WOW magazine issue 6 2016

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e azin mag ISSUE SIX 2016






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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

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WE LC OM E 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 cenTer haukadalur / / tel: +354 480 6800 / / Issue six 5


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We look forward to seeing you Please book in advance at

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12 A LETTER FROM THE CEO 14 ICELAND’S FOODIE SCENE From local delicacies to Iceland’s food horrors, our friends at WakeUpReykjavik have got you covered.




hile Icelanders get ready for the darkest months of the year, adding lights to their homes and cranking up the geothermal heating, we hear news that winter tourism is on the rise. This formerly unpopular season has now been discovered and it’s not surprising since winter and darkness can be every bit as charming as the endless summer days and the vibrant autumn colors. Northern Lights aside, looking at the ethereal landscape under a blanket of snow, taking a short walk during a blizzard or cozying up in a comfy café are all things that make a winter vacation in Iceland worthwhile; not to mention the cheaper fares and accommodation during the “off” season. Icelanders have borrowed a lot of traditions from their cousins in Scandinavia and during this season we take a leaf out of their book of “hygge.” We’re flying into a cozy time where we light candles every chance we get, brew hot chocolate and snuggle up with a book. This is the season to be cozy. Join us?

ma gaz



Happy travels, Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir, editor in chief


POWER TO THE PEOPLE three 2015 Issue six 2016


On the cover Heli-skiing is a relatively young sport in Iceland but according to Brooks Pierce it is the perfect way to experience something real and unique in Iceland. Read more on pages 34-38.




16 WHAT NOT TO DO IN ICELAND If you’re going Northern Lights hunting in Iceland you need to know this first. 18 HIGHER STATE The Icelandic Highland is a barren wild­ er­­­ness of rough terrain in the middle of Iceland which offers amazing adventures during any season if you know how to get there. 24 THE ALTERNATIVE SEASON Winter is here and Iceland has donned a pristine white cloak. Find out how to spend your winter vacation in Iceland.

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82 THE U.S. CUSTOMS DECLARATION FORM What is this? Why do I need to fill it out?

32 WOW NORTHERN LIGHTS RUN A surefire way to stay warm in Iceland is to keep moving and come February we’ve got just the thing. 34 HELI-SKIING ON THE TROLL PENINSULA Looking for a new discovery, a new adventure, specialty-ski advisor Brooks Pierce feared he’d seen it all. Until he went heli-skiing on the Troll Peninsula. 40 THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL COMPANION You might be just one download away from discovering all the secret spots of Iceland. 42 BIKING IN ICELAND The Glacier 360 bike race offers you the chance to bike in Iceland like only a few have done before. 48 HOW TO COOK ICELANDIC Spice up your vacation in Iceland with a local cooking class. 68 SHARING IS CARING We’re so social and want to make more friends. 70 AS THEY GROW Icelandic clothing brand As We Grow, sends a significant message into today’s society of high consumerism. 72 ARCHITECTURAL ARTWORK IN NORTH ICELAND Akureyri, capital of the North, has a new landmark, a concert and conference hall known as Hof. 74 THE FLYING WOW FAMILY Here at WOW air we give our aircraft some unusual registration names. 80 THE VATNAJOKULL REGION Filled with contrasts, the Vatnajökull Re­ gion is a great destination all year round.

118 THIS AND THAT …mainly this. 122 WHAT’S GOING ON? …quite a lot, actually.

30 WELCOME TO MIDDLE-EARTH From hidden people to Hobbits? Icelandic folklore and tales had a big but most-often overlooked influence on J.R.R. Tolkien’s tales.

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!


Heli-skiing on the Troll Peninsula

126 WOW HOROSCOPE What’s in your future? WOW air’s famed astrologist has the answer. 128 BORED ON BOARD? Solve these sudokus.

WOW Destinations 86 New Year’s Eve in Europe Where to party into 2017? 90 Four cities before Christmas Check out the best cities to visit to find those authentic European Christmas markets. 94 The London skyline Take a look at London’s most jaw-dropping views.

130 THE TRAVELING INQUISITION Yoga instructor and yoga studio owner Sólveig Þórarinsdóttir loves all activities that include water.


96 Peaceful Places in Washington, D.C. Looking for those little pockets of tranquility in the middle of seeming chaos? Let us guide you there. 98 Celebrating Montréal 2017 is Montréal’s 375th birthday year and it will be celebrated in style. 100 The Scottish Highlands and the Great Glen Way Make your way into the heart of the Scottish Highlands and take a hike. 102 A short stop in Frankfurt Frankfurt’s cultural, creative and partying side has awoken and is stirring things up again. 104 Boasting Brussels Often overlooked and misunder­­ stood, Brussels is a city full of surprises. 106 Winter in New York City Holiday markets, jazz music, flea markets, ice skating and even a hot chocolate festival are all just waiting to make your snowy-season utopia. 108 Pop the Cork Ireland’s southern “capital” offers picturesque charm and wonderfully welcoming locals.

WOW MAGAZINE STAFF Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Design and layout: Ivan Burkni Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman Contributing writers: Brooks Pierce, Eygló Árna­ dóttir, Sonia Sahni, Christopher Kanal, Krista Connor, Gerður Harðardóttir, Svava Jónsdóttir, Cindy-Lou Dale, Judy Colbert, Conor Purcell, Caron Luteran

© WOW air Katrínartún 12 105 Reykjavík Iceland

WOWAIR.COM Tel: 00 354 590 3020 E-mail: Oddi environmentally certified printing company All rights reserved. Reprinting, direct quoting or recapitulation prohibited except with a written permit from publisher.

110 Art Deco in Miami The coolest thing about a trip to Miami is all the Art Deco buildings that visitors can see in this beach city. 112 Getting to know Pittsburgh, Pa. Known as both Steel City and the City of Bridges, Pittsburgh is a historical and evolving city that you should definitely put on your list. 114 You want more? Check out our other WOW desti­ nations. Where do you want to go?

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

Keeping Iceland warm since 1926 Make-up artist ร strรณs wears Vatnajรถkull Primaloft jacket on location.

Issue six 11 Shop at


WOW what a year! Time flies when you are having fun and we at WOW air are having the time of our lives. No wonder this year has passed in the blink of an eye. 2016 has been an amazing year. We grew our capacity by 130% and still managed to maintain a 90% load factor as we added destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Stockholm, Bristol and Edinburgh among others to a total of 30 destinations. There are now 700 WOWers ensuring that your trip goes as smoothly as possible and working on our mission to enable everybody to fly! We will continue to lower prices and introduce new innovative services and destinations that will allow even more people to travel and explore the wonders of the world. I am tremendously grateful and proud of our team, which continues to make our vision a reality. Another dream come true is heliskiing in Iceland. Where else can you stand on top of a mountain under the midnight sun in early June, wearing only shorts, ski boots and some juicy touring skis, than on the Tröllaskagi Peninsula in North Iceland! Looking over the bay before you jump off the cliff and land on the smooth powdery snow. You simply can’t beat that WOW feeling as you descend the hill, all the way down to the black sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, where a helicopter is waiting to take you for another amazing run. It’s a privilege to have such a playground right in your backyard! All of us at WOW air welcome you on board and wish you a happy holiday and a fantastic New Year! The WOW Saga has just begun. Sincerely, Skúli Mogensen Founder and CEO of WOW air


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The Reyka Brand Story Our Inventive Path to Making Vodka


Born of Iceland Unique Provenance The Reyka story is one of People, Product(ion) and Provenance. And it begins in Iceland. A captivating, one-of-a-kind land of volcanoes and glaciers, geysers and lava fields, Iceland is both beautiful and rugged, fiery and icy. Resourceful people When you’re separated from the world and surrounded by such magnificent natural resources, you learn to be resourceful. And live creatively. So Icelanders bring a unique perspective to the world. We call it an inventive spirit.


Inventive Production Not only was Reyka the first vodka distillery in Iceland, but we built the only Carter-Head Still in the world that distills vodka. It gives us unparalleled purity of spirit with only one distillation. We use pure arctic spring water. To give our vodka its silky finish and allow the flavour to shine through. We use lava rocks as a natural filtration system. They help create Reyka’s clean fresh character and smooth taste. We use geo-thermal energy from volcanic activity to power our distillery without adding impurities to our vodka…or the world. Our master distiller hand crafts Reyka in preciously small batches to ensure each and every bottle retains the highest of high quality


Distinctive Results As unique as the land that inspires it, Reyka captures the spirit of Iceland to make a deliciously smooth vodka with a distinctive taste like no other. Nose: Soft, with delicate hints of vanilla and citrus. Taste: Exceptionally smooth and rounded with a classically grainy flavour profile and a soft natural sweetness; slight hint of wild fruits on aftertaste. People have taken notice. Among other honors, Reyka has won the world’s most prestigious vodka award, the 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) Trophy. Our story is really just beginning. It’s time to share Reyka, and the inventive spirit behind it, with the world. Skal! (That’s cheers in Iceland.)

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A local guide to the Icelandic foodie scene Is there any better way to explore a new culture than through its local food? If you are visiting Reykjavik, the guys at Wake Up Reykjavik are your perfect local friends to show you everything that Reykjavik and its vibrant foodie scene has to offer. Photos: Basti Hansen


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Egill Halldórsson and Daníel Pétursson at Wake Up Reykjavik like to think of themselves as the most fun travel comp­any in Iceland as they offer fun and personal tours around their hometown, Reykjavik, focusing on local food. So far, their reputation is hard to beat as they have gotten outstanding reviews from all over and are currently the no. 1 Food & Drink activity in Reykjavik on Trip Advisor. WOW magazine sat down with the team of foodies and got to know all about it. A PASSION FOR PEOPLE Having been friends since high school, Egill and Daníel share years of experience in the Icelandic restaurant and bar industry. But from that to hosting food tours, how did it happen? “We were constantly meeting new travelers that all had the same question: ‘Where are the best restaurants?’ and ‘What food is a must try for us while we are in Iceland?’ So last summer we realized that with our knowledge of the local foodie scene and our huge passion for meeting new people, we had everything we needed to create something truly unique. We want­ed to give all those adventurous trav­elers an opportunity to experience Reykja­­­­vik through our eyes and through all the Icelandic food that we felt they just should­n’t miss while being here. The end result; our delicious Reykjavik Food Walk was born,” the two friends explain.

“Amazing food doesn’t just happen. Behind it are hard-working families, fascinating stories, ambitious restaurants and ageold traditions. We are a small group of proud local food lovers who are passionate about sharing Iceland’s incredible cuisines with fun, hungry and curious travelers!”

way, we’ve decided to leave the fermented shark, ram testicles and singed sheep heads off the menu. Instead, we explore why we Icelanders are indeed proud of our local food by focusing on the abso­­ lutely most delicious traditional cuisin­es that we still enjoy today. And so far all our guests have been very happy with that approach,” say the two friends laughing. On the Wake Up Reykjavik Food Tour you will have the chance to try the delic­­ ious Icelandic lamb soup that every Ice­ lander grew up loving, have homemade Icelandic ice cream from a secret family recipe, do local cheese and seasonal meat tasting, engage in the rooted-intradition Skyr and eat a hot dog from Iceland’s most famous hot dog stand. You will also be able to delight in the “best lobster soup in the world” and of course, relish a unique dessert unlike anything else. v

Fancy a bite? Go to tours. and book the Reykjavik Food Tour. You won’t regret it.

THE REYKJAVIK FOOD WALK Most people have walked around new cities and dropped into random coffee shops and restaurants on their own, so what is the difference between doing that and joining a Food Walk with Wake Up Reykjavik? “In our delectable tour, we explore downtown Reykjavik through 13 delicious traditional cuisines that you would never come across in your typical ‘to-do in Iceland’ itinerary. For approximately four hours, we will stroll around the city, see most of the city highlights and visit six fabulous rest­­ au­­rants and shops,” Egill and Daníel describe their tour. “Amazing food doesn’t just happen. Behind it are hard-working families, fascinating stories, ambitious restaurants and age-old traditions. We are a small group of proud local food lovers who are passionate about sharing Iceland’s incredible cuisines with fun, hungry and curious travelers!” ICELANDIC FOOD HORRORS When most people think about traditional Icelandic food, they think about the gross stuff, the cuisines that we simply had to eat from January to March to survive the cold winters, back in the day. Does the Reykjavik Food Tour factor that in? “In our tour, we visit everything from well-known ‘must visit restaurants’ small family run businesses and secret local hangouts. While everything we have on the tour is traditional Icelandic in some Issue six 15


Tips for Northern Lights gazing You’ve arrived on this barren but adventurous island and you’re going aurora hunting. That’s great; there are just a few things you must know first. Photo: / GavranBoris

DON’T … … STOP YOUR CAR ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD Even though it’s late at night and it seems like no-one is around, Iceland’s roads, especially the Ring Road (Route 1) are used by professional truckers around the clock, particularly late at night. Parking your car by the side of the road or, even worse, stopping on the road or driving excruciatingly slow, is highly dangerous. And turning off the headlights to minimize light pollution makes it even more so. Find better and safer spots, where your car isn’t in the way, and take a short walk if necessary to the escape electric lights.

Should you wish to venture off the track-most-driven, get a guide to take you or join a scheduled tour. Failing to heed this advice could end up with you getting lost in the Highland or stuck on a mountain.

and might not have time to stop. During the winter, pedestrians on the road or by the side of the road are almost impossible to see. If you must walk on the road, and there isn’t a safe place to do it, it’s best to walk facing traffic, so you can move away in time for passing vehicles, and wear something that reflects the light. … FORGET TO CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST? Icelandic weather is fickle, especially during the winter months. What seems like an innocent cloud can quickly turn into a snowstorm. Check out the weather forecast on and heed any warnings even though “it looks alright.” You should also check out road con­­di­­­ tions before you head out at

… WALK ON THE ROAD No matter the season walking or standing on the roads of Iceland is akin to playing Russian Roulette. We know it doesn’t seem like there’s any traffic but that just means that when cars eventually arrive they’ll be driving fast


Go to for more information on winter driving in Iceland and how to stay safe.

If you’ve rented a car, chances are it’s only intended for regular roads such as Route 1 or similar. Mountain and High­­land roads are not serviced during the winter and should only be driven by

experienced drivers with fully equipped vehicles. Should you wish to venture off the track-most-driven, get a guide to take you or join a scheduled tour. Failing to heed this advice could end up with you getting lost in the Highland or stuck on a mountain. Assuming anyone knew your where even there, a Search and Rescue team would have to be called out to find you. … FLY YOUR DRONE BY THE ROAD Drones are cool and they’re great for getting those amazing bird’s-eye shots of the lunar landscape. Iceland is, as of yet, pretty relaxed when it comes to drones, especially outside city limits but don’t mistake that stance for a license to fly wherever you please. The before mentioned trucks and other large vehicles create swift winds which can knock a drone off its course if it’s flying too close. This can not only be a hazard to the drivers but will damage your drone beyond repair. Find a safe spot away from the road and fly to your heart’s desire. v

Stopping your car on the side of a gravel road is less dangerous than doing it on the side of Route 1, but dangerous still and a good example of “What not to do” in Iceland.


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B O A R D !

Elevate your encounter with Iceland! Amazing helicopter tours around Iceland for individuals or groups. You can choose from a 20 minutes city sightseeing tour up to a whole day journey and everything in between. AirTaxi! We are often available on short notice! Your wish is our command! The fleet is made up of the most modern and meticulously maintained helicopters on the market. The pilots are trained to the highest standards, experienced, friendly, multi-lingual individuals with great knowledge of Iceland’s spectacular nature. They will make your journey unforgettable. Safety and comfort of our customers is always our main priority. • We operate from Reykjavik (city) Airport. • We offer free transport services within Reykjavik city area in connection with our flights. • We can, on the other hand, arrange for a pick up and/or drop off from and to just about anywhere in the country. • You can either pick one of our tours or simply design your own. • We are flexible.

Our service team is on duty 24/7 and will happily assist you at any time. Check out our tours and prices on our website. E-mail to or call (+354) 589 1000

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HIGHLAND WINTER ADVENTURES IN ICELAND The Icelandic Highland – soon hopefully a fully preserved national park – is a barren wilderness of rough terrain in the middle of Iceland. With magnificent glaciers and glacial rivers, otherworldly lava fields, geothermal hot spots, active and dormant volcanoes and tales as old as Iceland’s settlement, this uninhabited wonderland is a place many want to visit. by Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Photos: Benjamin Hardman –

To most Icelanders, the Highland of Iceland is a hard to reach place and traveling there takes some effort, planning and, well, a car with four-wheel drive. Two famous Highland routes reach from north to south, Kjölur and Sprengisandur. These rough gravel roads are only accessible during the summer months and only on well-equipped vehicles or mountain bikes if you’re up for that. So how do we enjoy the Highland during fall, winter and spring? Now here’s where things get really exciting. JOURNEY TO THE CENTER Recently we got the chance to experience the Highland of Iceland like never before when we were invited to a big autumn trip courtesy of the Hrauneyjar Highland Center and Midgard Adventures. On a rainy autumn day last September our guides from Midgard Adventures picked us up on massive super-jeeps, taking us all the way to the Hrauneyjar Highland Center Guesthouse on the edge of the Highlands. We arrived after dark so it wasn’t until the next morning that we got to check out where we’d actually landed and took in the amazing scenery around the Highland Center. After a great breakfast, we were divided into the giant super-jeeps and were on our way. EMOTIONAL LANDSCAPES Did we mention the rain? The days before our trip the whole south coast, Capital area and Highland included, saw a massive amount of rain. Little streams changed into rivers and shallow pools into lakes. Fortunately, it didn’t rain a lot during our trip but nature was visibly refreshed after the downpour, showcasing all her most


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vibrant of colors wherever we went. At the same time the previous year this same area had been covered with snow and looked very different, a white wonderland. The remarkable thing about the Highland is the contrasts and colors; black sands half covered with tiny emerald green vegetation or blending into the red sand and mottled by pseudo-craters with little lakes in the middle. Thick lava fields appear, some made soft by their mossy covers but others, the most recent ones, still looking angry and rough, contrasting the soft watercolor hues of rhyolite mountains speckled with snow from the previous winter. And then there are the glaciers, so far away and yet so close, looming in the background. Our knowledgeable Midgard Adventure guides knew just where to take us and gave us insight into geological history, national history as well as some of the folklore connected to these places be­­fore taking us to the highlight of the day, Land­­ mannalaugar. THE MAGICAL NATURE SPA If you’ve ever seen a photo from Iceland showing mountains of otherworldly colors, it’s most likely the gorgeous rhyolite mountains near Land­­manna­ laugar. Landmannalaugar is part of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Highland, at the edge of the Laugahraun lava field. With hot springs and multiple hiking trails—for instance, the famous Laugavegur trail—Landmannalaugar is a popular destination. During the summer it’s packed with visitors on day trips or campers from all over the world that stay longer using the spot as a base for


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hiking or biking. During the autumn, winter and spring, however, the place is almost deserted, a perfect paradise for those seeking the peace and quiet. Our Midgard Adventures guides took us on an easy 1-hour hike around the nearby lava field Lauga­­ hraun and made us a lovely lunch at the Land­­ mannalaugar cabin. Then it was off to the natural pool for which Landmannalaugar is well known. The pool was unusually cold this time due to the recent downpour, but most of us took a dip anyway, which was very refreshing. Our guides explained that the pool is warmest in the winter when no meltwater runs into it. Dipping into the Landmannalaugar Pool is hot spring bathing at its most primal. Imagine how the outcasts of Iceland, forced to roam the Highland after being found guilty of their crimes, must have favored this place … that is, when they weren’t busy stealing sheep. Getting off the Highland and going not too far from Hrauneyjar, we reached Þjórsárdalur Valley along the river Fossá. We stopped by two grand waterfalls, Háifoss and Granni that side by side descend into a deep and majestic canyon.

STORIES FROM THE HIGHLAND After our visit to Landmannalaugar, we drove to Landmannahellir and our guides told us stories of how sheep herders traversed the Highlands,

bringing their flocks there and resting in tiny huts for the night before moving on. Inside a little cave, we tasted the traditional Icelandic Brennivin and rotten shark combo while listening to the soothing tunes from our guide Stefnir’s accordion. On our final leg back home to Hrauneyjar Guest­­house, we drove into one of the most stunning and vibrant sunsets we’ve ever seen. A perfect ending to a per­fect day. After a quick shower and a luxurious three-course dinner, our guides unexpectedly began demonstrating the method of traditional Ice­landic wrestling (glíma), swinging round tables and doing all sorts of amazing feats to keep us entertained. They even got us to try some of their stunts creating a lively and cozy atmosphere for the whole group. WATERFALLS GALORE The adventures of day two began by packing our bags which were to be taken to Hotel Rangá, a luxurious hotel on the south coast. Then it was off to Mt. Hekla, aka “The Gateway to Hell” but first we made two stops which surprised even the Icelanders in the group, aka yours truly. Getting off the Highland and going not too far from Hrauneyjar, we reached Þjórsárdalur Valley along the river Fossá. We stopped by two grand waterfalls, Háifoss and Granni that side by side descend into a deep and majestic canyon. Háifoss is actually the second tallest waterfall in Iceland at 122 m. A short drive later we stopped by another place in Þjórsárdalur Valley called Gjáin (The Gorge). At first, it didn’t look like there was much to see but a few steps away from the parking area a small valley suddenly appeared with a river, small waterfalls, volcanic formations and caves. It seem­ ed as if someone had been tasked with creating a mini version of paradise on earth and this was the result. Gjáin is a real gem and despite its beauty, still relatively unknown.

FROM HELL ON WHEELS Mt. Hekla, a stratovolcano/crater row, is one of Iceland’s most famous and most active volcanoes. Because it’s been too long since Hekla’s last erup­ tion—February 2000—scientists have warned people from hiking the volcano as Hekla’s eruptions can come without any warnings, leaving hikers no time to get off the mountain and out of harm’s way. Our guides heeded this advice and only took us to the roots of the mountain, which was still quite close and pretty darn impressive. Although not big on air traffic delays or hot flying magma, we couldn’t help but wish for an eruption to start just Issue six 21

to say we’d witnessed it. Hekla decided to remain still and mysterious that day. After a quick lunch by a red explosion crater, our guides pulled out state-of-the-art fat bikes and invited us on a bike tour. Fat biking is becoming increasingly popular and we couldn’t wait to try them out. The short version of that story is, they’re amazing and observing this strange environment on a bike instead of from a car window was really re­freshing. The big fat tires make the trails feel smooth but the lightness of the bike’s frames made the cycling really easy. If you get the chance to go fat biking in Iceland, take it! THE GRAND FINALE And so we traveled, by fat bikes and “fat” cars down from the Highland and into the lowland. From one extreme scenery to the next. When the bikes had been put away and Mt. Hekla was far behind us, we finally found asphalt roads again, which took us into farm country and then to Hotel Rangá, a beautiful four-star accommodation by the Ring Road, famous for good food and Northern Lights. The food did not disappoint but the Northern Lights did as the sky was clouded up, covering the display we’d been hoping to see. The elusive Northern Lights are never a given, not even here. Stay­­ing at this hotel was the perfect way to end a great trip—a little luxury after our raw Highland adventure. If you find yourself driving along the south coast any time of year, a romantic dinner, hope­­fully followed by a Northern Lights show or the grace of the midnight sun, comes fully recom­­mended. The Highland is an enchanted place with count­less secret spots, a place that no one really knows by heart. So, if you’d like to really escape the city and let yourself be fascinated, the Highland is the place to go.


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It goes without saying that Highland traveling during fall, winter and spring is not without its difficulties. For instance, camping is out of the question and for all intents and purposes so is sleeping in your car, but luckily we now have the Hrauneyjar Highland Center and Guesthouse which is right on the edge of the Highland on the Sprengisandur route. This cozy hotel has plenty of rooms and is the perfect stop before taking on the Highland or to use as a base for other daily exploring expeditions. Hrauneyjar also has the last gas station before entering the Highlands by the Sprengisandur route. Hrauneyjar Guesthouse is open all year round. For further information, go to Having a guide really pays off and we couldn’t recommend the guides at Midgard Adventures enough. The Highlands are not for everyone and from autumn to spring you’ll need super jeeps or snowmobiles and experienced drivers who know their way around this secret place. In addition, an experienced guide just makes the journey better, giving insights into the history of the land and its people. For more information about tours and guides visit


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WOW Power to the people


Iceland winter itinerary Winter is here and Iceland has donned a pristine white cloak. Find out how to spend your winter vacation in Iceland. Text and photos: Sonia Sahni

You can walk on Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull, or better still, walk “in” it and explore the crystal ice caves, which will leave you spellbound.

Iceland is the ideal destination to bask in nature’s glory during the cold winter months. The country is well plac­ed in the aurora belt and offers great opportunities to witness the Northern Lights. You can relax in thermal pools, soothe your aching muscles and watch the show overhead. You can walk on Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull, or better still, walk “in” it and explore the crystal ice caves, which will leave you spellbound. We’ve put together a winter itinerary in Ice­land to let you experience the key high­­ lights of this winter wonderland.

DAY 1 AKUREYRI: HEAD UP NORTH It is best to let your exploratory spirit feast on Northern Iceland’s offerings without delay. Akureyri, the capital of Northern Ice­­ land, is easily accessible by a direct flight from Keflavik’s or Reykjavik’s airport. Make Akureyri your base for the first two days in order to enjoy sights and activities in North Iceland. A major attraction in North Iceland is Myvatn Nature Bath, by Lake Myvatn, about an hour’s drive from Akureyri. This geo­­­­­­thermal hot spot, made the same way as the Blue Lagoon, is the perfect remedy for jet lag. Soak yourself in the waters and sip on some bubbly; raise your glass and Issue six 25

let the vacation begin! Lake Myvatn was formed by volcanic activity about 2300 years ago and the earth displays inte­rest­ ing landforms in the surrounding area, including rootless vents and the lava pillar caves of Dimmuborgir. North Iceland is also home to historically significant Godafoss Waterfall (Waterfall of the Gods). Legend has it that the then law speaker of Iceland threw his heathen god’s idols into these falls, thus supporting Iceland’s conversion to Christianity and giving the waterfall its name. Not only will the site spike your interest in Icelandic history, but it will mesmerize you with its cascading charm. As the day ends and night falls, keep your fingers crossed and hope that Mother Nature decides to wave her bright green ribbons in the sky. This night just might be the first night you see the Northern Lights.

DAY 2 AKUREYRI: MEET THE GENTLE HORSES AND FRIENDLY DOGS Let your second day in Iceland add some action to your life. Make your way to the stables to meet some handsome Icelandic horses. Unlike all other horses that have three or four natural gaits, Icelandic horses have five gaits, making them unique. They are gentle creatures and will come up to you for a nuzzle. Icelandic horses are great for inexperienced riders. If you have been contemplating horseback riding, this might be the right time. There are many horse rentals close to Akureyri and our tour was with Kátur Horse Rental. Their winter horse riding tour starts at Höskuldsstaðir Farm, a couple of hours from Akureyri and it would be best to allocate a major part of the day for this activity. If you are a dog lover, then budget time for dog sledding with the huskies as well. The huskies are an excited and friendly lot, eager to run and take you along. Dog sledding is a unique way to explore the Icelandic terrain and is an activity enjoyed by adults and children alike. Husky tours organized by Inspiration Iceland lets you be the musher (steering the sled), thus, allowing you to bond with the dogs. For dinner, sample some of Iceland’s freshest catch at the Noa Seafood Rest­­­ aurant. For something more Icelandic, reindeer and puffin dishes at Strikid might catch your fancy. However, if you’re craving a simple, delicious pizza, Greifinn has some delightful options to satisfy your palate.


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DAY 3 REYKJAVIK RELAXATION Bid goodbye to the North and head back to Reykjavik for further exploration. Re­­ gardless of the season, Iceland’s capital makes an excellent base to experience the nearby attractions. The city has fine dining restaurants and cafes to tantalize your taste buds, boutiques to satiate your shopaholic instincts, heated swimming pools to let you burn some calories and a state of the art concert hall letting you witness stellar performances. Have a cup of hot coffee and rich chocolate cake at the quirky Café Babalú on Skolavordustigur or at popular coffee house Kaffitar in Bankastraeti. Catch up on your sleep and let this day provide you some rest before you com­­ mence your adventurous journey to South Iceland. However, if you prefer joining an aurora hunt, this night too, hop onto a Northern Lights tour, that takes you beyond the city lights to a choice location.

Set out early on day four toward one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland— Seljalandsfoss, that you can walk on a path behind and peep through its curtain of water. About 30 km east of Seljalandsfoss, you’ll see the Skogafoss Waterfall, which is about 60 meters high. Climbing the 500 odd steps adjacent to Skogafoss is an effort well rewarded with long distant views of Icelandic plains, blanketed with untouched snow. After hearing the waterfalls rumble, it’s time to hear the ocean roar. Make your way along the south coast, admiring its black volcanic sand, to the little town of Vik. Lunch at the Strondin Restaurant in Vik promises delicious food and tempting desserts. The Víkurprjón Wool Factory in Vík is one of the oldest and best known knitwear producers in Iceland and one of the best places to get a lopapeysa sweater. Continue further to the Reynisfjara Beach, a black pebble beach featuring a cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a rocky step pyramid. Check out Halsanefshellir, a small cave by the sea that allows you to view the columns overhead, a viewing angle that makes the place appear extra-terrestrial. Your next destination along the way is one of Iceland’s most breath­­ taking sites—Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. The lagoon has masses of ice that have broken off the mighty Vatnajokull Glacier. Standing by the glacial lagoon, watching the icebergs drift and the seal pups play around the floating masses of ice will surely delight you. End your day in a warm and cozy homestay or a hotel in Hofn, a nearby town, making it your base to explore South Iceland over the next couple of days. With little light pollution around the coast, you might see the Northern Lights from your window as you drift off into sleep. Your next destination along the way is one of Iceland’s most breath­­taking sites—Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. The lagoon has masses of ice that have broken off the mighty Vatnajokull Glacier. Standing by the glacial lagoon, watching the icebergs drift and the seal pups play around the floating masses of ice.

DAY 5 VATNAJOKULL GLACIER: GET AWED BY THE CRYSTAL ICE CAVES Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier, began forming over 2,500 years ago. Ice caves form under the glacier during the summer and when the water freezes again in the fall, local guides take you to see them. Being surrounded by ice, so pure and so blue evokes many feelings – excitement, awe and transcendental peace. After you have seen the glacier from inside, it’s time to walk over the glacial ice. Walking on this immense ice cap is a humbling experience. A word of caution: Exploring the ice caves and walking on the glacier requires a professional guide. Extreme Iceland offers tours that include both these activities and starts at Jokulsarlon. If you’d like to hasten your pace, Extreme Iceland also offers snowmobiling in the Vatnajokull area. Considering this may be your last day in South Iceland, you might like to walk along the beach to snap a few pictures with its huge chunks of glacial ice before dinner. Hali Country Restaurant serves excellent food and is a good place for an early dinner. If you still have some energy left and the Northern Lights’ forecast is good, head back to Jokulsarlon with all your photography equipment. You might be able to capture their reflection in the glacial lagoon.

DAY 4 SOUTH COAST: MARVEL AT WATERFALLS AND GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS For your continued amazement, explore South Iceland. The south shore of Ice­­land exhibits landscapes perfect for post­­ cards—waterfalls, geological land­­forms, glacial lagoons and oceanic waves—sights that you will etch into your mem­ory forever. Visiting the south shore of Iceland requir­ es at least two days, preferably three.

COLLECT MOMENTS - NOT THINGS! “Iceland had always been one of my dream vacations. The island’s untamed and beautiful landscape make it the perfect destination for a nature enthusiast. Not only did I finally get to come to Iceland, but I also decided to take my first ever helicopter ride. I flew with Nordurflug Helicopter Tours and they made all my wildest flight dreams come true. Not only did they have lots of tour options, but they were super flexible with working around my travel schedule. I ended up choosing the Geothermal Tour at 49.900 ISK per person. The pricing was comparable to other activities in Iceland, but this experience allows you to see the country from the sky!

"it was just us and nature." Unlike being in an airplane, the takeoff in a helicopter is smooth. If I had any nerves about the flight, they immediately vanished at the sight of the stunning landscape. I was amazed by how quickly the scenery changed from the city skyline, to lava fields and volcanic craters. Being up in a helicopter gives you a true perspective of the country as a whole. The experience was worth every penny and more.

“we actually got to land on an old volcano and were able to witness up close the untamed power of geothermal energy” As if flying wasn’t enough, we actually got to land on an old volcano and witness the untamed power of geothermal energy. I got to stand right next to the boiling mud pots and hot springs without other tourists blocking the view and no safety ropes holding us back… it was just us and nature. Our pilot was very personable, knowledgeable about the country, and a veteran pilot. I was amazed to find out he has done aerials for some big film productions like Star Wars and Oblivion. Needless to say, he kept our tour very interesting! Once we got back to the office, it took me awhile to actually “get back on the ground”. This experience was so thrilling and incredible, I had to let it all sink in! It’s no wonder that Nordurflug is one of Trip Advisor's top-rated Iceland experience. I will definitely be recommending this to anyone visiting Iceland!" Get a ISK 5.000 online discount of the Geothermal Tour when booking on HELICOPTER.IS with the Promo Code: WOWAIR



-Kelsey Heide Issue six 27


These colors can be seen in lava tubes—tunnels that were created when the surface lava solidified but magma continued to flow.

Iceland truly is the “Land of Fire and Ice.” Your tryst with the crystal ice caves is bound to make you fall in love with caving in the clear blue ice. However, reserve some excit­­ ement for “fire” and head on to explore the orange and red that lie in the Earth’s belly. These colors can be seen in lava tubes—tunnels that were created when the surface lava solidified but magma continued to flow. The caves expose a myriad of colors displayed beneath the earth’s surface. While the first half of this day will be spent in traveling from South Iceland to Reykjavik, you can explore the 900-meter-long lava tube at Leidarendi located 25 minutes away from Reykjavik, later on. Wear the rugged overalls and enter into a world that few have seen! End the day with a fine dinner at The Fish Company or Grillmark­ að­­urinn, and a few shots of Brennivin at Kaffibarinn or some pints of beer at Micro Bar. Make friends with some locals. While the country is called Iceland, it is full of warm and welcoming people.

DAY 7 DISCOVER THE GOLDEN CIRCLE No trip to Iceland is complete without go­ing on one of the many Golden Circle tours on offer. This most popular day tour from Reykjavik usually starts with a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Thingvellir National Park, where you can see the rift between the American and Eurasian tectonic plate. Thingvellir is also the location of Iceland’s first parliament in 930 AD. The next stop on this tour is Gullfoss Waterfall. Even before getting close to treat your eyes to its majesty, your ears can hear water rumbling. From a distance, you can see the Hvítá River pouring into a rift, perpendicular to its flow, thus forming the Gullfoss Waterfall. As you move further along the Golden Circle, you’ll come to Haukadalur, home of Great Geysir. Strokkur, Great Geysir’s little brother, will be waiting to surprise you with its performance. Strokkur shoots plumes of steaming water every 5-7 minutes and up to 35 meters high.

DAY 8 EXPLORE REYKJAVIK AND THE BLUE LAGOON End your winter sojourn, spending the last day in Reykjavik, experiencing this vibrant city and its attractions. The city is home to the famous Hallgrimskirkja Church,


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inspired by the basalt lava flow columns of South Iceland. Iceland’s tallest church, it offers a bird’s eye view of the colorful roof­­ tops and streets of Reykjavik. Shop to your heart’s content on Lauga­­ vegur Street for some of Iceland’s most stylish, yet comfortable winter wear col­­lection, manufactured by local com­­ panies. If you are a museum lover, the city presents historical and cultural exhibits. For the offbeat traveler, there is the quirky Phallological Museum too! On your way back to the airport, stop at the Blue Lagoon (you’ll need to book in advance) to enjoy a warm bath in the milky blue waters. If you have an early morning flight spend your day before exploring the otherworldly Reykjanes Peninsula for a quiet and affordable stay at the Base Hotel/Hostel in Ásbrú, the old Nato base. It’s 10-minute ride to the airport insures you a longer night’s sleep before your flight. As your vacation comes to a close, hopefully, you will have seen the Northern Lights a few times. Henceforth, each time you look at a dark sky anywhere in the world, you will be fondly reminded of the dancing lights that you witnessed during this trip when Iceland cast its magical spell on you. You bid farewell because you have to, not because you want to!

Day Tours - All the most exciting places in Iceland


n e d l Go e l c Cir

We offer a grand selection of Golden Circle tours in combination with different activities. Various departures throughout the day.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION Why not buy a tour with On our tours and services please us on board this flight? consult our brochure located in – Just ask the cabin crew. the seat pocket in front of you.




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BSÍ Bus Terminal • 101 Reykjavík •

+354 580 5400 • • •


Are Icelandic turf houses the original Hobbit holes? Photo: alexeys

Segments of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved Lord of the Rings books and companion works such as The Hobbit and The Silmarillion actually trace directly back to Icelandic Sagas, a collection of Ice­­­ landic medieval works, ranging from mythological tales to historical narratives. According to Glori­­ana St. Clair, a scholar of Norse mythology and its relationship to the works of Tolkien, and other Tolkien scholars like Charles Moorman, the greatest influences on Tolkien were the Icelandic Sagas.

Welcome to Middle-Earth Desolate landscapes, dragons, trolls, elves, dwarves and wizards. Sound familiar to those who know anything about Icelandic folklore and/or the fictional land of Middle-Earth? That’s because there’s an under-recognized but important connection between the two.

The names: Bifur, Bafur, Bombor, Nori, Ori, Oin, etc of Tolkien’s dwarv­es in The Hobbit (1937) are also dwarves nam­­ ed in Snorri Sturluson’s 13th-century Edda.

Photo: Jen Grantham

by Krista Connor Photos:


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A STUDY OF LANGUAGE It is no secret that Norse mythology coupled with the Sagas heavily influenced Tolkien. Notably, after mastering six other languages in the early 20th century, Tolkien began to decipher the Vol­­­ sunga Saga in its original Old Norse text. Later, while a professor at Oxford, Tolkien, who had gradu­­­ at­­ed from there in 1915 with a focus on Old Norse, founded the “Viking Club” and “Coalbiters” for under­­graduates. Here, they’d drank beer and read the epics in their original text. So it may not come as a shock when similarities start to appear once Tolkien’s books are published. DWARFS AND ELVES The names: Bifur, Bafur, Bombor, Nori, Ori, Oin, etc of Tolkien’s dwarves in The Hobbit (1937) are also dwarves named in Snorri Sturluson’s 13th-century Edda. St. Clair argues that the elves in Tolkien’s mytho­­logy are tall and beautiful and mysterious, better resembling the “hidden people” of Ice­land more than the pixies and leprechauns of the British Isles. She points out that elves and their counterparts, dwarves—short, with long beards, bad tempers and a love for treasure—are bas­ed on Norse and related Germanic mythologies, particularly in the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda.

THE WANDERING GANDALF Tolkien’s ever-helpful wizard Gandalf is influenced by the Norse deity Odin in his incarnation as “The Wanderer” an old man with a long white beard, a wide brimmed hat, and a staff. Tolkien himself even once referred to his Gandalf as an “Odinic wanderer”—and a character named Gandalf appears in the Poetic and Prose Eddas. Many other parallels are drawn between Tolkien’s fictional world and the Sagas. Perhaps most importantly is the Völsungasaga, a 13th century narrative featuring a curs­­ed golden ring of power and a magical sword that is broken and re-forged. No doubt, other mythologies and influences impacted Tolkien, but it seems the Land of Fire and Ice had the strongest influence. According to his biographer Humphrey Carpenter, it had the same “pro­ found appeal” to Tolkien’s imagination as it has had on millions of others.

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WOW Northern Lights Run A surefire way to stay warm in Iceland is to keep moving and come February we‘ve got just the thing. In collaboration with the Reykjavik Sports Union, WOW air proudly presents: the WOW Northern Lights Run. Photos: Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson, courtesy of visit Reykjavik

The WOW Northern Lights Run is a 5K fun run (or walk) through down­­ town Reykjavik, allowing runners to see the city in a new light. Every participant will get an exclusive Pixmob, illuminating LED bracelet that automatically syncs with their running rhythm throughout the entire event. Everyone is part of the show from start to finish.

REYKJAVIK WINTER LIGHTS FESTIVAL Held for the first time on February 4th at 7 p.m., the WOW Northern Lights Run is part of Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival which is an annual event held in February celebrating both the winter world and the increasing light after a long period of darkness. The festival offers a mixture of art and industry, environment and history, sports and culture and is an entertaining

affair for both Reykjavik locals and guests. Participants in the WOW Northern Lights Run will thus help illuminate the city and be a part of the festivities. WOW Northern Lights Run is also an off-venue event at the WOW Reykjavík Inter­­national Games, an annual sporting event held from January 26 to February 5, 2017. The games will include at least 22 events, such as swimming, skiing, fencing, athletics, cycling, figure skating and many more. The Reykjavik International Games will be celebrating their tenth anniversary.

WOW Northern Lights Run is also an off-venue event at the WOW Reykjavík Inter­­ national Games, an annual sporting event held from January 26 to February 5, 2017.

friends. To make it even more fun, bring your creative side with you and wear illumi­nating lights, neon gear and crazy bright colors. Don‘t hold back but bear in mind that the weather in Iceland is full of surprises so dress accordingly. Northern lights are not promised during the run. Hopefully they‘ll show up, but no matter what, participants are in for a light display on the ground. v

BACK TO RUNNING The WOW Northern Lights Run is not actu­­ally a race but a chance to experience downtown Reykjavik and the city lights. It‘s all about feeling healthy, having fun and spending an amazing night out with

Sign up for the WOW Northern Lights Run at and join us in Reykjavik on February 4.


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FROM SUMMIT TO SURF Years ago I lost something in Hong Kong. I never imagined I’d find it again halfway across the world. Then again, Iceland was full of surprises. by Brooks Pierce Photos: Courtesy of Viking Heliskiing


WOW Power to the people

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f you lose your edge and start to fall, pull the cord on your avalanche bag—at least the bag will protect you…a bit.” Some comfort. While my new Swiss ski­­­­ing companion meant to reassure me, along with the three other expert skiers gat­­hered atop one of Iceland’s most challenging skiable mountains, I can’t say his in­­tentions were fulfilled as we waited to test our mettle on a wick­­­ed de­­scent. My leg twitched with nervous energy as I stood, strapped into my skis and trying to hold an edge on “The Diamond”: a gnarly black crag cutting sharply into the crisp Icelandic air. As I peered down the steep pitch, I realized that there was little room for error. This slope surpassed my confidence, even at my most stalwart. Yet I was compelled to that edge, and then over it. How had I gotten there?

that dove sharply over the mountains on approach, had enough runway to land or if we would run right into the bay. But after a safe landing, I was sucked in by the “real”; Kaleidoscopic junks that dotted Victoria Harbor, the smells, the text­­ ure and the richness of the city—I loved it all. But upon returning to Hong Kong years later on my honeymoon—eager to introduce my bride to the wonder­­land I’d de­­scribed for her countless times—something was lost. Old Kai Tak had given way to a glamorous new airport on a man-made island far ­from Hong Kong. The junks were all but absent from the harbor, and Tiffany’s and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse stood as anchor tenants of the Peninsula Hotel. Al­­though I didn’t realize it at the time, thus began my search for the world’s re­­ main­ing “Old Hong Kongs.”



My global hunt for organic experiences—you know, discovering those places where you can still see the dirt, that the locals invite you in for a view, where the rough appearance and possible risk jolts you out of the beige complacency— that life can become—had begun decades earlier. In 1988, as my plane de­­­ scend­­­­ed toward the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong, I had wondered if the 747

Fast forward to March 2016: I had just returned from a family ski vacation in Colorado—the joy of watching my children ski is incomparable. Yet at home, de­­ spite just returning from what was by anyone’s account an awesome va­­ca­­tion, I couldn’t shake an itch… a restlessness. I felt somehow unsatisfied. Mid­­life rumblings were almost certainly at play (Yes, this year I hit the big Five-Ohhhhh—


WOW Power to the people

My leg twitched with nervous energy as I stood, strapped into my skis and trying to hold an edge on “The Diamond”: a gnarly black crag cutting sharply into the crisp Icelandic air.

what has happened to me!) but it was more than just that…I needed a new dis­­ cov­­ery, a new adventure. As luck would have it, the phone rang—it was my friend and colleague Nina Kauf­­man, a ski consultant in Canada. I told Nina that I needed to mix it up a bit, to ski a new part of the world, to explore something new. As a specialty ski ad­­­visor to her organization, I know the thrill and solitude of the vistas and un­­touch­­­­ed snow that heli-and cat-serviced skiing provides. Don’t get me wrong, a fresh foot of powder atop a long bump run is a banana split with extra cherries, and I’ll always love it. But having skied for nearly as long as I could walk, I found my­­­­self entering my 48th year on the snow and feeling, well, a little bored. Cue Nina who, after a few vetoed locales, offered: “Hey, what about Iceland?” ICELAND? REALLY? “Iceland? The place with the volcano that disrupted my transatlantic flights a few years ago? Really?” Frankly, the thought hadn’t occurred to me before. But as Nina’s words painted the background of an Icelandic heli-ski operation called Viking Heliskiing, the idea grew on me. It actually sounded like the adventure I’d been longing for.

Four days later with little idea of what lay ahead, I was nestled into the window seat of a purple Airbus A321 aircraft with “WOW” splashed on the side of the fuselage, on my way to Iceland. After an easy 4 ½ hour flight to Reykjavík from Balti­­more-Washington International, and a short connecting flight to Iceland’s second largest city, Akureyri, I was picked up at the airport and chauffeured a short 30 minutes to the Viking Heliskiing Lodge, situated in north-central Ice­­ land’s jagged Troll Peninsula. Viking Heliskiing’s founders, owners, and lead guides—Björgvin Björvinsson and Jóhann Haukur Hafstein—were there to greet me with smiles, handshakes and a cold beer; not a bad start. Former Olympians and World Cup tour alpine ski racers in their mid-30s, Björgvin and Jóhann clearly love their native Iceland, know the mountains like the back of their hands, and live and breathe skiing. After their retirement from racing, starting a heli-ski operation had seemed a logical choice. LOOKING FORWARD TO “DOWN DAYS” And they did it right. While we waited for the other heli-adventurers to arrive, Björgvin took me a short distance to the company’s ocean dock (on the Arctic), Issue six 37

I never imagined as I sat on that WOW air flight over the North Atlantic there would be more to find in Iceland than what I had experienced elsewhere in the world.

where the Viking Heliskiing boat awaited us. From offshore I could see some of the runs we would later ski from summit to surf; in a word, stunning. But the boat wasn’t there just to provide a nice view. When heli-skiing, one always faces the risk of “down days”; that is, days when weat­­­­her prevents the helicopter from flying. In some locations, a down day is simply a lost day, a day spent in the lodge waiting to get back out there. Viking anti­­­­­­cipates this inherent risk and mitigates the downtime by offering sea fish­ing, whale watching, horseback riding, or visits to the natural thermal baths for which Ice­­ land is well known. FIRST DESCENTS The next day I met my fellow snow riders from Austria, Switzerland and Spain. We under­went a thorough safety briefing from our guide, Jóhann, and then we were on our way to some of the most breathtaking and vast terrain imagina­­ble. Dropp­ ed from the sky by Viking Heliskiing’s masterfully piloted A-Star B3 heli­­copter, Jóhann introduced us to slopes ranging from wide open, gentle-pitched bowls to the aforementioned “Diamond.” The sea cut a stark and stunning back­drop for some runs, others descended beautifully into precipitous couloirs (basic­ally mountainside gullies), and still others ran from a mountain’s peak all the way down to an Arctic black lava beach. Our entire crew dominated the hill. As for that dirt and real that I’d been look­­ ing for—as if The Diamond were not enough—we even skied first descent runs that, to the best of Jóhann’s knowledge, no ski had carved before. I felt alive. And I wasn’t alone in that—Jérôme, one of my new companions, so reveled in the ex­­­ peri­­­­ence that he punctuated the end of each run by howling “Moooore!!” COZY NIGHTS And at the end of each day, aprés ski meant a few beers, often leading to the hilari­­­ ous recounting of the day among a newly close-knit group of skiers and guides. Then, after a soak in the geothermal water of the hot tub and a quick shower, we regrouped for dinner and more conversation. This became one of my favorite parts of the day, with local flavors and classic dishes prepared with care by Chef Anna.


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One evening, we enjoyed a prosciutto and cheese ap­­ peti­­zer, followed by an entrée of fresh roasted ling fish (a member of the cod family), bathed in curry atop a bed of barley and round­­­ed out with Icelandic pan­­ cakes, skyr and fresh berries. Each night a simil­­­arly de­­­licious off­­ering greeted us, improved only by freely poured (and lovely) French claret. After our stom­­achs could hold no more, and our souls bettered by the conversation among new friends, each of us re­­­­treat­­ed slowly to our cabins, with the otherworldly North­­ern Lights as a backdrop—a bucket-list item, to be sure. And then, reminded of one’s smallness and the fine line we tiptoe between this world and the next, it was time to hit the sack so that we could wake up and do it all again. REAL AND UNIQUE

Brooks Pierce is an American attorney, busi­­ness advisor, specialty-ski advisor and life connoisseur. He may be reached at brooks@

Heli-skiing tours are available from March to June each year. For more information on heli-skiing in Iceland go to www.

I never imagined as I sat on that WOW air flight over the North Atlantic there would be more to find in Iceland than what I had experienced elsewhere in the world. Sure, there are microbreweries in Reykja­­vík similar to those one could find in hipster neigh­­borhoods almost anywhere in the USA. But then there’s The Diamond, and even that’s a mere drop in the bucket among the edge-of-truly-living slopes that cover Iceland’s volcanic wonder­­scape from sea­­tip to sea-tip. Iceland is real and unique. In the happy acci­­dent that led me there, I stumbled upon what I’d lost on my return trip to Hong Kong so many years prior: the confidence that such places still exist and the desire to seek them out. With this renewed revelation, I have started Adventure 5.0 (www.adventure50. com) for those who share the desire to keep peeling back the onion, one layer at a time, to continue to explore our world and connect with those in it. You’re wel­­ come to come along with me. v

Icelandic wool

Issue six 39


The ultimate travel companion Finding all those secret spots in Iceland that no one even thinks to look for can be a daunting task but we have something that can make your vacation in Iceland a lot easier.

With over 2600 GPS POIs you‘ll have a hard time not making a few detours. Be Iceland is an informational website and a phone app designed to make your traveling in Iceland easier. PLAN TO BE THERE As soon as you land, you can book your Flybus transfer to Reykjavik through the app instead of standing in line at the ticket office. Because all the Flybuses have free wifi, the journey will also give you a great opportunity to find and book tours on your way to Reykjavik. When traveling in Iceland, the Be Iceland app will help you find interesting places nearby and help you locate most of Iceland‘s amazing natural attractions and historic places, towns, hotels, shops and restaurants. The app will also help you find ATMs and recycling stations should you need them and it lets you filter everything down to better fit your plans.


WOW Power to the people

THE TRAVELER‘S SECRET WEAPON The Be Iceland app is easy to navigate and has several categories to choose from such as Eat, Sleep, Discover, Enjoy and Shop, to name a few. The Discover category is especially handy, giving you directions to places known for their natural or historical significance close to your location. Filtering the results by your interest can lead to the discovery of something great, like a little known natural gem, a conveniently located hiking route or a historical site where you learn something interesting. If you‘re a budget traveler, this feature will become your ultimate secret weapon when planning your trip as almost all of these places are free of charge. Inside all other categories, you can filter the results to find exactly what you need with information that would never fit inside any guide book. Looking for a swimming pool? Go to the Enjoy category and filter the results to swimming pools, you‘ll find the

When traveling in Iceland, the Be Iceland app will help you find interesting places nearby and help you locate most of Iceland‘s amazing natural attractions and historic places, towns, hotels, shops and restaurants.

The Be Iceland app is free of charge and available for ios and Android through their respective stores. You can also check out the Be Iceland website, beiceland. is. It‘s a great place to start if you‘re planning a vacation in Iceland.

closest one first but you might also find one that‘s too unique to pass by. In the Enjoy category, you can find nearby tours too and book them directly. EVERYTHING YOU‘RE LOOKING FOR AND MORE Hungry? Select the Eat category and browse the closest restaurant. Or decide what you‘re hungry for and filter the results. From vegan or vegetarian to steaks and sushi and almost everything in between, the Be Iceland app‘s got you covered. For those looking for that perfect item to complete their wardrobe or a quirky souvenir, the Shop category will be a dream come true. Filter the results by fashion or design to find real Icelandic clothes or select souvenirs to find the one item that will complete your collection.v

Spend the night at a snow-powered hotel In Iceland, all electricity is generated from renewable sources; falling water, the heat of the earth and the force of the wind. Welcome to the land of renewable energy.

Issue six 41


Glacier 360 Iceland is a country full of adventures. With its diverse landscape, unpredictable weather and unspoiled nature, it offers the chance to experience what only a few have done before. Photos: Snorri Þór Tryggvason, Torfi G. Yngvason, Rut Sigurðardottir and Cecilia Glimberg Rønne, courtesy of Made in Mountains

In late summer 2016, Iceland saw the first-ever mountain bike mara­­­ thon stage race. The route chos­­en for the race starts at the famed Geysir Geo­­thermal Area, circumnavigates Langjökull Glacier and finishes close to Gullfoss Waterfall. Riders had three days to com­­plete the 290 km route in three stages and they had to race in pairs, making sure they didn‘t leave their partners’ side at any time during the competition. MARATHON MOUNTAIN BIKING Mountain bike marathon stage races are a known format of challenges where riders sign up for 60-160 km a day for two or more consecutive days. The trails ridden are different, some are fast tracks while other sec­­tions are rocky and rough. The number of hours spent riding each day will depend on the speed which is based on the terrain, and in Iceland, also the weather. Some of the most popular mountain bike stage races only emerged recently, starting with a few dozen riders growing to the enormous size of 1200 in only a few years. What makes the Glacier 360 race unique is the diverse terrain, the majestic landscape and the divergent weather conditions.


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Proudly Making Iceland a Hot Destination. We could talk forever about how interesting our clean energy production at Hellisheidi is. But, instead, let’s see what some of our guests at the Geothermal Exhibition have to say on TripAdvisor: “A must see activity”, “Bucket List”, “... interactive and inspiring”, “Now I’m impressed!”


N M 76 5 3 5

We hope to welcome you too on your trip to Iceland at the most powerful exhibition in the world.

Only 20 min. drive from Reykjavík. A perfect stop on your way to or from the city.

Issue six 43 The exhibition is open every day from 9am-5pm. Please direct any inquiries to Tel: (+354) 591 2880

During the second stage, riders ex­­pose themselves to the highlands making their way along the north side of Langjökull Glacier.

STAGE ONE – THE BLACK AND WHITE MILES Glacier 360 starts right next to Strokkur, the fountain geyser in the Hauka­­­dal­­ ur Geothermal Area. The track follows the contour of the south side of Lang­­ jökull Glacier, the second biggest glacier in Iceland. Participants race over pitch black volcanic sands and gravel, through lava and vast open volcanic deserts with the immense glacier on their right. Right before the end of stage one, there’s a dramatic change in scenery, dropp­­ing into the Húsafell Area which is a lush glacier valley. The Húsfell camp crew gives riders a warm welcome at the end of the stage with plenty of good food, drinks and high fives! STAGE TWO – THE WATER WORLD CLIMBS The second day of the race is the most grueling. Suff­­er­­ing, sweat and sur­­ real beauty at high latitudes are expected. During the second stage, riders ex­­pose themselves to the highlands making their way along the north side of Langjökull Glacier. They have to cross unbridged rivers on the highlands of Arnavatnsheiði where the lakes are too numerous to count.


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RElax - enjoy - experience

- Welcome TO Mývatnssveit · phone +354 464 4411 ·

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The stage finish is in the dead center of the Icelandic highlands at Hvera­­­vellir “Oasis.” Oasis being a rather loose term for a highland refuge form­­ed around a hot spring on the oldest coastto-coast road in Iceland, the Kjölur Route.

The stage finish is in the dead center of the Icelandic highlands at Hvera­­­ vellir “Oasis.” Oasis being a rather loose term for a highland refuge form­­ed around a hot spring on the oldest coast-to-coast road in Iceland, the Kjölur Route. Riders spend the night at the Hveravellir Highland Center where they can tuck into their sleeping bags or book accommodation indoors at the basic but charming facilities. STAGE THREE – THIEF VALLEY On the last day of the event, the race runs from Hveravellir Highland Cent­­er all the way to Gullfoss Waterfall. The trail starts along an old high­­land road into Thjofadalur Valley which is nested underneath the glacier. Dropp­­ing into the valley is a magnificent sight. The valley is lush and riders will follow an abandoned dirt path which has only been treaded by horses and hikers for many years. Along this trail there are a few rocky sections which riders have to do their best to maneu­­ ver over and around, selecting the quickest way to pass through. Finishing the adventure is an achievement to be proud of. The finish line is right next to Gullfoss Waterfall where riders are welcomed with a BBQ meal and drinks before shuttling back to Reykjavik for the final party! FIRST-EVER UCI ACCEPTED RACE IN ICELAND For 2017 the Glacier 360 has been given a Class 2 ranking in its category. That means that the race will have additional categories, for example, Elite Men and Women, made up of top athletes with Olympic ambitions seeking to score international points. The Icelandic adventure company Made in Mountains, is the owner and organizer of the race. “We are richer and filled with ambition from 2016’s experience and thrilled to welcome riders to the next event in 2017,” says Björk Kristjánsdóttir, CEO of Made in Mountains.

If you’re up for it, plan your Glacier 360 Mountain Biking Race in Iceland, August 11-13 2017. Registration is now open at


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Issue six 47


HOW TO COOK ICELANDIC Increasingly, travelers choose to spice up their vacation with a variety of hands-on activities. One such option is to take part in a local cooking class. Immersing oneself in a culinary workshop, while away on vacation is guaranteed to offer a memorable epicurean experience for the traveler eager to take his or her cooking skills up a notch or two. by Gerður Harðardóttir Photos: Hákon Davíð Björnsson and Chris Cooper-Slipper

At Salt Eldhús (Eldhús is Icelandic for “kitchen”), a cook-and-dine work­­shop in Reykjavík, participants get to dive into the delicate nuances of Icelandic cuisine as they prepare a threecourse meal. Using fresh and seasonal local ingredients, the culinary classes at Salt Eldhús have become more and more popular among tourists visiting Iceland. And no wonder since Icelandic cuisine is renowned for its exceptionally fresh, delicious and often novel produce. As well as introducing some delectable local dishes, the class also offers a fan­­ tast­ic opportunity to dig a little deeper into the culture that shapes and influ­­ enc­­­­es Icelandic cuisine. FROM WRITING TO TEACHING Salt Eldhús is run by Sigríður Björk Braga­­­­­­­­­dóttir, a firm food aficionado and for­­m­­­er editor of Gestgjafinn, Iceland’s leading culinary magazine. Sirrý, as she is af­f­ectionately known, is used to attend


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With roots firmly based in the tra­­di­­­­tions of Scandinavian cuisine, and dat­­­­ing back to the time of the first settl­­­­ers in the 9th century, today’s Ice­­landic cuisine largely uses lamb, dairy and fish as key ingredients.

cooking classes when traveling abroad, having taken several classes in Morocco, Turkey and Paris to date. When we met with her, she was packing her bags for London to brush up on her (already per­­ fect) skills in pastry making. Equipped with top-notch culinary skills and infectious enthusiasm, Sirrý is both engaging and energetic in her teaching methods, which we got a chance to see for ourselves one windy Saturday morn­­­­ing recently when we attended one of her classes along with a couple of ex­trem­ely nice husband-and-wife teams from Canada and the US. MEAL WITH A VIEW Salt Eldhús is based on the 6th and top floor of a building located close to the seaside in Reykjavík. The place is well­­-designed, fully equipped and bright and spacious with exceptionally high ceilings. From the perfectly fitted-out kitchen, you have a chance to walk out

onto a balcony where there’s a sweeping panoramic view over Reykjavík, that in­­ cludes Harpa Music Hall, Hallgríms­­­kirkja, and Mt. Esja across the Faxaflói Bay. WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR? Salt Eldhús offers a great selection of cooking classes either taught by Sirrý or other professional chefs from some of the best restaurants in Iceland. Most of the classes are in Icelandic, but Salt Eldhús also offers 3-4 hour classes focusing on authentic Icelandic cuisine, taught in English. Now, it’s highly likely that you have been led to believe that the staple of the Icelandic diet consists of fermented shark, cured ram testicles and singed and boiled sheep heads, regularly knock­­­­ed back with a shot of Brennivín, an Ice­landic akvavit. Ahem, no, this isn’t the case but they are certainly included in any traditional buffet served at the mid-winter feast of Þorrablót, an annual

Issue six 49

tribute to our old culture celebrated from the middle of January to the middle of February. With roots firmly based in the tra­­ di­­­­tions of Scandinavian cuisine, and dat­­­­ing back to the time of the first settl­­­­ers in the 9th century, today’s Ice­­ landic cuisine largely uses lamb, dairy and fish as key ingredients. Popular ingredients found in many dishes at Ice­­­landic restaurants include salmon, Arctic char, wild mushrooms, seabirds, dried seaweed, rhubarb, wild berries and herbs such as thyme and angelica along with a wide selection of dairy products such as skyr which tastes a bit similar to yogurt. A particular point of pride is the freshness and quality of the produce with lambs roaming wild in the mountains during summer and fish swimming in the relatively unpolluted waters surrounding the shores of Ice­­ land. Salt Eldhús applies these local ingredients generously in the dishes taught at the workshops. BACK TO SCHOOL Our class started by Sirrý teaming the students up in pairs to work together at their personal cooking stations. She handed out a folder with three recipes with ingredients to be used and detailed instructions. The recipes included Arctic char on a bed of fennel and orange salad as a starter, pan seared cod and pickled pearl onions on creamed celeriac purée with barley risotto for a main course, and for dessert we were making a Skyr mousse with wild bilberry compote and toasted oats. To get things going, Sirrý showed us how to start on the dessert by roasting the oats and then moving on to making the bilberry sauce. Whether you boast great culinary ex­­peri­ence, ready to go all in with guns blazing or happen to be a relatively in­­­­ex­perienced novice in the kitchen, Sirrý will give each student one on one at­­tention as they tackle the recipes. She worked the benches as we stirred, chopp­­­ed and squeezed the ingredients according to the recipes. And it didn’t matter if mistakes were made in the process, Sirrý has endless tricks up her


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sleeves as became evident when a little bit too much lemon was added to one of the desserts. “Some of the greatest recipes come out of mistakes,” she laugh­­ed as she added a bit of sugar to counterbalance the acidity of the lemon. The fish used in the recipes was bought at the local fishmonger only min­­utes before the class, the barley used in the risotto, Sirrý tells us, is grown at a farm in the south of Iceland. “I always try to use as much of local pro­­­­duce as possible,” she says. “There are so many great things happening in food production in Iceland today, and so much of what’s being produced is of outstanding quality.” Q&A AT THE TABLE At the end of the class, Sirrý brought us a home-baked rye bread, baked in a milk cartoon, which she served on a plate along with smoked lamb meat, an Icelandic delicacy. A lady of Polish origin in the class told us this platter of food reminded her of her own roots which started an interesting discussion about different food and culture. Taking part in Sirrý’s cooking class isn’t only about the food. It also happens to be a fantastic way to meet and mingle with fun and interesting people from all over the world. Collaborating and bond­­ ing over the kitchen stove is an ideal ice­­breaker and it gets even better when the time comes to sit down at the end of the class to dig into a delicious meal and a glass or two of fine wine. Sirrý tells us that her workshops tend to conclude with lively discussions around her huge, rustic dining table. “I find that many of the participants find great value in getting the chance to ask a local all kinds of questions, not only about Icelandic cuisine or which rest­­au­ rants to go to in Reykjavík,” she says as dessert is served. “Many of our guests are hugely interested in Icelandic people and the Icelandic way of life and we get some very interesting questions and ob­servations from them, especially from those who have done some traveling around the country prior to taking the class.” The questions and observations are along the lines of “how come the farms are so small?” (a regular question from Americans in particular), “where do you keep all the cows?” (in the barn when they are not out and about feeding on the grass) or Sirrý’s personal favorite: “how come you always see sheep in a group of three?” (It’s not unusual for an ewe to have two lambs. They tend to stick close to mom). “I absolutely love this part of the class and to be able to answer questions asked. I’m also proud to say that almost without exception, the guests praise the food served at rest­­ au­rants in Reykjavík, something that I’m always very happy to hear.” One session at Salt Eldhús might not transform a clumsy home cook like our­ selves into a chef ready to be allotted a Michelin star, but what is certain is that

“I find that many of the participants find great value in getting the chance to ask a local all kinds of questions, not only about Icelandic cuisine or which rest­­au­ rants to go to in Reykjavík.”

you will have great fun dining on some delicious food as well as getting a new and exciting perspective on cooking and dining during your time spent in Iceland. You never know, you might actually find the whole experience the best thing since sliced bread.

For more information on current and new types of cook­ ing classes in English, check out

DID YOU KNOW THAT IN ICELAND... you don´t have to buy bottled water, but a bottle of wine is a lot cheaper at Duty Free Iceland

Issue six 51


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 Reykja­­­­­­ vík, Kol Restaurant’s design con­­­­­cept is a mixture of warm modern Icelandic feel with international touc­­h­­es 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 spac­­es with cozy leather couches and a variety of diff­­­er­­ent 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

KOL RESTAURANT Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11:30-23:00 / Saturday-Sunday 17:30-23:00


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brand new gem on the Reykjavik restaurant scene. This is a great place to begin a fun evening. v

Kol Restaurant cent­­ers on the bar where the coun­try’s best cock­­tail bar­­ tend­­ers serve craft cocktails from the best in­­gredi­ents available and offer an ambi­­tious cocktail list to begin and com­­plete the dining exper­­ience.



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 Medi­­­terr­­anean side and yet elegant with a jazzy ambiance. In the summertime tables are moved outside to the shelt­er­ed terrace, probably one of the hottest

places in Iceland during those short summer months. This place is famous for their ‘fresh fish of the day’, served all day from lunch hours. It has very rea­­sonable prices for quality, portions and 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. v

VEGAMÓT Opening hours: Mon-Thu: 11:00 am - 1:00 am Fri-Sat:11:00 am - 4:00 am Sun: 11:00 am - 1:00 am


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


Issue six 55


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 ten­der­loin. If that’s not enough, choose from one of the 12 kinds of milkshakes to go with it.

“Careful man, there’s a beverage here!” Jeffrey ‘the Dude’ Lebowski, the protagonist of the Coen brot­­her’s comedy, is renowned for his penchant for ‘White Russ­ians’ – vodka based cock­­tails featuring coffee liqueurs and cream or milk. The Lebowski Bar has taken this now-iconic drink to a new level, offering an astounding 18 varieties of White Russian, along with an extensive bar list.

Bowling at the bar The real icing on the Le­bowski cake, however, is the bar’s 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. v

Try their amazing burgers, there’s cheese, bacon, a béarn­ aise 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 - Opening hours: 11:00 – 01:00 Sun-Thurs and 11:00 – 04:00 Fri/Sat


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Bar Ananas & SmakkBarinn Klapparstigur 38 101 Reykjavik E-mail: Tel: +354 774 4 404

A taste of summer Whatever the season, you can count on it being summer at Bar Ananas and just to make things even more interesting, they’re now offering a brand new tapas experience in a cozy establishment downstairs called SmakkBarinn.


eel the beach in the snow! Or at least have a little flashback while drinking cocktails with pineapple. Yup, it’s a beach bar in Iceland! A tropical theme designed to conquer over the cold winter. How COOL… WARM! is that? So when you don’t feel like doing that northern lights tour or going with all the other tourists into the Blue Lagoon, you can always check out the happy hour at Bar Ananas. Drink some cocktails and have the sur­­roundings constantly reminding you of warm weather and the beach. Unique in Iceland because nobody thought it would work – well, they’ve all been proven wrong. Bar Ananas is a popular spot on the Reykjavik night­­life scene with cool DJ’s all the time. Below is a restaurant called SmakkBarinn which serves Icelandic tapas. You can even order from them and eat it at the beach. No reason to give up a good tan!

SmakkBarinn A cozy place in the heart of Reykjavík, Smakk­­­ Bar­­inn and Bar Ananas are just a short walk from Lauga­­vegur, Reykjavik’s main shopping street. SmakkBarinn offers tapas in jars and it’s all Ice­­ landic with many cool combinations of food to try out. For the sake of variety, their menu changes all the time. Eating at SmakkBarinn is one thrill after another; you can taste everything on the menu without having to sell your car. All their tapas dishes are presented in jars perfect both for dining out and also just for getting a snack with some friends and still come out happy you didn’t spend a fortune on a whole meal. The next best part is the beer… Oh yeah! You can taste that too in jars. Whatever you decide to do in Iceland, you might want to try out some Icelandic tapas and party the night away at Iceland’s all season beach bar. v

SmakkBarinn offers tapas in jars and it’s all Icelandic with many cool combinations of food to try out. For the sake of variety, their menu changes all the time. Eating at SmakkBarinn is one thrill after another; you can taste everything on the menu without having to sell your car.

You’ll find both Bar Ananas and SmakkBarinn on Facebook Issue six 57


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 eff­­ ect on Iceland’s most talented art­­­ists and writers. Smokers can have a seat on a heat­­ed patio with service all day. Over the summer, this place really comes alive. The yard is completely sheltered from the wind, allowing you to enjoy food and beverages in the bright sunlight. Thursday to Sunday is usually packed with people from all over the world. It’s a great place to meet strangers for

some interesting story sharing. Live bands play on Fridays and Sat­urdays, guaranteeing a crowd before all the popular DJ’s hit the floor with party tunes from 01:00-04:30 AM. The menu consists of great selections and offers everything from breakfast to a fantastic dinner. Hressingarskálinn offers Icelandic food for curious visitors. You can always try the traditional Icelandic meat soup. If not, there’s lamb or the fish stew – You won’t be

HRESSINGARSKÁLINN Opening hours: Mon-Thu: 9:00 am - 1:00 am Fri-Sat: 10:00 am - 4:30 am Sun: 9:00 am - 1:00 am


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disappointed. Hress­­­ingar­­­skálinn is stylish and old at the same time, a history well preserved. Check out Hress­­­ingar­skálinn for great prices and awesome fun! v

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 build­ ings (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 Sake­­bar­­inn. It does feature the country’s largest sel­­ection of sake and a shot before a meal can truly enhance the feel of real Japanese dining. It comes in a sur­­prising range of flavors too, everything from really girly fruit sake to the fire spewing alcohol con­­tent of some of the more butch types; potato sake, warm and cold sake and Japanese plum wine. And then of course are the bottles that didn’t make it on to the menu because no one could read the labels and therefore no one knows what they are. Mystery sake! Sakebarinn is a place born to show­­case the talents the staff have collected over the years work­­ing at their first Sushi restau­­rant call­­ed Sushibarinn, which is located on the first floor in the same house. A year and a wild ride later, this sushi family has in­­corporated a

bunch of new and talented people with some great new recipes and skills they didn’t know they had and didn’t even know existed. The walls are hand painted by them, the wine selected by them, the menu is designed by them and the place is loved by them. They also love to present food so their clients become part of their love for sushi. The look on your face is what they are aiming for, the look of enjoyment. v

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 - 11:00 pm Issue six 59


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 in­ cluding the famous Danish white beers, the darker more malt brews and of course the tra­­ditional and almost obligatory Tuborg and Carls­­berg. If you come during the Christmas sea­­son you can taste some of the renowned Christ­­­mas brews, very popular in demand. Just ask for Julebryg (“you-le-bree”).

Get carefree or “ligeglad” (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” within the pub – an off-the­-wall design in its most literal sense!

Reminder: If you thought you were in for a quiet night guess again, The Danish Pub features live music every night with special appearances and unad­­vertised happenings on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Put your musical knowledge to the

DEN DANSKE KRO Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 14:00 – 01:00 and Fri-Sat 14:00 – 05:00


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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. v

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



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. v

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.

KALDI BAR 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 I Issue six 61


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



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

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

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


WOW Power to the people

s 1’sty ’ d n a l e Ic ewer Microb&r Bistro

Our dockside bistro. Our bistro offers the freshest seafood and gourmet delights, the bistro presents a selection of superb dishes focusing naturally on fresh seafood, great steaks and vegeterian delights for a memorable lunch or evening feast.

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Live Jazz Join the locals for an evening of world class jazz in our beautiful brewery room.

Daily at 13:00 & 17:00 - Price: 2.900 kr.-

Sundays at 20:00 - Entrance is FREE





n Gra

Brewery Tour A 20-30 minute introduction to our brewery including a tasting platter of our freshly brewed beers.


Issue six 63


Reykjavik Fish Trygg vagata 8 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 578 5656 Email:

Reykjavik Fish In the heart of Reykjavík, right next to the old harbor, you can find Reykjavík Fish, a new restaurant offering ultra-fresh seafood. Ultra-fresh means that the fish you order today was swimming last night.


he menu at Reykjavik Fish is structured to provide hearty portions of quality sea food at very reasonable prices. The crown jewel of the menu is the spelt battered fish and chips; crispy and healthy at the same time, a perfect meal with a nice Icelandic beer. If you’re up for something a little more traditional Icelandic try the “Plokkari” (plucked fish). Their recipe is the same as used in the old days except with fresh fish of course. Perfect location and Icelandic seafood at its finest. Reykjavik Fish has plenty of seats and wel­­­­comes everyone, solo travelers and big groups

REYKJAVIK FISH Opening hours: 11 AM to 10:30 PM


WOW Power to the people

alike. When you come to Reykjavík and would like to try a nice fish and chips just look for the big red door. v

Perfect location and Icelandic seafood at its finest. Reykjavik Fish has plenty of seats and wel­comes everyone, solo travelers and big groups alike. When you come to Reykjavík and would like to try a nice fish and chips just look for the big red door.


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.

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

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

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

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 six 65


VON mathús and bar Strandgata 75 220 Hafnarfjordur Tel: +354 583 6000 E-mail:

VON mathús The idea to open VON mathús could be attributed to Einar Hjaltason and Kristjana Þura Berþórsdóttir’s enthusiasm and passion to realize their dream, but location and the demand for a diverse and local food culture, also played a big part in their decision. VON mathús emphasizes seasonal Icelandic cuisine combined with ingredients that complement the each dish perfectly.

Acclaimed chef Einar Hjaltason, acclaimed and experienced chef studied at Grillið, in Hótel Saga, one of the finest dining establishments in Iceland. He also took part in the opening of the Sjávargrillið restaurant. In 2012 he set his sights on England where he facilit­ ated in the opening of a new fine dining rest­aurant by the name of Dabbous, which, only eight months after opening, received a Michelin Star. After returning to Iceland, he became a head chef at KOL restaurant on Skólavörðustígur, where he recently resigned to focus on opening VON mathús. Kristjana Þura, managing partner at VON, is born and raised in Hafnafjörður and has extensive knowl­­edge in the restaurant- and the hotel sector of the service industry, having spent the last ten years working in both.

Homey atmosphere In 2013, when the couple discovered their first

child was on the way, it was as if Hafnafjörður called out to the young family. Shortly before the arrival of their daughter in early 2014, they’d al­­ ready settled in. VON actually means “hope” and the family now hopes to make their mark on the food and restaurant culture in this “town in the lava.” They felt that VON was especially appropriate for the optimism that is ever present in this port town. Einar and Kristjana associate “hope“ with “fresh and healthy,“ hence they place a heavy emphasis on seafood- and sea-based ingredients and strive to use only the freshest ingredients in their dishes. The fundamental concept of VON mathús is that there is always a homey atmosphere where personal comfort and professional service are interwoven. Their hope is that this combination along with consistently great food will make every customer satisfied and delighted whenever they dine at their establishment. v

The fundamental concept of VON mathús is that there is always a homey atmosphere where personal comfort and professional service are interwoven.

VON MATHÚS AND BAR Opening hours: Tuesdays-Thursdays: 11:30-22:00 Fridays-Saturdays: 11:30-23:00 Sundays: 11:30-14:00 Mondays: Closed Happy Hour: 16:00-18:00


WOW Power to the people


WOW! We’re so social Active on social media? So are we and we love sharing great photos, travel tips, good deals and other fun things on our many social media outlets as well as to our WOW Club members.

We would love to share your travel memories or photos from your hometown. Hashtag your Instagram travel photos with #wowair or #wowstopover so we can help you spread the WOW.



Find WOW air on Facebook – facebook. com/wowiceland – hit that “like” button and add us to your favorites. Then help us share the WOW. We promise not to fill up your newsfeed with boring stuff or click-tag games. Perhaps just a cute kitten video once a year.

We’ve snapped on to the Snapchat trend and it’s gotten great reviews. Add wow-air to your list of snappy friends and watch videos and photos from our destinations created—for your eyes only.

INSTANT KARMA We’re on Instagram too but we only use it to share good photos and we never Instagram our coffee; that’s a promise … unless it’s really, really good coffee. Follow @wowair on Instagram for great travel inspiration or just to see beautiful places. TWEET IT We love tweeting @wow_air It’s so much more of a challenge to have to put out the message in 140 characters or less, right? WOW air also has a special twitter page for queries, comments and complaints @wowairsupport where our team is ready to give feedback during local business hours.


WOW Power to the people

JOIN THE CLUB WOW air has a special club for cool people and you’re invited. Club members receive regular club emails and will always be the first to know when we put out our awesome deals on flights. Sign up at and join our posse. SHARE IT WITH US! We would love to share your travel memories or photos from your hometown. Hashtag your Instagram travel photos with #wowair or #wowstopover so we can help you spread the WOW.

Make every króna count The Arion Currency Card is the best way for travellers to pay in Iceland. · You get a range of great discounts at popular excursions and tourist shops as well as selected restaurants, fashion shops, hotels etc. · Save money – You don‘t have to pay international card transaction fees · No need to worry about the currency rate · No need to carry Icelandic krónur in your wallet · Use it everywhere – The Currency Card is accepted in Iceland and internationally Get your Currency Card at Arion Bank in Keflavík Airport, or the next Arion Bank branch.

Get your Currency Card at the next Arion Bank branch.

Issue six 69


AS THEY GROW by Gerรฐur Harรฐardรณttir Photos: Axel Sigurรฐarson


WOW Power to the people

There’s a rather endearing story behind the Icelandic kids clothing brand As We Grow, a story that should send a strong and significant message into today’s high consumerism and throwaway society. The design and whole concept of As We Grow is essentially inspired by one particular sweater knitted for a young child by its mother years ago. When the child out­­ grew the sweater, it was given to another child, and then another, eventually being handed down from one generation to the next, through several families in diff­­erent countries, in the end becoming a significant link in the shared history of each family and generation. Such an example of sustainability and timelessness in design plus societal responsibility and am­­­­bitious environmental policy is exactly what As We Grow is aiming for with its stunning col­­lections of high-quality cloth­­es that truly

define the term “slow fashion.” Established in 2012 by knit­­ wear designer Guðrún Ragna Sigurjónsdóttir, fashion de­­ s­­igner María Th. Ólafsdóttir and managing director Gréta Hlöðversdóttir, As We Grow pro­­duces clothes of high caliber for kids between 6 months to 12 years old, and as of the end of 2015, accessories for grown-ups as well. Through the clothes, Icelandic knitting traditions and Peruvian alpaca wool meet and mix beautifully in adorable gar­­­ ments of outstanding dura­­bility. Each prototype is designed and knitted in Iceland with measurements and drawings. They are then sent off to Peru where samples are made in a small knitting factory exclusively using pure Peruvian alpaca wool, the ideal material for children’s clot­­hes, not only for its softness but also for the fact that it’s lanolin-free and hypoallergenic. The clothes are then sent back

to Iceland for final adjustments. The final step in the process is to take down orders and produce according to orders placed, no more, no less. Another thing that makes the clothes so utterly unique, is the fact that through its design and cut, each piece can be worn for an extended period of time as the child gets older and grows taller. The clothes are also outstanding in their simple, comfortable shapes where beautiful details such as cute bows, knitted scarves and delicate ruffles meet charming color combinations. As We Grow recently received the 2016 Icelandic Design Award, an award that honors the importance and growing appreciation of the very best Icelandic design has to offer. As We Grow is currently available in 50 stores in 10 countries around the world, with twenty of those stores found in Japan alone, something which can be said to be quite a firm seal of approval for this relatively new and small design brand, especially since the average Jap­­ anese consumer is known to be a highly demanding and selective one. In Iceland you will find As We Grow in Mýrin at Kringlan Shopping Mall, MAIA on Laugavegur 7, Kraum on Banka­­ stræti 7, Petit on Suðurlandsbraut 4, Icelandair Hotel Natura, Hilton Hotel and Epal design stores on Lauga­­veg­ur 70 and at the Harpa Concert Hall. v As We Grow spring/summer collection 2017 will be available from February 2017. Find out more on

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 six 71


Architectural artwork in North Iceland In Akureyri, in North Iceland, there’s a circular building that stands as one of the town’s new landmarks. The building is called Hof which means temple. Hof is made of Icelandic granite and serves as a conference center. Inside the building there is a restaurant where you can sit outside on sunny summer days and commune with the endless nature. by Svava Jónsdóttir Photos: Auðunn Níelsson courtesy of Visit Akureyri

Akureyri, known as Capital of the North” is the biggest town in North Iceland. The picturesque town, lying at the bottom of the Eyjafjörður Fjord, is surrounded by beautiful hills and mountains. You can enjoy kayaking and diving in the fjord during the summer, and skiing and snowboarding on Hlíðarfjall Mountain, during the winter, only a few kilometers above the town. THE CENTER OF TOWN Hof is located in the center of the town, on the banks of the fjord. The building is a work of art reminiscent of a modern day Colosseum. Its construction began in 2006 and the building’s opening was held in 2010. The main designer of the building was Arkþing. Apart from being granite and circular in form, columnar basalt adorns the outside of the building. The total weight of the basalt is 300 tons and the area is 1600 m2. The cultural and conference center is masterfully designed. Lying in the building is a kind of a “river” or a “walk through” that divides it into two parts. The windows are high and narrow according to the daylight needs of the building’s various functions. DESIGNED FOR CULTURE Hof was designed for music and other arts, exhibitions conferences, meetings, receptions and parties. There are two large auditoriums; the main auditorium


WOW Power to the people

Apart from being granite and circular in form, columnar basalt adorns the outside of the building. The total weight of the basalt is 300 tons and the area is 1600 m2.

seats 500 people and the side auditorium is a multiuse facility seating up to 200 people. There are several other smaller meeting rooms. There is a restaurant in Hof on two levels that seats up to 120 people and there is no problem to accommodate up to 500 people for parties by opening the adjacent space. During summer you can sit outside and enjoy your food or drink in the natural surroundings. The furniture and loose equipment in Hof is de­­ signed and manufactured by the Icelandic comp­any Sýrusson, and the seats inside Hamraborg, Hof’s main hall, are from the Icelandic company Prologus. A GOOD REASON TO GO INSIDE The Tourist Information Bureau in Akureyri is located in Hof, which also houses a souvenir shop. In the Tourist Information Bureau, you’ll get information about the many interesting places to visit in Akureyri as well as in the town’s surroundings. So even if you don’t have tickets for a show you’ll have a good reason to pop inside and take a look at this brilliant building.

“The icelandic museum of rock 'n' roll is as eccentric in it's telling as the tale it celebrates� david fricke, rolling stone.

The museum is located in keflavĂ­k / 5 minutes from keflavik international airport. for more go to /

Issue six 73

T F- W O W

The WOW fleet

Paint the sky purple Unlike most airlines, WOW air chooses the registration names of each aircraft very carefully and not according to standard practices of the alphabet. We like our registration names to be fun as they represent us in a big way. Every family is unique and the growing WOW family of Airbus aircraft is no exception. Take a look.

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Type: A321-200 Model: 2014 Seats: 200 The second aircraft to get a WOW registration was TF-MOM, it was also the first aircraft bought and delivered to WOW air in March 2015. MOM is one of only two officially named aircraft in the WOW fleet as she’s also known as Freyja after the Nordic goddess of love.

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TF-WOW Type: A330-300 Model: 2015 Seats: 350 TF-WOW was the first aircraft registration name acquired by WOW air. It now adorns one of our Airbus A330 aircraft which was added to the WOW fleet in early summer 2016.



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TF-GPA Type: A321-200 Model: 2016 Seats: 220 Also straight-out-of-the-box, TF-GPA aka Grandpa joined the WOW fleet in June 2016.





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Type: A321-200 Model: 2016 Seats: 220 TF-GMA is short for Grandma, but don’t let the name fool you, she’s straight-out-of-the-box. The brand new matriarch joined the WOW fleet at the end of May 2016.




Type: A330-300 Model: 2010 Seats: 342 TF-GAY is the out and proud member of the WOW family. A free spirit at heart, he visits San Francisco as often as he can. TF-GAY was delivered to WOW air in June 2016.



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Type: A321-200 Model: 2014 Seats: 200 If you register a TF-MOM it goes without saying that you should have a TF-DAD too. Delivered to WOW air in March 2015, DAD is also known as Óðinn, the Nordic god of wisdom and travel. TF-DAD is the only WOW aircraft that’s not painted purple.



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Issue six 75

The WOW fleet

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Type: A330-300 Model: 2015 Seats: 350 We love everyone so naturally we had to have a TF-LUV. This wide-body aircraft was delivered to WOW air early summer 2016.

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Type: A321-200 Model: 2013 Seats: 200 Delivered to WOW air in February 2016, TF-KID carries guests to both Europe and America.

Type: A320-200 Model: 2010 Seats: 174 TF-SIS was delivered to WOW air at the same time as TF-BRO, in September 2015, and works really hard carrying our guests to Europe.







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Type: A320-200 Model: 2010 Seats: 174 TF-BRO has been servicing WOW air since September of 2015 flying to various destinations around Europe.

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Type: A321-200 Model: 2013 Seats: 200 TF-SON, like his sister TF-KID, is quite crafty. The Son was delivered to WOW air in March 2016.

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TF-JOY Type: A321-200 Model: 2016 Seats: 200 The newest member of the WOW family arrived just in time for the Christmas season bearing the joy. TF-JOY might as well have been wrapped and with a bow as it came straight from the assembly line at Airbus.


Airbus A330-300

Max takeoff weight: 235,000 kg, Range: 11,750 km, Engines: 2xRR-Trent700, Cruising speed: Mach 0.82


WOW Power to the people

Airbus A321-200

Max takeoff weight: 93,500 kg, Range: 7,400 km, Engines: 2xCFM-56, Cruising speed: Mach 0.78

Airbus A320-200

Max takeoff weight: 77,000 kg Range: 6,480 km Engines: 2xIAE-V2500 Cruising speed: Mach 0.78

Issue six 77



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

Base HotelHostel is at a former NATO base used by the US Army until 2006. The hotel is located in two buildings where US Army families once resided and it embraces the 55-year history of the army’s presence in Iceland in its overall theme, with quirky little touches and photographs. “We looked to the area’s history and decided to create a positive concept revolving around that history. A big part of the design process was creating a warm, comfortable and fun space that could hold all the modern art that’s now on display. To add to the challenge, everything we did must be low-cost and to keep costs down we kept a lot of the furniture that was left in the house. A good example of that are the rocking chairs found in most rooms, which were used by the army families during the military’s stay in Iceland,” says Leifur Welding, hotel designer. PERFECT FOR STOPOVERS Base HotelHostel is perfect for short stopovers in Iceland and as a base for exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula and Southwest Iceland. The affordable rooms cater to all types of travelers. “Base Hotel has a lot to offer, the lone traveler


WOW Power to the people

just looking for a place to rest, the couple for a fun place to be, or the family needing more space. With our community kitchen, laundry room, TV lounges, library, game room, 24-hour reception and bar, and shuttle to and from the airport we try to meet everyone’s needs without aband­oning our policy of being the most affordable accom­­modation in the area. The Base is not just a place to stay, it’s a place to live, even if it’s just for a few days,” says Base hotel manager Richard Eckard. At Base HotelHostel you’ll find hostelstyle dorm rooms for the extremely cost conscious, suites for the private but thrifty

Get comfortable and check out for more infor­­ mation and booking.

and anything in between for everyone else who just like to stay within their budget but still get a good night’s rest. YOUR BASE IN ICELAND Because the Base HotelHostel is located close to Keflavik Airport a lot of precious time is saved on arrivals and departures for those on a brief WOW Stopover in Iceland. This affords guests more time to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula, a geologically young area displaying Iceland’s magnificent nature. From the Northern Lights to helicopter flights— whale watching to geothermal springs, the Reykjanes Peninsula’s got it all! v

Catch the bus to Reykjavík

from Keflavík International Airport Travel in Iceland the smart way Find your routes, plan your journey, locate the nearest bus stop and track your bus on a real-time map with the straeto-app.

Route 55 FLE–RVIK


FLE 413



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. Tickets are also available on the bus. Issue six 79


WOW Power to the people


The land of ice and fire In the Region 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 outside the Arctic regions. In this region, you also find some of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions such as the spectacular Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Skaftafell, the jewel in Vatnajökull National Park and Mt. Hvannadalshnúkur, the highest peak in Iceland and a popular hike. Photos: Jón Óskar Hauksson and Eyrún Halla Jónsdóttir, courtesy of Visit Vatnajokull

The Vatnajökull Region is filled with contrasts with its black beach­­es, white glaciers, red hot vol­­cano­­ es, green birch forest and blue Atlantic Ocean. Serenity, energy and the forces of nature com­­bine to make a visit to the Region of Vatna­­­jökull a never-to-be-for­­ gotten experience. Wildlife is rich in the Region of Vatna­­ jökull 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‘ll spot a seal at Jökulsárlón or an Arctic fox running through 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. WINTER PARADISE The Region of Vatnajökull in Southeast Iceland spans over 200 km of the Ring

It cov­­ers the accessible southern side of Vatna­­­­­jökull Glacier, an area particularly delightful to photography enthusiasts with its countless magnificent views of the glaciers and mountains both in daylight as well as when dusk settles and the Aurora Borealis light up the sky.

For more information go to

Road from Lómagnúpur in the west to Hvalnes Peninsula in the east. It cov­­­­ers the accessible southern side of Vatna­­­­­­­jökull Glacier, an area particularly de­­lightful to photography enthusiasts with its countless magnificent views of the glaciers and mountains both in daylight as well as when dusk settles and the Aurora Borealis light up the sky. And the region has a wide range of experienced guides and photographers who can take you to the picture perfect spots! Have you ever imagined looking inside a glacier? Wintertime offers this unique opportunity. A trip into the ice caves of Vatnajökull’s southern crawling glacier reveals a wonderous world of colors and refracted light providing a thrill for any photo enthusiast. Local guides who know every crevice of the glacier seek out caves formed during the wint­ er months and offer tours. Travelers should only go on such trips under their guidance.

HÖFN—CULTURE AND CUISINE! The only town in the area, Höfn is a lively fishing town with a population of 1,800. Höfn is additionally known as Iceland‘s one and only lobster capital with its complement of lovely restaurants off­­­­ering this precious product as well as various other local specialties year round. Höfn is also a great base for explor­ing the magnificent landscape of Vatna­­jökull National Park, and be sure to drop by the park’s visitor center in the beautiful historical building, Gamlabúð, by the harbor. ACTIVITY, ACCOMMODATION AND RESTAURANTS Much of the activity in the Region of Vatnajökull revolves around the glacier and the nature around it. You can choose between glacier walks and ice climb­­ing, a thrilling snowmobile ride on Vatnajökull or a comfortable tour of this mighty glacier in a super jeep. The area also offers ATV tours and geo­­thermal baths at Hoffell, reindeer excursions, a visit to the Thorbergssetur cultural museum, a local mineral stone collection, the local handicraft store, the petting zoo at Hólmur and much more. There are various possibilities in accommodations and you’ll be sure to find a warm welcome by knowledgeable hosts. Several restaurants are in the area and most of them offer dishes made with local ingredients. Be sure to ask for the local beer Vatnajökull, brew­­ed from icebergs from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the locally sourced Arctic thyme. ACCESSIBLE YEAR ROUND The Vatnajökull Region is well accessible all year due to good weather conditions and frequent transportation. Eagle Air has a daily flight 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. Issue six 81


s Declaration Fo

The U.S. Custom

This Space For Official Use Only

U.S. Cu

Customs Declaration


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

What is this and why do I need to fill this out? Before you arrive in the U.S., you will need to fill out the US Customs Declaration Form. If you‘re traveling with your family only the head of the family needs to fill out the form. When you arrive on US soil you will hand this form to the U.S. Customs agent. If you’re traveling with fruits we recommend disposing of them before or during your flight to the U.S. but what happens if you answer yes to any of the questions? It’s not as terrible as you might think and being truthful will save you a lot of trouble and a fine of up to $300. See page 90 for more information on answering YES.

Each arriving traveler or responsible family member must provide the following information (only ONE written declaration per family is required). The term "family" is defined as "members of a family residing in the same household who are related by blood, marriage, domestic relationship, or adoption." 1 Family Name First (Given) 2 Birth date


VALUR Year 8 0 2

Middle Day

1 7

3 Number of Family members traveling with you 4 (a) U.S. Street Address (hotel name/destination)

BOSTON HARBOR HOTEL 70 ROWES WHARF (c) State MA BOSTON Passport issued by (country) ICELAND Passport number A0182382 Country of Residence ICELAND FRANCE ~ SPAIN Countries visited on this (b) City

5 6 7 8

trip prior to U.S. arrival

9 Airline/Flight No. or Vessel Name

Français Le formulaire de déclaration en douane américaine

Qu’est-ce que c’est et pourquoi dois-je en remplir un ? FR: Avant votre arrivée aux États-Unis, vous devrez remplir le formulaire de déclaration en douane américaine. Si vous voyagez avec votre famille, seul le chef de famille doit le remplir. Lorsque vous arrivez sur le sol américain, vous donnez ce formulaire aux autorités douanières américaines. Si vous voyagez avec des fruits, nous vous recommandons de les jeter avant ou pendant votre vol vers les États-Unis mais que se passe-t-il si vous répondez « oui » à l’une de ces questions ? Ce n’est pas aussi terrible que ça en a l’air et dire la vérité vous évitera pas mal d’ennuis et une amende pouvant aller jusqu’à 300 $. Consultez la page 90 pour obtenir plus d’informations si vous répondez « OUI ».


WOW Power to the people


10 The primary purpose of this trip is business:

Pour remplir ce formulaire, utilisez uniquement des majuscules. Si vous faites une erreur, notre personnel vous donnera un nouveau formulaire. Chaque voyageur entrant ou chef de famille entrant doit fournir les informations suivantes (UNE SEULE déclaration par famille) 1. Nom, Prénom, Initiale du deuxième prénom.


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



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



(c) disease agents, cell cultures, snails:



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



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


x x x x x







(such as touching or handling) 13 I am (We are) carrying currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 U.S. or foreign equivalent: (see definition of monetary instruments on reverse) 14 I have (We have) commercial merchandise:


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

5. Lieu de délivrace du passeport (nom du pays) 6. Numéro de passeport 7. Pays de résidence

The tra the amo States of both) Custom Moneta bearer bonds. instrum file the carrying instrum prosecu YOU H MADE A


(List may

(articles for sale, samples used for soliciting orders,

2. Date de naissance Jour/Mois/Année. 3. Nombre de personnes voyageant avec vous.



11 I am (We are) bringing

U.S. Cu United officers persona examin dignified Repres are ava Importa U.S. Re are Visitors rem Declare do Duty— en the of ab Agricul ag Fr bir de Cu W su Contro genera

or goods that are not considered personal effects)

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


0 0

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


Hákon Valur Magnússon



Date (month/day/year)

CBP Form 6059B (04/14)

PAPERW sponsor informati number this app commen Border P Washing

8. Pays visités pendant ce voyage avant l‘arrivée aux aux Etats-Unis 9. Ligne aérienne / numéro du vol / Nom de vaisseau 10. Vous vouages our raison d‘affaires: OUI/NON 11. Je suis / nous sommes porteurs de (a) fruits, plantes, produits alimentaires, insectes: OUI/NON (b) viandes, animoux, produits provenant d‘animaux ou d‘animoux sauvages: OUI/NON (c) agents pouvant causer des maladies, cultures cellulaires, escargots: OUI/NON (d) terre. J‘ai / Nous avons visité une exploitation agricole en dehors des Etats-Unis: OUI/NON 12. J‘ai / nous avons touché ou traité du bétail: OUI/NON 13. Je suis / nous sommes porteurs d‘espèces ou d‘instruments monétaires d‘une valeur équivalente en monnaie des États Unis ou de tout autre pays (Voir définition d‘instruments monétaire au verso) á plus de 10 000$ US: OUI/NON 14. Je suis / nous sommes en possession de marchandises commerciales (articles des tinés à la vente, échantillon de démonstration ou tout autre article autresque des effets personnels): OUI/NON 15. Résidents - la valeur totale des biens, y compris la marchandise commerciale, que j’ai/nous avons achetés ou acquis à l’étranger (y compris les cadeaux pour une autre personne, mais pas les articles envoyés aux États-Unis) et que je/ nous rapportons aux États-Unis est de : montant en USD Visiteurs - La valeur totale de tous les articles qui resteront aux États-Unis, y compris la marchandise commerciale est de : USD Signez sur la ligne pour déclarer que votre déclaration est véridique.

Deutsch Die US-amerikanische Zollerklärung

Was ist das und warum muss ich dieses Formular ausfüllen? GER: Vor der Ankunft in den USA müssen Sie das Formular der US-Zollerklärung ausfüllen. Wenn Sie mit Ihrer Familie unterwegs sind, braucht nur das Familienoberhaupt dieses Formular ausfüllen. Wenn Sie US-Boden betreten, übergeben Sie dieses Formular dem US-Zoll. Wenn Sie auf Ihrer Reise Obst mit sich führen, empfehlen wir Ihnen, dies vor oder während dem Flug in die USA zu entsorgen. Aber was geschieht, wenn Sie eine dieser Fragen mit Ja beantworten? Das ist nicht so schrecklich, wie Sie vielleicht denken, und Ehrlichkeit spart Ihnen eine Menge Ärger und eine mögliche Geldstrafe von bis zu 300$. Siehe Seite 90 für weitere Informationen zur Antwort JA.

Bitte verwenden Sie beim Ausfüllen dieses Formulars nur Großbuchstaben. Falls Sie einen Fehler machen wird Ihnen unsere Crew ein neues Formular geben. Jeder ankommende Reisende bzw. jedes verantwortliche Familienmitglied muss die folgenden Angaben machen (es ist pro Familie nur EINE schriftliche Erklärung erforderlich) 1. Familienname, Vorname, Zweiter Vorname 2. Geburtsdatum / Tag/Monat/Jahr 3. Anzahl der mit Ihnen reisenden Familienmitglieder 4.

(a) Adresse/genaue Anschrift in den USA (Name des Hotels/Reiseziel) (b) Stadt (c) Staat

11. Ich (wir) führen folgende Waren ein: (a) Früchte, Pflanzen, Lebensmittel, Insekten: JA/NEIN (b) Fleisch, Tiere, Tier- oder Wildprodukte: JA/NEIN (c) Krakheitserreger, Zellkulturen, Schnecken: JA/NEIN (d) Erde, oder waren Sie auf einem Bauernhof/einer Ranch/Weide: JA/NEIN 12. Ich war (wir waren) in unmittelbarer Nähe von Vieh/Nutztieren (z.B. Anfassen oder Umgang damit): JA/NEIN 13. Ich führe (wir führen) mehr als $US 10,000 in Bargeld oder Zahlungsmitteln oder den Gegenwert in anderen ausländischen Währungen mit (Siehe die Definition von Gegenstände zum persönlichen Gebrauch gelten): JA/NEIN 14. Ich führe (wir führen) kommerzielle Waren mit. (Verkaufsware, Muster zur Werbung von Aufträgen oder Artikel, die nicht als Gegenstände zum persönlichen Gebrauch gelten): JA/NEIN 15. US-Bürger - der Gesamtwert aller Waren, einschließlich Handelswaren die ich/wir erworben habe(n) oder im Ausland erworben habe(n) (einschließlich Geschenke für andere, nicht aber Sendungen in die USA) und in die USA einführe(n) lautet: Betrag in US-$ Besucher - der Gesamtwert aller Artikel einschließlich Handelswaren, die in den USA verbleiben ist: $ Auf der Linie unterschreiben, um zu erklären, dass Sie eine wahrheitsgemäße Erklärung abgeben.

5. Pass ausgestellt von (Land) 6. Passnummer 7. Ständiger Wohnsitz (Land) 8. Auf dieser Reise besuchte Länder vor Ihrer Ankunft in den USA 9. Fluggesellschaft/Flugnummer oder Name des Schiffes 10. Der Hauptanlass dieser Reise ist geschäftlich: JA/NEIN Issue six 83

aration Form

s Decl The U.S. Custom

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

Le formulaire de déclaration en douane américaine

Que se passe-t-il si vous répondez « OUI » ? Certaines personnes semblent penser que répondre « non » à toutes les réponses leur évitera des ennuis. Ce n’est pas le cas et en fait, cela peut même vous causer plus de problèmes, des retards et des amendes. Dites la vérité sur votre formulaire de déclaration en douane et tout ira bien. Dans le pire des cas, ils confisqueront votre banane mais promis, vous pourrez en acheter une nouvelle à votre arrivée à l’aéroport. Oui aux questions 11 (a), (b) ou (c) Votre agent douanier vous dirigera vers un spécialiste agricole qui vous posera des questions supplémentaires et qui pourra inspecter vos fruits. Dans de nombreux cas, vous sera autorisé à garder votre nourriture. Cela dépend souvent de la provenance la nourriture et de la façon dont elle a été transformée. Les fruits, les légumes et la viande crue sont généralement confisqués. Vous pouvez faire


WOW Power to the people

des recherches avant de partir sur le site canibright. com qui est un site du gouvernement américain. Oui aux questions 11 (d) et/ou 12 : Un spécialiste agricole inspectera la terre ou les vêtements, les chaussures ou les bagages qui ont été en contact avec du bétail ou le sol d’une ferme pour déterminer la présence d’organismes dangereux. S’il trouve des substances potentiellement dangereuses, il désinfectera vos objets avant de vous laisser les garder. Pour importer de la terre aux États-Unis, il vous faut un permis. Oui aux questions 13 ou 14 : Si vous transportez des devises d’une valeur supérieure à 10 000 $, vous devrez simplement remplir un formulaire spécial pour le ministère des finances. Pour les objets destinés à être vendus, vous devriez déjà avoir rempli un « formulaire d’entrée officielle » avant de prendre votre vol. Vous pouvez faire cela sur place mais ce genre de chose est soumis à de nombreuses règles et règlementations et peut être compliqué.

Die US-amerikanische Zollerklärung

Was passiert, wenn Sie JA sagen? Einige Leute nehmen an, dass sie keinerlei Ärger bekommen, wenn sie überall NEIN sagen. Das ist nicht so. Tatsächlich kann dies sogar mehr Probleme, Verzögerungen und sogar Geldbußen verursachen. Seien Sie bei Ihrer Zollerklärung ehrlich, und alles wird gut. Im schlimmsten Fall konfisziert man Ihre Banane, aber wir versprechen Ihnen, dass Sie sich eine neue kaufen können, sobald Sie den Flughafen verlassen haben. Ja zu 11 (a), (b) oder (c) Ihr Zollbeamter wird Sie an einen Spezialisten für landwirtschaftliche Produkte weiterverweisen, der Ihnen zusätzliche Fragen stellen wird und evtl. darum bittet, Ihre Lebensmittel inspizieren zu dürfen. In vielen Fällen wird man Ihnen erlauben, Ihr Essen mitzunehmen. Oft hängt es davon ab, wo Sie die Lebensmittel erworben haben und wie sie verarbeitet wurden. Obst, Gemüse und rohes Fleisch werden in der Regel beschlagnahmt. Sie können vor Abflug auf der Website der US-Regierung nachlesen, was erlaubt ist. Ja bei 11 (d) und/oder Nr. 12: Ein Spezialist für landwirtschaftliche Produkte wird Sie darum bitten, die Erde oder die Kleidung, Schuhe oder das Gepäck inspizieren zu dürfen, welche(s) in Kontakt mit Tieren oder landwirtschaftlichem Boden war, um zu bestimmen, ob diese gefährliche Organismen enthalten. Wenn er potenziell gefährliche Stoffe findet, werden Ihre Gegenstände desinfiziert, bevor Sie die Erlaubnis erhalten, diese einzuführen. Für das Einführen von Erde in die USA benötigen Sie eine Genehmigung. Ja bei Nr. 13 oder 14: Wenn Sie Bargeld im Wert von mehr als $10.000 mit sich führen, erhalten Sie einfach ein besonderes Formular, das Sie für das US Finanzministerium ausfüllen müssen. Für Gegenstände, die für den Verkauf vorgesehen sind, sollten Sie bereits vor Ihrer Abreise eine „formelle Einfuhrgenehmigung“ einholen. Sie tun könnten dies auch „vor Ort“ erledigen, aber diese Vorgänge unterliegen vielen Regeln und können sehr kompliziert sein. v

ALL rigths reserved E.F. original consept and design 201 6. © By Brynja Sverrisdóttir . PHOTOS BRIAN GRIFFIN

embracing faith by brynja sverrisdottir

Fine Silver & Gold Jewelry Line by

“From Places Where Angels and Elves Live in Harmony” Wolfgang Müller



Showcased at


Concert Hall, Rvk Harbour



SAGA SHOP Issue six 85

SNÆFELLSJÖKULL Photograph by Brian Griffin, postcards available at The Little Coffeshop Sudurlandsvegur. Metal Art Unisex Jewels made in Italy and England. Design by Brynja Sverrisdottir.


New Year’s Eve in Europe Every country does New Year’s Eve a little differently. In Iceland, everyone buys their own fireworks and lights them up from their yard or street at midnight creating one big 360° display. Then there’s partying into the wee hours. Wherever you go, New Year’s Eve is a big party and here’s our pick of where to party in Europe come 2017. by Christopher Canal Photos:

Off the Brandenburg Gate, there’s an impressive fireworks display at midnight. Then you can head out to sample the city’s notoriously hedonistic nightlife.

iStockphoto / Arsiom

Photo: iStockphoto / AndreasWeber



Laid back Amsterdam revs up the volume when it comes to the end of the year. While the city has organized parties in the major squares of Museumplein, Rem­­­­­brand­tplein, Nieu­wmarkt and Dam Square, it’s hard not to be caught up in the ran­­dom street parties that spring up across every corner of the city. The official main fire­­­­works shoot is at the Oosterdok with the Scheep­vaart­­museum forming the back­­drop for a dazz­­ling fireworks display. Elsewhere, the canals of the Amstel are lit up with impromptu displays by the party­ing locals. A good vantage point to take in the at­­mosphere and the city’s unique skyline is the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) between Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal) and Prinsengracht (Prince’s Canal), before head­ing out to the bars and clubs which are open throughout the night. To keep up the energy levels, refuel on tasty Dutch cakes called oliebollen (round doughnuts coated with sugar icing) found at stands across the city. The next day go local and hire a bike to explore the quaint cobblestoned streets of the Jordaan. Amsterdam’s major museums are open on January 1st. The Van Gogh Museum on Museumplein is holding a major exhibition of Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh until late January 2017.

Berlin isn’t shy when it comes to a party; New Year’s Eve, known here as “Silvester,” and Berlin leads the pack. The official center of festivities is the “Party Mile,” a two-kilometer stretch of bars, pop-up snack stalls and live music in Tiergarten between the iconic Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. Last year the party drew over a million revelers. Off the Brandenburg Gate, there’s an impressive fireworks display at midnight. Then you can head out to sample the city’s notoriously hedonistic nightlife. The Kulturbrauerei in trendy Prenzlauer Berg will be the biggest indoor New Year’s Eve party in Berlin. Located in a courtyard near the Eberswalder Strasse U-bahn sta­­tion, the Kulturbrauerei opens its doors and with one ticket you can sample 9 differ­ent clubs. For those wanting to avoid the dance floor or who are visiting with children, Zitadelle Castle in Spandau, a fun family-orientated option northwest of the city near Tegel airport. Otherwise, the Weihnachtszauber am Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market holds a New Year’s soirée of its own, complete with a show­­band to get the party going. For those still standing the next day, Berlin holds the Silversterlauf “Pancake Race,” a four-kilometer New Year’s run that starts from Brandenburg Gate at noon sharp.


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Issue six 87

BONNE ANNÉE IN PARIS Traditionally a highlight in the French calendar, Paris celebrates in style. Over 600,000 revelers descend on the Champs Elysées. As midnight strikes, locals wish each other Bonne Année! (Happy New Year!) and exchange polite bises (kisses) on each cheek. There are parties throughout the capital. Paris is an intimate city so many people celebrate in less crowded districts such as wellheeled Saint Ger­­main, risqué Montmartre or edgy Oberkampf. You can pick a spot on the Île Saint-Louis and listen for Notre Dame to strike. The next day, explore the beautiful district of the Marais with its numerous bistros and museums and have fresh coffee or luxuriously indulgent hot choco­­late in one of the many cafés that circuit the elegant square of Place des Vosges.

Photo: iStockphoto / Bikeworldtravel

As the bells of Big Ben chime midnight to bring in 2017, an ex­­pect­ed crowd of 250,000 people will watch im­­press­­ ive fireworks and light dis­plays from along the River Thames and its bridges. A good vantage point is the Millennium Bridge crossing the river between the Tate Modern and St Pauls affording spectacular views of London’s fabulous skyline.

SHENANIGANS IN LONDON London’s riverside and Trafalgar Square are the focus of the capital’s New Year’s she­n­­anigans. As the bells of Big Ben chime midnight to bring in 2017, an ex­­pect­ ed crowd of 250,000 people will watch im­­press­­ive fireworks and light dis­plays from along the River Thames and its bridges. A good vantage point is the Millennium Bridge crossing the river between the Tate Modern and St Pauls affording spectacular views of London’s fabulous skyline. Throughout the city, there are numerous after parties at clubs and bars. Places to take in the atmosphere and join the coterie are Soho, particularly in the area off Old Compton Street, and around Old Street. The next morning sees an annual New Year’s Day Parade through central London that kicks off at Piccadilly Circus with 10,000 street performers expected this year.

Photo: iStockphoto / cheeseong

EDINBURGH’S HOGMANAY For many Edinburgh is the home of New Year. The city’s Hogmanay, meaning “last day of the year,” draws partygoers from around the world. Edinburgh takes on the New Year with Scottish bonhomie and gusto. No wonder the party lasts three days. A spectacular, winding torchlight procession on December 30th gets the party officially started. The procession finishes with a fireworks finale and Paolo Nutini this year will be playing a music concert in Princes Street Gardens. New Year’s Eve and the city is taken over with huge street parties and outdoor concerts with all manner of live music. A popular draw is the open-air Kelidh in the Old Town and the candlelit concert at St Giles’ Cathedral. At midnight, even five tons of fireworks exploding over Edinburgh Castle cannot drown out over a million voices singing “Auld Lang Syne.” The next day the hardier souls absolve themselves for the indulgences of the night before by donning fancy dress and jumping into the ice-cold waters of the River Forth at the end of the Loony Dook Parade.

Photo: iStockphoto / melis82

Hop on a purple party plane to Europe from USA or Canada and welcome the New Year in style. You can have a WOW Stopover in Iceland on your way there or back. WOW air offers cheap flights to Europe from Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in USA and Toronto and Montréal in Canada during the Holidays.


WOW Power to the people

Issue six 89

WOW advent calendar


WOW Power to the people


Four cities before Christmas Christmas markets are very much a part of European Chrismas traditions and some have been around for centuries. From the traditional to the unique; take a look at Europe’s most exciting Christmas markets. by Christopher Kanal Photos:

As Christmas beckons, London goes into festive overdrive. There are hund­reds of markets large and small and as varied as you would expect in the capital, from the traditional to the über-kitsch and trendy. With its spectacular location on the banks of the Thames and within walking dist­ance of the shopping hub of Covent Gard­­­en and the outdoor ice rink of Somerset House across the river, the South­­bank Centre Christmas Market (, open until January 8) with its wooden chalet stalls is a major draw. Fridays to Sun­­days the Southbank Centre Food Market, just behind the Royal Festival Hall, is very popular this time of year with its vibrant charcuteries and delis serving tasty food from Mexican churros to Ethiopian stews. Further along the South Bank, the front lawn of the Tate Modern holds a Christmas market complete with chal­ ets, a carousel and the heady aroma of roasted nuts and glühwein. To warm up, go to Tate Modern’s new wing, The Tanks, and head to the roof terrace with its spectacular 360-degree view of the city. If you continue towards London Bridge, you cannot miss Borough Mark­­et (, London’s oldest and most popular food market, dating back to the 13th century. At Christmastime, Borough is where to head for specialty gourmet food from festive cupcakes to rare-breed meats and preserves. Be sure to check out London’s best Spanish mark­­et Brindisa where you can pick up tinned delicacies and refuel on de­­­licious chorizo buns with tangy pap­­rika oil. The bustling Market Porter pub is a great spot to sit back and take in the Christmas spirit.

Somerset House. Photo: iStock / Bikeworldtravel.

Issue six 91

celebrating St Lucia with its pro­­cession of sing­­ ers, dressed in white, led by a woman dress­­ed as the saint, a crown of lit candles on her head. Stockholm’s Old Town Christmas Market ( has been drawing crowds since medieval times and rightfully claims with Dresden to be the old­ est in Europe. Within a short walk from the Royal Palace, the stalls are filled with crafts made only in Sweden, such as glass, pottery and jewelry. As you walk along the medieval street, you can sip glögg (mulled wine) and snack on pepparkakor (ginger biscuits) while perusing the traditional handicrafts and food. Dedicated shoppers should head furth­er south on Götgatan to Bruno Galleria (bruno­ go­, a fashion-loving mini mall where you can check out Swedish labels like H&M, Filippa K and J.Lindeberg. For something to snack on, drop by Teatren, a street food-style gastro market in the unlikely setting of the Ring­en Shopping Center. Here top Nordic chefs have recently opened pop-up restaurants: Edinburgh. Photo: iStock / psdphotography

EDINBURGH The atmospheric Scottish capital comes into its own from late November into the new year. Under the watch of brooding Edinburgh Castle, visitors can head to the two favorite Christmas markets: The Old Town’s traditional European Christmas is held in its picturesque setting below the Mound. It sells crafts, arts, gifts and gastronomic delights in East Princes St Gardens (ends January 7). The New Town Scottish Market on George Street (ends December 24) showcases the best locallysourced food and drink from cupcakes and venison sausages to craft beer (www.edinburghschristmas. com). Edinburgh does not disappoint younger visitors: This year the 60m Star Flyer and the Big Wheel return to East Princes St Gardens as does the circular ice rink in St Andrew Square. For a break away from the festivities, climb the The Old Town’s Scott Monument traditional European in Princes Street Christmas is held in Gardens—the space its picturesque setting here was originally a below the Mound. It moat for Edinburgh sells crafts, arts, gifts Castle—and head to and gastronomic the cozy underground delights in East cocktail bar of Princes St Gardens Bramble on Queen (ends January 7). Street. For more traditional Christmas shopping head to New Town’s plethora of chic boutiques and designer shops as well as its buzzing bars and cafes. The nearby neighborhood of Stockbridge hosts an impressive farmers market every Sunday. For a drink or dinner afterwards, visit the popular Scran & Scallie gastro pub, from the Michelin-starred team behind The Kitchin.

Old Town Christmas Market, Stockholm. Photo: iStock / scanrail

Korvkiosk—courtesy of Mich­­e­­lin-starred Chef Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken Restaurant serves probably the world’s finest hotdogs while K-märkt serves desserts fit for roy­alty; the chef cre­ated Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria’s wedding cake. Skansen’s Christmas Market (www.skansen. se) on Stockholm’s island of Djurgården is one of the biggest in Sweden and held every week­­ end through­out December until Christmas Eve. Skans­en has its own zoo with animals including brown bears and wolves and several well-rated restaurants. Pick up traditional Christmas orn­a­­ments made of straw and of course sweets and sea­sonal delicacies like smoked reindeer.

Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin. Photo: iStock / pnomarevvb

BERLIN German cities jostle with one another this time of year over who has the best Christmas markets. With over 60 markets to choose from, Berlin certainly has the buzziest of any German city and given the city’s idiosyncratic character, Berlin’s unique take on Gemütlichkeit (winter cheer) almost always raises eyebrows among its peers. From November 23 through to December 31, the city embraces Christmas with real fervor. Berlin’s ingrained love of spectacle (the city is the birthplace of cabaret) sees shopping going hand in hand with live entertainment. At the Gendarmenmarkt in Mitte, acrobats, fire artists, as well as dance troupes and choirs perform as you slip between the extensive selection of stalls. This is undoubtedly the city’s most elegant and popular market and has a dramatic location nestled between the neo-classical Deutsche Dom, Konzerthaus and Franzozische Friedrichstadtkirche. A short hop on the S-Bahn will bring you to the beautiful setting of Charlottenburg Palace. For Christmas, the castle and its park are transfigured with a very impressive light display. Ornately decorated pagodas and festive chalets and huts hold stalls from around the world. Lucia Christmas Market, located in the Kulturbrauerei (Cultural Brewery) at the trendy northeastern district of Prenzlauer Berg, has a Nordic-Scandinavian theme and is an attractive alternative. Out of town, Spandau has a Christmas Market that is the largest in the city with over 250 stands during the week and 400 at weekends. Not to be outdone there are advent rock concerts, a landscaped St. Nikolai Christmas Garden and a nativity crib with live animals on Reformationsplatz. If you’re getting tired of the Christ­­mas kitsch and Gluhwein, then the modern Contemporary Christmas Market at Berlin’s design-led Bikini Shopping Mall near the Zoologischer Garten is a refreshing alternative with its rotating selection of retailers. Every weekend until Christmas the mall is transformed with additional pop-ups and events where you can lose yourself in an eclectic range of the latest designer clothes and homewares. (

STOCKHOLM The Swedes love Christmas and take it seriously with style. Every Advent, a huge, dazzling Christmas tree is set up on the Skeppsbron Waterfront with 5,000 colored lights, and almost every window has an adventsstake candle lighting up the dark days. If you are in the city on December 13, you can’t miss Luciadagen


WOW Power to the people

Bring on the holiday cheer and get over to Europe’s mainland for some unique Christmas shopping. Take a WOW air flight to Europe and start your advent vacation on board. We’ll help you bring the joy. Find cheap flights to Europe from USA, Canada or Iceland at

Issue six 93

The London skyline

Fantastic landmarks and where to find them There is no shortage of tourist staples in London: Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the House of Parliament, but London’s appeal doesn’t lie only in its architectural and cultural treasures. It’s the jaw-dropping views across the city, taking in most of the Big Five landmarks, which are remarkable. Here are five ways to see London’s landmarks, in just 48-hours. Text and photos: Cindy-Lou Dale

It’s a credit to the capital that there are simply too many galleri­ es, museums and cultural attractions in London worth visiting—but don’t try and do it all. Should this be your first visit, take in the views from above, experience the River Thames and pick one or two landmarks, then save the rest for anot­ her time —otherwise you’ll spend your weekend queueing. GET HIGHER Start off with The Shard, Western Euro­ pe’s tallest building. The distinctive Shard skyscraper is the only place to take in over 1,000 years of London’s history. The panoramic views, from the observation deck on the 72nd floor, stretch across the city for some 40-miles. Pre-book at £25.95.

ON THE WIRE For panoramic views of London’s skyline, book a journey on the Emirates Air Line, the UK’s first urban cable car, which soars across the River Thames and connects Greenwich with the Royal Docks and two world-class venues—the North Greenwich Arena and ExCeL. It’s located just five minutes from the O2, adjac­ent to the North Greenwich Tube Station. Cabins arrive every 30 seconds and cable car flights are approximately 10 minutes each way. Prices start from

THE ALL-SEEING EYE Gracefully rotating over the River Thames, opposite the Houses of Parlia­­ ment and Big Ben, is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, the London Eye. The £22.50 price tag is worth every penny of its half-hour spin, just for the breath­­tak­­ ing 360-degree views of the capital and its famous landmarks. Once you’ve boarded your glass capsule (each holds 25 people) you’ll creep along at an excruciatingly slow 0.6 mph, but from the top of the 135-m wheel, you’ll be rewarded with gloriously unimpeded


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Gracefully rotating over the River Thames, opposite the Houses of Parlia­­ment and Big Ben, is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, the London Eye.

vistas across London. At night, take a special “Champagne Flight” and find yourself in one of the capital’s best bars. Pre-booking is advised.

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT Avoid buses and underground trains; instead, see the city’s historic landmarks from on board the MBNA Thames

Clipp­­ers—a London River Bus service that ferry’s passengers along the River Thames. There’s a River Bus every 20 minutes from Putney to Woolwich that includes stops at North Greenwich for The O2, Greenwich, Canary Wharf, Tower, London Bridge, Embankment and London Eye for Waterloo, as well as several residential piers. Passengers are guaranteed a seat and can enjoy a coffee or something a little stronger from the onboard café and bar. Tickets cost £6.50 per person for a single journey from central London to The O2 (using Oyster pay-as-you-go) or £14.70 for a hop-on-hop-off River Roamers day ticket. It’s one of the best ways to get around and a great way to see London’s landmarks.

OYAL SIGHT No trip to London would be complete without a visit to Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the HRH Queen Elizabeth II. During the Queens annual visit to Balmoral in Scotland (from August to September) the lavish State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors and are laid out as they would be during state visits. The State Rooms hold some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection and include masterpieces by Rembrandt and Rubens, sculpture by Canova and Chantrey, exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain as well as some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. To end your palace visit on a high note take tea and strawberry and cream scones on the terrace of the Garden Café, overlooking the palace’s famous lawns and lake. A typical visit takes around 2 hours. Pre-book for £21.50.

Let’s be honest; it would be an impossible task to see all of London in just 48-hours and it’d be foolish to stay for only a weekend. But sometimes visits have to be fleeting—and you’re certain to return soon.

London tips If you plan to use a London bus you need to buy an Oyster Card (or if you have the gizmo on your bank card, go “contactless”). For some bizarre reason, you can’t board a London bus without having an Oyster card; cash is no longer accepted.

Don’t go anywhere near Oxford Street if it’s a weekend. There is nothing you can find there that you can’t also find everywhere else in London. The same goes for Piccadilly Circus and Westfield Shopping Centre. For further inspiration and great ideas about things to see and do in London visit

We’ll give you a great view of England on your way to London Gatwick. Book a WOW air flight to London at WOW air offers cheap flights to London every day of the week, all year round. Join the WOW air club and get all the best deals directly to your inbox.

“Great first meal in Reykjavik” “Amazing food, excellent staff” “Best restaurant in Iceland”

Scandinavian cuisine Hönnun: Marknet ehf.

Enjoy a four course Icelandic set menu in one of Reykjaviks oldest buildings

Lækjarbrekka restaurant - Bankastraeti 2, 101 Reykjavik - Tel: (+354) 551 4430 - - Issue six 95

Shhh, you’re in the nation’s capital

Peaceful Places in Washington, D.C. Whether Congress is in session or thousands of school children are visiting on their spring break, Washington, D.C. is always busy. You’d think there wasn’t a quiet place anywhere? Wrong! As the co-author of Peaceful Places Washington, D.C., Judy Colbert searched for those little pockets of tranquility in the middle of seeming chaos. by Judy Colbert Photos: Judy Colbert and Stan Ruddie.

Washington, D.C. is home to about 80 native butterfly species and on the migratory path for others. The outside Butterfly Habitat Garden, to the east of the National Museum of Natural History on the National Mall, has four areas filled with woody and herbaceous plants to attract the butterflies. Wooden benches are available for sitting and contemplating or looking for birds or bees and other insects. Pansies are planted during the winter to add visual interest for humans (they do nothing for butterflies). The Butterfly Pavilion inside the museum has a live butterfly exhibit with numerous tropical butterflies and hundreds of plants.

The Historic Congressional Cemetery (or the Washington Parish Burial Grounds) was created in 1807, and within a few years thirteen members of Congress and two vice presidents had been buried here (hence Congressional Cemetery).

National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W. (202) 633-2220

Photo: / Timothy DeLuca


Photo: / sindlera

The Historic Congressional Cemetery (or the Wash­ington Parish Burial Grounds) was cre­ ated in 1807, and within a few years thirteen members of Congress and two vice presidents had been buried here (hence Congressional Cemetery). Among those buried here are former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, composer John Philip Sousa, Civil War photographer Matthew Brady, and gay rights activist and Air Force veteran Edward Maynard. It was—and still is— also a public park where people spend a quiet afternoon. People walk dogs leash-free (you

must belong to the cemetery’s association), celebrate weddings in the chapel, picnic, and have a 5K dead-man’s run. Free tours are offered during the summer, or check the website for brochures covering the location of the War of 1812, women of arts and letters, brewers, and other special interests.

Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E Street S.E. (202) 543-0539

Photo: / Richard Gunion


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LABYRINTH Labyrinths have been in existence for thous­­ands of years with references in Greek and Rom­­an mythology and before. As labyrinths have only one way in and one way out, there are no decisions to be made, meaning a tranquil time for your mind. The Labyrinth at the American Psychological Association building is unexpected because it’s on a rooftop eight floors up from busy streets and a short walk from Union Station. This labyrinth is 42-feet in diameter and is a Santa Rosa design with seven circuits, quarter markings, and a small opening in the fourth path that is called a “heart-space.” Funded by TKF Foundation that pro­­motes green spaces in urban places, you’ll find their signature bench and waterproof notebook for your com­­­ments and thoughts. Check with the lobby guard for rooftop access, Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm

American Psychological Association, 10 G Street, N.E. (202) 336-5519

BUILDING A BETTER WORLD The National Building Museum ex­­­­­plores the built environment. Exhi­­ bits may focus on urban planning, archi­­tecture, or design, with an exami­­­nation of green communities, fencing, Amish barn raising, Legos, World’s Fairs of the 1930s, and park­ ing garages. The building’s been used for inaugural balls and other special events because of the interior’s grace and grandeur. It all makes for a great gift shop. Pick up a brochure to help you as you meander through the building, join a guided tour, or just bring your lunch and a book and sit by the fountain in the center of the court. The calla lilies surround the fountain all year. With an average of 800 visitors a day (including people using the building for a shortcut), it’s rarely busy. There’s a fee to explore the museum, but none to just sit by the fountain.

The National Building Museum, 401 F Street, N.W. (202) 272-2448

FROM REYKJAVIK NEWSWORTHY In a city filled with news junkies, here’s a museum dedicated to more news. Run by the Freedom Forum, the Newseum explores how the news is covered. A Hurricane Katrina retrospective showed this event going from a natural disaster to a man-made one. An interactive area lets you become the next hotshot weather forecaster or news announcer. Amid this noisy place is something that is rather soothing and inspiring. The sixth floor Hank Greenspun Terrace offers a spectacular view up and down Pennsylvania Avenue. Look east and you see the Capitol, the National Gallery of Art, the dome of the C Smithsonian’s National Museum of M the American Indian, and the façade of the Embassy of Canada. Look Y west and you see the Archives and down to the Washington Monument. CM It’s a WOW, although the price of MY admission may be a bit steep.

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Judy Colbert is a native Washingtonian and the co-author of Peaceful Places Washington D.C., available in bookstores and at

Find your inner peace among the politicians and political intrigue. Hop on one of WOW air’s quiet and brand new Airbus A321 and fly to the US capital.

WOW air offers cheap flights to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore several times a week, all year round. Find available connections to BaltimoreWashington International airport from Europe at


WE GO THE EXTRA MILE! Issue six 97 Book online / Call us +354 560 8800, or visit our ticket sale at the old harbour


Celebrate with the city In 2017, Montréal—Canada’s only French-speaking metropolis and America’s largest French-speaking city —will celebrate an important milestone. Photos: Courtesy of Tourisme Montréal

375 years ago, on May 17, 1642, Paul de Chomedey de Mai­­ sonn­euve, a nurse by the name of Jeanne Mance and a small band of settl­ers founded a settlement known as Ville-Marie, in honor of the Virgin Mary. Later, the city would be renamed Montréal. By the mid-1800s, the popu­lation had grown to 45,000. Today it numbers almost 4 million and is known as a Knowledge City, a UNESCO City of Design and a world leader in sustainable development. Not only is 2017 an important birthday for Montreal, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to celebrate the city’s many achievements, due in large part to its talented and diverse population.

From January to March, you are wel­ come to join the people of Montréal as this fun-loving city celebrates its northern character with color and action. The winter line-up known as Les Hivernales features a dozen original, varied and vibrant activities promising lots of outdoor fun.

Photo: Maison Saint-Gabriel

Phtoo Pascal Victor

GET READY FOR A FESTIVE 2017 As 2016 fades away, Montréal lights up! Several Montréal icons, including Mount Royal and some buildings throughout the city, will shine through the year’s shortest and darkest days, bringing visitors and locals alike outdoors to experience the city’s wellknown joie de vivre. From January to March, you are wel­ come to join the people of Montréal as this fun-loving city celebrates its northern character with color and action. The winter line-up known as Les Hivernales features a dozen original, varied and vibrant activities promising lots of outdoor fun. There will be an amateur, but enthusiastic, outdoor hockey tournament, a luminescent parade of bikes, and an obstacle course through the snow, to name a few of the scheduled events. To top it off, you can try an ice canoe race and the Hypothermic Half-Marathon! And, would you believe a soap-box race? There’s also the aptly named Igloofest and an outdoor, electronic music festival. With all this fun, winter will be the perfect time to visit Montréal! A PARTY WORTH ITS NAME From March to August, Montréal shifts into a different gear and celebrates its free spirit, abundance and exuberance. It buzzes with festivals, exhibitions, and outdoor performances, including the celebration of Expo 67’s 50th anniversary.


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Starting May 17—Montréal’s official birthday— and running until September, AVUDO, a major multimedia show that pays tribute to the St Lawr­ence River will take place at the city’s historic Old Port. And the Jacques Cartier Bridge will come alive with millions of lights that will pulse to the city’s beat. There will be special anniversary events, giant marionettes, and troupes from around the world will give free outdoor perfor­ mances making it the largest theater event of its kind ever held in North America. In August, our three major Montréal orchestras, the OSM, the Orchestre Métropolitain as well as the McGill Symphony Orchestra, will be coming together to celebrate this historic moment at the foot of our iconic Mount Royal. This once-in-a-lifetime show will feature more than 300 musicians, pop artists and choral singers who promise to dazzle our eyes and ears and make our spirits soar. SUMMER MADNESS

Photo: Moment Factory

During the city’s 375th, for four days straight the Jacques Cartier Pier will receive Nomad Fest Rodéo Urbain and The Old Port will become the hitching post for a brand-new bronco-busting country festival in the heart of the city. A feast for

the senses, the happening, will feature a global and interactive village that will hum to the rhythm of country culture. For 19 weeks throughout the summer, a cara­van of artists will travel through all of Montréal’s 19 boroughs, stopping for three days in each one to highlight its history, iconic places, merchants and artists. Each weekend, a neighborhood park will host an array of activities, from street festivals, neighborhood treasure hunts, giant art exhibitions and picnics, gourmet tasting events and much more. They will turn a park into a circus, a street into a museum, and a back alley into a movie theater. And, as nature marches on, it brings the first days of autumn, still radiating with the heat of our spectacular summer. EXCITING AUTUMN In the fall, the focus of the festivities shifts to innovation, where talented and visionary people share exciting new possibilities for the Montréal of tomorrow. There’s the Michel Gondry Home Movie Factory (L’Usine de films de Michel Gondry), held in September and an immersive, multidisciplinary creation on Montreal’s past in Octo­­ber. In November, there’s the Montréal Video Game Symphony, a multi­­media performance piece during which musicians from l’Orchestre Métro­­poli­­ tain play themes from landmark video

games created in Montreal. All of these events and more attest to the city’s determination to move boldly forward, even as it embraces and learns from its past. WRAP IT UP This year of celebration will wrap up with events that unite the thousands of international artists who imagined, created and presented them with the hundreds of thousands of spect­ ators who were part of a unique Montréal experience. The tremendous talent and passion of these men and women helps visitors and locals alike discover Montréal in all its diversity: its culture, places, history and people, from the French and English settlers to the First Nations’ people who not only lived here first, but forged the city and helped shape its modern-day character. In 2017, you are warmly invited to Montréal’s 375th anni­­ versary. The organizers worked hard to ensure all the party guests will enjoy themselves. Check out the website, at Once there, you’ll see that, whether you love huge extravaganzas or more intimate spectacles, whether you’re a fan of sports, music, theater or visual arts, whether you’re into high-tech or prefer to avoid it, Montréal’s anniversary has something for you. So, come and celebrate this fabulous, festive year with the people of Montréal! Come fall in love with their city, so you can take away a little piece of Montréal in your heart, where it can live and grow and make you want to come back, again and again. v

Montréal is the place to be in 2017. Hop on a purple plain to Canada next year and have a WOW Stopover in Iceland on your way. WOW air offers cheap flights to Montréal from Europe, 4-5 times a week all year round. Join the WOW club and get all our deals directly to your inbox.




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

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

Laugavegur 116 • 105 Reykjavík • Tel.: (+354) 561-6663 (+354) 690 3774• • Opening hours: Summer: Daily from10 am - 6 pm • Winter: Daily from 11 am -6 pm • Next to Hlemmur bus station Issue six 99

Take a hike

The Scottish Highlands and the Great Glen Way The fourth longest of Scotland’s long-distance trails, the Great Glen Way makes its way into the heart of the Highlands—monsters, castles, whiskey and all. Text and photos: Matt McDonald

The trail follows the Great Glen, a narrow valley and fault line that runs from Fort William in the west to Inverness in the east. At 79 miles, it takes most people five or six days to complete by foot, making the trail a far shorter and more accessible alternative to famed routes like the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and El Camino de Santiago. You can also tour the Great Glen Way via bike, canoe or kayak. Along the way, you’ll pass some re­ marka­ble places. The mythical waters of Loch Ness, the haunting ruins of


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In Drumnadrochit, 20 miles southwest of Inverness, I asked a cashier at a groc­­ ery store if there were any pubs in town. He said, “This is Scotland” and grinned.

Urquhart Castle, the looming summit of Ben Nevis, the impressive locks on the Caledonian Canal … and of course, a multitude of authentic Scottish pubs await. THE TRAIL Your experience on the Great Glen Way can be as wild or luxurious as you choose. Scotland’s Outdoor Access Code permits you to “wild camp” almost anywhere (though you should know the code before you go), so carrying a tent will be your least expensive, albeit heaviest, option. If backpacking is your way, you’ll find plenty of picturesque campsites. Also, look for marked

Trailblazer’s Rests. One even has a beach and lean-to. If you’d rather sleep on a bed, a hand­­ful of towns along the route offer hostels, B&Bs, lodges, and inns. There’s even a bunk boat at Laggan Locks. Be sure to do your research in advance, and book your stay ahead of time if you plan to visit during the busy summer season. Aiming to go as light as possible? Some services will transport your lugg­ age for you as you walk, allowing you to carry only a day pack with extra clothes, snacks and water. THE EATS AND DRINKS In Drumnadrochit, 20 miles southwest of Inverness, I asked a cashier at a groc­­ ery store if there were any pubs in town. He said, “This is Scotland” and grinned. The norm for Scotland, the Great Glen Way offers watering holes and cafes to match the warm hospitality. Fort William, Fort Augustus, Drumnadrochit and Inverness are the largest munici­­ palities along the path, so they’re the places with the most dining options. But keep your eye out for interesting and tasty stops everywhere; they’re there. You can’t walk 79 miles in Scotland without sampling fish ’n chips, savory pies, and single malt scotch. Here are a few highlights: Ben Nevis Distillery, located two miles outside Fort William is a perfect place to toast your journey with a wee dram— or two—after you tour the facility. The Eagle Barge Inn, a floating pub and restaurant in Laggan: While you sip local ale, served unchilled, check out the replica lightsabers (yes, lightsa­ bers). One was even signed by an actor from the Star Wars films. Warm up with homemade soup by the wood stove. The Benleva Hotel in Drumnadrochit: The Benleva is the local hotspot in the largest town on Loch Ness, serving an impressive (even by Scotland standards) selection of whiskey and a wide range of locally brewed real ales. After nine, the place is packed. Hootananny, Inverness: Celebrate your finish—or start—with live music and a foot-stomping good time. Hootan­anny features traditional Scottish tunes downstairs and alterna­ tive rock classics upstairs. For a break from dancing, check out the neon glow bar on the third floor.

THE BEST SIGHTS Neptune’s Staircase, three miles up the trail from Fort William, is Britain’s longest staircase lock. Made up of eight locks, it lifts boats 64 feet over the course of 90 minutes. It’s the most impressive point on the Caledonian Canal, which was completed in 1822 to create jobs for displaced Highlanders and allow ships safe passage across Scotland. Grab a snack, and watch the magic happen.

The Eagle Barge Inn, a floating pub and restaurant in Laggan: While you sip local ale, served unchilled, check out the replica lightsabers (yes, lightsa­bers). One was even signed by an actor from the Star Wars films. Warm up with homemade soup by the wood stove.

If you don’t climb Ben Nevis before you start on the Great Glen Way, you’ll at least be afforded prime views from the trail outside Fort William and up the glen. That is if the summit’s visible. Locals say the top of the mountain is clear for roughly one day out of thirty. Ah, Scotland! Whatever the weather, views of the glen from Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Ness, and the canal, will not disappoint. While mist may impede your view of the Ben, it will likely amplify your giddiness as you journey past Loch Ness. The steep shores are choked with dark pines, the water ruffled by westerly winds. If you catch a sunny day, the loch will remind you of other pristine water bodies, a la Lake Tahoe, until you remember it’s 755 feet deep. Embrace monster lore with a visit to Nessieland in Drumnadrochit. Another legend of Loch Ness is Urquhart Castle, located an easy mile off the trail. Once one of the most impenetrable for­­ tresses in Scotland, the impressive castle still occupies its prominent location. The entry fee will get you access to the ruins, including the multi-level tower, and an eight-minute video that details Urquhart’s violent history. Inverness Castle marks the eastern terminus of the Great Glen Way. So if like most walkers you take on the trail from west to east, you’ll probably be thrilled to see the fortresses’ red sandstone walls rising above the River Ness, marking the end of your journey.

There’s no better way to experience the Highlands than on foot, and the Great Glen Way packs some of Scotland’s finest sights and stories into a walkable 79 miles. Find cheap flights to Edinburgh from the USA, Canada and Iceland with WOW air. Then catch a Citylink bus to Fort William or Inverness to begin your adventure. Don’t forget to pick up a map!

Issue six 101

Gems of Germany

A short stop in Frankfurt With buzzing rejuvenated dis­tricts, a newfound appreciation for its risqué past and a healthy bit of attitude, Frankfurt finally takes a walk on the wild side. by Christopher Kanal Photos: ©Frankfurt Tourist+Congress Board / Holger Ullmann

Looking across Frankfurt from the viewing platform perched eagle-like atop the Main Tower it is im­­mediately apparent why the city is nick­­named “Mainhattan”. Europe’s fin­­ancial powerhouse was decimat­­ed by bombing in World War II and in the decad­­es that followed it was trans­­formed into a post­­modern metropolis. In recent years, the city’s cultural, cre­­ative and partying side has awoken and is stirring things up again. As Germany re-examines who she is and who she aspires to be in the wake of rec­­ent social and economic uncertainty, Frank­­furt is keeping an open mind.

THE CITY Frankfurt is a tidy, compact place. You can walk everywhere and trams are plentiful. A good place to begin an ex­­­plora­tion of the city is to walk along the river Main which divides Frankfurt neatly into two. From the south bank along the skyline, it opens out in front and the two faces of the city, the old and the new, mirroring each other. The south bank is where you will find Frankfurt’s museum district con­­sisting of 10 museums devoted to art, archi­­tecture and sculpture. The 200-year-old Städel houses one of Ger­manys largest and most vaunt­­ed col­­lections of art. Nearby the Liebieg­haus Museum boasts sculpture dating back 5,000 years while the Museum Angewandte Kunst has an impressive collection of fashion, design and handicrafts. Sachsenhausen is the area where you will find Frankfurt’s famous apfelwein taverns serving strong local apple cider and Wurst. Family run for generations, Adolf Wagner on Schweizer Strasse is a place to rest your feet, take in the atmosphere and enjoy a Sch­wein­shaxe with a Bembel (a large jug of Apfelwein). ALTSTADT Crossing the river from Sachsen­hausen on the Eiserner Steg iron foot bridge, rebuilt after being blown up by the retreating Wehr­­macht in the closing days of World War II, will bring you to the Altstadt, the old town that was restored and rebuilt after the war. It is hard to imagine that the Altstadt was completely leveled by British bom­bers one night in March 1944. With its looming Gothic tower rising high over the Altstadt, St Bartholomew’s Cathedral is hard to miss. Its beginnings date back to the year 852. Ten emperors were crowned here between 1562 and 1792. Next to the cathedral, the Archae­ological


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Römerberg Square.

Garden (Archäologischer Garten) boasts excav­a­ tions of a Roman settlement and a Carol­ingian royal palatinate (the Romans first settled the Altstadt area, which was then an island, in the 1st century AD to assert dominion over the tribes diplomatically described by Julius Caesar as the “Germani barbarian hordes”). The Römerberg Square is the heart of Frankfurt and since medieval times has been the center of the Altstadt. The most famous building here is the Römer Town Hall. With its Gothic three peaked architectures, the Römer hosted the coronation banquets of the Holy Roman Empire. Walking towards the Cathedral, the Römerberg Square is lined by faithfully reconstructed timber-framed buildings bearing poetic names such as Schwarzer Stern (Black Star) reflecting the status and fortunes of their owners.

just around main streets like Münchener Straße but also hidd­­en courtyards and previously abandon­ed buildings. There are numerous art galleries, bars and hipster pop­-ups and the area along and off Münchener Straße with its diverse restaurants and bars buzzes day and night. Named after a Chicago mobster, Maxie Eisen (Münchener Straße 18) is a “kosher nostra“ Jewish delicatessen famous for its freshly made pastrami that they like to pile high on delicious Reuben sandwiches. For inexpensive, tasty pizza head to Pizzeria Montana on Weser Strasse. FESTIVE FRANKFURT This time of the year Römer Square hosts a vaunted Christmas market market, dating back to 1393. It stretches from the banks of the River Main to the Zeil Shopping District. If you are in need of a pick me up but the thought of another drab of mulled Gluehwein leaves you cold, the Feuerzangenbowle, (literally fire tongued brew), a tipple made by burning rum-soaked sugar over a bowl, hits like rocket fuel. On the southern side of the great square, there is the beautiful and ornate Old Nikolai Church, the chapel of the imperial court from 1290 until the 14th century. The twice daily bell chimes at 9 am and noon and is worth keeping an ear open for. v Goethe House.

Frankfurt’s Historical Museum, at the south of the Altstadt opposite Old Nikolai Church straddles the Mainkai on the river bank. The museum is a window into Frankfurt’s past and poignantly re­­veals the life of the city before war and bombing changed it forever. A few streets north of the square on 23 Großer Hirschgraben, is Johann Goethe’s child­­ hood home, where he wrote The Sor­rows of Young Werther in four weeks that laid the groundwork for his Master­­piece Faust. North of the Square straddling Brau­­­­bach Strasse is The Museum für Moderne Kunst ( Museum of Modern Art). The core of the museum is 65 seminal works of pop art and minimalism from the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and George Segal. Traverse the strasse and you can indulge in the Caricatura Museum of Satire. If you want to get away from the bustle of the Altstadt, hop on a tram north to the the University of Frankfurt’s botanical gardens and in the university district next door, the Palmengarten. The botanical gardens has over 5,000 exotic plants. The Palmengarten, spread across 22 acres, features spectacular garden displays and hosts concerts, festivals and exhibitions.

The south bank is where you will find Frankfurt’s museum district con­­sisting of 10 museums devoted to art, archi­­tecture and sculpture. The 200-year-old Städel houses one of Ger­manys largest and most vaunt­­ed col­­lections of art.

This time of the year Römer Square hosts a vaunted Christmas market market, dating back to 1393. It stretches from the banks of the River Main to the Zeil Shopping District.

THE BAHNHORSVIERTELNACHT The Bahnhorsviertelnacht area of Frank­­­­furt around its rail station was once only known for its brothels and un­­ savory characters. Today it has become a free-living hive of activity centered not

Frankfurt should definitely not be overlooked. Get yourself to your nearest WOW aircraft and we’ll take you there. WOW air offers flights to Frankfurt, Germany, several times a week, all year round. Find cheap flights to Frankfurt at

Issue six 103


The Atomium, originally constructed for Expo 58 in Brussels is now one of the city’s main landmarks.. Photo: iStock / orpheus26

Boasting Brussels Often overlooked and misunderstood, Brussels is a city full of surprises. The Belgian capital has a spirited character that has matured in its own quietly eccentric way over the centuries. It is no coincidence that the city’s symbol, the Manneken Pis, is a boy peeing into a fountain. by Christopher Kanal Photos:

With its vaunted art collections, world-renowned cuisine, for­­­ mida­­ble Trappist beers and of course heavenly chocolate, Brussels is a signifi­cant cultural capital and a perfect pocket-sized introduction to conti­nental Europe. The city of Pieter Brueghel, René Magritte, Hergé, Jacques Brel and JeanClaude Van Damme has drawn folk to it since medi­eval times. Brussels’ location pro­vides an excellent starting point to explore the gorgeous Flemish cities of Bruges and Ghent and the frisky port of Antwerp—all within an hour’s train ride.

As part of a small group your Twilight Soho food tour will take you through colorful neighbor­ hoods, quirky lanes and hidden alleys, delivering you to Old Crompton St and the gourmet tacos of La Bodega Negra—the go-to place for all things Mexican in Soho.

THE CITY THAT SETS ITS OWN PATH Brussels is a compact city, amenable to visitors and one of the few remaining European capitals whose essential at­­tractions are all within reach on


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Photo: iStock / vichie81

foot. Hiring a bike is the quickest way of getting around the center of Brussels but the cobbled streets mean that walk­­ing is easiest and Belgi­um’s temperate climate makes it attractive year-round. The city’s famous Christmas fair and markets light up the dark winter nights but during spring and summer Brussels’ buoyant cafes and bars spill onto the streets of the convivial and neighborly old town. Many of Brussels’ most famous in­­habitants were torch bearers for cultural movements that lit up the last century: Victor Horta invented Art Nouveau; Magritte was one of the founders of surrealism. Brussels has always set its own path. Beauty and the banal are comfortable bedfellows that epitomize the city’s contrary charm: WIELS, the excellent and often provocative modern art gallery, is located in a former beer brewery, the gargantuan copper brewing casks of the latter sit surreally at the entrance to welcome you.

up in the Grand Place for a few days. Chocolate lovers only need to walk a few minutes off the Grand Place to Galeries Royales St-Hubert. Europe’s premier shopping mall opened here in 1847—Brussels, of course, being a city of firsts—is the top spot for all things that can conceivably contain cocoa. Brussels Park is the suitably grand but compact location for city’s most celebrated art museums: Musée Old­­masters, which boasts Brueghel’s most famous paintings and major works by Rembrandt, Van Dyke and Rubens; the recently opened Musée Fin-de-Siècle, the Magritte Museum and the Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles—simply BOZAR for short. In the summer, the park hosts big concerts. From here you can visit the remains of the former royal palace Coudenburg opposite and the rebuilt neoclassical Royal Palace of Brussels. In complete contrast facing the idyllic Ixelles Ponds, a favorite hang­­out for locals, is the iconic Art Deco Flagey building. The

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

Photo: iStock / lena_volo



CAPITAL OF COCOA The first foray into Brussels begins at its beating heart, the dramatic Grand Place whose impressive buildings span from medieval times to the 19th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the lively square boast the city’s Gothic Town Hall and the Museum of the City of Brussels and is framed by ornately decorated guildhalls. Every two years in August, an extraordinary flower carpet is set

square is where you can sample the most authentic frites in town. Place Poelaert in front of the Palace of Justice acts as a terrace over the city and is a great place to meet the locals and watch the sunset. And we have not even started with the restaurants serving hearty Belgian cuisine and lest we forget all that lovely Belgian beer from the Dubbels and the Gueuzes through to the Wis­­ biers and everything in between. v

Beer and chocolate? Sounds like a city for us. Be sure to book a WOW air flight to Brussels before everyone else does. WOW air will start flying to Brussels in June 2017. You’ll find cheap flights to Belgium at

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 Slow cooked lamb fillet, leeks, pickled onions, smoked celeriac purée, baked carrots, spinach and dill cream Dessert by pastry chef Axel Þ. SKYR FANTASIA Skyr fromage, Skyr mousse, strawberry & lime gel, lime sponge cake APOTEK KITCHEN+BAR

Austurstræti 16

101 Reykjavík

Tel: 551 0011

Issue six 105

New York City

The winter wonderland New York City in wintertime—what a cinematic dream, right? Holiday markets, jazz music, flea markets, ice skating and even a hot chocolate festival are all just waiting to make your snowy-season utopia. by Krista Connor Photos:

Outside or inside there are plenty of places and events that make a winter holiday in New York City well worth it. Here are our favorites. DINE LIKE ALPIANS A heated rooftop restaurant and micro­­ brewery, La Birreria, which essentially means “Small Ski Lodge in the Alps,” has the comfort of a snug mountain lodge with city convenience. Warm hearths, Adirondack chairs, pine trees and vin­­ tage Dolomite artwork decorate the eatery, featuring meats and cheeses, craft beer, more than 60 Italian wines, along with winter warmer staples like hot cocktails, tea, hot chocolate, es­­ presso and eggnog. The retractable roof and heaters keep the place open during all weather, too, be it rain, shine or snow. On the 14th floor at Eataly Italian marketplace headquarters at 200 Fifth Ave., La Birreria is open Mon­­­­days to Thursdays and Sun­­days from 11:30 am to 11 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 am to midnight.

From January 5-10, Winter Jazzfest gathers leading musicians from around the world, offering shelter from the cold at snug downtown venues.

ersby can at least feast their eyes on de­­partment stores’ festive dis­­play win­­­dows—particularly on Fifth Avenue. From Bergdorf Goodman to Bloom­­ing­­ dales, Henri Bendel to Lord & Taylor and Macy’s. GRAB A PAIR OF ICE SKATES Of course, visitors have to lace up and go ice skating at one of the city’s seasonal rinks at least once. There are plenty of options: Bryant Park, Van Cortland Park, Central Park, and others around the city. Tip: Go to the outer boroug­hs (Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, or Queens) for the less crowded rinks. WARM UP WITH A JAZZ FESTIVAL From January 5-10, Winter Jazzfest gathers leading musicians from around the world, offering shelter from the cold at snug downtown venues. Ten locations and more than 100 artists are participating in the festival, scattered throughout Greenwich Village.

VISIT THE OUTDOOR MARKET Brave the cold for Union Square Holiday Market, if nothing else. This Europeanstyle winter mark­­et boasts more than 150 local and national vendors offering handcrafted gifts, ranging from jewelry and accessories to leather goods and artwork. The market is open until December 24.

STROLL PAST CHEERY STOREFRONTS Navigating the city’s busy streets can be stress­­ful at any time of the year, but luckily around the holidays, pass­


WOW Power to the people

SEARCH FOR LOCAL ONE-OF-A-KINDS AT BROOKLYN FLEA Brooklyn Flea, a market hailed by travel magazines as one of the best in the world, features furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles and antiques— plus delicious fresh food. Open every Saturday and Sunday, the market has moved indoors at Skylight One Hanson in Williamsburg, from 10 am to 6 pm, for the winter months.

GO SLEDDING! Once the snow arrives, hit the hills in the city’s boroughs, from Crotona Park in the Bronx to Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. Central Park’s most popular spot, Pilgrim Hill (enter at 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue), is popular for its steepness and family-friendly vibe. Another option is Uptown’s Inwood Hill Park, which attracts crowds to its moderate slopes and picturesque views of the Hudson River. Sleigh like a Brooklynite by going to Prospect Park’s Long Meadow—perfect for all ages—with the added bonus of free hot chocolate at the nearby Picnic House. ESCAPE THE COLD AT ART MUSEUMS Warm up while gazing at the works of Picasso, Monet or Pollack this winter. Start at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the city’s largest and mostvisited attractions, where an entire day spent wandering its majestic halls only begins to scratch the surface of the museum’s collection.

gourmet coffee and pretzel croissants, devote the entire month of February to their hot chocolate, one of the city’s most celebrated winter-warming beverages. Each day of the 26th Annual City Bakery Hot Chocolate Festival touts a new flavor of steamy hot bliss, ranging from Vietnamese cinnamon to a Moulin Rouge flavor, which sounds bizarrely promising.

HAVE A PINT AND A CHAT AT FIREPLACE BARS Shoolbred’s is an authentic Scottish pub in the East Village, with a happy hour featuring two-for-one drinks daily until 8 pm. Need we say more? Oh, and it has a fireplace. Other cuddle-up fireplace bars include Brandy Library, Black Mountain Wine House, and Fawkner.

INDULGE AT THE HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL The masterminds behind City Bakery, a Manhattan mainstay frequented for its

Let The Big Apple’s cozy vibes warm you during the chilliest season. WOW air will keep you warm on the way there. WOW air offers cheap flights to New York City several times a week, all year round. Find available connections to New York (Newark Airport) from Europe at

Issue six 107

Pop the Cork

Southern Comfort Cork may play second fiddle to Dublin when it comes to tourist numbers, but Ireland’s southern “capital” more than makes up for that with its picturesque charm and wonderfully welcoming locals. by Conor Purcell Photos:

Dublin may be Ireland’s official capital, but most Corkonians would suggest that it is their city of 125,000 people that deserves the real title. Small it may be, but the city punches above its weight when it comes to arts, food, scenery and the wit of the locals. The city itself is only part of the story. Cork County is stunning, with some of Europe’s best scenery; a place where rolling green fields meet crashing waves of the Atlantic and the land gets more rugged the further west you go. WALKABLE AND WELCOMING Cork City, dominated by the Lee River, splits into two channels—the city’s north end is hilly and offers some wonder­ful views of the city center, while the more well-to-do south sprawls out toward the countryside. The city is small and very walkable and the pubs are hospitable. The Mutton Lane Inn (3 Mutton Lane) for example is a warm, welcoming place, especially on a cold winter afternoon. Best of all, there are no TVs and the staff makes everyone feel at home. Another winner is Dan Lowrey’s Tavern (13 Maccurtain Street) located on the bank of the Lee and full of charm. That might have to do with the Killarney Cathedral stained glass windows or the dry humor of the staff. Either way, it’s a good place to while away an hour or two.

The city is a gateway to County Cork’s lush landscapes dotted with idyllic fishing villages and towns, all of which seem to be devoted to the good life.

a visit, explaining as it does the role of butter in the county’s heritage and culture. Ten minutes’ walk south is the Crawford Art Gallery (Emmett Place), a wonderful mix of painting, sculptures and video installations. FOODIE HEAVEN WITH A VIEW Cork (both the city and the county) is a foodie’s paradise, partly due to the rolling, pastoral land, and partly due to its location; the Atlantic Ocean provides a bounty of seafood. The city is a gateway to County Cork’s lush landscapes dotted with idyllic fishing villages and towns, all of which seem to be devoted to the good life. Luckily, the likes of Mizen, Sheep’s Head and the Beara Peninsulas offer the perfect landscape to walk off those extra calories. Towns such as Kinsale and Clonakilty offer Michelin-starred restaurants and organic cafes, as well as a small-town warmth you can’t beat.

THE BREAD AND BUTTER OF IRELAND Just north of the city center lies the Church of St. Anne (Church Street, Shandon), an 18th century edifice with spectacular views of the city from its tower. The Cork Butter Museum (O’Connell Square, Shandon) is less than a minute’s walk away and is worth Photo: iStockphoto / Slongy


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KISS THE BLARNEY STONE Eight kilometers from Cork sits Blarney, a charming townland with, you guess­ed it, Blarney Castle—home of the legendary Blarney Stone. Legend has it that one kiss of the stone will give you the gift of the gab, i.e. ability to talk with skill in any situation. Close by is the Blarney Woolen Mills, part retail outlet, part iconic piece of Irish heritage, where you can pick up a wool jumper for the cold winter months. Further south, on the coast, lie Cobh, a charming seaside town which was once the main port of embarkation for emigrants heading to America. It was also the last port of call for the Titanic, and this fact has provided a boon to the town’s tourist industry, with a Titanic Trail Tour, a Titanic Experience and a Titanic Memorial all competing for the tourists. A must see is the striking neo-Gothic St Colman’s Cathedral, which offers a fantastic view of the town and the harbor. In truth, you would need a month to see all Cork has to offer, but if you are here for a week, plan for two days in Cork City and five in the county— head south to the coast and go west. You won’t be disa­­p­pointed.

Dramatic cliffs at Mizen Head in County Cork.Photo: iStockphoto / grafxart8888

The amazing Emerald Isle awaits, and Cork is calling to us. Plan your vacation in Ireland at WOW air will start flying to Cork, Ireland in May 2017, offering four flights a week, all year round. Make sure you get all our best deals directly to your inbox and join the WOW club at

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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

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RESTAURANT- BAR Vesturgötu 3B | 101 Reykjavík | Tel. 551 2344 | Issue six 109

Building a city

Art Deco in Miami The coolest thing about a trip to Miami is all the Art Deco buildings that visitors can see in this beach city. Text and photos: Caron R. Luteran

RECOGNIZING ART DECO BUILDINGS Spott­ing Art Deco elements is easy once you know what to look for. Pastel colors, curv­­es and eyebrows, zig zags, round porthole windows like those present in cruise ships, chrome, symmetry, ziggurat features such as those found in step pyramids and interi­or and exterior neon lighting are a few details to look for. The art deco style of the 20th century was influenced by other foreign design styles such as the French Art Deco, Egyptian and Asian art, cubism and German Bauhaus among others. THE BIRTH OF ART DECO There are two time periods of Art Deco style, which spans from around 1920 to 1945: Classic and Streamline Moderne. Classic Art Deco style was popular in Paris in the early 1900’s before World War I The International Exposition of Modern Decorative and In­ dustri­al Arts held in Paris in 1925 spread the concept of this unique architectural design style internationally. Expensive and luxurious materials such as silk, ebony and ivory were used during this period. After the Great De­­pression, Streamline Moderne’s sleek style appear­­ed. Designs became subtler and cheap­­er materials such as stainless steel and plastic were used. Another sub-style in this era, Depression Moderne, was used mostly in the architecture of governmental build­ings. Art Deco as a design style was further incorporated into consumer items such as jewelry, radios and furniture. Trains and ocean liners reflected this style, too. Sculp­tur­es, paintings, graphic design, movie theaters and public spaces such as building lobbi­­es embraced Art Deco design. Also, skyscrapers such as the Chrysler Building in New York City reflect this style well in its spire, gargoyle decorations and lobby. ART DECO FINDS A HOME IN MIAMI Miami was devastated by the “Great Miami Hurri­cane” in 1926, and when the city was


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being rebuilt, Art Deco found a home. Mr. Collins, a land de­­vel­­oper, and Mr. Fisher, an auto­­mo­­tive parts inventor, sought to make Miami an attractive and popular destination and not just a southern city known for its mangrove swamps. From around 1945 and for the next 20 years, Miami Modern (MiMo) style came onto the scene. MiMo style was a fusion of Latin and tropical influences with a hint of futurism and can be best seen now on Biscayne Boulevard from 50th to 77th Streets. Tropical Art Deco refers to the white and bright and pastel colored buildings that are further decorated with the seaside, palm trees and exotic bird designs. Since 1976, the Miami Design Preservation League ( has been hugely active in their efforts to protect, preserve and restore these buildings and the buildings in the Miami Beach Architectural District. The area is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Stop looking down at your phone! Jump on a City­­­­Bike or take a lovely stroll and delight in look­­ ing up at all this unique art/architecture, which is free for everyone to see. v

Since 1976, the Miami Design Preservation League (mdpl. org) has been hugely active in their efforts to protect, preserve and restore these buildings and the buildings in the Miami Beach Architectural District. The area is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

FINDING ART DECO IN MIAMI Park Central Hotel, between 6th Street and 7th Street and Ocean Drive. Beacon Hotel, 7th Street and Ocean Drive. Tides Hotel, 12th Street and 13th Street and Ocean Drive. The Carlyle Hotel, 1250 Ocean Drive. The McAlpin, 1424 Ocean Drive. Jerry’s Famous Deli, 1450 Collaæins Avenue. Lincoln Theater. Marlin Hotel. U.S. Post Office in Miami Beach reflects the Depression Moderne style. The Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Avenue, represents a fusion of MiMo and Art Deco style. FURTHER SOURCES OF ART DECO Art Deco Museum & Welcome Center 1001 Ocean Drive (10th Street and Ocean Drive). The museum is open from Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on Thursdays and closed on Monday. Admission is $5.00. The adjacent gift shop sells all things Art Deco.

Caron R. Luteran

Miami’s Art Deco influenced archi­­ tec­ture is widely viewed in many small, pastel, brightly colored or plain white hotels as well as a few larger hotels. Another defining factor is design elements that exist in groups of three such as three circles, triangles or lines among many other elements but three is key. In Miami, there is a whole area known as the Art Deco Historic District. With more than 800 buildings built between 1923 and 1943, most of which are located in South Beach (SOBE), the area thoroughly reflects the Art Deco design style.

Great food and an even better view, could Miami get any better? Wait they have beaches and good weather too! WOW! Our aircraft might not be very Art Deco but we promise to get you there in style. WOW air starts flying to Miami in April 2017 but you can buy cheap flights to Miami right now at

Photo: Rauluminate

Issue six 111

New destination

Photo: iStockphoto / SeanPavonePhoto

Getting to know Pittsburgh, Pa On of WOW air’s new destinations—the hometown of late artist Andy Warhol—promises outdoor recreation, free downtown transportation and picturesque skyline views. by Krista Connor Photos:

Known as both the Steel City for its 300 steel-related busi­­n­ess­ es, and also as the City of Bridges (for having 446 bridges!), Pittsburgh is a historical and evolving city nestled between three rivers in western Pennsylvania. Why visit? Here are a few reasons, to start: EXPLORE ANDY WARHOL COUNTRY As a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art, Warhol (actually born Andrew Warhola) grew up in the city in the mid-twentieth century as the son of a construction worker. The Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St., Pittsburgh) is the largest museum in the world dedicated to a single artist. The


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col­­­­lection includes 900 paintings, not in­­cluding the thousands of sculp­­ tures, works on paper, unique prints and photographs. The collection also features wallpaper and books by Warhol, covering the entire range of his work, including early piec­­es, com­­mercial illustrations and sketch­­ books, 1960s pop paintings of con­­ sumer products featuring Campbell’s Soup cans, celebrity art (Marilyn Mon­roe and Elvis) and more. GET THE PERFECT CITY VIEW FROM MT. WASHINGTON A glorious view awaits on the top of Mt. Washington. Visitors typically take the Duquesne or Monongahela Incline, two uphill trolleys, although

locals especially recommend Duque­sne, which has been carting passengers up Mt. Washington since the 1870s. The Duquesne Incline platform extends just over a cliff, offering views of where the city’s three rivers meet. Visit day and night for equally spectacular skyline views. The incline operates Monday through Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. and on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. Adult fare is $5 round trip and $2.50 for children under 11. Mt. Washington is also home to one of the most visited neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Running the length of the hill, Grandview Avenue provides vantage points of Pittsburgh’s sky­ line, and Restaurant Row offers

Known as both the Steel City for its 300 steel-related busi­­n­ess­es, and also as the City of Bridges (for having 446 bridges!), Pittsburgh is a historical and evolving city nestled between three rivers in western Pennsylvania. spectacular views coupled with fine din­­ing. On Shiloh Street, you’ll find de­­licious ice cream, baked goods, adult beverages and more. EXPLORE PITTSBURGH’S BOTANICAL GARDEN AND GLASSHOUSE Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a public garden set in

an award-winning on-site café and some of the greenest buildings in the world.

FLIT ABOUT THE NATIONAL AVIARY The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds. Assembled is a diverse collection of 500 feathered friends representing 150 species from around the world, with many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The walk-through experi­­ ence includes opportunities to handfeed and meet many species rarely found in zoos.

Schenley Park, is a green oasis in the middle of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. Phipps has been an experience since 1893 when it was founded by steel and real-estate magnate Henry Phipps as a gift to the city of Pittsburgh. Visitors dis­­­­cover seasonal flower shows, formal Roman and English gardens,

BICYCLE OR TAKE FREE CITY TRANSPORTATION AROUND THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE The city’s downtown area, called the Golden Triangle, is ideal for bi­­cycling. Rent a bike or go on a guid­­­­­ed tour with the Golden Triangle Bike crew, that leads visitors on river­­front trails while highlighting Pitts­­burgh’s current developments as well as its history, landmarks, public art, bridges and more. For the more ambitious, bicycle the Great Allegheny passage—a 350-mile stretch from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.

Alternatively, explore downtown with complimentary bus service daily be­­ tween 4 a.m. and 7 p.m. Travel within downtown and the North Shore is also free 24/7 on the “T” Pitts­­burgh’s light rail system. v

iStockphoto / jonathandavidsteele

Steal away to Steel City. Hop on a flight to Pittsburgh and we’ll take you there on one of our purple birds of steel.

WOW air will start flying to Pittsburgh in June 2017, offering four flights a week all year round. Find cheap flights to Pittsburgh at

Issue six 113

ns WOW destinatio

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

AMSTERDAM A city of art, architecture, cool people and canals, and don’t forget windmills, weird wooden shoes and tulips. Amsterdam is a fairytale and a great place to visit.

BERLIN The capital of cool and quirky is one of our most popular destinations. With history on every corner, a nightlife scene that truly lives up to its name and great shopping for everyone, Berlin won’t let you down. Hop onboard. WOW air offers several flights* a week to Berlin, Germany from USA, Canada and Iceland, all year round.

WOW air offers cheap flights* to Amsterdam from USA, Canada and Iceland all year round.

ALICANTE Warm up by the Mediterranean Sea and taste the best of Spain. WOW air will offer cheap flights* to Alicante from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, up to four times a week from the end of March 2017.

BARCELONA Barcelona truly is the perfect destination; tasty tapas, seaside promenades and mind-blowing architecture. Getting there is the easy part. WOW air offers 2-4 flights a week to Barcelona from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, all year round, except in January, April and May.


WOW Power to the people

BARCELONA Barcelona truly is the perfect destination; tasty tapas, seaside promenades and mind-blowing architecture. Getting there is the easy part. WOW air offers 2-4 flights a week to Barcelona from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, all year round, except in January, April and May.

BOSTON The city that’s famous for Cheers and good shopping. WOW air offers cheap flights to Boston from Iceland 4-6 times a week all year round. Connecting flights* to Boston are available from most WOW destinations in Europe.

BRISTOL Mellow and less crowded than the big cities, Bristol is a more intimate affair. Get close and experience the atmosphere of this fun and vibrant city and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Bath on your way there.

DÜSSELDORF This great city on the Rhine is famous for its art and culture, luxury fashion and lifestyle. WOW air flies to Düsseldorf, Germany from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, twice a week during the summer months.

GRAN CANARIA The city of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria is warm all year round so it’s a perfect destination for both the chilly and the chill. WOW air offers weekly flights to Gran Canaria from Iceland until March.

WOW air offers cheap flights to Bristol and Bath four times a week, until the end of March 2017.

COPENHAGEN The former capital of Iceland is still a favorite among Icelanders and now’s your chance to find out why. WOW air offers several flights* a week to Copenhagen from USA, Canada and Iceland all year round. DUBLIN Ireland’s capital has become a modern European city without losing the grip on its Irish roots and just a stone’s throw away is the spectacular Irish nature. WOW air offers several flights* a week to Dublin from USA, Canada and Iceland all year round.

LOS ANGELES The City of Angels, also known as L.A. is eclectic, progressive, trendy, laid-back and retro all at once. Great beaches, Rodeo Drive and famous people, need we say more? WOW air offers cheap flights to Los Angeles, California four times a week this winter and every day of the week from April 2017.

Issue six 115

LYON Experience the gastronomic capital of France with all its history and vibrant cultural scene. WOW air flies to Lyon from Iceland twice a week during the summer, with available connections from USA and Canada. MILAN Get ready for high fashion and high culture and don’t forget to feast your eyes on da Vinci’s Last Supper. WOW air flies to Milan, Italy from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, 2-3 times a week from June to September. PARIS The city of lights sparkles with art, culture and culinary delights. Experience the passionate Paris and all it has to offer. Just say Oui! WOW air offers cheap flights* to Paris from USA, Canada and Iceland every day of the week all year round.

SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco is the cultural, commercial and financial center of Northern California. Well known for its liberal attitude and as the birthplace of the “hippie” counterculture, the Sexual Revolution and the Peace Movement, San Francisco is also home to one of the largest and oldest pride parades and

WOW air offers cheap flights to San Francisco five times a week this winter and every day of the week from April 2017. STOCKHOLM The capital of Sweden is a city of contrasts, an urban paradise full of fun and history but with a relaxed and modern atmosphere.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Are you ready for a monumental trip? Get acquainted with the history of the United States of America and enjoy this great capital.

WOW air now flies to Stockholm Arlanda airport, from USA, Canada and Iceland, offering four flights* a week, all year round.

WOW air offers cheap flights* to Washington, D.C. from Europe, several times a week, all year round.

TENERIFE Relaxing on a tropical island sounds like a dream and Tenerife is a dream come true.

SALZBURG Looking for that perfect winter destination? European ski resorts are known for being budget friendly and the Austrian Alps’ best ski resorts are just a short drive from Salzburg Airport.

TORONTO This hip and happening city is a cultural melting pot where you’ll find world renowned restaurants, a vibrant nightlife and super friendly Canadians.

Pack your skis; WOW air flies to Salzburg from Iceland once a week from the end of December to the end of February.

Check out Canada! WOW air offers cheap flights* to Toronto from Europe, several times a week, all year round.

WOW Power to the people

WOW air offers flights to Warsaw from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, up to four times a week starting in May 2017.

the festivities are truly something to witness and be a part of. Free your spirit!

WOW air offers weekly flights to Tenerife Sur from Iceland all year round.


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

The WOW Stopover When flying between North America and Europe take advantage of our WOW Stopover option. The WOW Stopover allows you to visit Iceland at no additional airfare. It’s kind of like getting two vacations for the price of one. Find out more at

* Note that the availability of connecting flights between USA and Europe may vary depending on the flight frequency to each city. WOW air connects London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cork, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, Lyon, Stockholm, Alicante, Barcelona, Milan, and Warsaw to New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the US and Toronto and Montréal in Canada.

Issue six 117



The only app you’ll need in Iceland The BeIceland app will surely become your secret weapon when in Iceland. This travel app is really the only app you’ll need if you’re traveling in Iceland and it’s used by visitors and locals alike. The app can be downloaded for free for both Android and IOS devices and allows you to book various adventures and sight-seeing tours, and receive vouchers within the app. Based on your location BeIceland can help you locate most of Iceland’s amazing natural attractions and historic places, towns, hotels, campsites and restaurants, which can even be filtered according to your favorite food. The app even helps you find ATMs and recycling stations should you need them. Don’t have a smartphone? Take a look at the BeIceland website at, where you can start planning your travels in Iceland right now.

One flight and one whale, please!

WOW air on TripAdvisor We love giving you that WOW feeling and servicing our guests with a smile even if we don’t have all the amenities and “free” stuff of those big legacy carriers. WOW air is on TripAdvisor and we would love to get your fair and honest feedback after your travels. Help us out by giving us your review. We hope it’s a good one, but we welcome all feedback so we can do even better in the future.

When you book your flight with WOW air through our website, you can plan the whole trip at the same time and book interesting tours at We hand-pick and recommend each tour the webpage offers, easily categorized for you to choose from. Ranging from glacier hiking and geothermal baths to a city food tour and whale watching, you’re bound to come across something your heart desires. Make your journey even more exciting and carefree by booking the flight and adventure tours at the same place. Then there is nothing left to do but catch a plane and enjoy Iceland!

A beauty queen calls it! Iceland has a history of women doing well in international beauty pageants and has had three lovely ladies crowned Miss World. But this fall, Miss Iceland 2015, very publicly pulled herself out of the Miss Grand International pageant. The 21-yearold, Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir, said she felt miserable and degraded the whole three weeks she spent in LA preparing for the finals. What brought this on was that the owner of the pageant, Nawat Itsaragrisil, told the beauty queen she was too fat and should skip most meals for the three days left to the finals. He “generously” offered to buy her breast implants if she won, in case the diet made her breasts smaller. Arna posted this conversation on her Snapchat account and all hell broke loose. She wanted out of this negative environment, so when a known Icelandic feminist, María Lilja Þrastardóttir, heard about Arna’s troubles, she offered her a place to stay for the night and a plane ticket back home, if she dropped out of the pageant, instantly. At first, the beauty pageant’s planners refused to give Arna’s passport back, unless she paid them 3000 dollars. With the help of security guards, she finally got her passport back and flew home with WOW air. The beauty queen taking a stand caught the media’s attention worldwide, with magazines such as Cosmopolitan applauding her. Arna Ýr has had enough of the beauty pageant world and will never compete in one again. Good for you girl!


WOW Power to the people

High fashion for a humanitarian cause One of the best-kept secrets of the Reykjavik shopp­­ ing scene is the Red Cross clothes shops downtown. Recently renovated, they have never looked better and have an impressive selection of highly fashionable items, usually available for truly laughable prices. Although the Red Cross secondhand shops and thrift stores are a world-known brand, the shops in Iceland have a unique advantage; Iceland is a consumer based and highly fashion-minded nation. Icelanders buy so much clothing that they have to give the old ones away, even when the old ones aren’t really old or worn much at all. This is hardly good for the environment and leaves us with an enormous carbon footprint unless these clothes can be put to good use. Red Cross customers will, therefore, get some unique, fashionable duds, while leaving the shops with a clear conscience.

You’ll find the Red Cross Shops at Laugavegur 12, Laugavegur 116 and Skólavörðustígur 12 in downtown Reykjavik. Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10 am – 6 pm, Sat: 12 noon – 4 pm.



by Eygló Árnadóttir

Daily tours

Say it with a Christmas tree

all year round

Bring nature inside

super truc k

You can visit the Meiður workshop at Kaplahraun 27, in Hafnarfjörður but Meiður products are also available in some of the best design stores in Reykjavík such as DUKA, Kraum and Rammagerðin and also at Keflavik Airport. Check out Meiður’s selection at

e golden circ h T le

a on

Each year a tree passes between a mayor or a city council member from each country, at a festive celebration involving musicians, poets, Yule Lads and a cheerful crowd. And of course, hot cocoa and coffee since the city is cooold this time a year. For 11 years, Reykjavík city has sponsored a project where a Yule Lad ornament is designed and sold in support of disabled youth. Binding together Icelandic heritage, design and a wonderful cause. The tree is decorated with only these ornaments and twinkle lights and is usually lit by a child whose parents each come from Iceland and Norway. “The Oslo Tree” not only marks the beginning of a month-long Christmas celebration in Reykjavík but also reminds the citizens of the long and strong friendship with our beloved Scandinavian cousins.

A big part of creating a cozy atmosphere at home is bringing in natural elements such as ceramic, wool and, of course, wood. Meiður is a brand created by highly experienced Icelandic carpenter and designer, Hörður Harðarson, who makes beautiful wooden serving boards, bowls and ornaments by hand, mainly from oak, black walnut, ash and maple, and occasionally laburnum, teak and other rare wood. Meiður’s creative designs now decorate thousands of homes in Iceland and Hörður’s delicate Christmas trees and ornaments are getting hard to come by.

nowmobilin ds g an

On the first day of Advent each Christmas, a large Christmas tree is lit in Austurvöllur, the heart of downtown Reykjavík (right in front of the parliament building). The tree is a gift from Oslo, Reykjavík’s best friend in Norway. The first tree was given in 1951, a very thoughtful gift back when Iceland had no large pine trees. This year, for the first time, the Christmas tree is actually Icelandic, since shipping a huge tree from Norway is hardly the best environmental move.

Breastfeeding at Parliament Recently, the Icelandic Parliament made headlines worldwide. This time NOT for Panama papers or a bank crisis (yay!) but for a breastfeeding baby (aww!). The Independence party’s MP, Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir, brought her 6 weeks old daughter with her to work when her own proposal was being addressed at the Parliament. In the middle of breast­­feeding her infant, Unnur was unexpectedly called upon to defend the bill. Another politician offered to hold the baby while the new mother went to the podium, but the little one was hungry and fussy, so she brought her along and kept nursing while she spoke, without anyone present raising an eyebrow. A baby was hungry, so a mother didn’t hesitate. And why would she? Breastfeeding in public is not an issue in Iceland, and most mothers nurse their children anytime, anywhere. Still, this was the first time a politician nursed while addressing the Parliament, which is actually a bit surprising, taking into account the liberal views towards breastfeeding and the fact that women hold almost half of the seats in the Icelandic Parliament. Babies rarely accompany their mothers to work, though, since Icelandic parents get a paid leave off work for months.

Tel. (+354) 580 9900

Your Ticket to Adventure Issue six 119



Photo: / Sergdid

The magic of winter In the past few years, Iceland has welcomed more foreign travelers than ever before, with the numbers of airlines flying to Iceland growing from 3 to 11 in just six years. With its endless sunlit nights, high summer used to be the far most popular season to visit the island. In 2010 for example, half of the tourist

population visited during that season, while not even one fourth of them traveled in November-March. In 2017 though, we are expecting a 25% increase of visitors in the winter months, making numbers of foreign guests fall equally between those seasons, even with slightly more coming over at winter time

than in summer. We are glad the word is spreading. The winter in Iceland is undoubtedly dark and cold, but also magical with its Northern Lights, long starry nights, otherworldly sunsets and twilight, a full-blown Christmas celebration and a crazy New Year’s Eve.




-------------------------------------------Laugavegur 130 við Hlemm TEL : 5522444, 692- 0564


DV. 17.07.11




ALSO BEST 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Icelandic pop-up art and music project in Berlin Berlin and Reykjavík are two creative cultural cities, so what happens when they meet? With the focus on the connected heart­­­ beat and the interactive in­­fluences, Reykjavík art space Mengi has launched a three-month long pop-up art and music project at Felleshus in Berlin, supported by WOW air and Inspired by Iceland. Mengi, located at Óðinsgata in downtown Reykjavík, puts emphasis on the grassroots scene in the Icelandic art world. For almost three years, it has cultivated an experimental and innovative scene, being a platform for artists to experiment and grow, to introduce the first stages as well as “fully formed” versions of their work. Al­­though music has played the biggest part in Mengi’s program, it has also hosted film screenings, poetry readings, performance art, theater works and visual art, as many artists today do not restrain themselves within one art form. The Berlin project started in October and centers on artists who have performed regularly at Mengi, as well as the Icelandic artists who live in Berlin and the international network they have in the city. The pop-up events offer performances, exhibitions, musical work­­­ shops, live film scoring and more. In December, there’s a JAJAJA Christmas party with Nordic artists and a live act from Mengi artist DJ flugvél og geimskip, while the January program offers Amiina, a master class for musicians with Skúli Sverrisson and Hilmar Jensson, a theater performance by Kriðpleir and a Saumur Concert.


Follow Mengi Berlin on Facebook for more information.


WOW Power to the people



by Eygló Árnadóttir

Amazing 7 course menu Bessastaðir, now home to President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson. Photo: Kristinn Magnússon.

Loving our new president! After 20 years with the same presi­­ dent, the Icelandic nation elect­­ed a new one this summer. The-48year old Guðni Th. Jóhannesson is a father of five and a husband to Canadian Eliza Reid, who runs her own company. Guðni is a teacher and a writer, and as an historian, quite familiar with the presidency. Known as an informal, humble, downto-earth sort of man (who started a Facebook page where he connects with Icelanders and answers their questions), he has quickly become a popular president. In his few months in office, he has established himself as a genuinely good guy and a humanitarian who feels “honored to support everybody’s fight for human rights in society.” One of his first acts as president was to attend and speak at the Gay Pride Parade, becoming the first president in the world to do so. Shortly after his inauguration, the official Salaries Tribunal in Iceland awarded the president a pay raise, as well as to members of parliament

and government ministers, which caused a huge outcry with the public as the raise is much higher than has been handed to the general workforce. However, Guðni declined the 600,000 ISK monthly increase of his salary (4,800 EUR), stating he “didn’t ask for or need a raise.” The president’s salary can’t be lowered according to Iceland’s constitution, so Guðni decided to donate the raise to a good cause but refused to say which and “brag about it.” His recent appearance in the media was for wearing a very infor­­mal buff headwear (mostly seen on children and joggers) at a public event. Some fashionistas were appalled by the president publicly wearing such a hideous thing, while others smiled or even applaud­ed. Mostly those connected with the Alzheimer Organization, since the president had bought the buff to support the cause. After the president had been photographed in the logoed headwear, sales in the buffs went through the roof.

Stay warm—but keep a cool head is the founder and creator of the brand. Inspired by the experience of losing her hair during chemotherapy, Guðrún started designing and developing good quality and chic headwear for women both without and with hair! The product range is extensive, with headbands, caps, scarves and turbans all made in different textiles, colors and styles. All the items are handmade in Iceland and are now available at Krínólín, a unique design store at Grandagarður 37, 101 Reykjavik (by the old harbor).

mheadwear is a slow-fashion Icelandic brand specializing in highquality headwear for women. Fashion designer Guðrún Hrund Sigurðardóttir

You can find mheadwear on Facebook –

A unique Icelandic Feast

Starts with a shot of the Icelandic national spirit “Brennivín“ Puffin – Smoked puffin with blueberries, croutons, goat cheese, beetroot Minke whale – Date purée, wakame, teriaky “Torched“ Arctic charr – Cucumber, truffle ponzu vinaigrette and yuzu mayo Reindeer – Reindeer slider with blue cheese, portobello, steamed bun Icelandic roll, 4 pcs – Gravlax roll with Brennivín and dill. Avokado, mango, cucumber, dill mayo, rye bread crumble Rack of icelandic lamb – Lamb with onion purée, slow cooked leeks, chimichurri, baked carrot And to end on a high note ... Icelandic Skyr – Skyr infused with birch, berries, white chocolate crumble, and sorrel granite

7.990 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 •

Issue six 121




Photos: From respective events

Located in Hverfisgata 54, 101 Reykjavik.

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

Events in December and January

Die Hard

December 16 and 17 at 8 PM

Scrooged December 9 at 8 PM

Photo: Ragnar Th.

WHAT: Happy Hour WHEN: Every day from 5-7 PM

WHAT: The Threepenny Opera WHEN: January 7, 8, 14 and 15

No need to explain, happy hour means the same in Iceland as everywhere else.

Mack the Knife is back in town. A darkly comic new take on Brecht and Weill’s raucous musical broadcast live from the stage of the National Theatre.

WHAT: CHRISTMAS PARTY SCREENING: Scrooged WHEN: December 9 at 8 PM High-spirited high jinks on Christmas Eve put Frank Cross (Bill Murray) in a ghostly time warp in this hilarious take-off of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

WHAT: CHRISTMAS PARTY SCREENING: Die Hard WHEN: December 16 and 17 at 8 PM

WHAT: No Man’s Land WHEN: January 28 and 29 Following their hit run on Broadway, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart return to the West End stage in Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land, broadcast live to cinemas from Wyndham’s Theatre, London.

Advent in Reykjavik Christmas is a cozy affair in Reykjavik. Let‘s see what goes on.

WHAT: Winter Woods at the City Hall WHEN: December WHERE: Reykjavik City Hall The Winter Woods Wonderland inside of City Hall opened on December 1st. The spirit of peace will be strongly felt within the Winter Woods Wonderland this year, as a miniature of Höfði Peace Center will be a centerpiece neatly placed amongst the trees. You can find all the Christmas Creatures of Reykjavík City inside the City Hall in December.

John McClane, an officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. It is a must watch film every Christmas. Photo: Johan Persson

WHAT: BLACK SUNDAYS WHEN: Select Sundays On Black Sundays our special team of experts, program old cult classic films that are shown in Bíó Paradís. The program is curated by Hugleikur Dagson, the famous cartoonist/comedian, Sjón, renowned author and Sigurjón Kjartansson, one of Iceland’s best-known screenwriter/ comedian/musician. December titles include The Exorcist (screened December 4th) and The Godfather (screened December 26th). Photo: Hubert Smith


WOW Power to the people

WHAT: Pop-up ice-skating rink WHEN: Daily in December from noon 10 PM WHERE: Ingólfstorg Square Nova, in cooperation with Samsung and Reykjavík City, opened an iceskating rink at Ingólfstorg Square on December 1st. Kiosks surround the rink selling food, drink and other goods which guests can enjoy while getting into the Christmas spirit. Guests can rent skates and helmets on-site.

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Issue six 123 ATV • Caving • Combo tours • Diving • Glacier Hike • Golden Circle • Hiking • Horse Riding • Hot Springs • Ice Caves • Kayaking • Multiday tours Northern Lights • Rafting • Snorkeling • Snowmobiling • Super Jeeps • Trekking • Volcano Hiking • Whale Watching




WHAT: Christmas Creatures of Reykjavik WHEN: December WHERE: Reykjavik Art Museum

WHAT: Advent at Harpa WHEN: Every Saturday until Christmas WHERE: Harpa Concert and Conference Center Over 35 Christmas concerts will be held at Harpa this holiday season. Harpa will celebrate the Advent like they have done in recent years, every Saturday, with a wonderful family program. All the events are free and for the whole family. Find out more on

WHAT: The Christmas Valley WHEN: December WHERE: Laugardalur Valley In December, where Christmas lights and decorations set the mood for a festive Advent, the whole family can have fun together in Laugardalur Christmas Valley. Prepare for a day out, visiting the animals in Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo and ice-skating around a decorated Christmas tree at the Skautahöll Skating Rink. You might want to visit Ásmundarsafn Sculpture Museum, walk around the beautifully decorated Botanic Garden, stop by Flóran Café inside the garden (open every weekend until December 18 from 11 AM to 5 PM) for a cup of hot chocolate or go for a nice swim in Laugardalslaug thermal pool. In Laugardalur Christmas Valley, you might run into the Yule Cat, one of many Icelandic Christmas Creatures. The cat resides in the Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo but sometimes sneaks around in other parts of Laugardalur. Listen for a quiet meow and look out for paw tracks.

WHAT: Christmas Market in Heiðmörk WHEN: Every Advent weekend from 11 AM to 4 PM WHERE: Heiðmörk Woods The Annual Christmas Market in Heiðmörk Woods, located on the outskirts of Reykjavík, will be open every Advent weekend. With live music and a relaxed Christmas spirit, it’s a perfect place to visit on a romantic getaway or with the whole family. Just warn the children first, the Icelandic Yule Lads are also going to be there!


WOW Power to the people

Photo: Roman Gerasymenko

WHAT: Old Icelandic Christmas WHEN: Every Sunday in December from 1-5 PM WHERE: Árbær Open Air Museum Christmas at the Árbær Open Air Museum is a must for visitors to the city during Advent. Offering an excellent program of events for the whole family, you’ll not find a cozier or more cheerful place to visit this time of year. With activities happening in all areas of the museum, there will be plenty for visitors of all ages to see and do while strolling between the charming traditional houses and taking in the festive Christmas atmosphere. There’ll be traditional activities such as singing popular songs and dancing around the Christmas tree, and those naughty Icelandic Yule Lads will be out and about too, peeping through windows and the usual mischief. During Advent, there will be a variety of activities taking place within the different houses. At the Árbær Open Air Museum guests can try their hand at making the traditional Icelandic Leaf Bread, while up in the Baðstofa (the loft) they’ll be able to spin yarn and knit. At the Granary, mum, dad and the kids can enjoy some family time making traditional Icelandic Christmas decorations. Visitors to Hábær will be able to get a taste of traditional Icelandic hangikjot (smoked lamb) and at Nýlenda House there will be wood whittling. At Efstibær the Christmas preparations will be in full swing with the customary fermented skate cooking in the pot, while at Miðhús it will be possible to get Christmas cards printed. At the Stable on Garðastræti they will be making candles the way they used to in the olden days, while at Krambúð (the museum’s general store) guests can stock up on confectionary and a variety of Christmas goods.

The Christmas Creatures of Reykjavík is a special project built upon Hafssteinn Júlíusson’s idea and made real with drawings by artist Gunnar Karlsson. The idea is to promote Icelandic folklore and connect locals and visitors in Reykjavík through stories and conversations. Reykjavik’s latest Christmas Creature is old-time Yule-Lad Kattarvali, halfbrother to the modern day Yule Lads as he’s the son of ogress Grýla from a previous marriage. All of the Christmas Creatures of Reykjavík City will be present at Reykjavík Art Museum, Hafnarhús and Kjarvalsstaðir in December and throughout the Christmas holidays. The museum will also represent a Christmas installation created by their specialists.

WHAT: The Christmas Village WHEN: Advent weekends from noon to 5 PM WHERE: Strandgata, Hafnarfjordur Experience homely Christmas spirit with sweet tones and varied entertainment on stage. Santa Claus and Christmas Elves will be having fun in the center of Hafnarfjörður, at Strandgata. Guests can visit cozy little Christmas houses at Thorsplan offering beautiful Icelandic design and craft, have coffee or cocoa, visit Hafnarborg—Center of Culture and Fine Art and have a free photo shoot at the Fjörður Shopping Mall.

December. Experienced designers and artists will teach you creative and sustainable solutions to redesign and re-use. The Children’s Library offers the little ones a friendly environment for creating Christmas ornaments and a com­­­fortable playing area every day in December. The foyer will feel like a typical Scandinavian liv­ing room with Christmas music and a gingerbread exhibition that everyone is welcome to partici­ pate in. For more information, go to

WHAT: Sonar Reykjavik WHEN: February 16-18 WHERE: Harpa Concert Hall The fifth edition of the Sónar Reykjavik Festival takes place in February 2017 throughout four stages at the unique Harpa Concert Hall. The four stages are; SonarClub, SonarHall, SonarComplex (seated) and SonarLab in the underground car park which has seen some legendary shows in previous years. Confirmed acts for Sónar Reykjavík 2017 include; Fatboy Slim (UK), De La Soul (US), Moderat (DE), Ben Klock (DE), Tommy Genesis (CA), Helena Hauff (DE), B.Straits (UK), FM Belfast, Aron Can, Emmsjé Gauti, Samaris, Kött Grá Pje, Sin Fang, SxSxSx and Øfjord. Find tickets at

WHAT: Icelandic Christmas Concerts WHEN: December WHERE: Various venues WHAT: Environmentally friendly Christmas WHEN: Sundays and Tuesdays until Christmas, 11 AM – 5 PM WHERE: The Nordic House The Nordic House welcomes everyone to an environmentally friendly Christmas celebration with seminars and workshops on Sundays and Tuesdays in

December really fills up when it comes to live events and unfor­­tuna­­ tely, we haven’t got enough space to tell you about everything that’s going on. However, we’ll tell you where to find it. Go to or and find an event that strikes your fancy. We especially recommend the more intimate kind, such as Borgardætur at Café Rosenberg or Eyþór Ingi’s church concerts around the country.



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 six 125


21 MARCH - 19 APRIL December will be straight out of a Disney movie for you. With your perfect prince in the snow, under the stars, dancing within a circle of reindeer. In January, you will get real and stop being so starry-eyed.


20 APRIL - 20 MAY WOW! Next weekend, you will be absolutely unstoppable. Please get those car breaks fixed pronto!


21 MAY - 21 JUNE This week, you do not feel like yourself at all, beset with strange hunting thoughts on how you are not actually leading the life that was meant for you. But this will pass and soon you will feel normal. Now go read the right horoscope since you are not a Gemini.


22 JUNE - 22 JULY Every rose has its thorns and also a ridiculous price tag. Your holidays abroad will Amazing—Unforgettable—Life Changing. When the Visa bill arrives next month, you will wonder if life wasn’t just fine before.


23 JULY - 22 AUGUST You like glittery clothing. You are a disco diva. New Year’s Eve is coming up and you will have the best glitter outfit for miles. This is not news to you, but you have the stars’ approval for proudly strutting your stuff.


23 AUGUST - 22 SEPTEMBER Sorry to say, the holidays will be a bit of a letdown for you. But on the upside, January will be awesome! Yes, January. No really, it’s January. Awesome. Seriously!


23 SEPTEMBER - 23 OCTOBER A person from your past haunts you this month. It’s not just in the back of your memory; it’s actually moaning and rattling chains. Wherever you’re flying to—find the local ghostbusters as soon as you land.


24 OCTOBER - 21 NOVEMBER Come on you, get into the Christmas spirit! We all know you are a dark and dangerous animal, too cool for school, but it’s the season to be merry. Throw away the moldy pumpkins and get some glitter on those claws!


22 NOVEMBER - 21 DECEMBER Suffering from birthday blues, are we? You really shouldn’t be, cause you know what they say: 40s are the new 30s, and 30s are the new 20s. The blues do make sense though if you’re celebrating a 20-something birthday… who wants the teen years back??


22 DECEMBER - 19 JANUARY Next week someone accidentally will call you by a wrong name at work. It somehow quickly becomes an office joke, and by next spring no one will remember your actual name.


20 JANUARY - 18 FEBRUARy You always wear your heart on your sleeve. That’s really bad for your cardiovascular health. You have a perfectly good rib cage, leave it in there. And stop crying about that cute flight attendant’s wedding ring.


19 FEBRUARY - 20 MARCH You fall in a well; your eyes go crossed. You get kicked by a mule; your eyes go back. I don’t know … Disclaimer: This horoscope is total and utter nonsence. Any accuracies, real or imagined by readers, are purely incidental.


WOW Power to the people

Issue six 127



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 six 129


WHERE THE WORLD BECOMES STILL Sólveig Þórarinsdóttir who runs the Sólir Yoga and Health Center in Reykjavík aims high and wants to expand beyond Iceland. Besides her business she enjoys fly-fishing, skiing and swimming. So what about her favorite places in Iceland and abroad? Let’s find out!

When asked about her favorite place in Iceland, Sólveig says: “I just recently visited Þríhnúkagígur with Inside the Volcano. It is undoubtedly the most amazing place I’ve seen in this country. It is a huge cave close to Reykjavik that goes 120m deep into Mother Earth. Scientists don’t even know how it came to exist, except that it was formed after a volcanic eruption. The colors are mind-blow­­ing and yet I felt so peaceful there. It’s like the world becomes still.”

By Svava Jónsdóttir Photos: SISSI and Halla Hjartardóttir

“I just recently visited Þríhnúkagígur with Inside the Volcano. It is undoubtedly the most amazing place I’ve seen in this country.

“Sólir Yoga and Health Center, located at the har­­bor side of downtown Reykjavik, is a large, airy stu­­dio with a design aesthetic that combines the retro look of an old fish factory with the intimacy of a medi­­ tation hall. We see it as a “home away from home” for everyone, where we’ve created a holistic en­­­ viron­ment that has everything related to yoga and healthy living. We offer high quality at very rea­­ sonable prices,” says Soley and adds “I truly want to be part of people’s journey towards taking care of their health.”

This busy woman, wife and mother of three children, also has time for hobbies. “Besides my yoga lifestyle, I enjoy what each season and Mother nature offer in the company of my dear family and friends. With my family, I go skiing as often as I can and as snow has become a limit­­ed resource in Iceland, for the past ten years we’ve mostly skied in Colorado where there is always sunshine and light powder snow. “All activities that include water are high on my list, swimming in Ice­­landic pools or going to hot springs, saunas and sweat lodges all have amazing healing effects. Last but not least, fly-fish­­ ing for salmon is the highlight of my summer activities. That’s when I get to spend quality time with my BFFs in the blossom of summer under the midnight sun.


WOW Power to the people


One of Sóley’s favorite countries is Canada. “I visit there at least two or three times a year. It’s re­­semblance with Iceland is ob­­ vious, pure and extreme nature with great waterfalls and glaci­­ ers that have a huge pulling effect on those who enjoy the outdoor life. I remember when I was a teen­­ager and first saw pictures of Niagara Falls, I felt so drawn to the energy. When I finally got there I actually felt hypnotized. Also, we have family in Winnipeg and while driving distances are long, we love going to the Rocky Mountains, Banff and Jasper. v If you’re hoping to find yourself in Iceland and want to get centered, drop into Sólir Yoga Studio where Sólveig is looking forward to welcoming you. Find out more at



DR E S S CO D E I C E L A N D Issue six 131 | Bankastræti 7 | Aðalstræti 10 | Austurhraun 3 | Smáralind | Kringlan | Akureyri

– Visit our stores: Skólavörðustígur & Kringlan, Reykjavík. Hafnarstræti, Akureyri. Geysir, Haukadalur. –

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