve. It took two years. The restaurant business in London is difficult and nine out of ten restaurants go bankrupt within a year, so naturally investors are reluctant. We wanted to offer fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere, so we don‘t use table cloths or request fancy clothes.” Scandinavian influences Agnar prefers to have the same people in his team working all days to keep the same high standards so Texture closes on Sundays and Mondays to allow the staff to have their required rest. It is hard work for the cooks when they are on duty, from seven in the morning until midnight or beyond. According to Agnar there are some changes happening in the preparation of food in restaurants. “Chefs in various restaurants are lightening up dishes and making them less complicated. People want simpler food these days.

Many say that London is the center of the world’s food culture. The options are endless. In fine dining half the experience is drinking wine. It is rather an exception if people skip wine during the meal, even at lunchtime.” Texture’s menu shows a lot of Scandinavian influences, using ingredients such as salmon and lobster from Iceland and king crab from Norway. “We don’t use cream or butter in our dishes. The taste is sharper, lighter and cleaner without those ingredients and it’s easier on the stomach. It is also important to have the right produce. Restaurants are now using various new fish types, like ling, pike and hage fish; you can’t cook cod all the time.” v

Agnar Sverrisson is Icelandic and has lived and worked in England since 2001.

Texture is in a busy area in London on 34 Portman Street, just a moment away from Oxford Street.

Check out the fine food of London the next time you’re in town. Your palate will thank you.

Feel the texture of UK’s capital and find cheap flights to London from Boston and Washington, D.C. via Iceland with WOW air.

Issue three


This and that …

mostly this

The Pinquins.

Cycle Music and Art Festival

Contemporary art never looked so good! Care to wash your hair with cow urine? Young entrepreneurs from the University of Reykja­­vik are making organic soap made from cow urine called Q Shampoo. The main ingredient is keyta or reserved cow urine. Supposedly it’s very healthy for your hair because of all the vitamins and mineral nutrients. The soap also has coconut oil, sunflower oil and unsurprisingly some perfumes. All ingredients are organic and environmentally friendly. Q Shampoo will soon be available in various organic shops in Iceland. So what are you waiting for, lather some cow urine in your hair!

The city of Kopavogur invites you to their Cycle Music and Art Festival held from the 13th to the 16th of August in various locations around Kopavogur, including the Gerðarsafn Art Museum, Salurinn Concert Hall and other less traditional places for concerts, installations and happenings. The festival will focus on contemporary art in various forms such as music, graphic art, architecture and performance art. The artists performing include winner of the Nordic Council Music Prize 2014, Danish composer Simon Steen-Andersen, sound artist Christina Kubisch, perfomance artist and composer Jennifer Walshe, chamber orchestra Psappha, musical group Ensemble Adapter, artist Sigurður Guðjónsson, performance group Gjörningaklúbburinn and percussion trio the Pinquins.

Chocolate and licorice together again! Icelandic candy is rumored to cater especi­ally to those who love the mixture of licorice and chocolate, which in Ice­­ land’s case is most of the nation’s popu­­ lation! The latest addition to the craze is Nói Siríus new chocolate cover­­ed licorice candy bar—because you know, Icelanders can never have too much of this delicious duo! So next time you’re in Iceland, make sure you give it a try!

Photo: ESA

Testing a Mars rover’s camera in Iceland The ExoMars rover is scheduled for landing on Mars in January 2019. But not before testing its camera in the wildly adventurous and similar to Mars landscape of Iceland. The camera is helpful in locating which part of Mars is likely to be viable before further research is initiated. The rover’s training camp was situated in Namafjall, a geothermal area in the northeast region of Iceland.

Pssst! Let us WOW you! Go to and sign up for our newsletter. Don’t worry, we’ll only send you relevant offers and bargains. C’mon! Blend in with the cool kids and JOIN THE CLUB!


WOW Power to the people

Multimedia installation VERA:KVEN:VERA (being:female:being) is a multimedia installation by Guðrún Sigríður Haraldsdóttir which she created to coincide with this year’s celebration of 100 years of women’s right to vote in Iceland. The installation is made up of three different strands including letters and portraits of women from around 1915 found in the Municipal Archives of Reykjavík. Guests are offered to take part in the installation as an addition to the digital projection. The installation is open every day from 12:00- 6:00 pm this June in the Reykjavik City Hall.

Hit the beach in Reykjavik Don’t miss Ásgeir on tour this summer! With Ásgeir currently working on his second album, this summer’s tour is the last tour for a while for this amazing young talent. Check out Ásgeir’s tour dates on There are a lot of exciting ones including Iceland, The Netherlands, Germany, Australia and more!

With the weather being less than pleasing in Reykjavik last summer, Icelanders are hoping for a break this year, praying for the mercury to wander up the thermometer along with a tiny bit of that big old yellow thing in the sky, they call “The Sun”. At first glimpse of the sun, Icelanders can be seen mopping up ice cream wearing their short shorts and sleeveless t-shirts and when we find that we can’t stand the heat (!) we head down to Nauthólsvík Beach for a soak in the geothermal pool or the sea. Admission to the area is free in the summer and renting of towels and bathing suits is fairly cheap.

This and that …

mostly this

Icelandic design at its finest


esigner Magnea Einarsdóttir, who is known for taking the Icelandic wool to the next level, has come out with a jewelry line in collaboration with Aurum Icelandic Design, consisting of rings, necklaces and earrings. Magnea graduated from Central Saint Martins - University of the Arts in London in 2012 and her graduation collection consisted of an innovative mixture of wool and rubber. Magnea’s collections have since shared the knitting element of clothing, offering a modern take on the Icelandic wool and the Scandinavian heritage. Her jewelry line is equally intriguing and is luckily available at Aurum’s store in Bankastræti 4. Magnea’s clothing is available at JÖR store in Laugavegur 89. For amazing inspiration visit Magnea’s website

All you need in one place • Skólavör›ustígur 19 tel.: (+354) 552 1890 SWEATERS AND SOUVENIERS, NO KNITTING MATERIAL:

• Radisson Blu, Hótel SAGA tel.: (+354) 562 4788 • Laugavegur 53b tel.: (+354) 562 1890

Issue three


This and that …

mostly this


he Icelandic film Hrútar, Rams, won the Prix Un Certain Regard, which is the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section, at the 68th film festival in Cannes held this past May.

The film is the first Icelandic film in full length to win an award at Cannes. Rams tells the story of two ram breeding brothers who haven’t spoken to each other in forty years and how they must reconcile to save their flocks of rams who have been hit with looping ill, an acute virus disease. If you’re visiting Iceland this summer you are in luck as the film will be shown



also. . . .


1/10 the best restaurants in iceland

“ the best thai food

Ban Thai

many famous people are regulars here

Ram drama!

the finest Thai restaurant in Iceland

Laugavegur 130, ofan við Hlemm 118

WOW Power to the people

Tel : 692-0564

in movie theaters in Reykjavik and with English subtitles in Háskólabíó every day at 5:30 pm from May 28th. Tickets available both at the theater and online at So, if the weather’s acting up, head to the theater and enjoy some outstanding Icelandic cinematography!

New album from Of Monsters and Men


veryone’s favorite Icelandic indie folk band, Of Monsters and Men, have a new album coming out this June. The album, Beneath the Skin, includes the single “Crystals” which dropped in March and has already gained massive popularity in Iceland. The first video to “Crystals” stars one of Iceland’s beloved actors Sigurður Sigurjónsson, who also plays the lead in the award winning Icelandic movie Hrútar (Rams). Of Monsters and Men is currently on tour in Europe and Australia with an upcoming tour in North America this fall. Buy your tickets at

Attention book lovers! Icelandic crime novel Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson has become a best seller in the UK, likely making it the first Icelandic novel to top the list of Amazon Kindle Store best sellers. The book is a part of a book series called the Dark Iceland, set in Siglufjorður, a small town in northern Iceland. Ari Thór, a rookie policeman, is sent to investigate two murders but has a hard time uncovering the mystery that shrouds the town. Get your hands on this thrilling book before the second book of the series, Nightblind, comes out, due in the UK in June 2016! Available on Amazon in Kindle edition and paperback.

This and that …

mostly this

A movie lover’s paradise


íó Paradís is a nonprofit organization run by Iceland’s professional filmmaking guilds. It is Iceland’s first and only art-house cinema, located in the heart of downtown Reykja­­ vík, screening the latest art-house releases from all around the world, as well as cult films and Ice­­landic films. The theater provides a warm, cozy environment for film lovers of all kinds—both in its three screening rooms and its well-stocked bar with happy hour

every day between 17:00 and 19:30. This summer Bíó Paradís is proud to pre­­sent some of Iceland’s latest homegrown film talent—films that have traveled the world, charmed international audiences and won awards, with all of them screened with English subtitles. Among them is Rams, which won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes last May. Bíó Paradís also offers some of the most popular Icelandic films of the past year—a great opportunity

to catch up on what you’ve missed including films such as Of Horses and Men from director Benedikt Erlingsson, which won the Nordic Council Film Prize in 2014. Another interesting film is Life In a Fishbowl (Vonarstræti) from director Baldvin Z, telling the story of three very different people whose lives intertwine for a moment in unexpected ways. Even if you love the Icelandic weather it’s a good excuse to go to the movies.

Check out Bíó Paradís screening schedule at: Facebook: Twitter: @bioparadis

At your service- Anywhere- Anytime

We´ll make you a Comfortable Price offer!

Special sightseeing taxi tours We specialize in personalized sightseeing day trips to the natural wonders of Iceland – for small groups of 4-8 persons. All major credit cards accepted by the driver.

To book in advance: tel:+354 588 5522 or on E-mail:

Issue three




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.

Text by

What’s going on over here?

long tattooing sessions and show off freshly made body art. Both day passes and weekend passes are availa­ble and pre-booking inquiries can be made with Reykjavík Ink or directly with the artists.

What: The Icelandic Tattoo Convention When: June 5-7 Where: Reykjavík Ink addicts and body art aficionados will gather at Gamla Bio this summer for the 10th annual Icelandic Tattoo Convention. Hosted by Reykjavík Ink and Bar 11, the convention started off with just a handful of artists, mostly local, crammed into the old Gaukur á Stöng bar and for the past couple of years has been held in the courtyard of Bar 11. Now it will celebrate its tenth anniversary by moving into the biggest venue it’s ever had and bringing in more artists than ever before to fill the hall with the roar of the buzzing needle. Tattoo artists from here and abroad will be there, offering tattoos of all different styles—traditional, portraiture, Japanese, Americana, kitsch, the list goes on. Artists such as Jesse Gordon, Jam­es E. Haynes, Erik Axel, Melissa Baker, Brandon Roberts, Ben Cheese, Dave Woodard and many more, will be on hand for consultations and bookings, although booking in ad­ vance is highly recommended. The tattooing goes on from noon until the early night and then the night turns into a party with bands taking the stage to distract everyone from their sore limbs and facilitate some postinking beer drinking. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded ink lovers, watch some impressively


WOW Power to the people

day. The island has two beautiful guesthouses, a fantastic restau­ rant, campsite, indoor swimming pool and a supermarket, and of course, wonderful townspeople.

Find ‘The Icelandic Tattoo Convention’ on Facebook and like their page.

What: The Icelandic Highland Games When: June 7 Where: Selfoss What: Grímsey Days When: June 5-7 Where: Grímsey All the way up north, past Akureyri and far beyond the tip of the fjord lies the remote island of Grímsey, Iceland’s closest encounter with the Arctic Circle. Every summer, the small, tight-knit community of around 90 people celebrates their beloved island with three days of activities, music, games and good fun. The island is also famous for being rich in birdlife, especially as an Arctic tern nesting ground and the festival has a traditional egg search that can prove to be quite the rousing adventure with the wild birds flying overhead. Grímsey is accessible by plane or by ferry and is particularly ideal to visit in June as they have the brightest around-the-clock light of anywhere in Iceland. Even during the night, it is a Gríms­ey

The Icelandic Highland Games in Selfoss is an Icelandic curtsy to the Scottish tradition. Originally clans would compete against each other in sports that looked more like war games, but nowadays disciplines are much friendlier. This year’s event will be held on June 7, the same day as the Seaman Festival, from 1 pm to 4 pm in the town of Selfoss, not far from the capital. Strong men and women will compete in kilts and take part in events based on everyday life in the highlands back in the day. You can expect a lot of emotions. See 7 kg rocks flung in the air and feel the energy of the island.

What: The Viking Festival When: June 12-17 Where: Hafnarfjörður Iceland’s oldest festival dedicated to the traditions and culture of our Viking ancestors takes place every year in Hafnarfjörður. Since 1995, the

event has been a gathering place for artisans from far and wide that give demonstrations and workshops of all kinds. The festival highlights ships, cuisine, games, crafts, archery, battle demonstrations and music. One could find themselves joyfully taking in a good meal when some raucous battle breaks out with men trying to “kill” each other. It’s all in good fun and in the spirit of our forefathers. Although the festival’s focus is on authenticity and tradition, they also embrace the opportunity for merging cultures between old and modern times building a strong union be­tween the regulars who attend year after year and newcomers to the celebration. There has even been a Viking wedding and baptism at the event, marking the importance of these traditions for many guests.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the event will undoubtedly go above and beyond to mark the occasion. During the daytime, the marketplace will be open from 1 PM to 8 PM where guests can see magnificent handmade wares of leather, metal, weaving and much more. At night, the restaurant will serve grand nightly feasts with live entertainment, musicians, story­­ tellers, jesters plus various and sundry surprises. As always, the event takes place in the Viking Village of Fjörukráin in Hafnar­­fjörð­­ur, just a few kilometers from Reykjavík.

Visit for more information.



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.

Issue three




What’s going on over here?

hall and the festival also includes drift racing, a burn-out competition, drag racing and last year’s hit—a mud bogging. Competitions also include who has the loudest car audio in town competition, auto-x and safe driving. Afterwards we encourage you to chill out while the Live2Cruize grill is on. Expect tire smoke and good time!

time in Bíldudalur, a small village of only 166 inhabitants nestled in the West Fjords. An entire week full of concerts, movies, theater plays and role playing games will take place in the adventurous and remote kingdom of Bildalia which consists of Bíldudalur, Patreksfjörður and Barðaströnd. Open your creative mind, dress up in the SteampunkVictorian outfit and become a unique star living the adventure. The admission to all outside activities is free of charge but you can always support this magic kingdom by buying a permanent citizenship with a passport at the borders. Read up on Bildalia before you go at

What: Shell Car Week When: June 16–20 Where: Akureyri Held in Akureyri, the northern capital of Iceland, Shell Car Week, June 16-20, introduces the biggest annual car and motorcycle related gathering in Iceland. On June 17, Iceland’s Independence Day you can attend a huge car show in the Boginn sports

What: Brákarhátíð When: June 27 Where: Borgarnes What: Steampunk Iceland When: June 20–27 Where: Bíldudalur When it comes to science fiction and fantasy world, Iceland offers the amazing and innovative Steampunk Iceland Festival, held for the second

“Brákarhátíð” or The Brák Festival, honors the memory of a slave from the time of settlement named Þorgerður Brák who fostered one of Iceland’s most famous saga characters, Egill Skallagrímsson. Egill was regarded both as a hero and a scoundrel, depending who you ask. Þorgerður Brák met her

fate trying to escape the wrath of Egill’s father when she tried to save the boy’s best friend from being slain; she ran along the coast of Borgarnes and jumped into the sea, tried swimming to a nearby island, but was struck with a stone and drowned. Her body was never found. Despite the grim origins, this festival is pure family fun and completely free. Starting with a fun-run for everyone, the day’s activities include sailing, mudwrestling, old Viking games in Skalla­ grímur’s Garden in Borgarnes and a sing along at the end of the day. For more information visit www.

What: All Tomorrow’s Parties When: July 2-4 Where: Ásbrú (Former NATO Base), Keflavík The third All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival in Iceland takes place from July 2-4. Situated in Ásbrú, a former Nato Base on the Reykjanes Peninsula, only 5 minutes from Keflavik International Airport. The Blue Lagoon is nearby which makes relaxing after a good night out very convenient. Since 2000 the ATP Festival has spread from UK to Australia, Japan, Spain, USA and other countries but the organizers underline they want the festival to stay intimate and fan-friendly. In Iceland, ATP hosts two indoor stages and a cinema where you can watch movies picked by ATP’s artists who are asked to curate the event by choosing their favorite tasty bits from the field of cinema and music. This year’s superb Icelandic edition is bigger than ever with amazing performances from Iggy Pop, Belle and Sebastian, Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mudhoney, our very own Kiasmos, HAM, Ghostigital and many more international and Icelandic stars. Honestly, you have no excuse for missing out on this great event. Find ATP Iceland at and book your tickets.


WOW Power to the people

Issue three




What’s going on over here?

family such as paint­ball, laser tag and go-karting in addition to music performances, art exhi­bitions and a number of barbeques organized in public spaces and private gardens. Are you curious to know who will win the title of “Most redheaded Icelander of 2015”? Don’t forget to attend the Lopapeysan Party on Saturday night, which is one of the most joyful points of the festival.

What: Irish Days When: July 2–5 Where: Akranes

What: Húnavaka When: July 16-19 Where: Blönduós The small northern town of Blönduós holds an annual festival for families and kids of all ages to celebrate the joy of their community and general good summertime vibes. The festival puts a heavy emphasis on the local community, giving the stage to its kids and locals to get up and share something fun. The festival also features all-around wholesome entertainment like Iceland’s beloved singer Páll Óskar. This year the smash hit Sirkus Íslands is set to head up there to perform and will no doubt deliver a dazzling show. Other activities include bouncy castles, foam playgrounds, food, dancing, sing-alongs and much more. At night, once the little ones have been tucked in, the night goes on for the older kids with some good old-fashioned country partying. It’s a great place to go to experience the time honored Icelandic tradition of a small town festival.

Over 1100 years have passed since the two Irish brothers Þormóður and Ketill Bresason settled in the area of Akranes with their families back in 880. The annual Irish Days Festival is held in Akranes for an entire weekend in July with the town turning Irish green to commemorate the brothers. The festival offers exciting competitions for the whole

Photo: Alisa Kalyanova

What: LungA Festival When: July 12–19 Where: Seyðisfjörður Since 2000, young, creative people have packed their bags and headed east to Seyðisfjörður to take part in LungA, a week long workshop centered festival. The festival has gained a lot of positive power and each year the atmosphere is full of creativity and inspiring vibes. Young people interested in art, music and culture can seek advice from international artists ready to share their valuable experience, knowledge, skills and ideas and expressing their soul’s melody during performances of many kinds. Art exhibitions, fashion shows, lectures, workshops and concerts are held for an entire week. It’s a great opportunity to meet artsy people from all over the country and feel the Icelandic free spirit that lasts long after the dust settles. Everyone is welcome to come, take part in events and enjoy their time at LungA where many tal­­ented people meet in one place to celebrate creativity. Are you hungry for new experiences? Be sure to attend LungA Art Festival this year! Find out more at


WOW Power to the people

What: The Reykjavik Jazz Festival When: August 12-16 Where: Harpa Concert Hall Let’s jazz it up! The Reykjavik Jazz Festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year, on August 12-16th in Harpa Concert Hall. The festival will kick off with its family oriented parade through town where everyone is encouraged to bring an instrument and take part. The festival will offer over 20 events with Icelandic as well as international bands, free events at happy hour, master classes and late night jam sessions. Detailed program will be available on as well as ticket information. Find them on Facebook under Rvk.jazz.



What’s going on over here?

What: Kings of Leon When: August 13 Where: Laugardalshöll, Reykjavik


All year-round

All aboard for adventure!

Royalty to rock in Iceland Mark the date and make sure you’re in Iceland on August 13 when Kings of Leon will perform here for the first time in history. Iceland is sure to become a monarchy again during their visit and their concert will be the largest music event in Iceland this summer. Kings of Leon was established in 1999 by brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill and their cousin Matthew Followill, all of whom come from Nashville, Tennessee. The band has headlined at various large music festivals, such as Roskilde, Coachella, Glastonbury, Rock Werchter and Lollapalooza, in addition to a number of large venue concerts that have all been sold out as the band is known for giving an awesome show as well as an energetic stage performance. Kings of Leon have released six studio albums, they got the BRIT Awards for Best Foreign Band and Best Foreign Album for their fourth album, Only by the Night (2008) and in 2010 they also received Grammy Awards in various categories such as Album of the Year and Best Rock Song for their song Use Somebody which became an instant classic. It’s safe to say that Kings of Leon will rock Iceland on August 13 with an awesome show where they’ll be sure to perform all their greatest hits such as Use Somebody, Sex on Fire, Closer, Supersoaker, Wait for Me and Radioactive. Kings of Leon are known for their powerful shows so don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Iceland and see these rock legends for yourself.

Ticket sales will begin June 16. More information about tickets and prices will be revealed at and at so be prepared to grab your ticket and book a trip to Iceland in August with WOW air.

100% ING



We BB your catcQh on-board! May-Aug

WE GO THE EXTRA MILE! Issue three 125 Book online / Call us +354 560 8800, or visit our ticket sale at the old harbour


23 August - 22 September Everyone knows you love the saying “Paint the town red.” Stop taking it so literally though. That’s why you’re not welcome in the town of Raufarhöfn anymore!


23 September - 23 October Life is teaching you a lesson. If you are not nice to people, they won’t like you; except if you’re Simon Cowell, then carry on. The rest of you Libras, stop acting like you’re Simon Cowell.


24 October - 21 November Someone will finally buy that piece of trash car of yours; and call you every time they get stuck inside it. Should have fixed those locks…



21 March - 19 April

22 November - 21 December

Even though you like staying in groups, try wandering from the herd once in a while. It is not cool taking your grandmother with you to the toilet—every—single—time. Grow up, man.

That thing you were going to get checked, you know, down there? Oh, get your head out of the gutter, “down there” means down on the ground of course! It will take care of itself; eventually, or you could just move. It is completely up to you - and that guy. Whatever. Consider this your warning.


20 April - 20 May Your annoying neighbor will win the lottery this month. That smart ass.


21 May - 21 June This month, people won’t be as afraid of you as they have grown accustomed to be. Maybe this is telling you something. Make it your mission to be nicer, or live up to the standards, Scary Spice.


22 December - 19 January You will go to the supermarket and meet the love of your life, or a complete idiot. You will know in the first few minutes. By that time it will already be too late and they will talk your ear off until you get to the bus stop. With your luck they are also taking the same bus as you, and oh look at that, they live in your neighborhood.

Aquarius Cancer

22 June - 22 July Be nicer to your mother and pick up at least every other call from her. She will remember it when she’s out shopping for your birthday present.

20 January - 18 February The odds of losing weight this month are slim to none. Get it, slim to none? Anyway, just enjoy your holiday. Eat, drink and be merry, God knows you deserve it.

Pisces Leo

23 July - 22 August Yes, you have a mane like a Leo, and yes, it’s time to cut it all off. Your neck will thank you for it, and frankly, your shower drain will be quite grateful too.


19 February - 20 March That terribly rude person you have to make contact with every day is contemplating being nicer in the future—or kicking the rudeness into overdrive. It has yet to be determined. Disclaimer: This horoscope is total and utter nonsence. Any accuracies, real or imagined by readers, are purely incidental.

WOW Power to the people

Issue three


WOW Sudoku But how do I do it?

Really, really bored? Here are a few sudokus to make time fly.

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?


WOW Power to the people

Issue three


The Traveling Inquisition

Designer on the go by Fjóla Helgadóttir Photos: Íris Ann

Auður Gná studied interior design in Barcelona and loved the city so much she ended up living there for 10 years. At the moment she’s working on a product line for Further North, her home accessories brand. The last city she visited was Barcelona, which she makes sure to visit every now and then.

“The most curi­ ous meal I’ve had was in Lisbon where I got the kind of national dish of rabbit cooked in its own blood.”


ou can never travel enough. I have visited a few countries both in Europe and in other continents, such as America and Africa, but there are many places that I still need to visit and the list just keeps getting longer. In the ideal world I would find a way to travel more, combine it with my design work, that would include two of my favorite hobbies, and if food could be involved I would have a perfect plan for the future!”

Starstruck in Jamaica “I think Jamaica comes closest to being the most memorable country I have visited. The story of the slaves brought from Africa to work on plantations for Spanish and Portuguese landowners, the old slave language still spoken everywhere, the Rastafarians and how they have had to fight for the way of living, the diversity of religious com­­­muni­­­ties, all of this made the trip there very memorable. And there at Dunn’s River Falls was the only time I can say I was starstruck. That incredibly beautiful place played a big part in the famous movie Cocktail, with Tom Cruise. He also played in a film made in Iceland, the recent Oblivion, that might give some visitors to Iceland the same starstruck kind of an experience I had in Jamaica.” Tips for tourists in Iceland “People visiting Iceland should just travel around the island and enjoy its unique nature while searching for all of Iceland’s best restaurants. I also recom­­mend going to all the swimming pools you can find on the way, especially in the small village Hofsós in the north of Iceland, where, a few years ago, they opened a small swimming pool with the most spectacular view you can imagine. And a trip to the Westfjords is highly recommended. One of my favorite places in Iceland is a small village called Flateyri. It’s located in one of Iceland’s most spectacular fjords and there you can find a small restaurant called Vagninn which is only open for 2 months a year. You can also take a trip to the town of Ísafjörður where you will find one of the best restaurants in Iceland called Fjöruhúsið. The next trip I have planned is precisely to the Westfjords for a big reunion this summ­ er with my extended family.” Different food cultures “One of my favorite hobbies is food. In Spain you can’t avoid learning how to appreciate the value of a good meal in good company, and I think it is completely admirable how they culti­­vate that part of their daily lives, some­­ thing Icelanders should adopt. The most curious meal I’ve had was in Lisbon where I got the kind of national dish of rabbit cooked in its own blood. A very unappetizing dish to look at, but very delicious!” v


WOW Power to the people



in Kringlan, Skeifan, Smáralind, Garðabær, Eiðistorg, Spöngin, Holtagarðar, Borganes, Selfoss, Njarðvík & Akureyri.

Reykjavík area

Hagkaup is the only Hypermarket in Iceland. We offer the widest range of merchandise in Iceland & our locations in Skeifan, Garðabær & Eiðistorg are open 24 hours.

Welcome to the only ! d n a l e Ic n i t e k r a m hyper The stores in Borganes, Selfoss and Njarðvík are Non Food stores.

Issue three

fun shopping



WOW Power to the people

– Visit our stores: 101 Reyk jav í k , A k u rey r i a nd G eysi r, Hau k ada l. w w w.geysi –

WOW magazine - The Food Issue  

What to eat when in Iceland - or abroad at any of WOW air's destinations? Find out about good food, street food, candy and those specialitie...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you