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e azin mag Issue two 2015

Let’s talk about art!

WOW air welcomes two brand new airplanes

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

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We are improving the airport! Our departure lounge is getting a make-over Lately we've been busy making your time at the airport even better. With our renovated duty-free area and restaurants we hope we meet your needs, creating a pleasent environment to start your journey.

For further information log on to 2

WOW Power to the people



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

Geysir TOp 25 besT places TO phOTOgraph On The planeT earTh

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


hotel geysir 4

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W E LC O M E TO G EYSIR the geysir ceNter is directly opposite of the geothermal area of the great geysir aNd strokkur e


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

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



Blue Lagoon has limited availability Book 6 WOW online at Power to the people

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In this issue

Power to the people – Issue two 2015

A letter from the editor

Spring, finally!

WOW magazine staff

umhverfisvottuð prentsmiðja

Tel: 00 354 590 3020 E-mail:



© WOW air Katrínartún 12 105 Reykjavík Iceland


Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Design and layout: Ivan Burkni / Contributing writers: Hjördís Erna Þorgeirsdóttir, Marvin Lee Dupree, Paul Michael Herman, Svava Jónsdóttir, Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson, Gerður Harðardóttir, Helga María Albertsdóttir, Einar Skúlason, Jonas Löfvendahl, Kristín Einarsdóttir, Kári Gunnlaugsson, Nadja Sayej, Sylvia Sabes, Cindy-Lou Dale and Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman




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


WOW Power to the people

az in m ag

Let’s talk about art!

14 WOW Cyclothon Participants in the WOW Cyclothon 2014 gave the race a thumbs-up. 20 Forty shades of green We’ve always considered us to be green but on St. Patrick’s Day we took things a little further. 20 Reykjavik Arts Festival 2015 Reykjavik will be alive with art this spring when the 29th Reykjavik Arts Festival takes place. This year the focus is on female artists. 24 “My goal is to create beauty” Artist Tolli is one of Iceland’s most popular painters. 30 Creative living Check out these highlights from the annual Design March in Iceland. 34 The unique Reykjavik Art Museum Reykjavik Art Museum is Iceland’s largest network of art museums. 36 Deliverinag art to people Týsgallerí opened in 2013 and has been a welcome addition to the small yet vibrant Reykjavik art world. 38 A space for art Two artists came together to found a unique space for artist in an industrial area of Reykjavik. 40 Illuminating the streets Örn Tönsberg is a prominent figure in the Icelandic art scene and his vibrant works bring warmth and pleasure to those who happen to pass by. 58 Not for art’s sake Artist Helgi Þorgils Friðjónsson hopes to leave some question marks behind. 62 Just a moment … See some of the awesome #wowmoments from our guests and send us some of your own.

On the cover

Issue two 2015

Have a great vacation, Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir, editor in chief

Issue two 2015

Power to the PeoPle

It’s been a winter of extremes for Icelanders, with one storm following another and then another after that. At times like these we often ask each other jokingly why we choose to stay on this barren island, especially during the winter. Shouldn’t this just be a summer destination? Well the answer is a resounding no. Winter tourism in Iceland has been booming and it’s pretty obvious that travelers are not letting a little snap of the weather diminish their enthusi­asm. Being caught in a storm (and we don’t mean literally but rather just stuck inside during one) is an adventure. To see how this small nation copes with the elements and to open your eyes to these picture perfect hours just before and after a storm is an experience like no other. We’ve even heard of travelers who chose to walk around Reykjavik during one of these storms, just to experience this awesome weather and loving every minute of it. Well a big thank you to all of you travelers who show us natives just how thrilling this island really is and that even the worst of winter storms can be enjoyed if you put your mind to it (and dress up). I hope you’ll all be careful and not venture outside the urban areas without first checking the weather forecast and the road conditions. We want you leaving with good memories from Iceland. The days are finally getting brighter, little spring onions are poking their heads through the snow and we finally feel like winter is over. It’s time to enjoy the magnificent spring with us and perhaps check out the vibrant art scene of Iceland. What do you say?

WOW magazine – Let’s taLk abOut art!

12 What’s in a name? Our brand new Airbus A321 aircraft have arrived. Want to know what they’re called?


10 Letter from the CEO

wow aIr weLcomes two brand new aIrpLanes

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

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land under their feet. Check out this easy hike near Reykjavik and meet the trolls. 78 WOW entrepreneurs These young brothers are striking a new chord and solving an everyday problem with their brilliant project. 80 Japanese inspiration to Nordic modernism Kjarvalsstaðir Museum is an architectu­ ral work of art, built to house the master­pieces of Iceland’s most beloved landscape painter, Jóhannes S. Kjarval. 82 Reykjavik’s cultural history The Reykjavik City Museum preserves the city’s cultural heritage and shows us how it has evolved from the time of the settlement. 84 Art–Literally Discover the literary side of Iceland. 88 The legendary Kjarval Kjarval’s brilliant interpretation of Icelandic nature, with all its beauty and ethereal qualities, is a major component of Icelandic cultural history. 90 Good eats in great spots Check out these great tips from

Our cover was shot by Sigurjón Ragnar who was our photographer on the ground when our brand new Airbus A321 aircraft landed in Reykjavik domestic airport and was given a name. Find out more on pages 12-13. 104 Berlin’s bohemian village If you prefer a raw, casual experience, the coolest neighborhood of Berlin is definitely the bohemian Neukölln. 106 Paris: Romance in the City of Light The cliché is the reality; Paris is the city of love. Even solo visitors feel the magic while promenading over the city’s bridges and admiring its art. 108 Boston: That small town feeling Boston is perfect for shopping trips, romantic getaways, family vacations and everything in between. Try getting out of the city for a while and visit the beautiful little towns nearby. 110 Monumental Washington, D.C. You’ve probably seen it before but it’s time to learn some of the history behind Lincoln’s memorial, one of Washington, D.C.’s most famous monuments. 112 Tenerife: Explore the unexpected Tenerife has everything you need for the perfect paradise “vacay.” Just bring sunglasses and let Tenerife take care of the rest!

64 The world’s loneliest hotel In the northwest town of Djupavik broken dreams have been transformed into new ones.

92 What to drink? U.S.A.’s ambassador to Iceland is a beer lover and he invited us to taste Icelandic beers alongside some of his American favorites.

114 When in Rome Try eating pizza like the Romans do. This is Italy after all.

68 Flair in the air The WOW crew loves their job and they want to share some of the tips and tricks on how to look your best while cruising the skies.

94 Realm of Vatnajokull The Vatnajökull Region is filled with contrasts: black beaches, white glaciers, red volcanoes, a green birch forest.

120 What’s going on? … quite a lot, actually.

72 Larger than life How big is a whale really? Find out at the Whales of Iceland exhibition, the largest of its kind in Europe. 74 The wonders of whale watching Marine biologist Megan Whittaker fell in love with Iceland and its whales. She now has a book out about the wonders of whale watching in Iceland. 76 Meet the trolls Those who want to explore Iceland should take a hike, literally, and put some

98 The alternate Düsseldorf Apart from it being Germany’s richest city, Düsseldorf is also a city of eclectic art—ultimates and extremes. 100 Dublin: An educational trip As one of the oldest universities in the British Isles, Trinity College is a symbol for the importance of Dublin as an economic and political powerhouse in Elizabethan times.

116 This and that … mainly this.

126 WOW horoscope What’s in your future? WOW air’s famed astrologist has the answer. 128 Bored on board? Solve these sudokus. 130 The Traveling Inquisition Adventures are on the horizon for artist Hallgerður Hallgrímsdóttir.

102 Billund: The home of LEGO! Billund is one of Denmark’s top towns when it comes to summer vacations and for a good reason.

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!

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

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A letter from the CEO

WOW! What a feeling! (to steal a line from Lionel Richie)

I have to admit that I had tears in my eyes as our new “baby” came into sight and landed at Reykjavik Domestic Airport. Too see her in full livery, beautiful, healthy and ready to take on the world made me immensely proud of what we have achieved in only 3 years. It was an honor that Iceland’s First Lady Dorrit Moussaieff named her and Pagan Chief Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson blessed her as we gave her the old Icelandic name Freyja. Freyja was the Norse goddess of love and fertility who could also change herself into a bird and fly wherever her dreams took her. She is the first of the WOW fleet to be named; the second will be our other brand new Airbus A321 who will be named Óðinn, after the chief among the Old Norse gods, also known as “the wanderer.” We welcome these two to our family and look forward to many new destinations and trips together with them in the years to come. The following day another dream came true as we boarded Freyja for our first flight to Boston. From the very first day of WOW air it was my goal to cross the Atlantic and break up the virtual monopoly that has existed on routes between North America and Iceland pretty much since the dawn of flying. It has also been a dream of ours to become the first true Ultra Low Cost Carrier to cross the Atlantic by offering fares that have never been seen before. Since announcing our introductory fares of USD 99 things have been nothing short of crazy here at WOW air. The feedback has been fantastic which encourages us to continue on our path and I can already promise that we will be adding many new destination in North America besides Boston and Washington, D.C. / Baltimore by next year and connecting them with our year round destinations in Europe. I am extremely proud of the entire WOW team that has made WOW air what it is today. However I have to especially highlight our fantastic crew! I had the great pleasure of working with them while serving our guests on the first flight to Boston and I have a tremendous amount of respect for how they continuously do a fantastic job. Thank you for choosing WOW air. We are glad to have you on board and look forward to having you fly with us in the future. Sincerely, Skuli Mogensen


WOW Power to the people

Pour a glass of the number one beer in the country, raise your glass to a friend and say “scowl fyrewr thyer!” You should fit right in.

Skál fyrir þér!

Enjoy responsibly

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What’s in a name?

WOW! TF-MOM has arrived! Mother of airplanes! At the end of March, WOW air received its brand new Airbus A321 aircraft, the first of two planes designated to take our guests over the Atlantic Ocean from the great U.S. of A. Photos: Sigurjón Ragnar


ur first plane got a purple make­­over before arriving in Ice­land and has been registered as TF-MOM, a play on how you read WOW upside down. The second plane, which will take on WOW air’s regular livery, will be registered as TFDAD and in all probability, together they will be referred to as “The Parents.”


WOW Power to the people

Until now WOW air has not formally named its aircraft but this time we felt our brand new fly-babies deserved a proper name so we put our heads together and found one for them, one for each plane that is. We decided to celebrate our inaugural flight to Boston a day early and celebrate ‘MOM’s’ arrival to Iceland with a little party and a name giving ceremony.

A party worth its name The day of the naming ceremony didn’t really look so good in the beginning. With snowstorms at regular intervals throughout the day we knew we had to be extremely lucky at 5 PM when the plane was supposed to land. Friends and family gathered at Reykjavik City Airport to celebrate with us and just after five it stopped

snowing and the sun shone through the dramatic clouds. A perfect backdrop for this purple beauty. TF-MOM now goes by the name Freyja, and TF-DAD, when “he” arrives, will be called Óðinn. Our First Lady, Dorrit Moussaieff and Hilmar Örn Hilm­­arsson, allsherjargoði (All-Warring Chieftain) oversaw the ceremony. Wait a minute—what is an All-Warring Chieftain? Well, an All-Warring Chieftain is the chief religious official of the pagan revival group Ásatrúarfélagið who celebrate faith in the Old Norse gods. Freyja and Óðinn are both names from the Nordic mythology so a Pagan Chief was the obvious choice. The origin of the names Freyja, a popular first name in Iceland, is a godd­­ess of love, beauty and fertility among other things so it’s very fitting that TF-MOM should bear her name. It’s also fitting that WOW air’s inaugural flight to Boston with

Freyja was on a Friday—the “fri” in Friday is derived from her name. In Norse mythology Óðinn (Odin) is the chief among the gods associated with knowledge and poetry. Odinn is also de­­­ scribed as the wanderer and has many animal companions, the most famous of which are his ravens Huginn and Muninn who bring him information and news from all over the world. In these old Norse myths Óðinn and Freyja are both associated with flying. Óðinn flies around on his eight legged horse Sleipnir and Freyja rides a chariot pulled by two cats, she also has a cloak of falcon feathers which gives her the ability to fly with great speed. WOW air is going to let its Airbus A321aircraft do all the hard work when it comes to flying and let the animals rest for now but these Old Norse myths are still flying around. v

Pagan Chief Hilmar Örn, WOW air’s CEO Skúli Mogensen and First Lady Dorrit Moussaieff took a tour around Freyja after the naming ceremony.

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Race around Iceland

Thumbs up for WOW Cyclothon

WOW Cyclothon is not for the fainthearted. This great relay race is a competition of endurance and strategy and sometimes the difference between winning and losing is who can get the most sleep while crumpled up in a moving vehicle that speeds up and stops every 10-15 minutes. Photos: Kristinn MagnĂşsson


WOW Power to the people


espite the lack of sleep participants of the 2014 WOW Cyclothon were in high spirits all around Iceland and they definitely gave the race a thumbs-up. The atmosphere on the road is one of joy and camaraderie as everyone races towards the same goal while enjoying the magnificent Icelandic nature and 24 hours of daylight along the way.

Getting bigger Last year’s race was the biggest so far but WOW Cyclothon 2015 will be even bigger. Already 78 teams have signed up, 69 for the B-category and 9 for the A-category. Also seven individuals have signed up for the Solo-category.

Due to the high number of registered teams registration might close early to ensure the safe journey for the over 700 WOW Cyclothon participants on the Ring Road (not to mention other travelers on the road during the race). A good cause It’s not just about being in first place in the race. All teams collect pledges for a good cause and the one with the highest pledges wins the pledge competition. All in all, WOW Cyclothon managed to raise 15,237,244 IKR for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery of the National University Hospital of Iceland and the goal is to raise even more for WOW Cyclothon 2015. v

Save the date! WOW Cyclothon 2015 will be held June 23-26. Registration for all categories is now open. Follow WOW Cyclothon on Facebook and Instagram and flip through the live feed from the competition for additional photos and insights from the Media Team. Visit for more information about the race, the rules and how to sign up.

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Reykjavik lights up

Forty shades of green Reykjavik, and Iceland in general, has always considered itself green but on March 17 we took things a little bit further.


o remind Icelanders and the world of WOW air’s new route between Dublin, Ireland, and Iceland starting in June 2015, we teamed up with Tourism Ireland and three major landmarks in Reykjavik to take part in the Global Greening of St. Patrick’s Day. The landmarks participating were Hallgrimskirkja church, the largest and most iconic church in Iceland, Perlan (The Pearl) an architectural gem on top of Öskjuhlíð Hill and the Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik’s youngest landmark. “We are very excited that Iceland joins the Global Greening for the first time this year. These icons of Iceland join many others as the world celebrates Ireland’s national day on the 17th of March, St. Patrick’s Day. These Greenings present us with an invaluable opportunity to deepen existing friendships, strengthen awareness of Ireland and our rich heritage…. We look forward to welcoming many visitors from Iceland to Ireland, where they can enjoy the lively city of Dublin, great shopping experiences, the beautiful countryside and of course, our famous black beer!” said Aileen Hickey, Nordic Manager at Tourism Ireland. Who was this St. Patrick? St. Patrick’s Day became Ireland’s national day in 1903 to commemorate St. Patrick, the national saint of Ireland and who is believed to have christened the country. St. Patrick was born in Scotland in 390 AD and his real name was Maewyn Succat. He was noble born but at the age of 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and getting to know the Irish people before he escaped at the age of 22. He made his way to a monastery in England where he spent 12 years before returning to Ireland to teach the Irish about Christianity.

Photos: Silent


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Free WiFi



on this flight

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

The Golden Circle Tours! RE-04

The Golden Circle RE-24

Gullfoss, Geysir & Þingvellir SRE-74

The Golden Circle & Fontana Wellness RE-44

Gullfoss, Geysir & Langjökull Snowmobiling

EXPERIENCE A GREAT DAY WITH US! More information on our tours in our brochure located in the seat pocket in front of you.

BSÍ Bus Terminal 101 Reykjavík +354 580 5400 •


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St. Patrick’s Day historical facts: There’s a reason for the shamrocks. According to Irish legend, St. Patrick used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland. St. Patrick ran the snakes out of Ireland. In fact, Ireland never had any snakes! The banished snakes were thought to be symbolic of the pagan druid priests with whom Patrick might have had a few issues to iron out. The very first St. Patrick’s day parade didn’t take place in Ireland. It actually happened in Boston in 1737 and was organized by 27 Irish emigrants living in the city who wanted to do something to commemorate their heritage. Why go green? Ireland’s national color isn’t green, it’s blue! It wasn’t until the 19th century that green became synonymous with Ireland. “Forty Shades of Green” is a well-known song about Ireland, writt­­en by Johnny Cash in 1959 while on a trip to Ireland. The song re­­­ pre­­sented Ireland so well that years later, when Cash was there performing it, an old man insisted it must have been an old Irish folk tune. The most prominent use of green emerged dur­­­ing the wave of Irish nationalism and republican “We are very excited feeling in the 19th century, when the that Iceland joins the color was adopted as a more striking way Global Greening for of separating Ireland from the various the first time this year. reds or blues that were now associated These icons of Iceland with England, Scotland and Wales. join many others as Ireland is called “the Emerald Isle” the world celebrates because Ireland’s rural landscape is Ireland’s national day simply more verdant (lush green) than on the 17th of March, those of other countries; green was seen St. Patrick’s Day.” as a natural way of illustrating Ireland


WOW Power to the people

and Irishness. Emerald Isle is the poetic name for Ireland due to its green countryside, first referred to in print by Belfast-born William Drennan in his poem “When Erin first rose.” We’re all Irish at heart For the last six years more and more cities and landmarks have been taking part in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening related to St. Patrick’s Day. This year also saw the greening of Rome’s Colosseum, Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid, Paris’ Sacre Coeur, Sydney’s Opera House, the Great Wall of China and the Leaning Tower of Pisa to name a few. Over 70 million people around the world dress up in green and partake in parades in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, proving that we are all a little Irish at heart. Speaking of being Irish at heart, it is common knowledge that a large part of the Icelandic nation actually has Irish blood flowing through their veins. From the settlement of Iceland and until ca. 1100 AD many unfortunate Irish men, women and children were kidnapped during Viking raids and brought to Iceland as slaves. Of course, on this scarcely populated island, it didn’t take too long for the Nordic and the Irish to mix their genes. After a while no one could tell the difference so slavery was abolished in 1117 (it was of course a bit more complicated than that but still …). Some say that Icelanders are actually more like the Irish than the Scandinavian. v

the maritime museum







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

the art museum

thermal pools


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Reykjavik Arts Festival 2015

A focus on female artists Reykjavik will be alive with art this spring when the 29th Reykjavik Arts Festival takes place. This year, the annual event runs from May 13 through June 7 and its main focus will be the works of female artists. It is also run by one. by Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson


urator of contemporary art, Hanna Styrmisdóttir, is the art­ist­ic director and CEO of Reykjavik Arts Festival. She is responsi­­ble for this vast event, which last year had 86,000 visi­tors to brag about. The festival has been a major force in Icelandic culture since its inception in 1970 and attracts a broad audience because of its innovative and multi-disciplinary program. Every year the festival presents exhibitions and performances of contemporary and classical works in unconventional spaces as well as established cultural venues throughout the city. Unbound In the past the festival has attracted internationally recognized names from abroad, such as Luciano Pavarotti, Nina Simone, David Bowie and Marina Abramovic, to name a few. So it’s by no means an easy job and as it gets closer some sleepless nights are likely to raise the stress levels of Hanna’s staff. “Of course the pressure increases as the festival draws closer but I like working under pressure. And I love this job and the many interesting people I get to meet along the way,” says Hanna about her work as the director. “Making sure our events are accessible, both culturally and financi­ ally, is a priority for us so many events are free of charge. Harpa Concert Hall is of course a major venue for many concerts, but we also work with theaters and museums as well as small, progressive venues and even in private homes and intimate spaces where access is limited to a smaller audience. Not being bound to one venue is very liberating.” says Hanna. From the highlands to high art Hanna’s expertise is in visual art, where her background lies, but she makes sure that there is a good mix between all art forms at the Reykjavik Arts Festival. She has curated and organized a large number of exhibitions and events in the past and worked as an advisor to collectors of contemporary art. She also has a background as a tour guide in Iceland’s highlands and her love of nature has not changed, even though the festival has taken up most of her time for the last couple of years. “Reykjavik Arts Festival is unusual among arts festivals. It is one of the few festivals which are truly multi-disciplinary, bringing together music, performing arts and visual art. Because of this, the festi­­val attracts a wide audience. Contemporary visual art has no real distinc­ tions between different media anymore so for me this diversity feels natural, at the same time it is most definitely challenging! The overlap of art forms is of special interest to me. As a temporary event, the festival form in itself is experimental and ever changing and that is


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The Icelandic Dance Company will have three performances at the festival and the first one will be on May 19. Photo: Proud Mother Productions (Chunky Move)

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Photo: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson

“Reykjavík Arts Festival has a long history compared to other festivals in the country and it has deep roots in Icelandic society. Everyone has a stake in it, has their memor­­ies of it and an opinion on what it should present and where it should head. And a festival does not survive if it does not reflect the society that nurtures it.”

Hanna Styrmisdóttir, artistic director and CEO of Reykjavik Arts Festival.

how we remain relevant in a fast-changing environment. One of our main aims is to be a platform for new work, either in direct collaboration with artists or art institutions at home or abroad.” Equality in praxis According to Hanna, the people who attend the Reykjavik Arts Festival come from all walks of life. Each person has their own history, interests and perception of things. Not everyone sees and feels the world in the same way and therefore the diversity in the program is vital. “Reykjavík Arts Festival has a long history compared to other festivals in the country and it has deep roots in Icelandic society. Everyone has a stake in it, has their memor­­ies of it and an opinion on what it should present and where it should head. And a festival does not survive if it does not reflect the society that nurtures it. It has to have meaning. Reykjavík Arts Festival is not the same festival today as it was in 1970, or even in 2010,” says Hanna. Hanna has chosen to present the festival with a new focus each year and this year it is women in the arts. Incidentally, Iceland celebrates the centenary of women’s suffrage this year as well. “This focus underlines a fact, which is that although we have chosen equality, we don’t always practice it. Equality means a lot of things and it’s not only about men and women. But this spring we will celebrate the substantial and essential contribution of women in the arts.” Highlights The Guerilla Girls who have been fighting discrimination in art and politics for thirty years, mostly in the U.S. but also around the world, will play a key role in the festival. “On our closing weekend, they will have a lecture and a performance which will no doubt stir things up. They use humor to get their message across and they are very inspiring in full jungle drag,” says Hanna. “Our opening performance this year (May 13th) is a new work by BANDALOOP,

a pioneer in vertical dance performance, founded by choreographer and artistic director Amelia Rudolph whose background lies in mountain climbing as well as dance. Their performance will take place in the downtown area and will no doubt attract a lot of attention in the days leading up to the opening day as they rehearse on a busy city square.” Other highlights include a concert performance of the 1945 opera Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten, per­­formed by Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera. The National Theater of Iceland pres­ ents Black Feathers by Sigríður Soffía Níelsdóttir, a dynamic performance featuring first-rank dancers and actors, along with live birds, where the latest trends in European contemporary dance meet some of the most stirring poetry composed in the Icelandic language. Throughout the festival period the city will be brimming with visual art performances and musical acts. “Reykjavík Arts Festival has a strong presence in Reykjavík and is very much a local festival but I have no doubt that visitors to the country will find much to enjoy for it is an opportunity to gain insight into a very lively local arts scene. Aside from the numerous international events, we place a strong emphasis on presenting the work of Icelandic artists.” v For further information visit

The dance group BANDALOOP will perform on a building in the downtown area on the opening day. Photo: Amelia Rudolph

Photo: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson

Every year the festival presents exhibitions and performances of contemporary and classical works in unconventional spaces as well as established cultural venues throughout the city.


Icelander Högni Egilsson played the piano and sang at last year’s opening ceremony of the Reykavík Arts Festival. The city center was alive with his performance which included sounds from church bells and a choir.


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ICEWEAR offers an extensive collection of clothing for the outdoor



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

icelandic design since 1972 Issue two

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



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ith a sensitive and spiritual approach, Tolli, or going by his full name, Þorlákur Kristinsson, captures the atmosphere in the mountains and glaciers and troughout Iceland’s beautiful nature. Arriving in the studio where he works I notice two books, one of them a book of Tolli’s own teachings and experiences on how to approach life in a spiritual manner. The other on, the bigger one, is on his life’s work as a painter—a book showing how Iceland has inspired Tolli through the years. Paintings from all parts of the country display Tolli’s workman­­­ ship. There are finished and unfinished paintings in his studio along with some memorabilia. He is very calm and chooses his words carefully as he eyes the canvas through his glasses during our relaxed chat. It is a standing interview, Tolli works and I watch from a short distance.


How old were you when you decided to become an artist? “My family on my father’s side lives close by the volcano Hekla. It was the first place away from home I ever visited and it affected me greatly even at such a young age. I got there by regular bus. Sometimes, I’d get a ride bit further with the milk truck. Then I was picked up by a red Willys and driven along rough terrain and across a river with the water flowing in at times, to get to the family farm. For a six year old boy, this was a total revelation to the powers of nature. An inspiration.

“My goal is to create beauty”

So, was nature your original inspiration? “Yes, nature in Iceland is so power­ful and if you’re raised in these surroundings, you can’t help being affected. Many kids like me, who went on extended Artist Tolli is a complex and deep thinking trips to family farms, learned a lot about life and nature from human being and one of Iceland’s most older people, something that few popular painters. WOW magazine had the children experience today. Now pleasure of being present when he was people get exposed to nature as painting one of his masterpieces, a rare tourists or get adrenalin flowing treat indeed. on adventure trips. Nature is becoming like fast food. Everything is done in a hurry. by Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson “Nature is our higher power. We should stay close to it. It’s part of Photos: Gunnlaugur us. No matter what we are looking for in life, nature always has Rögnvaldsson and from the answer, which is why we should respect it. Natural resources the artist’s private will one day disappear if we don’t wake up. Modern human beings collection should learn about nature from those who still understand, for example Native American Indians. Before the white men arrived and started exploiting nature the Indians lived in harmony with it, taking only what they needed.” The light in Iceland creates drama Can we go back to that time? “We can but it’s a question of joining forces with others who app­ reciate nature and are working to heal it, but the healing has to take place spiritually as well as physically. Greed and ignorance are ruining our environment. Our economy is a mess and it is af­ fect­ing our physical and spiritual health. By changing the way we treat nature we can solve many current problems. “Most people visit Iceland because of our clean environment and beautiful nature. It’s a spiritual experience and its healing powers work on our inner being. My belief is that nature is the mod­ern church. People once went to church to meet God. Now more and more people are going to nature for that spiritual connection.” Do you think the government is awake to this idea? “I don’t know but not so long ago we were hunter/gatherers. Then technol­ogy took over and great wealth accumulated in the hands of a few people who directly or indirectly rule through govern­­­ment. There is a conflict between those who want big Issue two


“My father was an artist, so I learned you can do what you love for a living. But, at first I worked as a fisherman and later as a lum­ber­ man in the forests of Norway. My father is half-Norwegian and my mom Danish. So, you could say I am a Scandi­­navian bastard...”

industry that brings short term gain and those who want to protect nature. We have to find the right balance. For example, one day, we may need to limit the amount of tourists visiting the country, to protect the environment.”

Has Iceland inspired you as an artist through the years? “Yes, the light is amazing and Ice­­­land­ ic nature has it all. We have glaci­ers, mountains, open terrain, vol­­­canoes, beaches, cliffs, but without the drama­tic light, these forms would not be so impressive. From a low angle the colors are breathtaking in the autumn and everything looks super sharp, plus the light changes all year round. It’s truly magical and it is heavenly for photo­graphers that come here.” How did you start your painting career? “My father was an artist, so I learned you can do what you love for a living. But, at first I worked as a fisherman and later as a lum­b­ er­man in the forests of Norway. My father is half-Norwegian and my mom Danish. So, you could say I am a Scandi­­navian bastard... “I began studying art in Iceland when I was 24 years old. From there I went to study in Berlin in an art university. I returned in 1984 and since then I’ve been painting. I was brought up in an activist environment and that also helped shape me. I am part of the so-called ‘68 generation in Iceland. This generation was very active in music, arts and politics, and people believed change was possible. Society does not need to change us, it’s the other way around.


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“Later, when it came time to do something for myself, I had the view that it was up to me to work things out. I pursued my dream of living off my art and I have done well. It is a blessing.” Besides painting on a regular basis Tolli has set up exhibitions abroad. Last year he was in New York, Denmark, Norway and Saint Petersburg in Russia. “Getting into Russia is hard and it’s a complex process. You have to pay for each step you take. And if there’s no problem, they make one up. But still, the Russians are great and Saint Petersburg is a very old and culturally rich city. The architecture and the museums are unique and well worth visiting,” says Tolli. Birds from the spirit world How is Icelandic art compared to world art? “It has a tendency to be local, which is also what attracts tour­ ists. National pride blossoms in art these days but art in itself is always international. Even though I have exhibitions abroad I consider myself a local artist, which is my intention. By being local I am still a part of the world’s art. It reminds me of what the writer Einar Már Guðmundsson said: ‘The Earth is round, wherever you stand; the center is always under your feet’.” Has your style of painting developed over the years? “I arrived on the scene in the 90s when expressionism was popu­l­­­­ar, That got infused in me, but also a touch of impression­ ism. But I like to spin too, from the heart and let things flow, like they do in rock music. I work for 1-2 hours at a time on each paint­ing, if you paint for a longer period there is a danger you’ll get stuck. It’s better to stop and restart. I like to work on many paintings at a time. But there is no rule to how I work.”

Is there some kind of elite which keeps things rigid in the art world? There is elitism everywhere. Man has a habit of forming groups. I am probably part of some elite, without knowing about it. But it is not what I look for… but now we have to rest this painting I have been working on. It is ready. It is simple, but good. I will give it a rest, and let it be for now… let it breathe…” What is the target when you make a painting? “I deal with beauty. My goal is to create beauty.” Is it difficult to let go of paintings you create? Sometimes it is a struggle. But it is my work. I can always say to myself ‘I still have not done my best painting.’ So I am happy to let go of my paintings. I do think about where my paintings go, but I should not hold onto those thoughts, just let them fly. Just paint and make the world more beautiful!”

In the zone. It is a special experience to watch Tolli work. He normally stands when he paints, in a calm but powerful fashion.

Do you have a mission in life? I have goals, but of the moment, to be happy and I have my happy moments. In the scheme of things, I am reaching more happiness in daily life. That took practice and a lot of mistakes.”

I see from your paintings that you seem to love birds. Is that correct? “The eagle and the raven are strong symbols in my life. I have often participated in sweat lodges where I have seen visions of these birds. The eagle is the bird which takes messages from humans to the spirit world. The raven is a bird of wisdom, the magic of all. But my paintings in general come from real life experiences. My paintings are like my diary. Looking back, they have shown me where I am in life. In fact I have worked a lot on self-improvement in my life, and I am into Buddhism, so I medi­­tate a lot and also teach meditation, both for the public and in prisons.” “I saw Rembrandt’s work in a museum in Saint Petersburg, which was a amaz­­ ing experience for me. When I was young, the work of Paul Gauguin affected me greatly, and later some pop and expressionist art. Today, graffiti interests me.

a million ideas What kind of paintings do travelers prefer? “There is no formula. I myself don’t concentrate on painting for tourists. I paint what I see and experience. To be true to yourself is a key in painting. I am doing what I love. I am not into mass production by some formula.” A beautiful blue sky with drifting clouds is ready on the can­­ vas, after many masterful strokes, made while Tolli was chatting. I am not sure other painters can to that. It’s really impressive; a small, simple, yet strong painting.

The right stuff. Tolli puts great emphasis on choosing the right colors. He prefers Dutch and German paint.

Do you ever experience being out of ideas? “No, never. I have a million paintings undone in my mind. It feels like I am living in an endless flow of ideas.”

Meditating in Tibet. Tolli is a teacher of meditation and has traveled to exotic places. Behind is a mountain known for extraordinary powers.

Which painters do you appreciate on the world stage? “I saw Rembrandt’s work in a museum in Saint Petersburg, which was an amazing experience for me. When I was young, the work of Paul Gauguin affected me greatly, and later some pop and expressionist art. Today, graffiti interests me; it’s social expressionism with no limits and it’s on the street for all to see, not in a gallery or studio. “Graffiti on walls is the new wonder. In a way it has a stronger message than other forms of art. The artist is working directly with the people. Graffiti is the artistic expression of anarchism. The moment rules, and you don’t need to climb the social ladd­­er to be heard. You just go straight to the wall. Some don’t appreci­ ate it, but I do.”

The relaxation corner. Nothing beats a good sofa and cozy corner when you need to rest and renew the energy flow.

Issue two


“We have a society out of control. We are not well disciplined. The social ladder is changing, and the rich are gett­­­ing richer and more powerful. These people are discon­­ nect­ing from the majority of people.”

What do you consider a mistake? Well, for one thing, I am a recovering alcoholic, but drinking was not a mistake, because you live as you learn. I have learned my lesson. It is hard to be an alcoholic. Things turn sour when you are in that kind of place. In the end you give up, and seek help and things get better. I share this experience with millions of people around the world. This is an experience which opens many doors.”

Which doors are you talking about? “Basically, the doors to yourself. And to happiness. The answer to finding happiness is sometimes found in the experience of pain. Some people think that happiness is found in fame and fortune; that’s the normal way of thinking, but it is your inner landscape that matters most. Then again, there is nothing wrong with own­ ing things, if that satisfies you.” Society is out of control How can we solve the problems and cruelty in the world of today? “With compassion. The solution depends on each of us making changes for the better. Everyone has to take responsibility. I would have wanted a revolution with a million people, but

experience shows that that does not change much. What needs to happen is that people connect to the love we are all born with. Step by step, that will make changes. “Those who study the brain today, say that the brain is the cause of the problem. It has been developing for 2 million years. The old memories from primitive times are those of an animal. The primitive brain takes control over the part where genius and caring is stored. The intelligence and compassion is sometimes overwhelmed with primitive motives. Each of us must empower the part that knows compassion and love, and let that rule our life. That is the solution. There is no other. We must learn to control our mind. No matter what the heart is expressing, without having the mind calmer, we can’t give the heart more space.” Finally, what is it like living in Iceland of today? “We have a society out of control. We are not well disciplined. The social ladder is changing, and the rich are getting richer and more powerful. These people are disconnecting from the majority of people. The more people have, the less the com­­ pass­ion. I have been looking at this development during the last 10-20 years. The solution is compassion and love. That has to be solv­­ed by the politicians too. Amen.” So that’s all folks. Tolli the artist and the visionary has spoken. His words and wisdom are as strong as his paintings and I am richer for the experience. Hopefully you are too. v For further information on Tolli’s work visit

Painting at the scene of the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, which stopped air traffic in many countries due to ash clouds in the sky. Tolli got his brushes out and caught the moment in his own style. Photos: Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson

Love of life and nature is key in Tolli’s life and he feels very much at home when traveling around Iceland.


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Creative living

Highlights from Design March 2015 For the last seven years, Design March, a four day festival celebrated in March each year, has been crucial in introducing Icelandic design to the world. Design March offers a fantastic springboard for Icelandic designers to introduce their products and designs to the general public, foreign guests (many of whom travel to Iceland exclusively for the event) and to meet and greet important, international producers and buyers; something that can make a huge difference to a designer just starting out. by Gerður Harðardóttir


eing a designer in a spar­sely populated country such as Ice­­ land is far from easy, (respect y’all!), and Icelandic design still has quite a long way to go before it reach­es the same sphere, status and world recognition as design from the rest of the Nordic countries. But we will get there! Here are just a few of the de­signs presented at this year’s Design­March. Shizuka Shizuka is the second range of luxur­­ious silk and cashmere scarves produced by Saga Kakala, a design entrepreneurial company founded by Ingibjörg Gréta Gísladóttir, actress, MSc and energetic entrepreneur speci­alizing

in design. The first col­­lection, Kachina, was designed by Helga Björnsson, a former Haute Couture art director for the prestigious Louis Féraud fashion house in Paris. The Shizuka collection is de­­signed by Hjalti Karlsson, graphic designer and owner of the New York-based design studio Karls­­­­­­sonwilker. Shizuka scarves are availa­­­­ble in five styles, vibrant colors and bold and explosive patterns of di­­­storted shapes and asymmetry. Skata Skata (skate or ray), designed in 1959, is Iceland’s oldest piece of furniture still in production. It’s also the first chair of molded plywood produced in Iceland.

The designer, Halldór Hjálm­­ars­ son, (1927-2010), is best known for his interior design of Café Mokka, a hugely popular hangout for intellectuals and young and arty hipster types in downtown Reykjavík.

Salu­­ting the world famous designs of Arne Jacobsen and Ray and Charles Eames, the chair’s shape is inspired by the ray, commonly found swimming around Iceland’s shores. The designer, Halldór Hjálm­­arsson, (1927-2010), is best known for his interior design of Café Mokka, a hugely popular hangout for intellectuals and young and arty hipster types in downtown Reykjavík. New materials and colors of Skata were introduced during this year’s DesignMarch. Tuttu It’s usually Iceland’s flora and fauna that inspire jewelry designer Guð­­björg Ingvarsdóttir in her work, but for her latest creations, the jewelry collection Tuttu, it was Greenland’s reindeers that Issue two


provided the in­­spiration. Each piece of Tuttu is original and organic; the smooth black surface, soft but irregular at the same time, and the pointy shapes giving the jewelry an edgy vibe. Barely visible white and silver lines run along the black surface, relating to the silver parts of each piece of jewelry. Guðbjörg is an awardwinning jewelry designer and the designer behind the hugely popular brand Aurum.

Dögg is an established and accom­­ plished designer. Her works have been displayed in museums and at exhibitions around the world and produced by large manufacturers, such as Ligne Roset and Christofle in France, Elementi in Taiwan and Norr11 in Denmark. Askja will soon go into production.

Vísa-Stefnir-Blær This year’s final year students of product design at the Iceland Aca­­demy of the Arts, the product designers of the future, got together in the exhibition Wood you? where the wonders and options of wood were explored and experimented with in various product designs. Wood you? is an ongoing collaboration be­­tween these students and the Forestry of Reykjavík. One of the young and promising talents intro­­­duc­­ed via Wood you? is Elísabet Kristín Oddsdóttir who exhibited Vísa-Stefnir-Blær, a series of tools for hidden goals and dreams, as she explains. Her concept is based on dowsing, an age-old method used to locate things like groundwater, oil, hidden gems or gravesites. Vísa-Stefnir-Blær is a series of access­­or­­ies that you can either wear around your neck or keep nearby to grab on to when need be. Askja Copenhagen-based designer Dögg Guðmundsdóttir presented Askja, a light storage object made of alum­­inum and oak, ideal for storing logs for fireplaces or stacks of magazines. Askja is meant to be a part of a range of objects, where the common denominator is asymmetrically folded forms. The inspiration for the forms can be the shape of mountains, cracked ice or dried sand. Versatility of objects and materials and a playful approach to design characterize Dögg’s work, as well as the combination of organic shapes and traditional craftsmanship.


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Berg tables When designing the Berg tables, it was imperative for designer Þórunn Hannesdóttir that the frames of the table were strong and sturdy since the intention is for them to last a lifetime, and then some. It’s up to the owner how and where he uses the tables. They are per­­­fect either indoors or outdoors and extremely functional since the rectilinear shapes of the steel frames are ideal for storing magazines and newspapers, for example. The table­­tops are made of aluminum and concrete and afterwards it is cast. The aluminum in the tabletops is left completely unprocessed. Each time the aluminum is cast by hand with molds made of sand, the aluminum creates an individual marbling effect, unique to each table. Twin Within Sisters Áslaug Íris and Kristín Marí­­ella have a background in Fine Art, music and design and together they work as a team designing the brilliantly innovative Twin Within line of necklaces. The necklaces are handmade in the hills of Tagaytay in the Philippines, with the assistance of the FOCOLARE organization, using the principles of fair trade. The necklaces are a mix of materials such as fishing ropes, shock cords, plumb­ing hardware, latex and rubber tubes. To date, Áslaug and Kristín have designed two separate collections; the boldly colorful City Collection where each necklace bears the name of a different city, and the Contrast Collection which is more classic with black and white the dominating colors.

Krafla is a volcanic, geothermal area close to Mývatn, with bubbling pools of mud, steaming fumaroles and amazing colors in the landscape which eventually found its way into the color of the paper components that make up the Krafla lightshades.

Krafla lightshades “Selected by Bility” is a new platform for young designers, making their first steps into the often harsh world of design. Via Selected by Bility, the newly graduated designers chosen for the project get an im­­­port­­ant opportunity to make their mark. One of the first products to come out of this collaboration is Krafla, a lightshade made of fully recyclable crystalline paper in several components that need to be assembled to make each lights­­hade. The designers, Jón Helgi Hólm­­geirsson and Þorleifur Gunnar Gíslason, traveled up north to the beautiful Lake Mývatn region to get inspiration for their project. Krafla is a volcanic, geothermal area close to Mývatn, with bubbling pools of mud, steaming fumaroles and amazing colors in the landscape which eventually found its way into the color of the paper components that make up the Krafla lightshades. The inspiration for the shapes of the lightshades come from the geometric domes built over some of the fumaro­les where the geothermal energy is harnessed. Krafla is available in 3 different sizes and several colors.

Har eyewear The process of making the Har prem­ium eyewear takes time and patience. Every frame is made entirely by hand, built up by nine extremely thin layers of wood veneer, each of which is laid in alternate directions for increased stability. The diverse patterns and different colors of wood (the frames are available in maple, walnut, oak and smoked oak), make each frame completely unique. All the frames are made from sustainable forestry and can be used for both prescription and sun lenses. Har eyewear is the work and brain­­child of Sverrir Haraldsson, a carpenter and an avid skateboarder who got the idea for the Har eyewear when he broke his glasses. The design and construction of ramps and pipes of skate parks were in­­fluential in the design process. Mountains Designer Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarna­­ dóttir has designed several pieces that have become hugely popular with the design-conscious Icelander; her coat hangers Krummi and Not Rudolf are examples. And her design is not only popular domestically. It’s already available as far and wide as Singapore and LA, not to mention having been written up in large pub­ lications such as Elle Decoration, The Observer and The Sunday Times. At this year’s DesignMarch, Ingibjörg Hanna exhibits new patt­­ erns, Wowen and Mountains, into her line of textiles. The pattern Mountains playfully form images of mountains and valleys through the interactions of lines that turn into pluses and minuses, depending on how the lines cross. Mountains was first introduced at the Maison&Objet trade show in Paris at the end of last year. v

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Art in the capital

The unique Reykjavík Art Museum Reykjavík Art Museum is Iceland’s largest network of art museums, and displays both modern and contemporary art, paintings, sculptures and works in different media by established local and international artists.


he museum is housed in three unique buildings: Hafnar­­hús, Kjarvals­­staðir and Ásmundar­­­ safn, across the city all of which can be visited in one day by foot or bus. The entrance ticket is valid for all the buildings on the same day. The museum holds some of the most distinguished works of Icelandic art and plays an important role in preserving traditional works of art, displaying the works of world-renowned international art­ists and promoting emerging local talent. The museum’s exhibits run the gam­ut from the historical to contemporary and boundary-pushing. There are 20-30 exhi­­­bitions and about a hundred special events at Reykjavík Art Museum every year that range from lectures and symposiums to alternative rock events. A visit to Reykja­­­vík Art Museum is a must for every art-lover and it is open daily. Hafnarhús Hafnarhús is located downtown by the old harbor and houses the permanent


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The museum holds some of the most distinguished works of Icelandic art and plays an important role in preserving traditional works of art, displaying the works of world-renowned international art­ists and promoting emerging local talent.

For information on the Reykjavik Art Museum visit

collection of the works of Erró, one of Europe’s most notable pop artists. The temporary shows at Hafnarhús tend toward the progressive and experimental, emphasizing works from established contemporary artists and encouraging the works of newcomers. The museum is a refurbished warehouse and was built in the 1930s. The atmosphere inside the building is fresh and provocative. It con­­­­tains six galleries, a courtyard, a multipurpose room, a library and a book and design shop. The stylish café on the sec­­ond floor is a popular lunch spot. Expect to find exciting and bold exhibitions at Hafnarhús. Kjarvalsstaðir Kjarvalsstaðir houses the works of one of Iceland’s most influential and recog­­nized artists, Jóhannes S. Kjarval. The exhibitions at Kjarvalsstaðir focus primarily on paintings and sculptures of the established masters of modern art. The building is a fine example of Nordic modernism; it features floor-to ceiling wind­ows that look onto the beautiful

Mikla­tún/Klambratún Park. One can take in the view while enjoying a drink or a snack at the museum’s café. There is also a design and bookstore in the lobby and a lovely family activity space. Experience Icelandic art at Kjarvalsstaðir. Ásmundur Sveinsson Museum Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum is the former home and workshop of sculp­­tor Ásmundur Sveinsson who de­­sign­­ed and mostly constructed the build­­­ing himself. The museum serves to pre­­serve his work and life, and displays the largest collection of his sculptures both inside and outside the building. Ásmundur’s art greatly reflects his lifelong interest in the Icelandic sagas, folk tales and classical mythology. The building itself is a magnificent work of architecture, largely inspired by Egyptian pyramids and mosques of the Middle East. The im­­pressive sculpture garden surrounding the building can be enjoyed by anyone for free. The museum also houses an elegant design store. Ásmundarsafn is both unique and magical. v

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Worth the experience Issue two


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Reykjavik galleries

Delivering art to people Ever since Týsgallerí opened in 2013, this small gallery has been a welcome addition to the small yet vibrant Reykjavík art world. We asked owners Helena and Helga to tell us a bit about this ambitious young gallery which is located in downtown Reykjavik, in the Þingholt neighborhood. by Hjördís Erna Þorgeirsdóttir Photos: Courtesy of Týsgallerí

Why did you found Týsgallerí? We are very interested in connecting people with art and creating a platform where the two come together. One of our main objectives is to offer quality exhibits in one of Reykjavík’s smallest gall­­ er­ies. We usually have an “Artist Talk” at every show where guests can come and participate in the con­­ versation between the artist and the viewers. How do you choose artists? The Reykjavík art scene is rather small-scale but dynamic. We are educated in the arts, we know many active artists and we monitor the new ones.   In what ways do the small galleries differ from the bigger ones? There is more intimacy in the small galleries and information is easily accessible. In the bigger galleries there are usually bigger budgets and thus more freedom when it comes to promoting and publishing material.

insight into the Icelandic art history by exploring and enjoying some of the brilliant public artworks in Reykjavík. If possible these trips often include checking out art openings or maybe even a visit to the studio of an Icelandic artist. We are active in publishing and one of our current projects is the 5x8 artist’s multiple where eight artists make five copies of their work. These come in a plywood box with a glass shutter and are the perfect gift for anniversaries, weddings and other big events. We are also in the process of making a multiple of Angantýr, which is a big horse’s head and work made by one of the owners of the gallery. Finally we are also publishing a graphic folder with thirteen works made by thirteen artists with just 30 numbered copies that will be made. Both of us are educated teachers and we are passionate about delivering art to people. By publishing the folder we are able to do that on a grander scale. v

How would you describe the relationship between you and the artists? The relationship is based on a dialogue that begins many months prior to a show and we witness the process. The gallery manages everything that is related to the promotion and framework of the exhibit. What’s currently going on in the Reykjavík art world? The Icelandic art scene is very energetic. An exciting generation of artists is emerging in the visual arts, music and other art, and the older generations are also making interesting art with collaboration between people of all ages. Be­­ cause of the small population the market is a bit adolescent if you compare it to larger areas such as Europe and the States but despite that there are 5-6 openings and art related events happening every week in Reykjavík alone so there is great energy here. What’s happening in Týsgallerí? There are new shows opening every fourth Thursday in Týsgallerí and we offer guided tours around Reykjavík where guests can get valuable


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Helena Hansdóttir Aspelund, one of the owners of Týsgallerí.

Issue two


Sunneva Ása Weisshappel. Photographic project in the works from 2014. A collaboration with Kristín Þorláksdóttir.

Composition 2 by Sunneva Ása Weisshappel, 2012. A work produced during a performance as part of the Touch Me series.

A space for art

It’s sexy to be efficient Located in the industrial Höfði area (not to be confused with the famous Höfði House), Algera Studio is one of Reykjavík’s most exciting creative venues where art is made in abundance. We asked Sunneva Ása Weisshappel, one of the studio’s founders, to tell us a bit about the studio. When and why did you found Algera Studio? “Ýmir Grönvold and I founded the studio in the spring of 2013 following our graduation from the Ice­­land Academy of Art and the Reykjavík School of Visual Arts. We wanted art to be our primary occu­­ pation and not something we did halfheartedly. Also I didn’t want to be confined to some small space downtown or to be working at home by the desk. My art requires space because my ideas tend to be extensive and they need a large area in a creative environment where there can be a high level of dialogue and flow. When we found this space we decided to go for it.”

Sunneva Ása Weisshappel.


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In what ways do you differ from other studios? “Every studio has its own unique characteristics but what’s special about ours is that we manage it ourselves from our own “Being surrounded premises. We established by silence as you this studio without financial travel to work is as assistance. Numerous artists if you’re entering a have contributed to its world that’s entirely development and from the yours. No one enters beginning there has been a without being steady flow of different people invited. There is no coming in and out. One of our interference and no best features is how the artists rules apart from our use and work with a wide variety own.” of media because of their different backgrounds and approaches. The space is big, bright and open and accommodates whatever we want to create and produce. Sometimes we’re working by ourselves on solo projects and some­­ times we collaborate. It’s important to have an effective network: it is a win-win situation. “It’s sexy to be efficient” is our manifesto.”

What are some of the advantages of not being located downtown? “Being surrounded by silence as you travel to work is as if you’re entering a world that’s entirely yours. No one enters without being invited. There is no interference and no rules apart from our own. When you’re doing creative work it’s crucial to be in a protected and free environment. The dialogue is essential in the arts and distractions are minimal in the Höfði area so you can focus on your work. We have more space than we could ever dream of in downtown Reykjavík. The industrial setting is very inspiring and convenient; it’s easy to locate materials and gain professional assistance with all the busi­ nesses around. This is not a place where you can waste time hanging out because you’re never simply passing by, you either show up to work or you don’t.” Do you get foreign visitors? “We have had foreign artists coming in to work on various projects. Last fall we welcomed a group of artists from Germany on behalf of Kling & Bang and recently we collaborated with Migrating Art Academy and offered 10 foreign artists residency for 9 days. Graffiti artist Guido van Helten rented a slot here and we’ve welcomed Zebra Kats and Tommy Kha who made the video to Crossfade for GusGus.” How can you join Algera Studio? “Education in the arts is preferable as well as being fun loving and easy to work with. You can send an application and some examples of your work to” v

The Golden Circle Price from: 9.000 ISK

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South Coast & Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Price: 24.900 ISK

Delicious Golden Circle Price: 22.900 ISK



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Book your tour now! Contact Information - 24 hour booking service Book now at or call +354 540 1313 Sales Office, Hafnarstræti 20, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland





Issue two 39

Art for all to see

Illuminating the streets Born in 1983, artist Örn Tönsberg has been a prominent figure in the Icelandic art scene for more than a decade. His works, both animated and vibrant, illuminate the streets of Reykjavík, bringing warmth and pleasure to those who walk by. by Hjördís Erna Þorgeirsdóttir Photos: Courtesy of Örn Tönsberg

When did you start painting walls? “When I was twelve or something. I started painting before I began to draw. Then I start­ ed drawing because I sucked at painting.” So did you begin by painting letters, basic graffiti? “Yes, back then you couldn’t really see graffiti so I watched MTV videos and when I saw something cool in the background I paused and drew from that. This was in 1997 and that is how I began to draw. From there I went to Breidholt College and continued to take art more seriously. In school I learned more about using different kinds of media, how to create a piece, composition, color theory and incorporated that into the graffiti and vice versa, then mixing it all together.” “I am not limited to graffiti. It’s just that my graff­iti gets such great exposure compared to my other projects such as creating a logo or drawing.”

The dog at Hverfisgata.

Street art or high art? Örn has used different objects to paint on, even stuff like a piece of lumber. He paints on outside walls of course but also the interior walls of clubs and bars. “I did Bar Ananas with Margeir Dire (a local artist) last fall. It’s Iceland’s first beach bar. It was a fun project and we were given artistic licen­se within the concept of ‘beach bar.’ The results were very satis­ fying. We used silk screen on the tables and there were pine­ apples everywhere; very nice and exciting.”

Would you say that the core of your creativity is “street?” Yeah, I do a lot of work on the streets. It’s about 80% of what I do. I have to admit though I’m not entirely sure what “street” means but you’re probably referring to graffiti. I’d rather compare my work to high art although the graffiti is definitely always in the back­ground as it is my voice and my tool. But I am not limited to graffiti. It’s just that my graff­iti gets such great exposure compared to my other projects such as creating a logo or drawing or whatever.” What are some your influences? “All sorts of things. Mostly the people around me. The Icelandic art scene, foreign graffiti artists. I can’t really name names, just the stuff that pleases the eye. And lately also a lot of books with drawings of plants.”   Do you like to discover old books and use drawings from them in your own work? “Yeah, especially the ones that are lost, the stuff you can’t find on the internet that’s on the verge of being forgotten.” Animals in the city Örn works from both photographs he finds and drawings. He also shoots his own photos and draws from them. “I do that quite a lot actually. I try to include a level of authenticity to add depth and substance to the work. In my latest work, which is on Hverfisgata, I used a photo that I took of a dog and I thought it was hilarious. This was four years ago but three years ago the dog died so I ended up making a sort of memorial piece for the dog and its owner and the owner was very pleased with it. This created a strange twist to the story. I also get inspired just by talking to people while I am painting. I get their


WOW Power to the people

Issue two


feedback and try to sense what they’re into—or not into, because when you are making art in the public space you have to listen to the people around you—up to a certain level. While it’s important to present your own attitude you also need to make it somehow come together with the people living in the environment while considering factors such as architecture in the urban setting. I try to create something that will not be annoying to people but rather make them smile and bring joy, even if it’s just for a moment.” Do you make a conscious effort to use animals in your works? “Yes I do. I think animals are important because I strongly associate them with emo­ tions. When I draw a human face, people inevitably begin to form their own personal opinion of the image and people’s opinions about humans usually differ, being humans themselves. On the other hand, everybody seems to love animals and they are often considered symbolic for human emotions. I think that people are more fascinated by animals because they don’t represent particular ideas or beliefs frequently associated with humans, but rather they evoke or reflect certain personal emotions inside the viewer. It’s also a matter of bringing animals and wildlife into the exclusively urban setting. There are plenty of humans in the city so we need nature and the vitality it generates to lift us up from the dominating concrete elements.” Working with the weather The Icelandic climate is notorious for being unpredictable and often cold but Örn says you have to work with it. “You figure it out by using both spray and paint rollers. When it’s windy and cold but not below freezing you can use the roll but you can’t use the spray because it will just blow away. Then when it’s raining you can’t use the roll because the paint will just leak into the street so you use the spray because it dries so quickly. You figure this out by experimenting. Another factor is the lighting. In December there are only 4-5 hours of daylight which is fairly limiting.”

Ravens at a construction site on Sæbraut.

Do you ever sketch based on the weather, thinking “this piece will be easy to do when it’s freezing or raining?” “Not really, the creative process is always similar even though the subjects vary. But in a way it does influence because you might decide to paint a sun when it’s really cold. I tend to make colder pieces when it’s hot outside. You seek to portray some sort of a balance into the wall. When Margeir Dire and I participated on behalf of Iceland in the Nordic Urban Challenge contest in Copenhagen last summer it was very hot so we took off our shirts and painted polar bears and blocks of ice. This contrast definitely adds to the visual experience for viewers.” Many probably think that graffiti artists just lounge around all day until they suddenly decide to go out and spray some walls. This is definitely not the case for Örn as he has his own studio on Laugavegur and multiple projects in the works. “I’ve been using the silk screen to print T-shirts in my studio. It’s great fun to work with the silk screen. It’s one of my favorite indoor hobbies and it’s perfect in the wintertime when it’s too cold to paint. I do a lot of work in my studio so there is never really a day off even though it might be freezing outside. I also have a lot of things planned for this summer that I can’t talk about right now and I offer graffiti bike tours for people who want to be guided around the Reykjavik graffiti scene.” Momentary bliss Do you dream of painting some particular wall, a building or in a certain city? Háskólabíó has this one large wall that would be an ideal canvas because it has no win­­­dows. But I think it’s usually more enjoyable to paint on something that is deterio­­ rating, that way you’re enhancing the environment in more ways than one. It’s more of a turn-off when the wall is just plain and white, I prefer coarse surfaces, with more soul and signi­­ficance.”

See more graffiti and art by Örn Tönsberg on his Instagram page, Selur1, or on facebook, SelurOneNoRules. You can also contact him directly at The wall at Bar Ananas, beach bar on Klapparstígur.


WOW Power to the people

Is that why you like to paint in construction sites, bulkheads and other “temporary” locations? “Yes, exactly, places that are temporary and often bothersome for people. The same goes with graffiti; it is temporary by default; eventually it will disappear. There is this impermanence that adds to the progressive nature of art and makes sure that your work stays sharp. In the end, all of your work will vanish. Probably about 90% of my works are gone but it doesn’t mean they weren’t worth the effort, they were just momentary blisses.” v

take a bite of the best...

sölustaÐir / Sales outlets: Mosfellsbakarí Háholti 13-15 Mosfellsbæ Háaleitisbraut 58-60 Reykjavík Duty Free store, Keflavík Airport

Issue two



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

Lebowski Bar

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


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

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

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

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

Bowling at the bar

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

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

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

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

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

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


WOW Power to the people


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


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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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


nd so the English Pub was born. From modest beginnings it has built a hearty reputation, seeking out, with the advice and guidance of its de­­­di­­­cat­­ed cust­omers, the finest ale available to mankind. Today it offers its enthusiastic cli­­­entele the chance to sample 50 beers from around the world, as well as a stagg­­­er­­ ing 15 Icelandic brands.

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


WOW Power to the people

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

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

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

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


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

Very nice Vegamót

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


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

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

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

Issue two



Hressingarskálinn Austurstræti 20 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 561 2240

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


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


WOW Power to the people

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

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

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


Sakebarinn Laugavegur 2 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 777 3311

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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


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

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

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

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

Check out the ten drops twitt­er feed and find both café and wine room on Facebook. 50

WOW Power to the people

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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


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

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

Does this sound too tranquil?

Do as the Danes do

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

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

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

Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 14:00 – 01:00 and Fri-Sat 14:00 – 05:00 52

WOW Power to the people

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

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

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


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

A breath of fresh air

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


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

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

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



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

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


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

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

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

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

Kopar Restaurant

Opening hours - Mondays to Thursday from 11:30-22:30 - Fridays from 11:30-23:30 - Saturdays from 12:00-23:30 - Sundays from 18:00-22:30 54

WOW Power to the people


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life is short—Drink early!

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

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

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



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

Matur & drykkur

Inspiring traditional Icelandic cuisine

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


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

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

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

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

Opening hours - Sunday to Wednesday 11:30 – 18:00 - Thursday to Saturday 11:30 – 23:30 56

WOW Power to the people

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

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

Amazing 6 course menu

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

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

6.990 kr.

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

Sushi Samba Þingholtsstræti 5 • 101 Reykjavík Tel 568 6600 •

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

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

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

6.990 kr.

RESTAURANT- BAR Vesturgötu 3B | 101 Reykjavík | Tel. 551 2344 | Issue two 57


WOW Power to the people

Not for art’s sake

Where ducks turn blue Helgi Þorgils Friðjónsson answers his phone after two short signals. Can we meet up in his summerhouse? No. Down in Reykja­ vik? Yes. Address, time and goodbye. Text: Jonas Löfvendahl Photos: Nicklas Elmrin


few days later we wander the city streets in search of one of Iceland’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Suddenly a tall man appears on the sidewalk with his arms held high up in the sky. He waves us into the right door. We take the stairs to his studio, which he bought 15 years ago for a very good price. It is cluttered with paintings and tools in every corner. Not an inch of free space. Helgi laughs and the shine in his eyes is the one of a mischievous young boy. This is his special place on earth. “Here I work constantly. At times like this [Helgi shows us how he sleeps on a pillow] but that is also work. No one can reach me here.” Nordic madness Helgi Þorgils Friðjónsson’s paintings are of humans and nature. Maybe a bit on the comical side but both happy and sad for sure. A favorite is the seal drinking from the Arctic Ocean through a straw. I close my eyes and see the clean face of the North. “They are Nordic, and always with a bit of galenskap [madness],” says the artist. Helgi comes to work at five o’clock every morning and goes home at five every afternoon—sharp. He goes to the swimming pool at the exact same time every day and always swims 1500 meters. He takes long walks three times a day. Twice a week he drinks coffee with some friends from the swimming pool. Sometimes he will meet some artist friends in a bar. “My wife says I’m a little bit autistic. But I read a theory from a philosopher who said that all artists were autistic. So then I’m in good company,” he says. The life of an artist Helgi grew up in Búðardalur, 200 kilometers north of Reykjavik. His father was a member of the Icelandic parliament. Every summer Helgi worked on a farm, churning butter and working as hard as the adults. He painted and drew all the time. Helgi often had to go on dinners with family acquaintances, where his father had business connections to take care off. Helgi always went straight to the bookcase, found an art book and disappeared. As a 12-year-old, he got his first trained art teacher at school. Then he realized his lot. He knew the direction he would take through life. As a teenager, Helgi read Irving Stone’s Lust for Life about Van Gogh and Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence about Gauguin and thought it was the blue print of a life as an artist. A constant hardship, perhaps with a romantic edge but also sad to the core. Today, he knows the truth. “Is my work fun? It’s not fun. But it is satisfying. It fills my every sense.” Painting responsibly His large paintings are planned for several years before he puts the brush to the surface. There are lots of preparation, lots of drawings and notes. It is never easy, and there are never any short cuts. After that, it takes a long time to paint. He shows a crucified Rafael on a large canvas. Helgi’s self-portrait is always there, in painting after painting, face after face. “People might get tired of it. But I have to do it, to keep myself responsible and accountable. Of course, the face is also the viewer.” His playground is huge. It is totally free. It is a place where anything can happen. It is flying seals with clarinets; it is where ducks turn blue. “I see things that not everyone sees; I’m sure of that. I also see things that Issue two


may be difficult for the art world to always accept. I am not mainstream in any way,” says Helgi. A world of naked men The man is naked in Helgi’s world, where penises are flying over low horizons. Purity is important. When you put clothes on a man you also place the artwork in some kind of time or phase. “They do not belong in any time. They are in a paradise lost. Sometimes it bothers people. But it is not meant to disturb. I hear people sometimes look for underlying messages, that they feel an aggression in there somewhere. It makes me happy when people react—when they feel stuff while looking at my paintings,” says Helgi. In the 80s Helgi made a decision. At that time many artists went in the same direction, where one should “uglyfy” the picture. A port­rait would be vulgar, with an ear standing out or a couple of broken teeth. Helgi went the other way. He did a series of portraits

Helgi Þorgils Friðjónsson.

His playground is huge. It is totally free. It is a place where anything can happen. It is flying seals with clarinets; it is where ducks turn blue.

based on a book by Theophrastus, made 300 BC, on male archetypes. They were spotless, clean and extremely “nice looking.” “I did people on the street that looked pretty nice. I wanted to escape the modern world, I fled every trend. I wanted to go back to the time when art was not art for art’s sake,” he explains. What has Iceland got to do with it? Outside the large windows Reykjavik spreads out. The capital. The afternoon sun fading over the rooftops, before the darkness of nightfall. You feel Iceland in the imagery of Helgi, the proud isolation and the utter loneliness. He gets a little annoyed when I ask about what his home country means to him. “When I lecture abroad I’m always asked to include Iceland. Do you think they would ask another artist, perhaps from Lithuania, about his country? No.” Many people ask if Icelanders believe in elves and trolls. Helgi’s only answer is no, not exactly. But people know that these things exist in some


WOW Power to the people

way, because they are part of the language, and Icelandic nature frames the culture and history. “Here we also have many different words for wind, snow, rain, and weather. It is in some way existentialism. We live modern lives, but are still very close to nature. When a storm comes in the electricity goes down.” Hoping to leave some question marks behind Helgi seems like a rock-hard never-quitting marathon runner. A man who would swim across the English Channel without thinking twice about the ordeal. His intellect ricocheting between the studio walls, he seems industrious and curious. He quotes Kierkegaard and showcases CDs from Namibia, where he traveled last year. He laughs out loud and takes comfort in his work. He will never move away from the island. “When I visit other countries, such as Greenland or Spain, I think the thought of perhaps settling down there instead. But I always come back to Iceland, every single time.”

Today Helgi is 62 years old. I ask what he wants to look back upon when he is 85 and sitting on the porch of his summerhouse. He reflects aloud, wanting to take responsibility for his every action, hoping not to have hurt anyone on the wiggly road of life. Then he shines his boyish grin and looks out over the big room, his home turf. “I hope to leave some question marks behind.” v Written by Jonas Löfvendahl with photos by Nicklas Elmrin, who visited Iceland together in 2014. This dyna­­­ mic duo is now working on a punk-poetic photo book from their recent Icelandic adventure. It will hit book­­ stores in 2015 and include a very special Helgi-story. If you want to see Helgi Þorgils Friðjónsson’s works in Iceland, there are oil paintings, draw­­ ings, prints and sculptures at Reykjavik Art Museum—among other places.

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

isk. 600 TS ADUL 130 isk. CHILDREN

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

Hot t ubs and jacuzzi

Sa un as , steambat hs an d sh ow ers

Se ve n lo ca t io ns

Op en earl y un t il la te

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

Issue two

Tel: +354 411 5000 •


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

Reykjavik's Thermal Pools

Just a moment …

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

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

erpark the Mau rlin.” irits at e B sp h in ig ee “H Karaok óttir Sunday lgerður Helgad a V y b t n Se “The sa nd make ti , sea and sun in Alica ny toes nte ha Sent by Ása Þöll ppy.” Ragnars dóttir

sh “I love buying fre d strawberries an und cherries. We fo rket this awesome ma ” rf. ldo sse in Dü Sent by Bryndís Jónsdóttir

“Jumpin g for jo y Sent by Olga Ýr in Paris.” Georgsd óttir

“Our Christmas present to ourselves was a trip to Brighton and we took our teenage son along for the ride. It was definitely WOW! Sent by Áslaug Skeggjadóttir



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

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“This is m during y mum he trip to Ic r surprise e in antic land, ip of devo ation uri of the c ng one ou famous ntr y’s hotdog s!” Sent by Sarah Crane



A detailed and beautiful presentation of Iceland and Icelanders

Issue two

w w w .f o r l ag i d . i s | Bók a b ú ð For la g s ins | Fis k is lóð 3 9



The world’s loneliest hotel We drive toward nowhere, heading for the world’s loneliest hotel. Other roads in Iceland lead somewhere, this just ends. We find the northwest town of Djupavik—where broken dreams are transformed into new ones. Text: Jonas Löfvendahl Photos: Nicklas Elmrin


he red gravel dead-end street winds through the fog. Tall black cliffs plunge straight down into the Atlantic Ocean. Drift­­­wood gathers on beaches below. At sea the boats of puffin bird enthusiasts’ head for Grimsey. Mugison from Sudavik sings his song ‘Ljósvíkingur’ on the stereo. The weather chang­­­es every other mile and only the sheep are constant. A place to stay After driving an hour on the last bit of bad moun­­ tain road we turn around another bend. There it is. The huge, abandoned herring factory sits inside


WOW Power to the people

Reykjarfjordur. 90 meters long and three stories high, it was one of Europe’s largest concrete build­­ ings back in 1935. At the foot of the huge waterfall is a rusty old ship; a desolate image. The Border Collie Freya meets us in Djupavik. Fifty aggressive terns patrol the sky. They weigh 120 grams and fly from the South Pole to Iceland’s northwest corner to lay eggs on the roof of the old herring factory. Eva Sigurbjörnsdóttir, the hotel owner for 30 years, loves them. We rush for cover. “Unfortunately, we are overbooked,” says Eva and fatigue hits us like a freight train. “But I’ve talked to the neighbor and you can stay in his house, in the basement. There are two rooms, toilet and shower,

but do not use the upper floor.” We ask for the key and she laughs. “No, it’s open.” A family affair We leave the warm cozy hotel, walk a dirt road past two or three houses and see our new home. It is the last house in Djúpavík. The basement smells like fish from recently used equipment. The view is breathtaking. The only sound we hear is the roar of the waterfall. A few hours later we go down to the restaurant. Eva’s sister is the head chef. She lives in the aban­­ doned gas station called “The Beach House” and plays the saxophone at night, sometimes in an

abandoned cistern (which formerly stored fish oil), for acoustics. We order freshly caught cod and pota­­toes. It tastes like a slice of heaven. On the next table a group of photo tourists are in a good mood. Luke, the waiter brings Icelandic beer. Things are looking up. From burst bubbles to beauty “The first time I drove out here I almost drove straig­ht into the ocean. It was so beautiful. I just sat and stared while the car rolled along the edge,” says Eva. It was never an easy life. Nowadays she lives in “Room 1,” the first hotel room upstairs, with her hus­­band Asbjørn Þorgilsson who walks around

in a red Che Guevara t-shirt and bushy beard and always has some work to do. The hotel has evolved tremendously since it opened 30 years ago. Today’s guest books are filled and they easily house 32 people. With the help of neighboring houses Hotel Djúpavík can accommodate groups of up to 50 people. We go down to the old concrete building, the herring factory. A long time ago the factory owners ran the ship MS Suðurland straight upon the shore for workers to live in. The ship’s skeleton remains. The entrepreneurs saw a new Klondike in Djupavik. It is said that there was so much herring in the fjord you could walk upon the water; they were scooping Issue two


up fish with buckets. The factory that opened July 7, 1935 as the most modern fish factory in Europe, clos­­ed down in1954 becoming as abandoned as the herring bubble that burst. The giant shoals of herr­­ing left, or perhaps the company brutally emptied the site’s stocks. The building provides a weight to Djupa­­vik today, a pitch-black mourn­­ ing band. Currently a museum with guided tours, an impressive photo­­graphic exhibition fills the 80-year-old herring factory, now, a thing of beauty. Fewer people – more guests The hotel has been open since 1985 and from day one, tourists began streaming into the small village. The deserted herring factory, the ship’s remains and the magnificent waterfall fascinated people. Eva also remembers the old days when the kids had to go to school, 30 kilometers away with no car. The early morning boat ride to Gjogur was often in harsh weather and thorough darkness, with waves running high. “It was tough, but it was our life,” she says.


WOW Power to the people

Today tourists travel from Australia, Tas­­ mania, Japan and China to visit the world’s loneliest hotel. I ask Eva what Djupavik is for her. “It’s my home; this is where I’ve lived for 30 years. The place is so incredibly close to my heart. When we moved into the county there were 120 people living here; now we are only 53. That worries me. Even today, there is no road maintenance between January and March. Then, we are stuck. Yet, life is easier now. The road opens more often due to milder winters and the economy is better.” We go out on the porch, in view of the magnificent sea. It’s a beautiful day and Freya follows us

“The first time I drove out here I al­­most drove straig­ht into the ocean. It was so beauti­­ful. I just sat and stared while the car rolled along the edge.”

curiously. We go down to the rusty MS Suðurland. “I love the ship. It’s like an old animal that slowly returns to nature,” Eva says. Eva has turned 64 and will celebrate the hotel’s 30th anniversary in grand style. In June 2015 the old factory turns 80, so there will be a double celebration. The place has luminosity and an enduring appeal. Djupavik will survive; you can feel it in the air. The birds dive down from the sky and attack us. Not Eva. v

Written by Jonas Löfvendahl with photos by Nicklas Elmrin, both from Sweden, who visited Iceland in 2014. This dynamic duo is now working on a punk-poetic photo book from their recent Icelandic adventure. It will hit bookstores in 2015 and include a lengthier in-depth Djúpavík story.

Issue two


Flair in the air

This crew is for you

by Helga María Albertsdóttir Photos: Kristinn Magnússon, Sigurjón Ragnar and from WOW air’s collection


WOW Power to the people

We love our job as cabin crew and even though this job requires us to take on a quite extensive beauty regime at 4 o’clock in the morning, with practice and organization most of us only take 30 minutes to get ready. We really want to share with you some of the tips and tricks that we have learned, to look and feel our best while cruising the skies

It’s not our bad cooking

It’s highly unlikely that somebody’s favorite food is something from an airplane menu. If you don’t love airplane food it doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t delicious. The reason could be the dry cabin atmosphere that is pressurized at 8,000 feet. It makes our taste buds go numb and our perception of saltiness and sweetness drop by around 30 percent.

What we’re obsessing over:


Lemons are packed with vitamin C that does wonders for your immune system as well as being a natural stress reducer. Drinking lemon water helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as bloating, stimulates your liver to flush out toxins in your body and the antioxidants help maintain your skin’s radiance. Lemons are believed to be effective in fighting off infections because of their anti-inflammatory effect on the body. They also have a wonderful revitalizing mood enhancing smell. This is why you’ll see lemon slices floating in our water!

On and off duty trends 1 Big scarves are great for travel since they double as blankets on the plane.



2 DW Watches with changeable bracelets; how fun is that! 3 Pedometers since we are a very health conscious crew 4 Workout pants with the right message. 5 66°North Beanie, both cute

and really functional.

Ready for take off

These popular WOW hairstyles are easy to do, even at 4 o’clock in the morning. Check out crew for more tips and tricks.


Applying dry shampoo to clean hair will make sure your hairdo goes the distance.



5 Out and about

For lobster soup that’s delicious and doesn’t break the bank go to Sægreifinn at Geirsgata 8 by the harbor. Leave your high heels at home and bring a fishing rod instead. Great for after dinner drinks is B5 in Bankastræti; you still might not need the heels but you would feel better with lipstick on, that is if you are a woman. Nobody can leave Ice­­land without trying Tommi’s Burger Joint real beef steak burgers. Just one word of caution: They’re highly addictive. Issue two


Lush lashes Every woman loves long lush lashes. Great lashes can dramatically change your look. Just wave the magic wand of mascara and suddenly a face appears! Given our Nordic heritage, Icelandic girls in general are not blessed with dark sultry eyelashes and a normal part of many an Icelandic girl’s beauty routine is to have her lashes and brows dyed and shaped by a professional every 4-6 weeks. There are many ways to achieve great lashes and since eyelashes have a lifespan of up to three months and can take over two months to grow back, it’s a good idea to take good care of the ones you have.


The crew loves it!

Clean your lashes with a gentle good quality make-up remover (or like many of us, just regular coconut oil) and to avoid breaking the lashes don’t go for the rub it off technique. Try more of a damping, tapping motion with a cotton bud. Condition your lashes and it will only be a few days before you can see a difference. Fancy products that contain proteins like keratin are great for moisture and help prevent breakage. A cheaper but still very effective way is to use a tiny amount of Vaseline on your lashes at night.

DON’T Waterproof mascara is great if you want to avoid looking like a panda bear emerging elegantly from the pool at your holiday destination, but if you do not need the waterproof function, skip it and go for regular mascara since the waterproof ones dry out your lashes and are so much harder to clean off. Eyelash curlers should not be used with mascara already applied. For best results use them on clean lashes only.


For a professional effect, heat your eyelash curler for a few seconds with your hairdryer but be careful to check that it’s not too hot before curling. Hold for 8-10 seconds before releasing.


WOW Power to the people

Silk of Morocco Argan Fibre Mascara

It’s magic in a mascara and builds up to beautifully long lashes.

The “Faux” – Yes or no? Many of us have eyelash extensions applied by a pro­fess­­ ional. They give you long thick lashes and look good for 2-3 weeks before they need maintenance. They also save you time by not having to apply mascara every morning. The downside is that they are expensive and require main­­tenance every few weeks. Also the surgical glue used to fix them plays havoc on your own lashes. If you have the time and money to keep them in tip top shape, go for it; they’re gorgeous! If however your lifestyle doesn’t allow for “emergency” visits to the beauty parlor, choose another technique.

This hairdo has a real WOW effect, it looks complicated but is actually really easy. Don’t worry if you don’t have locks that go on for miles, your hair doesn’t have to be really long to make this work. Shoulder length hair is just fine!

WHAT YOU NEED Teaser brush 2 elastics Hair pins Hair spray Hair doughnut

The Easy-twist do STEP 1 Comb your hair into two ponytails. The lower one just needs enough hair to hold the doughnut. STEP 2 Place the doughnut around the lower ponytail and pull the hair around and through the doughnut as many times as the length of your hair allows. STEP 3 Distribute the hair to cover the “doughnut” as

much as you can and fix with a hairpin. STEP 4 Remove the upper ponytail and tease the roots. Spray with hairspray to create volume and hold. STEP 5 Using the teaser brush smooth the surface of the hair but try not to comb out all the volume. STEP 6 Gather the hair and with

one twist. Bring the left side over to the right, fixing it with a hairpin. STEP 7 Smooth the hair to cover the doughnut. STEP 8 The rest of the hair is carefully tucked under and placed in center of the doughnut. STEP 9 Secure with hairpins and hairspray.

Osushi is a unique rest­ aurant in Iceland. The met­­hod of dining involves snatching small plates from a conveyor belt. Pricing is distinguished by the color and pattern of the plate – most range between 230 - 440 ISK. Everything off the con­vey­­ or belt is tasty and if you don’t really fancy sushi, you can instead choose for ex­­ample teriyaki chicken, noodle salad, tempura




and desserts. The vibe in Osushi is friendly and relaxed. The restaurant is located almost next door to Althingi (the parliament) which is in the heart of the city.







Pósthússtræti 13 / Borgartúni 29 / Reykjavíkurvegur 60 HF. Tel: 561 0562 / Issue two


Whales of Iceland

Larger than life Have you ever wondered just how big a whale is? Whales of Iceland is a grand exhibition that opened in February 2015. It’s the newest and largest whale exhibition in Europe where guests can learn about these giants of the sea in an interactive and modern environment right in the heart of Reykjavík’s harbor area.


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his year-round exhibition featur­es life-size models of all 23 whale species found in Iceland’s coastal waters, as well as man-made skeletons of whales. Even the leviathan of the sea, the blue whale is displayed in its full size – nearly the length of a basketball court! There is no better way to learn about the Whales of Iceland than seeing these giants up close and personal in full-size. They are so large that you will hardly believe your eyes, and you will certainly leave with a new perspective and appreciation for these interesting and beautiful animals. A unique perspective The idea for Whales of Iceland was born out of increased interest in whales and their habitat around Iceland. In the past decade tourism in Iceland has increased tremendously. Whales have been one of its most popular attractions and many whale watching tours are available around the country. Whales of Iceland hopes to educate and share a unique perspective of whales that can be combined with a journey to see them in their natural environ­ment. The team behind the Whales of Iceland exhibition has the utmost respect for whales and their habitat and believes that by informing guests, this respect will grow and be enhanced both in Iceland and abroad. This innovative exhibition features an interactive minke whale and information stations that educate and inspire visitors about each whale on display. Be sure to check out the interactive media displays and explore these majestic creatures in a truly spectacular and modern ­presen­tation.

There is so much to learn about these amazing animals! Here are just a few facts: Did you know … … that sperm whales are the loudest creatures on Earth? Their clicking vocalizations can reach up to 230 decibels, much louder than a jet plane during takeoff (120 decibels). Sounds over 120 decibels are painful to human ears. … that humpback whales feed off their own fat during the winter and eat only in the summer? … that of all the animals that have ever lived, the blue whale is the largest? It can grow as long as three school buses and weigh as much as 150 tons. That is heavier than 150 small cars.

The strictest attention to detail and authenticity for the whale models was the foremost concern for Whales of Ice­land. Marine biologist Edda Elísabet Magnúsdóttir was consulted to confirm the accuracy of the information and descriptive materials for each whale. The subjects of this data are beautifully rend­er­ed in the life size models that are realistic in size, anatomy and color. Still curious about whales? Whales of Iceland is actively collaborating with other Icelandic establishments to provide guests with whale watching tours and other activities related to marine life that are within walking distance. Staff can assist guests with the purchase of tickets for whale watching tours at the exhibition or tickets can be purchased on www. A list of departing tours is available in the lobby. After a tour of the exhibition you can enjoy light refreshments at the Whales of Iceland café – directly below a life-size blue whale – with complimentary Wi-Fi. Everyone should be able to find something to their liking in the whale gift shop with various whale-related merchandise and souvenirs, Icelandic design, books and toys. v

The Whales of Iceland exhibition is located at Fiskislod 23-25, in Reykjavik’s harbor area. Getting there on foot from downtown Reykjavik is easy and enjoyable and there is also plenty of parking available. Opening Hours: Open every day Summer 9am - 7pm (May 1 –September 30) Winter 9am - 6pm (October 1 – April 30) Prices: Adults: ISK 2,900 EUR 18 USD 25 Children age 7-15: ISK 1,500 EUR 10 USD 13 Children under 7 year: free Senior Citizens ISK 2,000 EUR 13 USD 18

Whales need space! The exhibition space was designed by interior architect Halli Friðgeirs, and the lighting was designed by Þórður Orri. This collaboration resulted in a stunning exhibition space where the whales are the centerpiece and the atmosphere is like no other. All interactive material was designed by the experts at Gagarín and Örvar Halldórsson, director of design.

For more information check out

Issue two


The wonders of whale watching

A whale of a time The nutrient rich waters surrounding Iceland provide plenti­ful food throughout the year for a variety of marine life including whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, seabirds and basking sharks, making it one of the top destinations in Europe to en­­counter such aweinspiring species. Photos: Megan Whittaker


s a marine biologist, Megan Whittaker, instantly fell in love with Iceland when she first arrived in 2008 and is still enthralled with it today. As a whalewatch­­ing naturalist for Elding Whale Watch­ing Reykjavik, one of the leading whale watch­­ing companies in Iceland, Megan inspires others, while capturing the life changing moments with her Nikon DSLR. Everything you need to know about whale watching With many years of experience, listening to what her passengers require from their tour and an­s­­wering their questions, Megan thought it would be a good idea to develop a book to present this information in a fun but educational way. “In co­operation with Edda Publishing The Wonders of


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Whale Watching in Iceland was born and will hope­ fully not only inspire our guests with the wond­ers of watching whales in Iceland but also help them plan future visits,” says Megan. The book is filled with Megan’s beautiful pictures, fun facts and everything you need to know about whale watching in Iceland, all written by Megan. It can be bought at most Eymundsson bookshops but those who want a more personal touch can buy a signed copy at the Elding Whale Watching ticket office, down at the old harbor. The Wonders of Whale Watching in Iceland will give whale en­­ thusiasts all they need to know in a small, handy, fit-in-your-suitcase book to take home and cherish forever. “Combining three of my passions; working with marine life, people and photography, I am living my dream. Iceland with its stunning scenery,

wonder­­ful people, plentiful wildlife and magical auror a borealis is and will always be my home,” says Megan who looks forward to seeing all whale enthusiasts on their up-coming whale-watching excursions. v



The Saga Museum brings the Viking age to life. There you’ll walk among some of Iceland’s most famous heroes and infamous villains portrayed in their defining moments; the Viking settlement in 874, Leif the Lucky’s discovery of America, the founding of the world’s first parliament and the epic clan feuds that marked the settlement. This is as close as you’ll ever get to meeting Vikings in the flesh. Try on the clothes and weapons of the Viking age. Great fun and a great photo opportunity.

The shop has a wide selection of traditional Viking handiwork, souvenirs and clothing.

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

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Burfell and Esja as seen from Valahnukar.

Take a hike

Meet the trolls When visiting Iceland there’s more to see than the bustling city of Reykjavik and the Golden Circle (although that’s really a sight to behold). Those who want to explore this land further should take a hike, literally, and put some land under their feet. Text and photos by Einar Skúlason


here are quite a few hiking routes around the capital and the hiking area around Kaldársel is a good place to start.

Getting there From Hafnarfjordur, drive the road via Kald­ár­el all the way to the end of the road where you can park. Just before the parking area there are two houses on the right used by the YMCA for their children‘s summer camp. Next to the parking area the river Kaldá emerges only to disappear again in the lava 1 km away. The town of Hafnarfjordur gets its cold water from Kald­árbotnar since 1918.

The family of trolls on Valahnukar.


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The route Start by walking on the left side of the fence (toward north) and you will soon see a path. After following the path awhile you’ll see Helgadalur, a small drift valley where boy scouts used to have big gatherings. The last one was in 1959 before the site became a water con­­­serva­ tion area. Continue along the path and when you see trees it’s a sign that you are at Valaból, a cave belonging to Hostelling International in Iceland. It’s in between the trees and was used as a hostel for decades despite a serious lack of basic modern facilities. From Valabol, walk on top of Valahnukar (205 m) and go east until you get to the strange rock formations, 3-4 m high. Some tales say they are a family of trolls with their dog that turned into stone in the sun while others claim that these rock for­­mations look like falcons (valir). We like the troll story better and it’s a nice gesture to salute them before going back a bit and then head toward mount Helgafell (304 m). A nice path leads up to the top, but it can be slippery in the winter. There is a guestbook on top, where you can sign your name and feast on the wonderful view.

From Valabol, walk on top of Valahnukar (205 m) and go east until you get to the strange rock formations, 3-4 m high. Some tales say they are a family of trolls with their dog that turned into stone in the sun while others claim that these rock for­­ mations look like falcons (valir).

After­­wards head down the same path and continue toward the parking area. Careful The hiking area around Kaldársel is popu­­ lar all year round, but please show caution during winter; check the weather forecast before embarking and wear appropriate clothing. Bring equipment for winter trekk­ing and something to eat and drink. The weather can change suddenly and you should always be prepared. This area is uninhabited and there is no service, however mobile phones work well and usually you’ll meet other hikers on the way. This trail is around 7 km with 300 m elevation gain (5 km and 140 m elevation gain if you skip Helgafell). v

The track for the hike can be found here:




“This is what I call whale watching! wowwww”

Photo@GentleGiants: Stefán Guðmundsson

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

Visit The Gentle Giants

up north in Húsavík – The Whale Watching Capital of Iceland





Booking: Tel. +354 464 1500 · · Issue two 77 HÚSAVÍK


WOW entrepreneurs

Striking a new cord Have you ever had the wrong cord in your hand when wanting to use some sort of gadget? Here’s an idea that might keep that from ever happening to you again. Text and photos: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson


n idea two Icelandic brothers have might help a lot of other people too. Einar and Ágúst Ágústsson have big ideas and large corporations have shown inter­­est in their start-up project. Trough Kick­­ they have raised almost 100,000 USD their cord project in pledges from the public and are in the process of getting a patent for the idea. Harmony for all Einar’s and Ágúst’s aim is to solve the issue of having to use different cords for different gadgets, for example phones, cameras, voice recorders, tablets and whatever tech stuff you need to use when at home, at work or while traveling. They have combined a system so that all gad­­­ gets can be connected to one cord, more or less. The brothers believe their product, called the TOB cable, could become the new standard for gadgets and create a future where all gadgets communicate in the same language through their system of cords and adapters. “We are making a cord with an adapter for vari­ ous gadgets and multi-purpose use in general. You can carry one cord and a little bag of adaptors to plug into your devices, instead of carrying loads of cords around,” say the brothers. “We are aiming to solve the problem of endless cords, an issue every gadget owner knows. We have received a lot of interest and public pledges which will allow us to go the next level. There are also big companies in contact with us, who want our product,” says Einar.

The answer was blowing in the wind The idea for the TOB cable came up after the brot­­­hers had made a travel wind turbine. They needed to design a waterproof USB system for the turbine and realized that making different adapters would work for various gadgets. “This

Brothers Ágúst and Einar Ágústsson hope their new product will hit the market by a storm and big companies are already showing interest.


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Get your cables straight: Advanced design TOB combines the latest advances in fiber optic and electronic technology and it has a specially designed connector that snaps to various adapters. Faster charging The TOB cable is de­ signed for fast charg­ing meaning you can charge your phone and gadgets up to twice as fast. HD video TOB cable is designed to deliver Full HD Video and the adapters are designed to fit most gadgets and TV’s on the market. Audio Using TOB for speakers and headphones ensures optimum sound quality and the adapters are designed to fit the most popular headphones and gadgets on the market. Maximum data transfer Using USB 3.1 TOB can transfer data up to 10 gbps and is backwards compatible.

cord we made is so powerful that it can handle anything that will be made in the future in regards to data transport. In fact, we can also make any kind of adapters for new products that are yet to be made,” says Einar. In today’s business world, many are willing to copy other people’s ideas and the brothers are wary of that. “We are working on protecting our idea as well as getting it to the market as soon as possible. We just visited some factories in China and the manufacturing is being planned,” says Einar. The people pledging to the project at the brother’s Kickstarter site ( projects/janulus/tob-cable-one-cable-for-every­­ thing) will be the first to receive the cord system before it goes on sale and will get it at a better price. But just how big of a deal is this cord? “This could be huge, if all goes to plan. We are offering something that is not available today and hopefully the TOB system will be what everyone wants to have. It is hard to say what will happen but there is good potential and we can develop quickly with the market,” says Ágúst. “We are making a cord with an adapter for vari­ ous gadgets and multi-purpose use in general. You can carry one cord and a little bag of adaptors to plug into your devices, instead of carrying loads of cords around,” say the brothers.

Brotherly works Einar and Ágúst have made other things, for example a solar battery strap which you can con­­­­nect to a USB port, to charge gadgets you are

The neatly designed TOB system that may grow in different directions in the future to fit various gadgets.

carrying. “We have worked on wires and technology since we were boys and our dad and granddad were electricians, so it is in our blood to connect wires in some way. We are well synced with each other and don’t need a cable to communicate. Somehow we see things the same way in regards to the future,” says Einar of their brotherly work together. “There is a lot of development in the electronic and gadget industry. We think in the future the gadgets will be without cords and we are looking at this too. But the TOB system will have good use for many years to come. The dream we have is that everyone will be using the system. We hope big technical corporations will join us as we will be offering the system to the public and to sales agents around the world. We are just getting started and public funding has allowed us to make this step.” v

The TOB cable system allows you to connect various gadgets through one cord, with different adapters for different devices.

Harpa Regulars They’re always around Guided Tours

Service in Harpa

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

You can choose between Smurstöðin and Kolabrautin and their diverse menus. Go shopping either in Epal design store or Upplifun gift store. Book a bus tour with Sterna to any of Iceland’s amazing attractions or visit Geysirland tourist info where you can rent a car and travel on your own.

Expo Pavilion A 360° cinematic experience, every day in Harpa. Iceland in all its diversity, projected onto four walls and the ceiling, forming a cube that surrounds its guests.

Reykjavík Concert Hall and Conference Centre

Austurbakki 2 101 Reykjavík Iceland +354 528 5000

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

Harpa is open every day 08:00 – 24:00

Issue two


Reykjavík Art Museum Kjarvalsstaðir

Japanese Inspiration to Nordic modernism Alongside the hustle and bustle of one of Reykjavík’s main streets is a place called Miklatún Park. Tall trees frame the park like a fortress and at its northern end, beside a quiet street, you can enjoy the adventure of visiting the Reykjavík Art Museum Kjarvalsstaðir. by Svava Jónsdóttir Photos: Kristinn Magnússon

The architect, Davíðsson, was influenced by Japanese inspiration to Nordic modernism and you can see the influence in raw building materials, a quality of lightness and simplified lines through­out.


jarvalsstaðir (Kjarval’s Place) was designed by architect Hannes K. Davíðs­­­son (1916-1995) who was interested in new ide­­­as in architecture and atti­­­tudes in post-war Iceland, for example through ex­peri­­ments with innovative uses of con­­crete as well as the use of glass for light building facades.

Honoring the great Kjarvalsstaðir was built to honor of one of Iceland’s most beloved landscape painters, Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885-1972). Here you can enjoy his magnificent key works all year round as well as temporary exhibitions by other Icelandic and inter­­national artists. Kjarval bequeathed a large collection of artwork and personal effects to the city of Reykjavík and looking at his paintings of mountains, the sky in various colors, the lava... It’s like being on an adventure in another world. Simplified lines Kjarvalsstadir was inaugurated in 1973, a year after Kjarval’s death, and was the first building in Iceland specially designed and built for public


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Kjarvalsstaðir was the first building in Iceland specially designed and built for public art exhibitions.

art exhibitions. And indeed the museum itself is like a huge work of art. The building has two wings enclosing a courtyard, and through the glass walls on the south side you can enjoy the park, when not absorbed by the magnificent works of art in the galleries that is. The architect, Davíðsson, was influenced by Japanese inspiration to Nordic modernism and you can see the influence in raw building materials, a quality of lightness and simplified lines through­out. Davíðsson often employed inno­­vations in his use of building mater­ials and the museum in the park features walls of unfinished, or raw, concrete: The grain of the form boards is visible in the texture. Corten steel reigns in the exterior—thick steel plates which have been allowed to rust to a certain extent. On the floor, Icelandic dolerite is the main material—both inside and in the courtyard. It underscores the unity of the park and the building. The galleries lie in the two wings; the East Gallery and the West Gallery. We absolutely recommend visiting Kjarvalsstaðir Museum, where Kjarval’s works of art are housed in another work of art. If you’re lucky there might even be a free concert in the park; it has been known to happen! v

Just Painted Here’s another reason to check out Kjarvalsstaðir. The exhibition Just Painted II was opened at Kjarvalsstaðir on March 28, showcasing works by 60 Icelandic artists all painted in the last two years. The paintings will be on display until June 7, 2015, and it’s safe to say that this is the largest overview of Icelandic contemporary painting ever held in Iceland. The artists are all ages, with very different artistic styles and ideologies, but all of them have chosen painting as their primary art medium. Curators are Hafþór Yngvason and Kristján Jónsson.

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Ancient origins

Reykjavik’s cultural history The Reykjavík City Museum incorporates five individual exhibition centers: the Árbær Open Air Museum, the Settlement Exhibition, the Reykjavík Maritime Museum, the Reykjavík Museum of Photography and Viðey Island.


he main purpose of the Reykjavík City Museum is to preserve the city’s cultural heritage and to re­ present to the general public how it has evolved from the time of the settle­ ment to the present day. A new exhibition of ancient manuscripts On March 21, the Reykjavík City Museum presented a new exhibition, the Settlement Sagas. The central feature of this new exhibition are some of the nation’s great­ est treasures, ancient manuscripts that are usually kept under lock and key at The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. For the first time these items, which tell us so much about Reykjavík’s past, have been put on public display. The exhibition is in the same building as the Settlement Exhibition so visitors will be able to view the manuscripts alongside various other artefacts that have been discovered in the Reykjavík area and therefore attain a better understanding of their significance within the wider context of the history of the settlement. In short, this is a unique opportunity to look back in time at the beginnings and development of Iceland’s capital city over a period of more than a millennium. Literary heritage The Settlement Sagas comprises some of the nation’s most renowned docu­­ ments, many of them written in the twelfth century but relating events that go back as far as 874 AD, when the first settlers are said to have come to Iceland. Recognized by the International World Heritage Program as having outstanding cultural value, the documents on display include: Landnámabók (the Book of the Settlement), Íslendingabók, Kjalnesinga­ saga, Jónsbók and the Bill of Purchase for Reykjavík (1615). It is precisely Iceland’s literary heritage that has preserved this ancient language and helps Icelanders remain in touch with the beginnings of our culture. Indeed, the Icelandic language is the very cornerstone of that legacy. These manuscripts have shaped our view of history and given us a unique basis from which to study both our origins as a nation and our long-standing relationship among the other Nordic


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countries. The Settlement Exhibition focuses on the settlement of Iceland in 874 AD and the first few decades after that. The artefacts there provide an invaluable insight into the life and times of the first people to inhabit the Reykjavík area and the ways in which they adapted to their new environment. The exhibition is founded on archaeological and other scientific research and introduces visitors to the latest facts and interpretations forwarded by a range of experts who have concentrated on this period of our history. These two very different exhibitions hosted by the Reykjavík City Museum afford an unprecedented view into the ancient origins of Icelandic culture. One is based on archaeological findings from the

On March 21, the Reykjavík City Museum presented a new exhibition, the Settlement Sagas. The central feature of this new exhibition are some of the nation’s great­est treasures, ancient manuscripts that are usually kept under lock and key at The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies.

days of the settlement and the other on ancient documents from the same period. This is also the first time Iceland’s literary heritage and archaeological history have been placed side by side for the general public. In addition, the preservation of these precious manuscripts is one of the reasons why UNESCO officially designated Reykjavík as one of its Cities of Literature in 2011. v

The Settlement Exhibition Open: Daily from 9 AM to 8 PM / Aðalstræti 16 / 101 Reykjavik www.reykjavikcitymuseum.

A delicious journey


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

Issue two



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Discover the literary side of Iceland Understanding the art history of any country often requires a basic understanding of its national literature and history, especially since the thematic concerns and motifs are usually quite intertwined, not to mention the confluence of writers, poets and artists who influence each other. In Iceland’s case, one can easily name the brilliant collaboration between poet Steinn Steinarr and the artists Nína Tryggvadóttir and Louisa Matthíasdóttir who all helped usher in new directions in their respective artistic endeavor by Marvin Lee Dupree


hen thinking of national literature most people jump to quick associations: in the case of Spain it is Don Quixote, for the Czech Republic it is The Good Soldier Švejk. The quintessential stereotype that most people have of Iceland’s literary history is often intertwined with its social history, which was a blood-drenched era, filled with filthy, marauding Vikings and with a long “economic period” mired by stagna­­tion. So, most likely the majority of people picture an unkempt Viking splitt­­ing some­body’s head open or giving some­­­body a blood In few cultures will a prominent former eagle. However, such popular views do Iceland’s politician and rich literary heritage a minister come on great disservice. But before national television to defend the sanity delving into Iceland’s literary history, it might and virility of the help to understand the male protagonists cultural mores of readers of a saga written here. close to a thousand years ago. Yes, this actually happened.

Let’s get this straight! Ever heard about the cold war? Ice­­landic cultural society had its own micro cultural version of it. If you liked the modern and enthralling poetry of Steinn Steinarr, you were considered to be on the left side of the political spectrum; whereas bourgeois homes would gravitate toward the warm and conservative poetry of Tómas Guð­­­munds­son. Indeed, literature and culture is a serious affair in Iceland. In few other cultures will a prominent former politician and minister come on natio­nal television to defend the sanity and virility of the male protagonists of a saga written close to a thousand years

ago. Yes, this actually happened: Never question the heterosexual preferences of Gunnar and Njáll! You are what you read In fact, this tiny island nation of biblio­ philes publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world; and each year Icelandic book publishers deliver to every Icelandic home a Christ­ mas book catalog—because giving a book for Christmas is an ingrained family custom among the vast majority of the Icelandic population. If you cannot discuss which books you received for Christmas, your cultural capital drops a notch in popular opinion. There is even a cute name for the Christmas publishing bonanza in Icelandic: “Jólabókaflóð” or idiomatically “The Christmas book flood.” This custom, along with many other things in Iceland, is carried to the extreme on the 23rd of December—most downtown bookstores in Reykjavík will make you wonder if there is an Icelandic Black Friday or if some new Apple product is exclusively on sale in that particular bookstore. Deep roots This quirky and wonderful fondness for literature is also reflected in Iceland’s great literary heritage which follows a somewhat different trajectory than most other European countries whose literary history commences with the dissolution of Latin as the predominate language, as well as the burgeoning importance of the Bible in native languages. Written in Old Norse, the literature of Iceland thus has a long tradition composed of the sagas, and the Eddic and skaldic poetry. This medieval literary heritage is considered Issue two


to have played a large role in preserving the language and a chief reason why Icelanders can still easily read their national medieval literature unlike most other nations. Icelandic world literature Iceland’s literary history is also shaped by the tension between paganism and Christianity, which was a foreign religion imposed onto the country. Other literary motifs and themes include the honor society and blood The Icelandic Sagas vendettas of early are like an elegant settler societies in version of Game of Iceland, as well as Thrones minus the mystical tales of incest. trolls, ghosts and elves. Despite the rich literary heritage of the Icelandic Sagas, they have un­­fortunately not reached a broader audi­ence, which is literally insane since they firmly belong to the canon of world literature. The Icelandic Sagas are like an elegant version of Game of Thrones

Arnaldur Indriðason, author of crime thrillers. Photo courtesy of JPV Publisher.

Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, author.

Einar Kárason, author. Photo Courtesy of publisher.

minus the incest, that is if you exclude cousins marrying as being incestuous. How can one not love the psychopathic Egill Skallagrímsson, or the conniving and clever schemes of Hallgerður in Njáls­­saga; or for that matter, the tragic and timeless wisdom of Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir from Laxdæla saga? If you have not read a single Icelandic saga you cannot consider yourself a bibliophile or well read. Yes, there—we said it: Read these great works of world literature. Along came Laxness Most would consider the Icelandic novel and short story form to have sprung forth from the international move­­­­ment of romanticism, especially with the orientation toward Nordic and pagan antiquity, folk tales and the em­­bracing of nationalism. During this period Icelandic poets, mainly Fjölnis­­menn [literally “The men of Fjölnir” an Icelandiclanguage journal publis­­­­hed annually in Copenhagen from 1835-1847] and chief among them Jónas Hallgrímsson, who is on the Icelandic 2,000 krona banknote, help­­­­­ed standardize spelling and fight the in­­fluence of Danish on the Icelandic langu­­­­age. Of course before romanticism and the birth of the Icelandic novel and short story there had been a large corpus of literature that focused mainly on Christian themes. The main figure of this period was Hallgrímur Pétursson,


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namesake for the largest church in Reykjavík. In the 20th century, in Icelandic litera­ture one author stands out like the monolith in the film 2001 did in prehistoric times. The author in question is of course Halldór Laxness. Yet, if you assume that all Icelanders universally adored Laxness while he was in his prime, you are sorely mistaken. Despite the fact that both the literati and general public now stock the bookshelves with elegant copies of his works, for a long time many Icelanders detested Laxness and surly eyebrows were raised by the mere mention of his name. Only a few years ago a biography was written which sole purpose seems to have been to cast aspersions on Laxness and to even political scores. Because of Laxness’ political lean­­­ ings, along with his scathing criticism of Icelandic shortcomings and customs, he made many enemies. For example, in one of his earlier works Laxness wrote

Thor Vilhjálmsson and Guð­bergur Bergsson. One common theme that appeared in some of the works of the aforementioned authors is the effect of the American military presence on Icelandic society and the formation of urban culture in the 20th century, but all of them helped usher in a modernistic aesthetic into Icelandic literature. Towards the end of the 20th century authors such as Einar Kárason and Einar Már Guðmundsson made inroads into foreign markets. And in recent years Icelandic literature has been making splashes around the globe and some of the more recognizable names are Sjón, Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, Hallgrímur Helgason and Steinunn Sigurðardóttir. Still, the predominant literary export nowadays is Nordic noir, and the main suspects, or rather authors, are delivering their tales of macabre and murder to households and Kindles around the globe. The perpetrators are Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Arnaldur

Hallgrímur Pétursson, author of the Passion Hymns.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, author of crime and horror thrillers. Photo: Sigurjón Ragnar.

that Icelanders would benefit more Indriðason. In Arnaldur’s most success­­ from toothbrushes than great poetry. In ful novels the main protagonist is most his magnum opus Independent People, often the detective Erlendur who is he dissected the Icelandic na­­tional a modern day Bjartur who has been psyche and critiqu­ed the transported into a “foreign” If you assume quasi vassa­lage posi­­ and urban culture, where that all Icelanders tion of many Icelanders modern people prefer to universally adored eat pizza rather than boiled and the romantic vision of Laxness while he country life, thus draw­ing sheep’s head and smashed was in his prime, unwanted parallels of the turnips. In Arnaldur’s works you are sorely past with contemporary one can often sense the tim­­es. Corruption, nepotism mistaken. tension of how quickly an and backwardness were isolated nation of farmers all on display in the social realistic and sailors turned into a nation of virtuosity of the novel—but most of all inter­­national bankers and international the stubborn and ignorant Bjartur who writers. valued his freedom above all, despite not knowing what freedom was exactly. Icelandic literature at home The culmi­­­nation of Laxness’ work Obviously, it is apparent that Iceland resulted in him winning the Nobel Prize is a country that takes its literature for Literature in 1955. quite seriously—and there is a famous word that encapsulates this thinking: Icelandic literature abroad “skúffuskáld,” which essentially means Despite the ever-present shadow of drawer-writer. Basically the notion is Laxness during the 20th century, many that almost every Icelander has some other Icelandic authors produced poetry or writing stored away alongside great works that are available in num­ his or her dreams of becoming a writer. erous languages. One such author is While you are in Iceland, why not grab Gunnar Gunnarsson whose legacy a novel or two or even a saga and was somewhat mired by his ill-fated discover Iceland in a more intimate association with Nazi Germany, manner? And make sure you check although he was shortlisted on the out the statue of Jónas Hallgrímsson Nobel Prize’s committee shortlist a and sit beside Tómas Guðmundsson few times. Other prominent writers at Reykjavik’s downtown pond, Tjörnin, of the 20th century include Svava while pursuing the literary side of Jakobsdóttir, Ásta Sigurðardóttir, Iceland. v



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Icelandic art canon

The legendary Kjarval

Artist, Bohemian, environmentalist, working-class man, poet—all of these designations depict Iceland’s most renowned artist Jóhannes Kjarval.

by Marvin Lee Dupree Photos: Courtesy of the Reykjavik Art Museum Kjarvalsstadir, unless otherwise stated


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hen tackling such a subject as Kjarval, the discussion can quickly turn toward an inane list of superlatives where the artist is simply placed on a pedestal. Like masterpieces, artists can suffer the fate of only being “seen”, but not understood. To avoid such a fate, a contextual mosaic might help explain who the man actually is and how Kjarval’s brilli­ant interpretation of Icelandic nature, with all its beauty and ethereal qualities, is a major component of Icelandic cultural history. Looking at Kjarval Kjarval was born in 1885 in abject poverty like many Icelanders at the time and was later adopted by another family that lived in Borgarfjörður Eystri, a place that was to be a major inspiration for much of his art. One such piece is Fantasía úr Borgarfirði eystri or Fantasy in Borgafjörður eystri. This particular part of Iceland is legendary for its copious legends and stories about ghosts, elves and hidden people. In Á Hulduströnd this influence is evident; in it Kjarval depicts two of his most popular thematic motifs: the ocean and hidden people. This should come as no surprise because before embarking on his now legendary career, Kjarval worked as a fisherman like many of his contemporaries; and like the words from the recently popular Prins Pólo song París Norðursins “Hafið—ég þekki ekki annað” (“I know nothing but the sea”) it was a reality for generations of Icelanders. Still, Kjarval yearned for something else so later he moved to the burgeoning capital Reykjavík where, as a young, inspired artist, he studied und­­­­er the famous Icelandic artist Ásgrímur Jóns­­ son, a legend in his own right. Later, like many intellectuals and artists before him, Kjarval sailed for Copenhagen, the political hub of Iceland, shortly before his thirties, after a failed attempt to get to London. It was in Copenhagen that much of the cultural awakening that arose in Iceland found its nourishment and for Kjarval it was no exception. While abroad Kjarval was introduced to the nascent movement of modernism in art and began to produce some of his early work, that include his early experimental forays into cubism. Later in his work he would also exhibit evident influence in the schools of futurism and expressionism. However, the most famous painting from this artistic phase, which firmly belongs to cubism, is Hvíta­­sunnudagur or White Sunday morning. The afore­­mentioned painting was auctioned off in Copenhagen almost a decade ago for the unprec­edented amount (for an Icelandic artist) of USD 187,000 or EUR 175,000. Wallpaper artist and young Turk After returning to Iceland, Kjarval became known as an eccentric artist. In the eyes of family the eccentric part was often an act. His daughter-inlaw stated once that this eccentricity was only a defense for an introverted soul against abrasive and intrusive individuals. A part of this defense was Kjarval’s deployment of his favorite word: “gilligogg”. Eccentric or not, early pioneers described him as a “born artist [and] a peculiar artist and the most magnificent among Icelandic artists who is never afraid to be a trailblazer despite popular opinion which does not matter to him.” This particular

Kjarval breaks ground for Kjarvalsstadir art museum. Photo: Pétur Thomsen / Reykjavik Museum of Photography

pass­age from 1922 in the magazine Óðinn reveals the favorable reception Kjarval received in some progressive circles. During the early half of the 20th century, the consensus seemed to be that Kjarval was a young iconoclast like all other Icelandic painters who painted in the modernist vein. A quick peek of this zeitgeist can easily be seen in a short essay from 1936 that appeared in the now defunct newspaper Vísir. In the essay an anonymous essayist wrote the fitting question: “Who has the most expensive wallpaper in Iceland?” In the piece much is made out of the lack of public funding for the arts; and how Kjarval, a misunderstood and mistrusted artist, despite garnering attention for his native country is living in cramped conditions and painting on his wallpaper, thus making it the most expensive wallpaper in the country. Although Kjarval painted on his wallpaper more out of eccentricity than lack of canvas the author of the

he would return to it again and again. For example, Iceland’s national park Þingvellir is made immortal in such works as Lava at Bessastaðir. But Kjarval also managed to capture the grandeur of other landmarks such as Skjaldbreiður, Lómagnúpur and Snæfellsjökull. Kjarval’s childhood home in the east is also a prominent feature in some of his works. And for many years Kjarval would return and live in his small cabin in Kjarvalshvammur, near the river Selfljót, and paint. In fact, this cabin still stands today. Artist and social critic Kjarval’s keen artistic eye was not limited to only capturing and interpreting reality but also laid in his aesthetic and political sagacity, which can be said of many great artists since they continue their contribution to posterity through the way their intuitive and progressive views shaped our world

Unique wallpaper. Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval, The Course of Life, 1933 (exhibited at Gerðarsafn – Kópavogur Art Museum, 2005), The Private collection of Þorvaldur Guðmundsson and Ingibjörg Guðmundsdóttir in keeping of Gerðarsafn.

Vísir article was deploring the lack of appreciation in Icelandic society towards Kjarval. Indeed, one of the most memorable events of the 20th century is when one of the most powerful poli­­ticians of the time, Jónas Jónsson, vehemently oppos­­ed giving governmental stipends to Kjarval and other modernist artists, mainly the abstract ones, since they were in his own words “doodle paint­­­ers,” bringing to mind Time magazine’s critique of Jack­­son Pollock whom they dubbed “Jack the Dripper.” Quintessentially Icelandic Despite the prevailing artistic and social mores, Kjarval’s talent found its expression in the brilliant combination of his exquisite interpretation of Icelandic nature and his unique view of Icelandic society. In fact, his art captures the essence of what Iceland sprung from and once was, a comm­onality he shares with other great Icelandic minds such as Laxness. In some of Kjarval’s work he would depict commoners such as Icelandic salt cod workers, particularly female workers, working on salted cod that, for a long time, was an immensely crucial export. This importance is captured by the maxim coined by Laxness which is: “Lífið er saltfiskur” (Life is salted cod). Yet, at the same time his use of symbolism runs rampant with numerous symbols and motifs such as the famous horse of Greek mythology, Pegasus, and this transported mythology blends into the landscape of Iceland and seems to invoke common Icelandic motifs: such as a yearning for escape or a retreat into fantasy and the world of the mind, harmonized with a deep appreciation of Icelandic nature. In Pegasus, The Girl and Amazon Woman of the Mountain one can sense Kjarval’s simultaneous exploit of symbolism as fantastical, national and transnational. Once you see Kjarval’s works, you can quite easily discern how Icelandic nature was an endless source of fascination of inspiration for him—and

today. It is useless to try and disassociate Kjarval from such a context since he was a highly public figure who voiced his views passionately. He is, for example, the only individual to have declined the Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon, the highest honor awarded to an Icelandic individual. This political side of Kjarval places him in the good company of Laxness and the great poet Jónas Hall­­­grímsson, whom can be seen on the 10,000 ISK bank note. Like his predecessor Hallgrímsson, Kjarval opened Icelanders’ eyes to the majestic beauty of Icelandic nature, which for a long time had not been appreciated for its aesthetic qualities. For example, many of Kjarval’s works depicted the alluring qualities of Gálgahraun, now no longer visible since becoming a residential area, much to the chagrin of lovers of nature and kindred spirits of Kjarval. Kjarval also discussed the possibility of protecting marine life-forms such as whales, which at the time of his writing was considered a ludicrous idea. Indeed, many have pointed out how progressive Kjarval was in many ways, and a deeper appreciation of his entire work, including his public persona and writings are being reevaluated and appreciated. Legacy Kjarval’s legacy among the Icelandic populace is forever enshrined and treasured. In Reykjavík, the Reykjavík Art Museum has its own institute named Kjarvalsstadir which exhibits his work to the general public, as well as other intriguing exhibitions. Iceland also commemorates him on the 2,000 ISK bank note where you can observe Kjarval’s Flugþrá or Yearning for flight painting on the backside. On the front side you can see a portion of his painting Úti og Inni or Outside and Inside and his drawing A woman and a flower. So, if you have an interest in fine arts and you happen to be in Reykjavík, a dreamy afternoon in Kjarvalsstadir should be on your to-do list. v Issue two


Location is everything!

Good eats in great spots When traveling in Iceland, the truly amazing is often just around the corner. Just a little further and you might actually be in Wonderland; places where trolls roam the beach, whales swim just off the pier and kings have dined. Here are a few tips from for those who like to combine good eats and dream locations. by Kári Gunnlaugsson Photos: Courtesy of the respective restaurants

Black Beach - Vík

There might be more impressive spots, but when you’re standing here, you won’t remember them. The volcanic black sand beach stretches from the grand rock doors of Dyrhólaey on one side to the amazing basalt columns and the towering troll and ship-turned-to-stone on the other. And when the wind and the surf get a bit too much, there is the Black Beach Café making hearty soup and delicious sandwiches served with indoor warmth behind the full size windows.

Kaffi Borgir - Mývatn

Even for Iceland this is a magnificent and an other­worldly place; the great lake Mývatn on one side and the spectacular lava formations on the other. After a walk through the mystical land below, around lava formations the size of three story buildings, a cold pint on the natural patio at Kaffi Borgir would be a fine choice. Also, this is a great place for lunch; be it the reindeer-burger or the excellent local trout, Chef Freddi is your man.


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Hafið Bláa - Eyrarbakki

Between the lagoon at the mouth of Ölfusá River and the open North Atlantic Ocean this place has a spectacular panoramic view of at least four active volcanoes (including Eyjafjallajökull and Hekla), as well as the rugged southern Reykjanes peninsula. A seriously scenic drive (Icelandic style) would be through the lava fields next to the Blue Lagoon, along the south coast, ending up at Hafið Bláa. This popular restaurant serves fresh seafood and a great cream of langou­­s­­tines, or just have coffee and cake while enjoying the lovely scenery.

Skaftfell - Seyðisfjörður

Skaftfell is situated in the basement of an old carpenter’s shop reincarnated as an artist residency and center for visual arts. All kinds of creative people have come and loved hanging out here shoulder to shoulder with the easygoing locals of this beautiful old fishing village turned hipster mecca. Imaginative cooks using local ingredients do a superb job, varying the menu from day to day and the word is: they serve the best pizzas on the east coast. Tip! Go for a whale watching walk after dinner.

Tryggvaskáli - Selfoss

Tryggvaskáli’s talented chefs of notable reputation provide fine dining on the beautiful eastern bank of Ölfusá River, just off the great bridge in an area rich with history. A cool menu focuses mostly on local, hand-picked, quality ingredients, complemented by some of their own homegrown vegetables. Any dish is a worthwhile experience, but the wild salmon is a revelation. Be sure to ask the staff about the history of the house since this is in fact the sort of place where families have gathered, lovers have met and a king has dined. Issue two


What to drink?

Beer meets beer

U.S. President Barrack Obama recently appointed a new ambassador to Iceland. His name is Mr. Robert C. Barber, a lawyer from Boston and he was very excited to hear about WOW air’s new route to his hometown.

Photos: Courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Iceland


r. Barber’s goal is to strengthen the collaboration between the U.S.A. and Ice­­land and as he is a big beer enthusiast the idea for a beer tasting with Icelandic and American beers came to him quickly. Barber invited two craft breweries from the U.S. to showcase their beers alongside Icelandic craft brews around the time that Icelanders celebrate Beer Day (the anniversary of the beer legislation in Iceland). The evening was a big success and the beer fantastic. We got our very own beer expert here at WOW air, Eymar Plédel Jónsson, to taste all the types of beer for us and give his notes.


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Hopworks Urban Brewery

Steðji Brewery

Hopworks Urban Brewery IPA Very fresh hoppy aromas with a very nice and clean bitterness. Nicely balanced IPA.

Steðji Almáttugur (Almighty) Dark red color, towards brown. Malty aroma with hints of liquorice and cookies followed up with a sweet malty/ liquoricy aftertaste.

Hopworks Urban Brewery India Red Ale Beautiful red color. Hoppy on the nose with a hint of sweetness. Malty mouth-feel with a nicely balanced bitterness to it. Very nice beer.

Steðji Oktoberbjór Dark brown color with lightly roasted aromas that blend nicely with a spicy background. Pumpkin not so noticeable. Quite interesting.

From Portland, Oregon, Hopworks have been handcrafting great organic beers from fresh, local ingredients.

This micro-brewery is very young and has a punk-rock attitude towards their label sometimes proving to be a little too controversial.

Ölvisholt Brewery

A microbrewery located in an old dairy farm in south Iceland, Ölvisholt was founded in 2007 and besides being available in Iceland their beers are exported to the USA, Sweden and Denmark. Skjálfti Very clean on the nose with a hoppy character. Light and malty mouth-feel with a very delicate bitterness. Lava Pitch black with big roasted and smoky aromas and a sweet background that follows up with robust flavors. Very complex and intriguing. Great beer.

Independent Fermentations

IndieFerm was the catalyst for this evening’s beer tasting as Ambassador Barber had tasted their Honey Tripel at a beerfest and fell in love. A small brewery in Plymouth, Massachusetts, IndieFerm is available at the finest bars and stores from Cape Cod to Braintree. Independent Fermentations Grätzer Light and crispy with a smoky and spicy nose. Surprisingly refreshing in spite of the smoke due to the very light body. Independent Fermentations Honey Tripel Very typical nose on the sweet side with honey and ripe fruits in abundance. Thick mouth-feel and a bit heavy but tasty it is.

Kaldi Brewery

Established in Árskógssandur in northern Iceland in 2005, Kaldi produces high quality beers using a Czech recipe. There’s even a bar in Reykjavik dedicated to this brew; it’s called Kaldi Bar.

Einstök Brewery

Located in Akureyri in northern Iceland, Einstök was founded with a very clear marketing strategy that has worked exceptionally well. From their high quality product to their elegant label design this brewery truly stands out and has now become Iceland’s most exported beer. During the beer tasting event Ambassador Barber told the story of his son who during a layover in Iceland bought two six packs of Einstök which he brought home to his father. After tasting the beer Mr. Barber found a vendor in New Jersey who carried Einstök and ordered a few cases. When Barber’s nomination as Ambassador to Iceland was announced the family celebrated by drinking Einstök beer. Einstök White Ale Light and cloudy with very delicate coriander and orange peel on the nose. Delicate mouth-feel with a nice finish.

Kaldi Lager Malty character is everything in this classic Czech Pilsner with hints of butterscotch on the nose.

Einstök Roasted Porter Dark brown, almost black color. Roasted coffee on the nose with hints of biscuit and roasted grains. A bit thin on the body but overall a very tasty beer.

Kaldi Easter brew A seasonal beer designed to go with all the delicious food of Easter such as lamb, smoked pork and chocolate.

Einstök Pale Ale Light golden with lightly hopped aromas that blend in nicely with the malty character of this pale ale. Light and clean mouth-feel with a very neutral bitterness. v

Issue two


Realm of Vatnajökull

Land of ice and fire In the Realm of Vatnajökull you’ll find the real reason why Iceland got its name. The area is dominated by the great Vatnajökull glacier which is the largest glacier in the world outside the Arctic regions. You’ll also find some of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions in this area, such as the specta­ cular Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Skaftafell, the jewel of Vatnajök­­­ ull National Park and Hvannadals­ hnúkur, the highest peak in Iceland and a popular hike.


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he Vatnajökull Region is filled with con­­ Höfn’s harbor area, along with being a working trasts: black beaches, white glaciers, harbor, is also home to great restaurants such red volcanoes, a green birch forest and as Humarhöfnin and Pakkhús, as well as local the blue Atlantic Ocean. Serenity and clothing design company, Millibör. Being in a the vigorous forces of nature combine fishing town, Millibör’s designs are inspired by to make a visit to the Realm of Vatnajökull a nev­ the great Atlantic Ocean and the life revolving er-to-be-forgotten experience. around it. Pay the harbor area in Höfn a visit and Wildlife is rich in the Realm of Vatnajökull with experience the local life with all your senses. thousands of migrating birds such as puffins and Arctic terns passing through, especially in the Activity, accommodations spring and summer. Herds of reindeers are also and restaurants a common sight, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot Much of the activity in the Realm of Vatnajökull a seal at Jökulsarlon or an Arctic fox running centers around the glacier and the nature sur­­­ across the wide terrain. You will also find dozens rounding it. You can choose between glacier of companies that offer all sorts of activities walks and ice climbing, a thrilling snowmobile year round, diverse accommodations and great ride on Vatnajökull or a comfortable tour of restaurants with local food. Europe’s largest glacier in a super Have you ever jeep. The area also offers ATV tours imagined looking Photographers paradise and geothermal baths at Hoffell, inside a glacier? The Realm of Vatnajökull is in reindeer excursions, a visit to Wintertime in the south­east Iceland and spans over Thorbergssetur Cultural Museum, Realm of Vatnajökull 200 km of the Ring Road from a local mineral stone collection, the glacier offers the Lóma­­­gnúpur in the west to Hvalnes local handicraft store, the petting opportunity of a in the east. It covers the accessible zoo at Hólmur and much more. unique and amaz­­ing south­ern side of Vatnajökull’s glaci­­ There are various possibilities experience! A trip ers and photography enthusi­asts in accommodations to suit your into the ice caves should find the Realm of Vatna­ needs and preferences, and where of Vatna­­jökull’s jök­ull particularly delightful as it you’ll find a warm welcome by southern crawling provides countless magnificent knowledgeable hosts.In the area‘s glaciers is another views of the glaciers and mountains several restaurants, most offer food great adventure. in daylight, and also when dusk made in the Realm of Vatnajökull. settles and the aurora borealis light up the sky. In Be sure to ask for the local beer Vatnajökull, the Vatnajökull Region you’ll find a wide range of which is brewed with Arctic thyme and water from experienced guides and photographers who can icebergs from the Jökulsarlon glacial lagoon take you to that picture perfect spot! Accessible year round Höfn—Delicacies and design! The Vatnajökull region is very accessible There is one town in the area, Hofn, a lively fish­­ the whole year round due to good weather ing town with a population of 1,800. Hofn has the conditions and frequent transportation. Eagle exclusive distinction of being Iceland’s lobster Air offers daily flights from Reykjavík to Hofn capital and you can find lovely restaurants Airport during the summertime and five days offering fresh lobster as well as various other a week during other seasons. Buses (Strætó) local specialties year round. Hofn is also a great between Reykjavík and Hofn are scheduled daily base for exploring the magnificent lands of throughout the year. There are also three car Vatnajökull National Park. Also, be sure to drop rental companies in Hofn. v by at the park’s visitor center in the beautiful historic building, Gamlabúð (Old Store), by the For more information check harbor.

Issue two



Boston Washington D.C.



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Billund Vilnius Dublin

Copenhagen London Amsterdam Paris


D端sseldorf Stuttgart Lyon



Salzburg Milan




Issue two


There’s more to Germany

The alternate Düsseldorf Apart from it being Germany’s richest city, the nation’s advertising and fashion capital (where Claudia Schiffer was discovered), and the hub of many corporations and banks, Düsseldorf is also a city of eclectic art—ultimates and extremes, a sensational mix of glass, chrome and ancient bricks. Text and photos by Cindy-Lou Dale

Getting around: To get to the city from Dusseldorf Airport take a 12-minute train journey (€2.50).


adical architecture dominates the Media Harbor where, instead of warehouses and silos, stand edgy art installations designed by world-renowned, Canadianborn, Frank Gehry. Their warped facades, not dissimilar to the surrealist art of Salvador Dali, capture the imagination: the two most eyecatching buildings being Roggendorf-Haus, with its outrageous plastic figures climbing up the exterior and a chrome office block which glistens when the sun reflects off its metal surfaces. Yet it all blends seamlessly with the surrounding Rococo and Baroque architecture.


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A Dusseldorf Card gets you free public transport, museum entrance and city tours: €9 for 24 hours. See Dusseldorf Tourism to plan your trip www. Where to stay: Düsseldorf City Hostel, Europe’s most modern hostel, is located alongside the Rhine, just a few minutes’ walk from Altstadt. The amenities are comfortable and innovative and all rooms have private bathrooms. Rates start at €24.40 pp incl. breakfast.

SHOP In the city center is the elegant Konigsallee Boulevard, a thoroughfare divided by a moat with a lush park down the center, with banks on one side of the boulevard and flagship haute couture boutiques on the other.

For a trendy shopping experi­ence visit the hipster walk of Lorettos­ trasse. Start at Bilker Church with From­agerie for the best cheese in town, continue with creative stores like Sabas, Tuxedo and Uwe van Afferden, high-end delis like Bern­­ stein & Inbar, wine groceries like the Bilker Weinhaus and finish at the

local branded fashion label of Null:Zwo:Elf where you can buy ethnic souvenirs. Lose yourself in Wandel Antik, a huge warehouse for antique furniture and vintage designs. Should you get hungry try out the yummy pizza on the terrace of Menta or have homemade everything at FRL Buntenbach—even their egg warmers are crocheted! If you’re into the deep fried snacks of Dutch cuisine head to Leo’s Grill.

The alternative ‘in’ shopping precinct is the Ackerstrasse region. A few years ago artists and designers moved into the area because of cheap rents, then came stylish investors. This has resulted in an eclectic interwoven mix of designer labels like Wunderwerk and Tina Miyake, high-end apartment blocks, second-hand boutiques like Elementarteilchen, MyOwnBike selling single geared bicycles and for imported coffee and homemade cake there’s Rekord.

Ratingerstrasse is the cradle of the Düsseldorf punk movement. Even now, this street is still seen as more alternative than Altstadt. Every Wednesday evening Ratingerstrasse mutates into a meeting point for all after-work party people. Check out the pub Zum Goldenen Einhorn. When you drink Altbeer in one of the local breweries, the waiters replace your empty glass with a full one without asking. What may seem welcoming at first could become a problem when you get the bill. Put a beer coaster on top of your glass to let them know you’re done. Although Germany is a true beer nation, beer is not as cheap as one might think. Luckily an unlimited number of little kiosks called ‘Budchen’ or ‘Trinkhalle’ are scattered all over Dusseldorf and sell cold beer from €1.20.

EAT IN Since the 1700s, Dusseldorf is famous for its mustard. Senfladen is a small Altstadt mustard shop that sells its products in small stone pots with the company’s initials ‘ABB’ inscribed in blue on the side. Van Gogh so liked the mustard, he included a depiction of it in one of his paintings. Then there’s the bread, which Germans value more than beer. And it doesn’t get much better than Hinkel, a family run bakery for over a century. Hinkel is a bustling carb-paradise stacked with artisan breads, pastries, cookies and cakes. To find something to put on your Hinkel bread, take a wander around the undercover gourmet food stalls at Carlsplatz Market (established nearly six centuries ago).

DRINK A visit to Fuchschen Brewery (Altstadt) needs to top your must-do list. On Mondays a few of the local old boys meet up in the ‘Liar’s Corner’ to drink good beer and exchange yarns. A tradition they’ve upheld for +45 years. For a typical pub experience check out Kreuzherreneck’s extensive Schnapps collection. If Jagermeister is your thing then you’ll love Killepitsch—the holistic way to get hammered. It’s thick somewhat sweet, all natural liquor which contains 98 herbs, berries and fruit and distilled into a toe curling 42 percent alcohol. The best place to enjoy Killepitsch is at Et Kabuffke, an authentic small pub in Altstadt.

EAT OUT Neighboring Altstadt, near the Hofgarten is Patisserie Passion which, if you’re a chocoholic, is heaven. Here the glass cabinets display gold pralines, chocolate torte and a selection of cakes and pastries to die for! Zum Schiffchen (Altstadt) is another mustvisit. It’s the city’s oldest restaurant where Napoleon himself is said to have dined. The history-steeped premises are smarter than other brewery pubs and the food is good too. Bar Cherie, a cozy French-style café, is one of the first choices of young Dusseldorfers for their first date. Try their fabulous tarte flambé.

Wait for a warm day and take your­­self down to the food wagon near Oberkas­­seler Bridge for Bratwurst or Currywurst, get a beer and pull up a bench. The view of the Rhine and the Altstadt is terrific and gets better with each sip.

If you get the late night munchies and you’re not into a kebab or pizza try out Dusseldorf’s answer to the burger—the famous Schweinebrotchen, a bread roll with two slices of juicy grilled pork. For late-night gourmet, Ham Ham Bei Josef is highly recommended.

QUIRKY STUFF For murals and street art visit the alternative neighborhood of Kiefernstrasse. House number 23 is the only remaining punk club in Dusseldorf, the notorious AK47. Beneath the promenade, in one of the underground road tunnels, is KIT Kunst im Tunnel—an alternative art exhibition. Enter through the bar at ground level (great views of the Rhine) then take an elevator into the tunnel. v Find cheap flights to Düsseldorf with WOW air at

WOW air offers two flights a week between Iceland and Düsseldorf this summer.

Issue two


An educational trip

Trinity College Dublin Founded in 1592, by Queen Elizabeth I to educate the Dublin protestant elite, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university. When in Dublin, the college is well worth the visit. The atmospheric campus located in Dublin’s city center is open to visitors, who walk in the footsteps of some of the college’s noted alumni—among them Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and Samuel Beckett—and see the famous medieval manuscript, the Book of Kells in the beautiful Old Library. by Kristín Einarsdóttir Photos:


s one of the oldest universities in the British Isles, Trinity College is a symbol for the importance of Dublin as an economic and political powerhouse in Elizabethan times. Trinity opened its doors to Catholics in 1793 and first admitted women to its courses in 1904. The majority of buildings on the Trinity campus date from the 18th century, when a significant building program created the elegant yet understated look that is now synonymous with the Dublin University. To­­ day, Trinity College is ranked in the top 100 world uni­­­versities and among the top 50 European universities.

(completed by St. Jerome in 384 AD). The Vikings looted the book in 1007 for its jeweled cover but ultimately left the manuscript behind. The main library room, the Long Room, is one of Dublin’s most staggering sights. The 65 meters long hall, houses 200,000 of Trinity’s oldest books. The Old Library at Trinity College is open Monday to Saturday from 9:30 to 17:00 and Sundays from 9:30 to 16:30. The entry for adults is €9.00, children under 12 years old go for free. Concessions for families, students, senior citizens are available.

The world’s most beautiful library Located in the old library, the centerpiece of the campus attraction is the Book of Kells, which

Bring the whole family Apart from other notable buildings and exhibitions, like the Douglas Hyde Gallery, the Oscar Wilde Centre and the Samuel Beckett Theatre, the new­ est visitor attraction is the Science Gallery. Located in the Naughton Institute on campus, the Science

attracts over 500,000 visitors to Trinity College each year. Written by monks around the year 800 AD, the Book of Kells contains a splendidly illuminated version of the four Christian gospels in a Latin text, based on the Vulgate edition

Gallery host’s exhibitions that feature hands-on visitor participation, and is great fun for kids and adults alike. Trinity College offers walking tours of its historic campus during the summer months. Tours depart from a desk located in the Front Gate

of the college and last approximately 30 minutes. The tour will give you an overview of the history of Trinity College, its architecture, its most famous graduates and in­­cludes an optional visit to the Old Library and the Book of Kells. The campus tour on its own costs €5.00 per person; together with a visit to the Old Library you pay €10.00. Tours depart every 40 minutes between 10:15 and 15:40 from mid-May to September. v

About the author: Kristín Einarsdóttir is a Trinity College alumni and owner of Ireland Travel, which offers event planning and tours around the Emerald Isle.

Starting this June WOW air will offer year round flights, three times a week, to Dublin, Ireland.


WOW Power to the people

Issue two



Home of LEGO! Billund: The little town that could! Billund is one of Denmark’s top towns when it comes to summer vacations and for a good reason. Close to Billund are two of the top theme parks in Denmark: Lalandia, a huge indoor water-fun-land and Givskud Zoo. But Billund is probably best known as the hometown of the original Legoland, which welcomes over 1.5 million visitors per year. Photos: and Givskud Zoo

Did you know? LEGO was the creation of Ole Kirk

1 Christiansen, who founded the LEGO toy factory in 1932. LEGO comes from the Danish phrase “LEG

2 GODT” which means play well. LEGO also means I collect in Latin. Very fitting.

LEGO’s core technology hasn’t changed since

3 1958, which means that a LEGO brick from

1958 is compatible with a LEGO brick made today. Clever! LEGO invented the wheel! Well, the LEGO

4 wheel. LEGO produces 300 million LEGOwheels annually, making LEGO the biggest tire manufacturer in the world.

5 The Legoland theme park was opened in Billund in 1968.


The first LEGO minifigure was produced in 1978.

It took over 60 million LEGO bricks to build all

6 the LEGO models in Legoland.

An estimated 50 million people have visited

7 Legoland since it first opened—not bad for a small Danish town with a population of just six thousand.

Legoland is the second most popular place to 8 visit in Denmark after Copenhagen. LEGO is the fourth biggest toy manufacturer 9 in the world.

Over 4 billion LEGO minifigures 11 have been made, making it the world’s largest population group. You can combine six of the 12 eight-studded LEGO bricks in 915,103,765 ways. WOW! Since 1958 over 472 billion

13 LEGO bricks have been produced.

LEGO invented the wheel! Well, the LEGO wheel. LEGO produces 300 million LEGO-wheels annually, making LEGO the biggest tire manufacturer in the world.

With 472 billion LEGO bricks you

14 could build 2,972 White Houses, 588 Taj Mahals, 200 Buckingham Palaces, 74 Empire State Buildings or 1 Great Pyramid of Giza. On average every person on

15 earth owns 86 LEGO bricks. Everybody loves LEGO! Now

16 that’s a fact.

Are you ready to build your dream vacation? All of Denmark awaits you! v Find the dream vacation for your whole family at

WOW air flies to Billund once a week throughout the summer.


WOW Power to the people

Issue two


Berlin’s bohemian village

A Walk through Neukölln While Charlottenburg is recognized as the classy west end of Berlin, the center district of Mitte is getting increasingly glamorous. But if you prefer a raw, casual experience, the coolest neighborhood is in the southeast district of Berlin, which has grown into a bohemian village. Formerly known as Rixdorf, bohemian refugees settled in the area of Richardplatz, which is now home to restaurants, bars and cafes. It’s a sort of “last stop on the L train” from Brooklyn. by Nadja Sayej

Photo courtesy of TV Tower Berlin.

The history Neukölln is the southeast borough of Berlin, in the former American sector of the city. Thriving with hype since 2010, the same year that Berlin’s old Tempelhof Airport, which closed in 2008, opened as a public park called Tempelhofer Field, the district is quickly gentrifying as a

Tempelhof Airport. Photo courtesy of Tempelhof Airport.


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hip neighborhood with 40% immigrants in an area with a population of over 300,000. Mayor Heinz Buschkowsky wrote: “Neukölln is everywhere,” a book about multi­­culturalism. Aside from the bars on Weserstraße and the shops along Karl Marx Straße, some locations are still vacant. It still retains the rawness of its earlier years, which inspired David Bowie to write a song in 1977 about the area’s Turkish immi­­grants, but has since skyrocketed as a go-to trendy place which still offers afforda­­ble rent for artists. Creative capital KINDL Centre for Contemporary Art (Am Sudhaus 2) is set in a former KINDL Brew­­ery, which was built in the 1920s. Berlin’s Kindl beer used this brewery for 70 years before relocating to a larger facility in 2005. Now, the vintage brewery is owned by Zurichbased art collectors, Burkhard Varnholt and Salome Grisard, who bought it in 2011.

Every year, the 48 Stunden (48 Hours) Neukölln Festival, a local neighborhood art festival, showcases public art projects and late-night open doors of art galleries, bringing together the art community and the local neighborhood with people of all ages. The next one runs from June 26-28.

Roman Signer, Kitfox Experimental, 2014. Installation in KINDL’s Kesselhaus (Boiler House). Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin, 2014.

This fall, the 5,500-square-meter space, crowned with a 38-meter-high tower, will thrive as a multi-level contemporary art center with galleries, studios and a café. Two more exhibition spaces will open along with artist studios and a café in the main brewing building. The Brew House will be home to the König Otto Café (named after the Bavarian ruler). Mediterranean fare made from organic, local products will be offered along with alcoholic beverages, including draft beer from the nearby Rollberg beer brewery, which produces a local beer available in many Berlin bars. The renovation for this privately funded space costs 6 million Euros (7.2 million CHF). That will help develop construction for three floors of exhibition space, including one gallery on the second floor with a glass ceiling. A view from the second-storey windows show the landmark TV Tower in the far distance, as rows of Neukölln butter yellow and white residential buildings line the streets. Part of the space opened in September during Berlin Art Week with an exhibition by 76-year-old Swiss artist Roman Signer. The solo show entitled “Kitfox Experimental,” features a do-ityourself Kitfox airplane hanging from a 20-meter-high ceiling by one cord. It runs until June 28. Nearby, the Agora Café and Restaurant (Mittelweg 50) is a project space for the creative with a great café on the main floor

Agora Café and Restaurant. Photo: Nadja Sayjej

with six chefs-in-residence, each of whom work one day a week (in Berlin; everything is closed on Sundays). From Asian fare to Nordic fusion, the chefs feature local, fresh products from breakfast to dinner. Every year, the 48 Stunden (48 Hours) Neukölln Festival, a local neighborhood art festival, showcases public art projects and late-night open doors of art galleries, bringing together the art community and the local neighborhood with people of all ages. The next one runs from June 26-28. Bars Das Gift (Donaustraße 119) is a 1980s wooden-panelled, Berlin-style bar, coowned by a couple from Scotland. Ask for the Scottish ales, while listening to the jukebox, filled with playlists created by Robert Smith from the Cure, The Smiths, Mogwai and even Irvine Welsh. Tier Bar (Weserstraße 42) is a local wat­­ering hole with a mystic, surreal vibe—white candles light the tables and soft, minimal tunes play in the background as the bartenders whip up Moscow Mules and local Berlin beers.

Das Gift bar. Photo courtesy of Das Gift

Kuschlowski (Weserstraße 202) is a small, cozy Russian vodka bar with Ukr­ain­­ian, Polish and Russian vodka. They also have bottled beer and a darkly roman­­tic atmosphere, a perfect haunt for Dostoyevsky.Named after a children’s TV show and set in a gorgeous corner of Neukölln is Fuchs und Elster (Weseraße 207), a cocktail bar and restaurant with large windowsills and a dark bar with live piano acts from local talents—from jazz to rock. Loophole (Boddinstraße 60) is more than just a bar, it’s a colourful, unpretentious art and event space set in a former brot­hel. Co-founded by the artists from the K:ITA collective, this space is home to performances by electronic artists like LAL Forest from Toronto and White Wigwam from Prague, as well as other underground electronic acts you’ve yet to discover. Don’t miss

Loophole. Photo courtesy of Loophole.

The restaurants in the Richardplatz area are home to traditional German fare, including apple strudel and other dess­erts. Villa Rixdorf offers veggie plates such as the Artichoke Dish or meat plates like a Pork Plate with potatoes and chives.

their annual film festival, the Boddinalle to see films from up-and-com­ing directors. Loophole is a must-see for not only its colourful lighting and arty deco, but to meet the locals, too – they’ve been open since 2009 and have served as a hub for artists in the neighbourhood, from installation to film and sound art. Restaurants For vegans, Let It Be (Treptower Straße 90) is a vegan creperie in a former hair­­ dressing salon. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try the sugar, cinnamon and applesauce crepes, as well as more meal-type crepes named after famous celebrities. The “Erykah Badu” has chickpea curry and home­­made chutney, while the “Woody Harrelson” has ham, cheese, leeks and cream sauce. They also serve burgers. “Thom Yorke” is a veggie patty hamburger with beet root, hummus and homemade spice red cabbage ketchup. And of course, there’s a bar. Engels Café (Herrfurthstraße 21), which is named after Friedrich Engels, a Marist theorist, has some of the best brunch on Sundays—as well as strong coffee and luscious desserts – and is just a five-min­­ ute walk from Tempelhofer Field.

Let It Be vegan creperie. Photo: ©Gesa Simons

Café Lux. Photo courtesy of Café Lux.

Café Lux (Herrfurthstraße 9) is the per­­fect place to catch up with an old friend. They serve hot chocolate, cupcakes, cakes and light dishes in one of the oldest parts of the district. The restaurants in the Richardplatz area are home to traditional German fare, including apple strudel and other dess­erts. Villa Rixdorf offers veggie plates such as the Artichoke Dish or meat plates like a Pork Plate with potatoes and chives. The Louis Restaurant serves extra-large schnitzel, as well as dumplings with chick­en. Nearby, the Italian restaurant Ristorante Su Nugarhe offers hearty spaghetti plates along with a selection of Italian wines. If you want to get a taste of the street food, there is a Turkish mark­­et every Friday on Maybachufer, the street by the Spree River. From fruits and vegetables to prepared food, Neukölln truly has it all. v Find cheap flights to and from Berlin at

WOW air offers flights between Iceland and Berlin up to seven times a week all year round.

Issue two



Romance in the City of Light Couples stroll along the streets, walking hand in hand. The Seine flows seductively by, cutting an arched swath across the city. At night, every hour, on the hour the Eiffel Tower puts on a sparkling light show to a spontaneous chorus of oohs and ahhs. The cliché is the reality; Paris is the city of love. Even solo visitors feel the magic while promenading over the city’s bridges and admiring its art. Text and photos by Sylvia Sabes


omance in Paris begins at the earliest hour, with a perfect pastry, piping fresh from the oven. Du Pain et Des Idées bak­­ ery is a fantastic place to start your day. Pick up a traditional croissant or one of their infamously decadent chocolate and pistachio rolls and take your treats to the Quai de Valmy for a morning picnic on the heart-meltingly picturesque Canal St Martin.

his lover, the French novelist George Sand, looking on with adoration in her eyes. Back into the hustle and bustle of the city, and head up independent boutique laden rue de Martyrs for irresistibly tempting souvenirs on the way to Montmartre where lovers flock for selfies at the “I love you” wall (Le mur des je t’aime), which creates an inspired backdrop as it declares its passion in 311 different languages.

Head toward the river, past the golden flame dedi­­ cated to the star-crossed lover, Princess Diana at the Pont d’Alma and cross the bridge to the Berges de la Seine. Once an urban highway, this is now an open space that runs from the Eiffel Tower to the Musée d’Orsay with the river your constant guide. Les Berges ends on the Left Bank, not far from the Luxembourg Gardens, where couples cozy up in discrete corners amid fountains and statuary. Then, as the sun sets, head up to the Ciel de Paris Champagne Bar on the 56th floor of the Montparnasse Tower and toast one another over champagne bubbles that reflect the scintillating view beyond the windows; all of Paris at your feet. v

PRACTICAL INFORMATION Du Pain et Des Idées 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 10th arrondissement Musée de la Vie Romantique 16, rue Chaptal, 9th arrondissement Closed Mondays and holidays

Romantic walks Full of sweet goodness, lovers are sure to appreci­ ate a long, meandering walk through the city catching the temptingly named rue du Paradis along the way to the Musée de la Vie Romantique. Artists, musicians and mistresses among the very rich once filled this 19th century neighborhood, called Little Athens. The museum in this small mansion brings to mind Dickens and Delacroix stopping by for a chat while Chopin plays the piano,

Lunches and late nights for lovers For lunch, take the metro to the Cristal Room at the Baccarat Museum where Chef Guy Martin creates little gems for your pallet; an elegant lobster salad hits the right balance of flavorful textures, a spice infused sea bass plays on nuances of taste and tone and the dessert comes flecked in gold. After your time in the cozy, shabby chic dining room, the museum and its private collection are yours to visit. A long walk, hand in hand, is a welcome respite.

“I love you” wall (Le Mur des Je t’aimes) Square Jehan Rictus, Place des Abesses Open 9am to just before sunset. Cristal Room 11 Place des États-Unis, 16th arrondissement +33 1 40 22 11 10 Ciel de Paris 33 Avenue du Maine, 15th arrondissement +33 1 40 64 77 64

Find cheap flights to and from Paris at

WOW air flies to the City of Light all year round and offers up to 7 flights a week.


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Issue two


Bountiful Boston

That small town feeling Boston is perfect for shopping trips, romantic getaways, family vacations and everything in between. There’s something for everyone in this vibrant New England city that is one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States. photos:


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he present and the past have regular rendezvous in this charming Massa­­ chus­­etts capital. Walk the cobbled streets of Beacon Hill and gaze upon the charming nineteenth century brownstone houses that stand proud amid modern skyscrapers.

Gourmands and cultural enthusiasts rejoice! Boston has an amazing selection of first-rate restaurants and world class museums. For all you sports fanatics there is Fenway Park, baseball and the Boston Red Sox. Supporting the home team is an essential part of the Boston experience. Go Sox! And after a long, fun-filled day, Boston has some great options for a relaxed drink or two. Dreamy day trips from Boston Boston’s close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean means that the beach is only a short trip away. Hit the road and visit beautiful and interesting places and like Cape Cod, Salem, Maine and Martha‘s Vineyard. Cape Cod The Cape Cod peninsula is the easternmost part of the state of Massachusetts and known for its beautiful beaches, charming fishing villages and scenic countryside. Perfect for leisurely strolls, shopping and eating good food. We recommend driving Route 6A, also known as The Old King’s Highway. Look closer: Art lovers should head on over to the house of writer/illustrator Edward Gorey, whose house is now a museum dedicated to his life and work. Salem Explore the spooky history of this mysterious coastal town, known for the notorious Salem witch trials, carried out between 1692 and 1693. A foodie paradise, with beautiful boutiques and a vibrant nightlife, Salem has a lot to offer modern day trippers.

Look closer: The House of the Seven Gables. Built in 1668, this colonial mansion, setting for Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s Gothic novel, published 1851, is the oldest of its kind that is still standing. Take a guided tour of this picturesque palace. Maine The state of Maine has charming small towns, dramatic rocky cliffs and stunning beaches in abundance. Stay at a local B&B, go antiquing New England style, eat lobster and enjoy the gentle ocean breeze. We recommend a visit to Portland, one of the coolest small cities in the US. Look closer: Maine is famous for its lighthouses. Take a lighthouse tour, learn all about these re­­ markable structures and hear tales of dangers at sea, lonely lighthouse keepers and even ghosts. Martha’s Vineyard Martha’s Vineyard is the largest island on New England. Cozy inns and restaurants, green areas and beaches that seem to go on forever. It is not surprising that Martha’s Vineyard is a popular travel destination. Look closer: The Flying Horse Carousel in Oak Bluffs is a fun place for the whole family to visit. Dating back to 1876, the carousel is the oldest of its kind. Whether you like soulful promenades, all night partying, the divine taste of lobster, adventures on the road or just plain shopping—Boston has it all. Boston is WOW! v

Take off your shoes at Race Point Beach, Provincetown, Cape Cod.

We recommend a romantic stroll through one of Boston’s public gardens. Find cheap flights to and from Boston via Iceland at

WOW air flew its inaugural flight to Boston Logan International on March 27 and will offer cheap flights to Boston via Iceland all year round.

A lighthouse near Portlandi, Maine.

Issue two


Monumental Washington

Lincoln’s Memorial We’ve seen it in numerous films and television shows. It’s a great place to meet up and it’s a prominent feature on the Washington Mall. Yes, were talking about the grand Lincoln Memorial. by Paul Michael Herman Photos:


braham Lincoln was born in 1809 in a log cabin in the backwoods of Kentucky and later moved to Illinois. His family was almost always poverty stricken and his father, Thomas Lincoln, subscribed to the Bible verse “Spare the rod and spoil the child” and had no compunction about using corpo­ral punishment to discipline young Abraham. There is also evidence that Thomas showed little or no affection for the boy and one story tells how he hired his son out to work and kept all his wages.


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Good to know: The public may visit the Lincoln Memorial 24 hours a day. However rang­ers are on duty to answer questi­ons from 9:30 A.M. to 11:30 P.M. daily and to provide interpretive programs every hour on the hour from 10:00 A.M. until 11:00 P.M.

While until the age of 21 a parent could legally do this, it only served to distance the two. His beatings and work without pay may be the fertile soil from which Lincoln’s sympathies for the plight of the slaves suffering in the United States could arise. Breaking the pattern While Abraham received less than one year of formal education he did his best to read and edu­­cate himself and was encouraged by his step­mother, Sarah Bush Lincoln. In 1834 he entered poli­­tics and in 1836 he was licensed to practice law. The central issue

Lincoln stood firmly on as a politician was the issue of slavery. He believed that slavery in a true democracy was impossible. In 1859, during his run for president, Lincoln was invited to New York to deliver a speech on the anti-slavery issue. His speech was so passionately received, people called him the greatest man since Saint Paul. The southern states, fearing Lincoln’s stance on slavery, soon seceded from the Union and a civil war was imminent. In 1861, the same year that Lincoln was sworn in as President of the United States of America, the South opened fire on Fort Sumter and the war began. Lincoln made sure to clarify his stated intention for fighting the war was not to abolish slavery but when his understanding of black people grew, his position changed. On January 1, 1863, as the country entered the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issu­­ ed the Emancipation Proclamation. It declared that “all persons held as slaves … shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” This applied only to the rebel states but it completely changed the course of the Civil War for the North. The man who saved America On the evening of April 11, 1865, two days after the Civil War ended, Lincoln delivered a speech indi­­cating his desire to give blacks the right to vote. The speech inspired such bitterness in John Wilkes Booth, a white supremacist, that he sought out the president at the Ford Theater three days later and assassinated him. An estimated 25 million Americans (out of about 30) attended Lincoln’s memorial services in Washington, D.C. and around the country. On December 18, 1865 Secretary of State William H. Steward proclaimed the adoption

of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. The amendment had received President Lincoln’s approval earlier that year. While George Washington lives in the hearts of Americans as the father of the nation, Abraham Lincoln stands firmly by many as the savior. The founding fathers of the United States created a constitution that promised freedom for all men. Posthumously, after five bloody years of war, Abra­ ham Lincoln delivered on that promise. But, of course not everyone celebrated. Honoring Lincoln The spirit of Abraham Lincoln still looms large in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Memorial is a tribute to a man whose memory will not fade as long as the preciousness of freedom and the inherent value of every human being that Lincoln honored with his life, remains. Today, the Lincoln Memorial is by far the most visited of all monuments in the nation’s capital with over 6 million guests per year. The Lincoln Memorial has long served as a platform where American people voice their con­ cerns and grievances. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his most memorable and riveting “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the memorial

beginning his speech by giving honor to Abraham Lincoln. This speech—one of history’s most fam­ ous—earned the civil rights leader a plaque on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and a fine memorial of his own. Enshrined forever The Lincoln Memorial is located on the western end of the National Mall across from the Washing­ ton Monument. Henry Bacon, the architect, de­sign­ed the monument to appear like a Greek temple with 36 Doric columns outside to represent the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. Daniel Chester French, the most prominent sculptor of the time created the 19 foot tall statue that dominates the interior chamber. The con­ struct­ion took place between 1914 and 1922. To symbolize the preservation of the Union achieved during Lincoln’s presidency and how something beautiful arose from such a bitter struggle, Henry Bacon used five types of stone from separate states to construct the memorial and the statue of Lincoln. Inscribed on the wall directly behind the statue are these words by American art historian and art critic of the New York Tribune: “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved this union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” v Find cheap flights to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore at

Have a monumental holiday in Washington, D.C. WOW air offers cheap flights to the U.S. capital and Baltimore 4-5 times a week all year round starting May 8.

e to Welcom úsavík H

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



Explore the unexpected Sun, sand, relaxation, check, check, check. Sangria, check! Tenerife has everything you need for the perfect paradise “vacay.” Just bring sunglasses and let Tenerife take care of the rest! Well, almost. You might also want to bring your passport and wallet. Photos:


here’s something for everyone to enjoy in tropical Tenerife. Beautiful beaches, amazing water parks, the biggest wave pool and the tallest waterslide. There’s go-karting and golf, exciting day tours and superb shopping. Great holiday, check! But wait, there’s more! Tenerife caters to all trav­el­­ er types and even to those who have a taste for the weird and wonderful. Some travelers might want nothing else but to lounge by the pool, sipping on gin and juice, but others might want something a tad different and Tenerife has some interesting options. UFO spotting Tenerife is said to be one of the best places in the world for UFO sightings. Yes, really! The main reason for this is supposedly the powerful magnetic field generated by Mount Teide, the island’s very own volcano. So pack a picnic and look up.


Look beneath the ocean surface Sitting in the crystal clear blue Atlantic Ocean, Tenerife has fascinating marine life well worth exploring. Dive down and swim with turtles and colorful fish, say hello to dolphins and explore the eerie Condesito Shipwreck, home to a family of trumpet fish and an octopus.


Meet the Parrots Loro Parque Zoo is somewhat of a parrot paradise and one of the leading attractions in Tenerife. The park houses the world’s greatest diversity of parrots and even has a walk-in aviary where parrots and other birds fly freely around and say hello to visitors.


Skulls and mummies The Museum of Nature and Man in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the perfect destination for history buffs with a taste for the macabre, housing objects from the pre-Hispanic Canary Islands and a collection of skeletal and mummified remains of the island’s original inhabitants. Climb a volcano 2    Instead of looking for extraterrestrial aircraft Small town adventure in the sky around Mount Teide, how about climbing 7 Rent a scooter, drive around the island it instead? At the top of the volcano you can enjoy a and visit picturesque towns and villages. Explore lovely lunar landscape and take in the magnificent churches, old quarters and take in the sensational views. You can also drive or travel by cable car. scenery. Towns like La Orotava, Arico Nuevo, Masca and Vilaflor are just a Explore a lava tube Some travelers might few suggestions. Visit the stunningly beautiful want nothing else 3 Cueva de los Vientos in but to lounge by Sail the islands Tenerife, the largest lava tube the pool, sipping 8 Boat people rejoice! It’s easy to in Europe which was created by on gin and juice, charter a boat in Tenerife and cruise but others might lava flows from Pico Viejo, next to want something a the beautiful Canary Islands. Whether Mt. Teide. A guided tour through tad different and you are a beginner or a pro, you can Tenerife’s fascinating volcanic caves Tenerife has some enjoy the freedom that sailing provides is an adventurous afternoon well interesting options. during your vacation. Ahoy there matey! spent.


Sweet as honey The House of Honey—known locally as “Casa de la Miel”—is a museum decorated like a beehive and dedicated to, you guessed it—honey! According to the museum’s website, the visitor center was established to “satisfy the curiosity of numerous visitors eager to delve into the mysterious world of bees and honey.” Yum!


Thousand year old dragon Legends say that when dragons die they turn into dragon trees. The ancient dragon tree (El Drago) in the town of Icod de los Vinos is both world famous and a symbol of Tenerife. The tree is rumored to be between 1,000 and 3,000-years-old, although recent estimates put it more like 650-800 years. v


Find cheap flights to and from Tenerife via Iceland at

Expect to be WOW-ed. WOW air flies to Tenerife SUR, the Island of Eternal Spring, once a week all year round.


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Issue two


When in Rome

Photo: Pinsere Roma.

Eat pizza like the Romans do… When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie… that’s I-want-moreeee! It would take a lifetime to see all of Rome or non basta una vita per conoscere Roma, as the saying goes. But you’ll have to start somewhere and why not with a slice of Pizza Romana? Photos:


hen we think pizza, we think Italy, but this delicious flatbread that we just can’t seem to get enough of has been around since ancient times and was a popular all over the Middle East. But it’s the Italian version of this mouthwatering treat that we all know and love and it’s all because of a baker from Naples. Raffaele Esposito is considered by many to be the father of the modern pizza. In the late nineteenth century Esposito created the Neapolitan, the simple yet scrumptious wood-fired, tomato and mozzarella cheese pizza, and we will forever be in his debt. Pizza gourmands associate the best Italian pizza with Naples and consider the Pizza Napoletana as being superior to other pizza traditions. But the


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times they are a changing and Rome is ready to make its mark in the dough. That’s right Pizza Napoletana, there’s a new kid in town and his name is Pizza Romana! So, what’s the difference be­­ tween a Pizza Napoletana and a Pizza Romana? Pizza Napoletana is a traditional treat for pizza purists. Thin yet chewy, made from airy dough, beauti­­fully charred, and topped with only the simplest of ingredients; tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. Wher­eas the Pizza Romana, its risky

Raffaele Esposito is considered by many to be the father of the modern pizza. In the late nineteenth century Esposito created the Neapolitan, the simple yet scrump­tious woodfired, tomato and mozzarella cheese pizza, and we will forever be in his debt.

counterpart, is far more creative and bold. It’s thicker and juicier, and often rectangular instead of round. And when it comes to toppings, anything goes! A slice of heaven! In a place where there is pizza in abundance, where should one go for the best slice? With new and in­­te­­rest­­ ing pizzerias popping up in Rome every day it’s tricky to narrow it down to just one place. So we’ve narrowed it down to seven key pizz­er­ias for you to try on your journey through the eternal city. v

pizza restaurant Pizzarium by Gabriele Bonci Via della Meloria, 43 Sforno Via Statilio Ottato, 110/116 La Pratolina Via degli Scipioni, 248 Li Rioni Via S. Quattro, 24 Photo: StrEatArt

Pinsere Roma Via Flavia, 98 StrEatArt Piazza Buenos Aires, 19a-19b Forno Campo de’ Fiori Piazza Campo Dè Fiori, 22

Find cheap flights to and from Rome with WOW air at

Are you hungry yet? We sure are! Buon appetito! Fly with WOW air to Rome this summer where you can have your pizza and eat it too!

Issue two


This and that …

mostly this

Reykjavik has the best hostels in the world! We like exaggerating things a bit, but in this case it wasn’t needed. Recently Loft Hostel and Reykja­vik Downtown Hostel were selected the best hostels in the world by Hostelling Inter­­na­­ tio­nal. The results are based on reviews from guests who booked their stay through the Hostelling International booking site which has around 2500 hostels bookable online. The brand new Loft Hostel was voted the best in the world and Reykja­­vik Downtown Hostel was right behind in second place. In addition these hostels received further acknowledgements for outstanding results in other categories such as “Friendliest Hostel,” “Most Comfortable Hostel” and “Greenest Hostel.” Well done indeed! It’s also worth mentioning that Loft Hostel has one of the best bar and balcony situations going on in Reykjavik so wherever you plan on staying during your visit to Iceland be sure to pop upstairs for a drink and a view of downtown Reykjavik.

Escapades in Reykjavik Looking for something fun to do in the Ice­­­landic capital? Reykjavik Escape is a live in­­ter­active escape game that recently opened in the down­­­ town Reykjavik area. All around the world these kinds of escape rooms are getting increasingly popular. Groups of 3-5 are locked in a room filled with puzzles and brain teasers, with only 60 minutes to escape. Reykjavik Escape offers three types of escape games: Taken, The Scientist and Prison Break. Escape rooms are a great group activity; no need to drive a long distance and great for those days when the weather in Iceland is acting unhospitable (yes, that happens sometimes but it’s all good). Check out for more information.

Are there too many tourists? The biggest reason to travel to Iceland according to visitors is the Icelandic nature so it’s clear that we need to take very good care of it.

The art of skulls Looking for that unique souvenir? Natural Bones Design—Icelandic Livestock and Viking Art designs and produces goods from skulls, the cranium and bones of several types of animals. The ideology of their design is to utilize a material that over the past years has gone to waste. Natural Bones Design cooperates with several artists to design and produce unique and outstanding pieces of art and decorations from bones. The skulls really are beautiful and outstanding pieces as each one is unique. The skulls are on exhibition and for sale at MINK Viking Portrait Studio on Laugavegur 11, the store Baugar & Bein (Skulls & Halos) on Strandgata 32 in Hafnarfjördur and at their Facebook page “Natural Bones Design.”


WOW Power to the people

In a recent study done by the Icelandic Tourism Board among foreign travelers in Iceland over 90% of all those who answered experienced the places they visited as beautiful, natural and unspoiled by tourists but reported some overcrowding, especially in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and the Geysir area. So, how to enjoy Iceland and avoid the crowds? Well for starters you can opt for a slower season. Fall and winter in Iceland are no less majestic than the summer and spring, sometimes even more so. If you like nature, Iceland really brings the forces of nature together during the winter months. Yes, weather can be beautiful even when it’s bad, and don’t forget about those northern lights! If summer is your only option try renting a car and visit the most popular destinations in the evenings or even at night when there are fewer travelers around. The geysers and hot springs don’t quit at night and neither do the icebergs of the glacier lagoon or the waterfalls. This tip of course only appli­­es to the brightest summer months. For those who really dislike meeting lots of travelers we recommend the West Fjords, the High­­­­­ lands and the East Fjords. These areas have every­­ thing a traveler could wish to see in Iceland, such as desolate valleys, majestic waterfalls and nature in abundance, and are far less crowded. A word to the wise if you take the Highlands option, make sure your car is equipped to drive on the rough mountain roads. There’s a reason there are fewer travelers up there and it’s not because the place is ugly!

The monsters are back Icelandic mega band Of Monsters and Men took the world by a storm with their album My Head Is an Animal. After a successful 18 month tour around the world they arrived home in 2013 to start working on their second album. That album, called ‘Beneath the skin’ is now ready and will be released in the beginning of June but the first single from the album, Crystals, just came out with a music video that has garnered a lot of interest. In the beautifully simple video, which is all in black and white, Icelandic actor Sigurður Sigurjónsson wearing a full beard, lip-syncs the words to the song in a very captivating manner. Judging by this one song we can expect a great new album from OMAM in June. If you haven’t heard it yet check into YouTube for a listen. Of Monsters and Men will follow their new album through with another tour around the world but if you wish to see them in Iceland they have two concerts scheduled in Harpa Music Hall on August 19 and 20. Tickets are available at

This and that …

mostly this Clan, Kelis, FKA Twigs and Skream, in addition to Charles Bradley, Nightmares On Wax, Flight Facilities, Foreign Beggars, GusGus, Moodymann, FM Belfast, Route 94, Green Velvet, Hjálmar, Agent Fresco, Miss Kittin, MØ, and many more. Tickets are on sale now from as little at 19,900 ISK (approx £98/$146/€134), along with WOW air ticket and flight package deals to the event from the UK and other major destinations. Full lineup details and more information can be found at, or the festival’s Facebook page.

Party in the midnight sun Ever wanted to party at a three day out­­­ door music festival where the sun never ever sets? You’re in luck, as Iceland’s Secret Solstice Festival returns this June.

Dubbed the “Midnight Sun Music Festival”due to the sun not fully setting for the entire 72hrs of the event, Secret Solstice was just named the #1 outdoor festival venue on Earth by legendary dance music publication Pulse Radio. Hosting 150+ acts from Iceland and around the world from the 19th to 21st of June, in the center of Reykjavík, these will include the likes of reggae legend Bob Marley’s band The Wailers, Wu-Tang

Check out for more information.

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

Issue two


This and that …

mostly this

Photo: Kristinn Magnússon

Home at last Almost three years have passed since the release of Ásgeir’s debut album, Dýrð í dauðaþögn, a collection of breathtaking songs that soon became the fastest selling debut in Iceland.



ant to practice yoga in a fish factory? A new yoga studio, Sólir, opens its doors in April in a former fish factory on Fiskislóð 53-55 in the downtown harbor area. The studio is owned by Sólveig Þórarinsdóttir, a former stockbroker and now a yoga teacher and author of the book Yoga for everybody (Jóga fyrir alla). Classes offered at the Sólir yoga studio include Hot Yoga, Hot Vinyasa, Ashtanga,

Yin Yoga, Kundalini and Yoga Nidra. All classes are either hot or heated. You can also find weekly meditation classes led by Icelandic artist Tolli (more about Tolli on pages 24-28). Sólir Yoga Studio is open all days of the week so feel free to drop by and relax. For more information check out

His lyrics were translated by John Grant and an English-language version, In the Silence, was re­­ leas­­ed in Europe, Asia, Australia and USA in the beginning of 2014. The album reached #1 on Billboard’s Next Big Sound chart upon release in the US and in num­­erous countries it reached top 10 on iTunes. Amazon has even named Ásgeir one of their “Artists to Watch in 2015” ex­­­claim­­ ing that his “soft coo tran­­scends borders.” Ásgeir (or Ásgeir Trausti as us Icelanders like to call him) has

now returned home after touring around the world. He’s decided to say thank you to all his fans by giving two big shows at the Harpa Concert Hall on June 16, the day before Iceland’s National Day. Ásgeir is planning to put on his greatest shows to date, with full band, horns, strings and visu­als. These will be Ásgeir’s last shows in Iceland to follow up on Dýrð í dauðaþögn / In the Silence but Europe will still have the opportunity to catch him this summer at selected festivals.

Check out for more information.

International Filmmaker of the Year

Photo: Bragi Þór Jósefsson


WOW Power to the people

Icelandic filmmaker and director Baltasar Kormákur’s star has been rising and he will receive the “International Filmmaker of the Year” Award at the CinemaCon festival in Las Vegas on April 20-23. CinemaCon, an official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, has grown to become the largest and most important gathering for the worldwide motion picture theater industry attracting attendees from more than 80 countries. Baltasar is now working on his biggest project to date, Everest, which will be premiered late September. The first teasers from the film will be shown at CinemaCon. Congratulations Baltasar!

This and that …

mostly this

Don’t you just love the Icelandic weather? It’s safe to say that this winter has been one of the most volatile in the history of Iceland. It’s been a season of more storms than anyone can remember with a new storm hitting the island every three days on average disrupting flights and travel plans around the country. Fortunately our winters aren’t usually like this, these series of storms seem to have calmed down after the spring equinox and Icelanders were pleasantly surprised to suddenly experience days with sun (that big yellow thing in the sky) and no wind (some lost their balance due to leaning into a non-existent wind). It’s quite an adventure to experience such weath­er although we don’t recommend traveling on the roads during these circumstances. It’s also a reminder that the weather in Iceland can change very rapidly. If you are traveling on our little island by yourself, in any season, make sure to check the forecast ( and also to talk to an Icelander who can tell you what a certain type of wind means in the area you are traveling through.

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

Text by

What’s going on over here?

What: AK Extreme Festival When: 9-12 April Where: Akureyri, North Iceland The weekend after Easter (April 9-12) the northern capital of Iceland has the pleasure of inviting you to the annual winter event called AK Extreme Festival that has been on the Icelandic festival calendar since 2002 and is praised as a good side of the Icelandic winter. AK Extreme is one of the biggest snowboarding events in Iceland. If you are a winter sports enthusiast we don’t have to tell you that you definitely should try it out as it is going to be crazy good but even if you prefer to be pas­­sive about sports you can always watch the big jumps and impressive skills of the snowboarders. What I mean is literally big jumps since the organizers construct a terri­­fy­­­ ingly large skip jump out of fifteen shipping containers right in the middle of town especially for the festi­­val. Everyone knows about Ice­­­land’s music power so you can also expect the wonderful combi­


WOW Power to the people

na­tion of snowboarding, marvelous parties and music shows that will gather on a stage with artists such as Agent Fresco, Úlfur Úlfur, Gísli Pálmi, Emmsjé Gauti, Young Karin, Hermigervill and many, many more.

composer’s collective S.L.Á.T.U.R. and instrument builder and artist Sarah Kenchington. You can expect a lot of premieres of works created by such artists as Catherine Lamb and Klaus Lang that will be played by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. This magnificent group of musicians will also present compositions by Icelandic authors like Hlynur Aðils Vilmarsson, Áki Ásgeirsson, Úlfur Hansson, Magnús Pálsson and Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir. Open your ears for beauty and enjoy Tectonics Festival 2015!

What: Tectonics Festival When: April 16-17 Where: Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavík

Find out more on www.tectonicsfestival. com/reykjavik

The fourth edition of the interna­­tio­­ nal phenomenon known as Tectonics Reykjavik Festival curated by Ilan Volkov takes place on Thursday, April 16 and Friday, April 17 at the archi­­ tectural gem Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. These days will be filled with performances, collaborative experiments and installations as the festival is engaged into shifting borders between performers and composers both from Iceland and abroad who come from a different background and create within var­ io­us styles. A fabulous program presented by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra includes performances of such great artists as Tony Conrad, Anna Thorvaldsdóttir, Robyn Schul­ko­­wsky, Alvin Curran, Steph­ en O’Malley, Jon Rose and Joel Stern as well as performances by experimental duos Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides and Usurper. The festival opens with a colla­ bor­a­­tive work by Icelandic

What: Spring in Árborg When: April 23-26 Where: Árborg, South Iceland Between April 23 and April 26 you are cordially invited to visit the Ár­­borg area, the biggest municipality in southern Iceland that includes Selfoss, Eyrarbakki, Stokkseyri and other villages nearby. The occasion is an annual culture festival called Spring in Árborg that now takes place for the 12th time. The purpose of the festival is giving locals and guests a chance to try out the local culture that ebulliently evolves in this area thanks to wonderful artists working in various fields of art including photography, music, the visual arts and craftwork, just to mention a few. Árborg will pulsate with life and you can expect concerts, exhibitions, open houses, workshops, lectures and more. The

festival is absolutely family and children friendly so bring your kith and kin. Have a trip to the south of Iceland and have fun to­­­geth­er surrounded by the beauty of this country!

What: Hammond Festival When: April 23-26 Where: Djúpivogur, East Iceland There is one special place in Ice­­­land where you can be properly intro­­­duc­­ ed to the sound of the Hammond organ and fall in love with it. It is called Djúpivogur and is located on the beautiful east coast of the island. We absolutely encourage you to travel there and experience the one and only Djúpivogur Hammond Festival where the main purpose is to honor the Hammond pipe. The festival has been held annually since 2006 so this year’s fest will be the 10th on the four first days of summer (from April 23-26). The event is going to be improved by appearances by local as well as well-known artists like AmabAdamA, Kiriyama Family, Prins Póló, Jónas Sigurðsson & Rit­­ vélar Framtíðarinnar and Bubbi & Dimma. The main venue of this year’s festival is Hotel Framtíð but the final show takes place at the local church where you can enjoy music performed by Maggi Eiríks & Pálmi Gunnars together with Þór Úlfars.



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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documentaries—no matter whether they are short or long, weird, cheap or expensive productions—that are not that easily accessible to the wider public and unfortunately are not screened in cinemas or on the television. Hence, do have fun:



What’s going on over here? What: Reykjavík Arts Festival When: May 13-June 7 Where: Reykjavík Established in 1970, Reykjavík Arts Festival is the oldest and most respected art festival in Ice­­land. The event has been held annually in May and June and with its rich history and high level, how it could be other­­wise? The festival takes a noble place ­­among other northern Europe’s most important multidisciplinary festi­­viti­­es in this field with events that suit guests of all ages and interest. Find out more about Reykjavik Arts Festival on pages 20-22.

What: Skjaldborg When: May 23-26 Where: Patreksfjörður, West Fjords The Icelandic Documentary Film Festival Skjaldborg, located in the small town of Patreksfjörður, might just be the event you’re looking for. This annual festival will be held for the 9th time this year and has earned the title of one of the most important events when it comes to the flourishing Icelandic documentary filmmaking industry. Between May 23 and 26, the festival provides filmmakers and other documentary enthusiasts with an opportunity to watch up to 20 new Icelandic documentary films as well as a useful forum to filmrelated discussions and panels in the impressive surroundings of the West Fjords. The name of the festival literally means “a wall of shields” so the event can be seen as a refuge for

What: Eistnaflug When: July 8-11 Where: Neskaupstaður, East Iceland Tickets information: Tickets: 2,500 ISK (day pass) – 15,000 ISK (event pass). The Nordic countries have long been associated with the metal genres and Iceland is no exception. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year is the Eistnaflug Music Festival, the country’s most joyous celebration of all things dark, loud, aggressive and raucous. Originally started as a tiny, oneday metal festival in August 2005, it has now grown into a four-day family reunion for Iceland’s metal, punk and hardcore scenes. This year’s event will be quite a massive edition, with international headliners Carcass, Enslaved, Behemoth, Godflesh and Kvelertak set to destroy the stage. All the local ragers will be there too, like Dimma, Sólstafir, Skálmöld, Muck, Momentum, HAM, Börn, Icarus, FM Belfast and many, many more. Literally translating to ‘flight of the testes,’ the Eistnaflug Festival takes place out in one of the most remote villages of Iceland’s East Fjords, Neskaupstaður. With its beautiful view, delightful locals and fantastic swimming pool, the days are well spent just lazing around drinking beer by the dock or warming up in the hot tubs before getting down to the mayhem. Most people crash out on the campground, located on a hill above the town, partying until all hours in the permanent daylight, but there are also several great hotels and guesthouses for those who prefer a roof to dry out under after sweating in the mosh pit. All in all, the festival has a tight-knit atmosphere where everyone is around to have a good time, get hammered and head bang until their brains hurt.

Find out more on


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dance, watch as much as you can, be the witness of many premieres, and enjoy pure seafood with great company that will allow you to partici­­pate in deep and engaging talks about movies in Patreksfjörður!

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also. . . .

2009,2010,2011,2012,2013 1/10 the best restaurants in iceland

DV. 17.06.11

“ the best thai food

Ban Thai

the finest Thai restaurant in Iceland

Laugavegur 130, ofan við Hlemm. Tel : 692-0564 124

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many famous people are regulars here

What’s going on over here?

What: Saga Fest When: May 23-24 Where: Stokkseyrarsel Farm near Selfoss, South Iceland If you have just two days off in your schedule in May (23-24) you can spend them on the Stokkeyrarsel farm in the south of Iceland that is located close to Selfoss and the villages of Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri and experience something extraordinary. A music and art festival called Saga Fest will be held there for the very first time and it’s definitely not going to be a traditional festival. New on the scene Organizing the newest event on the Icelandic festivals scene, which is focused on transformation and sustainability, Scott Shigeoka, the founder of Saga Fest, claims that the main idea of the festival is to connect people to each other and also to nature. The festival is co-designed and co-created in partnership with the creative and supportive local community of the Árborg area which has been involved in designing and dreaming up the festival together with the Saga Fest‘s founding team.



What’s going on over here?


All year-round

A space of co-creation Everything about the festival is built around all of its core values: vulnerability, community, sustainability and transformation. In other words—they are interested in creating a space where people share and co-create with each other by building an environment that promotes openness and change. At the same time there’s the opportunity to join in exciting and interesting workshops and immersive art activities facilitated by more than 60 amazing artists.

All aboard for adventure!

Positive change You can enjoy dance classes, art installations, build a skateboard, do yoga or meditation, build sculptures, share stories around a fire and watch performances or perform yourself. Frankly, it is impossible that you will leave the Saga Fest indifferent. Expect to be refreshed, with new perspectives, ideas and friendships. The goal of the Saga Fest is to create a positive change in a diverse group of great people like yourself. Of course, the festival wouldn’t happen without the accompaniment of beautiful music performed by 18 lovely and talented music groups, both Icelandic and international. History and nature Saga Fest integrates the connection to the environment and Icelandic history in many of its experiences. The entire festival will close with a bonfire experience that will give you the opportunity to listen to incredible stories about our past, present and future. The Saga Fest team hopes you will come with your own story to share since it’s one of the biggest components to connect and build relationships with others. Don’t hesitate to bring your own instrument to jam with the others on the farm after planting your festival ticket in the festival garden!

Find out more on

100% ING



We BBQ your catch on-board! May-Aug

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


23 August - 22 September You’re such a know it all. Stop trying to tell people how to live their lives. We each have our own life to royally screw up however we please.


23 September - 23 October This horoscope has been encrypted for security reasons: Daisies daisies daffodils hedgehog elephant dandelions splurge!


24 October - 21 November With your autistic abilities you accidentally managed to crack the code for Libra’s horoscope. But don’t tell her what’s going to happen and ruin the surprise.


21 March - 19 April You decide to do that “Couch to 5K” program. Now all you need are wheels for that couch.


20 April - 20 May Enjoying that spring sun? Yeah, we too noticed those tan lines in the shape of lacy window curtains.


22 November - 21 December You will overhear some gossip about your love life while going to the bathroom. You’ll be pleasantly surprised though; you didn’t even know you had a love life.


22 December - 19 January It’s time to found that anti-zombie club you’ve always talked about. No one will join up at first but don’t let that get you down. They’ll come crawling by your barricaded door sooner or later.


21 May - 21 June Romance is in the air; lucky you to be on a plane during such a time.



20 January - 18 February Your idea of fine dining usually involves some form of hot dogs. You should try some pasta just to step up your game

22 June - 22 July You’re pregnant! Or… you know … a person you know is pregnant. Either way, someone is pregnant.


23 July - 22 August


19 February - 20 March The world is your merry-go-round but you’re getting quite dizzy. It might be time to get off, or … perhaps it’s just time to stop turning in circles whenever you’re alone.

Today will be hectic, and perhaps a little bit traumatic. You really should consider watching fewer television series.


Disclaimer: This horoscope is total and utter nonsence. Any accuracies, real or imagined by readers, are purely incidental.

WOW Power to the people

Issue two


WOW Sudoku But how do I do it?

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

The object is to insert the numbers in the boxes to satisfy only one condition: Each row, column and 3x3 box must contain the digits 1 through 9 exactly once. What could be simpler?


WOW WOW Power Power to to the the people people

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





ICELANDIC SEA TROUT Yuzu mayo, truffle mayo, crispy quinoa, apple

ICELANDIC OCEAN PERCH Slow cooked ocean perch, beetroot purée, spicy butter, serrano ham, beetroot ICELANDIC MINKE WHALE Shallot vinaigrette, crispy Jerusalem artichokes

ICELANDIC PLAICE Samphire, green asparagus, blood orange, lime beurre blanc RACK OF FREE RANGE ICELANDIC LAMB Lamb fillet, leeks, pickled onions, browned celeriac, baked carrots, spinach and dill cream Dessert by pastry chef Axel Þ. CHOCOLATE ROSE Chocolate mousse, raspberry gel, Sacher layer 7.990 kr.


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101 Reykjavík

Tel: 551 0011

Issue two


The Traveling Inquisition

Adventures on the horizon by Gerður Harðardóttir Photos: From Hallgerður’s private collection

Hallgerður Hallgrímsdóttir is an artist based in Reykja­ vik, Iceland, who regularly comes up with excuses to leave the country and seek adventure. She has traveled both near and far, recently finding her way on land and boat from Mexico City to Bogotá, Colombia and spending a week in Nuuk, Greenland. Hallgerður also enjoys trav­eling around her native island trying to capture its raw beauty with her camera. You can find her work on but Hallgerður herself is pretty hard to track down due to her wandering nature. Most memorable travel experience to date “Spending the night in a nameless homemade island in Belize had it all: gorgeous food we snorkeled and fished for on our way there; drinking coconut rum by a bonfire into the night in great company; the blissful and carefree experience culminating with a midnight dip in a warm sea full of bioluminescent plankton reacting to your every move, with starry sky above to match and then returning the next day having made new friends and cured the hangover by snorkeling with scores of sharks and sting rays; finally the image of the humble shack which turned out to be both hammock hotel and five star rest­­ aurant.” Must-try for tourists in Iceland “Stay up! When night resembles day at the height of summer there is no reason to turn in early. Experience the exquisite light, deserted streets and the wonderful mix of immortality and bliss hidden in the bright night. Whether you are clubbing in Reykjavík or bird watch­ing in the West Fjords I assure you that you can sleep later, like when you’re dead, or back home.” My next stop is... “I’m currently planning a trip to the Westman Islands where I’m hoping for a cozy weekend surrounded by amaz­ ing landscape in the company of my hus­­band. There is something unique about being on a small island like that, severing ties with the capital and your to-do lists.


WOW Power to the people

“The next foreign country on my agenda is Switzerland, as some of my best friends have decided to make their home there. I will work my way down south from there, probably ending up in Moroc­co where I will be embarking on my first ever artist’s residency abroad as well my first visit to North Africa.” Tasted anything strange while traveling? “‘Strange’ of course is relative and many things which are considered normal

“Stay up! When night resembles day at the height of summer there is no reason to turn in early. Experience the exquisite light, deserted streets and the wonderful mix of immortality and bliss hidden in the bright night. Whether you are clubbing in Reykjavík or bird watching.”

in Iceland are quite strange—not only things like puffin, whale and the infamous soured ram testicles but also mixing liquorice with chocolate, putt­­ ing cream cheese on pizza and having Béarn­aise sauce with almost anything. Yes, on pizza too. Both home and away I will try anything once and I can recommend having ants in the Amazon, termites at Tikal, Mexico and guinea pig with peanut butter sauce in Ecuador. However I will not be asking for seconds when it comes to pig ears in Portugal or whale skin in Greenland. But you should try it for yourself.” v

A little shack on an unnamed island somewhere off the coast of Belize, serving both as hammock hotel and fabulous seafood restaurant.



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

Reykjavík area

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

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

Issue two 131 fun shopping


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

WOW magazine issue two 2015  
WOW magazine issue two 2015  

Issue two of WOW magazine is dedicated to Icelandic art and design. Oooh and airplanes!