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e azin mag ISSUE SIX 2017




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

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

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


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Beautiful Nature & Fun activities

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



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



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Pre-booking is required. Book online at

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12 A LETTER FROM THE CEO 14 HOW YOUR CHANGE COULD MAKE A BIG CHANGE Phenomenal nature is the top reason for visiting Iceland, but the Icelandic nature is fragile and could use a little help. 18 ICELANDIC FOLKLORE Wintertime in Iceland offers the perfect atmosphere for scary stories. 22 COOL AS ICE The many captivating sides of glacier tongues are relatively easy to explore here in Iceland.


BLOWN AWAY ‘Tis the season again, the period of darkness in Iceland when the sun only appears for a few hours a day. Still, this is a season of beauty where nature enters into deep slumber beneath its regal and white, frosty cloak. If you’re reading this in December, Christmas lights will be all the rage in every town, and a stroll through Reykjavik’s more affluent neighbor­ hoods is recommended to see how the houses have been decorated. These same neighborhoods are also a great place to spend New Year’s Eve. If you don’t already know, here’s why: Almost all Icelandic households buy fireworks and put on their own fireworks display every New Year’s Eve. It goes without saying that those who are well to do buy bigger fireworks so staying close to their neighborhoods will ensure the bigg­ est show. But regardless, Reykjavik and almost every town in Iceland is a 360° fireworks display for up to 3 hours around midnight on New Year’s Eve. Find a good vantage point, dress warmly and watch it unravel. Then comes January, a quiet and peaceful month after the December frenzy. The perfect time and place to find solitude and time to contem­ plate the year ahead. Here’s to happy holidays and a beauti­ful and bountiful New Year with lots of traveling. Happy travels, Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Editor in chief


POWER TO THE PEOPLE three 2015 Issue six 2017



On the cover The siblings jokingly nicknamed the Birgi’s Mafia adorn our cover this time. You might know their most famous member, Jonsi from Sigur Rós, but each one is an artist and entrepreneur in their own right. This December, the whole clan is working together opening a shop called Fischer and performing or helping out with Sigur Rós’ Norður and Niður music festival.

128 BORED ON BOARD? Solve these Sudokus.

30 EXPERIENCE IS EVERYTHING Check out these three recommended tours in Iceland.

130 THE TRAVELING INQUISITION Icelandic illustrator, Linda Ólafsdóttir has just published an adventurous child­ ren’s book called Here is Iceland.

32 THE WONDERS OF THE WESTFJORDS Characterized by magnificent fjords, towering mountains and quaint towns, the Westfjords are the best place far from the crowds, that you can go in Iceland. 36 EMBRACING DARKNESS, FAMILY STYLE We sat down with the talented Birgisson siblings, Jónsi, Lilja, Inga and Rósa, who are all artists and entrepreneurs. This December they will open up their own shop called Fischer and take part in Sigur Rós’ music festival Norður og Niður. 42 THE FLYING WOW FAMILY Here at WOW air, we give our aircraft some unusual registration names. 46 FEMALE EXPLORERS Bell Collective is a community of professional photographers and explorers who are willing to change the stereotypes surrounding female travel and creative choices. 50 THE WOW WORD OF ADVICE Behold! We have the ultimate safety checklist for you so you can be safe while traveling in Iceland. 72 THE VATNAJOKULL REGION Filled with contrasts, the Vatnajokull Region is a great destination all year round.

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130 WOW Destinations 80 How to have the best city break in Europe The two or three-night European city break is one of those wonderful pleasures of travel and here we have some great tips for a smooth weekend vacation. 82 12 must do’s in Paris Quintessential Parisian must-do experiences that won’t break your budget. 84 Ireland’s castles Have you ever wondered what’s it like to stay in an Irish castle? Wonder no more as Krista Connor took on the noble quest and found out. 90 Classic Dublin pubs To make things a little more Irish check out our list of some of the best bars in Dublin. 92 Living it up, London style To live it up in London an afternoon of absolute luxury and high tea is definitely the way to go. 94 Top NYC museum restaurants Next time you’re in town, be sure to enjoy a ­delicious bite or two in one of New York City’s best museum restaurants, just steps from priceless collections of art and artifacts.


96 Miami’s neighborhoods Miami is so much more than just a beach destination and nightlife venue.

Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman

98 California – Gold Rush Country In the charming and traditional town of Auburn in Placer County, lies a deep history of the California Gold Rush. 100 Pittsburgh’s pierogi culture Food fads may come and go, but in Pittsburgh, pierogi will always be king.

Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Design and layout: Ivan Burkni Contributing writers: Alexandra Pereira, Marvin Lee Dupree, Marta Sigríður Pétursdóttir, Einar Páll Svavarsson, Alexandra Yingst, The Bell Collective, Andrew Marshall, Krista Connor, Eva Leonard, Caron Luteran, Joy Frank-Collins, Cindy-Lou Dale and Svava Jónsdóttir

© WOW air Katrínartún 12 105 Reykjavík Iceland

102 Dallas – Where big things happen Dallas is a city where cowboy hats and snakeskin boots adorn night-out attire, and the ­aroma of barbecue lasts until well after midnight. Here’s how to spend a weekend here.


116 THIS AND THAT …mainly this.

104 Cincinnati – Something to talk about Here are eight great conversation starters for those who want to get to know the people of Cincinnati a little better.

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

121 WHAT’S GOING ON? …quite a lot, actually.

106 10 reasons why you’ll love St. Louis St. Louis is a city with its own quirks and here are ten reasons why you’ll love it.

126 WOW HOROSCOPE What’s in your future? WOW air’s famed astrologist has the answer.

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!


Embracing darkness, family style

26 TAKING HOME MEMORIES Find out what five essential souvenirs you should bring home from Iceland. This list may surprise you!

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

ma gaz





108 Cleveland and its Hoods Cleveland isn’t a place for people who follow the herd, it is for those who know how to have a good time. 110 Detroit – The Comeback City Detroit has undergone an exciting renaissance. It’s recharged, topped up on raw urban energy, unlike any other city. 112 You want more? Check out our other WOW destinations. Where do you want to go?

Tel: 00 354 590 3020 E-mail:

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 Shop at Issue six 11

A letter from the CEO

Dear friends, I love innovation and to see how startups all over the world are entering established markets with new ideas, new products or even simply applying technology to assemble the pieces differently in order to deliver a much better and effective user experience. Uber and Amazon are my two favorites. Both have fundamentally changed how I and millions of people choose to travel around cities and buy anything from milk to the latest best-seller. They have also changed how companies run their ecommerce platform and WOW air now uses Amazon Web Services for exactly that. Our mission at WOW air is to enable everybody to travel. We do so by working hard on bringing down airfare wherever and whenever possible making it so affordable that most people can now fly across the Atlantic. Our other goal is to fundamentally change how we can better serve your travelling needs by giving you easy and convenient access to relevant experiences during your travel and enabling you to share and communicate those experiences with others. Hopefully one day you will look at WOW air not only as an airline but as your virtual travelling companion that can give you the best deals and inside scoops on what to do and experience around the world. Who knows, maybe we can turn the travel industry upside down and then


Thank you for choosing WOW air. We really look forward to welcoming you on board again!

Sincerely, SkĂşli Mogensen Founder and CEO of WOW air


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

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

Find us:

#intotheglacier Issue six 13

Leave something for the Icelandic nature

HOW YOUR CHANGE COULD MAKE A BIG CHANGE Phenomenal nature is the top reason for visiting Iceland but the Icelandic n ­ ature is fragile and could use a little help. For this reason, WOW air wants to offer you the chance to give back to nature by donating directly to Landvernd, an organ­ization dedicated to protecting and restoring Icelandic nature. Photos: Courtesy of Kristján Ingi Einarsson –


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einingar og þú raðar þeim saman eins og þú vilt. units of alcohol, any way you like it. eining = 25 cl af sterku áfengi eða 75 cl af léttvíni og léttum líkjörum eða 3 l af bjór, síder eða gosblöndum. unit = 25 cl strong spirits or 75 cl wine and aperitif or 3 l beer, cider and alcopop.




6 einingar/units – 1,5 l

6 einingar/units — 4,5 l (6 flöskur/bottles 75 cl)

6 einingar/units — 18 l (36 dósir/cans 50 cl)




4 einingar/units — 1 l




4 einingar/units — 1 l




3 einingar/units — 75 cl

2 einingar/units — 50 cl





2 einingar/units — 75 cl




3 einingar/units — 50 cl Issue six 15

Leave something for the Icelandic nature

After most trips to foreign lands we usually come back with a few coins or even bills in a currency that we can’t use at home. Some save it but then forget it on their next trip. Others might give it to their kids to play with or fool a bus driver or two. We’d like to offer you another option: Donate it toward a great cause. HOW CAN I HELP? In the seat pocket in front of you, there’s an envelope where you can leave any foreign change or other leftover currency that you’d like to contribute. Your donations will be sent directly to Landvernd, the Icelandic Environment Association, who will use the funds to support its efforts to safeguard and protect Icelandic nature. In particular, they will be used to enhance the campaign for a national park in the Central Highland of Iceland, to develop a new volunteering program in soil and land restoration of degraded birch wood­­lands, and in efforts to influence policy and decision making relating to the environment. WOW air is simply the means of tran­­ sportation. The donations come from you, our guests, and go straight to Landvernd where they will be put to good use. WOW air has promised to match all donations to double the amount sent to Landvernd. Let’s all help Land­­vernd make sure that Icelandic nature will still be as incredible when our grandkids come to visit.


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WOW air has promised to match all donations to double the amount sent to Land­ vernd. Let’s all help Landvernd make sure that Ice­­landic nature will still be as incredible when our grand­­kids come to visit.

WHAT IS LANDVERND? Landvernd is a non-profit environmental and nature conservation organization established in 1969. The main goals of Landvernd are to protect Iceland’s nature and environment, restore degraded environments and promote sustainability in Iceland among residents and visitors alike. This is done through education, by influencing lawmaking and decision making and by taking action. Since people have become more aware of the danger to nature, in the last five years Landvernd has grown tenfold and now has about 5,000 members.

polls show that over 60% of Icelanders support the establishment of a national park there and only about 12% are against it,” says Guðmundur. Landvernd’s campaign involves extensive lobbying for a national park among local governments, political parties, various stakeholders and the society at large. You can see short videos of the stunning Highlands and sign their petition online at Thank you for your contribution toward protecting Icelandic nature. Now get out there and enjoy it!


Photographer Kristján Ingi Einarsson was so inspired by this project he decided to let us use his gorgeous photographs for this article in addition to personally donating 5% of the sales from his latest photography book Unique Iceland to Landvernd. Big thanks from all of us to Kristján Ingi!

Landvernd’s biggest conservation goal at the moment is the establishment of a national park in the Central Highland of Iceland. The Central Highland is one of Iceland’s greatest treasures, containing many active volcanoes, glaciers, voluminous rivers and waterfalls, colorful hot springs and mud pools, vast lava fields and broad expanses of black sand, all contrasted with oases of vibrant but vulnerable vegetation. Such an amazing collection of natural jewels is rare in the world mainly because such vast, unpopulated areas where nature alone rules, are disappearing. “In our opinion, Icelanders are in the enviable position of still being able to stand guard over this precious treasure and protect the Central Highland for future generations. Opinion

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

Discount for your journey The Arion Currency Card is a better way to pay in Iceland, providing you with a wide range of discounts all around the country as well as a SIM card and Icelandic mobile number for your phone. · Great discounts on popular excursions, in gift shops and at selected restaurants, fashion shops, hotels etc. · Save money – You don‘t have to pay international card transaction fees · No need to worry about the currency rate · No need to carry Icelandic krónur in your wallet · Use it everywhere – The Currency Card is accepted in Iceland and internationally Get your Currency Card at Arion Bank in Keflavík Airport, or the next Arion Bank branch.

Get your Currency Card at the next Arion Bank branch.

Issue six 17


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Icelandic folklore

WHERE ELVES AND TROLLS STILL ROAM When you strip away the warm and cozy façade of the Nordic hygge what you’re left with are months of darkness and cold—the perfect atmosphere for scary stories. by Marvin Lee Dupree Photos:

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agom and hygge are all the craze now— people across the globe are fascinated by the Nordic approach to life: easy­­ going, with an emphatic emphasis on having a cozy time. Think wool socks, artisan hot chocolate, a book or Netflix and candles. Hygge is all about savoring pleasures during the darkest months of the year—it is a way of life. Sounds lovely, right, but if we step back a bit in history, it was not so long ago that the Nordic countries were just cold, dark and scary. The darkness lasted for many months, and people were more isolated before the rapid technological innovations, especially in Iceland. And during those bleak times, Yule Lads and the Yule Cat were more likely to eat children or disembowel them rather than bring them gifts. Before Iceland had trendy restaurants, Icelanders had an abundance of tales of ghosts, trolls and elves that reveal quite a bit of the Icelandic psyche.

Stranger Things. Nowadays, the hidden people aren’t blamed for the sudden personality shift of a child or the eerie atmosphere of certain areas anymore. Hidden people speak to the romantic side of Icelanders. These are the same Icelanders who adore nature and feel a kinship with it. Fairly recently, a group of environ­­menta­­ lists tried to protect a large patch of nature in the greater Reykjavík area, the Gálgahraun Lava field, from being turned into a haven for McMansion houses. They chained themselves and exercised their right for civil disobedience because that was where one of Iceland’s most famous painters; Jóhannes Kjarval, would set up his easel. In various paintings by Kjarval, you can see his fascination with the hidden people—a respectful nod to Iceland’s cultural heritage. THE HAUNTED ISLAND When you travel around Iceland, it is quite striking how vast and alien the landscape can suddenly feel—and if you blink you might easily be transposed into the midst of a snowstorm, despite having not moved at all. Factor in the darkness with such treacherous elements and you can easily imagine why ghost stories and har­row hauntings are etched into the cultural memory of Icelanders. The many abandoned homes all across the land also give credence to this mythology because even during the 20th century, Icelanders were still discussing reported hauntings in the newspapers and as recently as the 60s, most newspapers in Iceland were discussing the haunting of a farm in the north of Iceland and it became a media event. Many stories talk of slighted ghosts and priests fighting off unwanted poltergeists, while other ghost tales deal with curmudgeonly sorcerers trying to stir up havoc in the afterlife. One such tale has a robust man watching over a dead sorcerer’s body. The corpse of the sorcerer rises and moans “the darkness is amusing” to which, like a proper Icelandic tough guy, the man recites a folk ríma (an A troll story explains the rock formation at Reynisfjara Beach. Trolls were lifting a ship to shore, but before they could finish they became petrified by the sun, thus explaining the geological curiosity.

THE TALES OF OLD A few decades after the Grimm’s brothers published their tales, Jón Árnason whose name has become synonymous with Icelandic folk­­ tales began collecting various stories around Iceland. Many of the most memorable tales feature huldufólk or hidden people who are still talked about today. Proof of this enduring legacy can be gauged by examining the numer­­ ous surveys in recent years that indicate half of Icelanders still believe in or at least entertain the possibility of, hidden people. News outlets have churned out numerous piec­­es about this cultural quirk whereas expats often try to explain to foreigners that this hidden people trope is just a silly stereotype and stress how modern Icelanders are. By doing so, our cultural heritage is trivialized. Admittedly, a superficial glance at these stori­­ es might lull you into the mistake of think­­ing of Keebler elves or Legolas, but these hidden people were a part of the cultural con­­­scious­­ ness of Iceland. In many cases, they were blamed for baby snatching, and even today hidden people are the source of mis­­chief when people build near their homes and churches. And before you begin to chuckle and think of Will Ferrell and his small, green, pointy-eared brethren you need to realize that the hidden people are invisible to most people—but they resemble us in many ways and live in a sort of parallel reality like in the hit Netflix show


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Many stories talk of slighted ghosts and priests fighting off unwanted poltergeists, while other ghost tales deal with cur­ mudgeonly sorcerers trying to stir up havoc in the afterlife. In many cases, hidden people were blamed for baby snatching, and even today hidden people are the source of mischief when people build near their homes and churches.

Icelandic rhyming poem) that loosely ends in the following manner: “now you are dirt, so try to shut the hell up.” The quintessential Icelandic tales of macabre are without a doubt Miklabæjar-Sólveig and Móðir mín í kví kví. The horror of both stories is even more powerful because they cast a light on social horrors of past times in Icelandic society. Móðir mín í kví kví tells the story of a baby that was murdered by its mother just after birth. Exposure of newborns was once a problem in Iceland due to poverty, and in this story, the mother needs something to wear for a festival—to which the ghost of the baby replies in a disturbingly beautiful verse: don’t fret mother, because I will lend you my veil to dance in.” Miklabæjar-Sólveig deals with unrequited love. In the story, a woman falls madly in love with a priest but the feeling is not mutual, so she violently takes her own life. Sólveig does not receive a Christian burial, and her spirit then haunts the priest, eventually taking his life and threatening the life of a worker, in a dream, who tries to find the priest. LAND OF THE TROLLS Icelandic trolls are not like their Scandinavian brethren, which is the first thing you should keep in mind. They are more akin to the trolls found in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, except the Swedish and Danish trolls are more “benevolent.” According to different leg­­ends, many of the unique geographical formations in Iceland have been caused by trolls either fighting among themselves, turning to stone or by simply demarcating their territory. In one story, the origin of the famous island Drangey, in northern Iceland, where Grettir the Strong lived out his latter days, is explained. The island came into existence when two trolls, a male and a female, were walking their bovine companion. Of course, the Achille’s heel of trolls is daylight, so they turned into stone pillars and the cow became the island, Drangey. The pillars were named Karl and Kerling, meaning man and woman. One can still see Kerling, but Karl collapsed in an earthquake, centuries ago. A similar story explains the rock formation at Reynisfjara Beach. Trolls were lifting a ship to shore, but before they could finish they became petrified by the sun, thus explaining the geological curiosity. Other tales include the famous Gilitrutt that is essentially an Icelandic variation of the tale Rumpelstiltskin. However, not all trolls have been neutra­­ lized in Iceland. In fact, the country has a lively relationship with them. Every year at Christmas the offspring of trolls visit Icelandic children and put candy and treats in the shoe they place in their window. The Icelandic Yule Lads are the offspring of the horrible troll couple Grýla and Leppalúði, and the behavior of Yule Lads in years gone by was mainly threats and punishments, so if you see the cute Yule Lads this Christmas season, you can breathe a sigh of relief. According to legend, the original band just visited the homes of those who cursed the most! The darkest days of Icelandic winter are ahead. Come visit the island of ghosts, hidden people and trolls. Turn off the electric lights and imagine how these stories became part of the Icelandic psyche.


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

BSÍ Bus Terminal • 101 Reykjavík •


The Golden Circle



The Golden Circle & Fontana Wellness



South Shore Adventure

+354 580 5400 • • •


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION on our tours and services please consult our brochure located in the seat pocket in front of you.

Issue six 21

THE MANY CAPTIVATING SIDES OF GLACIER TONGUES In recent years, glacier tongues have received an increasing amount of attention from the scientific community and academics, as well as from tourists in Iceland and the general public. Text and photos: Einar Pรกll Svavarsson


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he mounting interest is not surprising as glacier tongues carry and preserve important historical and geological information and are tremendously fascinating at the same time. This is easy to understand considering the massive tongue falls more than sixteen hundred meters, and yet crawls at a speed less than that of a snail. As this body of ice moves forward, it reveals hundreds of mysterious deep blue crevasses and makes strange and mysterious sounds as if the tongue is speaking a language from another dimen­­sion. No wonder they have grabbed the imagi­nation of both novelists and filmmakers alike.

“natural” changes in harmony with the changes initiated by mother nature. Today, on the other hand, global warming is considered to be primarily human made due to pollution arising from a conventional source of energy, and it is believed to be a significant force regarding the retreat of glacier tongues.



There are only a handful of places on the planet where you can easily get to a glacier tongue. And even fewer where you can drive a car along the main road to a parking lot that is only a few minutes’ walk from a spectacular view of such a wonder. Although the interest in glacier tongues is increasing with time, glaciers have always played an important role in Iceland, just like all other natural forces such as volcanoes, rivers and floods. And, even though we have many mountains with snow-covered peaks during summer, we consider six ice caps to be our primary glaciers and around ten secondary ones. They are found throughout the country while the six main ones are located in the Highland— Iceland’s interior. The largest one, Vatna­jökull, is a humongous icecap covering an area of more than eight thousand square kilometers. Each primary glacier is divided into smaller outlet glaciers on all sides, with a separate name and distinctive characteristics. From most of the outlet glaciers, captivating glacier tongues extend to the surface below, often forming a lagoon at the end of their tongues. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, is a lagoon by the glacier tongue Breiðamerkurjökull, which is a part of the Vatnajökull icecap. Breiða­­ merkju­­jökull feeds the lagoon with ice­­­bergs, as they finish their long and slow journey from the icecap and move toward the shore to melt where the Glacial Lagoon meets the ocean at Diamond Beach. A few of the other accessible and interesting glacier tongues are Fjallsjökull, Skaftafellsjökull, Svínafellsjökull, and the fasci­­ nating Hoffellsjökull.

A FASCINATING NATURAL FORCE For a long time, one of the most popular descriptions for Iceland as a destination has been “the land of ice and fire.” It is not surprising that an island that lies along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, with its northernmost part inside the Arctic Circle has many glaciers and tons of volcanoes that erupt on a regular basis. When volcanoes erupt under an icecap, it results in the melting of the thick ice and leads to massive floods that transform the landscape. Since the “ice and fire” phrase was developed long before George R.R. Martin wrote his magnificent saga A Song of Ice & Fire that lay the foundation for the Game of Thrones series, it was no surprise to Icelanders that two of our most spectacular glacier tongues, Svínafellsjökull and Sólheimajökull were chosen to depict the cold world “North of The Wall” in the HBO series. Svínafellsjökull was also a filming location for Interstellar, showing a hostile and challenging world far away from earth. For anyone interested in viewing, and perhaps walking on a glacier tongue, Skaftafell National Park located in Southeast Iceland is by far the best place to do so. Keep in mind that one should NEVER enter a glacier tongue without professional guides and appropriate equipment. Skaftafell and its surrounding area are probably one of the most fascinating regions in Iceland for anyone interested in glaciers, glacier lagoons, outlet glaciers, and glacier tongues. During the winter, you can visit mysterious ice caves situated at the edge of and under the glacier tongues. Around the area, there are professional companies that offer exciting walkon-the-glacier tours as well as ice cave tours. So, if you want to add some serious adventures to your travel itinerary, a glacier tongue would be a good one to include. Today, glacier tongues are often referred to as indicators of global warming. In recent years, most of the larger ones in Iceland, Skafta­­ fells­­jökull and Svínafellsjökull, for instance, have retreated at an unprece­ dented speed, coinciding with the rising tem­­perature in the northern hemisphere.

MONITORING GLACIER TONGUES. Today, glacier tongues are often referred to as indicators of global warming. In recent years, most of the larger ones in Iceland, Skafta­­ fells­­jökull and Svínafellsjökull, for instance, have retreated at an unprecedented speed, coinciding with the rising temperature in the northern hemisphere. A good visual indi­­ca­ tor of how fast this is happening can be made by comparing old photographs of the tongu­ es. Since the forties, Icelandic scientists started researching glaciers systematically. However, Danish scientists had gathered valuable information from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Apparently, glacier tongu­es have expanded forward and retreated throughout the centuries. Large volumes of ice moved over farmlands and pastures dur­­ ing medieval times well into the sixteenth century and withdrew afterward. These were all


WOW Power to the people

Einar Páll Svavarsson is a political scientist turned photographer and writer with decades of interest and experience traveling in Iceland. Einar is the owner and creator of one of the largest information website about Iceland, Hit Iceland –

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!”


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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 25 The exhibition is open every day from 9:00-17:00. Please direct any inquiries to Tel: (+354) 591 2880

Taking home memories

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD BRING HOME FROM ICELAND Iceland will steal your heart. After spending a few days here, hopping on the return flight to your home country might be a little more difficult than you expected. Your heart would want you to stay, but the flight announcement will get you back to reality. But, if you’d like to relive your Icelandic vacation when you’re back home, here is what you must buy when you are in Iceland: by Sonia Sahni Photos: Sonia Sahni and from respective producers

The lopapeysa is an easy-fitt­ ing sweater that has a circ­ular yoke knit from the neck­­line to little below the shoulder line.

LOPAPEYSA Regardless of how cold the weather is on the island, Icelanders look comfortable and warm in their cool sweaters called lopapeysa, which translates to a “sweater made of wool.” The wool is no ordinary wool, its “lopi,” i.e., the Icelandic wool that we’re talking about. Sheared off the sheep that graze the Icelandic plains, the wool is as close to a natural protective coat as you can get. The lopapeysa is an easy-fitting sweater that has a circular yoke knit from the neck­­


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line to little below the shoulder line. Regardless of your style and preferences, you will always find a lopapeysa to suit your taste. While usually, the base colors are white, brown, black and grey, and those are the colors that you will find in the market, you can have your very own customized lopapeysa. Choose your design and colors, and connect with a local knitting lady who will measure you and craft it. If you like horses, you can have a galloping horse design knitt­­ed, if you like colors, add some reds and greens… your lopapeysa can be done to re­­flect your very own identity. ICELANDIC VODKA Reykjavik is small when compared to big European cities like Paris or Berlin. But don’t let the size fool you in estimating its “fun factor.” Reykjavik has a nightlife that lets you feel the pulse of the city. For an even better night, add a few shots of vodka. You will feel “happy” without the heartburn, and get up in the morning without a headache; such is the “magical Icelandic” vodka. Vodka crafted in Iceland is usually made of wheat or barley. Good quality Icelandic vodka uses glacial waters, which has near zero impurities. Many distilleries used the porous Icelandic lava rock for distillation, which makes the spirit unique. The vodka is clean and crisp, perfect for a shot, or to be used in any cocktail that catches your fancy. Typically, the vodka has an alcohol content of over 40%, and you surely get your money’s worth. Reyka and Icelandic Mountain Vodka are two of the most popular brands. To make your spirits soar once you’re home, at least one bottle should find its way into your suitcase on the way back. LICORICE CANDY Iceland, as the name suggests, can be really cold. It is acceptable to be head over heels with something that lets you fight a runny nose in this weather, and thus we say “Hello licorice!” and just because it helps the respiratory system stay fit and fine, having it every so often might be a good idea. Icelandic people love licorice, and they love licorice candy even more.

Issue six 27

+ s í r k


lt a s ea

ed raw s i l h licorice is known as lakkrís. Gas stations me d wInit Iceland, a d r have packs most of them containing dark a n e ooffcandy, c pic elicorice. a leThe s e shops have these candy bits as y iceth cream c s m i k r rin which ea te om are generously sprinkled over a scoop Cr ocola liquo h sptoppings, frcreamy of rich, cream. There are licorice flavored d d.icethere t te lanand ch rsian wi emilkshakes, are even chocolates with s Iceinteriors! The Icelanders Pe ished harv licorice f 9 in €surely have “spiced o their lives. , 9 up” n t s , l fi sa ord ice pr rtry8 licorice, you you will either love it te sea st Fj The first time u a xim or hate it. Itefills your mouth with a taste that you e o r W pp possibly can’t* Adefine while it stirs up the respiratory 9 9 , a wee bit. Lakkrís is another good thing you 9system d can take home to share a little bit of Iceland with your us friends and family.


LAVA ROCK SOUVENIRS Iceland is the land of fire and ice. There are volcanoes and glaciers; the earth still breathes here, leaving evidence behind. Lava rocks, resulting from volcanic eruptions, display the process of creation.

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te, ieces a l p mineral lk The color of the lava rock is determined elthe oco mby h c mi a composition, its porosityland the cooling temperature. r e k r s i rockcisa fragileoand Typically, the Icelandic mlava i with h n m r difficult t y i g a to work with. Often, it is not possible to polish either. w e d b ev pieces, ion edcaninmount Fu experts is rather However, some t p h a p on dglasses .andT bowlsoofr black crumbs, of lava torock e inaitself te aslthe labmelting stone clay, which is . point l oaant art o c o c idebase c than of lava rocks is much lower that ofrthe clay o n i ch atdae price,íwhich ,99 k P depends material. The art comes 8 a v a If budget is a ur ate p mof the on the size and finesse ykjarticle. im e constraint, pick up a little piece of jewelry made ofe ox R pr p A dark Icelandic rock as a reminder of the time 99that you* first set foot of the black lava rocks. 9, d us



E A R LY B I R D C AT C H E S After their time in Iceland, Dan and Sarah arrive early to the airport so they can enjoy the last hours there before continuing their journey.


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


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ed t l a s


l ma e l nt en Ge bold i em mat aro be red th wi u ch

Arrive early at Keflavík Airport and we will greet you with open arms. Check in up to 2 ½ hours before your flight so you can enjoy your last moments in Iceland. We offer unlimited free Wi-Fi, many charging stations and a range of shops and restaurants, so you can embrace the last drops of Icelandic taste and feel — and of course Tax and Duty Free.

Taking home memories Iceland is the land of fire and ice. There are volcanoes and glaciers; the earth still breathes here, leaving evidence behind.

SILICA FACE MASK Who doesn’t want to stay young? When you breathe air as pure as it is in Iceland, youth might stay with you a bit longer. And, if a little piece of Iceland can help your skin look and feel healthier, it might be a good idea to take a fair bit of this “elixir” back home. The white silica face mask of the Blue Lagoon is “health food” for your skin. The minerals contained in the mask help some people deal with psoriasis issues. The mask helps in cleaning and toning the skin and, like the rest of Iceland, is natural—no colors or fragrances. Some people claim that the mask makes their skin glow! A few things can let you relive the magical time that you spent on the island. Close your eyes, suck on some licorice candy and slather on the white Silica Mud mask…who says time travel isn’t possible?

The white silica face mask of the Blue Lagoon is “health food” for your skin.

MORE TIME FOR SHOPPING They use their time for tax free shopping at the airport before catching their flight back home.

Issue six 29


Experience is everything


When visiting Iceland or any other destination it always helps to be prepared. Most travelers study up on the city or country they’ll be going to, and decide where they want to go, and what they want to do and see once they get there.

Behind great food are hardworking families, fascinating stories, ambitious restaurants and age-old traditions. If you love good food and want to taste the best of what Reykjavik has to offer on the culinary front this tour is definitely for you. From wellknown must-visit restaurants to small family run businesses and secret local hangouts, this tour leaves out the pungent shark, rams testicles and sheep heads and instead allows you to explore why Icelanders are indeed proud of their local food, focusing on the most delicious cuisine. We recommend taking this tour early in your stay so you can go back and revisit your favorite places.

Duration: 3 hours

3. OVERNIGHT SOUTH COAST, ICE CAVE, SKAFTAFELL AND JÖKULSARLON ICE LAGOON This tour is an adventure on a grander scale in a small group setting. On day one you’ll explore the magnificent South Coast with its thundering waterfalls, black beaches, looming glaciers and small villages. After enjoying the South Coast’s marvels, you’ll head deeper into the countryside where you’ll turn in for the night, but hopefully not before catching the Northern Lights.

Photo: The Lava Tunnel

Booking your tours and activities in advance is a great way to ensure that you’ll get the best price and not miss out on popular tours. Through WOW air’s booking engine and websites, or directly through, you can now find the best tours in Iceland all at one place as well as multiple choices for other WOW destinations on both sides of the Atlantic. Here are three tours in Iceland you should get excited about this season. 1. UNLEASH ICELAND Unleash Iceland is an exclusive TripAdvisor tour with expert guides, where you visit the Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel, listen to tales of Ice­­landic folklore, taste the traditional Icelandic skyr and hunt for the elusive Northern Lights.

At tours. you can now find the best tours in Iceland all at one place as well as multiple choices for other WOW destinations.

The second day is all about glacier exploration. First, you’ll get to see the famous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon with its floating icebergs and see some of Vatnajokull’s numerous outlet glaciers before heading under the glacier. Ice caves can only be explored during the wintertime when the glacial rivers retract and the water freezes. Certified glacier guides will assure a safe and exciting experience in an otherworldly location with unparalleled photographic opportunities. After the ice cave excitement, it’s time for the tranquility of the Skaftafell Nature Reserve before heading back to Reykjavik. Included in the tour are hotel pickup, guided tour on a minibus, visit to waterfalls, Reynisfjara Beach, Skaftafell, Jokulsarlon and the ice cave and a certified glacier guide, hotel with private bathroom and breakfast on day two. Dress warmly and wear good hiking shoes.

Duration: 2 days

Located only 30 minutes from Reykjavik, Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel is one of the longest and best-known lava tunnels in Iceland. It was formed about 5200 years ago and offers a rare glimpse into the geo­­ logical history of Iceland, but the main attraction is the beautiful and bright colors of its walls. Included in the tour are hotel pickup, a flashlight and protective helmet, admission to the Lava Tunnel and Skyr factory and a Trip­­ Advisor cocktail. Dress warmly.

Duration: 5 hours

Photo: / Anna_Om

After enjoying the South Coast’s marvels, you’ll head deeper into the countryside where you’ll turn in for the night, but hopefully not before catching the Northern Lights. Photo: Basti Hansen – Courtesy of WakeUpReykjavik


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4 DAY S O F M U S I C, A R T, F I L M A N D DA N C E H A R PA ∙ R E Y K J AV Í K ∙ D E C 2 7 - 3 0



















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Issue six 31

Off the beaten track

THE WONDERS OF THE WESTFJORDS Few travelers in Iceland venture off the Ring Road, Iceland’s most popular route for tourists, to explore the Westfjords, the region characterized by magnificent fjords, towering mountains and quaint towns, and the best place to go in Iceland to avoid the crowds. by Alexandra Yingst Photos: Alexandra Yingst and Hermann Freyr Guðmundsson

BRIEF HISTORY According to legend, three trolls tried to separate the West­­fjords from the rest of Iceland one night but turned to stone in the morning sun before they could accomplish it. Maybe they should have tried to do it during the winter when there is light for only a few hours of the day. Luckily, however, the West­­­fjords are still a part of Iceland because it is a unique region full of interesting culture and beauti­­­ ful nature. Ísafjörður, the largest town in the Westfjords with a current population of about 2800, was settled by the 9th century. But Ísafjörður put itself on the map in the 16th century when it became an important trading post. Fisheries continued to strongly influ­­­ ence the growth of the town until the 20th century, and they continue to be important for the economy of Ísafjörður today. TO EAT OR TO STUDY, IT’S THE BEST PLACE FOR FISH Besides being significant to the history of the region, fisheries are central to the culture of the West­­fjords. You can see what a real fish shop in Ice­­land looks like today by going to Fiskbúð Sjávar­­­fangs in the Ísafjörður harbor. There you can try traditional Icelandic harðfiskur (dried fish), or buy a scarf or bowtie made of fish skin. For dinner, dine at Tjöruhúsið, which is, according to locals, one of Iceland’s best fish restaurants. There, in a picturesque building built in the 18th century, you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of fish that the local fishing boats brought in that day.


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The Westfjords is also the place to be for ground­­­ break­­ing research when it comes to fish. The Uni­­­versity Center of the Westfjords in Ísafjörður is home to international master’s programs in Coastal and Marine Management and Marine Innovation. Additionally, Kerecis, a biotech company based in Ísafjörður, is now making innovative technological advances by creating products made from fish skin for treating wounds and relief of skin diseases. WHEN THE WEATHER IS LESS THAN IDEAL The Westfjords stick out into the Greenland Sea, so it is not surprising that the weather there can keep you inside sometimes. But there is plenty to do indoors! Ísafjörður and the surrounding towns are home to a variety of cultural attractions, such as the Westfjords Heritage Museum, which gives a thorough description of how fisheries have shaped the region. Additionally, the Ísafjörður Culture House, which used to be the town’s hospital, hosts a library, as well as art and photography exhibits. In Bolungarvík, a short drive from Ísafjörður, the Ósvör Maritime Museum is worth a visit. Built on the ruins of what was once an actual fishing station, it gives an impression of what fishing looked like in the 1800s. There is also the Natural History Museum of Bolungarvík, which has an extensive display of animals found around Iceland. There is even a stuffed flamingo which flew to Ice­­land from the United Kingdom in the 1980s. To learn about Iceland’s only native land mammal, visit the Arctic Fox Center in Súðavík, just one fjord

away (the best way to measure distance in the Westfjords) from Ísafjörður, where you can learn about the Arctic fox, and even see two of them. If you want to venture farther from Ísafjörður, some unique museums that you cannot miss are the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum in Bíldudalur and the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft in Hólmavík. For those who enjoy shopping, there are plenty of shops to explore in Ísafjörður. A visit to the local fabric and knitting store, Klæðakot, will make you want to become a knitter if you are not one al­­ready. Fortunately, they sell patterns alongside the beautiful Icelandic wool to help get you started. A short walk away you can also pick up local hand­­­icraft at Rammagerð Ísafjarðar, a small store selling items from glasswork to jewelry. Exploring the town will probably cause you to work up an appetite, and a day in Ísafjörður is not complete without a stop at either the bakery Gamla Bakaríð, for a “snúður,” a cinnamon bun covered in melted chocolate, or at Hamraborg for soft serve ice cream with any topping imaginable. Ísafjörður, the largest town in the Westfjords with a current population of about 2800, was settled by the 9th century. But Ísafjörður put itself on the map in the 16th century when it became an important trading post. Fisheries continued to strongly influ­­­ence the growth of the town until the 20th century.

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Off the beaten track GET OUT OF TOWN! There are many hiking trails around Ísafjörður if you just want to venture out of the town for a short while. Steep mountains surround the peninsula that the town is on, and you can get a spectacular view by climbing up one. Naustahvilft, an inden­­ta­­ tion on the mountainside that is commonly called the “Troll Seat,” is said to exist because a troll sat on the mountain to rest as she rushed home to avoid being turned to stone in the daylight. It is the best vantage point to see all of Ísafjörður, and you can write about how stunning the view is in a guestbook at the end of the trail. You can also choose to take day trips from Ísa­­­ fjörð­­ur or explore the Westfjords by driving what some call Iceland’s second ring road. A popular desti­­nation is the waterfall Dynjandi, meaning “The Thundering One.” Stop for coffee and waffles with rhubarb jam at the coffeehouse Simbahöllin in Þingeyri on your way from Ísafjörður, and ad­­ mire the local art on display there. You can drive yourself to Dynjandi or you can take a tour from companies like Iceland Backcountry Travel or West Tours, which offer many more day tours, as well. On the way to the waterfall, just a 15-minute


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walk from the parking lot, you will pass a series of waterfalls, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding fjord. Other favorite day tours in­­­clude visiting Látrabjarg, the largest bird cliff in Europe and home to a large colony of puffins, and Rauðasandur, a red sand beach. Going out to sea is also an enjoyable way to explore outside the town. Tour companies, such as Amazing Westfjords, offer the opportunity to see whales, birds, and the fjords by boat. Also by boat, you can cross the fjord from Ísafjörður to the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Borea Adventures can take you there on day trips, such as for hiking or to try and see Arctic foxes in the wild. They offer multi-day excursions too, and for the more daring adventurers, there’s Sailboat Skiing, for example, where you can stay onboard a sailboat and ski in the nature reserve as long as the winter sun shines. WHEN TO GO Each season has something special to offer in the Westfjords. Winter in Ísafjörður is exciting because of their skiing area. You can also go sea kayaking or try soaking in a hot tub under the Northern Lights. But be aware of weather conditions, as some roads

throughout the Westfjords are closed during winter due to snow. Spring brings the arrival of Easter and the music festival Aldrei fór ég suður, which trans­­lates to “I never went south.” The festival coin­­­ cides with a week of skiing in the area, as well. In summer, when the weather is milder, lots of tours are available and you get a chance to experience the midnight sun. And in fall, the tundra vegetation changes colors, just like the night sky as the first Northern Lights of the season appear. In summary, you can’t really go wrong with a visit to the West Fjords during any season! HOW TO GET THERE A 45-minute flight or 6-hour drive through the scenic, winding fjords from Reykjavík brings you to Ísafjörður. A bus also runs to Ísafjörður from Reykjavik or Akureyri during the summer months. Going out to sea is also an enjoyable way to explore outside the town. Tour companies, such as Amazing Westfjords, offer the opportunity to see whales, birds, and the fjords by boat. Also by boat, you can cross the fjord from Ísafjörður to the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Icelandic wool

Issue six 35


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Embracing darkness family style

INSIDE THE CREATIVE WORLD OF THE BIRGISSON FAMILY by Marta Sigríður Pétursdóttir Photos: Hjördís Jónsdóttir

On a dark Sunday afternoon in November with a storm brewing Lilja opens the door of a quaint old stone farmhouse in the city ­center of Reykjavík. I am greeted warmly by her older brother Jónsi, their sisters Rósa and Inga and the dog Atlas. There is a ­symphony of scents in the air, and in the middle of the living room, there is a table whose every inch is covered with small brown bottles, jars and all kinds of stirring equipment, books and handwritten notes.

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Above the comfortable sofa in the living room sits a small fir tree in a wooden pot. Jónsi and Alex’s house, evokes a dark and cavy atmosphere with its stone walls and a crackling fireplace in the corner. The wind is howling outside now, and we all sit down with our cups of strong coffee to chat about family life and their new project together, a store called Fischer. For those who may not be in the knowing, Jónsi, whose full name is Jón Þór Birgisson, is both a solo artist and the lead singer of band Sigur Rós, one of the most famous music exports from Iceland after Björk. Jónsi’s younger sist­ers Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir and Lilja Birgisdóttir are both prominent visual artists in Iceland and abroad and have also collaborated on many occasions, for example making the artwork for Jónsi’s solo album Go, and the cover art­­work for Sigur Rós’s album Valtari. Sigurrós Elín Birgisdóttir (the band being famously named after her), is the youngest and the one with all the business sense, so her older siblings tell me. Rósa, as everyone calls her, is the doer. She is the manager of Fischer, a shop that will be entirely run by the three sisters and will sell products and artwork made and designed by this creative group of siblings with ample help from their parents, boyfriends and extended family members. A CLOSE KNIT FAMILY AND “THE BOYFRIENDS” BAND The siblings grew up in a close-knit family; no coincidence then that the matriarch, Guðrún Sigurlína Jónsdóttir who works as a nursing assistant, is a very prolific knitter and seamstress. Their father Birgir Ögmundsson is a mechanic and a talented craftsman who often helps his children bring their artistic visions to life. “We tend to seek out each other’s company simply because we like to hang out together. It’s been a long-running joke but also discussed in earnest that the Birgisson family should start some kind of busi­ ness together where everyone could contribute,” Guðrún tells me later. The family spent one month together in Los Angeles last Christmas visiting Jónsi and Alex. Lilja adds: “Since Jónsi now lives most of the year in Los Angeles, the house in Fischersund (Jónsi’s old studio) wasn’t being used very much. Also, we are best friends. When you are an adult, work takes up so much time of one’s life, therefore we wanted to create enjoyable work for ourselves that we are passionate about and enables us to spend more time together.” Inga points out

that despite the closeness, the siblings are different in many ways to which Jónsi replies: “Inga is very much a behind the scenes kind of worker; she likes to work alone, and Lilja is the complete opposite; she’s really outgoing and a great communicator. Rósa is definitely the doer; she’s already painted Fischer.” Jónsi and Alex are working with Sindri and Kjartan, Inga and Lilja’s boyfriends on a sound installation for the shop. Alex Somers, Jónsi’s boyfriend, is a musi­­cian and producer. Inga’s boyfriend Sindri Már Sigfússon is an artist and musician known as Sin Fang, and Kjartan Hólm, Lilja’s boyfriend, is also musi­­cian and composer and the younger brother of Sigur Rós’s bassist Georg Hólm. In fact, Alex and Sindri have been in a band together for more than seven years now called “The Boyfriends,” and recently Kjartan joined them as the new Boy­­friend. To explain further just how much of a family project Fischer is, the architect who is designing the space with them is Eleni Podara, stepmother to Lilja’s daughter Hrafnhildur. IDYLLIC CHILDHOOD WHERE EVERYTHING WAS POSSIBLE The siblings grew up in Mosfellsbær, a neighboring town to Reykjavík. “It was practically in nature. We had a mountain in our backyard. We would spend all our time outdoors, just going home to eat,” says Lilja, and Jónsi adds, “There was always this sense of freedom.” Guðrún tells me, when her children were growing up, “Mosó” was by definition provincial and not a town yet. “Our street was really in the countryside. There was a farm nearby where they kept hens, horses and sheep. The streets weren’t even paved with asphalt. Just glorious mud puddles everywhere. Our street was full of kids and next door lived my brother-in-law with his wife and four children, so there was always someone to play with. The cousins would tirelessly be up to all kinds of shenanigans.” The “make do and mend attitude” of Guðrún and Birgir was also a huge influ­­ence on the siblings growing up. “I think we were always supported in our endeavors, but also mum and dad made everything themselves. Mum is a seam­­stress, and she made our clothes and dad built our house. Dad was always pottering about, sitting at the kitchen table fixing old broken things. I remember Alex saying once that if something needed fixing around the house, like changing plugs, Jónsi would just do it. I’m sure this attitude comes from our upbringing,” says Inga.

“We tend to seek out each other’s company simply because we like to hang out together. It’s been a long-running joke but also discussed in earnest that the Birgisson family should start some kind of busi­ness together where everyone could contribute.” Inga and Lilja preparing a visual installation at Harpa Concert Hall.


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Birgir has helped Lilja execute many of her installations and sculptures, like installing tiny speakers into a clothing iron and creating ambitious rainbow machines. Birgir and Guðrún are, of course, involved with the Fischer project. Birgir and his brother Hreiðar have been building the interior and Guðrún is sewing for the shop as well as providing much needed moral support. INSPIRATIONS FROM OLD ICELANDIC MEDICINE RECIPES

All the products at Fischer are designed by the Birgisson siblings, for instance this unique wallpaper design that was drawn and colored by hand.

Inga drawing up artwork for Fischer.

As the idea and project of Fischer took shape, the siblings decided that every year should have a special theme changing the products and the look of the shop completely. “Our first theme for the shop, the one we open with, comes from an exhibition of Inga’s that was inspired by the book from 1934 called Íslenskir þjóðhættir (Traditional Icelandic way of life) by Jónas Jónasson. Inga made flags and drawings that were inspired by the book,” says Lilja, and Inga explains further, “I made drawings that were based on ancient medicinal practices described in the book. I had always wanted to have them printed, and so this was one of the first ideas we had for the shop.” Rósa adds, “The jewelry is also inspired by these old texts about medicinal folk practices and some of them are quite funny to be honest.”

The texts are curious indeed. One of the recipes for a sore throat calls for a mixture of butter and tar to be smeared onto the throat and then to steam it with sulphur. For any kind of swelling, there is a list of grotesque ingredients used to alleviate symptoms ranging from rancid butter, raven brain, a variety of animal manure, bull’s bile and a warm dressing of sea fleas. A more pala­­ table remedy for a cold and a sore throat are infusions made from fragrant and flowery arctic thyme (it grows everywhere in Iceland), juniper berries, ptarmigan leaves, Icelandic moss and buttercups. The sisters did a bit of foraging in the summer for research and fun, but all the herbs and products in the shop are sourced from high-quality local producers. “We want to work with Icelandic producers and suppliers where possible,” says Lilja, and adds that almost all of their collaborators and producers are women. “This is a female-led business in every way.” They are also very concerned, about sustainability and want to leave as small a footprint as possible— “by producing as much as we can locally and being very thoughtful with our packaging.” The siblings all agree that Fischer needs to be a different kind of shop. “That’s really important for us,” says Jónsi. “We want this to be not just a shop but a whole sensory experience. You walk in and you are greeted with sounds and smells, not just visual stimulation.” THE MYSTICAL WORLD OF PERFUMERY AND AROMA MOLECULES Jónsi has been experimenting in perfumery for some years now. What started as a hobby, and became an obsession is culminating in a perfume that will be available at the shop. “I have been submerged in scent making for a few years now. The perfume I made for Fischer is inspired by the theme. I feel that somehow everything I do is genderless, including this scent.” Lilja asks her brother if he is also working with Icelandic herbs and flowers, “Yes and a lot of other things.” They all laugh and tell me about the aroma molecules Jónsi has recently gotten into “Some of the scents I have are quite vile actually.” “Like whale vomit and gland juices!” exclaims Inga. “Thank goodness none of those bottles have accidentally broken!” Jónsi says he has always been obsessed with smells and scents. “I guess it began when I started to make birch tar oil from birch bark in Stokkseyri, which is a specific process. Then I started to buy a lot of essential oils and collect them, and before I knew it, I was ordering aroma molecules. It’s a bottomless pit!” Issue six 39

“People need to know that Jónsi is never satisfied. I don’t know how many different versions and tests we have smelled and tried.”

Is the process of creating a perfume in any way similar to that of making music?

building is returning to its original purpose, that of local trade. “Perhaps the

“Yeah, totally. It has bass and treble notes, and everything has to harmonize together. The world of perfume is very small and closed, and it’s considered normal to work on one perfume for many years. It’s very difficult to find someone willing to show you the ropes in the world of perfumery. Finding books on the topic or experts to talk to is difficult. There are so many aroma molecules, and you need to learn their strength and how they interact with each other. There’s a huge body of knowledge; it’s endless.”

The sisters say they have been very involved in the whole process, smelling and trying on the various mixtures their brother has come up with as Inga explains, “People need to know that Jónsi is never satisfied. I don’t know how many different versions and tests we have smelled and tried. He’ll be like ‘Please try this sample no. 147 for me—please!’ Maybe we really love this one concoction but he will have moved on and continued to add, tweak and change the scent.” “It’s very hard to stop, and say a scent is done,” says Jónsi—a true perfecti­­ onist. “It’s never perfect, but I’m going to let go of this one because it’s made with the girls and for this specific theme.” MUSIC FESTIVAL FOR THE DARKEST TIME OF THE YEAR December will be a very busy month for the family. Not only are they opening the shop but Jónsi’s band Sigur Rós is throwing a music festival, Norður og Niður, at the end of the year in Harpa Music Hall. In Icelandic “Norður og niður” is a curse that translates as “go to hell,” but literally it means north and down. A playful take on the location and time of year, when it is at its darkest and coldest. “We are ending our tour here at home in Iceland. Instead of doing what we always do which is to put on a show at Laugardalshöllin venue, we decided to put on a grand show at Harpa and since that requires us to play more than one show, we thought why not just rent the whole place and get more artists to play! So the idea of this festival was born, and wow it’s a crazy amount of work, but it will be a lot of fun,” says Jónsi. The festival has a great lineup of artists; Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, Jarvis Cocker, Mogwai, Peaches, Dan Deacon, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Julianna Barwick, Amiina, Sin Fang, Sóley and Örvar and many more local and inter­­na­ tional artists will play. A COUNTERBALANCE TO DARKNESS Just like Norður og Niður is a festival for the darkest time of the year the theme color for Fischer this year is black with the whole interior of the shop painted black. “We are in a way embracing the darkness. It’s heavily ingrained in the mentality of people here; it really shapes and affects us. In turn, it’s incredible when the sun stares at us for 24 hours in the summertime. But it’s a relief when the darkness returns. You miss it when it’s not there. When it’s dark and cold, we retreat into our shelters to create. That’s how we counterbalance the darkness,” says Lilja. The idea is that it is a space or a sort of shelter not from the darkness but a place to enjoy its embrace. The house in Fischersund is one of the oldest houses in Reykjavík, and it is a comforting thought that the

Jónsi and his organ of scent at his LA home.

Lilja with her daughter Hrafnhildur, Rósa and Atlas the dog hard at work at their shop.

spirit of Anna Sprútt is there,” ponders Jónsi. “She was one of the inhabitants who lived in the house. She brewed and sold moonshine there (hence the nickname Sprútt which is old slang for spirit/booze). Then at some point in history, the house was a bakery.” Fischer is also a very welcome change to the old city center’s plethora of tourist shops. “Yes, but I’m sure we will be selling puffins there before you know it,” jokes Jónsi to everyone’s amusement. “But we’ll put a bit of our own twist on the puffin!” retorts Inga. Guests welcomed into the creative world of the Birgisson family clan at Fischer will surely not leave dissatisfied or without a trace of magic or a scent mole­­ cule or two. I couldn’t resist asking Guðrún how she and Birgir managed to raise such talented and creative children to which she replied: “We don’t really think very much about whether our children are talented or not. They are simply our children; we love them and are proud of them, and we want all the best for them. I can’t think of anything special we did with their upbringing. We just did what most parents do, tried to do our best not knowing if what we were doing was right.”

Parents Birgir and Guðrún are helping out at Fischer.

Fischer is located at 3 Fischersund in 101 Reykjavik and opens in December. The “Norður og Niður” music festival will take place from 27th-30th of December. To mark the occasion, special “Norður og Niður” merchandise will be sold at Fischer.


WOW Power to the people

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Come and meet the Tulipoppers in our magical flagship store in central ReykjavĂ­k or find them in boutiques around Iceland. Check out the Tulipop channel on YouTube to watch our new animated series.

Learn more about the Icelandic Tulipop world and browse the Tulishop online @tulipop



Issue six 41



TF-WOW was the first aircraft registration name acquired by WOW air. It now adorns one of our Airbus A330 wide-body jets which was added to the WOW fleet early summer 2016.


TF-MOM Type: A321-200 - YoM: 2014 - Seats: 200 Everyone loves their mom right? 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. TF-MOM is also known as Freyja (The Nordic goddess of love) and is currently the only aircraft in the WOW fleet that has a name beyond its registration code.

TF-DAD Type: A321-200 - YoM: 2014 - Seats: 200 If you register a TF-MOM, it goes without saying that you should have a TFDAD too. For a time TF-DAD was the only aircraft in the WOW fleet that was painted white and had a smile and sunglasses, following WOW air’s old livery. That all changed last May and TF-DAD is now just as purple as the rest of them.

Type: A330-300 - YoM: 2015 - Seats: 345 TF-WOW was the first aircraft registration name acquired by WOW air. It now adorns one of our Airbus A330 widebody jets which was added to the WOW fleet early summer 2016. WOW air’s A330s are the largest aircraft used on commercial flights to and from Iceland and are mostly used to service our routes to California, Florida and other long distance routes. TF-WOW has 27 BigSeats.

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

TF-GPA Type: A321-200 - YoM: 2016 - Seats: 220 Also straight-out-of-the-box, TF-GPA, aka Grandpa, joined the WOW fleet in August 2016. Together Grandma and Grandpa fly our guests to both North America and Europe.

Airbus A330300 widebody


WOW Power to the people


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

refully and aircraft very ca ch ea f o es am be fun as gistration n ration names to chooses the re st r gi ai re W ur O o W e , lik es e in of Airbus alphabet. W Unlike most airl g WOW family ractices of the in p w d o ar gr d ur an o st d to an ily is unique, not according way. Every fam ig b a in us t n they represe look. ception. Take a aircraft is no ex om Photos: Sigurjón


Ragnar, srphoto@

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


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

Airbus 320-200 Airbus 321-200

TF-SON Type: A321-200 - YoM: 2013 - Seats: 200 TF-SON, like his sister TF-KID, services both Europe and America. The SON was delivered to WOW air in March 2016.

TF-LUV Type: A330-300 - YoM: 2015 - Seats: 345 We love everyone, so naturally, we had to have a TF-LUV. This wide-body jet was delivered to WOW air early summer 2016. TF-LUV has 27 BigSeats.

WOW air has one of the youngest and most fuel efficient fleets in the world.

TF-GAY Type: A330-300 - YoM: 2010 - Seats: 338 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. TF-GAY has 14 BigSeats.

TF-JOY Type: A321-200 - YoM: 2016 - Seats: 220 Just before Christmas 2016 we received TF-JOY straight-out-of-the-box from Airbus. It was the best holiday present ever! Issue six 43



TF-PRO Type: A321-200 - YoM: 2017 - Seats: 218 Say hello to one of our young professionals of the sky. All of our aircraft are total pros, but this one gets to be TF-PRO. Delivered in May 2017 with newly designed interior in WOW air’s style, it gives genuine comfort and is truly amazing.

TF-WIN Type: A321-200 - YoM: 2017 - Seats: 218 We like winning, and TF-WIN well represents our ambition. Delivered in May 2017 with newly designed interior, WIN serves both our European and North American destinations.

TF-NEO A320-200 neo

TF-NEO Type: A320-200 neo - YoM: 2017 - Seats: 180 TF-NEO (New Engine Option) has brand new CFM LEAP-1A engines that are more economically and environmentally friendly than any other on the market. TF-NEO’s added flight range means it can fly our guests all the way to Canada in addition to servicing our shorter European routes.

The sky is the limit for some, but for WOW air we aim further when it comes to technology. TFSKY was delivered in June 2017 and has a brand new CFM LEAP-1A engine.

Two of our brand new babies in the family are the A320neo and A321neo. NEO stands for New Engine Option and offers up to 15% reduction in fuel consumption. You will be amazed how quiet these aircraft are.



Type: A321-200 - YoM: 2017 - Seats: 218 Make sure you are present in the NOW and fly with TF-NOW in glamorous style. Delivered to WOW air in June 2017 with newly designed interior, TF-NOW travels to both Europe and North America.

TF-SKY Type: A321-200neo - YoM: 2017 - Seats: 218 The sky is the limit for some, but for WOW air we aim further when it comes to technology. TF-SKY was delivered in June 2017 and has a brand new CFM LEAP-1A engine. WOW air is the first airline in Europe to operate the A321 neo aircraft. It offers A321 operators exceptional technical, economic and environmental performance, with a 15% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions versus current engines and a 50% cut in NOx emission. TF-SKY’s added flight range means it can fly our guests all the way to Tel Aviv in the Middle East and most of our destinations in North America as well. TF-PRO A321-200



Airbus A320-200

Airbus 320-200neo

Airbus A321-200

Airbus 321-200neo

Airbus A330-300

Max takeoff weight: 78,000 kg Range: 6,150 km Engines: 2xIAE-V2500 Cruising speed: Mach 0.82

Max takeoff weight: 79,000 kg Range: 6,850 km with Sharklets Engines: 2xCFM LEAP-1A Cruising speed: Mach 0.82

Max takeoff weight: 93,500 kg Range: 5,950 km with Sharklets Engines: 2xCFM-56 Cruising speed: Mach 0.82

Max takeoff weight: 93,500 kg Range: 6,850 km with Sharklets Engines: 2xCFM LEAP-1A Cruising speed: Mach 0.82

Max takeoff weight: 235,000 kg Range: 11,100 km Engines: 2xRR-Trent700 Cruising speed: Mach 0.86

WOW Power to the people

Issue six 45

Female explorers


Members of the Bell Collective from left: Alina Rudya, Sarah Pour, Saskia Bauermeister, Asa Steinarsdottir and Holly-Marie Cato. Photo: Asa Steinarsdottir/@asasteinars

Photo: Saskia Bauermeister/@oh_hedwig


WOW Power to the people

Photo: Saskia Bauermeister/@oh_hedwig

Photo: Saskia Bauermeister/@oh_hedwig

Bell Collective ( is a community of professional photographers and explorers who are willing to change the stereotypes surrounding female travel and creative choices.


or centuries exploration and adventure were associated with men. Even far into the 20th century, women were stereotypically cast as “domestic” while men were portrayed as discoverers, living the exciting life of ad­­­­venture. Nowadays, more and more women choose a career, which doesn’t fit the stereotype, but many of them are punished for it by skepticism, mockery or condescension.

A NOD TO THE PIONEERS Throughout centuries women didn’t have the privilege of being world-explorers, adventurers, and professionals in almost any field. There were a few exceptions, but surviving as a woman in the world which belonged entirely to men was not an easy task. Freya Stark, Isabella Bird or Gertrude Bell—to whom the Bell Collective references in its name, were pioneers of female exploration, but suffered discrimination and condescendence from male peers just be­­ cause they were women. That started slowly changing in the second half of the 20th century, but even nowadays women are far from the ideal gender equality they deserve. Women photographed war, like Lee Miller, went to space like Valentina Tereshkova and climbed Everest like Junko Tabei, but the general stereotype women are still facing each day on social and main­­ stream media stays the same—they are either homebound housewives or pretty models, posing for their Insta­­gram boyfriend on an edge of a pool. Nothing wrong with being domestic or enjoying a relaxed holiday, but this should not be the only representation of women out there. CHANGING THE FEMALE STEREOTYPE Bell Collective has the aim to change the stereotype, which female explorers and professional photographers are facing in day to day life as well as online. Alina Rudya, who came up with the idea of forming a collective explains: “I’ve never thought of myself as a “woman-photographer.” I was and always will be a photographer, who happened to be a woman. “For many years I tried to ignore the fact, that women are treated differently in the industry. I’ve ignored constant mans­­­plaining stereotypes surrounding female artists and travelers. I thought I was above them. But after meeting more and more like-minded women, I realized that if we don’t raise awareness to the problem, we won’t change these stereotypes: that women prefer to sit home, rather than go out; that they prefer to be photographed rather than tak­­ing pictures themselves; that they are not as adventurous, technically knowledgeable or simply capable of carrying heavy gear as men.” ICELAND, THE PERFECT STARTING POINT The Bell Collective chose Iceland for their first trip not by accident: this tiny Nordic country of only 330K inhabitants continues to top the list of best countries to be a work­ing woman as well as topping the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index for the past seven years in a row. Moreover, Iceland was also the first country in the whole world to elect a female president—Vigdis Finnbogadottir, who became a state lead­­er in 1980. The idea which Asa Steinars, Sarah Pour, Saskia Bauermeister, Holly Cato and Alina Rudya had before planning their trip was not to “prove” that they are better or as capable as their male counterparts. “The idea was to challenge our­­selves, first of all, as well as inspire other women and girls to follow in our footsteps, dream outside the box they are put in by the society, explore career choices their mothers and grand­­mothers didn’t have, and not get discouraged by other’s negative comments or expectations.”

Photo: Alina Rudya/@rrrudya

Photo: Asa Steinarsdottir/@asasteinars

Throughout centuries women didn’t have the privilege of being world-explorers, adventurers, and pro­­­ fessionals in almost any field.

Photo: Holly-Marie Cato/@h_cato

Issue six 47

Female explorers Women are underrepresented in most professions. The ignorant explanations that women are not capable of, or not inter­­­­­ested in being a pilot, a politician or an IT-expert, doesn’t hold credit in most cases.

Photo: Sarah Pour/sarahpour

Photo: Asa Steinarsdottir/@asasteinars

Photo: Alina Rudya/@rrrudya

Photo: Holly-Marie Cato/@h_cato

Photo: Alina Rudya/@rrrudya

Photo: Sarah Pour/sarahpour

Iceland proved to be a perfect starting point for the collective—beautiful landscapes, harsh and challenging weather, awe-inspiring moments and a great company to begin with. The Bell Collective also managed to meet with female pilots of WOW air who shared their story of breaking the stereotypes in the predominantly male world of aviation. GIRL EMPOWERMENT Women are underrepresented in most professions. The ignorant explanations that women are not capable of, or not inter­­­­­ested in being a pilot, a politician or an IT-expert, doesn’t hold credit in most cases. The main problem is that most girls since a young age are not encouraged enough to even start dreaming of succeeding in roles which are traditionally connected to men. The stereotypical division of female and male roles and preference starts in kindergarten (barbies vs. cars, pink vs. blue, princess vs. astronaut) and follows all the way into the adult life. It has to be changed—and visual storytelling and social media play an important role in it. That’s why the collective chose Instagram as their main platform. Check out the Bell Collective on their Instagram account:


WOW Power to the people

You can also check each photographer’s profile: Photos: Courtesy of the members of @bellcollective



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

Issue six 49

WOW word of advice

The ultimate safety checklist We have the utmost respect for the work of ICE-SAR (Icelandic Search and Rescue teams) who work tirelessly educating locals and guests alike to prevent accidents while traveling in Iceland. ICE-SAR’s volunteers, on call day and night, are willing and able to respond to emergency calls and go into dangerous circumstances to save those who haven’t heard or haven’t heeded their advice.

Check the road conditions on as they frequently change in the wintertime and may be closed/impassible.

Because it is in every traveler’s power not to put himself/herself in danger, we consider it a common courtesy towards the rescue volunteers to follow their advice and stay safe. Your life is not the only one you’ll put in danger if you don’t. Good preparation is key for successful travel in Iceland, so please keep the following in mind: 1.

Your first destination should always be


Always leave your travel plan with someone who can react if needed and with Safetravel.


Check the weather forecast on, sudden changes in weath­er are very common so always be prepared for any kind of weather!


Map, compass and GPS should always be used when traveling outside urban areas!


Conditions in Iceland can be very different from what you are used to, so gather information about the area you are traveling to.


WOW Power to the people

Single lane bridges, tunnels and roads can be found in all of Iceland. Show patience, slow down and let cars coming from the other side finish crossing before attempting it yourself.


If traveling on foot/hiking, make sure you are fully aware of the conditions and follow marked trails!


When hiking in Iceland, layers are your friend! A waterproof shell is a necessity and wool is your best friend in the mountains!


Look for the Safetravel screens around the country as alerts on weather and conditions will appear on there!

Beautiful Icelandic nature is easily accessible by car, but you must keep the following in mind: 9.

Check the road conditions on as they frequently change in the wintertime and may be closed/impassible.

10. Driving in the Highland should only be done in 4x4/4WD jeeps with ground clearance! 11. A seat belt use is required by law and your life may depend upon it; also in the backseat!

112 The emergency number in Iceland is 112.

12. Pulling over on the side of the main road (no. 1) is prohibited. Find a side road or a rest area where you can open all doors of the vehicle safely! 13. Accidents are common on gravel roads—reduce your speed before the transition! 14. Single lane bridges, tunnels and roads can be found in all of Iceland. Show patience, slow down and let cars coming from the other side finish crossing before attempting it yourself.

We hope you have safe travel in Iceland. Remember —we want you out of here - alive!

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





Since 1927

Issue six 51


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

Grái kötturinn The right place to energize for a busy day The Gray Cat prides itself on its homemade bread, tuna salad, hummus and pancakes. It is frequented by local artists and intellectuals.

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

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

Messinn at Grandi If you want the best fish in Reykjavík, look no further The restaurant is located in an old fishing area close to the city center and offers a relaxed atmosphere and a great view, overlooking the Reykjavík Harbor.


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

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

Café Iðnó The cultural center by the Reykjavik Pond At Café Iðnó, you can enjoy delicious food, coffee or a fabulous cocktail all while watching swans gliding over the pond. What could possibly be better?


afé Iðnó is located in IÐNÓ, Reykjavík’s oldest still standing theater. Built in 1896, this beautiful wooden building has always been a cultural hotspot. Overlooking downtown Reykjavik’s famous pond, it’s the perfect spot to start your day with a newspaper and coffee, or end it with an exciting evening show. At Café Iðnó, you can enjoy delicious food, coffee or a fabulous cocktail all while watching swans gliding over the pond. What could possibly be better? From the menu, you can select Scandinavian inspired dishes; hearty soups, delicious salads, open-faced sandwiches, or try one of the dishes of the day. They also have vegan options.

Café Iðnó I Vonarstræti 3, 101 Reykjavik I

Rústik Restaurant & Bar The ultimate Icelandic experience The dishes at Rústik are designed for sharing and to create the ultimate Icelandic dining experience.


unique restaurant and bar in downtown Reykjavík, Rústik offers a vibrant atmosphere, stylish surroundings, great food and drinks at great prices. Their specialty is Icelandic lobster and lamb, and they work closely with an organic farmer, their good friend Eymundur Magnússon, who guarantees the very best in local quality and enables them to create traditional and modern cuisine. The dishes at Rústik are designed for sharing and to create the ultimate Icelandic dining experience.

Rústik I Hafnarstræti 1-3, 101 Reykjavik I Tel: +354 561 1313 I I Sun – Thu, 11:30 am – 10 pm I Fri – Sat, 11:30 am – 11 pm


WOW Power to the people

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 53


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


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


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

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

Bright flavors and bold presentation

Your perfect harbor hangout

In the kitchen as in the bar, Slippbarinn is guided by its philosophy of flux and creativity. Starting with the solid foundation of a classic dish, the chefs bring their own twist, sometimes bold, sometimes

Almost every town in Iceland is a fishing village at heart. At Slippbarinn, you get right in touch with Reykjavík’s roots. Located on the old harbor, in view of a still-operational dock, it’s where you can watch

fishing vessels being repaired. Slippbarinn is the perfect place to while away an afternoon over a whiskey sour and the catch of the day. When it is time for a caffeine fix, head over to Slippbarinn’s baby brother, the adjoined gourmet café Kaffislippur. The pastries will melt in your mouth and you will dream of them ever after.

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

ARTISTS IN THE KITCHEN, ENTREPRENEURS AT THE BAR Opening hours: Sundays to Thursdays: 11:30 am – midnight / Fridays and Saturdays: 11:30 am – 1:00 am / Happy hour: every day from 3-6 pm.


WOW Power to the people

VOX Restaurant Tel.: +354 444 5050 |

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


Icelandair Hotel Akureyri Tel.: +354 518 100 |

Satt Restaurant Tel.: +354 444 4050 | Issue six 55


Burro / Pablo Discobar Veltusund 1 by Ingólfstorg Square 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 552 7333 E-mail:

Burro and Pablo Discobar

Where you’ll find the locals Burro Tapas + Steaks is a new favorite on the Icelandic restaurant scene, having opened in the fall of 2016 in downtown Reykjavik. Icelanders were quick to claim this hidden gem, and from the start, it has been a local favorite.


urro Tapas + Steaks is a new favorite on the Icelandic restaurant scene, having opened in the fall of 2016 in downtown Reykjavik. Icelanders were quick to claim this hidden gem, and from the start, it has been a local favorite.

Fun and quirky with a history Burro is located in the center of Reykjavík in a hist­ or­­ical building designed by Rögnvaldur Ólafs­­son, often dubbed “the first architect of Ice­­­land.” To de­­sign the interior of Burro, the owners recruited designer Hálfdán Pedersen to help them use as much as possible of the house’s original plans as well as portray their fun and quirky spirit.

Best shared with friends All food at Burro is prepared with high-quality Icelandic ingredients by master chefs and served by the very helpful waiting staff. Everything they serve comes with a modern Latin twist and all of the dishes are made so they can be shared with the whole table, creating a more festive atmosphere. Every night at Burro will feel like it’s the weekend; it’s fun, it’s relaxed and the staff makes sure all of their guests are having a good time.

Dinner and disco Before or after enjoying dinner at Burro, we recommend a visit to Burro’s weird brother on the

BURRO Opening hours: Sun-Thu: 5-11 pm and Fri-Sat: 5-12 pm PABLO DISCOBAR Opening hours: Sun-Thu: 4 pm – 1 am and Fri-Sat: 4 pm – 3 am Happy our every day from 4-6 pm


WOW Power to the people

floor above the restaurant. Pablo Discobar has happy hour from 4-6 PM every day. Pablo Discobar will make you some of the best cocktails in town, and of course he will play you some disco music as well but beware, he doesn’t like it when people steal his pelicans.

Burro Tapas + Steaks is a new favorite on the Icelandic restaurant scene, hav­­ ing opened in the fall of 2016 in down­­ town Reykjavik. Icelanders were quick to claim this hidden gem, and from the start, it has been a local favorite.


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.  

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 57


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


WOW Power to the people

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

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


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!

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 59


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

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


nd so the English Pub was born. From mod­­­­est beginnings it has built a hearty repu­­tation, seeking out, with the advice and guidance of its dedicated customers, the finest ale availa­­ble to mankind. Today it offers its enthusiastic clientele the chance to try a great variety of beers, foreign brands, as well as many local beers that are a must try.

Whisky galore Not content to rest on its laurels, the English Pub has ventured north of its virtual border and also offers the finest selection of whiskies anywhere in the country. Acclaimed assortment of malts includes many of Scotland’s finest, ensuring numerous Icelanders and worldly travelers make

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

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

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

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

THE ENGLISH PUB Opening hours: Sun-Thurs: 12:00 - 01:00 Fri-Sat: 12-04:30 | Open at 11 am from May 1st to September 1st.


WOW Power to the people


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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 Issue six 61


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


WOW Power to the people

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

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


Sakebarinn Laugavegur 2 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 777 3311

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


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

it with each taste. It’s no accident that the place is named 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.

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 63


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

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


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

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

Cozy Copenhagen style

The place to party

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

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

DEN DANSKE KRO Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 12:00 – 01:00 and Fri-Sat 12:00 – 05:00


WOW Power to the people

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

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


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.

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 65


Cafe Paris Austurstræti 14, 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 551 1020

The French beat in downtown Reykjavik Cafe Paris is a local corner restaurant and café, where you can enjoy the calm and charming feel of old Paris, with a hint of a New York twist.


osaic tiles, marble top coffee-tables and classic wicker chairs create the right at­­mosphere here. The terrace fac­­­ing the historic Austurvöllur is the local’s go to place on sunny days—it also does the trick on chilly even­­ ings, when guests wrap themselves in blank­­­ets and get hugged by the Nordic absence of light. Cafe Paris welcomes you to enjoy a nutritious and hearty breakfast, lunchtime favorites and heart­­ warming pastries. To wind down in the evening,

one shouldn’t forget a drink at the bar, followed by a candlelit dinner in one of the comfortable banquettes. The menu offers a selection of French classics such as Moules frites and onion soup, spiked with New York vibes in the form of chicken and waffles, and Oysters Rockefeller. The creamy New York cheesecake, followed by a thick espresso—or a glass of champagne will be the perfect “finissage” to a good meal at this petite Parisian escape.

CAFE PARIS Opening hours: Sundays-Thursdays from 8:30am-10pm / Fridays-Saturdays from 8:30am-11pm


WOW Power to the people

Mosaic tiles, marble top coffee-tables and classic wicker chairs create the right at­­mosphere here. The terrace fac­­­ing the historic Austurvöllur is the local’s go to place on sunny days—it also does the trick on chilly even­­ ings, when guests wrap themselves in blank­­­ets and get hugged by the Nordic absence of light.


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.

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 Issue six 67


ODDSSON 101 Reykjavík Tel: 5113579 email:

Hello is it me you’re looking for?

ODDSSON Reykjavik ODDSSON is all about the surprising combinations that make life interesting.


luxurious suite on the same floor as an 8 bed dorm room. Extravagant design furniture in a lobby with stripped down concrete walls. A Karaoke room in the middle of a restaurant! Whether you are looking to splurge or save, this old warehouse turned hip-hostel is the place to rest, play, work, have a snack, meet people, make friends or just sit back and relax.

A view to get lost in Although ODDSSON is only a few steps away from the frenzy of bars, cafés and stores of downtown Reykjavík its proximity to the sea makes it feel nicely set apart from the bustle of the city center. As you kick back in the lobby’s sofa’s and take in that

ODDSSON Hello is it me you’re looking for?


WOW Power to the people

expansive ocean view it’s easy to imagine yourself sitting somewhere at the edge of the world. The glorious sunset light on Mount Esja (or the northern lights over the bay if you’re lucky) only adds to the sensation. If you need to plan a trip, catch up on

ODDSSON offers dorm rooms, single & double hostel rooms as well as en suite rooms at some of the best prices in Iceland. For an even better bargain use this code when you book your stay at 4WOW2STAY

work or upload all those pictures you’ve been taking on your travels, why not grab a coffee at the café downstairs, spread your map, plug in your devices and make yourself at home. There’s plenty of space.

Did someone say yoga? If it’s relaxation you’re after, then be sure to memo­­ rize the weekly schedule for the hostel’s yoga studio. With a variety of sessions ranging from quiet meditation hours to full-on Yoga classes, the studio brings ODDSSON guests, staff members, and locals all together for a little bit of bliss. Perched on the fourth floor with warm wood vibes and huge win­­dows opening up to the sky, there is nowhere better to salute the sun.


Yogafood Grensásvegur 10 108 reykjavík Tel: 519-2290 Email:

Taste the love


Yogafood is a new restaurant located at Grensásvegur 10, not far from downtown Reykjavik. Whether you want to grab some fresh red beet juice, a green smoothie to take on your trip or sit down for a healthy lunch, Yogafood has it all.

Yogafood serves a variety of healthy break­­ fast items and offers a delicious lunch menu, all gluten-free and with no added sugar.

Nourishing the chakras Yogafood’s concept designer is Thorbjörg, an Ice­­­­­landic internationally recognized nutritionist and author of many lifestyle books and health cook­­­­books. Her latest is about Yoga and Yogafood. She has lived in Denmark for the past 30 years but mov­­ed back home last summer to fulfill her dream of open­­ing up her own health food restaurant. The concept of the food is based on vitality and energy including the 7 chakras, which for those who are familiar with yoga, know that all have their specific meaning and qualities. The juices and drinks served at Yogafood, are made with a specific chakra in mind, and you can choose off the menu according to what chakra you want to strengthen. If you don’t know anything about yoga or the chakras, no worries, just come and enjoy the tasty and high-quali­­ty food.

On the menu, you will, for example, find a Moroc­can vegetarian dish, a deeply satisfying vegan Indian dish, a hearty Chili sin carne with a quinoa salsa salad or a colorful Caribbean veggie mix with coconut-carrot salad. If you want something lighter, grab a gluten-free sandwich with pesto and grilled zucchini and a refreshing sun energy juice to go with it. And don’t miss out on the delectable sugar-free desserts; they look amazing, and taste even better. The aim at Yogafood is for you to TASTE THE LOVE in every bite you take.

Yogafood’s concept designer is Thorbjörg, an Ice­­landic inter­­­na­­­ tionally recognized nutritionist and author of many lifestyle books and health cook­­books. Her latest is about Yoga and Yogafood.

YOGAFOOD Opening hours: 7:30 AM - 7:30PM Issue six 69

Base HotelHostel at Ásbrú


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

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

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!

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

Base HotelHostel is at a former NATO base used by the US Army until 2006.


WOW Power to the people

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


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


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

Issue six 71

Vatnajökull Region

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


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

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

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

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


WOW Power to the people

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

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

Issue six 73

32 discount stores around Iceland Ísafjörður

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FIND YOUR Stykkishólmur

STORE Borgarnes Akranes Geysir


Hveragerði Reykjavík Reykjanesbær Kópavogur 2 stores

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Skógafoss 74

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Monday-Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

11:00 - 18:30 10:00 - 19:30 10:00 - 18:00 12:00 - 18:00 Issue six 75


Pour remplir ce formulaire, utilisez uniquement des majuscules. Si vous faites une erreur, notre personnel vous donnera un nouveau formulaire.

s Declaration Fo

The U.S. Custom

Chaque voyageur entrant ou chef de famille entrant doit fournir les informations suivantes (UNE SEULE déclaration par famille)

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

Français Le formulaire de déclaration en douane américaine

Qu’est-ce que c’est et pourquoi dois-je en remplir un? Avant votre arrivée aux États-Unis, vous devrez remplir le formulaire de déclaration en douane américaine. Si vous voyagez avec votre famille, seul le chef de famille doit le remplir. Lorsque vous arrivez sur le sol américain, vous donnez ce formulaire aux autorités douanières américaines. Si vous voyagez avec des fruits, nous vous recommandons de les jeter avant ou pendant votre vol vers les États-Unis mais que se passe-t-il si vous répondez « oui » à l’une de ces questions ? Ce n’est pas aussi terrible que ça en a l’air et dire la vérité vous évitera pas mal d’ennuis et une amende pouvant aller jusqu’à 300 $. Consultez la page 78 pour obtenir plus d’informations si vous répondez « OUI ».


Nom, Prénom, Initiale du deuxième prénom.


Date de naissance Jour/Mois/Année.


Nombre de personnes voyageant avec vous.


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


Lieu de délivrace du passeport (nom du pays)


Numéro de passeport


Pays de résidence


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

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

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

E A R LY B I R D C AT C H E S After her time in Iceland, Naomi arrives early at the airport so she can enjoy her last hours there before continuing her journey.


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


WOW Power to the people

Arrive early at Keflavík Airport and we will greet you with open arms. Check in up to 2 ½ hours before your flight so you can enjoy your last moments in Iceland. We offer unlimited free Wi-Fi, many charging stations and a range of shops and restaurants, so you can embrace the last drops of Icelandic taste and feel — and of course Tax and Duty Free.

This Space For Official Use Only

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

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

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

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


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


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

Customs Declaration


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

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

First (Given) 2 Birth date




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


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



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



(c) disease agents, cell cultures, snails:



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



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


11 I am (We are) bringing

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





(see definition of monetary instruments on reverse) 14 I have (We have) commercial merchandise: (articles for sale, samples used for soliciting orders, or goods that are not considered personal effects)

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.

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


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

X Signature


Die US-amerikanische Zollerklärung

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

(c) State

10 The primary purpose of this trip is business:

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

Date (month/day/year)

CBP Form 6059B (04/14)

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

Wenn Sie auf Ihrer Reise Obst mit sich führen, empfehlen wir Ihnen, dies vor oder während dem Flug in die USA zu entsorgen. Aber was geschieht, wenn Sie eine dieser Fragen mit Ja beantworten? Das ist nicht so schrecklich, wie Sie vielleicht denken, und Ehrlichkeit spart Ihnen eine Menge Ärger und eine mögliche Geldstrafe von bis zu 300$. Siehe Seite 78 für weitere Informationen zur Antwort JA.

Bitte verwenden Sie beim Ausfüllen dieses Formulars nur Großbuchstaben. Falls Sie einen Fehler machen wird Ihnen unsere Crew ein neues CBP Description of Articles (List may continue on another CBP Form 6059B) Value Use Only Formular geben. Jeder ankommende Reisende bzw. jedes verantwortliche Familienmitglied muss die folgenden Angaben machen (es ist pro Familie nur EINE schriftliche Erklärung erforderlich) 1.

Familienname, Vorname, Zweiter Vorname


Geburtsdatum / Tag/Monat/Jahr


Anzahl der mit Ihnen reisenden Familienmitglieder


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


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

MORE TIME FOR SHOPPING To remember her time in Iceland, she brings back home unique souvenirs that she bought at the airport.

Issue six 77


s Declaration Fo

The U.S. Custom 5.

Pass ausgestellt von (Land)




Ständiger Wohnsitz (Land)


Auf dieser Reise besuchte Länder vor Ihrer Ankunft in den USA

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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



Le formulaire de déclaration en douane américaine

Die US-amerikanische Zollerklärung

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

Was passiert, wenn Sie JA sagen?

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

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

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


WOW Power to the people

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


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One Way


Issue six 79

Great long weekend vacations

How to have the best city break in Europe WOW magazine correspondent Andrew Marshall shares some of his travel tips for a smoother city break... by Andrew Marshall

There is no substituting the exci­­­tem­­­ ent of setting off to the airport on a new trip and the two or three-night European city break is one of those wonderful pleasures of travel: a rejuv­­­enating escape from the daily routine, and a big burst of exciting discoveries, culture and local cuisine. If you research your trips and choose your destinations carefully, there’s plenty you can do to make city breaks smoother, easier and more affordable.

Never take any­­thing that you are not pre­­pared to lose, and leave items of sentimental value at home. Also, leave cards behind that you don’t need at your desti­­na­­tion such as your driver’s license, gym mem­ber­­ ship and extra bank cards.

BEFORE YOU GO * Traveling in the peak season is usually best for optimum weather, but the advantages of taking a city break out of season (if you can) are numerous: cheaper and less crowded flights, more accommodation choices with better prices, and shorter lines at museums and key attractions. * When it comes to accommodation options, think beyond hotel rooms and consider using sites like Airbnb for a more personalized and local city experience. You get to stay in some fabulous places (either with the owner or self-contained) and there can be numerous bonuses such as breakfast, plus useful local tips and information from the owner.

The beauty of the short city break, especi­­ally if it’s in a warm climate, is that you don’t need much clothing.

The spectacular glass dome of the ‘Reichstag’ German parliament building. PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Marshall

TRAVEL LIGHT * Traveling light is a key tip for a smoother city break. Taking a small, lightweight bag or backpack that passes as hand luggage, makes it cheaper and easier at airport check-in, and avoids the queues. There’s also no waiting for luggage at the other side, and once in the city, it means easier walking to and from the accommodation. * The beauty of the short city break, especi­­ally if it’s in a warm climate, is that you don’t need much clothing. If you are going to Barcelona in July, it could be one pair of comfortable worn-in walking shoes or sandals, a few t-shirts, bathroom essentials and the jeans or shorts you are traveling in. Think also about versatile items such as a lightweight waterproof/ windproof jacket and a long-sleeved top.

The Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater is a part of an eco­­ cycle where nature and science work in harmony. A visit makes an excellent day trip from Reykjavik. PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Marshall

When it comes to money it’s always a good idea to carry some cash (in low deno­­ mination notes) as it could be a pro­­­blem trying to pay for a few provisions at a small store with a €50 bill, for instance.


WOW Power to the people

CITY RESEARCH * Research your chosen city destination by browsing the web for free things to do. For example, many city museums and galleries are free such as the Tate London, Berlin’s East Side Gallery and the Reykjavik Museum of Photography. * Travel apps can be good, but guidebooks still have their place. Well recommended are Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and the DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 city guides, which are very portable and contain a robust pull-out map and language section of useful phrases.

Classic Amsterdam scene.

* A selection of smaller, useful items to pack could include: 100ml bottles (that can be filled beforehand with sun cream and shampoo), good earplugs, a travel adaptor for charging devices, a separate purse or wallet (for the local currency), phrasebook, pen and notepad, water bottle, and a roll-up/ foldable bag, so you can leave your main bag in your accommodation when you explore the city.

When it comes to accommodation options, think beyond hotel rooms and consider using sites like Airbnb for a more personalized and local city experience.

* It’s always worth visiting the Tourist In­­formation Office at the airport, railway sta­­tion or city center to pick up maps, useful bro­­chures, timetables and other information. Here, you can also learn about any money-saving transport cards and city passes that may be available. * Simply exploring the streets of your chosen city on foot is a satisfying experience which doesn’t cost more than a bit of shoe leather. Whether its strolling Amsterdam’s famous canals, enjoying magnificent views from Alicante’s Santa Barbara Castle or exploring the Montmartre district of Paris, many of the finest city experiences are free. * Depending on how much you want to pack in, you can combine two-in-one, by having a full city day and then taking a day-trip outside the city.

Accordion player in front of Trakai’s famous Island Castle which makes a great day trip from Vilnius. PHOTO: Andrew Marshall

EATING AND DRINKING * As a general rule, in most European cities breakfast and lunch offer better value than evening dinner in restaurants. Look out for all-inclusive lunchtime specials such as menú del día in Barcelona or Dagens lunch in Stockholm.

Beautiful Stockholm. “The city that floats on water.” PHOTO: Andrew Marshall

* Never take anything that you are not pre­­ pared to lose, and leave items of senti­­­mental value at home. Also, leave cards beh­­ind that you don’t need at your desti­­nation such as your driver’s license, gym mem­­bership and extra bank cards.

* Whether it’s a currywurst in Berlin, fish and chips in London or freshly fried Baltic herring (stekt strömming) in Stockholm, sampling the local fast-food can be an affordable and tasty alternative to a more expensive sit-down meal. * Visit the city market and stock up on local produce such as cheese, bread, fruit and olives. Then seek out the nearest park or green space for some picnicking and people watc­­ hing. Some fabulous markets include Marché Bastille (Paris), Borough Market (London) and the Albert Cuypmarkt in Amster­dam.

* When it comes to money it’s always a good idea to carry some cash (in low deno­­ mination notes) as it could be a pro­­­blem trying to pay for a few provisions at a small store with a €50 bill, for instance.

BITS AND PIECES * Whether it’s ordering a beer, asking for the bill or finding directions to the nearest Tourist Information Office—in French, Spanish or Swedish—learning a few useful words of the local language can go a long way to smooth and enrich the city break experience.

London: The India Club on the Strand is an excellent place for a local curry. PHOTO: Andrew Marshall

The Eiffel Tower at dawn. PHOTO: Andrew Marshall

* Get into the habit of meeting locals and travelers and asking them what places, activities and restaurants they recommend. Also, be spontaneous enough to take un­­planned suggestions on your next Euro­­pean city break. They often turn out to be the most memorable experiences.

THE CITY * To get to your accommodation, many air­ ports have a low-cost, regular bus or train service to the city center bus or train station, where you can either walk to your bed for the night or take some local transport.

Pack light and get ready for the European city break of your dreams. Now, where do you want to go? WOW air offers cheap flights to Paris, Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, London, Copenhagen, Barcelona and many more cities in Europe from USA and Canada. Find the right flight for your perfect weekend trip to Europe on

Issue six 81

Get Paris

12 must do’s in Paris The City of Light, the City of Love, the city with a certain je ne sais quoi. There may be no place more adored on the planet, than Paris. You could spend a lifetime exploring it. Here is a shortlist of 12 quintessential Parisian must-do experiences that won’t break your budget. Text and photos: Cindy-Lou Dale

Skip the line and take the stairs to the first (330 steps) or second level (670 steps). From these points, you can take the elevator up to the next level where you’ll only wait minutes rather than hours. Stair tickets are just €7.

1. STROLL THE ORIGINAL “HIGH LINE” Years before New York City opened the popular High Line park on a former railway track, Paris had the coulée verte. Fragrant with roses and lavender, the park extends along the former Vincennes railway via­­duct from the Bastille to the Jardin de Reuilly in the 12th arrondissement, con­­tinuing all the way to the Bois de Vincennes. 2. DISCOVER STREET ART IN THE BUTTE-AUX-CAILLES You’ll find a village-like ambiance in the hilltop neighborhood of Butte-aux-Cailles, a closely guarded secret among residents. The leafy cobblestoned alleyways are abuzz with cafés, and the Art Nouveau public swimming pool. A wander through the quarter will reveal some of the city’s most enticing street art, like the witty sten­cil pin-ups created by Paris icon Miss.Tic. 3. CLIMB THE EIFFEL TOWER Skip the line and take the stairs to the first (330 steps) or second level (670 steps). From these points, you can take the elevator up to the next level where you’ll only wait minutes rather than hours. Stair tickets are just €7. It will be one of the best experiences of your trip—and you get to burn off your morning pain au chocolat.

There’s a longtime tradition of swimming in the French capital with a public piscine on every corner— many in historical monu­­­ments


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There may be no place more adored on the planet, than Paris.

4. SAMPLE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE AT CHOCOLAT CHAPON Stepping inside rock-star chocolatier Patrice Chapon’s St. Germain shop is like entering a chocolate universe with beautifully packaged treats. But the most innovative thing of all is the Bar à Mousses, where you can sample five different decadent mousses, each made from a single origin chocolate. You can buy a cone to eat on the spot or take away a container. 5. GO WINDOW-SHOPPING Tucked away behind the Louvre and the busy Rue Saint-Honoré is the Palais Royal. Inside this protected historic landmark, is a tranquil garden flanked by boutiques. The place is also a favorite shopping address for in-the-know Parisians. Great for window shopping.

None of the city’s parks encapsulate the Parisian art de Vivre better than the Luxem­­bourg Gardens where leisure-loving Paris­i­­ans come to revel in the sunshine.



There’s a long-time tradition of swimming in the French capital with a public piscine on every corner—many in historical monu­­­ ments. The Piscine Josephine Baker, with its retractable roof, is a glass-covered pool which floats on the Seine, anchored off the Quai François Mauriac.

Situated behind the Panthéon in the 5th arrondissement, the rue Mouffetard is an ancient market street brimming with treats. At the foot of rue Mouffetard, you’ll find Androuët, the master cheesemonger. The selection is mouth-watering, and you can get a crash course in French cheeses.



Join the throngs to watch the sunset from the steps below the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Montmartre. In a city full of Instagrammable moments, this is one of the best spots to go gaga over the vistas. Local musicians pluck guitars on the steps, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of soccer star Iya Traoré performing his freestyle tricks.

The smaller of the Seine’s islands is a miniature Paris. The main artery, rue Saint-Louis en Île, boasts one of the best ice cream parlors in the city, Berthillon’s, the salted butter caramel flavor is famously delicious.



None of the city’s parks encapsulate the Parisian art de Vivre better than the Luxem­­ bourg Gardens where leisure-loving Paris­i­­ans come to revel in the sunshine. Pick up picnic provisions at the nearby Raspail street market (Tuesdays, Fridays and Sun­­days) and stake your claim to one of the green chairs.

Every corner boulangerie entices passers-by with the aroma of freshly baked bread waft­­ing through the streets. Nothing is more quin­­tess­­ entially Parisian than a croissant “au beurre”—a flaky, buttery icon of the petit déjeuner.

The grandeur of Paris is inspiring but what you’ll love most about the city is its intimacy. Its “quarters” are like a patchwork of villages, and while it’s one of the world’s major metropolises—with all of the culture and facilities that go with it—there’s a real sense of community at the local shops, markets, and cafes that remain unchanged.

7. SHOP THE “GRANDS MAGASINS” The city’s grands magasins (department stores) are legendary shopping emporiums. It’s a retail triumvirate: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps (both have rooftop terraces with a sweeping view over the city), and Le Bon Marché. These stores are “musts” on the sightseeing circuit because of the exquisite architectural details, not to mention the glori­­ous food selection at Lafayette Gourmet and La Grande Epicerie.

A weekend vacation in Paris doesn’t need to break the bank. Don’t just talk about it, do it! WOW air offers cheap flights to Paris from USA, Canada and Iceland every day of the week, all year round. Find your flight on

Issue six 83

Ireland’s castles

Noble Quest What’s it like to stay in Irish castles? Krista Connor and her sister, Leilah, found that out on a cross-country journey to four very different castle hotels fit for the 21st century traveler. Text and photos: Krista Connor


hey’ll be here by nightfall,” Leilah said, peering through the narrow window for a glimpse of our enemies.

“Will the castle hold?” I asked. An appropriately cold Irish rain fell, and heavy wind swept through the forest across the meadow, over the river and into Clonbrock Castle. With the 15th century castle to ourselves, my sister and I had a good laugh at our faux invasion, though such a scene would have once been a reality and certainly no laughing matter. But those times are long gone. For us, on our journey from the gentle green of the east to the sweeping west, Clonbrock was the first check-in of four castles-turned-hotels fit for the 21st-century traveler.


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Ballynahinch Castle.

Issue six 85


More than five hundred years ago this tower housed soldiers, where they probably shivered and swapped crude jokes or held spitting contests or whatever 15th century soldi­­ ers do—aside from guarding the lord and lady’s livestock from the wilds of the night: marauding folk and rogue wolves.

Just one of the castle’s turrets—con­­­nect­­ ed to the castle by an original stone wall— has side-stepped time and remained in­­­­tact. This would be our accommodation. Inside, a staircase twisted from the kitch­­enette to the bedroom. More than five hundred years ago this tower housed soldiers, where they probably shivered and swapped crude jokes or held spitting contests or whatever 15th century soldi­­ ers do—aside from guarding the lord and lady’s livestock from the wilds of the night: marauding folk and rogue wolves. When a few more centuries passed, and the need for clan swordsmen faded, and the gentry arose, the turret stored apples. Now, it’s an Airbnb complete with running water and electricity, and a toaster oven which we used to cook frozen pizza from a local market. The castle owners don’t hesitate to indulge visitors’ imaginations. For example to ac­­cess our room, we used a skeleton key. Then there’s the walled gardens, apple trees, and a walking map of the estate paying homage to classics with markings like “Mirk­­wood Forest” and “Secret Gard­ en.” The idea was for guests to pad far enough away across rain-drenched clover that they’d feel, if even for a moment, the delici­­ous twinge of childlike discovery. (This wasn’t difficult for us; we’re already known to overuse quotes like “I wish the ring had never come to me” or “Dracarys.”)

Clonbrock Castle Turret.

Krista at Clonbrock Castle.

Clonbrock, on the eastern edge of County Galway, would probably be in ruins today if it wasn’t for these owners, U.K. expats Jona­ than and Beverly Baylis, who spent the past 12 years restoring the estate. Warm in our hosts’ dining room over coffee and cookies one morning, the four of us talked of castles and clans. “Clonbrock is its own secret kingdom,” Beverly said. “There aren’t many castles you can go around by yourself, and there’s usually someone with a clipboard collecting a fee. At Clonbrock it’s more of an adventure, and it’s all a bit Lord of the Rings.” According to a document titled the Annals of the Four Masters, Clonbrock was built in 1469 by a chieftain, Tadhg Caoch O’Ceal­ laigh, and later it was bought by AngloNorm­an Thomas Dillon. The castle has re­­­­main­­ed standing in part due to Victorian descendants, including heiresses that had an appreciation for romantic ruins and liked photographing them. Eventually, the family lost their fortune, and that’s when the estate fell apart. Jonathan and Beverly’s part in the tale is coming to a close, too. They currently have the castle for sale for €1.2 million, though they do expect to accept Airbnb book­­ings through next year. Later, Leilah and I climbed through empty castle corridors to face the startling hush one would expect of such a place. I look­­ed down at the lawn and imagined the Victor­ianera Dillon girls pause from some fro­­lick­­ing garden party to glance up at that fading beast of a castle. I’m sure they felt the shivers brought on by the watchful emptin­ess of the great hall, and perhaps like us, they’d spin tall tales about what had come before. Clonbrock Castle turret or cottages,

AT HOME IN BALLYNAHINCH CASTLE Along the scenic Wild Atlantic Way, we’d trade fertile fields for the harsh landscape of Connemara, a region of gnarled beauty peak­­ed by desolate mountains. In this sett­­ ing, just inland from Roundstone Bay and the Atlantic dwells Ballynahinch Castle at the curve of the Owenmore River and the foot of the Twelve Bens Mountains. Life at Ballynahinch was warm (due in part to its six open log fires), like staying with an old friend who happens to be very rich, but who’s never showy about their intrinsically perfect taste in food and décor. The estate dates back to 1590 with ties to famed Gaelic pirate queen Grace O’Malley, who lived nearby. The present castle was built in the 1700s by a prominent local family.

Ballynahinch Castle.

Ballynahinch Roundstone bay.


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Leilah enjoying the afternoon tea at Ashford Castle.

The 48-room Ballynahinch, complete with a pub and dining room, felt like a cozy lodge surrounded by 700 acres of affectionately tended grounds. For fishing, the river was fully stocked with salmon; carefully curated hiking trails surrounded the castle, and nature has been permitted to be nature; inside the castle, a foyer filled with wellies and rain jackets was available to guests. All we were missing was the tweed.


brjánslækur flatey stykkishólmur


landeyjahöfn vestmannaeyjar

Issue six 87

What’s it like to stay in Irish castles? Krista Connor and her sister, Leilah, found that out on a cross-country journey to four very different castle hotels fit for the 21st century traveler

Ireland’s castles At its heart, Ballynahinch is an immersive experience. There’s a juxtaposition between dirt-under-your-nails adventure and four post­­er beds, vaulted ceilings and awardwinning dining. Through the former example, we found ourselves on a hiking excursion with guide Noel Joyce, who, having grown up in Connemara, knew every historical, arche­­o­ logical, geological and botanical detail of the estate and region. At one point, he stopp­­ed to differentiate between various forms of heather before popping a yellow gorse petal into his mouth. “You’ll probably find some­­ thing like this in one of your meals. We source a lot of ingredients from the estate,” he said. Ingredients probably come from Roundstone Bay, too, where we later found ourselves bobb­­ing off the coast in a small fishing boat, the Nancy Lee II, with skipper John Sullivan, searching for mackerel. We weren’t having much luck, though John kindly insisted on staying out past our timeslot. He was de­­ ter­­min­ed that Leilah with her “sea legs” or I-almost-overboard would catch something. Later, the receptionist greeted us with “How was your boating trip?” I don’t know how the staff keeps guests straight, but they do. Then we headed to our suite to swap wind-tossed clothes for something more appropriate; a five-course meal experience waited. Ballynahinch Castle and outdoor activities,

ASHFORD CASTLE: FOR THE ASPIRING ARISTOCRAT If you’re ever around Galway and in need of a taxi, find Ted Murphy of Galway Taxis. He drove us to our next destination, Ashford Castle in County Mayo, on the shores of Lough Corrib—still Connemara though tamer. Dur­ing the drive, Ted functioned as more of an enthusiastic tour guide in love with his country, maintaining that he stop to let us take pictures of sheep crossing the road and declared it mandatory we pose in front of a house from an old film The Quiet Man.

Ashford Castle.


Afternoon tea at Ashford Castle.

Ashford was a palace. And when drenched with rain its gothic towers were gloriously terrifying, something that I guess should be expected of an 800-year-old castle.

Ashford was a palace. And when drenched with rain its gothic towers were gloriously terrifying, something that I guess should be expected of an 800-year-old castle. Of all our royal hosts, I appreciated how the final castle, Clontarf Castle Hotel, was unabashedly fun with hardly a somber nook in its ancient bones.

Once owned by the Guinness family, Ash­­ ford underwent a two-year, $50 million make­­over after it was bought in 2013 by the Red Carnation Hotels company, headed by husband and wife Stanley and Beatrice Tollman. Everything inside was velvet or crystal; ceilings stretched infinitely upward. Decadent afternoon tea was enjoyed in the company of painted aristocrats overseeing the room from their wall perch. Everyone played a role—housekeepers looked like Victorian maids; men in green uniforms open­­ed and closed our doors, carried our um­­brellas and addressed us as “madam.” In truth, I felt like an imposter but played along in this fantasy that I was actually Some­­ body—and thoroughly enjoyed it. One evening during a walk about the per­­­ fectly manicured estate, a disturbance at the moat bridge caught our eyes. Cheering children with green flags flooded the bridge, a guy with bagpipes appeared. “The owners are visiting,” we were told later. Though ridiculously out of his way, Ted the taxi driver had offered to transport us to our next transfer after our stay at the estate’s Lodge at Ashford Castle (which is modern and approachable; its Quay Bar produces the best mushroom soup). “How was after­­noon tea? Fine dining at its best, eh? Remember, return to Connemara one day,” Ted said. “Give me a call when you get here.

Of all our royal hosts, I appreciated how the final castle, Clontarf Castle Hotel, was unabashedly fun with hardly a somber nook in its ancient bones. Located minutes from Dublin, Clontarf embraced the quirky side of medieval history, decked out with furniture made of bright purple fabric, a few pairs of thrones and soundtrack-worthy instrumental music playing in the lobby. I wouldn’t have been shocked if a court jester popped out from behind a floor-length ta­pestry to dance for us and make merry. It’s the kind of place where you could probably tease “Off with his head” and wouldn’t feel judged (hopefully). Dining here is no joke, though. Eclectic Fusi­­on Afternoon Tea and the awardwinn­­ing Fahrenheit Restaurant cement you in the present day with mostly-local small plate dishes. And a self-guided contemporary art trail winds through the halls, encouraging exploration. Our real, plebian lives eventually caught up to these strange counterparts, who had so quickly adopted gracious nods to things like “Your suite is ready, miss.” You have to understand—starting in Connemara, we’d even change our clothes for afternoon tea without a whiff of irony. Now, whenever I feel like these castles and moors, mountains and heather are slipping into myth, I’m grounded by recalling a cert­ain taxi driver who’s out there right now wheel­ing around the west and spreading his love for Ireland. Most people wouldn’t come across a random taxi driver halfway around the world for a third time, but I know we will because we made a promise. And a lady always keeps her word.

Ashford Castle,; The Lodge at Ashford Castle,

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Clontarf Castle.


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eldur Workshop is a family business created and operated by furrier Heiðar Sigurðsson and his wife Kristín Birgisdóttir. They specialize in the design and production of genuine high-quality fur garments and accessories. The main ambition of the business is to produce beautiful designs from prime quality fur that are both classic and modern. Feldur Workshop also provides mending services for fur coats and other fur articles. This service is a part of their desire to make their creations and fur products in general, items that will last a lifetime and even be passed on to the next generation.

The highlight for many visitors is the opportunity to observe the master furrier himself. Feldur Workshop is located at Snorrabraut 56 in downtown Reykjavik. The workshop is both a stylish and cosy, displaying some of the fur products they‘ve designed, while others are handmade on site.

If you are interested in seeing Feldur Workshop’s products, we recommend a visit to the workshop on Snorrabraut 56. Alternatively, there are a number of stores in Iceland that carry a selection of their items which you also can see online at

SHOP SNORRABRAUT 56 | T. 588 0488 | FELDUR.IS Issue six 89

Make it Irish!

Classic Dublin pubs “A good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub,” wrote the famous Irish novelist James Joyce in Ulysses. Little has changed since Joyce penned his classic novel in 1922, and despite the increase in European-style cafés and restaurants, Dublin’s eight hundred or so pubs are still the hub of social life; a place to meet friends, to relax and enjoy a pint. by Andrew Marshall Photos: Paul Marshall

Dubliners sum it all up in one word – the “craic.” Many pubs remain out­­standing examples of the tra­­­dition which Joyce immortalized in his works, and throughout the years have retained their down to earth at­­ mosphere. Here is a selection of some of the best...

Palace Bar.

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Once a working-class drinking man’s pub, this brilliant old boozer is another virtually unchanged over the years. Established in 1782, the pub’s main claim to fame is a perfectly poured pint of Guinness and the colorful crew of regulars who are considered experts on the subject. Over the years, Mulligan’s has attracted a mixed bag including former US President John F Kennedy, and it also featured as the local in the film My Left Foot starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown.

Backing onto Dublin Castle, the Long Hall is one of Dublin’s most beautiful and best-loved watering holes. Although very much a locals’ pub, many visitors come to experience the evocative atmosphere and full Victorian splendor with an ornately carved bar, elegant chandeliers and a pendulum clock more than 200 years old. Long Hall (51 South Great George’s Street)

John Mulligan (8 Poolbeg Street),

PALACE BAR A short stroll from Temple Bar’s cobbled streets, the Palace Bar (established in 1823) is often said to be the perfect example of an old Dublin pub. Step into the beautiful snug with its mirrors and wooden niches in which many a historic meeting has taken place, or the back room with its high ceiling and ornate stained glass, where literary stock used to gather. Flann O’Brien and Harry Kernoff were regulars… The Palace Bar became one of Dublin’s great literary pubs. Palace Bar (21 Fleet Street)

The colourful Temple Bar pub – the most photo­ graphed pub façade in Dublin, perhaps even the world. Customers enjoy a drink in one of the many nooks and crannies inside O’Neill’s, which has existed as licensed premises for over 300 years.

O’NEILL’S Granted the James Joyce award for being an authentic Dublin pub, O’Neill’s has existed as licens­ ed premises for over 300 years. Feat­­­uring five bars and numerous alcoves and snugs all of which at­­ tract a different clientele and age group, O’Neill’s caters to students and lect­­urers at nearby Trinity College, to busy city traders, and lovers of the arts and theater. As an added bonus, it has special beer-dispensing tap tables, where customers can pour their own Guinness without the inter­­ mina­­ble wait for the barman to put the shamrock in the froth.

Guinness stout - an essential ingredient of Dublin pub culture.



O’Neill’s (2 Suffolk Street),

TEMPLE BAR Slap bang in the center of the tourist area of the same name, the vibrant red Temple Bar (also known as Flannery’s) has the most photographed pub façade in Dublin, if not the world. Not the kind of place to go for a quiet pint with the locals, as it’s usually wall-to-wall with visitors. But it’s still a good “craic” and has all the right ingredients with traditional musicians and a lively atmosphere. Temple Bar (48 Temple Bar),

Enjoying a Guinness stout in the Temple Bar pub.

“A good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub,” wrote the famous Irish novelist James Joyce in Ulysses.

RYAN’S Located just a few sips of the black stuff away from the Guinness Storehouse across the River Liffey, Ryan’s of Parkgate Street (established in the 1890s) is well worth a visit. It is one of only a handful of city pubs that has retained its Victorian décor virtually intact and boasts an original oval-shaped mahogany bar, magnificent stained glass, and walls decorated with an outstanding collection of antique gilt mirrors advertising various products sold at the turn of the 20th century. Ryan’s Bar (28 Parkgate Street), Dublin street scene.

Dubliner enjoys a pint of the Black Stuff (Guinness stout)

At twilight, people cross a footbridge over the River Liffey in Dublin city

DUBLIN LITERARY PUB CRAWL A great way to learn more about Dublin’s pub culture, history and its literary associations is to take the Literary Pub Crawl. It’s a guided tour by Colm Quilligan and other actors who perform humorous extracts from Dublin’s best-known writers in some of the city’s bestloved drinking establishments. “We were a band of unemployed actors doing entertainment in pubs,” says Quilligan. “It was a natural fusion of the two ideas and a great way of legitimizing the pub lifestyle.”

Gate, where you’ll learn plenty about this world-famous stout including the brewing process and the Arthur Guinness story. After you have seen how it’s made, it’s time to taste the outstanding product. Hovering above the roof of the Storehouse is the Gravity Bar, and with a pint of Guinness in hand and incredible 360-degree views over the streets of Dublin, it’s the perfect position to contemplate James Joyce’s puzzle…

THE HOME OF ICELANDIC SEAFOOD AND LAMB APOTEK Kitchen+Bar is a casual-smart restaurant located in one of Reykjavíks most historical buildings. We specialize in fresh seafood and local ingredients prepared with a modern twist.


Austurstræti 16

101 Reykjavík

Guinness Storehouse /Gravity Bar

Dublin Literary Pub Crawl,

GUINNESS STOREHOUSE & GRAVITY BAR No visit to the Irish capital would be complete without a pilgrimage to the Guinness Storehouse at St. James’s

The Guinness Storehouse and Gravity Bar. PHOTO CREDIT: Guinness Storehouse

For more information on Dublin go to

Cheers to Dublin! Party on in the Irish capital, drink with the locals and taste the dark and delicious Guinness beer. WOW air offers cheap flights to Dublin from USA, Canada and Iceland every day of the week, all year round. Find your flight on

Issue six 91

Living it up, London style

Photo: iStockphoto / nevenmn

Rosewood London.

High tea for high times Trippy, artsy, quirky, classy—and always tasty. Here’s our finely researched award-winning list of the most elegant and extraordinary high teas to be found at London’s most coveted hotels. by Alexandra Pereira Photos: Courtesy of respective hotels

THE ROSEWOOD Wind your way through this classic and timeless Edwardian Covent Garden property—limestone, marble, glass, checkered and striped monochromatic floors, wood-paneled whiskey libraries: you name it. Through the corridors and grand halls, you’ll find the grandiose Mirror Room where your unforgettable tea awaits. Contemporary art lovers will have a field day distinguishing their incredibly intricately created cakes— mini-masterpieces. There’s a miniature graffiti-painted Banksy, a severe Rothko, a dotty Kusama, a fantastic Calder, and London’s very own and your very own controversially edible Damien Hirst. The sophistication of the setting and London’s elite surround you—often playground to famous artists and celebrities in the flesh. Afterwards bask

There’s a miniature graffiti-painted Banksy, a severe Rothko, a dotty Kusama, a fantastic Calder, and Lond­ on’s very own and your very own controversially edible Damien Hirst.

The Mirror Room at Rosewood London and their executive pastry chef, Mark Perkins.


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in the Sense Spa and siesta in your divine rose-scented suite before taking a digestive at the hotel’s Scarfes Bar while browsing the Portobello dealercurated antique book collection and catching some more art: Gerard Scarfes’ caricatures line the walls as a compere introduces live cabaret and jazz. THE SANDERSON A surreal trip down memory lane of Mad March Hares and Tweedle Dum and Dees with an amazing menu for the con­­scious. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, which is fantastic for all ages in all its trippy vibrancy, has been a huge pull for tourists to this central London hotel for some years. On a spring afternoon, the Japanese themed garden courtyard— complete with a running water feature— is filled with colors, laughter, and de­­liciousness as you sit down to water down the rabbit hole. There’s even a glut­en-free option that’s just as dazzling but get ready for a real sugar overdose as you try out the mysterious cakes and savories (mocha chessboard gateau, scotch quail’s egg). Details of this are hidden inside vintage books, teapots (containing a specially-labeled Alice tea concoction made with blackcurrant, vanilla, caramel, citrus, bergamot, blue cornflowers and blue mallow flowers) adorned with kings and queens and sandwich plates decorated with zebras, birdcages and ticking clocks. You will need a lie down to return to normal size, so make your way into the maze-like

Lanesborough Celeste.

Number Sixteen - Afternoon Tea.

Number Sixteen - The Orangery.

A surreal trip down memory lane of Mad March Hares and Tweedle Dum and Dees with an amazing menu for the con­­scious.

the tea, bubbly and sandwiches are concerned—unfussy and summery. Then comes light scones and fruit-filled jam, rich mini cheesecakes and colorful cupcakes which are great for kids. Later, unwind in fluffy white robes on your enormous bed—surrounded by fuchsia, grey and white furnishings, and a view onto one of London’s most charming and quintessentially British hubs, South Ken. Explore the nearby Natural History and Science Museums that are in the neighborhood. THE LANESBOROUGH

Lanesborough - The Withdrawing Room Afternoon Tea.

eleva­­tor (space-themed) up to your white, pristine suite, complete with an open plain glass bathroom and amazing room service. THE EDITION Welcome to the Punch Room, an old school den that feels an open plain be­­ tween a moody gentleman’s cigar lounge and a gorgeous ladies’ tea room. Here they serve out-of-this-world blended tea infusions paired with avant-garde cocktail pairings with a kick. Expect to be waited on like you deserve in the most highly regarded cigar lounge for high society dandies or aristocratic high tea; and if you leave to your sleeping quarters upstairs sozzled, expect the paparazzi to be diligently fended off,

Lanesborough and Horse Guards.

despite being in Fitzrovia, just off busy and calamitous Oxford Street. It’s a wonder to be presented with smoky lap­­sang souchongs alongside spicy rums, and jasmines partnering up next to fine British gins. Amuse bouches are also included in this riotous hoot of an experience, before you can head for a stabilizing dinner at the hotel’s Berner’s Tavern and check into one of their tea-matching exotically snug rooms: all white sheets, faux furs and mood lighting. NUMBER 16 Tea can be taken in either the orangery or the private garden at this fabulous South Kensington townhouse hotel. The service here remains classic, in so far as

The natural choice for a romantic after­­noon or a classy one with friends. With an international, award-winning team of pastry chefs and connoisseurs, this really is the cream of London’s afternoon teas. Here at the city’s possibly best tea, you’ll experience the deeply coveted elegance demanded of a British high tea: with a well procured and detailed edge. That is, H Forman smoked salmon sandwiches, Coronation Chicken or cu­­cumber and mint; quiveringly-de­­light­­ful dark chocolate blackberry tartelette, a matcha and tahini cream, and a choux Paris-Brest that has been perfected to obliviousness. Finish off with a glass of Taittinger. If you’re slumbering at Knightsbridge’s finest stay, you will be met by your butler who will iron your things, show you how to work the hidden giant TV and even run you a bath if you like— should the hydrotherapy pool at the in-house spa not tempt you more. Still peckish after the afternoon’s delights? Dine on late night Michelin cuisine at the hotel’s graceful Celeste with chandeliers and mustard velvet sofas within which to feast on blue lobster and crispy octopus. Nearby lies Hyde Park for a stroll.

To really live it up in London you must try an afternoon of absolute luxury. High tea is definitely the way to do it without breaking the bank. WOW air offers cheap flights to London from USA, Canada and Iceland every day of the week, all year round.

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

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Issue six 93

The Art of the Meal

Top NYC Museum Restaurants New York City is world-famous for its superb restaurants and museums, so it’s no surprise that the city also boasts award-winning restaurants that are as enticing as the museums in which they are found. Next time you’re in town, be sure to enjoy a delicious bite or two in one of New York City’s best museum restaurants, just steps from priceless collections of art and artifacts. by Eva Leonard Photos: Courtesy of respective restaurants



Ask for a window seat at Robert Rest­­ aurant, but only if you’re not afraid of heights! This upbeat restaurant on the ninth floor of the Museum of Arts and Design has sweeping views of Columbus Circle, Central Park, and New York’s Upper West and East Sides through floor-toceiling windows. You’ll find tasty items like eggs Benedict with lobster, as well as parsnip and leek soup, and mango cheesecake on the menu, served within a colorful, modern setting. At night, part of the restaurant becomes a lounge that’s a lively spot for a cocktail or a beer.

At the Museum of Modern Art, you can choose from two restau­­­rants serving cuisine that’s as eye-catching as much of the art on dis­­­­play. The Modern is an award-winning fine-dining restaurant over­­looking the museum’s sculpture garden, with a seasonal menu of beautifully presented dishes, like foie gras tart with wild huckle­­berries and sunflower seeds, and crispy skin sea bass with artic­hok­­es barigoule and minestrone broth. The Bar Room is a lively op­­tion, serving sea­sonal, modern cuisine, like braised duck leg with white turnips and rhubarb, and lobster spaghetti. You can settle into a seat in the Bar Room restaurant, or take one in the adjoin­­ing lounge or at the long marble bar.

Dining at The Norm in Brooklyn Museum.

The food is a work of art at the Flora Bar at the Met. Photo: Johnny Mille

UNTITLED, WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART This bright, airy, bustling restaurant on the ground floor of the new Whitney Museum has a casual atmosphere, with high ceil­ ings and glass walls that are great for people watching. You can sit inside or on the patio, depending on the weather, or dine on the eighth floor. Untitled serves main courses with an American influence, including roasted and fried chicken with biscuits and gravy, as well as appetizers like smoked whitefish salad, and desserts including spiced pear cake with caramel and almond brittle.

This bright, airy, bustling restaurant on the ground floor of the new Whitney Museum has a casual atmosphere, with high ceil­ings and glass walls that are great for people watching.


A ricotta cannoli desert worth every calorie at The Modern. Photo: Nathan Rawlinson

FLORA BAR, METBREUER Flora Bar’s modernist setting in the Met­­ Breuer, the Metropolitan Museum’s new space for contemporary art, complements its inventive, flavorful dishes. Choices in­­clude red shrimp with sea urchin and nori, chicken with celery and apple, and green tomato, basil, and pine nut tart. The excellent wine list showcases selections from both unknown and well-known wine­­ makers around the world. If you’d rather have something a little quicker and more casual than a sit-down meal at Flora Bar, you can grab sandwiches and pastries at the museum’s Flora Coffee instead.


WOW Power to the people

A busy day at Untitled at the Whitney Museum. Photo: Tim Schenck

Designed to look like one of the Brooklyn Museum’s storage rooms, the NORM restaurant is outfitted with shipping crates and a wall of paintings from the museum’s

New York City is world-famous for its superb restaurants and museums.


Neue Galerie spotlights Austrian and German art created between 1890 and 1940, so it’s only natural that its restaurant, Café Sabarsky, was created in the style of a 1912 Viennese café. Café Sabarsky serv­­es Austrian-influenced dishes, such as organic chicken paprika with spatzle, bratwurst with sauerkraut and roasted potatoes, and, of course, sacher torte and other temp­­ting cakes and pastries. The menu also includes Viennese coffee drinks served with whipped cream, and a wide selection of teas from China, India, the U.S. and




Free Wi-Fi Pickup Service Warm Overalls


New Yorkers have flocked to Russ and Daughters’ Lower East Side store and cafe for premium quality smoked fish and baked goods for more than a century. Now, you can also enjoy Russ and Daughters’ culinary delights at the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side. Don’t miss the fish dishes like the exquisite smoked sable with goat cream cheese, soups, including borscht with pumpernickel bread, served hot with sour cream, and rich desserts, including challah bread pudding, and French toast made with chocolate babka, sour cream and berries. While you eat, you can also enjoy the whimsical, six-meter mural by artist Maira Kalman.







South Africa. The breakfast menu offers savory crepes filled with chilled smok­­ed trout and horseradish crème fraic­­he, as well as those on the sweeter side, stuffed with house-made apricot confiture. You can also choose from a selection of Austrian lagers and wines.


Inside the Flora Bar. Photo: Glen Allso

col­­lection from different cultures and eras. Inspired by Brooklyn’s cultural diversity, the menu includes Ind­ian, Mexican, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Indo-Chinese, Caribbean, and all-American in­­flu­­ences. The Bombay snack mix is a zingy taste of southern India, with spicy fried legumes, coconut, cilantro, red onion and limes. The Free Bird Farms roast chicken has traditional Mexican flavors, brais­­ed in a chocolate mole poblano and served with a tamale and watercress salad. The NORM also serves vegetarian and gluten-free items, and spirits and beers from Brooklyn-based dis­­ till­­eries and breweries. Pumping up the creative vibe, artists curate the NORM’s music playlist

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The Bar at Untitled. Photo: Liz Clayman

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Issue six 95

Miami, Florida

Miami’s Neighborhoods It’s hard not to think about Miami and have your first thoughts be of South Beach (SoBe) or spring break, but Miami’s so much more than just a beach destination and nightlife venue. by Caron R. Luteran Photos: and Caron R. Luteran



Aventura is well known for its upscale mall and boating. If you fancy a bit of shopping or time out on the water, then this is a great spot to go.

This neighborhood, located about 15 minutes from the airport, is characterized by its Spanish (Mediterranean) influenced architecture. Shoppers and foodies will delight in a visit to Miracle Mile. For those seeking a room or a meal at a grand place; the Biltmore Hotel, a National Historic Landmark, will fit the bill.

BAL HARBOR Bal Harbor is best suited for the luxury traveler who seeks upscale shopping and meals at sit-down restaurants. Nightlife ends a bit earlier here than it does in SoBe. BISCAYNE BAY Key Biscayne offers parks and beaches and can be thought of like a secret, little, peaceful place south of Miami Beach and east of Miami. Biscayne Boulevard is well known for its Miami Modern Architecture also referred to as MiMo.


WOW Power to the people

COCONUT GROVE Once a hippy haven, Coconut Grove, now filled with modern buildings, is loved by sailors and cyclists who enjoy marina and water views. A trip to CocoWalk will please those seeking dining and entertainment. Nature lovers can explore the gardens at The Kampong and the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.

Key Biscayne offers parks and beaches and can be thought of like a secret, little, peaceful place south of Miami Beach and east of Miami. Biscayne Boulevard is well known for its Miami Modern Architecture also re­ferr­ed to as MiMo.

It’s hard not to think about Miami and have your first thoughts be of South Beach (SoBe) or spring break.

DESIGN DISTRICT Find lots of creative decorating outposts here around North 2nd Street and North Miami Avenue, a great visual resource for those looking for home/apartment décor ideas. Should you get hungry while browsing, one of the unique restaurants here is sure to surprise.

So whether you’re in search of traditional Cuban specialties such as fritas, burgers, ropa vieja, picadillo, arroz con pollo or just a café con leche, you’ll find it in Little Havana.


is at the Faena Forum and Faena Bazaar around 32nd to 36th Streets on Collins Avenue near Indian Creek Drive and the Atlantic Ocean’s beachfront area. For those wishing to stay in the area or enjoy a cool chic meal or drink, check out the Casa Faena and Faena Hotels. SOBE (SOUTH BEACH) SoBe is best known for its beaches by day, art deco and nightlife. So wandering around 1st Street up until 23rd Street on Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive will deposit you in SoBe.

BRICKELL VILLAGE (MARY BRICKELL VILLAGE) This small area, located at 901 South Miami Avenue in downtown Miami, is primarily a shopping and dining destination. Check out the #RideFreebee app or the Metromover for a trip there.

WYNWOOD The Wynwood area located at 2520 NW 2nd Avenue offers art, hip hangouts and outdoor

mural arts to visitors trekking here. If you happen to be there at lunchtime, grab some organic food or a coffee at MIAM, an iconic black and white zig zag looking building. Wynwood Walls will satisfy hipsters and street art fans with its free to see giant outdoor art murals; best seen in the afternoon or before dusk and on a not too sunny day to avoid glare. Wynwood Arts District is located between North 20th Street and North 36th Street and has more than 70 art galleries. Check out the Wynwood Walls first before heading over here.

LITTLE HAVANA Calling all Cuban foodies! The scents on 8th Street alone will probably just lead you to food joints like El Cristo, La Carreta and El Rey De Las Fritas. So whether you’re in search of traditional Cuban specialties such as fritas, burgers, ropa vieja, picadillo, arroz con pollo or just a café con leche, you’ll find it in Little Havana. If you haven’t seen the movie “Chef,” watch it before a trip here. FAENA DISTRICT IN MIAMI’S MID-BEACH

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

Issue six 97


American River at North Fork. Photo: Visit California / Myles McGuinness

Gold Rush Country In the center of Auburn lies a deep history of the California Gold Rush. This charming, traditional—yet with-its-modernquirks—town lies high up in Placer County, just outside Sacramento. Here dingy saloon happy hours meet cute vintage clothes, record and bookstores and quite possibly the world’s friendliest tourist center. by Alexandra Pereira Photos: VisitCalifornia

Auburn has cuisine ranging from soul food to Tibetan fare to sushi, and an atmospheric county jail turned courthouse and museum containing the head of a saber-toothed tiger. If that’s not enough, then there’s plenty more in and surrounding the town. After Greyhound bussing it from LA via Sacramento, I decided to spend a few days here before going on to Lake Tahoe and finally The City by the Bay. It was odd but a delightful welcome to rest somewhere so quaint and inviting after the madness of the City of Angels. ANCIENT INHABITANTS At the Placer County Museum, I learned about the prehistoric Martis people who lived in the Auburn area 2000 BCE to 500 CE and was surprised when a


WOW Power to the people

For a swim, pack a picnic and hike the Lake Clementine trail up to the reservoir, or if you’d rather, drive out by the Folsom State Prison made famous by Johnny Cash’s celebrated performance there in 1968 following his 1955 hit Folsom Prison Blues.

real saber-toothed tiger skull was placed in my hands. The guide was a mine of information and elaborated on all about the geographical history of this special place. The Nisenen people then settled in Auburn and centuries later, gold mining boomed. Summers in Auburn are hot and humid; and so was the country house I was staying at furt­­her up in the hills. After wandering the streets of the town’s center, I took shade in the 1983-opened Cherry Records shop for a browse and a spin of some vinyl. The owner’s know­­ledge was encyclopedic, and there was everything from classic rock and blues to jazz and soul was in stock at unbeatable Cali prices. Further up Lincoln Way (the high street) is Winston Smith Books: the independent bookstore to browse fantastic-condition rare and collectible texts on the Gold Rush and original publi­­ cations of Auburn’s legendary sci-fi and fantasy poet and novelist Clark Ashton Smith; a progressive writer compared to HP Lovecraft born in 1863. His pulp and horror shocked and impressed the masses; his black humor and colorful stories came to public attention soon after the Depression. Another great literary fact about Auburn: it’s where John Steinbeck’s beloved Lenny and George from Of Mice and Men grew up. If you plan a visit to Auburn, browse Airbnb for a special place in the hills and hire a car. Alterna­­ tively, crash at the orchard-set Flower Farm Inn, the pretty chic and newly renovated Auburn Holiday Inn or the exquisite Enchanted April Inn located in the scenic area of Pilot Hill. Watch out for resident bears!

After Greyhound bussing it from LA via Sacramento, I decided to spend a few days here before going on to Lake Tahoe and finally The City by the Bay.

ICELANDIC SEAFOOD makes world’s best sushi A statue of a gold miner by artist Kenneth Fox. Photo: Visit California / Carol Highsmith

Auburn Courthouse. Photo: Visit California / Blaise

TAKE A DIP Aside from Tahoe, there are scores of nature parks, reserves, forests, valleys, falls and lakes to explore. The state recreational park, some 64 km along the American River is in the heart of the gold country. Nature is magnificent with activities for everyone as long as you’re daring and not afraid to get wet or dirty. There’s trail running, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, camping, mountain biking, gold panning, horseback riding, road bicycling, and offhighway motorcycle riding. Whitewater recreation is also very popular here. Contact the ever-helpful Logan at WET River Trips and be stunned by the magnitude of the rapids and their cooling effect on a hot summer’s day.

The best of Icelandic produce with a nod to Japan and South America. Modern Icelandic flavours, share plates and award winning cocktails.


For a swim, pack a picnic and hike the Lake Clementine trail up to the reservoir, or if you’d rather, drive out by the Folsom State Prison made famous by Johnny Cash’s celebrated performance there in 1968 following his 1955 hit Folsom Prison Blues. You’ll pass hundreds of meters of “Warning: No Stopping” signs along high electricity and barbed fences and eventually be back in the recreational area where a stunning man-made Folsom Lake lies. The water is clear and refreshing, and you can see the snowcapped tips of the Sierra Nevada as you bask to sounds of birds. Well connected on AMTRAK, you can depart your gold rush county adventures with ease and be in San Fran for more city madness in under two hours, but take time to check out Sacramento en route as you go, especially if you’re driving.

As far as destinations go, California is pure gold. Get into the gold rush and find this slice of American history on your next vacation abroad. WOW air offers cheap flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles, from multiple European cities. Find your flight to the USA at

Our kitchen is open 17.00–23.00 sun.–thu. 17.00–24.00 fri.–sat. Sushi Social Þingholtsstræti 5 • 101 Reykjavík Tel. 568 6600 •

Issue six 99


Pittsburgh’s pierogi culture Food fads may come and go, but in Pittsburgh, pierogi will always be king. By Joy Frank-Collins


or travelers, a time-tested way of immersing oneself in a new culture is by eating like the lo­­cals. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city literally built by eastern Euro­­­ pean immigrants, there is one food— and one alone—that defines this town: Pierogi. A HUMBLE HISTORY Pierogi are dumplings traditionally filled with cheese and potatoes or sau­­erkraut that originated in countries including Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Pittsburgh experi­­enced a population boom in the late 19th and early 20th cent­­ ur­­ies, particularly of immigrants from Eastern Europe, who settled in neigh­­borhoods including Polish Hill, East Allegheny, Bloomfield and Lawrenceville. They brought this culture and culinary tradition with them, explains Lauren Uhl, curator of food and fitness at the Senator John Heinz History Center. “These immigrants worked in steel mills and factories, so the inexpen­­ sive and practical packaging of the pierogi made it a common lunch box option during the Industrial Age,” she adds. “As those families settled into the community, their traditions held strong, and have certainly carried over to today’s culinary scene in Pitts­­ burgh, where pierogi is a popular dish at many restaurants around town, both old and new,” Uhl says. “ALL PITTSBURGHERS HAVE A


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PIEROGI MEMORY” For Lynne Szarnicki-Rau, at five or six-years-old, it was going to church with her grandparents where pierogis were often made and sold on Fridays. “My brother and I were trying to learn how to pinch pierogi (or maybe running around screaming…) when Olga [a strict church elder] came over and yelled at us and made us leave,” she remembers. Her mother pro­­test­­ ed, but there was no arguing with Olga, Szarnicki-Rau says. Some years later, as a teen, she would go to that same church to pinch pierogis, where Olga still ruled the kitchen. “Pierogi is plural. Pierog is singular. But no one uses the singular form because you can’t eat just one!” — Lynne Szarnicki-Rau St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 116 Ella St. McKees Rocks, still offers their ready to cook pierogis hand-pinched in the Ukrain­­ ian tradition for purchase every Friday from Labor Day to Memorial Day. You can pick them up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (potato $7 a dozen, sauer­­­kraut and cottage cheese $8 a dozen). The changing culture of the city of Pittsburgh, coupled with the fad­­ing of this tradition in churches through­­ out the city was a driving factor in Lynne’s decision to take up pierogimak­­ing. She started by selling online,

booming Pittsburgh tradition, “Pierogi Nights,” in which they would create a pop-up pierogi restaurant for one night in differ­ ent locations across the city. It started with 30 attendees and ended with around 400. Lynne Szarnicki-Rau and her Pierogi Truck.

and then expanded to farmer’s mark­­ets before her husband, David, decided it was time for something bigger and made her a pierogi truck. Since that time, aside from selling freshly prepared and ready-to-eat pierogi on curbs across the city each day, her pierogis are available in some grocery stores, sold wholesale through restaurants and are also part of a very popular fundraiser program. Lynne’s passion for pierogi is driven by a desire to save the tradition. “Pittsburgh is changing, and so is the culture,” she says. “We’re trying to preserve a part of old Pittsburgh by carrying on pierogi popularity into the future.”

PIEROGI IS TO PITTSBURGH AS A SLICE IS TO NEW YORK Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skow­ ronski are doing their part to ensure Pittsburgh pierogi culture is thriving. Several years ago they created what became a

“Pittsburgh has a really long tradition of having pierogi as its staple cultural food,” says Lasky. “It’s a food that people kind of obsess over.” Nearly two years ago, they opened APTEKA, 4606 Penn Ave., a vegan restaurant serving Central and Eastern European fare. Their com­­bined skills and knowledge have earned them rave reviews across the region. Skowronski is a first-generation Polish immigrant deeply familiar with modern Eastern European dishes learned from his maternal grandmother. Lasky is a sixth generation Pittsburgher who understands how traditional dishes have been filtered through the generations to create the versions common on the city’s thriving food scene today. In this “new Slavic” style, their pierogi stray from the tra­­di­­ tional potato and cheese to more inventive versions. But their goal is to always honor the flavors of Eastern European cuisine while doing a bit of inventing and hon­­or­­ ing Pittsburgh.

Food faads may come and go, but in Pittsburgh, pierogi will always be king.

“People really cherish where they’re from and it used to be, ‘I have roots in Eastern Europe and that’s why I have this love for pierogi.’ But now, it’s like, ‘I have roots in Pittsburgh and that’s why I love pierogi.’ I think that kind of carries the tradition way further,” Lasky explains.

PITTSBURGH LOVES PIEROGIS The city’s fascination with the doughy dish isn’t reserved for rest­­ au­­rants. From an annual Pierogi Festival to apparel to jewelry to decorative accents including prints and pillows, pierogi are everywhere in the city of Pittsburgh. They’ve even found their way onto a major league baseball field. The Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team debuted

the “Great Pierogi Race” on their scoreboard in 1999, which featured animated Pierogis racing through the city. Since that time, the Pirates Pierogies have become live mascots of the team, now taking the field at the end of the 5th inning to run a 280-yard race. Characters include Cheese Chester, Sauerkraut Saul, Bacon Burt, Oliver Onion, Jalapeno Hannah, Potato Pete and Pizza Penny (who made her debut last season). Fans are surprisingly vocal during the race, which is sponsored by Eastern Pennsylvania-based pierogi manufacturer Mrs. T’s Pierogies, avidly cheering for their favorite racer throughout the season. A champi­­on is named during the final home game of the season. This year Cheese Chester took home bragging rights. Working with the team to sponsor the race was a no-brainer, says Mrs. T’s Public Relations Manager Van­­essa Burney. “It was such a natural fit for us,” she says. “Pittsburgh loves pierogis and so do we.”

Tomasz Skowronski and Kate Lasky founders of Apteka.

To take a full pierogi tour of Pittsburgh, visit: Pierogies Plus, 342 Island Ave., McKees Rocks S&D Polish Deli, 2204 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh Church Brew Works, 3525 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh Butterjoint, 214 N Craig St., Pittsburgh Penn Brewery, 800 Vinial St., Pittsburgh Stuff’d Pierogi Bar, 130 7th St., Pittsburgh

Pop into Pittsburgh for some pierogi any time of the year. WOW air will take you there. WOW air offers cheap flights to Pittsburgh from all over Europe four times a week. Find your flight at



8 a IDAY .m . – OPE 11 p NI . m NG . e v HO er y UR d ay S

ADVENTURES IN FOOD Hlemmur welcomes you to celebrate the holidays at Iceland’s first food hall. A wide selection of international and Icelandic street food, organic pastries and fresh vegetables in a vibrant setting. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. Take a load off, enjoy the cozy atmosphere, and explore what Icelandic cuisine has to offer.

HOLIDAY OPENING HOURS December 23 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.

December 24 Closed.

December 26–30 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

December 25 Closed.

December 31 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

January 1 Closed.

Free WiFi




Issue six 101


Where big things happen! Dallas’ skyline is a dream of glass, packed with protruding high-rises and LED-lined architecture. But within the city’s streets lives an only-in-Texas vibe, where cowboy hats and snakeskin boots adorn night-out attire, and the aroma of barbecue lasts until well after midnight. Here’s how to spend a weekend here. by Cindy-Lou Dale Photos:



The Dallas Zoo is the largest zoo in Texas, with 106 acres and home to over 2,000 animals. There’s always something new, including a Hippo Outpost.

Trinity Groves, located at the base of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in West Dallas, is the ultimate foodie destination. You’ll find everything from Spanish tapas to authentic Italian – and the view across Downtown is incredible.

Get the true Texas experience at Texas Horse Park. Take a relaxing horseback ride along the trails and see the Great Trinity Forest, the largest urban forest in the USA.

Experience 360-degree views of Dallas at the GeO-Deck. The observation deck (470 feet in the sky) includes an outdoor walkway and Halo, a digital information system that gives you the history behind Dallas’ most famous landmarks and events.


WOW Power to the people

The quaint shops and restaurants of the Bishop Arts District offer an eclectic and unique experience in one of Dallas’ most historic areas and is home to more than 60 boutiques, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and galleries.

Deep Ellum introduced jazz and blues to Dallas in the 1920s. It’s rich musical history still beats on in this district with an array of

Truck Yard is a complex housing food trucks in an expansive retro outdoor space, with everything you’ll need in one place. With its tree house bar, a great line up of daily food trucks and large outdoor space, it’s the ultimate hangout spot.

live music venues. The eclectic neighborhood is filled with quirky shops, great restaurants, bars and a huge live music scene.

GREAT DALLAS FOOD EXPERIENCES Go for a stroll and take in the delicious sights of the Dallas Farmers Market where local farmers display mouth-watering fruits and vegetables and on occasion offer free samples.

Truck Yard is a complex housing food trucks in an expansive retro outdoor space, with everything you’ll need in one place. With its tree house bar, a great line up of daily food trucks and large outdoor space, it’s the ultimate hangout spot.

Dallas’ skyline is a dream of glass, packed with protruding high-rises and LED-lined architecture.

You can’t go wrong with a lunch stop at Lockhart Smokehouse. From brisket to sausage and a side of deviled eggs, this spot is a worth a visit in Bishop Arts.

and big charm, is a smart, fresh city. So, leave those cowboy boots and ten-gallon Stetsons at home because this capital city is all about big city sophistication with just a hint of southern charm.

PRO DALLAS TIP Get a ‘City Pass’ and save 40% off admission to Dallas Zoo, Reunion Tower GeO Deck, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum OR Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

FREE DALLAS TRANSPORT OPTIONS Hop on the McKinney Avenue Trolley that takes you through Downtown, The Dallas Arts District and Uptown. Look for the “M-Line” maroon sign that’s located at all the stops along the route, and track the trolley to see when its near.

Use D-Link to explore Dallas’ arts, fun, culture and dining. Check out the Dallas Arts District in downtown Dallas and historic Oak Cliff. Buses run every 15 minutes, Monday to Saturday, from 11am11:30pm. E-Frogs is an eco-friendly golf cart service that transports you in style around sev­­en Dallas neighborhoods. Each cart is wrapped in colorful and eye-catching décor, and easy to spot. To request a ride text your departure and arrival addresses to (469) 432-4055. Dallas’s reputation has long been shaped by saucy television shows such as Dallas; and everyone knowns where the ‘Dallas Cowboys’ football team calls home, but dig a little deeper, and find that beneath the stereotypical big-hair, big cars, big houses

A vacation in Dallas could become more than just a dream. Go big and then go home with great memories. WOW air offers cheap flights to Dallas from several European cities from May 2018.



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

Issue six 103

Cincinnatians eat more than 2 million pounds of chili each year topped by 850,000 pounds of shredded cheese.


Eight Great Conversation Starters Arriving in a new city can be daunting, especially if you want to get to know the locals. Here are eight great conversation starters for those who want to get to know the people of Cincinnati a little better. by Cindy-Lou Dale Photos:

CHILI Cincinnatians eat more than 2 million pounds of chili each year topped by 850,000 pounds of shredded cheese. In Cincinnati USA, chili is done differently. In place of chunks of meat and sizeable beans, you’ll get savory soupiness and creative accouterments like spaghetti, hot dogs and mustard. In place of an overtly tomato-y base, you’ll taste hints of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and maybe even chocolate. Residents tend to be loyal to one of two Cincinnati-based chains, Skyline Chili or Gold Star Chili, and enjoy their chili atop spaghetti as a 3, 4, or 5-Way.

BEER By 1890, Cincinnati was the third larg­­ est beer producing city in the country. At that time, the city had 36 brew­­eries, largely due to the high perc­­entage of German immi­­grants, with hundreds of drinking establish­­ments throughout the streets of Over-the-Rhine, the predominant brew­­ing neighborhood. Prohibition was a death sentence for most of the city’s brew scene, but today’s new­­found inter­­­est in the histor­ic lager­­ ing tunnels under city streets and rich brewing history of the area has brought a resurgence in craft breweries.



In 1869, the nine-player Cincinnati Red Stockings became the country’s first professional baseball team (all paid play­ers, no amateurs) and finished with a perfect 57-0 record. And the total salary outlays for the season? A cool $11,000. Today, the Cincinnati Reds are an integral part of the region’s culture.

As one of America’s oldest cities and an early haven for immigrants, Cincinnati’s architecture is stunning, ranging from skyscraping Art Deco towers to the largest preserved historic district in the country, Over-the-Rhine. Some of the most notable architectural landmarks in Cincinnati include the Art Deco master­­ piece of Carew Tower and the Hilton Net­­herland Plaza Hotel, as well as Union Terminal, a historic train station that now serves as the home to the Cincinnati Muse­­um Centre.

GRAETER’S ICE CREAM This renowned ice cream company all began when a German immigrant to Cincinnati in the mid-1800’s started making high-quality ice cream out of his home. Today, the family-run company continues to use the original French Pot process to make the product that Graeter’s is famous for. A favorite of Oprah’s, the signature flavor and musttry experience at Graeter’s is the Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip.

As one of America’s oldest cities and an early haven for immigrants, Cincinnati’s architecture is stunning, ranging from skyscraping Art Deco towers to the largest preserved historic district in the country, Over-theRhine.

cities with professional companies in all five arts: ballet, opera, fine art museums, symphony and theatre. One way that visitors can enjoy Cincinnati’s rich arts scene for free is through the public art throughout the region. The non-profit organization ArtWorks has created more than 100 public murals. INNOVATION From being the first American city to esta­­ blish a weather bureau, have a munici­pal fire department, and own a major railroad, to being home to the devel­­opment of the first polio vaccine, Cincinnati has a history of being an inn­­ovative region. Many Cincinnatian inn­­ovators are household names, including Neil Armstrong, Harriet Beec­­­her Stowe, and President William Howard Taft. Today, the innovative reputation continues, with Triple Pundit recently calling Cincinnati one of the most innovative cities in the country, and TechInsurance naming the city as a top city for tech entrepreneurs-architecture, as well as one of its largest urban historic districts.

UNDERGROUND At the crossroads between the South and North during the Civil War, Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are home to a rich Underground Railroad history. The National Underground Railroad Free­­dom Centre, built on the banks of the Ohio River, com­­­memo­­ rat­­es the region’s important role in the Underground Rail­­road and the Civil War. Rotating exhibits, available to view Tuesday through Satur­­day, tell stories from the past and honor mod­­ ern abolitionists and free­­dom heroes. ART Cincinnati is home to a thriving arts scene, made up of an incredible diversity of both performing arts and museums. In fact, Cincinnati is one of only 13 U.S.


WOW Power to the people

Let’s talk about Cincinnati! You might have more in common with the locals than you’d think. WOW air offers cheap flights to Cincinnati, Ohio, from several major European cities starting in May 2018.

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


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

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

The Icelandic Museum of Rock 'n' Roll

Issue six 105

It’s a city with its own quirks and here are ten reasons why you’ll love them.

St. LOUIS 9.

The Mid-West city amongst the amber waves of grain St. Louis, about three hundred miles from its more popular cousin, Chicago, is a major Missouri city along the Mississippi River. Its iconic, 630-ft. Gateway Arch, built in the 1960s, honors the early 19th-century explorations of Lewis and Clark and America’s westward expansion. It’s a city with its own quirks and here are eleven reasons why you’ll love it. by Cindy-Lou Dale Photos:




Many of the city’s main attractions are free. The Art Museum, The History Museum, and the Zoo – con­­sidered one of the best zoos in the country, with 90 acres and 18,000 animals. There are great free events like Shakespeare plays performed in Forest Park and the Muny, the US’s largest outdoor musical theatre venue, has free tickets. The City Museum is a 600,000 squa­­ re-foot interactive, eclectic, sur­­­­real playground for all ages. It greets visitors with a giant whale that becomes a tunnel, leading into a maze of caves containing a 10-story slide and an aquarium. Night-time ac­­cess is cheaper ($10) and a little spookier. It all started here – the St. Louis Bread Company, the world’s first ice-cream cone and Dr. Pepper. Speaking of food, St. Louis speci­­­ alty foods include the toasted ravioli, gooey-butt­er cake, and pro­­vel cheese. St. Louis pizzas are perfection – a thin, crisp crust, doused with provel cheese and oregano, (preferably from Imo’s Pizza); and of course, the icy delici­­ ousn­ess of Ted Drew­­es’ frozen cust­­ards. On South Grand you can sample very good ­­Vietnam­­ese, Ethi­­opian and Thai food. The Middle Eastern food in the Loop is a reve­­ l­­a­­tion, and for the uninitiated, the grilled kababs, stews and flat­­breads of the city’s Bosnian restau­­rants will blow your mind. The best local dive bar is Cat’s Meow on 2600 S. 11th Street. It’s a low-key family run boozer where the drinks are cheap, the pours strong, and after you’ve had a few, even the company is good.


What separates St. Louis from other cities is its emphasis on volun­­teer­ ism, charity, the arts and overall access for its residents.


St. Louis’ massive Forest Park is almost fifty percent larger than Central Park at 1,293 acres and is home to five of the region’s major


WOW Power to the people

It all started here – the St. Louis Bread Company, the world’s first icecream cone and Dr. Pepper. Speaking of food, St. Louis specialty foods include the toasted ravioli, gooey-butt­ er cake, and provel cheese.

insti­­tutions: The St. Louis Art Muse­­ um, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Centre, the Missouri History Museum, and the Muny amphi­­the­­ ater. 6.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in America with 79 breathtaking acres of horticultural display from around the world. This includes a Jap­­anese strolling garden, Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home and a geodesic dome called the Clim­ atron.


St. Louis has two downtowns and Clayton is one of them and where you’ll find the fancy-pants dining op­­ tions, fine art galleries and bou­­tiques, as well as glitzy hotels. It also has a trendy loud and proud ‘gaybourhood’ nightlife district. The hot spots in­­clude Just John, Meyer’s Grove, Rehab and Attitudes.


St. Louis has one of the top art festivals in the country, attracting more than 100,000 people each September.

The St. Louis Brewery (Missouri’s larg­­est independent), brews over fifty unique styles of fresh beer every year and makes some of them availa­­ble on draft at their two bre­­ wery restaurants: The Schlafly Tap Room in downtown and the Schlafly Bottle­­works in the Maplewood. On the weekends, the brewery provides free tours!

10. Of course, there is immense pride in the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. Nothing says summer in St. Louis quite like sitting in unbearable hu­­midity with a beer at Bush Stadium cheering on the Cards with bleary-eyed devotion. 11. Your stay may be short but when leaving St. Louis, no one tells you about what you’ll miss. Root beer floats will never taste the same again; other museums are total snooze fests compared to the City Museum; other parks are just sad compared to Forest Park; and now the Cardinals will always be your team.

Let’s meet up in St. Louis and fall in love with the city. See you on board. WOW air will offer cheap flights to St. Louis, Missouri from Europe from May 2018.

Completing The Golden Circle

Geothermal baths - Natural steam baths Local kitchen - Geothermal bakery Open daily

10:00 - 23:00 (Summer 09/06 - 20/08) 11:00 - 22:00 (Winter 21/08 - 08/06)

Issue six 107

Cleveland rocks

Cleveland and its Hoods Tenacity meets refinement in a city where you can browse modern art inside a turn-of-the-century transformer station, hear the orchestra perform live inside the local hot dog joint, and chow down on pierogi stuffed with beef cheek. You see, Cleveland isn’t a place for people who follow the herd, it is for those who know how to have a good time – and never take life too seriously, and here is where you’ll find them. by Cindy-Lou Dale Photos: Courtesy of and Larry E. Highbaugh, Jr

Foodies and fans of craft beer call Ohio City’s Market District their urban oasis. Just across the Cuyahoga River, west of downtown, the city’s yellowbricked West Side Market has been home to haggle-friendly meat, seafood, and veggie vendors for more than 100 years.


WOW Power to the people

UNIVERSITY CIRCLE The bold and the brainy call the art and educational neighborhood of University Circle their Cleveland capital. The districts of Wade Oval and Uptown have per­­haps the greatest concentration of business, botany, medicine, and art learning centers on the globe within one square mile — from the campuses of Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Cleveland Museum of Art. It’s all easily accessible from downtown using the RTA HealthLine. OHIO CITY Foodies and fans of craft beer call Ohio City’s Market District their urban oasis. Just across the Cuyahoga River, west of downtown, the city’s yellow-bricked West Side Market has been home to haggle-friendly meat, seafood, and veggie vendors for more than 100 years. But hip meets heritage in Ohio City’s Victorianera homes, boutique eateries, and famous craft brewers that have made it one of the city’s symbols for urban renewal. Sample ethnic eats at the West Side Market. Climb the stairs just inside the W. 25th Street entrance for an amazing view, or eat at TownHall and

You see, Cleveland isn’t a place for people who follow the herd, it is for those who know how to have a good time – and never take life too seriously.

Gordon Square Arts District, along the Detroit Shoreway, is the city’s bohemian quarter. Insti­ tutions like the Cleveland Public Theatre and the Capitol Theatre draw the terminally arty and inter­ esting to local stages and indie cinema.

enjoy a delicious, 100% non-GMO menu with a diverse craft beer selection. TREMONT This blue-collar neighborhood balances the big city feel with cozy, small town charm. Minutes from downtown, Tremont is one of Cleveland’s oldest communities. Explore the old cottages, bygone neighborhood bars, beautiful churches, and cordial local characters. Look closer and notice come-as-you-are bars wedged between Food Network famous restaurants, art galleries, and even a pop culture monument. Order breakfast or brunch at Grumpy’s Café’s for Clevelandstyle comfort food.

while Gordon Square’s old homes and elegant mansions create a stately backdrop. LITTLE ITALY Food, faith, and the famous Feast of the Assumption Festival all help define this little Italian village, located at the base of Murray Hill. First settled in the 19th century by Italian stonemasons and artisans, Little Italy today is a buffet of Italian eateries and bakeries, including Cleveland’s oldest restaurant, Guarino’s.

DETROIT SHOREWAY Gordon Square Arts District, along the Detroit Shoreway, is the city’s bohemian quarter. Institutions like the Cleveland Public Theatre and the Capitol Theatre draw the terminally arty and interesting to local stages and indie cinema. The hip and hungry seek out bistros and bars from Happy Dog to Spice Kitchen + Bar, and urban greenery like the lakefront’s Edgewater Park attracts everyone from dog-walkers to desperate surfboarders,

Rock out in Cleveland and get to know the hoods. We’ll fly you there. WOW air now offers cheap flights to Cleveland, Ohio from Europe, starting in May 2018




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 109


The greatest comeback city in the USA Decaying for decades, this once abandoned city has undergone an exciting renaissance. It’s recharged, topped up on raw urban energy, unlike any other city. Artists, entrepreneurs and young people keep moving in, and a DIY spirit pervades. Vacant lots are being converted into urban farms and abandoned buildings are morphed into restaurants and museums. by Cindy-Lou Dale Photos:

“Detroit is finally coming back” is the incessant catchphrase from upwardly mobile young people who cycle around Motor City and frequent its new bars, cafés and designer shops. DIVERSE CULINARY SCENE An up-and-coming food mecca, Detroit has a diverse collection of new eateries and watering holes, from gastro pubs and distilleries to French bistros and burg­­er bars, most featuring locally grown ingredients. The crazy good cul­­i­ n­­­­ary scene, is famous for its Coney dog and Greek eats alongside award-winn­­­­ ing sushi and steaks, with craft beers and liquors created on-site. Downtown’s most popular eateries include Dime Store, where brunch is an any time of day meal. Found inside


WOW Power to the people

Detroit, the city better known as a center for motor manufacture, is revving its culinary motor.

Artists, entrepreneurs and young people keep moving in, and a DIY spirit pervades. Vacant lots are being converted into urban farms and abandoned buildings are morphed into restaurants and museums.

Cafe d’Mongo’s is a weekend’s-only night spot that has been a fixture in downtown since the 80s. It’s an old-fashi­ on­ed speakeasy offering no-frills, loads of culture and plenty of Hollywoodtypes.

Chrysler House (aka the Dime Building), diners flock here daily for its consistently attentive serv­ice and delicious menu like duck bop hash and spicy pork belly eggs benedict. At Standby, a downtown bar that bridges the gap between classy and casual, they churn out pheno­­menal, bespoke cocktails. Beverages like their vibrant green ‘Snake in the Grass’ steal the show. The menu is full of delicious dishes like classic cheese­­burgers, curry braised lamb, and green chili stew. Wright & Co. tows the line between casual and fine dining, striking the perfect balance for downtown Detroit. Looking at the heritage building you’d never guess that on the second floor a local chef serves sharing plates of smoked rabbit rillette, Sriracha chicken skewers and raw Brussels sprout sal­ad – costing around $10. The no-reservation policy means a wait at weekends, which is best done at the long vintage bar.


It’s only natural that Motor City would become a haven for meals on wheels. Some of the city’s best food is to be found at downtown mobile street vendors – like delicious pulled brisket at Grill Billies Food Truck (@grillbilliesdetroit); or chorizo poutine from The Grindhouse (@ GrindHouseFood), and to top it off, a delicious milkshake from Brome Burgers (@bromeburger). HOT AND HAPPENING IN DOWNTOWN DETROIT Cafe d’Mongo’s is a weekend’s-only night spot that has been a fixture in downtown since the 80s. It’s an old-fashi­on­­­ed speakeasy offering nofrills, loads of culture and plenty of Hollywood-types. Two hotdog diners on West Lafayette Boulevard command a passionate local following. Despite its name, Coney Island Dog is a Michigan institution. You must pop into either the American at No 114 or the pleasingly grungy Lafayette at No 118 and spend a few dollars on a ‘coney’ hotdog heaped with mustard, chili sauce and onions. At the Lafayette, the one (and only) waiter theatrically balances multiple dishes up his arm. The Hudson Café (1241 Woodward Ave) takes its name from the Down­­ town store that dominated this block. The café crazy menu serves French toast with warm maple syrup, voodoo eggs benedict, corn cake with chor­izo, cheese and a piquant sauce, each for less than $10. Be warned, waits can be long. Americans love a good story, especially one where the underdog wins, turning this once joke city into a hip destination. Frescoes, farmers mark­­ ets, cycling greenways, vodka, whisky distilleries and creative chefs are all regenerating the city’s groove.

Detroit is having a comeback which will make you want to come back again and again. You’ll find cheap flights to Detroit with WOW air from Europe at Flights are available from end of April 2018.

Experience tapas the Icelandic way, made with the freshest local ingredients in an energetic and vibrant atmosphere. TAPASBARINN – A MUST TRY IN ICELAND

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

Tapasbarinn | Vesturgata 3B | 101 Reykjavík | Tel: 551 2344 |

Issue six 111


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 37 destinations and will continue to add more as well as increase flight frequency to top destinations such as London, Paris and California. You can check out all our flight destinations and low fares at

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

BOSTON AMSTERDAM A city of art, architecture, cool peo­ple and canals, and don’t forget wind­­ mills, weird wooden shoes and tulips. Amsterdam is a fairytale and a great place to visit. WOW air offers cheap flights* to Amsterdam from USA, Canada and Iceland daily or two times a day, all year round.

The city that’s famous for Cheers and good shopping. WOW air offers cheap flights to Boston from Iceland all days of the week all year round. Connecting flights* to Boston are available from most WOW destinations in Europe. 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.

for fine chocolate, tasty waffles, premium beer and mussels this cool destination will surprise you. WOW air offers cheap flights to Brussels four times a week all year round.

Hop onboard. WOW air offers cheap flights* to Berlin, Germany from USA, Canada and Iceland, every day of the week, all year round. Two flights a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 1st until end of October.

COPENHAGEN The former capital of Iceland is still a favorite among Icelanders and now’s your chance to find out why. WOW air offers daily flights* to Copenhagen, Denmark from USA, Canada and Iceland all year round. Two flights a day on Mondays and Fridays from June 1st until end of October.

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.


WOW Power to the people


BRUSSELS A trendy hot-spot with a wide range of attractions, Brussels, Belgium is a perfect destination for a fun family vacation or a short city break. Known

The Windy City has it all; beaches, awe-inspiring architecture, great food, top rated museums, sports, comedy, diverse neighborhoods, a bustling nightlife and so much more. WOW air flies to Chicago five to seven times a week, all year round.

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, three times a week, from June to October.

LYON Experience the gastronomic capital of France with all its history and vibrant cultural scene. WOW air flies to Lyon two to three times a week* from June to October, with available connections from USA and Canada. FRANKFURT


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

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

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

EDINBURGH Enjoy Scottish hospitality, listen to the smooth sounds of bagpipes, swim with the Loch Ness Monster, taste the national dish—haggis— and wash it all down with some fine Scottish whiskey. We guarantee you’ll get hooked on Scotland! WOW air now offers three to four flights* a week to Edinburgh from USA, Canada and Iceland.

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 during the winter months, or until the end of March.

Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, 2-3 times a week from June to October. SALZBURG Looking for that perfect winter destination? European ski resorts are known for being budget friendly and the Austrian Alps’ best ski resorts are just a short drive from Salzburg Airport. Pack your skis; WOW air flies to Salzburg from Iceland once a week from the end of December to the end of February 2018.

MONTRÉAL This cultural gem has been nicknamed La Belle Ville or the Beautiful City and it’s more European than American at its core. Here you’ll find design, art, culture, nightlife and culinary scenes that rival the best in the world. And don’t for­get about the hockey. WOW air flies to Montréal, Canada four to seven times a week, all year round.

Snæfellsjökull Art, science and history of an Icelandic volcano A unique book by Iceland’s most noted volcanologist.


Haraldur Sigurdsson Issue six 113


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 offers cheap flights* to Washington, D.C. from Europe, every day of the week, all year round.

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. WOW air now flies to Stockholm Arlanda airport, from USA, Canada and Iceland, offering four flights* a week, all year round. TENERIFE Relaxing on a tropical island sounds like a dream and Tenerife is a dream come true. WOW air offers two to three flights a week to Tenerife Sur from Iceland all year round. TEL AVIV For sunny fun and great food, Tel Aviv is the city to visit. Known for its lively and vibrant nightlife, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere and amazing history and architecture, the city of Tel Aviv will be a pleasant surprise. Get ready for a whole new experience. WOW air flies to Tel Aviv, Israel, three to four times a week, all year round.

The WOW Stopover


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

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

The WOW Stopover allows you to visit Iceland on your way between Europe and North America. Get two desti­­­na­­­ tions instead of one and experience some­­thing extraordinary on your way across the Atlantic.

Check out Canada! WOW air offers cheap flights* to Toronto from Europe, every day of the week, all year round. WARSAW The capital of Poland has some historic charisma and is a great destination if you’re on a budget. WOW air offers flights to Warsaw from Iceland, with available connections from USA and Canada, two times a week from June to September 2018


WOW Power to the people

Find out more at

Go further with

WOW air’s now offers additional travel options in collaboration with You can book connecting flights outside our network at the best possible price. Would you like to fly to South America, Asia or Africa? Our booking engine in collaboration with will find you the easiest connection. * Note that the availability of connecting flights between USA and Europe/Asia may vary depending on the flight frequency to each city. WOW air connects London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cork, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Lyon, Stockholm, Alicante, Barcelona, Milan, Warsaw and Tel Aviv to New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the US and Toronto and Montréal in Canada.

Issue six 115



Photos: Various outlets

Nature photographer shows his support for nature On September 16th Icelanders celebrate their Day of Icelandic Nature. On this occasion photographer, Kristján Ingi Einarsson delivered to the Landvernd, the Icelandic Nature Conservation Association, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of his book, Unique Iceland. In 2017 Kristján’s book became one of the best sellers in its genre, and to show his thanks to Icelandic nature and those who protect it, Kristján pledged that 5% of the price of each book go to Landvernd.

Kristján Ingi delivers his donation to Gudmund­ur Ingi, CEO of Landvernd.

Landvernd is planning to use Kristjan’s generous dona­­tion for its beach cleaning project called Hreinsum Ísland (Clean up Iceland) that began in April 2017. The project is aimed to raise awareness and teach people about plastic pollution in the sea. Multi­­ple beaches have been cleaned by volunteers since the project began and an effort for a plastic-free September was a hit among Icelanders.

Make a pledge! If you plan on following our WOW advice on how to stay safe in Iceland and how not to ruin the nature, you might as well make it official— and possibly win an all-inclusive trip to Iceland! Website “Inspired by Iceland” has great tips and info for travelers and now pleads with them to sign a pledge to be a responsible tourist. The pledge goes: “When I explore new places, I will leave them as I found them. I will take photos to die for, without dying for them. I will follow the road into the unknown, but never venture off the road. And I will only park where I am supposed to. When I sleep under the stars, I will stay at a campsite. And when nature calls, I won’t answer the call on nature. I will be prepared for all weather, all possibilities and all adventures.” Sign the pledge here:

Hey! Where did the WOW bikes go? This summer WOW air started a brand new side venture in Reykjavik, a city-bike service, giving the citizens and guests of Reykjavík a chance to better explore Iceland‘s capital on their own. Sadly, Icelandic winters are no friends to bikes or their riders so this winter the purple WOW bikes will stay inside. But fret not, come April, those beauties will once again adorn the streets of Reykjavik.

Púki, taking it easy on top of a reindeer. Photo: Sigurður Árni Jósefsson

The Yule Cat gets a makeover Unless you are lucky enough to have been born an Icelander or to have lived in Iceland through a Christmas season, you probably haven‘t heard of Grýla and the Yule Lads, or their cat. In Ice­­land, thirteen Yule Lads take turns leaving their dark, damp and gloomy cave, deep in the Icelandic Highland, to visit Icelandic children, one Yule Lad per evening, during the thir­­teen nights before Christmas. Of course, the children are expecting these visitors, and they always leave a shoe in their bedroom window in the hope that, as long as they have been good, they will receive a small present! If they have misbehaved, then traditionally they will get an old potato! That’s the good news. There is another side to Christmas in Iceland. According to legend, Grýla, the Yule Lads’ troll mother, would collect naughty children in a sack and take them back to her cave for cooking! It is a fear that has carried through into modern times. As if Grýla’s reputation weren’t bad enough, the poor Icelandic children also have to worry about the Yule Cat—a ferocious animal


WOW Power to the people

the world, so something had to be done.

Stories of the Yule Cat seem to date back to times when children had to help out with clothing production. In a cold country such as Iceland, everyone had

Renowned illustrator Brian Pilkington has lived in Iceland for over 30 years and written some of the countries most beloved books, e.g. more than a few about the Yule Lads, Grýla and Leppalúði (Grýla’s husband). His books about the Icelandic Christmas customs have played a big part in introducing the world to our somewhat strange but colorful holiday traditions.

to do their bit. Tales of what the Yule Cat would do to a child if he or she didn’t receive a new item of clothing at Christmastime probably kept them productive and focused throughout the long, cold and dark Icelandic winter nights. Whether there is any truth in the cat’s reputation for ferocity is a question, but the fact remains that it is not the cuddliest cat in

In Pilkington’s latest book, published in both Icelandic and English, the Yule Cat is shown as the giant troll pet he might be today, a flea-bitten sloth that the Yule Lads need to deal with once a year. This fun story with Pilkington’s brilliant illustrations is for cat lovers of all ages as well all lazy people in need of a thorough kick in the ass.

and greatly feared. According to legend, if a child has not received a new piece of clothing for Christ­­­mas, the Yule Cat will hunt it down and eat it.

Iceland’s latest hobby: Cat spotting Speaking of cats… If you’d like your Facebook wall to fill up with cats, you should add yourself to the group “Spottaði kött,” an Icelandic group de­­­ vot­­ed to photos of cat spotting. Reykjavik is a very cat-friendly place, and perhaps we don’t advertise that enough, but it’s rare to see so many domestic cats out and about in a city. Downtown Reykjavik is a known hangout for Baktus taking a cat nap at the Icewear store. Photo: @ohedda some well-known cats who’ve gotten even more famous after the group was formed. These cele­­brity cats mostly hang out in shops and pubs near Laugavegur shopping street where they get the most attention, and even display themselves in the shop windows for more views. Some of them now even have their own fan pages such as Púki (his Facebook name is Púki Koturrinn) who hangs out at 66°North store, and occasionally at Lebowski Bar. Bookstores also seem to be a cat favorite as one cat haunts the Eymundsson bookstore and for years Forlagið publis­­her had a regular cat in their shop too. The most famous one of all is Baktus, the cat who mostly hangs out in the shops around Austurstræti, such as Icewear and Gyllti Kötturinn. The black and white Baktus has his own Instagram page and has for years, so if you spot him: #baktus. Don’t be afraid to pet the cats of Iceland and go for a selfie with them. Despite their fame, they happen to like the attention.

Issue six 117



Volcanic activity in the south

Looming over the glacier lagoon, Öræfajökull volcano looks peaceful from afar. Photo: iStockphoto / Sloot



Iceland has many active volcanoes that could go off at any time. Well, maybe not at any time, but still… Scientists can tell us with certain accuracy which ones are “due” for eruption and when based on their previous patterns, give or take a few years or, indeed, decades. There are a number of volcanoes here that we’ve been waiting for. Hekla is one of those as the pressure in her (yes, Hekla is a lady) magma chambers is, according to scientists, greater than it was before the last two eruptions. Despite this assessment, Hekla has remained calm, giving no further signs of erupting. For safety reasons, travelers have been forbidden to hike the mountain as Hekla gives almost no warning before she finally goes off. Yup, she loves the element of surprise. Mt. Hekla’s eruptions are spectacular wonders to behold, and if you follow all safety protocols and keep your distance, they are quite safe to look at. As safe as volcanic eruptions go anyway. But there are other volcanoes to keep a watchful eye on and not all of them visible as they lie dormant beneath our glaciers. One of them, simply called Öræfajökull after its glacier cap in Vatnajökull, has been stirring recently. Öræfajökull is Europe’s second largest active volcano and has been lying dormant for close to 300 years. Unlike Hekla, this volcano gives out plenty of warnings in the form of earthquakes, the smell of sulphur in the air and a noticeable dent in the glacier’s massive ice cap. It does not necessarily mean that an eruption is imminent, but they are signs of activity beneath the ice that need to be observed and taken seriously. The area around Öræfajökull is, at the time of this writing, on yellow alert but this process can take a very long time. In the case of the now infamous Eyjafjallajökull, 16 years passed from when it first showed signs of activity until it finally erupted. A worst-case scenario if Öræfajökull erupts will be a great flood as the icecap melts, meaning a quick evacuation of approximately 2,000 people (travelers and inhabitants alike). Because the volcano is beneath a glacier, this will also mean a great deal of volcanic ash. A better scenario is if the eruption takes place where the icecap is thinner, resulting in minimal ash and a more spectacular and viewerfriendly eruption with little flooding. Fingers crossed. Yes, Iceland is a volcanic island, there’s almost always something going on beneath the surface, but there’s no need to panic. If you’re feeling worried, keep an eye on website or just talk to an Icelander. We live here and have weathered these events before.


Öræfajökull will no doubt erupt one day, be it this year or two decades from now. While we wait, it would be a smart move to practice the correct pronunciation so you won’t get into the same predicament as when Eyjafjallajökull erupted. Öræfajökull: œːraivaˌjœːkʏtl or Uh (like duh) riva (like rival without the l) Yuh-kotl (like nothing we’ve ever heard of).


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WHAT’S GOING ON OVER HERE? Quite a lot actually, and if you know where to go you can live each night in Iceland like there’s a full blown festival going on.

Photos: From respective events or venues

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

Events in December and January Photo: Kaspars Bekeris

WHAT: Dragsúgur drag show WHEN: 22 December and 25-26 January WHERE: Gaukurinn, 101 Reykjavik For the past year Iceland’s best and only drag company, Dragsúgur, has been entertaining an ever-growing crowd. With its transcendent and outrageous drag royalty, it has been changing the queer scene in Iceland with their edgy performances. In December Dragsúgur offers a special Christmas edition of their show—we don’t really know what the Yuletide does to drag queens and kings but we sure want to find out. For those who can’t find cheap enough flights to Iceland in December, you’ll get a second chance in January. Be there or be square. The queens are padded, the kings are bulging, and they have comedy, glamour, fantasy and fierceness oozing out of every pore. For more information, go to or find them on

This Christmas, the Doctor, the Doctor, and Bill will return in Twice Upon a Time.

WHAT: Happy Hour WHEN: Every day from 17-19 No need to explain, happy hour means the same in Iceland as everywhere else.

WHAT: Friday night party screenings JUMP ON BOARD OUR


WHEN: Every Friday night at 8 pm Friday means nostalgia at Bíó Paradís. The Sound of Music? Sure. Moulin Rouge and Mamma Mia too! Singalong? Of course!

WHAT: Black Sundays WHEN: Every Sunday night at 8 pm

WHAT: Christmas Party Screenings WHEN: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays! Come celebrate Christmas preparations at Bíó Paradís and watch your favorite classics! Titles include: The Holiday, Die Hard, Love Actually, Home Alone, Harry Potter and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 




+354 788 55 66


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Twice Upon A Time WHEN: December 26, 2017 to January 1, 2018 This Christmas, the Doctor, the Doctor, and Bill will return in Twice Upon a Time. We cannot wait to celebrate Christmas with Doctor Who!

Each Sunday evening Bíó Paradís’ special team of experts (cartoonist/ comedian Hugleikur Dagsson, the renowned author Sjón and the screen­­ writer/comedian/musician Sigur­­jón Kjartansson) throw on one or more cult classic. Check out their Facebook page to see what’s showing this Sunday!

WHAT: German Film Days WHEN: 1-10 February The eighth edition of German Film Days takes place at Bíó Paradís from February 1st to February 10th. The German Film Days are organized by Bíó Paradís in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Denmark and the German Embassy in Iceland. For this edition, Bíó Paradís will present six films, all of which represent the best that current German cinema has to offer.

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They tell of heroes and antiheroes, villains, feisty females, betrayal, dispute, love, hate and last but not least, pillaging, plundering and murder.

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

Members of burlesque group Ladies and a Gentleman have performed with various other productions like Reykjavík Kabarett, Dragsúgur and the Poetry Brothel. Sigur Rós takes over Harpa this holiday season and will per­­form four concerts in Eldborg, Harpa’s main hall, on Decem­­ber 27, 28, 29 and 30.

Photo: Kaspars Bekeris

WHAT: A Burlesque kind of Christmas at Gaukurinn WHEN: 28 December WHERE: Gaukurinn, 101 Reykjavik Ladies and a Gentleman is a Reykjavík based group of burlesque performers that have been performing together since early 2017. They are now working on new acts for their third show this year and this time, the Holidays will be the centerpiece. Members of the group have performed with various other productions like Reykjavík Kabarett, Dragsúgur and the Poetry Brothel. You can expect a show of the variety kind with acts ranging from classic burlesque to comedy involving Icelandic holiday traditions. For this show, the boylesque wonder of Stockholm, Saint Edgard will join the group on stage and without a doubt leave the crowd speechless. The Ladies and a Gentleman are all very excited to dance into the New Year, and you are invited to join them! No previous knowledge of Icelandic is required to enjoy the show. The venue will open up an hour before it starts and is not for people under the age of 20. Photography is strictly forbidden during the show. Lastly, it should be noted that this is not for people who are sensitive to dirty jokes, blasphemy or the wonders of the human body.



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WHAT: Sigur Rós concert and “Norður og Niður” festival WHEN: December 27-30 WHERE: Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik Sigur Rós takes over Harpa this holiday season and will per­­form four concerts in Eldborg, Harpa’s main hall, on Decem­­ber 27, 28, 29 and 30. During that time, the band also cordially invites you to their “Norður og niður” festival. The name of the festival is a reference to the way Icelanders tell each other to go to hell or to “go North and go down,” which is oddly fitting. The days leading up to New Year’s Eve are the perfect time to join Sigur Rós at the end of an 18-month world tour. It is the first time in 5 years that the band performs on their native soil and it’s their most intimate since the small regional shows on the Heima tour more than a decade ago. In addition to the concerts, the band will set up residence in Reykjavik’s state-of-the-art venue, Harpa, to fill the shortest days with the brightest array of music, art and performance from Iceland and beyond. Norður og Niður is a festival that takes place during the very same days that Sigur Rós performs in Harpa. It will host musical performances, art installations, dance pieces, film screenings, spoken word and impromptu happenings, many of them featuring the extended network of friends and collaborators that the members of Sigur Rós have met and worked with throughout their twenty-plus year career. The full lineup of the festival has been revealed and includes Julianna Barwick, Jarvis Cocker, Peaches, Mogway, The Icelandic Dance Company, Sóley and Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine. Travel packages with tickets to the festival and Sigur Rós concert are available at


For more information, go to


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WHAT: Paul Oscar’s big show WHEN: December 30th WHERE: Laugardalshöll Stadium The one, the only and the legendary Paul Oscar, Iceland’s No. 1 pop icon will repeat his big show in December, performing his greatest hits from 1991-2017, with a band and a whole lot of dancers. The stage has been specially built for this event, and Paul Oscar goes all in with bombs, LED sticks, LED lights, LED balls, life-rafts and sofas… Yes, it’s all a part of the show. Don’t miss out on the glitz, the glamour and the glitter of this fabulous show. Bring your kids to the daytime concert or glam up and show up for the evening concert. There’s a reason Paul Oscar is No. 1, and this is your chance to find out why. Find tickets at

was lifted off Iceland’s bent but not broken back, rebuilding social spirit and reassuring every man, woman and child, that NO force would ever hold back the inevitable conquest of beer.

Photo: Lilja Jónsdóttir

WHAT: The Annual Icelandic Beer Festival WHEN: 22-24 February 2018 WHERE: KEX Hostel and Mikkeller & Friends We had to fight, for our right to party, but we won. On March 1, 1989, the 74-year spell of prohibition

Next February KEX Hostel, KEX Brewing and Mikkeller & Friends Reykjavík will celebrate the existence of beer in Iceland for the 7th time alongside WOW air and the craft beer loving elite of the world. Full schedule and breweries will be announced soon but expect the festival to be nothing less than a spectacular experience for the craft beer loving folks from all over. Festival tickets available at

WHAT: Sónar Reykjavik 2018 WHEN: March 16-17 WHERE: Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik

Photo: Kaspars Bekeris

WHAT: Reykjavík Kabarett WHEN: 4-6 January WHERE: Tjarnarbíó Theater, Reykjavik The outstanding Icelandic Cabaret family celebrates the New Year with a bang, mixing burlesque, variety, magic, circus and a whole lot of nonsense in the beautiful old theater of Tjarnarbíó. The show features Icelandic variety royalty with local and international guests.

Tickets are now available for this intimate music festival where the prestigious brand of Sónar redefines itself in a smaller location and at smaller venues. Sónar Reykjavik strives to deliver the experience and artists lineup Sónar Barcelona would be proud of. It takes place on five stages with a total capacity of 3500 guests. Besides the two main stages, a part of the concert hall’s underground parking will be changed into a nightclub where local and international DJ’s will perform during the festival. Also, a scenic part of Harpa, an architectural wonder, will be changed into a stage along with a seated hall with a capacity of 199 guests. The lineup will include a balanced mix of both international artists and the most current ones from Iceland’s thriving music scene.

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

East Iceland

experience of discovering something that is truly their own—seeking it in the hipsterinfested dust of Coachella to the power metal soaked bogs of Wacken Open Air. But deep in the fjords of eastern Iceland, under the never-setting midnight sun, a select few have found something so genuinely different that year after year they traverse the desolate, barren shoreline of a volcanic island on the edge of the earth to partake in the head banging bacchanalia.

Metalheads and music fans alike all yearn for that ultimate

The festival is Eistnaflug, and since its heyday in 2005,

From New York: Tiger Bay, Jezebel Express, Matthew Holtzclaw and Manchego. From Stockholm (but originally from Iceland): The Saint Edgard From Reykjavík: Miss Mokki, Nadia, Lalli the Magician, Miss Encircled, Maísól, Gógó Starr and Greta Rokk. Although introduction and MCing will mostly be in Icelandic, the acts are all visual so language should not be a problem. The cabaret has had (a whole lot of) non-Icelandic speaking guests that enjoyed the shows and they’ve had (only two) non-Icelandic speakers who did not enjoy the show due to language. If you come to Iceland to laugh with the locals, this is a perfect night for you but leave the kids at home as this show is not suitable for people under the age of 18. Check out for information about their next gigs. Tickets for their January show will be available at


WOW Power to the people

Photos: Hjalti Árnason

WHAT: Eistnaflug (The Flying Testicles Music Festival)

WHEN: 11-14 July 2018 WHERE: Neskaupstaður,

this friendly gathering has hosted international acts from Sweden’s Meshuggah to Poland’s Behemoth performing alongside the cream of the burgeoning local scene, such as Auðn, Zhrine and Misþyrming. The 2018 edition promises to be yet another banger, with acts such as black metal giants Watain and the spellbinding Poles in Batushka already confirmed. So let your hair down and buy those early bird tickets already, ‘cuz next July will be a month to remember! – Tickets available through



Our Master Watchmaker never loses his concentration

With his legendary concentration and 45 years of experience our Master Watchmaker and renowned craftsman, Gilbert O. Gudjonsson, inspects every single timepiece before it leaves our workshop.

All the watches are designed and assembled by hand in Iceland. Only highest quality movements and materials are used to produce the watches and every single detail has been given the time needed for perfection.

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Desember - Janu


ARIES 21 MARCH - 19 APRIL You need more red wine and fine dining in your life and if your boss starts acting up just tell him to chill and take a time-out. Also, unmarried Aries should know that proposals at midnight on New Year’s Eve in a foreign city are definitely the WOW way to do things. Otherwise, they might not get free pizza ever again.

TAURUS 20 APRIL - 20 MAY People have been on your case since October because of your unseasonably early Christmas spirits, Christmas music and holiday decorations. Don’t let them get you down, just get new friends and celebrate whenever you feel like it. The stars applaud you.

GEMINI 21 MAY - 21 JUNE Redheaded Geminis are in for a treat really soon, but the dark haired ones will receive a spanking. Blonde Geminis get a free pass this month.

CANCER 22 JUNE - 22 JULY It’s time for resolutions, a chance for self-improvement. In an attempt to better yourself you should admit that you won’t participate in the Color Run this year, or ever, and throw away that awful 2015 T-shirt, mmmkay?

LEO 23 JULY - 22 AUGUST You’ve always wanted to spend Christmas abroad, and finally, you’re letting your dream come true. However, your whole family is coming too which wasn’t really part of the dream; now was it?

VIRGO 23 AUGUST - 22 SEPTEMBER Yeah, go ahead Virgo, leave your trusted friends and colleagues behind while you’re traipsing off somewhere abroad, living the bohemian dream. Jealous? Who? Us? NEVER!


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We highly recommend that Libras be open to more of ABBA’s music. While Fernando is a good song, and it even talks about the stars being bright, which we really like, might we suggest Hasta Manana or even just Dancing Queen. C’mon!

SCORPIO 24 OCTOBER - 21 NOVEMBER ‘Tis the season to be jolly and Scorpios are out in full force looking for a jolly ol’ time. But just because someone is desperate enough for a hook-up doesn’t mean you have to get them a present, or that they’ll give you one in return.

SAGITTARIUS 22 NOVEMBER - 21 DECEMBEr Traveling Sagittarius’ should beware of their in-laws as they probably won’t give you a moment of peace during your trip. Whatever you do, don’t let them take you out on the longest and most boring boat ride of your life.

CAPRICORN 22 DECEMBER - 19 JANUARY After a rough few months and some great news, single Capricorns should enjoy their status to the fullest and really let loose. Get a cat. We hear crazy cat lovers are all the rage these days.

AQUARIUS 20 JANUARY - 18 FEBRUARY Family is important, but sisters are the real gems. The stars recommend treating your sister or sisters extra nicely over the next few weeks. You never know when these b****s might come in handy.

PISCES 19 FEBRUARY - 20 MARCH Pisces are up for a long-overdue family vacation but what that means is the kids are tagging along and having kids, especially your kids, with you on vacation is usually no vacation at all. Don’t forget to get some precious alone time with your better half and shower them with kisses and love. Disclaimer: This horoscope is total and utter nonsence. Any accuracies, real or imagined by readers, are purely incidental.

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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?

128 128

WOW WOWPower Powertotothe thepeople people


WOWHORSES Laxnes Horse Farm is a family owned and operated horse farm offering daily tours since 1968. With a wide range of horses we specialize in short and long tours designed to introduce our customers to the amazing, gentle and one of a kind Icelandic horse. Additionally we offer a variety of combination tours letting you get the most out of your day in Iceland. We offer pickup service in Reykjavik and the farm’s easy to find location just outside Reykjavik makes joining our tours easy if you have a car. “The best way to see Icelandic nature is from the back of a horse. Laxnes is our home and with our horses being part of the family our main goal has always been to combine well organized professionalism with a warm and friendly family atmosphere.” Haukur Thorarinsson Manager



Book your tours in iceland with special promo code LAXNES on

Laxnes Horse Farm 271 Mosfellsbær Iceland Tel: +354 566 6179

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JOURNEY AROUND ICELAND Linda Ólafsdóttir is an Icelandic illustrator who has illustrated adventurous children’s books published both in Iceland and the US. Her latest book is called “Here is Iceland!” by Svava Jónsdóttir Photos: Courtesy of Linda Ólafsdóttir

The Icelandic illustrator loves to travel and hike. Her favorite place in Iceland is the colorful highland around Landmannalaugar and the hiking trails in the area. And her favorite place abroad? San Francisco. Linda says there is something magical about the Golden Gate Bridge. CHILDREN ARE HONEST, FUNNY AND CREATIVE “I’ve been drawing and making stories ever since I was a little girl and I’m fortunate to work as an author and illustrator of children’s books,” says Linda who no longer is a little girl but a woman with a husband and two children. She has illustrated chapter books and pict­­­ ure books both in Iceland and in the USA. “I also illustrate for various projects. For ex­­ample, I recently designed the Christ­­ mas Stamps for the Iceland Post, and I also illustrate for ad’s and make prints. Along with illustrating, I sometimes teach childr­­en. Children are my muse, and I love being around them; they are so honest, funny and creative which is everything that I try to embrace in my art.” This year, Linda’s debut book as an author and illustrator came out in the US. “It’s called PLAY? and is for the youngest readers at the age where they are dis­­­cov­­ ering friendships.” HERE IS ICELAND! Linda says that one of the most chall­­­ eng­­­­ing and fun projects she’s worked on is a 100 page fully illustrated book about Ice­­­land, called Íslandsbók barnanna in Icelandic. (Try to pronounce it.) “It just came out in English, called Here is Ice­­ land! I did all the illustrations, and Mar­­ grét Tryggvadóttir wrote the text. I really enjoy­­­ed working on that book and I got a complete artistic freedom when illu­­­­­strat­­­ ing it, which must be every artist’s dream.

the most beautiful place on earth. The landscape and the colors are surreal. And being in such a landscape with a group of brilliant, funny and constantly laughing ladies is the best combination.” SAN FRANCISCO When asked about her favorite place abroad, Linda says it’s San Francisco. “I liv­­ed there for five years, and although it’s been a few years since I moved back to Iceland, I still miss this place dearly. I did not know you could love a city so much. It’s beautiful, and all the hills give you amazing views of the city and the bay. Every neighborhood has its little down­­­ town area with shops and restau­­rants; there are beautiful parks and playgrounds every­­where, and although it’s a big city, it’s still very connected to nature. Golden Gate Park, the Presidio and Lands’ End are beautiful areas to relax, have a picnic and hike. The weather is perfect, never too warm, never too cold.” Linda says there is something magical about the Golden Gate Bridge. “I never got used to seeing it while living there; I was always in awe of it. The area north of the bridge is one of my favorite places, and I love hiking and biking in the Marin Head­­lands and visiting towns such as Sausalito, Mill Valley and Tiburon. Biking in the San Francisco Bay Area is great, and I always tell friends, that ask me what to do while in San Francisco, ‘Bike across the bridge and take the ferry back to the city.’ Can you tell I love that city?”

“The book is a journey around Iceland through the seasons, showing and telling the reader all about this volcanic island: its birds and mammals, mountains and shores, hot springs and geysers, people and culture.” LANDMANNALAUGAR Linda’s favorite place in Iceland is the color­­ful highland around Landmanna­­­ laug­­ar and the hiking trails around it. “Every year I go on a three-day hiking trip with a group of twenty girlfriends. And each year we choose a theme for our hike; we’ve had an American theme, Austri­­an theme and last summer we had a French theme. It creates such a funny atmosphere on our hikes, hiking in the High­­land in lederhosen or with a French beret. We’ve hiked quite a lot in the area around Landmannalaugar, and I think it’s


WOW Power to the people

Find out more about Linda’s illustrations and other projects at

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Visit our stores: Skólavörðustígur 7 & 16 and Kringlan, Reykjavík. Hafnarstræti, Akureyri. Haukadalur.

WOW magazine issue 6 2017  
WOW magazine issue 6 2017  

The Sigur Rós family are embracing darkness and opening up a new shop in Reykjavik. Find out what five souvenirs to buy in Iceland and get t...