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e azin mag Issue two 2014

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Welcome

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WELCOME TO G E YS I R

Thingvellir

Gullfoss

Reykjavik Keflavik Airport

Geysir

Selfoss

The Geysir CenTer is direCTly oPPosiTe The GeoThermal area of Geysir and sTrokkur sTay aT The hoTel, enjoy The BuffeT aT The resTauranT, TasTe The loCal food aT The BisTro or Try The meaT souP aT The snaCk shoP This landmark of Iceland is a spectacular natural phenomenon beyond description. The geothermal field surrounding the Great Geyser is the definitive geyser, having given its name to the geological phenomena. Walking about this natural wonder, one experiences the intensity of the forces of nature.

The geysir cenTer haukadalur w w w. g e ys i r c e n t e r . i s Phone: +354 480-6800 g e ys i r @ g e ys i r c e n t e r . i s w w w. fac e b o o k . c o m / h ot e l g e ys i r w w w. t w i t t e r . c o m / h ot e l g e ys i r Issue two

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A letter from the editor

So extreme

In this issue 10 A letter from the CEO 12 This and that … mostly this 16 What’s going on? Concerts, events, openings and all that 20 Figthing prejudice with pure joy Icelandic band Pollapönk will compete in the Euro­vision Song Contest in Copen hagen in May and the mess ­age they are delivering is vital. 22

Can you keep a secret? Secret Solstice Festival will be one of the big events in Iceland this summer.

24 The new king of pop is coming to Iceland The concert is sold out but we can get you tickets!

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or us Icelanders the extreme changes in the weather have become normal, even though we complain about it from time to time (ok, almost all of the time). Wouldn’t it be nice to have some tropical weather here every once in awhile? Sure, but it‘s exactly this environment that has bred some extreme people who like to mix things up by doing extreme things. We even have extreme guests who come all the way to Iceland to chase the weather and have some fun with it as Kai, Christopher and Robert did last autumn. More about that on pages 48-52. This is the Extreme Issue and in the beginning we weren’t sure if it should focus on the people or the nature of Iceland, finally we decided to focus mostly on extreme activities and other fun things to do here. This island happens to be extremely full of possibilities. Have an extreme and WOW vacation! Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir, editor in chief magazine@wow.is

WOW magazine staff

Tel: 00 354 590 3020 E-mail: magazine@wow.is Printing

ERFISME HV R M

KI

© WOW air Katrínartún 12 105 Reykjavík ntun: Oddi umhverfisvottuð prentsmiðja Iceland

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Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Design and layout: Ivan Burkni /Arnardalur sf. E-mail: ivan@ivan.is Contributing writers: Dísa Bjarnadóttir, Svava Jónsdóttir, Ólöf Hugrún Valdimarsdóttir, Hjördís Erna Þorgeirsdóttir, Paul Michael Herman, Cindy-Lou Dale and Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson. Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman

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776

PRENTGRIPUR

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

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26 Let’s talk about the money While you’re busy trying to pay for that gorgeous “Ullarpeysa” take a moment to think about the people on the bank notes. 28 Got milk? We do! 30

Street fashion Icelandic style icon, singer and journalist Haffi Haff took a long walk up and down the Laugavegur shopping street and met some cool people on the way.

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Give us a moment We love all the WOW moments our guests have sent us. Here’s a small sample.

36 Icelandic jazz is on the move The musical variety of Icelandic jazz bands is large and Iceland has become the first official partner country of XJAZZ Festival in Berlin, May 8-11. 48 Waiting for the perfect storm Not all visitors to Iceland come here for the Reykjavik nightlife or the Golden Circle. Three friends came here last fall to catch the perfect storm for wind surfing in the cold and unforgiving North Atlantic Sea. Yes, totally crazy! 54 WOW Cyclothon Find out more about the most intense race Iceland has to offer and how you can become a part of it. 56 A mission to Iceland’s highest point Although perhaps not particularly high in a global sense, the mountains of Iceland can be stunning and terrifying, often at the same time.

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In the company of birds Are you one of those who wishes that the pilot would take a more scenic route over Iceland? Paragliding might just be a sport for you.

62

Guests in another world We have enough water here so naturally we have enthusiastic divers too.

68 Total freedom Most of us take the Ring Road around the country in the comfort of a car. The guys at Kría Cycles have other plans. 72 Even to hell and back Extreme motor biking in the Icelandic highland. 76 White wonder Would you like to play in the snow in the middle of sum mer? You can! 78

Board in Iceland The skaters of Iceland aren’t bothered by the small stuff, like the laws of gravity.

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Move to the music Combining music and dance performance, Reykjavik Dance Productions and GusGus got together and produced a sensational piece called Journey.

82 Extreme Iceland It only seemed fitting to have a little talk with someone from Extreme Iceland for the Extreme Issue.

100 Rolling in the deep If you want to see Strýtan, an 11,000 year old natural wonder in Eyjafjordur, you’ll have to go deep. 102 Person of WOW Helga Braga Jónsdóttir is making the sky a happier place. 104 The inside WOW It’s not just our guests that get to enjoy the WOW, the people at the office have fun too! 106 WOW destinations You can get WOW-ed all over the place with WOW air. 112 Who needs galleries? London’s impermanent street art. 116 What to do in Barcelona Lay your guidebook aside and experience this great Mediterranean city. 122 The pleasures of Paris Get that retail therapy you need in Paris. 126 Your WOW horoscope Check out what the stars have in store for you. 128 Bored on board? Get a pen and solve these sudokus. 130 The Traveling Inquisition Clothing designer Gurý Finnboga has seen it all, almost …

86 WOW stars Let’s keep up with the brilliant WOW stars who are shining bright these days. 88 Welcome to the future Iceland is the perfect country for the electric car. Find out why. 92

Icelandic entrepreneurs Could Iceland become the next Scotland when it comes to whiskey? These guys think so.

94 Compete against the Vikings There are plenty of oppor tunities to see how you measure up to the athletes of Iceland. 96 Fun aboard The WOW air cabin crew has made flying fun again. 98

Springtime in the Vatnajokull region Here’s the reason Iceland got its name.

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

Attention advertisers! Shouldn’t your company be in our next issue? Contact our advertising representative and he’ll make it happen. He’s just that good! halli@wow.is


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Waiting for the perfect storm Issue two

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Life is beautiful! Heli-skiing on Tröllaskagi.

WOW! I love this issue!

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must congratulate our brilliant editor Guð­­­rún and her team, again! The point is that even as a “fairly” active Icelander who loves going to the remote places in Iceland I am still always amazed to discover new locations here and to learn of the amazing things that people are doing which I had no idea about. Take the cover for instance, Kai and Christo­ pher came here all the way from Scandinavia to windsurf, having surfed all over the world. I bet very few people look at Iceland as a water sports destination and apart from a small but rapidly growing group of diehard, ocean swimmers, Icelanders have always considered the ocean a source of food, to be approached with great respect and caution, not as a playground!

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What’s amazing with the tourism boom that Iceland is now enjoying is that it’s also opening the eyes of locals to the many spectacular things we can do, practically in our own backyard ... heli-skiing in Trölla­ skagi, kayaking in Breiðafjörður, bicycling around the country and kitesurfing in Hvalfjörður … It’s this spirit of adventure and challenge that led me to start WOW air. I had been looking for a great new challenge and the tourism industry is by far the biggest and most exciting opportunity there is here in Iceland. To see WOW air grow and be a part of this is a privilege and obviously the key to our success is the team that we have built which leads me to a common question people ask me: How can WOW air always offer the lowest prices to and from Iceland? Simply put we have the newest planes in Iceland which are much more fuel efficient than our competitor’s. These environment­ ally friendly aircraft save us a considerable amount in oil expenditures which we are happy to pass on to our dear guests. We have also been cost conscious from day one trying to leverage technology as much as possible to enhance the user experience and further increase the services we offer while keeping costs down. Finally, we strongly believe that our best advertisement is a happy customer. This is why we love it when you share your #wowmoments with us or give us your feedback. Don’t hesi­tate to contact me directly by sending me your comments or ideas for improvement to skuli.mogensen@wowair.com. Until next time and thank you for flying WOW air! Skúli Mogensen


Keeping Iceland warm since 1926

66north.com


This and that …

mostly this

The local sport of Hveragerdi

G Sigur Rós on the throne

Icelandic zombie nature Want to see some awesome Icelandic scenery while getting scared zombie style? Norwegian zombie splatter film Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead was just premiered. Directed by Tommy Wirkola, a big chunk of the movie was filmed in Iceland in the town of Eyrarbakki and on the Reykjanes Peninsula. This is the best chance you’ll ever get to see Icelandic scenery crawling with zombies dressed as Nazis.

many famous people are regulars here

What does the music of Sigur Rós have to do with the awe­­some TV series Game of Thrones? We don’t know yet but members of the band showed up at the premier of the fourth season at the Lincoln Center in New York. According to all sources the threesome; Jónsi, Georg and Orri went to Croatia last summer to portray musicians in the popular series. David Benioff and Dan Weiss, producers of Game of Thrones are great fans of Sigur Rós but no news have leaked yet, as to whether the band’s music can be heard in the fourth series. The members of Sigur Rós are not the only Icelanders who appear in Game of Thrones. Strong man Hafþór Júlíus Björns­­ son plays Gregor Clegane aka. The Mountain and many of the scenes for “The North” were filmed here in Iceland.

eothermal heat in abun­ dance has made horti­­culture one of the foun­­dations of economic life in Hvera­­gerdi, and gardening the local sport. This is the reason why the town is called “The Blos­­som­­ing Town”.  The last weekend of June 2014 Hveragerdi will host its annual flower exhibition that represents all the best from Icelandic gard­ en­ing and horticulture. And in addition a LandArt program will be launched for the first time. The annual flower show has attracted thousands of visitors that all come to enjoy the lush greenery of this unique village and the beautiful flowers that are everywhere. You wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. Tourists and locals alike have always visited the village to purchase flowers, plants and fresh vegetables at good prices. In recent years, however, many come to Hveragerdi to improve their health, staying for short or long periods as the health spa and the local thermal bath are famous for their invigorating effect.

Photo: Mats Wibe Lund - www.mats.photoshelter.com

Ban Thai the finest Thai restaurant in Iceland

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1/10 The Best Restaurants In Iceland

the best thai food 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013

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WOW Power to the people

Tel : 692-0564

Stories from Iceland

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celanders have been enter­­tain­­ ing (and scaring) each other with folk tales for hundreds of years and now that most of us have heard them all it’s time to share them with our foreign guests. This is why the storyteller Villi Goði has taken it upon himself to humorously narrate five classic Icelandic folktales in English on a CD called “The story of the evil sorceress, Katla and how she jump-started a Volcano and 4 other Icelandic Leg­ends”. The tales are rewritten and pre­­sented in a slightly less-tra­­­ditional-morefun-than-before kind of way, with sound effects and other modern amenities that people didn’t have in the old days. Enjoy the stories of Katla Volcano, the Gullfoss Waterfall, Gili­­trutt the Troll, Þingvellir’s maj­estic river Öxará and there is even a story about a mer­man. Yes, a merman. So, all you’d need,

really. The stories all touch on some of the most vis­­ited tourist destinations on the south coast of Iceland. You can download the whole thing on iTunes or get an actual three dimensional CD at any Tourist Information Center and in book stores.

Check out www.medialux.com for more information and samples.


Stay tuned for Highlands

This and that …

mostly this

More movies in Iceland The popularity of Iceland in films seems to know no bounds. Film crew for the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise, the first in a new trilogy, is expected in Iceland by the end of April. No news yet of what Iceland’s role will be in the movie. Possibly the crew will only make so-called “plate scenes” to use as backdrop in the studio. If the producers like what they see, Iceland could get an even bigger role.

Bachelor country Who knew Iceland was such a perfect place to throw a bachelor party? The Arctic Monkeys did! They were seen on the prowl in Reykjavik celebrating band member Jamie Cook’s last days of bachelorhood before he tied the knot with glamour model Katie Downes.

The Arctic Monkeys visited the Danish Pub on Ingolfsstraeti.

Making us proud We’re pretty proud right now. The Ice­­­­landic Press photo awards were hand­­­­ed out in February and none other than our very own favorite photographer, Krist­­­­inn Magnússon was awarded Maga­­­­­­zine Photo of the year. This would make us proud on its own but what’s more, he took the photo especially for WOW magazine! The photo is of singer/ songwriter Ásgeir Trausti, our WOW star, and it was taken during a photo shoot in February 2013. Congratulations Kristinn, let’s make more covers for WOW magazine together!

Logi Pedro has done a great things with his super-fun band Retro Stefson and now he’s teamed up with Karin Sveinsdottir in a band they call Highlands. Although the band is new on the scene, their first single, released last February, has been well received. It was recommended on iTunes and got a great review from the Guardian. Highland’s third and biggest gig to date was probably held in late March when the duo performed at the STOPP – Gætum garðsins (Stop – Protect the garden) concert. The band came on stage right after Bjork Gudmundsdottir and was followed by none other than Patti Smith. This must be one of the best starts any band has ever gotten and we wouldn’t be surprised to hear more from this dynamic duo in the near future.

Speaking of big EVENTS – The Great Flood

Blockbuster Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky and filmed in Iceland was premiered in Iceland in late March. Aronofsky claims Iceland has a big role in the movie and that the whole look of the movie was inspired by Iceland, from the make-up and costumes to the ark itself. Besides Iceland, a bevy of Hollywood actors star in the movie, such as Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson. The wettest movie since Waterworld had the gods of weather on its side during the premier week, it rained cats and dogs; a great PR stunt if ever there was one.

The IcelandicMusic Awards The cream of Icelandic musicians came together at Harpa Concert Hall for the Icelandic Music Awards in March. Take a look at the winners:

Mammút’s album, Komdu til mín svarta systir (Come to me black sister), was awarded Album of the Year, their song Salt got the Song of the Year award and they also got awarded for Album Cover of the Year. Not a bad night for Mammút.

Kaleo: Selected as The Brightest Hope.

Vocal genius and member of Hjaltalín, Sigríður Thorlacius won Female Singer of the Year.

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The metal heads from Skálmöld were awarded for Performance of the Year.


Among performers are Icelandic legends Blúskompaní with Magnus Eiriksson, Palmi Gunn­­­arsson and KK, Victor Wainwright and friends, Egill Olafsson and Vinir Dóra (Dóri’s friends) who happen to celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. Queen of Icelandic blues, Andrea Gylfadóttir won’t be far away. Shorts&Docs 3-9 April Reykjavík Shorts&Docs offers a screen selection of short films, animations and documentary films from around the globe that are challenging, sexy, funny, out­­ rageous and educational, and simply cannot be missed. Reykjavík Shorts&Docs Festival was recently nominated as one of Top Five Coolest Short Film Festivals in the World by readers of Movie Maker Magazine.

Look at

that

The 12th Reykjavik Shorts&Docs Festival will take place in Cinema Paradise from 3-9 April 2014! Check out their website www.shortsdocsfest.com.

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

Tickets available at www. harpa.is.

Bollywood Film Days 8-14 April Exciting, glorious, colorful, lively and tempting Indian films or all that you’ve dreamed about but never seen. This is the opportunity for you to kick off your shoes, dress in Indian clothes and join a great adventure of Bollywood Film­­­making at Cinema Paradise! Heavy metal at Reykjavik City Theater 3-4, 9-10 and 23-24 March Just awarded as Performance of the Year at the Icelandic Music Awards the ever-hard metal group Skálmöld prepares to trash the Reykjavik City Theater with their rendition of Baldur, a story told so magnificently in the band’s album of the same name. Their album practically transformed half of Iceland into heavy metal lovers so there’s no doubt that this will be a show to remember. Visit midi.is for tickets, but hurry up, they sell out quickly. How to become Ice­land­ic in 60 minutes Performed in English by Bjarni Haukur Thorsson this show will open in Harpa on the 25th of May and run until late August. The show is a tour-de-­­force theatrical comedy show focusing on the Icelandic hu­­man condition: their attitudes, struggles and everyday life. From Vikings to Bjork and from bankers to wankers! You will walk out of the show feeling 100% Icelandic!

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Tectonics Festival 10-12 April The Tectonics Music Festival was first held in March 2012 to critical acclaim. The festival invites Icelandic artists to join the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra to introduce music in an innovative and unique way. The various acoustic elements of the Harpa concert halls will be used to the fullest under the artistic di­rector­ship of Ilan Volkov. A special emphasis will be on new Icelandic music.

Polish Film Days 23-26 April This will be the fourth time the Polish Film Days will are held in Cinema Paradise. The film days are in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Reykjavík. Go and see the very best of what Polish film­­ making has to offer.

Mammút in Akureyri 11 April If you’re in northern Iceland on 11 April, you are in luck as you can see the biggest winner of the Icelandic Music Awards perform live at Græni Hatturinn (The Green Hat). Known for their powerful stage performance Mammút is guaranteed to deliver at this hottest place for live music in Akureyri. Tickets available at www.midi.is.

Got the blues? 12-17 April Reykjavik Blues Festival starts with a full Blues Day in central Reykjavik with various events and happenings from 2-5 PM. At Hilton Reykjavik Nordica the Blues Festival Club will be in full action with big concerts and surprise happenings throughout the festival.

Cinema Paradise is located on Hverfisgata, parallel to Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavík.

Black Sundays Every Sunday at 8 PM On Black Sundays, Cinema Para­­dise offers old cult classic films. The program is curated by Hugleikur Dagson the fam­­­­­­­ ous cartoonist/comedian, Sjón renowned author and screen­­ writer / comedian / musi­­cian, Sigur­­jón Kjartansson, one of Ice­­land’s best known. The film of the week is announced on the program’s Facebook page, www.facebook. com/SvartirSunnudagar.


Easter in Iceland 14-21 April Founded by musician, Mugison, in a 2004 music festival, “Aldrei fór ég suður” (I never went south) has now become one of the most popular music festivals in Iceland. It will be held in the town of Ísafjordur, the capital of the West Fjords, during the Easter weekend. Be prepared for an amazing musical experience and listen to the best of Icelandic music in a magnificent environment. If you’re going, make sure you’re there by Thursday, the latest. As tradition dictates, a little foreplay is in order before the real program starts on Friday. Entrance is free of charge. You just have to get yourself over there.

Look at

that

Reykjavik Arts Festival 22 May - 5 June The Reykjavik Arts Festival is an annual multidisciplinary festi­­­­val with a special focus on new com­­ missions and the cre­­ative intersection of the arts.

Family friendly Reykjavik 29 April - 4 May Children’s culture, culture for children and culture with children; these are the three main aspects of the Reykjavík Children’s Culture Festival, a week long arts and culture festival dedicated to children and youth.

This annual event reaches all corners of Reykjavik City. The festival program is a mixture of 150 events: performances, workshops, exhibitions, tangible experiences and special events led by experienced professional practitioners, artists, and people working with children. Check out www.barnamenningarhatid.is for more information.

Journey 8-9 May Journey is an unconventional piece where the interplay of dance, music and film bring to light unexplored emotions from the audience. Find out more on page 80.

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Secret Solstice Festival 20-22 June Get ready for the event of the summer! Secret Solstice Festival in central Reykjavik’s Hot Spring Valley (Laugardalur) features many of Iceland’s hottest music artists as well as various global names. With Massive Attack and burning hot Woodkid amongst the international line up, various stages–outdoors and indoors –offering a wide selection of super cool music, Secret Solstice is set to become one of the year’s most exciting events, right at the year’s longest days with the midnight sun providing a most unique lighting show during the mysterious solstice in the high north. There’s plenty of camping in the area and a minimum of 50 flights per week from London alone. WOW air is proud to be a founding sponsor of Secret Solstice, 20-22 June 2014. Visit the event’s webpage, www.secretsolstice.is for more information

Visual artist Ragnar Kjartansson will debut Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen, a visual performance for the stage. Photo: Rafael Pinho

Reykjavik Arts Festival 22 May - 5 June The Reykjavik Arts Festival is an annual multi-disciplinary festi­­­­val with a special focus on new com­­missions and the cre­­ative intersection of the arts. For two weeks every year it brings to­­get­­ her major cultural venues and unconventional spaces through­­ out the city in exhi­­bitions and performances of contem­porary and classical works, pres­­ented to the widest possible audience. Since its inception in 1970, the Reykjavík Arts Festival has been a catalyst for the creation of new works and a major force in the development of cultural diversity in Iceland. This year RAF offers a unique opportunity to see a new visual performance by Icelandic visual artist Ragnar Kjartansson at the Reykjavik City Theater. A special guest at RAF is Wakka Wakka Productions presenting their SAGA, an award winning puppet show for adults at the National Theatre of Iceland. For more information visit www.artfest.is.

How to dress a president? Right now - 5 October One of Iceland’s youngest public museums is the Museum of Design and Applied Art located in Garðabær, a 10 minute drive from the center of Reykjavik. The museum’s current exhibition “Are you ready, Madam President?” will be its largest to date presenting clothing, shoes, purses and other accessories from the wardrobe of Mrs. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland, from her 16 years in office, 1980–1996. The items are from Vigdís’ private collection who participated in the preparation for the exhibition by sharing the stories behind the clothes and her personal account of the role of clothing during her presidency. The perspective of Vigdís’ clothing is much more than a historical overview of formal wear for heads of states at that time. As the first democratically elected female head of state, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir had very little to base her formal wardrobe on. She was not a queen, not a princess, not a bride and definitely not Winston Churchill. The exhibition opened on February 7th and will remain open until October 5, 2014. The Museum of Design and Applied Art is Located at Garðatorg 1, open Tuesdays to Sundays from 12 pm – 5 pm and offers guided tours at 12 pm on Fridays.


Amazing 6 course menu

A unique Icelandic Feast Starts with a shot of the Icelandic national spirit “Brennivín“ Arctic char with cucumber andcoriander Smoked puffin with yuzu mayo Minke whale with celeriac purée Reindeer burger with portobello mushroom Icelandic free range lamb fillet with cinnamon potato And to end on a high note .... “Skyr“ panna cotta with white chocolate and raspberry sorbet

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

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Taste the best of Iceland ... ... with a spanish undertone

Icelandic Gourmet Fiest

Starts with a shot of the infamous Icelandic spirit Brennívín

Than 6 delicious Icelandic tapas: 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 To finish our famous Desert: White chocolate "Skyr" mousse with passion fruit coulis

6.690 kr.

RESTAURANT- BAR Vesturgötu 3B | 101 Reykjavík | Tel. 551 2344 | www.tapas.is


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magine how it must feel to stand on a stage, waiting to perform a song in front of 250 million television view­­­ers with the will to succeed in your heart and soul. With almost all the popu­­ lation of your fellow citizens counting on you being perfect. Sounds exhilarating, doesn’t it? It is a thrill which the members of the Ice­­landic band Pollapönk will experience in the Eurovision song contest in Copen­­ hagen on the 6th of May and they are up against 36 other performances from as many countries. Pollapönk performed the winning song in the Icelandic round of the contest earlier this year.

Iceland is watching

The Eurovision Song Contest

Fighting prejudice with pure joy Icelandic band Pollapönk will compete in the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen in May and the message they are delivering is vital and well thought out.

Sending out a strong message on stage, Pollapönk are colorful as usual.

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There is tremendous interest in the Euro­­­ vision Song Contest in Iceland, so much in fact, it borders on being a national sport. Streets are more or less vacated as it’s trendy to cook dinner at home with your family and friends and watch the Eurovision final on television. Up to 94% of the population in Iceland have watched the final each year on the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. In their song, Pollapönk delivers a strong message to the masses; the importance of eradicating prejudice and bullying in the world. The band is supported by backup singer, Óttar Proppe, a member of the Icelandic parliament. This is the first time in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest finals, that a member of the Icelandic Congress opens his vocal cords as a singer. Pollapönk’s song is called No Prejudice and is about a young person who has speech impediment and as a result is afraid of being bullied and teased. Two members of the band have vast firsthand knowledge in the field of speech problems after work­­ ing in preschools in Iceland. The aim of Pollapönk is to share the message that everyone has the right to live harmoniously with the rest of the world. The group was formed in 1986 and through the years Pollapönk has been a guiding light bringing positive messages in their songs and work, not least to kids. And it’s no coincidence that Haraldur Freyr Gíslason, one of the band’s members is the chairman of the Association of Preschool Teachers in Iceland. He has a big heart and bringing a positive message to the world is a mission dear to him, as he told WOW magazine. Q: Your song hit home in Iceland. How did the idea take form? “One of my colleagues in the band, Heiðar Arnar Kristjánsson had a certain idea and from it we developed a theme around a person stammering in life. Stammering is a very difficult thing to handle. Heiðar works at a preschool and I have worked at a preschool as well. We both have dealt with this problem at work and know people outside work who have experienced this. We also wanted to cover a wider spectrum


in the song; anything to do with prejudice, bullying and other similar matters. It’s a big subject to relay in a short song but the aim of the song is to get people discussing prejudice and bullying in an open manner. It is a subject people are dealing with all over the world every single day and it really needs to be addressed on a broad scale,” says Haraldur. “We are born without prejudice but get infected by negative dispositions leading to unhealthy ways of thinking and behaving with each other. Then when we get older, we begin to wise up and expel this garbage from our mind. But we’re creatures of habit and it takes a lot of effort and often pain to gain the self awareness that can break these behavioral patterns formed in our youth. Yet, if don’t, we wind up passing them on to our children, perpetuating the cycle,” Haraldur adds. Q: Is social media making things worse in your opinion? “I am not so sure about that. Our behavior through social media is changing. There comes a point where people say, enough is enough. Some years ago, it seemed okay to tear people down with words on the web. People were hiding behind a screen and keyboard, being negative. This is not accepta­ble anymore. On the other hand, the openness of the web brings to light var­­ious subjects that need to be brought out which once were hidden. That’s a good thing.”

Q: Being a father of three kids, do you find it difficult to steer your kids through the modern jungle of music, videos and media of all sorts? “It’s really challenging. There is a lot of information being thrown around. You have to be on your toes all the time, so your kids aren’t watching something you don’t want them to, while they’re still not mature enough to make good choices.”

Haraldur Freyr Gíslason is a big hearted band member who has done a lot of work with children through the years. He even has three of his own.

Pure joy is the name of the game, and joyous stage presentation is important in Polla­­ pönk’s performances.

Q: Does it give you a good feeling to be singing an important message, instead of a more common theme? “The song we will perform is very personal to me. I always feel best when I am singing about something which is relevant and has meaning. Sometimes it’s nice to dance on the line with words, but this song is clear cut and clean. The message does make a difference when you are performing and we want to do well with it in Eurovision. It’s a beautiful message, the song is catchy and we want to reach the final stage with it in Copenhagen after the preliminary rounds. That is our first aim.” Q: The video you produced for the song seems to be targeted at kids. Is that correct? “You could say that. We were trying to find an old school theme, like Batman and Robin in the old days. We have worked a lot for and with kids in our careers but our music’s been targeted towards families. We want to connect to all generations; granddads, grandmothers, moms, dads and kids. It is a common approach in Iceland, but I don’t know how it will be received in Europe.”

Pollapönk’s members with the 1 million Icelandic krona check they got as a prize to, among other things, develop their song from Icelandic to English. Congressman Óttar Proppe will be the first Icelandic congressman to compete in the Eurovision finals. He’ll be putting his vocal cords to good use as a backup singer.

In their song, Pollapönk delivers a strong message to the masses; the importance of eradicating prejudice and bullying in the world. The band is supported by back­­ ground singer, Óttar Proppe, a member of the Icelandic parliament.

Q: Do you believe this is a winning song? “I don’t have a clue. Eurovision is a very special circus. I have never tipped on a winner, except when the guy with the fiddle, Alexander Rybak from Norway, won in 2009. That was a great song. We are doing this for fun and for the message. I am not sensitive to criticism in relation to our song and act. Time will tell what the results will be but as long as we are on this journey we intend to enjoy the ride.”

No Prejudice Life is way too short for short-sightedness and tell me who has got the time for narrow-mindedness Listen to what I’m sayin ‘cause every-buh buh buh buh buh buhbody looks the same on the inside And it puh puh puh puh puh puh puh puh-pays, to wear a smile Let’s do away with prejudice don’t discriminate, tolerance is bliss we got to get together on this cross this problem off our list. I may stutter when I speak (but) you don’t need to call me freak. It’s not trigonometry inside we’re the same. Even if you´re taller or someone who is smaller or perhaps you’re thinner or one who loves his dinner. Listen to what I´m sayin, ‘cause every-buh buh buh buh buh buhbody looks the same on the inside. And it puh puh puh puh puh puh puh puh-pays, to wear a smile.

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Secret Solstice

Party in the midnight sun It‘s time for the cleanest and hottest music festival Iceland has ever seen. Clean air, clean energy and, most importantly, clean partygoers who will bath in the midnight sun and the cozy geothermal water of Laugardalur (Hot Spring Valley), Reykjavik. ecret Solstice is an Ice­­­ land­ic music festival that will be held for the very first time on June 20-22 2014. Over a hundred artists, both local and inter­­­national, from various gen­res will perform and the festival planners have taken care to mix together both established artists as well as exciting up-and-coming talents. Headlining acts include Massive Attack, Woodkid, Kerri Chandler, Múm, Carl Craig, Damian Lazarus, Mammút, Eats Everything, Hjaltalín, Skream, Droog and Boddika, to name just a fraction of the whole line up.

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WOW Power to the people

Iceland, and coming for a fantastic music festival with an awesome line up during the solstice and doing it pretty cheap, that would be pretty awesome,” Fred adds. But Fred isn’t in it alone. With good partn­erships and backers this event could turn into something Where did the idea come from? massive. “When we started planning the festival “Basically I’ve been working around the we contacted people all around the city and asked music industry for years and always want­­ed for their in­­put and we got an amazing response. It to do a festival in Iceland. And when I was turns out that it’s more than possible to put to­­­gether here during the solstice last year I thought, a big event like Secret Solstice in “Why isn’t there a music the middle of Reykjavik. My other festival being organized partn­er, Jack Robinson, has held in the midnight sun.” So Over a hundred numerous festi­­vals all over the that’s pretty much where artists, both local world so he’s really ex­­­perienced that idea com­­es from,” and inter­­­national, too.” says Fred. “Then I started from various gen­ think­­ing how perfect it Are you focusing solely on would be to have the res will perform electronic music? festi­­val in the middle of and the festival “No, not at all. During the day Reykjavik, in Laugardalur. planners have we’ll have all sorts of music, from Icelanders could literally taken care to mix reggae to indie and so forth. go to this great party Everyone should find something and then go home and together both to their taste. But electronic and sleep in their own beds. established artists hip hop music will be a big part of Plus there are all sorts of as well as exciting the festival in the evenings and accommodation available we‘ve got some of the best DJs in the vicinity; hotels, guest up-and-coming in the world coming over,” says houses, hostels, camping talents Fred. sites and short term rental apart­­­ments. To top it all Does this festival have a potential growth? off there’s the swimming pool right on “Yes, absolutely,” says Fred. “Our partners have the premises. The whole infrastructure is gotten over 30,000 people to come over to Cro­­­ literally there. Everyone wants to come to We recently met with festival planner Fred Olafsson and creative manager Benjamin Pound who told us a little bit more about this awesome event.


atia, which is pretty remote too, so there‘s no reason why this festival can’t grow to its full cap­a­­­­city or even more. Especially con­­ sidering there are more than 50 flights available from the UK to Iceland every week and WOW air is one of them.” Benjamin says he is responsible for the look and feel of the festival and he was here on a short stop to explore the site and get the lay of the land so to speak. “Basic­ally we’re now deciding which stages go where and what needs to be built for the venues,” he says. The festival’s theme is the Old Norse religion and mythology. In the days of settlement the solstice was a good reason to celebrate so close to the Arctic Circle. Benjamin took me on a walk-along trip through Laugar­dalur to show me where the stages will go. Take a look at the photos but imagine everything with­out ice, then add green grass, some flowers, leaves on every tree and thousands of people danc­ ing, listening to great music and having the time of their lives. Then you’ll get why you have to come to Reykjavik for Secret Solstice!

“During the day we’ll have all sorts of music, from reggae to indie and so forth.”

WOW air is a proud sponsor of the Secret Sol­­­stice Festival and since we love a good bargain we have put together some awesome package deals available at travel.wowiceland.com.


The 20/20 Experience

The new king of pop is on his way On August 24, pop legend Justin Timberlake will perform in Iceland for the first time. This concert will mark the last on the European leg of his 20/20 World Tour on the day after the Reykjavik Culture Night, one of the biggest events in Reykjavik. This is sure to be one of the biggest weekends in Iceland since the settlement.

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ut Mr. Timberlake’s won’t be the only performance; he’s bringing SexyBack and along with it some heavy hitters from the music scene such as Adam Blackstone, Brian Frasier-Moore, Elliot Ives and Mike Scott, who’ve all worked with international megastars on their tours. It’s safe to say that those who got tickets to this mass­­ ive show are in for one of the hottest events ever in Iceland. Hindsight is always 20/20 and you’ll be sorry if you miss out on this great weekend.

Sold out, but … We do have some more good news. The awesome team at WOW Travel managed to put together some equally awesome 3-day Justin Timberlake Culture Break packages that in­­clude flights and tickets to Justin’s concert. If you are a dedicated fan of JT and culture in general you might be in for the weekend of a lifetime.

Find out more at travel.wowiceland.com.

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WOW Power to the people

What is Reykjavik Culture Night? Reykjavik Culture Night, aka. Menn­­ingar­­ nótt, is an annual event in Reykjavik, usually on the first Saturday after August 18, the anniversary of Reyjavik‘s founding. This year it will be held on August 23. With over 100,000 guests and 600 events, this is the biggest and most popu­ lar festival in Iceland. It starts around noon (although a little bit earlier for those competing in the Reykjavik Marathon) with an opening ceremony and a speech by the mayor. The program is a cross section of Icelandic culture with various events, happenings, shows, performance art, concerts and general merriment go­­­ing on in streets, squares, museums, shops, businesses and even in residential gard­­ens, all delivered by the city’s budding talent. The main objective of Culture Night is to encourage participants to deliver a diverse and rich offering of cultural activities with a taste of something for everyone and a few surprises too. Oh, and did we mention that all festival events are free of charge and open to everyone? This even includes the city’s buses! Go Culture Night!


The price of pylsa …

And other necessary things in Iceland by Dísa Bjarnadóttir

Iceland has been through some interesting times in the last ten years or so. Stated simply: various people borrowed money from various other people and all of a sudden, through a lot of Icelanders or companies associated with Iceland doing a lot of adventurous investing, the Icelandic economy was booming.

T

he average Icelander had lots of money and the Icelandic krona had incredible value, which meant the average Icelander could go overseas and spend lots of money and life was great. In those times traveling to Iceland was really expensive. However … Something went wrong with all these in­­­vest­­­ments (yeah, we’re simplifying it) and we experienced what has since been called Hrunið (The Crash), which happened in 2008 when one bank after another started crumbling and it turned out that all this money, making life wonderful for the average Icelander, wasn’t as reliable as previ­­ously thought. The aftermath of the crash delves into various things that would be far too com­­ plicated to go into here. But there is a silver lining … Because of the crash the Icelandic krona doesn’t have the super value it used to and now Iceland is an affordable place to visit! Compared to some of our neighboring Scandinavian countries for instance a cup of really good coffee in Reykjavik is really well priced! From a rather fast survey we found that it costs about half of what it would in Denmark and a third of what it costs in Sweden. What follows is the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing series of helpful hints on saving money and getting good deals in Iceland.

A good cappuccino or a café latté costs around 400-500 IKR (less than 3 €). A cup of black coffee is somewhere between 200300 IKR (less than 2 €). 26

WOW Power to the people

Money talks

Let’s talk about the money

A bottle of soda can cost up to 800 IKR in a restaurant but in a store somewhere around 200 IKR (ca. 1.5 €). For the partygoers The cheapest place to buy alcohol is the duty free store at the Keflavik airport. You can buy tax free beer, wine and liquors both coming and going. Actually the prices are usually lower in WOW air’s “mile high market” aboard the airplanes, so keep that in mind. If this sounds good for your budget, you can start your fun evening with drinks in the romantic setting of your hotel room. In any case, nightlife in Reykjavik doesn’t really come to life until around midnight. If you think drinking in your hotel room is kind of sad, rest assured, Icelanders have recently caught on to happy hour so, if you want to try this, in the early evening you’ll usually be able to find beer, wine and even cocktails at a fraction of the price. There’s a fantastic app in the App store, made by the good people at Reykjavik Grapevine, called Reykjavik Appy Hour. Download it, to get the latest on all happy hours happening in Reykjavik. For other drinks; a good cappuccino or a café latté costs around 400-500 IKR (less than 3 €). A cup of black coffee is somewhere between 200-300 IKR (less than 2 €). A bottle of soda can cost up to 800 IKR in a restaurant but in a store somewhere around 200 IKR (ca. 1.5 €). Smokers might want to consider stacking up in the duty free store where a ten pack carton costs between 5,0006,000 IKR (32-39 €), which is half the price they cost in all other stores, where the prices begin around 1,000 IKR per pack (6.37 €) and go up from there. Custom’s allow one carton per person.

1,000 krona The man on the banknote is Brynjólfur Sveinsson, a Lutheran Bishop who the Danish King, Frederick the Third, wanted to appoint as a royal Danish historian. Brynjólfur declined but pro­­­ mised to do what he could to collect manuscripts. He asked all peo­­­ple to turn over their valuable manuscripts and went to great lengths to get them personally if need be. Which is how he got Flateyjar­­­bók (The Book of Flatey), a very valuable manuscript. For quick thinking: ca. 6-7 €, close to $9

5,000 krona The woman on the banknote is Ragnheiður Jónsdóttir, daughter of the priest Jón Arason, and the wife of two bishops (though not at the same time). Her first husband had been married twice previously and the picture on the bill is based on a picture painted in Copenhagen in which the bishop Gísli Þorláksson stands in the middle of all three of his wives. All three are wearing the big hat and white collar. Ragnheiður was very skillful at crafts and taught embroidery. Various things that she made or owned are on display at Iceland’s National Museum (Þjóðminjasafnið). For quick thinking: ca. 31 € or $45

10,000 krona This bill is brand new, brought into circulation in 2013. The note is dedicated to the poet, linguist, scholar and nature lover Jónas Hallgrímsson. It depicts his picture and, in his own handwriting, some lines from a poem about Mt. Skjaldbreidur. The mountain can be seen in the background and in the forefront stands a plover, a special favorite among birds for Ice­­landers. For quick thinking: ca. 64 €, close to $89


Enjoy a

in

relaxing holiday

Laugar Spa

Situated in the heart of Reykjavik, Laugar Spa offers a wellness center for your whole family. Enjoy our luxury health spa and ensure your body and soul feel their best. Laugar’s outdoor and indoor thermal pools, beauty and massage clinic, unique fitness center combined with luxury spa will help you breeze into a wonderful and relaxing holiday. Laugar, together with the fitness center and the Spa, offer you the best total health and body experience Iceland has to offer.

Laugar Sundlaugarvegur 30a 105 Reykjavik Tel. +354 553 0000 www.laugarspa.is

Laugar Opening hours Mon - Fri 06:00 - 23:30 Sat 08:00 - 22:00 Sun 08:00 - 20:00 Issue two

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Milk it

It’s legend-dairy by Dísa Bjarnadóttir

Whether you are looking for a quick breakfast on the go, a snack or light lunch, picking up one of Iceland’s various dairy products is a great option. And there is a whole lot to choose from. They’re called Hleðsla and Há­­mark and have been known to satisfy protein hungry muscles after a workout, or to take the edge off a growling stomach. It probably goes against all the healthy-protein-eating rules, but they’re not bad with a sandwich either!

So cheesy

W

hat has to be put first on the list of Icelandic dairy products is definitely Skyr. Skyr is uniquely Icelandic. It is thicker than yogurt, with a slightly sourer flavor. Skyr is actually a skim milk cheese which is strained to a whipped custard consistency. It takes three times as much milk to make skyr than to make yogurt which means it’s higher in pro­­ tein and calcium. Yet it has almost no fat. For that reason it is favored as a meal and snack by many body builders and people trying to lose weight. Skyr comes in various flavors, often with a spoon attached to the lid, which makes it an ideal snack to eat on the go. It also comes in a more thinn­­­ed-out version, called Skyr drykkur, even easier to enjoy when you’re stretched for time. Súrmjólk (butter milk) and AB mjólk are other examples of drinkable on-thego dairy products. AB mjólk is similar to yogurt but richer in acidophilius and bifidus, ‘friendly’ bacteria considered healthy for the digestive tract. Súrmjólk and AB mjólk have the slightly sour taste of yogurt and come in various different flavors. A variation of this is the ABT mjólk, conveniently packed in a serving sized cup with some muesli in the lid and a spoon. With various flavors and combinations, trying all these different dairy products could take up to a week, probably more. Breakfast solved! In addition, busy Icelanders on the go have been enjoying the protein drinks lately that come in little juice box like containers.

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WOW Power to the people

Finally the cheeses, and there’s a lot to choose from. The ambition of Icelandic cheese makers has been growing rapidly in the past few years and cheese lovers are jump­­­ing with joy (when they don’t have a belly full of cheese). Ljótur (means Ugly) and Auður (a popular woman’s name referring to one of the most famous female settlers) are just two names of recent soft white moldy cheeses. These, or the classic, Gullostur, are excellent choices if you plan on having a cozy evening with a bottle of wine, some grapes and crackers. One thing we recently discovered is spe­­­­­cialty cheese store Búrið, where they sell a whole array of cheeses with a special de­­­dication to locally made ones (meaning from the whole country of Iceland) along with a few other Icelandic specialties such as Skyr-chocolates, rhubarb-caramel, dried beef and whale meat, ice cream and birch syrup. Some of these might be an interesting purchase to bring back home to offer friends and family a small taste of Iceland while you share your vacation photos!

Skyr comes in various flavors, often with a spoon attached to the lid, which makes it an ideal snack to eat on the go. One last thing. The Icelandic cows are 99% grass fed so when you do try the Icelandic dairy, you’ll find that it’s not only different because it’s made by an age old recipe. It also has to do with what the cows eat on this remote island in the north Atlantic, al­­most touching the Arctic Circle. So, drink it down or grab a spoon and enjoy! Oh and don’t forget to try the ice cream at least once. We eat it all year round.


AIRPORT

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Price 1.900 ISK

TERMINAL to TERMINAL Pick-up / Drop-off service to city terminal at Lækjartorg Square. Approx. 45 minutes.

Price 2.400 ISK

Transfers are available after each scheduled incoming flight. Tickets are available at our tour desk located in the arrival hall. City terminal

Hafnarstræti 20,101 Reykjavík, Iceland Tel.: (+354) 540 1313, Fax: (+354) 540 1310 www.grayline.is, iceland@grayline.is

If your hotel / hostel or guesthouse is not on the list please contact our office. 101 Guesthouse

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Tough times –Tough people

Yes, this was really happening. For one moment, our roles were challenged and I realized that I was truly an observer. I didn’t need to know where they were going. They were already there.

Reykjavik street fashion

We all experience tough times. Things aren’t always how we would like them to be. How­ ever, what if that is exactly the impetus you need to push yourself further towards your true potential? Text and photos by Haffi Haff

I spent two days going up and down “Laugavegur” the main drag in Iceland, talking to strangers while looking for fashion and needing to be pushed. Those days were tough indeed. But the people, fashion and stories I got to witn­ess were tougher.

Kari and Laufey popped up on my journey back up Laugavegur. It was as if we knew each other, and I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t. Or better, they knew me. Kindly they allowed for a photograph. We then proceeded to take selfies and laugh together over our indirect fondness of one another.

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WOW Power to the people

I had to start somewhere, so I began by stalking this handsome young man named, of course, Pier Yves. A designer from Montreal, he reminded me of someone I know. So I asked him if I could join him while he walked. He accepted and we began a lovely conversation that lasted all the way down Laugavegur. It was a strange feeling to let go of someone you just bonded with a few minutes prior.


Only in Iceland will you find such opulence, dignity and warmth at the same time. They might seem cold and sharp, but make no mistake, these ladies were willing and open to my documenting their lovely walk in town together with their babies. When asked if I could take a few photos, they stopped and asked how they should pose. I replied... “Be yourselves and forget that I am here, thank you.” They did just that.

I keep seeing Logi Pedro everywhere. I’m sure it’s a sign of some sort. His girlfriend is the lovely young lady with her lovely wall of hair facing the lens. Diva de la Rosa, who is center framed, was as casually bold as ever. She explained to me briefly about her upcoming performance at the Sonar music festival. It was impressive. 

When I was their age, I was still wearing eyeliner and fishnets. Clearly modern time vanities have their benefits.

If there ever was a relaxed look that you would want to emulate … Thanks for the inspiration Dan. Copy, paste!

Oli Hjortur asked me kindly, “Is everything alright?” Without even knowing that I was not feeling well in my heart. What a lovely gesture. His clothing became a nonissue. His heart was brighter than the sun that day.

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As this man walked by, I just could not get myself to bother him. Slowly he moved past me as I snapped. He looks frozen and timeless, as though he could be from any period.

Kristina and Sara came along on my walk with Pier Yves. They were kind, exceptionally dressed and more than willing to let me photograph their triumphs. Specifically, their clothing and cheer came from Denmark and Sweden. 

This is Ryk. We recently benefited from his arrival onto the Icelandic scene. Here he is doing his part in making the streets of Reykjavik appear genuinely fashionable.

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WOW Power to the people

Tough times –Tough people

I could swear that I was watching a youth fashion ad as these young men walked by. At least we can stop worrying over the taste of the next generation. 

The day these photos were taken also included Valentines Day. Enough said really.

This is my aunt Denna. Every Friday we go dancing together at my soon to be 96 year old grandmother’s elderly home. Denna spent 10 years with nerve damage in her shoulder, feeling pain just by the touch of clothing. Goes to say, she could no longer wear two-sleeved garments. A simple joy and benefit to the common. The good news is, she has found conclusion after all this time and can now wear as many sleeves as she wants! Sleeves for everyone!


24-27 June 2014 Race around Iceland in the midnight sun

AROUND ICELAND 1332 km

www.wowcyclothon.com #wowmoment 72 hours 1 , 3 3 2 k i l o m ete r s 5 0 0 c y c l ists 1,000 legs 5 , 0 0 0 l ite r s o f w ate r T h e r e l ay r a ce o f a l i f eti m e Are you in?


Just a moment …

We love getting these WOW moments from our friends. Please keep them coming! Every day our guests share their awesome WOW moments with us through moments.wow.is or moments.wowiceland.co.uk.

“Don’t g o Sent by chasing waterf all Hildur K aren Ra s.” gnarsd óttir

e for a ss mad op.” “Dettifo to o h p t a gre rt-Jan a B y b Sent s Thoene

“It’s London time!” Sent by Elísa Ósk

Iceland” “WOW! Hiking in ters Sent by Ton Pe

“Went to Barce­­lona with three of my girlfriends last summer. Great weather, fan­­tastic food and a great trip!” Sent by Hrefna Ingibjörg Jónsdóttir “First time in Nyhavn h Copenhagen. A w alk aroun as d Sent by E made this my favo rite city! ydís Sigrú n

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WOW Power to the people


Want to WIN flight tickets? Have you experienced a WOW moment? You could win flight tickets! The only thing you need to do is share your WOW moment photos or videos with us and you might get to experience a new WOW moment for free! Details on moments.wowiceland.co.uk

Issue two

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The musical variety of Ice­landic jazz bands is large. Styl­­istically they are totally free. Still they oft­en get in touch with ot­her styles like inde­­ pend­ent or pop music.

Jazz it up

Icelandic jazz is on the move

Arts play an important role in Iceland: many of its inhabitants work as designers, artists or musicians. The capital Reykjavik – the northernmost of the world, reflects that. It is an open-minded, charming and creative place. In its rehearsal rooms, ateliers, studios, bars and clubs one can grab this atmosphere. And within this creative bowl, there is a more hidden treasure rising up to the surface; Icelandic jazz. by Nabil Atassi / Photos: Alexander Schwartz

A

mirror of the scene – the Reykjavik Jazz Festival

Every year during one week in late August the jazz scene presents it­­self at the Reykjavik Jazz Festival, an international event with lots of guest bands from the European main­­land and the US. This year it will be held August 14-20, all the more special because the festival cele­­brates its 25th anniversary. The musical variety of Icelandic jazz bands is large. Stylistically they are totally free. Still they often get in touch with other styles like inde­­pendent or pop music. And even if they stand in the tradition of Euro­­pean jazz, they have their own

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WOW Power to the people

“Icelandic” tone that is recognizable in itself and of course inspired by the surreal landscapes, special clim­­ate and circumstances of their home­­land. This, in turn, does not mean they all sound the same.

The XJAZZ Festival in Berlin There is a synergy between the Icelandic musicians and everybody is present and accessible. The result is interesting music, stylistically open and fresh sounding. This is also recognized abroad: In Germ­any the XJAZZ Festival debuts during four days in Berlin, May 8-11 in various clubs in the fam­ous Kreuzberg district and Ice­­land has been chos­­­­en

as its first official partner country. XJAZZ features jazz acts on the edge to elect­ronic music, sing­ er/songwriter, neoclass­ical and classical in a club setting. Sigtryggur Baldursson from the Iceland Music Export bureau, IMX, has helped the festival organizers choose the Icelandic bands. Sigtryggur is one of Iceland’s most celebrated musicians, be­­ing a founding member of the Sugar­ cubes back in the 1980s. As the

head of IMX, he is today, Iceland’s music ambassador. He helps Ice­­ landic bands that have “proven them­selves on the local market,” as he says, to play concerts and get connected abroad. For the XJAZZ Festival, Emiliana Torrini, AdHd, the Samúel Jón Sam­­ úelsson Big Band, Epic Rain and Stereo Hypnosis have confirmed their coming; bands that represent Iceland’s musical variety that we will surely hear more of in the future.

For more information about Reykjavik Jazz Festival and the Berlin XJAZZ Festival check outwww.reykjavikjazz.is or www.xjazz.net.


CHEERS FOR THE DUTY FREE ALLOWANCES This is how we do it at the Duty Free Arrival Store in Iceland Save more than €70.- off city prices! When you purchase 1 L of premium vodka, 1 L of most popular apératif, and 6 L of most popular beer. Save more than €50.- off city prices! When you purchase 1 L of most popular liqueurs and 9 L of Iceland‘s awarded beer. Save more than €50.- off city prices! When you purchase 3 L of popular wines and 6 L of Icelandic beer.

Prices may vary due to exchange rates. www.dutyfree.is


Promotion

Steikhúsið / The Steak House Tryggvagata 4-6 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 561 1111 www.steak.is

What’s in a name?

“Steikhúsið” simply means “The Steak House” and that is in tune with the main focus of the restaurant; to bring you steaks unlike any others. According to Trip Advisor, Steikhúsið is fulfilling their promise and people are also raving about the service and surroundings. The old harbor in downtown Reykjavik has in recent years bloss­omed into a lively neighborhood of restaurants, cafés and artisan shops so make sure you have time to walk around the neighborhood before you settle down for dinner.

You can find Steikhúsið online at www.steak.is. Check the menu and wine list, and even book a table.

Steaks and steaks On top of a wide range of juicy steaks there are great vegetarian options, for instance a barley patty that is renowned for its taste. The agony of choice. There are quite a few starters to choose from and if you can’t decide there is a mixed plate of all the best. Pick your steak and how it’s prepared and then pick from a variety of side dishes and sauces. Be adventurous and mix sauces and side dishes with your friends or, if you prefer, there are a few courses on the set menu that the chef has put together to give your taste buds a grand adventure. The set menus vary with the seasons but always provide the freshest and best ingredients available. Rough with the smooth. The interior is rustic and makes for one of the most welcoming surroundings you’ll ever see. Wood from old crates has found new life as table tops and the Mason jar lights with replicas of Tom Edison’s first light bulb give a warm glow that reflects the heart of the place. In the Mibrasa coal oven your steaks are cooked according to your wishes. You can find Steikhúsið online at www.steak.is. Check the menu and wine list, and even book a table.

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Promotion

The Lebowski Bar Laugavegur 20a +354 552 2300 info@lebowskibar.is www.lebowskibar.is

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.

Just 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 Miami­sunshine yellow that will cheer even the dullest of days. Dine and jive Lebowski Bar really captures the diner style with cosy booths and a fabulous jukebox containing over 1,600 songs guaranteed to get those hips swaying. If that´s not enough there’s a DJ on every night of the week so you won´t feel the pressure of select­ing all the music by yourself. The menus are the biggest in Iceland … no literally! Their phy­­sical dimensions are huge! Doesn´t everyone say that size really does matter? Try their amazing burgers, there’s cheese, bacon, a béarn­aise sauce option and succulent beef tenderloin. If that’s not enough, choose from one of the 12 kinds of milkshakes to go with it.

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 (www.tinyiceland.com)

“Careful man, there’s a beverage here!”  Jeffrey ‘the Dude’ Lebowski, the protagonist of the Coen brot­­ her’s comedy, is renowned for his penchant for ‘White Russ­ians’ – vodka based cocktails featuring coffee liqueurs and cream or milk. The Lebowski Bar has taken this now-iconic drink to a new level, offering an astounding 18 varieties of White Russian, along with an extensive bar list. Bowling at the bar The real icing on the Le­bowski cake, however, is the bar’s gen­u­­ ine 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 Le­bowski 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. WOW Challenge: Dress up as a real rockabilly chick or dude be­­­ fore you go to the Le­bowski Bar. You’ll fit right in.

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

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Promotion

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

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”.

And 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 staggering 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 numerous Ice­­landers and worldly travelers make the pil­­­grim­­ age to the pub’s humble door. Located at the very heart of down­­town Reykjavik, the walls of the English Pub are adorned with hundreds of photographs – like an album of the city’s history just waiting to be explored over a quiet beer. A sporting chance Live sporting coverage is amply catered for, with a choice of 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 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

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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.


Promotion

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

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! Here the decor is rich on the Mediterranean side and yet elegant with a jazzy ambiance. In the summertime tables are moved outside to the shelt­ered terrace, probably one of the hottest places in Iceland during those short summer months. This place is famous for their ‘fresh fish of the day’, served all day from lunch hours. It has very reasonable prices for quality, portions and presenta­tion 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.

Try their excellent selection of good beers. Every day there is a special offer on bottled beers worth a taste. Issue two

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Promotion

Hressingarskálinn Austurstræti 20 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 561 2240 facebook.com/hressingarskalinn

Coffee house, restaurant & night club Hressingarskálinn is a warm place with plenty of seating and a great loca­­ tion in down­town 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.

The menu consists of great sel­­ect­­ ions and offers every­thing from break-fast to a fantastic dinner.

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WOW Power to the people

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


Promotion

Sakebarinn Laugavegur 2 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 777 3311 www.facebook.com/Sakebarinn

The one and only choice for Sushi & Sticks …so you can check it off your bucket list

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

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.

The owners of Sakebarinn have a keen interest for the arts and crafts and a wealth of creative assets to play with. Although Sake­­barinn has a strong foundation in pure Japanese cuisine the current style of the restaurant proves that the owners are not afraid to break some of the rules. To them sushi is meant to be an art form. Along with its handcrafted sushi, Sakebarinn also offers a sel­­ection of sticks and other meat cours­­es, featuring whale and horse and anything that’s fresh and interesting that day. Why live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic if you’re not going take advantage of the natural fauna? Along with the local seafood, Sakebarinn also carries some more exotic things like octopus, just to keep it interesting, and with a little some­­thing for everyone. There’s love on every plate – You will feel it with each taste. It’s no accident that the place is named Sakebarinn. It does feature the country’s largest sel­­ection of sake and a shot before a meal can truly enhance the feel of real Japanese dining. It comes in a surprising range of flavors too, everything from really girly fruit sake to the fire spewing alcohol content of some of the more butch types; potato sake, warm and cold sake and Japanese plum wine. And then of course are the bottles that didn’t make it on to the menu because no one could read the labels and therefore no one knows what they are. Mystery sake! Sakebarinn is a place born to showcase the talents the staff have collected over the years work­­ing at their first Sushi restau­­rant called Sushibarinn, which is located on the first floor in the same house. A year and a wild ride later, this sushi family has in­­corporated a bunch of new and talented people with some great new recipes and skills they didn’t know they had and didn’t even know existed. The walls are hand painted by them, the wine selected by them, the menu is designed by them and the place is loved by them. They also love to present food so their clients become part of their love for sushi. The look on your face is what they are aiming for, the look of enjoyment.

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

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Promotion

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.

Ten Drops is also known for its homemade 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. 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 brimm­­­ ing 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. Check out the ten drops twitt­er feed and find both café and wine room on Facebook.

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.

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Promotion

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.

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.

Situated at Skólavörðustígur 40 in Reykjavík, Kol Restaurant’s design con­­­ cept is a mixture of warm modern Icelandic feel with international touch­­es and the furniture of designer Tom Dixon playing the central role. The rest­­­ aur­­ant is on two floors with an open kitchen and a mighty bar. Both floors are divided into spaces with cozy leather couches and a variety of diff­­­erent table settings. Kol Restaurant centers on the bar where the country’s best cocktail bar­­ tenders 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 desserts. 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 Open: Monday-Friday 11:30-23:00 Saturday-Sunday 17:30-23:00 Issue two

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Promotion

Den Danske Kro Ingólfsstræti 3 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 552 0070 www.dendanske.is

When in Iceland, go Danish! You know that Iceland used to be a Danish colony, right? Even though independ­ ence 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!

This 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 Carlsberg. If you come during the Christmas season you can taste some of the renowned Christmas brews, very popular in demand. Just ask for Julebryg (“you-le-bree”).

Get carefree or “ligeglad” (leeglaath), 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).

Do as the Danes do The owners of the Danish Pub strive to create the true Danish atmos­phere known among the Danes (and Danish-prone Ice­­landers) as “hyggeligt”. If you truly are Danish this can be your “home away from home”. And in this spirit, check out the “house” within the pub – an off-the­-wall design in its most literal sense! 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). You can pre-order these delicious snacks for larger groups. Does this sound too tranquil? 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?). Reminder: If you thought you were in for a quiet night guess again, The Danish Pub features live music every night with special appearances and unad­­vertised happenings on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Put your musical knowledge to the 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 Reykja­vík 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. WOW Challenge: Imagine there’s a potato in your throat and receive every drink with the words: “Tag skaadoo haw”. They’ll all think you´re from Copen­­­hag­­en. Honest!

Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 14:00 – 01:00 and Fri-Sat 14:00 – 05:00 46

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Promotion

Sushi Samba Þingholtsstræti 5 +354 568 6600 www.sushisamba.is sushisamba@sushisamba.is

SushiSamba

Let your taste buds dance Launched at the end of 2011 and a hot favorite on the Reykjavik restaurant scene, SushiSamba offers a deliciously unique take on Icelandic fish and other home-grown ingredients. Fusing Iceland’s freshest flavors with Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian influences, the restaurant’s top sushi masters have created a fantastic range of colorful dishes that taste as exciting as they look.

Fresh fish fusion A great selection of tempting smaller courses includes tuna ceviche with coconut sorbet and lobster tempura. If you fancy some meat, there are delicious Icelandic lamb ribs and beef rib-eye usually on the menu, along with an amazing steak platter for two. The ‘Juicy-Sushi’ maki rolls range from the shrimp based Volcano roll to Spicy Lobster and the Foie Gras – a stunning concoction of blue-fin tuna, foie gras and salmon caviar, perfect posh nosh! For surf ‘n’ turf lovers there is an exciting dish of beef tenderloin with lobster tempura, avocado, smoked teriyaki and tempura flakes.

SushiSamba offers a deliciously unique take on Icelandic fish and other home-grown ingredients.

The South American influence also extends to the desserts, which include the exotic Red Velvet Cupcake – a magical blend of vanilla ice cream, passion fruit, chilli and white chocolate. If you can’t decide what to go for, the Icelandic feast is a perfect solution – six courses form an incredible tasting experience, including the national aperitif ‘Brennivin’ and an Icelandic Skyr flan for dessert. In between, enjoy fishy delights such as grilled spotted cat fish with pea purée, bacon and mojito foam; or minke whale tataki with fig jam. Also included is a dish of lamb ribs, complete with chilli crum­ble, “Skyr” mint sauce and celeriac fries. Drink in the atmosphere Attentive staff, fabulous chilli mojitos and a gorgeously eclectic interior are the icing on the cake at SushiSamba. Hand-carved Brazilian curios and some 50 pretty Japanese birdcages com­­ plement the contemporary lines and gentle feel of the place. One of Iceland’s hottest style gurus and the artistic brain behind many of the city’s top restaurants, Leifur Weld­­ing is the man responsible for the design, and some say it’s his best work yet.

Sushi Samba Kitchen open: 17:00-23:00 Sun-Thurs (Midnight on Fri/Sat) Issue two

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Windsurfing in Iceland

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A travel story by Kai Katchadourian and Christopher Friis Photos: Robert Almqvist/Koste

They say all storms in the world originate in Iceland; a vast, icy, volcanic world hidden away far up north, surrounded by an untamable North Sea often forgotten by the world of windsurfing—forgotten, except when the occasional raw, and often breathtakingly beautiful photo makes its way into the media and an expedition heads out to nature’s coldest and most unfor­giv­ing windsurfing adventure.

Issue two

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Windsurfing in Iceland

W

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WOW Power to the people

indsurfer Christopher Friis was with one of the few crews who made their way to Iceland in 2012, and despite spending almost two weeks in this icy paradise he never really experienced the full po­­tential of the island. Instead he got a little taste of what was to come once he embarked on his own expedition last year; this time together with fell­ow team rider and Simmer Style team captain Kai Katcha­­dourian, to further explore the icy, world class surf breaks of Iceland’s south coast, while living in tents along the unforgiving coastline. This is their story.

A rough start

to get; any replacement gear on such a remote location would be impossible to come by. At this point Robert, our Swedish photographer, was the only one who made it to Iceland unchallenged, carrying more than 30 kg of camera gear. For the last few days Scandinavia had been sunny and in a warm high pressure system. As we dragged our equipment out of the airport the cold struck us and not only that, a storm was approaching. The following day we managed, to our relief, to get Kai’s equipment from the airport and we could finally begin our journey through the barren volcanic landscape. As we drove past hot springs and geo­­thermal areas where boiling mud sent sulfuric steam directly out of the ground we were constantly re­­minded that below the surface, this island is still very much alive.

Iceland, although being relatively close to both of our Scandinavian homes, offered a great logistical problem. We had worked hard on landing a sponsor­­ ship from a ferry company which would allow Chris’s car to be brought to the island, eliminating the bigg­­ est cost of the trip and we pretty much relied on the sponsorship going through. Everything was looking good, but just three days before departure we got a phone call from the ferry company crushing all hopes of sponsorship There we were just before kick off, with no ferry, no car at our destination and at the same time a rapidly changing forecast was pushing us to go much earlier than expected. The frustration that came with the failure of the ferry company drove us into long hours of discuss­­ ing the trip on Skype; the big question being whet­her we were still willing to kick off the expe­­dition despite the logistical problems we were fac­­ing. Eventually a phone call from Rafn, Chris’s friend in Iceland, changed everything. He had managed to get us an old 4x4 after spending the whole day calling every person he knew. That pretty much sealed the deal as we all agreed that even though we were facing an extremely unpredictable forecast, something big was going to go down and we didn’t want to miss it. Touchdown in Iceland didn’t arrive with any less

Eager for action we moved down the west coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula and headed towards a perfect point break in the distance with long peeling waves. Our timing couldn’t have been better and we were rewarded with a short, but fun, port tack down the line session which left us thinking of the endless potential of this place. What a treat it was for us to be out there sailing in a spot so remote, with no one around but ourselves. Kai compared it to a more exposed and barren version of Ireland’s Brandon Bay. So many moments of true potential throughout the trip were a socked-in affair. The weather kept changing and we had to constantly check the fore­­ cast. We actually got a lot of help from the locals who really understood how to be one step ahead of the ever changing weather forecast. We soon realized that with the approaching storm from the north we had to move quickly, pick our spots and go from there. That was our determination as we descended upon Grindavik the following morning,

drama. Chris was stopped, by customs, with 4 wind­­ surfing bags and only just managed to convince the custom officers that the equipment was for a team photo shoot and would all go back home with him again. Kai’s equipment never showed up at the airport and after waiting for almost two hours we got the message that his gear had never even left Helsinki. This was the worst possible message

turning up to a spot with yet another head high peeling wave—this time a starboard tack with a strong wind blowing side offshore. It was a foregone con­clusion that we were in for a freezing cold sess­­ ion, but still we rushed out there. Within minutes Kai was throwing his trademark repertoire of aerials and floaters while Chris was slashing around on a custom twin fin, trying to get back into his starboard

Grindavik


Issue two

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Windsurfing in Iceland tack mode. After about half an hour Kai gave in to the relentless cold and moved back up to the car to get his hands warm. Just before the end of the session, as the wind grew stronger and swung further offshore, Kai could get back out there for few more hits. After that we de-rigged and headed towards a more exposed part of the coast, not yet knowing that we were in for the trips heaviest challenge. At Gardur, a church and a graveyard greeted us, giving us a chilling reminder that this was the point where more ships had been lost at sea than in any other place in Iceland. There was a harrowing understanding that many lives had been lost here at this very spot. The ocean was raging along the shore, blowing 45 knots, port tack with some solid 4 meter waves, delivering a serious level of intimidation. Within moments we nodded approvingly to each other and saddled up on our smallest gear, launching into a zone which is exclusive to the windsurfer. It is remarkable that you can sail in relative comfort in close to 50 knots of wind, in absolutely life threateningly cold conditions with a certain sense of ease. With any other craft it’s total chaos under those conditions. Chris kicked off the session with a seriously high jump, hanging on for dear life as he touch­­ed down and landed safely right in the wav­­es breaking zone. A local crew that had been following us cheered from the beach as it was undoubtedly the highest jump they had ever seen performed in Iceland. Kai held back quite a bit, keeping watch of the rocky graveyard downwind, claiming that his best move was making it back to the beach in one piece after some more hand numbing and nervous tip toe riding. Chris upped the level, bit-by-bit, section-by-section, until he confidently whipped into a few 360s and followed Kai onto the beach. The local surfers could not believe what they had just seen us charge into, none of them wanted anything to do with Gardur.

The mysterious Airport Hotel The storm was still in full force when we nervously crept along the highway on the way back to our campsite. The furious ocean was a constant reminder of how in­­­­hospitable this land can get. As we drove past a section of the highway, which was parti­­cularly exposed to the wind, Robert shouted out that the light was perfect. Chris brought the car to a grinding halt, spun around and drove toward an ominous look­­ ing reef break in front of a sign that read “Airport Hotel”. There was no hotel. There wasn’t even a beach. Just that sign and fearful looking waves breaking all over razor sharp lava rock in a spot with no real entry and no escape. Kai wanted nothing to do with it,

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WOW Power to the people

We soon realized that with the approaching storm from the north we had to move quickly, pick our spots and go from there.

but he still helped Chris get his equipment rigged in seconds, as he jumped into his cold wetsuit rushing to make it out before the amazing evening light was engulfed by the night. Chris got denied at first, bar­­ely squeezing out between a big slab – which was sucking dry – and a large threat­­en­­ing lava formation, before making the most of a situation we had completely under­­ esti­­mated from the safety of our car. With winds still howling in excess of 40 knots and the current sweeping Chris downwind, it seemed questionable whether he would make it back to dry land without some sort of sacrifice. Fighting to get upwind and with Robert behind the camera, Chris push­ed it a few notches beyond reason. Experiencing an intimidating, close up view of the rocks, staring right back at him at point blank range, he threw caution to the wind as he whipped around a crazy 360 attempt on the inside, before wisely call­ing it quits just in the nick of time as a set of waves closed out the entire playing field. Making it through the keyhole, lucky to come out unscathed, he humbly stated that this had been the heaviest session of his life. Considering the circumstances, it undoubtedly was. As we finally decided to call it a day, we set up camp in Sandvik. After pumping up our inflatable tents in the relentless wind and tucking ourselves into our warm, cozy, sleeping bags, we looked through the phot­os of the day and recaptured what had just gone down.

Epic Iceland We knew the forecasts, with some long period ground swell, had all pointed to this day. We descended upon Grindavik once again and saw the swell, but the wind was on the light side. Arriving just as the tides began to turn, we thankfully saw the waves improve, raising themselves to a solid size before peeling down towards the harbor. After a speedy rig up, the wind turned out to be just right for our biggest sails, Kai going out with a 5.4 m and Chris with his 4.7 m. It quickly became clear that the waves were a great deal bigger than they looked from land. In fact mast high peelers were rolling down the point and for the next two hours, we were dropping into the massive, clear blue waves, knowing this was exactly the place to be. Grindavik continued to impress with its hollow sections and ruler edge consistency. The wind came and went with the squalls, but the waves kept picking up and gave everyone their most memorable rides of the trip. Staying warm remained the major focus, but the weather was much milder than the previous days. The only other thing to think about was the fact that we had seen a brochure showing that the most frequent orca sightings were all right outside Grindavik. Keeping that eerie thought in the back of his mind, Kai rode a few more walls and pressed his cutbacks another notch before getting the thumbs up from Robert, whom had

been standing knee high in the water, just to get the right angle for the pictures. As his energy ran out Kai came in with a big grin on his face and was quick to draw a comparison to the likes of Backyards and Happy Opu on the Hawaiian Islands.

Northern Lights With a swing in the weather and our main goals on the water accomplished, we cruis­­ ed around to places like the famed Blue Lagoon where a moon-like landscape filled with crystal blue water emerged in front of us. It was of course chock-a-block with tourists so we felt the need to keep moving and find some secret hot springs of our own like we had been talking about for the entire week. Unfortunately the storm soon washed that plan away as the heavy rain made the tracks impossible to navigate— that will have to wait till next time. Instead we gathered our tribe for a last outing in Reykjavik and after a nice meal with Rafn’s family we spotted a wave of green light across an opening in the sky. Even soft spoken Rafn marveled at it briefly. Certainly a fine sign after a very mem­or­ able trip, and one of those things that just happens for the right reasons. We barely scratched the surface of Iceland’s po­­tenti­ al but with the locals calling that day in Grindavik one of the two best days of the year we were stoked to have scored it, knowing that our timing had been right on.

Summing it up Kai: No doubt about it, when it gets set up, Iceland will be part of my program. I just don’t think I can handle it much colder than that first day without a sauna on the beach or something to warm up. Chris: Iceland is heaven for windsurfers, surfing and SUP’ing. For sure, I’ll be watching the forecasts and returning there more and more often. It’s simply too good to miss. Big thanks to Rafn Emilsson and his wife Hjördis for making this trip a possibility despite our initial challenges. Also big thanks to Heimplanet for making sure we had an inflatable home on the road and last but not least, thanks to all the locals who were following our trip and for supplying us with vital information all along. Without you, we would surely have lost our way.

Kai, Christopher and Robert after a good session.


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WOW Cyclothon

RÚV Racers on the road Photos: From private collection

The annual WOW Cyclothon is a 1332 km relay race, circling Iceland where one cyclist passes the baton to the next in teams of 6-10 people. Held from June 19-22, the longest days of the year, in rain, mud and lots and lots of sun, the event is becoming quite the summer highlight and for some it’s the highlight of the year.

WOW Sign up All teams need to sign up and read the rules. Go to wowcyclothon.com to be part of the most amazing race in Iceland, cycle in the midnight sun and raise funds for a great cause.

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WOW Power to the people

cyclothon is also meant to encourage outdoor activities and subsequently healthy living. This race is becoming increasingly popular among work colleagues and groups of friends. We got in touch with the RÚV Racers, a group of friends who almost all work at RÚV, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. They competed for the first time in 2013 and have already signed up for 2014 although they’re still looking for their fourth cyclist. The RÚV Racers will competein the A class of the WOW Cyclothon. The team members are Jón Páll Pálsson, Sigurður Jakobsson and Örn Sigurðsson along with two drivers, Sæmundur Sigurðsson and Kiddi, the chef. They all work in various divisions within RÚV, from IT to the kitchen, and say they

decided to compete again in the WOW Cyclothon because it is such a great challenge. “We mostly cycle by ourselves but we’ll start practicing as a team as soon as we find our fourth cyclist. Since last year we’ve been cycling a lot so I’m hopeful that we’ll all be in great shape come spring” says Sigurður, the team’s spokesman. The RÚV Racers had a pretty good run at last year’s cyclothon finishing the race in seventh place after cycling alone most of the time. They agree that the long hills in northern Iceland were the hardest part of the race and that cycling on the flat South Coast was easiest. We asked them to tell us about their most memorable moment. “If you take a close look at the results there’s this one moment that absolutely stands out; the difference between our team and the TRIceland – men’s team. We were


only 16 seconds apart. When we saw the team’s vehicle had stopped by the side of the road at a place called Kambar, ca. 20 km from the finish line, we thought ‘What’s their car doing here? Their cyclists can’t be far away.” We got our binoculars and saw their cyclist up in the hills. We put all our efforts into catching up to him, switching often while cycling up the long hills and then finally caught up at the top. Then we managed to take the lead and gain some distance and got to the finish line 16 seconds ahead of them. Still there’s one part of the story that has to be told. The TRIceland – men’s team were down to three cyclists after one of their team members fell close to Hofn in Hornafjordur and broke his collar bone. Considering this fact TRIceland’s results are fantastic,” says Sigurður.

The RÚV Racers. From left: Sigurður Jakobsson, Arnaldur Gylfason, Kiddi the chef, Árni Guðlaugsson, Sæmi the technical manager and Jón Páll Pálsson.

The WOW Cyclothon isn’t just a race and a good time, it’s also an event where teams collect pledges and all corporate sponsorship goes directly to charity. In 2013 the WOW Cyclothon raised 4,274,328 ISK for the Save the Children Iceland Foundation and this year the goal is set at 10 million that will go toward purchasing much needed equipment for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the National University Hospital of Iceland.

What’s the difference between A class and B class? A class teams consist of 4 cyclists and 2 drivers; the cyclists never drive and the drivers never cycle. B class teams have 10 members who take turns cycling and driving. WOW Cyclothon now has a special category for solo cyclists, although they still need to have a support team of two drivers/helpers.

What’s the deal with the vehicles? The RÚV Racers are still putting together their plan for this year’s WOW Cyclothon and Sigurður says they’ll be looking at last year’s performance to see how they can do better, but a lot has to be factored in; their fourth member, the weather etc. He says the team learned a lot in last year’s race. “One of the most valuable things we learned is to not cycle at the front of a group after the first changeover. What I mean is that our cyclist nr. 2 was at the front of a group for far too long without switching with another cyclist, giving rival cyclists some valuable shelter while spending 30-40% more energy than those behind him,” says Sigurður. Obviously the world of racing on bicycles is all about using the right techniques on the road and the RÚV Racers certainly seem to have their eyes on the proverbial ball. We at WOW magazine wish them the best of luck in their race this summer.

Every team needs to have a support vehicle with room for its members and any extra gear, repair kits, additional bicycles etc. Team vehicles shall always follow their cycling team member except when on service breaks, max. 20 minutes. We recommend renting a good sized RV or borrowing one from your uncle.

I would love to try this but I have no team, what to do? You should sign up. As it happens some of the registered teams are a member short and if registrations without a team exceed all expectations we’ll simply get you all together and create a team of strangers who’ll get to know each other while cycling around Iceland. Imagine the fun you’ll have! Contact the WOW Cyclothon race director, María, and she’ll help you out. maria@wow.is.

María Ögn Guðmundsdóttir, project manager for WOW Cyclothon, and WOW Cyclothon founders Skúli Mogensen and Magnús Ragnarsson, met with Páll Mattíasson (third, left), CEO of the National University Hospital along with a team from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. The funds raised during WOW Cyclothon will go toward purchasing essential surgical equipment for the department. Photo: Sigurjón Ragnar Sigurjónsson

Going solo Do you want to be the coolest cyclist in Iceland? For the first time in the history of the WOW Cyclothon you can race around Iceland by yourself. Solo teams have 84 hours to cycle 1332-1393 km and can choose if they take the tough mountain road Öxi (62 km with 29 km of gravel road meaning a mountain bike is necessary) or the Breiðdalsheiði road which is 61 km longer (123 km) but no gravel. Already 3 individuals and their helpers have signed up so at least there’ll be a race in that category. The fourth one is training hard and will hopefully sign up soon. You could also be one of the first individuals to cycle solo around Iceland in under 84 hours.

Issue two

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Touch the sky

A mission to Iceland’s highest point

Although perhaps not particularly high in a global sense, the mountains of Iceland can be stunning and terrifying, often at the same time. Reminders of great geologi­ cal forces, many of the Icelandic mountains have a history of volcanic activity, making them even more exciting. by Hjördís Erna Þorgeirsdóttir Photos: From personal collection

“The most important factor before embarking on such a journey is being in good physical and mental shape and also having some famil­­iarity with mountaineering.”

Ö

ræfajökull is an ice-covered volcano in south-east Ice­­­land, at the southern extrem­ity of Vatnajökull glacier. It is the largest active volcano in the country, and on the summit crater’s north-western rim is Hvannadals­ hnjúkur, the highest peak in Ice­­land at 2,110 metres (6,920 ft), a popu­­ lar climb during the spring and summer­time. Due to many hidden crevasses in the glacier it is necess­­ ary to be in the company of an ex­­perienced mountain guide when climbing it. On New Year’s Eve 2011, Bergdís Ýr, a 28 year old social worker and her friend Maríanna, decided to conquer the country’s highest mountain. Bergdís explains how she

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was not so experienced in moun­­ taineering before embarking on her journey but both she and Maríanna (who is a spinning instructor) were nonetheless in excellent physical shape. Diligently working out at the local gym, Bergdís focused on lifting weights and endurance training. “It’s very important to be physi­cally fit in order to hike Hvanna­­dals­­ hnjukur,” Bergdís explains, adding that “it’s a long walk and it requires a lot of endurance.” They also prepared themselves by hiking various mountains around Reykjavík such as Mt. Esja, Vífilfell and Helgafell. In order to have the energy required for heavy hiking, it is crucial to be able to carry heavy loads so Bergdís and Maríanna

stuffed their backpacks with several water-filled bottles as they hiked in preparation. In May 2012, they went to Svinafellsjokull Glacier and practiced using crampons, ice axes and climbing ropes under the super­­ vision of experienced guides.  On June 17 (Iceland’s Inde­­ pendence Day) 2012, it was time to begin the expedition to the top of Hvannadalshnjukur in a group that consisted of eight hikers, led by two guides, and secured by ropes. During the hike they encountered a few crevasses but the experienced guides directed the group through

the challenging conditions with much confidence. As they finally reached the top, the view was stunning and Bergdís describes the feeling of standing at the hig­­­hest point of Iceland as “beyond thrilling”. “The most important factor before embarking on such a journey is being in good physical and mental shape and also having some famil­­ iarity with mountaineering. It’s also important to pack high-energy as well as nutritious snacks and last but not least, it is absolutely essential to bring a pair of dry socks!”

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Photo: Jure Breceljnik Pilot: Ingólfur Axelsson Location: Reynisfjall, Vík í Mýrdal

Paragliding

In the company of birds Gliding in the air like a bird... Those who dare try it, see Iceland with the eyes of black ravens and white swans. Paragliding offers a unique experience in the sky.

by Svava Jónsdóttir / Photos: Courtesy of Paragliding.is

celand is like the setting of a fairy tale; a fairy tale you can experience gliding in the sky – of course you can also enjoy the view from your window seat in a WOW airplane. But that’s another story. Paragliding Iceland is an ambitious company for those who like pumping a little extra adrenalin. Anita Hafdís Björnsdóttir, a tandem instructor pilot and a wannabe paragliding bum, says that you can ask any paragliding pilot what’s so special about being up there on that rag, hanging in mid-air by few strings “and then watch closely when they try to find the right words to explain the feeling. Notice how the memory of free flight exhilaration lights up their eyes.” The memory of a hundreds free flights lights up Anita’s eyes.

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“They might even get a bit choked up attempting to use words like “freedom”, “the now” or “one with nature” to share the feeling with you,” she explains, “but some words just don’t suffice and they sigh in lingual defeat claiming: “It’s just awesome!”

Anita who is fairly well versed in the history of paragliding. “Paragliding as we know it, more or less began in France (well, probably) in the late 1970s reaching Iceland about 10 years later. Sure enough it started out as a sport for those considered foolhardy but sometimes that’s what we call our pioneers. Those guys went on to develop the sport into what it is today – and now with our beginner courses, advanced courses, security courses, risk man­­­ agement and safety rules anyone can go paragliding and still expect to live a long and healthy life.”

The foolhardy... “The origin of mankind’s desire to fly is lost in the distant past. From the earliest legends there have been stories of men strapping on birdlike wings, stiffened cloaks or other devices and attempting to fly, typically by jumping off a tower. During this early period the issues of lift, stability and control were not understood and most attempts ended in serious injury or death. Designs often lacked an effective horizontal tail or the wings were simply too small,” states the all knowing Wikipedia backed up by

Photo: Haukur Valdimarsson Pilot: Anita Hafdís Björnsdóttir Location: Húsavík

Airborne for hours Anita continues: “Paragliding is the fastest growing free flying sport in the world. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s the easiest way for man to fly. Just pack your flying machine in your backpack and carry your 6-10 kg of equipment up the nice


mountain, find a slope to lay out your glider and you can be airborne within five minutes.” Well that’s not such a long time! “Then all you have to do is find the rising air so you can stay airborne for hours and even travel for miles, enjoying the view with the rest of the free flying birds.” Maybe those free flying birds are other paragliders or ravens ... It doesn’t matter.

Be safe! What are the risks? “The biggest risk is twisting your ankle ... which is why we wear boots with good ankle support. You could also bump your head on a bad landing or take off so we wear specifically rated paragliding helmets. Landing roughly on your bum could result in spine injuries so we wear big, cushioned harnesses. We also always carry a reserve parachute, though most recreational pilots have never had the unfortunate opportunity to use one.”

Photo: Roman Gerasymenko Pilot: Róbert Bragason with a tandem passenger Location: Skógarfoss

Photo: Tomasz Chrapek Location: Ingólfsfjall

Bunnyjumping Well, now it’s your turn. “The easiest thing to do and a good first step is to book a tandem paragliding flight. This way you can simply show up on a hill and obliviously enjoy the flight and the scenery. A tandem

Photo: Samúel Alexandersson Pilot: Anita Hafdís Björnsdóttir Location: Úlfarsfell

Photo: Anita Hafdís Björnsdóttir Pilot: Samúel Alexandersson Location: Móskarðshnúkar

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“The origin of mankind’s desire to fly is lost in the distant past.” flight is perfect for those who don’t think it’s a sport they’d take up but would love to try once (twice or even thrice) and get that #wowselfie for their Facebook and Instagram pages,” says Anita. (You know – you can choose WOW air as one of your “favorites” on Facebook, right?) “If you want to try to fly solo you should sign up with a recognized paragliding school in your area. Getting your license can take anyt­­hing from 10-30 days, depend­­ing on weather and where you learn. Instructors have a certain protocol to follow and depending on the licensing country a basic course usually includes theory lessons of meteorology, air law, the physics of flight, equipment handling, safety issues and so on. The practical lessons start with learning to control the glider on the ground, moving on to small slopes for the initial “bunnyjumps” and as the student progresses, high flights with radio guidance.”

Photo: Tomasz Chrapek Pilot: Szczepan Pawluszek Location: Suðurland, airplane wreck

“Þetta er geggjað!” People are not birds. They are not meant to fly, so they say – except in an aircraft; especially WOW-air ... What about people who are afraid of heights? “So what?” So what? What kind of answer is that? Huh? “Many paragliding pilots are afraid of heights,” says Anita. She has got to be kidding us. “It’s got nothing to do with the flying,” she says. “You might be a bit nervous on take off but once you lose contact with the ground you’ll be fine. Actually, you’ll be much more than fine. You’ll be ecstatically yelling ‘This is awesome!’” And if you want to say it in Ice­­­landic you can yell: “Þetta er frá­­bært!” Or even: “Þetta er geggjað.” By the way: “Þ” is pronounced like “th”; better to get that straight be­­fore you fly past some Icelanders who want to know how you like it up there. They might also happen to be pretty good in English, Danish and even German, French or Spanish …so be prepared.

Photo: Anita Hafdís Björnsdóttir Pilot: Samúel Alexendarsson Location: Þorlákshöfn

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WOW Power to the people

If you would like to get airborne visit www.paragliding.is for more information, or just call them: 00 354 823 3584 We’re sure you won’t regret a single second of it.


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Exploring the deep

Iceland is an island in the North Atlantic with many lakes and all this water means that there are plenty of diving opportunities for visitors. We recently sat down with Kevin Martin instructor/guide at Magmadive and asked him about diving in Iceland. evin Martin is an Irish underwater archae­ ologist, the only one in Iceland, and he’s been in close association with this country over the past 12 years. The reason: He specializes in Viking archaeology, searching for shipwrecks around our rocky coastline. During this time he even managed to get himself a local Icelandic girl and they have a little boy called Kiljan Kormákur. Maybe his ancestors sang: The pale moon was rising above the green mountains, The sun was declining beneath the blue sea; When I strayed with my love to the pure crystal fountain, That stands in the beautiful Vale of Tralee.

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WOW Power to the people

The blue sea ... Irish and Icelanders both have written and sung about the blue sea. And Kevin knows the sea. As a matter of fact, he is working on his PhD in underwater archaeology at the University of Iceland. This red bearded Irishman learned to dive in 2003 around Dublin Bay and since then he was hooked. He kept on diving after he moved to Iceland, worked for a number of diving companies and then joined forces with David Ramsay to build up Magmadive promoting unforgettable and adventurous trips and expedition dives into the amazing watery deep. David was trained by the British Royal Navy as a chef and ship’s diver. “Magmadive was set up to cater to divers who had already built up a lot of diving ex­­­ perience and wanted more personal, lux­­­ury dive tours. What we learned was that the divers that are experienced are interested in more time underwater, more privacy and not having to look after or worry about their dive buddies all the time,” says Kevin.

I can see clearly now Silfra is one of the most famous diving-plac­­ es in Iceland and is situated in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Þingvellir National Park which is about 40 a minute drive from Reykjavík.

by Svava Jónsdóttir / Photos: Kevin Martin

Guests in another world


Amazing sulphur deposits along the lake bed of Askja Lake at 30 m deep.

Reflections. The Silfra lagoon with visibility so clear it mirrors the lagoon bed onto the water surface.

“Iceland has some of the world’s most amazing places to dive and one of them is Silfra. The reason Silfra is so popular is not just because it’s in Þingvellir – the world’s oldest parliament site – although that helps of course, it’s because of the remarkable visibility underwater. It can be over 120 meters on a bad day. This is very special be­­­cause in many other countries you get maybe 10-30 meters of visibility. You can also drink the water you are diving in.” The Silfra site is also where the continental plates meet, making it a major geological attraction. Divers can touch both plates at the same time. You can’t do this anywhere else in the world. The Silfra ravine was formed as part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which runs diagonally through the middle of Iceland, presenting the divide between the diverging North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. The average depth of the site is 15 meters and at its deepest point the site touches over 50 meters in depth.”

Enter the coolest kaleidoscope

The ‘lum­inous’ green algae of the Silfra Lagoon.

The colors of Silfra are magnificent. Cobalt blues while the surrounding lava rock morphs from burning reds to vivid yellows and greens during the summer months. In the winter the blues are sharper and visibility is better than during the summer. “You can dive all year round in Iceland. In summer you can dive in Silfra under the midnight sun; this is one of the most unforgettable experiences of diving in Iceland. Though the water is quite cold you don’t really feel it as you are wear­ing a dry suit. This keeps you warm and dry so you can enjoy this unique underwater world comfortably.” Magmadive is now collaborating with Norður­flug (a helicopter service: www.heli.is) to offer a James Bond style diving adventure to all tourists seeking the ultimate adventure experience. “They fly you over Þingvellir and they drop you in Silfra where the adventure continues. We take over from there,” Kevin explains.

Presenting the past

Tropical colors in the Arctic. The myriad of colors of the Silfra Lagoon.

“What we learned was that the divers that are experienced are interested in more time underwater, more privacy and not having to look after or worry about their dive buddies all the time,” says Kevin.

Kevin Martin enjoying an Icelandic thermal mud bath in Víti geothermal lake.

There are a number of other places in Ice­ land where you can go deep diving. One of them is in Seyðisfjörður in the East of Iceland where the El Grillo wreck lies. The ship, a British oil tanker, was shot down by a German plane in 1944; there were no casualties. “The wreck lies at a depth of about 45 meters and is very special because you can dive inside it. You can go inside some of the rooms and some of the artifacts are still in there; machines they were using and the steering wheel. We have pictures and some historical information which we discuss before jumping into the water.” In order to dive El Grillo, divers need to be certified as PADI advanced open water divers or carry a comparable certification from another organization. Divers also must be experienced dry suit divers. If they are not, Magmadive can train them to use a dry suit before the dive. Kevin says that there is a fantastic potential in Iceland for shipwreck diving. Issue two

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to dive abroad. “That’s be­­­cause Iceland is one of the toughest places on earth to learn. The water is very cold and you need to wear lots of heavy equip­­­ment like dry suits. You could go to Thai­­land and learn how to dive in warm calm surroundings but it does not prepare you for the extremes of the Arctic. It’s now becoming increasingly popular for tourists to learn here as they want to take this knowledge with them.” And the divers of Iceland certainly don’t just stay at home during the winter months. You can dive in Iceland all year round; in darkness and frost as well as when the sun shines for 24 hours. “In the winter we have the northern lights and a lot of our trips include northern lights watching so we often go night diving under a light show; a fantastic experience for our clients,” says Kevin and adds that they also offer ocean diving at night. “Many of the animals come out to hunt in the sea at night so you have much more marine life to survey.”

Diver floating calmly through the Silfra Lagoon.

Where down is up and stones float The Icelandic Highlands are quite specta­ cul­­ar – the colors, the vastness, the silence ... Öskjuvatn (Lake Askja) is an extraordinary deep water dive site in the highlands. It’s a volcanic crater over 200 meters deep and is a true expedition dive adventure. The crater is only accessible for 2-3 months of the year during the summer. Other times of the year the rivers and roads up to the volcano are impassible. “In 2012 I went there with two other div­­ ers and it’s a quite spectacular place to go. The water was crystal clear and you have this amazing phenomenon of floating rocks. They float because they are made of pumice stone. Pumice floats as it is less dense than the water. We only went to about 35 meters depth on our dive and the crater kept getting darker and deeper and deeper beneath us. As this was a high altitude dive at 1550 meters, we decided for safety sake not to go any deeper, but the floating rocks and the otherworldly feeling of being in this place is hard to describe; it was an amazing environment.” Kevin talks about the bottom of the crater. “There are sulfur deposits with unusual colors. They are bright green, blue, yellow and red. I have never seen anything quite like this place.”

Diver hovering above the entrance to one of Silfra’s many caves.

Mermaid hunting

Víti geothermal lake and Askja Lake in the Icelandic Highlands.

Join the club According to Kevin around 150 Icelanders actively dive and in Reykjavík there is a sports diving club who organizes trips every week­­­end. “Approximately 99% of the lakes in Iceland have never been dived so we are interested in taking divers to places that have never been explored before. It is the essence of true adventure. Many tourists are especially interested in this – in being explorers – and we can make those dreams a reality.”

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You are like a guest in another world when you are diving. “You could watch all the diving clips on YouTube ... but until you get your head under the water and take your first breath you cannot truly appreciate it. It’s a very unnatural thing to think about but it feels very natural when you do it. You’ll always remember the first breath under the water because it’s a world that you think you should not be in and I think the other reason is also because people are so surprised that they are so comfortable down there.” Yes, you’ll probably be comfortable in the clear water where you can experience another world. It’s like you’re part of an unforgettable adventure where everything can happen. And the sea – with shipwrecks, fish, whales and maybe even a mermaid and a long forgotten treasure … All this really gives diving in Iceland the WOW factor.

Drive and dive Another couple of places a short drive from Reykjavik popular for diving are Þingvallavatn and Kleifarvatn. If you want to know more about these and other sites visit www.magmadive.is.

Learning the hard way Kevin says that to learn to dive in Ice­­­land giv­­ es you a fantastic experience and con­­­fid­­ence

“Approximately 99% of the lakes in Iceland have never been dived so we are interested in taking divers to places that have never been explored before. It is the essence of true adventure.”

Between the Continents. A diver floats between the North American & Eurasian tectonic plates in Silfra.

Here’s some other companies in Iceland that offer diving trips: adventures.is scuba.is strytan.is dive.is diveiceland.com


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Wake up before they ... Renovation in progress. Please arrive early for check-in to avoid long lines. Iceland is so popular right now that we have to double the capacity of the baggage handling system at the airport. Therefore, we advise everyone who has a flight from Keflavik International Airport to get an early start. Avoid long lines and have more time to enjoy our unique shops, restaurants and our tax- and duty-free prices. Scheduled morning buses from Reykjavik run from 4 am. Hotel pick-up at 3:30 am when pre-ordered.

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Total freedom

On the borders of downtown Reykjavík 101 we find Emil Þór Guðmundsson, a mountain biker and a proud, self-acclaimed bike nerd. By Ólöf Hugrún Valdimarsdóttir Photos: David Robertsson and from personal collection

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and his business partner, David Robinson, are the own­ers of Kría Bike Shop. The shop, which now cele­­brates its 5th anniversary, offers great variety to cyclists who can also enjoy an es­­­presso or macchiato, the only type of coffee hard core cyclists normally drink.

Emil

Reykjavik – The perfect cycling city According to our bike nerd, Reykjavík is per­­­fect for commuting on bike to and from work. “The city is relatively small; most of the time I’m faster on my bike than with car. We do have the odd wind and storm through the winter though,” says Emil who doesn’t find Iceland’s cold weat­­her to be a hindrance. He grows a beard and keeps warm. It’s that simple.

“The good thing about Iceland, and living in Reykjavík, is that within 45 minutes you can be in the middle of nowhere, almost.”

You, your bike and the landscape Emil changes from being a “Roadie”, someone who rides road bikes, to a mountain biker, when the mountain bike season hits Iceland. It begins mid-July and lasts throughout Sept­­ ember. During the winter it may be possible to do the odd trip, if the weather conditions are right and the snow is firm. What is so appealing about mountain biking? “I guess it’s the freedom. It’s basically you, your bike and the landscape. The good thing about Iceland, and living in Reykjavík, is that within 45 minutes you can be in the middle of nowhere, almost. Biking is my hobby but luckily I can do it for a living as well,” says Emil.

The adventurous type Emil and David offer advice for interested cyclists and sometimes do tours. “The types of trips I’ve been doing are not for everybody. They are for those who are looking for ad­­­ venture, people who like going fast down­­hill and don’t mind long days on the saddle or walking up the steepest hills. It’s not like riding in the Alps where you can just stop at the next coffee shop. When you’re in the middle of Iceland you are probably 100 kilometers from the next gas station or coffee shop,” Emil explains.

Checklist for mountain biking Emil recommends making time for at least 3 or 4 days in the mountains and two days in Reykjavík. Here are the basic necessities:

* * *

A proper mountain bike with full suspension A GPS. (Better safe than sorry) First layer, top and bottom (also known as föðurland in Icelandic) * Wind and waterproof jacket * A backpack * Food and drink * Tools to fix your bike * Pump * Allen keys * A helmet (of course!)

Fair share of injuries The most common injury for mountain bikers and cyclists in general are the shoulders; broken collar bones, dislocated shoulders. “I’ve had my share of broken bones and have nice battle scars to prove it. Teeth have broken as well. Those sort of injuries can of course happen but I would say that this is safer than playing football, for instance. My knees are fine!” says Emil who always rides with a helmet and knee pads.

Aim high The mountain biking society in Iceland is small but growing. “I would like to see more women, not only competing but also riding because this is definitely not just a man’s sport,” Emil says. Emil and his team will be competing again in the WOW Cyclothon, held for the third time in late June. This year the goal is to raise 10 million ISK and help buy new equipment for Landspítalinn, the National University Hospital of Iceland. The cyclists team up and take turns cycling a distance of 1332 km. “Our goal is to set a new record and try to do it under 40 hours. That’s the plan. Either you go all out or you stay at home.” That’s the spirit!

Best trails in Iceland Great spots for mountain bike beginners are Hvera­­gerdi and Reykjadalur Valley. “It’s brill­­i­ ant to stop by the hot springs there. Anot­­her good trail is Kjarnaskogur Forest in Akureyri. For the ones looking for steeper trails, try Þórsmörk. If you want to be totally on your own you go further east, to Lóns­­öræfi, a wild­­erness in southeast Iceland. Landmanna­­ laugar is also an ideal place to set up base camp. Cyclists then, needn’t carry all their equip­­ment and there are great trails in 50-60 km radius.”

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You can find Kría Cycles online at www.kriacycles.com. Learn more about the WOW Cyclothon on pages 54-55 or visit wowcyclothon.com.


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There is no better way to start or end your Iceland adventure than by bathing in the famous Blue Lagoon. Reykjavik Excursions offer great flexibility in Blue Lagoon tours and the buses are located just outside the terminal building.

You can easily buy your Blue Lagoon ticket on board this flight – just ask the cabin crew.

BSÍ Bus Terminal 101 Reykjavík +354 580 5400 main@re.is • www.re.is www.flybus.is

You can easily buy your flybus ticket on board this flight – just ask the cabin crew or stop at our tour desk in the arrival hall at Reykjavík International Airport (KEF).

R O


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by Svava Jónsdóttir Photos: Courtesy of Biking Viking

High on bikes

Even to hell and back The Icelandic highland is full of extraordinary places, adventures and maybe even a few ghosts. All this you can experience riding a motorcycle through this rough terrain.

H

jörtur L. Jónsson is dressed in a thick sweater and jacket. His voice: rather hoarse. It’s easy to imagine him riding on his motorbike in the Icelandic highlands and that’s exactly what he tends to do. He’s waiting to guide Iceland’s guests through this extraordinary part of the country. Hjörtur spotted a motorbike when he was only 12 years old and something happened ... Well, actually something really happened three years later when he got his first bike. It was a Honda SS 50. The color? Blue. “I’ve been riding ever since,” he says. Why own a bike? “It has to do with freedom— freedom and speed have always fascinated me. Many thousands of kilometers later and I’m not so much for speeding anymore, but more for twisty and technically difficult roads; except, that is, when it comes to frozen lakes. I love speeding and racing on frozen lakes with spiked tires.”

It can be tricky Hjörtur has an outlet for his passion as one of the guides for Biking Viking, a motorcycle rental specializing in motorcycle tours around Iceland. As a matter of fact he has been a guide with the company for 11 years but he sees himself more as a security rider partner. “What I do at the beginning of each trip is to find out who is good and who isn’t because the one who has least experience controls the speed of the trip. I try to teach those individuals as much as I can as quickly as possible but riding on heavy bikes like the Biking Viking bikes can be tricky; especially when the ground is very dry and you

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feel like you’re driving on top of breakfast cereal without the milk.” Easy to imagine, right? “My main goal is to bring every rider home safely. Most of our tours are about 70% asphalt and only 30% ground. We only offer a few off-road tours up in the highland because many of our customers don’t have that much experience with gravel roads. I remember one trip with four guys. One of them didn’t have any experience with loose gravel roads which was about 290 kilometers of our route in one day. He hit the ground about 20 times over the day. I had to repair the bike after the trip but fortunately the guy was unhurt.”

colors. This is a very unique landscape.” Landmannalaugar, a region near Hekla, is one of a kind. It’s a pop­ u­­lar tourist destination and the area displays a number of un­­usual geological elements. “The bright­­ness of the landscape is like the sun is always shining because of the colors of the mountains – even if it’s raining. And there’s a natural hot tub where you can bathe; many people are very surprised by it,” says Hjörtur.

mannalaugar and on the way to Mt. Askja there are no trees; there’s a bit of moss and grass on the way but mostly it’s a black desert. The tracks are similar to a bobsled track. They’re usually just tire tracks made by cars, and very hard to get out of. One guy, who had done the Dakar rally eight times, said this was one of the most amazing roads he had driven because of how the riders got stuck in the tracks. “You almost never see any animals

down in the middle of the summer. I re­­member this one group who got weather like that – for me it was the most awful day of the trip but for them the most fun. If someone wants to do a highland crossing they have to have a guide for se­­ curi­­ty reasons.”

Ghosts or not There are other conditions besides the weather you need to be aware of. Hjörtur talks about a certain

Up in the highland Most of Biking Viking’s trips take place on the Ring Road (road num­­ ber one) that goes all the way around Iceland and is usu­ally referred to as “the ring” or “hring­­urinn”. “The Ring Road is a little less than 1,400 kilometers but with some loops the trips are about 2,200 km. We stay in hotels – not the cheapest ones but not the most expensive ones either – where we can get break­­fast and dinner.” When in the highlands the guides of Biking Viking mostly go to three places; and what places they are! “We mostly go to the area around the volcano Hekla and Land­­manna­­ laugar. These areas are quite good – not so many rivers to cross. We also do a trip we call “To hell and back”. One of the Icelandic words for hell is “víti” and Víti happens to be the name of a huge explosion crater in northern Iceland. We have to cross rivers there and it’s a bit tricky. Sometimes we can’t take the bikes over the rivers so we put them on a truck or even kill the engines and four people have to walk over with each bike. The problem is that these are glacial rivers and with glacial rivers you can’t see the rocks hiding at the bottom.”

Hekla, Landmannalaugar and Víti The trip “Black desert” is a five day tour in the area surrounding Mt. Hekla. The ride is mostly on vol­­canic sand roads, passing by a few valleys and some river crossing. On the first day they ride on the Reykjanes Peninsula (that’s where Keflavík airport is) and visit the Eyrar­­bakki village. “Mt. Hekla is probably the most active volcano in Iceland and when you reach some high points on the road you can see over the lava around it. You can see lava from different eruptions ... It has different

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“You have to learn how to drive a motorbike in such conditions; there maybe a strong wind, fog, rain or even few snowflakes coming down in the middle of the summer.

Then there’s the seven day tour “To hell and back” riding along Ice­­ land’s south coast, across the black desert of Mýrdalssandur and the Eldhraun lava field. The tour stops at Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon with floating icebergs, where the team goes on a short boat ride before heading to the highlands finally reaching the Víti (Hell) crater; then heading back to Reykjavik passing Mt. Hekla.

up in the highland, maybe just a bird or two... or some sheep. Some may wonder what these sheep are doing where there’s no grass but somehow the sheep are able to find grass even though we don’t see it. On the east side of Iceland you can see reindeer but they quickly run away when they hear the sound of motorcycles.”

No trees and almost no animals

Maybe you’re thinking “Oh, I would like to travel on my own in the high­­ land without a guide.” Please don’t! Even though the weather is fine, elsewhere it can get pretty windy at times. Hjörtur says it can be tricky to ride in such conditions; imagine 15-20 meters per second... “You have to learn how to drive a motorbike in such conditions; there maybe a strong wind, fog, rain or even few snowflakes coming

“When you are up in the Icelandic highland there is almost no traffic. You are almost alone. You can drive maybe the whole day never meet­­ing or passing any cars; of course we try to take the side roads as much as we can, not the most popular roads for cars. “It’s an unusual landscape. Most visitors I’ve traveled with feel like they are on the moon when they are driving up in the highlands and especially around Víti and Land­­­ mannalaugar. On the way to Land­­

Yes, the guide is important

place; if you cross the highland and take the Sprengisandur road there are two places that are hard to get by without some trouble. “The first is around Nýidalur Vall­ ey. About 200 years ago there were these outlaws who lived there and today the river is very hard to cross for some reason. Then when you go a little bit further north you drive by a place called Kiðagil; I have never taken this road with anyone without somebody hitting the ground even though the road is quite good. We try to be careful but it seems like without any reason, someone al­­ways goes down. Maybe some ghosts are there who don’t like motor­­­cycles.” Well... maybe there is some other reason. But Hjörtur has the ex­­­perience. Remember: You have to respect the Icelandic nature and keep to the roads; or on the bob­­ sled­­-tracks so to speak. The fauna of the highlands is pretty delicate.

For more information visit www.bikingviking.is or just call them +354 588 3220.


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White wonder Would you like to play in the snow in the middle of summer? You can! Mountaineers of Iceland offers adventure tours, including snowmobile, super jeep and monster truck tours on both sides of the Langjokull glacier. Play in the snow, watch the northern lights during winter or midnight sun in the summer and eat sushi or other delicious food in the snow, if the weather is fine. by Svava Jónsdóttir Photos: Courtesy of Mountaineers of Iceland

M

ountaineers of Iceland has two owners; one is the mother of Ice­­landic footballer Eidur Gudjohn­sen and the other a former police officer so you can definitely trust that they will obey the laws and regulations of this land, an im­­portant point because

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you want to be safe on the ‘white wonder’. Anyway … When you’ve decided to go to Langjokull glacier with Mountaineers, you can travel from Reykja­­vík in one of their super jeeps­­/trucks that has been specially modi­­­fied to reach glaciers and other remote areas by the rugged moun­­­ tain tracks of the highlands. The

staff operates open day tours as well as private tailor-made tours for smaller and larger groups. You can also drive yourself to the glacier and meet the staff there. And you can go by helicopter. There are lots of possibilities. Do you want to know a little about this white wonder? Well, Lang­­­jok­­

ull glacier is the second largest glacier in Iceland and is situated in the western highlands of the country. It spans 195 km2 and at its dens­est the ice can be up to 580 m thick. The southwestern part rises up to 1,400 m, making it the perfect location for viewing both the surrounding scenery and the


magnificent aurora borealis during the winter. It’s good to mention that on the way to the glacier you pass some of the most popular attract­i­­ ons in Iceland.

on the moon. The telescope can be connected to most cameras of the larger variety which enables you to take photos from a perspective you would have only dreamt of.

Playing in the snow

Stop and wait

When you get there, if you’re not used to being on glaciers you’ll probably feel like you’ve arrived in another world. You might even feel like you’re starring in some movie where anything can happen. You’ll feel the silence. You might even “hear” it and because of the high altitude it seems like you get some extra power. The air is so fresh, the view is spectacular and in a sense it seems that you can nearly touch the sky; the blueness seems to dance with the whiteness of the glacier. Mountaineers of Iceland have a few houses on the glacier; kind of like oases in a desert. They are warm inside and cozy and they are great places to see the incredible view, maybe with a cupful of hot chocolate in hand ... The houses are ideal for groups to gather and they would make a great setting for a wedding! Everyone can have fun on top of the glacier. People of all ages play there like children

The most fun thing to do on top of a glacier is riding a snowmobile and there’s no shortage of tours available for individuals and groups. If you dress right you are sure to enjoy snowmobiling across the end­­ less white snowfields. It’s a great way to combine an adrena­­­line­­-filled activity with awe-inspiring scenery. The company’s snowmobiles are two seated touring sleds with hand warmers and a high windshield. Each snowmobile has two riders at a time; and those who want to ride alone can pay a little extra for that privilege. All you need to operate one is a valid driving license. Think you can rent a snowmobile, head to the nearest glacier and enjoy the white scenery all alone? This is one of the most dangerous mistakes a traveler can make. Everyone attempting the Icelandic glaciers should have a guide with them because you can trust that they will steer you away from crevasses and head back if the shift of the wind indicates that bad weather is coming. They know this place! If you do get lost – an extremely remote possibility – you have to stop and wait for someone to find you. Yes, stop. And wait. Following this advice has actually saved lives so please keep it in mind wherever you go in Iceland.

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ountaineers of Iceland recently raised northern lights and star gazing to a higher dimension with a top of the line, high tech telescope. It can magnify an object 480 fold and the computer database of the telescope stores information on more than 40 thousand objects in the sky. You see the mountains on the moon – and, who knows, maybe even the man

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What Icelandic skaters are noticeably good? “There are quite a few people who could have the opportunity of a career of some sort, possibly overseas, but it’s probably not fair of me to pick just a few from that large group. This is why it’s essential for skaters to get the space they need with equipment that is up to standard like outdoor skate parks in other countries offer.”

Board in Iceland

They see me rollin’ … Skateboarding definitely falls under the category of extreme sports. Watch those daredevils, if even for a short while, attempt a ramp, a hand-rail, a kick-flip or any of those other tricks and you have to wonder whether those people are fearless or that they simply don’t care about simple things like the laws of gravity.

How does Reykjavik compare as a skat­­ing city to other foreign cities? “It’s getting better and better every year. As the Reykjavik area, with its suburbs, gets bigger, new areas have been created that are well suited for skating. However that’s not always well received by the owners or inhabitants of those neighborhoods.”

by Dísa Bjarnadóttir Photos: Anton Gunnarsson

he scene in Reykjavik is relatively new, but there is one name that quickly comes up when you’re talking about skate­­­­­boarding in Reykjavik, our friend Addi IntroBeatz, skater and DJ. We got to ask him a few questions about skateboarding like it used to be, like it is and how it could be.

had the rough concrete outside my house. Later on, skaters got an allotted time slot to skate every week in two car garages downtown. On those nights a guy from Se­­ curitas would come and open up a stor­age room where there was a small ramp and some rails to practice on.”

Skater: David Holm Juliusson

How did you become interested in skate­­­ boarding? “Around 1988 I went to school with a kid who had a brother that worked in Iceland’s first skate shop. It was called Hazar bazar and was on Skolavordustigur. One time I was visiting this friend and snuck into his brother’s room to look around. That’s when I fell in love with this lifestyle sport and every­­­thing that goes along with it: the post­­­­ers on the walls, the clothes and all the extra equipment. In these years two movies came out: “Thrashin’”, which I think is the first movie Josh Brolin ever made and “The Cube” with Christian Slater. These two mov­­­ ies changed my life in a second and pretty much everything I’ve ever done since has been somehow influenced by them.”

Addi IntroBeatz. Photo: Ingvar Högni Ragnarsson.

How was the skateboarding scene back then? “It was really very small, but had still man­­­ aged to develop into something. This was a few years before Ingolfstorg (in down­­town Reykjavik) was made in its current form, so skaters were mostly just inside their neighborhoods at first. The huge chess board at Laekjargata was the center for the skaters and a few places around the Uni­­versity of Iceland were also used a lot for skateboarding. I was only eight when I finally got my first skateboard (1989) and I didn’t have permission to go much further than my own street, so my first year I only

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How has the scene evolved since then? “After Ingolfstorg was made this small group grew rapidly. The city of Reykjavik would always offer some kind of housing, usually temporary and it was never very good and not clean at all. The scene has never really gained the footing it needs to grow like in our neighboring countries in Scandinavia. Today, in 2014, we’re still in the same shoes. The indoor skating area is in the old Héðinshús building (at Seljavegur, west side of Reykjavík) but it doesn’t have everything that’s needed for the scene to flourish. DIY (do it yourself) has kind of been the motto for the last few years and the city has not been involved a great deal. But a new group has been founded; Jaðar­­­­sport Félag Reykjavíkur (the Reykjavik Group for Marginal Sports) which supports Hjólabrettadeild Reykjavíkur (the Reykjavik Skateboarding Division) and they’ve worked very hard in the last year to get an outdoor skate park, so we’re expecting brighter days ahead.”

Skater: Olafur Ingi Stefansson

Skater: Sigurdur Rosant Juliusson

You’ve traveled a lot. What cities do you like to skate in? “I’ve skated in Spain and Holland, but mostly in Denmark where I lived for a while and the scene there is growing very fast. For instance, in Copenhagen there are at least eight new areas for skaters around the city that have risen in the last ten years. Barcelona has been the Mecca of world skating for a long time but now the focus is shifting to Asia and there are a lot of articles in magazines, both printed and online, with pictures especially from China and Japan.”


Skater: Sigurdur Pall Palsson

“On those nights a guy from Se­­curitas would come and open up a stor­age room where there was a small ramp and some rails to practice on.” Issue two

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Journey has gotten great reviews both in Iceland and abroad and over 4,000 people have seen the pro足足ject so far. 80

WOW Power to the people


Journey Move to the music

Combining music and dance performance, Reykjavik Dance Productions and GusGus got together and produced the sensational Journey, an instant hit at the Reykjavik Art Festival in 2012. Following this success they’ve taken this piece to Denmark, Siberia and Russia and gotten critical acclaim for their performance. And now they’re in Iceland again.

Journey is scheduled for three shows in Harpa on 8-9 May. The performance is under the clear artistic guidance of Katrin Hall who describes the piece as a fusion between music, dance and cinema, that, when they come together, create a continuum. “Journey is an unconventional project where some of the greatest artists of Ice­­land get together and lead the audience into a new dimension

full of surprises. We’ve shown this piece at many different locations; besides Harpa there has been a granary during the harvest in Den­­ mark, a traditional theater in Siberia and a nightclub in Moscow. We’ve always adjusted the piece to each location so the final outcome hasn’t always been the same. This keeps the work fresh and vibrant and it also keeps us on our toes. Most of the audiences came out not know­­­

ing if they’d been to a dance show or a concert, which was one of our goals from the beginning,” says Katrin Hall. Journey has gotten great reviews both in Iceland and abroad and over 4,000 people have seen the pro­­ject so far. As a proud sponsor of this project, we at WOW air can certainly recommend Journey to everyone. It’s a performance that creates a bridge between different

forms of artistic expressions creat­­­ ing an unforgettable experience in an amazing location, the Harpa Music Hall.

For tickets go to www.harpa.is or call +354 528 5000. You can also check out the project’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/a.vit.journey

YOUR RENTAL

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We also offer luggage storage at our office Issue two

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By Paul Michael Herman Photos: Courtesy of Extreme Iceland

As the focus of this issue is ‘extreme’ it seemed only fitting to tell you a little bit about the company called Extreme Iceland. The company was established in 2010 by Björn Hróarsson and his partners. But what could be said about a company with such a short track record, we wondered? Well let’s see.

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irst of all, there may be some tour operators who have written books about Iceland’s amazing nature. Björn has written and published 40 of them. When asked if he was working on another, he said, “Yes, I am. There’s five books in the works.”

One of a kind

Björn is a geologist and a geology teacher. Icelandic nature with all its unique characteristics is a subject many people around the world are interested in and that’s why tourism is such a huge industry here. And although Extreme Iceland has been in oper­­ ation for a relatively short time, with Björn’s vast accumu­la­­tion of know­­ledge on the subject it’s no wonder that national film crews from Japan, Hong Kong, European countries, Africa, Can­ada; nearly all over the world have been served by his company. There are a lot of tour operators in Iceland but there’s only one Extreme Iceland. We asked Björn to tell us how his company stands out from the rest. “Well, we’re the only one with that name ... but one thing that really makes us different is that we don’t copy anybody,” says Björn with a smile. “In good weather a day trip to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon takes about 14 hours. Because Icelandic law doesn’t permit drivers to drive longer than that in one day there weren’t any scheduled group day tours going out from October to April. We were the first ones to introduce the two day trip there allowing us to take groups all year round.” One of the amazing sights in the Vatnajokull region besides the glacier itself is the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, formed near the glacier. Rising out of it are chunks of ice, some very large that broke off and settled there creating an otherworldly environ­­ment. Dur­­ing the summer, boats meander around the lagoon be­­­tween these ice formations giving guests a memorable exper­­­ience that includes having chips from glacier that might be thous­­­ands of years old melt in their mouth.  “Wake up! The northern lights are dancing.” “Snæfellsness is another popular destination,” explains Björn. “We were also the first to offer scheduled two day tours there and we offer scheduled super-jeep, snowmobiling and nort­­hern light tours to Landmannalaugar, up in the highland, every week­­­ end during the northern light season. To relax in a geo­­­thermal pool up in the highland in the middle of winter with the northern lights dancing all around is something very special.”

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“To relax in a geo­­­thermal pool up in the highland in the middle of winter with the northern lights dancing all around is something very special.”


Northern lights by Jokulsarlon.

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Toupée Glacier on Eyjafjallajokull.

Standard evening tours out from Reykjavik for the northern lights often head back to Reykjavik before they put on their best display. “That could be 2 o’clock in the morning. Since we’re there overnight, even after the guests have gone to bed, some­­one is always on the watch, and once they start dancing everyone is informed. There are actually a lot of people who consider the northern lights the highlight of their trip.” But what about the extreme? Does Extreme Iceland mean that the nature in Iceland is extreme or that what you guys do is extreme? “The nature in Iceland is extreme, the weather is extreme and the Icelandic people are also extreme,” Björn says. “Don‘t you know that Vikings don‘t get hungry, tired or cold?” Then Björn gave us an example of what the company does that’s extreme. “Super-jeep tours in extreme winters, travelling on snow and over glaciers in remote areas that take a few days to reach is always amazing and it isn���t unusual that we have some kind of unexpected adventure.“

The cave man

Cave Ufsi, not far from Lakagígar.

Jeeps deep in snow while on a tour to The Grimsvotn Extreme.

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Bathing in the Landmannalaugar pool.

Another pretty amazing thing we learned is that of all the tour operators, Björn is the only one with university education as a spec­­ialist in volcanic/lava tube caves. Back in 1979, only 20 such caves had been discovered in Iceland. Today they are 520. In 1989, Björn established the Icelandic Speleological Society and most of those 500 caves where discovered by Björn and the other members of the society. He explained about the extra­­ ordinary feeling that he and his clients from Extreme Iceland had stand­­ing there in a newly discovered cave that no one on earth had ever set foot in before. Then we asked Björn for his most special experience out in nature? “I’ve done a lot of travelling in many countries,” he says, “and one thing that stands out is that there are usually so many people around. In Iceland you can be out with your group for weeks and never see another person. The feeling of being in such a remote area of the earth, the power of the silence that en­­velopes you letting you feel an “Super-jeep intimacy with nature so distinct and tours in expenetrating, it never leaves you. I like that,” he explains. treme winters, Your favorite place? “There is no travelling on one special place, because spots snow and over differ according to the season, glaciers in weather conditions and, of course, our experience differs according to remote areas who we are with, everywhere can be that take a few special. But if I had to choose one days to reach is place that I’d recommend to anybody, always amazit’s Grimsvotn, the most active central volcano in Iceland, rising up in middle ing and it isn’t of Vatnajokull glacier, Europe’s largest unusual that glacier.”  we have some After this talk we were convinced kind of unexthat an excursion with Extreme Iceland pected advenwould be interesting indeed and started wond­­­er­­ing what the criteria ture.“ were for hiring people to be a part of the crew. It turns out the hiring process is pretty amus­­ing. Be­­­sides all the standard stuff Björn mentioned about qualifi­­ca­­tions, he explained, “I try to have it that everyone I hire is a stand-up comedian.” Extreme and funny … sounds like a company after our own heart!


Explore Iceland on your own terms My Way – perfect day tours for the independent traveller. My Way is your own audio day tour consisting of a suitable car for you and your friends together with an audio guide programmed into the GPS system. Sold in cooperation with Avis and Budget car rentals.

With so much to see and do, why not rent a car and hit the road in comfort and style with Budget?

To book your own day tour • Visit the My Way website mywayiniceland.is • Contact Budget, tel. 562 6060. • Ask the hotel or next information centre to book it for you.

Tel. +354 562 6060 www.budget.is


Shining bright

Meet the WOW stars WOW air proudly supports a bevy of artists, athletes and projects. The people chosen are individuals who have done something WOW worthy, are good role models and are an inspiration to others. WOW air’s goal is to help its stars reach their goals by sponsoring their international travels. Skúli Mogensen, CEO of WOW air says: “Iceland has so many noteworthy people doing good things in arts, sports and culture; it’s really unbelievable.”

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Ásgeir Trausti: He‘s just getting started

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lifts you up where you belong

What‘s the deal With skyr? Ásgeir Trausti:

He‘s just

getting stARted

“I didn’t even plan on releasing a record” Run touRist, Run! A cool way to travel and get your blood pumping this summer

From ale to beer

lIfTS you up where you belong Issue one 2013

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It’s been a good year

Ov

The history of modern beer making in Iceland

LookIng good!

Icelandic designers are cool and creative

Issue one 2013 Your free copy / take me with you

All About london This magazine is really expensive but you get it for free. Special prize, only for you my friend!

Ásgeir Trausti became the most popular singer/songwriter in Iceland in just under a year; his first album selling 30,000 copies and named “Album of the Year” at the Icelandic Music Awards last year. This year has been a great start for Ásgeir, beginning with a performance at the Eurosonic Festival where he received the EBBA awards (Euro­ pean Boarder Breakers Awards). His album, In the Silence, was released in Europe and like the rest of us here, the critics are loving it. The album has reac­­hed the Top Ten Alternative list at iTunes in a number of countries and has been no. 1 in both Japan and France. At the end of January, Ásgeir was at the top on Bill­­ board’s “Next Big Sound”. In the Silence was released in the USA by Columbia in March and Ásgeir performed at the SXSW Festi­­val in Austin, Texas for the second time. Ásgeir’s third single, Going Home, was recently released as well as a music video. In the Silence was released in Australia in late March and it reached the top of the Australian iTunes list. It was nr. 18 on the list of Australia’s most sold albums when this magazine went to print. Ásgeir finishes his European tour in April, taking a good and well deserved Easter break before heading back to the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia in the spring and summer.   Stay tuned: April 19 (Record Store Day) Ásgeir will release a 7” picture disk vinyl that contains a new song called Here it Comes and Ásgeir’s rendition of the Nirvana hit Heart-Shaped Box.

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it’s been a good year Margrét Edda Gnarr, IFBB World Champion Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, third strongest man in the world Benedikt Erlingsson Ásgeir Trausti The Icelandic football team … and many more

Margrét Edda Gnarr is in the air issue six

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Winter is coming:

CheCk out the WOW winter Cities

Issue sIx 2013

WOW Power to the people

Margrét Edda Gnarr just turned 25. She has a black belt in taekwondo, is daughter of our legendary mayor, Jón Gnarr and oh, yes, last year she became the IFBB Women’s World Champion resulting in her pro status at the IFBB Pro League. Margrét is now in the best shape of her life, ready to take the world of professional bikini fitness by a storm. Her first big challenge this year was the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. She says her goal was to introduce herself to the world of professional bikini fitness and she did a little more than that by coming in 9th place at the finals; a pretty good result for a first time contestant. It pretty much means that she is considered as one of the 10 best IFBB pros out there. After these results Margrét was approached by the editor of FitnessRX who congratulated her and told her he wanted to work with her in the future. “This is my favorite fitness magazine and the biggest in the USA. It’s been my dream from the start to get a chance to work with them. I can hardly believe it,” said Margrét. Margrét is just getting started and is now training hard for the Mozolani Classic in Slovakia on May 4. All of us here at WOW air wish her the best of luck.


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Issue one 2014

WOW star: Vilborg Arna

GoinG where few women have Gone before Lighten up:

Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival

Power to the PeoPle Issue one 2014

Vilborg Arna is the newest addition to our group of WOW stars. She became recognized in Iceland when she decided to do a solo ski walk to the South Pole which she succeeded around Christmas in 2012. After reaching the South Pole she knew she couldn’t stop and she’s now working on finishing the Adventurer’s Grand Slam. The Grand Slam includes the Seven Summits Challenge and reaching both the South and North Pole. Vilborg’s goal is to finish the Seven Summits in one year. In the last several months she’s been climbing mountains almost non-stop, alone or in groups. She just finished climb­ ing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and when this issue went to print she was on her way to Nepal where she’ll stay for two months while completing the highest challenge, the imposing Mt. Everest. “I’ll be in Kat­ mandu on April 1st and my goal is to reach the highest peak around 13-25 May. This is a very trying expedition but exciting at the same time.” We’re really looking forward to bringing you news of Vilborg Arna’s victories over the next months.

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Vilborg Arna

#southpoleselfie

winteractive

cool adventures in iceland

your free copy take me with you

Guðmundur Felix

guðmundur Felix: Put your hands together for our latest WOW star

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Wild norTh Guðmundur Felix:

PuT your hands TogeTher for our laTesT WoW star “i can’t wait to give my daughters a proper hug” I C e l A n d a designer’s paradise

Inside

the volcano

Where did all TheSe Icelanders come from?

WOW haS gOT iT gOing On

All About CopenhAgen

issue two 2013

Issue two 2013 Your free copy / take me with you

This magazine is really expensive but you get it for free. Special prize, only for you my friend!

Guðmundur Felix leads a full life as a father of two grown girls while running a business, despite the loss of both his arms at the shoulders in 1998. His persistence got the attention of French doctors who have agreed to make him the world’s first double arm transplant recipient. Last June, Guðmundur moved to Lyon where he’ll be residing during the preparations for, and recovery from the transplant. “My French still needs some work but everything has been good. All the rehearsals for the operation are done and everyone is ready. There was a slight hiccup after my last blood tests because of some institution called ANSM. I’m not sure what it is but I was told this could set our schedule back by 1-3 months. That was 1 month ago. There’s nothing to do about it but be patient and smile,” says Guðmundur with his trademark positive attitude. Icelandic filmmakers have been filming Guðmundur’s story and a French publisher has asked to publish his biography. “The documentary is going great and they already have a lot of material. I signed a book deal with French publishing company Arénes last January and we’ve started working on the book. I have to admit that I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to reminisce about the hard times I went through after my accident. These memories had been locked up inside of me.” We hope Guðmundur will see his name on that transplant list soon; it could happen any day now. Issue two

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Welcome to the future

Picture a model society that’s almost 100% self sufficient when it comes to energy. Lo and behold, Iceland might just become such fabled place in a few years and the shift has already begun. We’re not here to tell you about a car, although it’s a pretty amazing one; we’re here to tell you about a new way of thinking and a new way of living – one that doesn’t involve a lifetime sub­­­­­scription at the gas station. by Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Photos: Kristinn Magnússon

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ísli Gíslason, adventurer and CEO of Even, moved back to Iceland in June 2008 just before the financial crash. Wanting to help out after the crash, he decided to make his mark by importing Tesla, what Gísli calls “the perfect car for Iceland”. “The financial crisis didn’t just hit Iceland and at the time people weren’t even sure that Tesla would make it as a company. I remember when I placed the first order and paid in full for a Tesla Roadster. Seeing this deposit from Iceland during their own crisis, the guys at Tesla in California decided that either this Icelandic guy was crazy or there was no internet connection here,” Gísli says with a smile. But this was an idea he believed in and today Tesla is one of the hottest brands in the world. “Instead of thinking small and building mini-cars, like most car manufactures do, Tesla decided to build a luxury car first. This meant that no expense was spared in its production and development. Through word of mouth, news of its greatness spreads as more and more people discover the benefits of driving an electric car,” Gísli says.

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“Seeing this deposit from Iceland during their own crisis, the guys at Tesla in California decided that either this Icelandic guy was crazy or there was no internet connection here.� Photo: Ragnar Axelsson (RAX)

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Can this car handle Iceland?

A space odyssey

Slowly more and more Icelanders are converting to the electric car and Gísli says the only reason it‘s not happening any faster has been the mindset. “We have been programmed to trust the gas driven cars, making regular stops for fuel. It’s a mind-set that’s hard to change. Somewhere deep inside the mind of most car owners, lies the idea that this is the way it’s supposed to be and so, people automatically mistrust the electric car, thinking it will be like a cellphone, constantly running out of battery. This couldn’t be further from the truth as this technology is pretty sophisticated whether you’re talking about Tesla or Nissan Leaf. On any electric car you can see exactly how much energy it has left on the dashboard, just like with a regular car. Plugging it in overnight—for a fraction of the price you pay at the gas station, mind you—is absolutely enough to get anyone through a whole day, or even two or three or four days, of city driving and the Tesla is of course in a league of its own where distance is concerned, reach­ing about 500 km on one full charge. That’s plenty for a normal holiday trip in Ice­­ “Somewhere land,” says Gísli. deep inside the We were still on the fence about this, proba­ mind of most bly a result of the internal programming Gísli car owners, lies talked about. How will these cars handle the weather in Iceland? “Actually the Icelandic the idea that weather conditions couldn’t be more perfect this is the way for electric cars. The batteries can get dis­ it’s supposed to tress­ed in extreme cold and extreme heat be and so, peoand when you think about it you realize that ple automatieven if we have some hard weather here the thermometer rarely goes below -10°C or over cally mistrust 25°C. These are very temperate conditions that the electric car, suit the electric cars perfectly,” Gísli explains. thinking it will And there’s more, Gísli says. “As far as be like a cellcountries go, Norway is probably the furthest along regarding the switch to electric cars phone, conbut Iceland should absolutely be on the top stantly running of that list soon. And there are other reasons out of battery. why Iceland is perfect for these cars than This couldn’t just the weather conditions, the first and most important one is of course the fact that be further from we produce all our electricity sustainably the truth as this making us more than self-sufficient in that technology is re­­gard. Even if everyone in Iceland owned an pretty sophistielectric car and all decided to charge theirs at exactly the same time the grid would hardly cated whether feel it. Another reason is the price of fuel. As you’re talking everyone knows this is an island in the North about Tesla or Atlantic Sea. We have no means of getting fuel Nissan Leaf.” for our cars except import it, using still more fuel to transport it here resulting in high gas prices. And if we are going to pride ourselves on having the cleanest energy in the world, why not use that energy for the cleanest fleet of cars in the world too?”

We mentioned in the beginning that Gísli is an adventurer and we weren’t lying. Besides being part of the electric car adventure in Iceland, Gísli will soon embark on an adventure of his own, fulfilling his childhood dream of going into space. “When I heard that space traveling for civil­ ians was becoming a reality I immediately jumped at the chance,” says Gísli and shortly after our interview he went to Philadelphia to partake in a training program for future space travelers with Virgin Galactic. The timing of the first Virgin Galactic flight hasn’t yet been disclosed but Gísli says he is hopeful to get the call in the next 2-3 years. We’ll stay tuned for more news of Gísli’s great adventure in the future and hopefully we’ll all be driving an electric car by then.

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It's a kind of magic Guided tours daily Winner of the Mies van der Rohe award in 2013 Information & booking: www.harpa.is

Brandenburg

Experience the awarded design and enjoy the amazing view.

Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre


Icelandic entrepreneurs

In a relatively small factory house, indiscernable from the outside, true pioneers are at work. This is where we met with Egill Gauti Þorkelsson, master distiller at Eimverk Distillery, a family business that’s the first ever to produce 100% Icelandic whiskey.

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e were sitting on the porch at our summer house, on a farm in south Iceland, watching the barley grow in the field and talking about the obvious; let’s make whiskey! This was in 2009. Since then we’ve developed the idea and a recipe from 100% Icelandic ingredients,” says Egill. The family founded the distillery, which produces both Floki Single Malt Whiskey and Vor Premium Gin, in 2011 and full­­-scale production started in August 2013.

The raw materials Eimverk Distillery has the capacity to produce about 15,000 liters of whiskey and gin per year. Those interested in producing whisky need a fair amount of the key ingredient, patience. “It’s a long-term investment. You have to give the whiskey the time it needs to mature. Single malts need 3 years minimum in an oak barrel. In 1030 years we’ll be offering a truly fantastic product.” Eimverk’s premium gin, Vor, is a traditional 100% organic pot dis­till­­ed gin. The gin is made from Icelandic barley, the same basic ingredient as the whiskey, but instead of aging it in oak casks the distiller infuses it with Icelandic botanicals for the third and final distillation. “We use wild Icelandic juniper berries, rhubarb, crow­­ berries, mountain grass and other selected herbs and botanicals, handpicked in the Icelandic highlands. Our barley is grown in Vall­­anes in east Iceland and certified 100% organic. It’s important to us and our customers to know exactly where our raw materials come from.” The whiskey is named after the Viking Hrafna-Flóki, an explorer who named Iceland in 847 AC. “We wanted to return the favor and name the first Icelandic whiskey after him. Hrafna-Flóki was a person searching for something better and we also aspire to improve each day,” says Egill. The name of Eimverk’s gin, Vor, is the Icelandic word for spring. “The arctic spring is our inspiration and with it comes the sharp experience of the Icelandic climate. We try to capture the essence of Icelandic nature in our spirits.” Vor Premium Gin is now available in the state liquor stores, Vín­­ búðin, the Duty Free Store at Keflavik Airport and also in many restaurant and bars in Iceland. Floki Single Malt Whiskey is only available at selected bars such as Dillon, Micro Bar and Bravo in Reykja­­vik. “These bars have 4.5 liter mini-casks of our still maturing whisk­­ey on their bar tops and serve it straight from the cask. The cask strength is about 60% abv. Even though the whiskey is still rela­­tively young, the taste is very interesting and there‘s a certain satisfaction being among the first people to experience Icelandic whiskey.”

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Number 164 please stand up

It took 163 different recipes before Egill and his crew were happy with the results. Floki is now based on recipe number 164. “The pro­ cess of making whiskey is relatively simple, the real difference is in the details, dedication and quality of the local ingredients.” The watchful eye of the distiller has to be all knowing. During the developmental phase, the process sometimes stretched into the night, with the master distiller overseeing the distillation pro­­­­cess. But what does Egill do when he’s not distilling? “I’m pro­­mot­­ing the gin and whiskey, talking to distributors and potential cust­­om­­­ers; visiting bars and restaurants.” A perfect example of an entre­­­pren­­ eur who lives and breathes his idea.

Building from the bottom up Starting a company like Eimverk Distillery must be quite costly? “Absolutely. The equipment is expensive, but it helps that we have been able to go quite far with repurposed equipment. Much of our equipment is modified to our specifications from decommissioned milk processing equipment, and the whole family pitches in, helping at the factory. But the key investment is always time; it simply takes time to learn the art and develop and mature the product.” When it comes to the future of Icelandic whisky industry, Egill believes Iceland could be the next Scotland. “We have all the pre­­­requisites for making that happen; quality barley, all the other in­­­gred­­­ients growing wild and people, with interest and passion. The single malt and premium gin market is global and we already see people outside of Iceland showing interest in our products. We are really proud to be the leaders in this little whiskey revolution in Iceland.”

“We wanted to return the favor and name the first Icelandic whiskey after him. Hrafna-Flóki was a person searching for something better and we also aspire to improve each day,” says Egill.

By Ólöf Hugrún Valdimarsdóttir / Photos: Guðmundur Magnús Sigurbjörnsson

Time and patience are the key ingredients


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Compete against the Vikings

Amazing races in Iceland by Dísa Bjarnadóttir

Iceland

has fantastic nature; from blue skies, mountains, waterfalls, highlands and black beaches, to the sun that never sets in the summertime painting the sky all different shades of pink, yellow and orange. There are various ways visitors and locals enjoy the long Icelandic summer and nature’s beauty. One of them is while pushing yourself to the limit during a race. Whether running, biking or skiing, the experience of the endorphins from exercise along with Iceland’s fresh clean air is one that will last a lifetime. Ranging from an ultra marathon in the highlands, to a shorter jogging race around the city, Iceland has something to offer everyone who has a pair of sneakers, and all are welcome!

the chance to let loose at an even­­ ing party that’s been known to go on until the early hours of Sunday morning.

More information and registration at www.fossavatn.com

so every­­one had better reach the finish line by that time as the time limit for the marathon and the relay race is six hours. As we mentioned before, the Reykja­­­­vik Marathon welcomes all age groups. For the smallest runn­­­­­­ers, the Lazy Town Run for children will take place in Hljóm­­­ skálagarður, a beauti­­ful garden by the pond in the center of Reykja­vík. Much of the Reykjavik Marathon route is along the coastline of Reykja­­­vik and Seltjarnarnes, offer­­ing participants the benefits of the fresh breeze from the ocean and some blue mountains in the background; an aesthetic experience and a unique way to see the city.

open to all age groups so everyone should find a suitable run in the midnight sun. The run takes place in Laugardalur, where many sports events occur as it houses the city’s sports arena (which sometimes doubles as a concert hall) and one of the biggest swimming pools in the city. The half marathon takes runners into Ellidaardalur Valley, which is one of Reykjavík’s most popular outdoor areas. The runners will run alongside the salmon river in the valley and by Lake Raudavatn (Red Lake) before running through the new golf course in Grafarholt. By the time the race ends all participants are invited to have a dip in the Laugardalur Pool where they can soak in the hot tubs and steam baths to soothe their tired muscles. Online registration is open un­­til June 22nd. However, if you happen to be visiting the city and feel spon­ taneous, registration on pre­­mises will be open until 30 minutes before the race starts.

For more information and registration visit www.marathon.is/midnight-run.

Photo: Ágúst Atlason (gusti.is).

The Fossavatn Ski Marathon 1-3May The Fossavatn Ski Marathon invites skiers of all levels to participate in a 3-day adventure in the beautiful Westfjords of Iceland. Choosing from distances of 7, 10, 20 or 50 km, skiers can participate in an indi­­­vidual competition or a team category. A team consists of three skiers, all ski­­ ing the same distance. The ac­­cumu­­ lated time makes the team time. The Fossavatn Ski Marathon starts on Thursday where professional skiers will advise the contestants regarding various skiing related topics such as nutrition and tech­­nique. On Friday the skiers will in­­­­­­­spect the track and the course will be explained with a local guide. That evening skiers can load up on carbs during a pasta party for all parti­­ci­­­­­pants. Saturday is the day of the race. The 50 km race starts at 10:00 AM but all other races start an hour later. After the race everyone is in­­ vited to a buffet of coffee and cake where the awards are pre­­sented. Later that evening every­­body has

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Regi­­­stration for the Reykjavik Marathon will be open until 1 o’clock on August 21st. To register on­line go to www.marathon.is.

The run around the highlands

Photo: Andri Thorstensen.

The Reykjavík Marathon The 31st Reykjavik Marathon will take place on August 23, the same day as Reykjavik Culture Night (a brilliant festival of arts and culture in Reykjavik) and the day before Justin Timberlake’s concert in Ice­­land! The marathon starts and finishes in Laekjargata, in the heart of Reykjavik. Runners can choose from vari­­­ ous distances and all age groups are welcome. The more ambitious runners, running a marathon, half marathon and the relay race will have the earliest start of the day at 08:40 AM. The 10 km run starts at 09:35 AM and the 3 km “fun run” will start at 12:15 PM. Why get up early if you’re just running for fun any­­way? The clocks stop at 14:40

Photo: Sébastien Tranchand.

Photo: Brynja Guðjónsdóttir

Run in the midnight sun One reason why Icelanders are so full of energy in the summertime is the long days. The longest day of the year is June 21st. and people in Iceland like to celebrate it. It may not be a national holiday but there are things going on, e.g. the Secret Solstice Music Festival. The Suzuki Midnight Run takes place on the evening of June 23rd (the day after the Secret Solstice Music Festival ends). The distances are a half marathon, a 10 km race and a 5 km race. The 5 km race is

The 55 km Laugavegur Ultra Mara­­­thon, takes place for the 18th time on Saturday, July 12th. Laugavegur is located in the southern highlands of Iceland and connects the nature reserves, Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk. This trail is only open a few weeks each year and is a very popular hiking path but normally hikers cover this distance in 2-4 days. This course takes runners through areas of outstanding natural beauty through a mixed terrain of sand, gravel, grass, snow, ice, rivers and streams. Truly one for the adventure seekers!

For more information and registration visit www.marathon.is/ultramarathon.


Icelandic Cuisine

Restaurant

The longest day of the year is perfect for a bike ride! The WOW Cyclothon is a three day relay bike race around the country, starting on June 24 and ending on June 27. Gaining momentum and growing each year, this will be the Cyclothon’s third time since the competition was founded in 2012. Registration is open to everyone and most types of bikes are per­ mitted. A team consists of 4 cyclists plus 2 drivers or 10 cyclists who

also take turns driving. This year, for the first time, there will be a solo cyclist category for teams with one cyclist and two drivers. All teams need to have a support vehicle that they arrange for themselves.

The WOW Cyclothon follows the Ring Road (Route 1) around the entire country, about 1332 km. For more information and registration visit www.wowcyclothon.com.

Lækjarbrekka is a classic Icelandic Restaurant situated in heart of old Reykjavík, Lækjarbrekka specialises in Icelandic cuisine with a la carte menu and first rate service. Scan QR Code for more information.

Bankastræti 2 -101 Reykjavík Tel. (+354) 551 4430 E-mail: info@laekjarbrekka.is www.laekjarbrekka.is


Music in the air Icelandic pop legends Nýdönsk (New Danish) flew with us to Berlin for a studio session and posed with the crew.

Fashionable flights Former Miss Iceland, Manúela Ósk, and her class mate Sóley where on their way to Paris to help out during the Paris Fashion Week. They both study fashion design at Iceland Academy of the Arts.

Competitive crew The WOW crews compete with each other to give the best service possible. The winning crew gets an awesome prize; an adventure tour along the south coast with Reykjavik Excursion. Fun was had by all!

We wish you a WOW flight

Fun aboard

Alive and kickin’

The magnificent WOW cabin crew make the air a bett­er place. Take a look at the WOW atmosphere aboard and give the cabin crew a big smile.

These karate genius­es were on their way home after a suc­cessful trip to the Swedish Karate Open in Malmö. Thelma Rut, (second, left) won 2nd place and Kristján Helgi got gold. We can’t wait to fly with them again.

WOW magazine just got its first real fan mail And what a fan mail it was! We’re bursting with pride after reading this letter from one of our guests.

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I have been travelling around Europe for the past three years using various modes of transport (flight, train, car sharing, etc.). Iceland was my 22nd European destination, it’s an amazing and special country close to my heart. Among all the inflight magazines I have read so far yours is the BEST! I took my flight from Copenhagen to Reykjavik in February 2014. Let me tell you, none of the inflight magazines have inspired me to read beyond the fourth page, but yours is AWESOME. I read each and every bit of it and I took the magazine along with me because it was very, very INTERESTING, MOTIVATIONAL (Vilborg Arna - Respect!) and FANTASTIC. I tried all your

suggestions. Also a fellow traveler from Canada borrowed my copy of your magazine because of the pictures in it; yeah, because they stand out. Anyways, I took my flight back to Copenhagen and I read the magazine again to get back to my memories about the places I visited. And now your magazine goes to my tiny library. Great going guys! I am travelling to Iceland again in 2014 and you are one of the reasons. Thanks a lot for reading and kudos to your team! Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Best regards Vignesh S. From all of us at WOW magazine: Thank you! Vignesh


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In the realm of Vatnajökull you’ll find the real reason why Iceland got its name. The area is dominated by Vatnajokull glacier which is the largest glacier in the world outside the Arctic and a big tourist attraction (to say the least). You will also find other popular tourist sites such as the spectacular Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Skaftafell, the jewel of Vatnajokull National Park, and Hvannadalshnjukur, the highest peak in Iceland and a popular hike. The Vatnajokull region is filled with contrasts in the nature with its black beaches and white glaciers. Beauty, serenity and forces of nature combine to make a visit to the area, a never­-tobe-forgotten experience.

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ildlife is rich in the Vatnajokull region with thousands of migrating birds such as puffins and the arctic tern passing through, especially in the spring and summer. Herds of reindeers are also a common sight and if you’­re lucky you might spot a seal at Jokulsarlon or an arctic fox running through the land. The Vatnajokull region is in southeast of Iceland and spans over 200 km of the Ring Road from Lomagnupur in the west to Hvalnes in the east. It covers the accessible southern side of Vatnajokull Glacier and photo enthusiasts should find it particularly delightful there as it provides countless magnificent views of the glacier and mountains both in daylight and at night, especially when the Aurora Borealis lights up the sky.

Realm of Vatnajokull

Photo: Óskar Arason & Ólafur Einir

Spectacular spring

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What to do? Have you ever imagined looking inside a glacier? Wintertime offers the opportunity for this unique experience. A trip into the ice caves of Vatnajokull’s southern crawling glaciers is an adventure that no one should miss. The colors and refracted light in the ice reveal a world of wonder, providing a thrill for everyone, especially photographers. Local guides who know every crevice of the glacier seek out caves formed during the winter months and offer tours. Travelers should only go on such trips under their guidance. Much of the activity in the area revolves around the glacier and the nature nearby. In addition to the ice cave tours you can choose


The Vatnajokull region is in southeast of Iceland and spans over 200 km of the Ring Road from Lomagnupur in the west to Hvalnes in the east. be­­­tween glacier walks and ice climbing, a thrilling snowmobile ride on Vatnajokull or a comfortable tour of this huge glacier in a super jeep. The area also offers ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) tours and geo­­­ thermal baths at Hoffell, northern light tours, rein­­­ deer excursions, visits to the Thorbergssetur cultural museum and the local handicraft store, the petting zoo at Holmur and much more. There are dozens of companies that offer all sorts of activities all year round, great restaurants with local food and diverse accommodations where you’ll be sure to find a warm welcome by a knowledgeable host. There is one town in the area, Hofn, a lively fish­­­ ing town with a popu­­­lation of 1,600. Hofn is addi­­tionally celebrated for being Iceland’s lobster capital. Delightful restaurants offer this precious product as well as var­­ ious other local specialties. And be sure to ask for the

local beer Vatnajökull, made from icebergs from the glacier lagoon and arctic thyme.

Accessible year round There are three car rental companies in Höfn. The realm of Vatnajokull is well accessible the whole year round due to good weather condi­­­tions and frequent transportation. Eagle Air offers daily flights from Reykja­­vík to the Hofn airport during the summ­­­ ertime and five days a week the rest of the year. Buses between Reykjavík and Hofn are sched­­uled daily during the summer and three days a week during the other seasons.

For more information check out www.visitvatnajokull.is.

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White frilled anemones growing on the Strytan Chimney.

Rolling in the deep

11,000 year old wonder by Svava Jónsdóttir / Photos: Kevin Martin

Strýtan in Eyjafjörður, north Iceland, is a natural wonder. It’s a 50 meter high underwater chimney made from magnesium silicate which has been growing up from the ocean floor for about 11,000 years.

T

he ocean can be full of mysteries. One of them is Strýtan. For de­­cades, the local fishermen knew something big was lurking beneath them and the fish seemed to always be more plentiful at the same place in the fjord. Then, in 1997, div­­ er Erlendur Bogason, caught sight of the pointed top of an enormous cone rising up from the depths below. Our diver and archeologist friend, the be­­arded Irishman Kevin Martin, knows this place well. “What Erlendur discovered about 20 meters below the surface was the top of the chimney, Strýtan, that goes down about 70 meters making it about 50 meters tall. Looking at it underwater is like seeing a giant redwood tree or a giant statue. It’s a unique site and it’s the only one if its kind in the world that you can reach without using a submarine.” Kevin explains how Strýtan has been build­­ing up for about 11,000 years. “The hot

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water emerging from the top of the chimney contains magnesium silicate which once in contact with the surrounding cold salt water solidifies, gradually increasing the chimney’s height. You can feel the hot water coming from Strýtan, it’s about 75 degrees Celsius and you can gaze at this natural wonder all you want but you shouldn’t touch it because it is protected under Icelandic law as a special marine site.” Still there’s no reason not to take advan­­­ tage of the hot water. “At the start of your dive you put a duck egg or a goose egg into the chimney. You then do your dive and pick it up on the way back – and then you eat it on the boat, hard boiled. How cool is that?”

to bite their fins. If the divers have anything shiny, like a torch, they will go after that.” This might be a good time to mention that the wolf fish can be up to 1.5 meters long and weigh 18 kilos. But don’t be afraid. They are just big softies. Thinking about this amazing phenomenon you can’t help wondering how the world must have looked 11,000 years ago when Strýtan started to form. Close your eyes and try to picture it! Blurred. A diver looking through a thermocline on the Strytan Chimney.

Making friends in the deep Kevin says that most divers going to Strýtan are going on bigger dive package trips although his company, Magmadive, do offer trips directly there. You can also visit strytan. is for more information. According to Kevin, hundreds of tiny org­ anisms live on Strýtan; little kinds of shrimps and microscopic organisms. There are also some bigger ... “There are some amazing creatures that live down there; the wolffish (steinbítur) for instance. They are very terri­­­ torial and sometimes they can get a little too friendly and chase after divers; maybe trying

Whats for dinner? A wolffish on the lookout.


WELCOME

2014

THIS IS IT

WHALE WATCHING • HÚSAVÍK • ICELAND Akureyri

Húsavík

Reykjavík

150 YEARS OF FAMILY HISTORY IN THE BAY HÚSAVÍK


A Person of WOW

The sky is a happier place

We at WOW air are lucky to have a great cabin crew and Helga Braga Jónsdóttir is one of them. She’s been airborne since 2011 and adds that little something extra to the sky as she is one of Iceland’s top female comedians with a blossoming acting career to boot. Helga is this issue’s Person of WOW.

lot of children’s characters. I’m still playing 10 year olds and also a tree elf (treelf),” she says. Helga says she was led into the world of comedy, “I never decided on it. I just happened to get parts in these various comedy shows and after that came the requests to en­­­tertain at different events.” Helga was one of the team behind legendary comedy sketch show

What is your job at WOW air? “The members of the cabin crew have to be a security team, waiters, entertainers, nurses, psychologists etc. You name it! This is an incredibly diverse job,” says Helga and adds that she puts the WOW out there by spreading joy when and wherever possible. “Of course I use my 25 years of experience as an actress to ‘read the room’ aka the cabin.” Helga says the best things about working at WOW air are the people and the atmosphere, the guests and the colleagues. “There’s a lot of warmth and joy on-board. The best thing about working for an air­­­line of this size is the closeness it gen­­­erates. We all know and care for each other.”

A water woman

Drama determined Acting had been Helga’s dream since she was 2 years old and there was never a doubt in her mind whet­­ her it would become a reality. “I got into Leiklistarskóli Íslands (Drama Academy of Iceland) on my first try and everything worked out great. I was, and still am, incredibly lucky,” says Helga who graduated as an actress in 1989. After working for one year at the National Theater of Iceland she signed onto the Reykja­­­vik City Theater where she work­­­ed for the next years along with her work for various other theater groups as well as acting in TV shows and movies. “Since I graduated I’ve played a

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Fóstbræður (Blood Brothers) in 1997 and the only female in the group. “I decided to delve into the world of comedy and I have never regretted that decision. It’s just so wonderful getting people to laugh.” A year after Fóstbrædur premiered, she was working as an entertainer and stand-up comedian as well as acting in theater, movies, TV and radio. Having all this experience in front of an audience must go well with your job as cabin crew, right? “Yes, absolutely. And the traveling busi­n­ess has always been one of my secret passions. I worked summers for an Icelandic travel agency for 7 years and I enjoyed it so much that I’ve never been able to pull myself away from this industry completely. I love variety and having enough to do,” Helga admits.

“I decided to delve into the world of comedy and I have never regretted that decision. It’s just so wonderful getting people to laugh.”

Despite her acting career Helga says she doesn’t see her job as cabin crew as a role. “I like to look at this job as a great chance to be myself. Luckily being in a good mood comes naturally to me and I employ that in every situation.” Helga admits that the Icelandic guests who know her expect a little more from her, “Yes they expect jokes and joy and of course I am happy to oblige if the opportunity presents itself and the atmosphere is right.” When she’s not busy making the sky a happier place Helga is at her other jobs; entertaining, acting, giving lectures and lending her voice to various commercials. Is there any time left for hobbies? “Water is my element and I go swimming almost every day. I’m a trained diver and I’ve been diving all over the world. I also like keeping up with my incredibly artistic and creative family and friends. My father, stepmother and brother are all actors. My sister-in-


law is a stage designer. My sister is a singer and choirmaster. My niece is also a singer. My little sister writes plays and acts. My friend Josy is a dancer … the list goes on. You could say that seeing them perform at var­ ious events is one of my hobbies.”

Helga recommends The cabin crew is often asked to re­­ commend places to visit by guests on

says Helga with a smile. “Because I’m a vegetarian I always recommend the Gló rest­­­aurants in Reykjavik. They have the best vegetarian dish­­ es in the world,” she adds. Helga doesn’t mind playing favor­­ i­­­tes with the WOW air destinations either and quickly recommends Paris. “I used to live there so I’m a Paris lady at heart. The city has end­­­­less possibilities with all its muse­­­ums, restaurants etc. I love go­­ing to the Pompi­­dou Museum. There’s a rest­ au­­rant, Georges, on the top floor and it’s a great place for enjoy­­­­ing a good meal with a view of the city,” says Helga. “I also love Berlin. It’s such a cosmopolitan and fun city. I especially recommend the Jewish Museum and then the Mitte district for shopping and dining while enjoying the sprawling art and cult­ure of the city. And then, last fall, I went to Barcelona for the first time and just fell in love with the city. It’s the perfect combination of sun and culture. I recommend the Miró Museum and Parc Guell. And I especially recommend booking a hotel with a roof top pool. Then you can go to the

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.

osushi.is

Helga says the best things about working at WOW air are the people and the atmosphere, the guests and the colleagues.

their way to Iceland. What does Helga recommend? “Being a wat­er lover I recommend the Blue Lagoon and since I come from the Snæfellsnes peninsula, an area where I spent a lot of time growing up and absolutely love, of course I recommend going there—to the center of the earth,”

beach in Sitges, a charm­­ing village by the sea ca. 35 km from the city,” Helga adds.

Any last words? “As my colleague Ellen Degeneres would say, ‘Be kind to one another.’”

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

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Working hard

… and having fun It’s important to keep the WOW spirit within WOW air. At WOW headquarters, people are hard at work all day but every once in a while they let loose.

High goals As a group of WOW staff prepares to climb Hvannadalshnjukur, Iceland’s highest peak, we got our WOW star Vilborg Arna to pay us a visit and tell us why it’s important to set goals and follow your dreams.

Good friends We explored our competitive side at a Lebowski Bar Pub-Quiz.

Good guys

Always dressing up Ash Wednesday is a day for dressing up. Some might think it‘s just for kids but we don‘t. We greeted the happy children who sang for us in exchange for candy and had some fun of our own.

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The handsome fellows at WOW air treated the WOW women to a special lunch in celebration of Women‘s Day (Konudagur), the first day of Góa by the old calendar. One month prior the women had set the tone, celebrating Husband‘s Day, the first day of Thorri. The WOW men did not disappoint, offering entertainment, chocolate, refreshing health drinks and lobster soup. We should do this more often guys!


A Unique Design and Jewelry Store in Downtown Reykjavik


WOW destinations

Where would you like to go next? WOW air offers flights to and from 15 destination during the summer months so there’s enough to choose from for travel hungry people. Book your flights, and anything else you might need, through wowair. com and check out our social media sites; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google + for news, blogs and ideas for your travels. Tag us when you get there: #wowair #wowmoment

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theme parks such as the popular Terra Mitica and the thrilling Paintball Arena where you let off some steam. History buffs are also in for a treat, with museums and castles like the Archaeological Museum, an enormous building in northwest Alicante. The museum displays an extensive coin collection as well as an impressive variety of Roman, Iberian and Greek artifacts. Alicante is the perfect location for anyone looking for a refreshing vacation in every sense of the word. Are you ready for the sun? The Alicante schedule has already commenced and WOW air offers up to 3 flights a week until next fall.

London London is, in many ways, the perfect city. It has everything you could possibly want and an easy-to-navigate under­­ ground system to help you get there. What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you think of London: Hyde Park, Oxford Street. Buckingham Palace, London Eye, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square? The British Muse­ um, the Science Museum; the list goes on. Lond­on is a world of its own, a bustling metropolis with so many things to see, do and enjoy. Get ready for this awesome city. WOW air flies to London 10 times a week, all year round.

© Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board (ATCB)

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a very friend­ly city with a large percentage of inhabi­tants speaking at least two if not three languages, who are ready to assist you when you are out exploring some of the many things the city has to offer.

Perhaps most notorious for its liberal stance on drugs and prostitution, Amsterdam has a lot more to offer adventure seeking tourists. This amazing city is in fact very fragile as it is built on stilts and not only that, most of Amsterdam is below sea level so even the slightest changes in global temperature could signify its disappearance underwater. Good thing that the Dutch are among the world’s tallest people. Amsterdam is a very friendly city with a large percentage of inhabi­ tants speaking at least two if not three languages, who are ready to assist you when you are out exploring some of the many things the city has to offer. Bicycles are a popular means of transportation in Amsterdam with the number of bicycles actually outnumbering the number of inhabitants. There are many museums in Amsterdam and the selection varies from high culture to the extremely weird, erotic and even morbid. Those who are thirsty for a macabre experience can check out the Amsterdam Dungeon where the history of torture and other gruesome historical attributes are featured. Amsterdam is also ideal for those seeking to relax or even enjoy a romantic afternoon with more canals (over 165) than Venice! We can absolutely recommend Amsterdam this summer and WOW air will take you there; three flights a week until October.

Alicante First thing’s first when visiting Spain—the beach! Alicante, lo­­cated on the Costa Blanca is famous for its creamy white beaches, one of which is the legendary San Juan beach, situated a mere 7 km from the central Alicante area. In 1953 Pedro Zaragoza, the mayor of Benidorm, authorized the use of bikinis which had been forbidden by the Franco regime. These efforts played a considerable part in making the town one of Spain’s most popular holiday resorts. Today, Beni­­ dorm continues to be a huge attraction with more than 5 million visitors coming in each year. Recent years have also seen a population boom in cities such as Torrevieja with the number of residents rising (or actually doubling) from 50,000 to a whopping 100,000 in just 7 years! Now more than 160 different nationalities reside in this charming seaside city. For those who seek a more adventurous venue there are

Milan If you are interested in the newest trends and fashion; you are in the right place when in Milan. Just stroll the along Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Manzoni where you can enjoy the sites and do a little shopping – or a lot. Milan is one of the fashion capitals of Issue two

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the world. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is like a world of its own and is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, and the architecture is amazing! Do you like great architecture? The Gothic architecture of Milan Cathedral took centuries to complete and it’s one of the largest cathedrals in the world. Wherever you go in Milan there are plenty of interesting buildings. Guided tours are taken through La Scala, the world renowned opera house and the Theatre Museum. Museum lovers will never get tired in Milan with many to choose from. There are many churches as well. Religious art has a long history in Europe and you will find one of the most famous exam­ ples; Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper displayed in the in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Hungry? Yes, there’s pizza and spaghetti of course but for the more adventurous there’s cotoletta alla milanese, cassoeula, ossobuco and risotto alla milanese. Enjoy! Mercedes-Benz Museum. © Stuttgart-Marketing GmbH / Brigida González.

And just to keep it fresh in your mind: Non parlo bene l’italiano. (I don’t speak Italian well.) Parla inglese? (Do you speak English?) Grazie. (Thank you.) Mi scusi. (Excuse me.) Pack light, you’ll buy the clothes when you get there. WOW air offers two flights a week to Milan this summer. The River Rhine is part of the city and if surf and turf appeals to you, there’s a boat tour on the river and a guided group tour around the city from an open-top doubledecker bus.

Stuttgart Do you like cars; the Mercedes-Benz, the Porsche or perhaps both? Well, you’ll probably see quite a few on the streets of Stutt­­gart but to fully satisfy your appetite you can also visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum and The Porsche Museum, just to be sure. These buildings are architecturally stunning and the cars – few words can describe these works of art. In Stuttgart you can also enjoy beautiful hills, valleys and parks like Schlossgarten, Rosensteinpark, Killesberg Park and Akademi­ egarten; all beautiful places for a picnic. The main square, Schlossplatz – the heart of Stuttgart – is also a great place for peo­ple watching. Interested in history? Stuttgart was founded around 950 AD and in the heart of the city stands Altes Schloss, (old castle). Also built in the 10th century, it is the home to the Württemberg State Museum. Ready to bask in the city’s cultural heritage? Staatsgalerie, Staatst­heater is home to the State Opera, Stuttgart Ballet and Stutt­ gart Radio Symphony Orchestra. And yes, of course, there are all the shops, restaurants, cafés ... Oh, and the good weather. If you’re going to book flights to Stuttgart keep these festivals in mind: The Fish Market in late July, The Summer Festival in early August, The Lantern Festival in early July and The Wine Village in late August/September. Our fondness for German cities should be obvious. Hop on a flight to Stuttgart to find out why. Three flights a week this summer.

© Düsseldorf Marketing & Tourismus GmbH / Photographer U. Otte

Düsseldorf Düsseldorf is the capital of the German federal state of North Rhine Westphalia. The River Rhine is part of the city and if surf and turf appeals to you, there’s a boat tour on the river and a guided group tour around the city from an open-top double-decker bus. In the alt­stadt (Old Town) you can visit restaurants, cafés, bars... and shops of course. Then there’s the the birthplace of the poet Heinrich Heine and the Gothic St. Lambertus church with its twisted tower. A fun way to discover the city is by bike, See places like Burgplatz, Stiftsplatz, Hofgarten, Corneliusplatz and Königsallee and fall in love with the beautiful buildings in the Old Town area. If you want to listen to live music, Hofgarten Park’s the place where every Sunday morning between May and September you can find jazz, pop, folk music, classical music; something for everybody. Brush up on your high school German and book your flights to Düsseldorf. WOW air offers up to three flights a week until September.

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Lyon A city full of history and adventures; Lyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, full of beautiful, old buildings and plenty of things to capture your interest. A few of the regions composing the historic site are: The Roman district and Fourviére, the Renaiss­ ance district (Vieux Lyon) and the silk district (slopes of CroixRousse). You can stroll around these sites and imagine how it was like for the people who lived there centuries ago. If you’d like a bite to eat, the traditional restaurants are serving local dishes and local wines. Why not try Saucissonde (sausage) Lyon and Rosette Lyonnaise, popular favorites? For museums


you can pick from among the best: Visit Europe’s largest fine arts museums displaying French and European art; the Musée des Beuau-Arts exhibits Roman and Greek antiquitie and contemporary art. Film buffs who are interested in the origins have come to the right place. The Lumiére brothers pioneered cinema in Lyon in 1895 and you can visit the Musée Lumiére holding early cinematic and photographic artifacts from this period. Lyon is the home of many churches. For meditation and music you can visit the church of Saint Francis of Sales where a large and unaltered Cavallié-Coll pipe organ is played. Stroll around the gardens in the city; enjoy the sun, the flowers and the lovely environment. You could go to Parc de la Tête d’Or and go sailing on the lake. Lyon has it all, good food, great wine, beautiful buildings, rich history and a great atmosphere.

it says “Stebuklas” (which means miracle). If you want your wish to come true you must stand on the tile, make a wish and turn around. You never know! In Vilnius you can visit the former KGB headquarters and see the Museum of Genocide Victims. You can even visit the KGB interior prison. When it’s time to relax you should know that almost half the city is resplendent with green areas where nature gives the weary soul a chance to revive in peaceful settings. Have a great week in Vilnius. WOW air flies to Vilnius every Saturday this summer.

Fall in love with Lyon. WOW air can take you there. Two flights a week until September.

© copenhagenmediacenter.com / Ty Stange

Copenhagen Warsaw Warsaw has a proud and rich history and you can see it in its palaces, royal gardens, mansions and many aristocratic resi­­denc­ es. Imagine yourself wearing a tiara, dancing at a ball, crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, beautiful music mixing in the dreamlike atmosphere... WOW! What a night! Warsaw is a blend of architectural styles, from medieval to ren­ aissance, baroque and neoclassical periods. Because of World War II many buildings were destroyed in the city but rebuilding began after liberation and many of them were reconstructed. Today you can enjoy these beautiful architectural monuments of the past among the new modern styled buildings. In the summer, if you schedule it right, lovers of classical music can drink in Warsaw’s rich cultural heritage, in this city, the home of Frédéric Chopin, while attending a piano concert in the Łazienki Park.

A city characterized by a multitude of eco (and bottom)-friendly bicycles, Copenhagen is definitely an “it”-city that simply has it all: food, fun and festivity. Enjoy the variety of delicious food available whether it’s from the numerous kebab stands or the more fancy and innovative restaurants that are spreading across the city, many of which focus on using sustainable and local ingredients. For an extremely laid back afternoon check out Rosenborg Palace Garden (Kongens Have) where you can barbeque, enjoy the beautiful scenery or even just take a nap if you feel like. And for delicious, yet reasonably priced beer, pay a visit to some of the many bodegas located all over the city. In the bodegas you have the chance to meet with some local people as well as regulars but just remember that although the Danes are very friendly and helpful, they don’t care too much for small talk. It’s also essential to visit Freetown Christiania, founded by anarchists in 1971. In Christiania there are frequent concerts and other events worth checking out as well as Spiseloppen, one of Copenhagen’s finest restaurants.

Take a Warsaw vacation. WOW air offers three flights a week this summer.

For an extrem­ely laid back afternoon check out Rosenborg Palace Garden (Kong­ens Have) where you can barbeque, enjoy the beauti­ful scenery or even just take a nap if you feel like.

Copenhagen is like Reykjavik’s big brother and that’s why WOW air offers seven flights a week all year long.  

Vilnius Begin your stay in Vilnius by enjoying a panoramic view of the city from the top of the tower at The Vilnius Castle Museum. To get closer to the beautiful architecture, you can head over to the Old Town, a UNESCO Heritage Site which serves as residence for buildings that exhibit Europe’s greatest architectural designs; gothic, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical. You can also stop by the Vilnius Cathedral and survey the catacombs. Afterwards you can go look for a pavement tile in the Cathedral Square where

© Paris Tourist Office / Photographer: Jacques H3D

 

Paris

Ah, Paris! Are you ready for an overdose of culture? Très bien! The city of love and lights awaits you. Often described as the ultimate romantic getaway, Paris is the most visited city in the world attracting 44 million visitors each year. When visiting Paris, it is mandatory to visit some of the many art museums although the vast selection can certainly Issue two

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be overwhelming. You can check out the world’s most extensive col­lect­ion of impressionist art in the recently renovated Musée d’Orsay for an unforgettable experience. A visit to France is a cele­bration for all the senses with the French being experts in how to indulge in life’s pleasures. If you want to develop and treat your palate while learning about delicious red wine visit La Dernière Goutte where you can enjoy a popular wine tasting hosted by Juan Sanchez each Saturday from 11:30 until closing. The French also pride themselves of divine cuisine and some even estimate that about 2 new cookbooks are released in France every day. However, despite their passion for food (and producing more than 400 types of cheeses!) the French have some of the lowest levels for obesity in the world. Perhaps lust has something to do with their fitness but according to a survey conducted in 2003 the French, unsurprisingly, have the most sex in a year. After all, what’s more arousing than art, food and wine? Paris can be yours all year round but during the summer WOW air offers flights to this fair city every day of the week. With one restaurant for every 180 residents and a vibrant nightlife, there are plenty of options when it comes to wining and dining in this spectacular city.

Book your flights to the most perfect city in Europe. WOW air starts flying to Barcelona in May and offers up to 3 flights all summer until October.

© Zürich Tourism

Zurich Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and it’s one of the world’s most extensive financial centers. As the wealthiest city in Europe, Zurich has repeatedly been chosen as the city with the highest standard of living so it’s no wonder that so many people have been attracted to this posh city. Famous residents include Albert Einstein, Vladimir Lenin, James Joyce, Richard Wagner and avant-garde artist Tristan Tzara. Contemporary celebrities that have settled in Zurich include Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler and legendary rock diva Tina Turner. With one restaurant for every 180 residents and a vibrant nightlife, there are plenty of options when it comes to wining and dining in this spectacular city. In early August, Zurich’s Street Parade takes place and it’s one of the world’s largest techno events. First held in 1992 with only 1000 participants, the event is now described as the “world’s largest party” and a massive “celebration of love, peace and freedom.” No wonder this city continues to attract people from all over the world, a visit to Zurich will never be a disappointment. Check out Zurich and the beautiful area surrounding the city. WOW air offers flights to Zurich every Saturday until September.

Barcelona Barcelona is a city virtually pulsing with action and vitality. Not only does the city attract over 1 million visitors per week but about 268,000 foreigners currently live there as well. Although it’s a

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relatively big city it is easy to explore by foot (or even bicycle) so you can truly enjoy the glorious modernist architecture that characterizes this stunning city. As you familiarize yourself with the streets and buildings you will eventually come across the works of Antoni Gaudí, such as the famous Sagrada Familía church and the beautiful garden complex Park Güell. If you want to do some serious shopping you can also take a stroll down Portal de l’Àngel but be prepared as it is Spain’s most walked down street with about 3,500 pedestrians passing by each hour! For more relaxing ventures you can of course check out the many beaches in Barcelona but perhaps you should consider yourself lucky because it wasn’t until 1992 that the city’s seaside was actually devoted for such leisurely activities. Then there is the heavenly Mediterranean Catalan cuisine where you can feast on fresh seafood and vegetables drizzled in some cardio-friendly olive oil. Next, if you’re looking for some post-savory sweets, visit some of the many bakeries and ice cream shops located across the city. One thing is for sure; you will never go hungry in this luscious city.

WOW Power to the people

© Berlin Tourismus & Kongress GmbH

 

Berlin

A city so beaming with culture, diversity and history, Berlin is not only Europe’s second most populated city but it’s also nine times bigger than Paris! You can travel via the popular and efficient autobahns or you can even explore the city by water. In fact Berlin prides itself of more than 1700 bridges, which are more bridges than in the one and only Venice! A visit to Berlin is also an opportunity to revisit and contemplate on some of the major events in 20th century’s with significant historical locations such as the remains of the Berlin Wall and the tragic yet touching Jewish Museum. For families, the Berlin Zoo, home of almost 20,000 animals and aerial garden MountMitte are particularly popular destinations. And don’t forget that posing for black and white shots in one of the city’s many photo booths (Photoautomaten) is practically mandatory when visiting Berlin.  This relatively cheap, super-friendly and vibrant city has also been a favorite destination for artists, entertainers and other lust-for-life brilliant people throughout the ages. For those who want to go all-in when it comes to non-stop 24-hour dancing and partying, a visit to some of Berlin’s legendary techno nightclubs such as Berghain/Panorama Bar is beyond essential. Who knows, you might even end up staying there for your own Bowie-esque Berlin-era!  Get your groove on in Berlin, the city of trends and casual cool. WOW air flies to Berlin all year round, five times a week during the summer.


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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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Who needs galleries?

London’s Impermanent Street Art Once you have had your fill of London’s museums and shopping on Oxford Street, make a divers­ion to Shoreditch, the artistic, playful and often startling gateway to London’s East End. Shoreditch is the gentrified home to a flamboyant and dynamic culture of international street artists who have all left an ever-evolving kaleidoscope of creativity on the streets. Text and photos by Cindy-Lou Dale

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he brick shop fronts of cafes, bars, galleries, vintage cloth­­­­ing stores and fabulous curry houses is the canvas that sees street art merge with dark humor—with doorways, lamp posts, side­­­walks, windowsills and pretty much every other spot tak­­en up by comic strip art or pro­­­ voca­­­tive images and messages. Street art could be taken as insensitive—inti­­­mida­­ ting even (after all, gangsters spray signs mark­­ing their neighborhoods). Equally, urban graff­­iti can send a message too, providing a sense of posi­­tivity, of community cohesiveness, which is the case for most of the works in Shoreditch. Here murals push the boundaries of contemporary and urban art. Some are weirdly wacky or raw and distur­­bing; others in-your-face political statements, but mostly all they demand is an immediate reaction. The district’s collages are constantly revived and always astounding. One day you are bereaved over the loss of a masterpiece from street staples like Invader, Scavage, Stik or ROA, who provide stunning murals, environmental art and freehand painting; then the next day you are left breathless

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in finding a shocking collaboration between the bold political statements of Ronzo and Thierry Noir, graffiti master Dscreet and the Banksy-like Pablo Delgado.

Big names on every corner Take a walk down Shoreditch High Street and you’ll see John Dolan, one of East London’s most infamous artists. He sits every day with his dog capturing the detail of the architecture which sur­­ rounds him. His images enrich the old, decay­ing


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About Shoreditch Famed for its creativity, great new food scene and buzzing nightlife, Shoreditch has be­­­come one of London’s trendiest districts. If you’re into architecture and the evolution of build­­ings you will love the profound way in which sky­­­ scrap­­ers and new buildings bite into Shore­­ ditch from London’s ‘square mile’. A new wave of young professionals have mov­­­­ed in, sending property prices skyrock­et­­­ing in what was once a working-class neigh­­­borhood between Old Street and Bethnal Green. The boom was kick-started by the likes of British artists Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin who mov­­ ed in during the Nineties, followed by scores of artistic Bohemians. Today, Shoreditch is jam-packed with lofts, gall­­eries, chic bars and restaurants, coffee shops and clubs. But it is here, interspersed in the maze of odd angled side streets, between the uber-cool speakeasy bars and the neverbe­­fore noticed restaurants (where all the cool kids hang out), that you will find the most un­­­ predictable street art.

which spans an entire wall, you’ve most like­ly found the work of Kid Acne who paints over­­­sized idioms on buildings depicting express­­­ions people easily relate to. One such message was painted on a wall of his old art college before it got knocked down. It said: “You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone”. You’ll know you’ve found a RUN original when you stand beside it. RUN, from Gdansk, Poland is a prolific big name contemporary street artist who now lives in London and creates elegant largescale murals of breathtaking proportions. buildings which are often not seen by passers­­by So too will you recognize the vivid colors and and through his vivid portrayals his audience is forced to reconsider what to them is purely a back­­­ pol­­itically inspired work of Frenchman, Thierry Noir, a forerunner of the modern street art move­­­ drop to their day. ment. Throughout the 80s he illegally paint­­ed mil­­ John Dolan may tell you about Zomby, one es of the Berlin Wall with his iconic im­­agery, lead­­­­ of London’s most respected graffiti writers and ing up to its fall in 1989. He strived to accom­­plish whose instantly recognizable approach and style one revolutionary act–to radicalize The Wall, to make it absurd, and Be sure to look out for South African born ultimately, help destroy it. Christ­­­­­iaan Nagel’s sculptural mushrooms, Down a side street, the large scale architectural freehand work iconic fixt­­ures of East London’s rooftop of Jo Peel comes complete with landscape. her giant buildings and decaying walls; directly beside which is the chaotic interactions of David Shillinglaw’s colorful has exerted an enormous influence over the de­­ abstract work, interspersed with the multi-faceted vel­­­­­op­­ment of graffiti in the city. Zomby is part of human-animal hybrids of Vinz; and French speed Dia­­bolical Dubstars (DDS), one of London’s most painter Vivi Mac who, with no formal training, uses pro­­ductive and legendary graffiti crews who are pertinent choices of food and liquids according to the undisputed kings of London train graffiti and her subject, like painting Amy Winehouse with red have been active for +20 years. wine and Bob Marley with cannabis leaves. Be sure to look out for South African born Across a doorway Polish illustrator Pawel Kucz­­­ Christ­­­­­iaan Nagel’s sculptural mushrooms, iconic ynski’s diverse and unpredictable take on the fixt­­ures of East London’s rooftop landscape. His world cleverly highlights some serious problems works suggest that art has something ultimately in society. He uses subtle political meanings which un­­­reachable as he seeks to place his sculptures he hopes will reshape public thinking. On a wind­­ at impossible heights and astonishing locations. If ows­ill is London based Simon Key’s work which is you come across catch phrases like “Oh my days” clearly influenced by the Godfather of British hum­­­ or, Spike Milligan, while on a shutter Zabou carr­­­­ies the flag for female street artists. Martin Ron is one of Buenos Aires’ most prest­­i­­­ gious professional street artists. He first picked up a paint brush at the age of eleven and was rec­­ ent­­­ly invited by Street Art London to participate in the Village Underground Wall Project on Hollywell Street where, over the course of eight days, he paint­­­­­ed an enormous and breathtaking hyper-rea­­ listic mural. Asked what inspires his large scale work, Ron confides: “It is many things,” he says, “the chall­­enge, the pleasure and the effect it has on the pe­­o­­ple that walk past it. They understand

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the chosen composition and have a relationship with the content. What motivated my David and Goliath mural was to do with the headline news at the time of my visit–namely the badger cull Prime Minister, David Cameron, had sanctioned. I want­­­­­­ed to play around with this and add some hum­­­­or to a very sensi­­tive issue. The badger and the giant pointing hand illustrate the problem with le­­gis­­la­­ tion in attempt­­­­ing to regulate the population of this animal.”

Things to do & see Knowing where to go and finding your own way around can be a little overwhelming and sometimes confusing which is why we recommend a two-hour guid­­ed Street Art Tour with Insider London who provide a knowledgeable local with all the insider secrets www.insider-london.co.uk. BoxPark pop-up mall on the London Overground train station is not a regular shopping mall. It’s a living, fertile community of brands packed with creativity, innovation and attitude. BoxPark is constructed of stripp­­­­­­ed and refitted shipping containers creating un­­ique, low cost pop-up stores filled with fashion, life­­­style brands, galleries, cafes and restaurants. www.boxpark.co.uk. A lovely basement bar in Shoreditch with a great cocktail list must be the Whistling Shop on Worship Street www.whistlingshop.com. The Hoxton Hotel at 81 Great Eastern Street, is another good place to relax www.hoxtonhotels.com. Tip for a Friday night is upstairs at the Reliance on Old Street. This is a lovely space, where you can usually get a table until 6:30, which is rare for a London pub on Friday night www.thereliancepub.co.uk. Markets: Brick Lane Market www.bricklanemarket. com, Club Row Square Market and Columbia Road Market, www.shoreditchlife.com.


TRYGGVASKÁLI IS A PARTICULARLY BEAUTIFUL A’LA CARTE RESTAURANT

which places emphasis on cookery of good quality with the focus of ingredients from the local area. WITH RESPECT FOR THE FARMERS’ WORK, THE CHEFS OF TRYGGVASKÁLI PREPARE EXTREMELY GOOD QUALITY FOOD

Reykjavík 55

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where Icelandic and foreign cooking methods are combined in an interesting way.

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TRYGGVASKÁLI IS THE OLDEST AND MOST HISTORIC HOUSE IN SELFOSS, BUILT IN 1890.

Sigtún

Address Austurvegur 1, Selfoss Website www.tryggvaskali.is E-mail tryggvaskali@tryggvaskali.is Tel. (+354) 482 1390 Gps 63°56’16.30” N 21°00’12.64” W

Tryggvagata

INFORMATION

Experience excellent food in a unique house with a beautiful view over Ölfusá, the most voluminous river of Iceland.

Austurvegur 1 South coast

Selfoss

KAFFI KRÚS IS A COSY AND HOMELY RESTAURANT.

Kaffi Krús is located in the heart of Selfoss town. In good weather our garden is probably the most popular place in Selfoss. EVERY DAY WE OFFER AT LEAST TEN DIFFERENT SORTS OF HOMEMADE CAKES.

Some of them have been a tradition through generations.

CROSSROAD TO

1

INFORMATION Address Austurvegur 7, Selfoss

Reykjavík 55

KAFFI KRÚS HAS A 60 COURSE GRAND MENU.

Gps 63°56’14.97” N

21°00’02.13” W

Tryggvagata

Tel. (+354) 482 1266

Sigtún

Website www.kaffikrus.is E-mail kaffikrus@kaffikrus.is

Austurvegur 1 1 South coast

Geysir, Gullfoss, Þórsmörk, Landmannalaugar, Eyjafjallajökull, Hekla, Katla, Vestmannaeyjar, Vík, Jökulsárlón, and all south coast.

On the menu we have for example; pasta, salads, real hamburgers, sandwiches, chicken, fish and of course our pizzas from our wooden fire oven.


What to do in Barcelona Barcelona is a 2000-year old city that invites you to stroll through it and enjoy the climate, its Mediterranean light, the streets throbb­ ing with life and its intense atmosphere. Marvel for example in the Gothic quarter where past and present live side-by-side, jewel­boxed boutiques line the cobbled streets in this Bohemian district of ancient squares and centuries old buildings. Text and photos by Cindy-Lou Dale

Barcelona, guidebook aside

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s one would expect of a country soak­­­­­­­­ ed in sun­­­shine and sea air, there are numerous over­­­­­­priced mod­­­­­­­ern temples with sophisticated cuis­­­­­­ine. But,if it’s local food you want, head to where Barce­­­lona’s new generation dine – the tapas bars – in partic­­­ular the Piscolabis chain of restau­­­rants. Their men­­us are impressive (available in English), the food is memorable, their prices good – a plate each of cheese croquettes, small fried fish in a tempura batt­­er and fresh an­­­chov­ies in vinegar, comes in at under €12.

Wining up I’ll skim over the historical landmarks, like the fam­­­ ous Picasso Museum and the architecture of Golden Square in the Eixample District – their de­­tails can be found on any Barcelona Tourism’s website. Instead, I’d like to tell you about two unique experiences that could turn your Barcelona trip into an unforgettable delight. Being somewhat partial to a drop of wine, it was recommended that I visit Vila Viniteca, one of Barce­­lona’s leading specialist wine shops and one of Spain’s main purveyors of wine to restaurants and retailers. Vila Viniteca stocks more than 7,500

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wines and is the sole re­­­­­­pres­­entative for more than 200 wineries from around the world. More im­­­­portantly, they offer wine tastings, hosted by Max­­­ime Blais, formerly one of Raymond Blanc’s sommeliers. Beside the wine shop they have a deli­­­cat­­essen, considered to be the best in the city, brimming with more than 350 artisan cheeses and prem­­­ium quality Iberic ham.

Flamenco with feeling But the pièce de résistance is to be found along the famous mile-long, tree­­­­­ -lined market boulevard of La Ramblas - Tablao El Cordobés where some of Spain’s best Flamenco dancers can be found. With roots in Indian, Ara­­­bic and Spanish cultures, Flamenco dance is known for its sweeping arm


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­ ove­­­ments and rhythmic feet stamping. Perhaps the greatest m joy of Flam­­­enco dancing is watching the expressions of the dancer, as they contin­­­ually change throughout the performance of intricate guitar work, emo­­­­­­tive singing and serious dance moves. It’s one of the most characteristic ele­­­ments of Spain’s culture – a dazzl­­­ing result of diverse cultures bound toget­­her over the centuries. I was ushered into the dimly lit Moorish-inspired Tabloa whose stone pill­­ars and vaulted ceilings allowed no more than 180 seats to be crammed around the low stage. Soon three Fla­­­­­menco guitarists, two singers and six handsome Flamenco

As he began to feel the throb of the music, he clapped his hands loudly above his head, then, as the tempo built he started to move, slowly at first, then with a little more urgency, launching into a Flamenco dance every bit as pass­ionate as the cantaor’s song.

Barcelona Tourism – www.barcelonaturisme.com. There are numerous Piscolabis restaurants throughout Barcelona – see their website for details www.angrup.com. See Vila Viniteca’s website for wine tasting details - www.vilaviniteca.es. Tablao El Cordobés – three shows a night (all with a dinner options). Prices start at €42 www.tablaocordobes.com. Do a 4-hour ‘Barcelona à la Carte’ walk through the city with a licensed guide €220 www.barcelonaguidebureau.com. If you’re planning on using a lot of public transport, invest in a T-10, a travel pass costing €9.80, allowing ten journeys. Validate your ticket at either the metro barrier or on the machine on board buses or trams. Should you need to get another train, bus or tram within 75 minutes of your first validation, onward travel counts it as one journey.

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dancers, four women and two men, trooped onto the stage. The cave-like interiors began pulsating with the bold rhythm and stomping of Flamenco which, for ninety min­­utes, had the audience captiv­­­ated. The color, intensity and drama of it all held me riveted to my seat as I watched the graceful movements of the long skirted, multi-frilled female dancers, who wove in and out of their ornate shawls to the hypnotic sounds of the fla­­menco guitars. The role of the flamenco dancer is essentially to physically interpret the words being sung with fluid arm movements that contrast the rev­­­­er­­­­berating steps as feet drill into the floor with a bewildering in­­­tensity. Duets, performed by a man and a woman, are often the most vivid Fla­­menco dances. The danc­­­ers keep their eyes firmly locked onto each other, constantly and aggressively building off one another in what becomes com­­­peti­­tion of passion, sexual tension, and emotion.

A white spotlight fell on a male dancer who stood motionless and free of expression for a few mo­­­ ments absorbing the strums of the guit­­­ars, the clapping, and the singing until the inspiration hit him. As he began to feel the throb of the music, he clapped his hands loudly above his head, then, as the tempo built he started to move, slowly at first, then with a little more urgency, launching into a Flamenco dance every bit as passionate as the cantaor’s song. His rendition culminated in what sounded like a stampede which had rivulets of sweat streaming down his face. Many in the audience were overcome with the emotion his per­­­ formance evoked. I found my heart racing and was glad to see I was not the only person with tears coursing down my cheeks. The passion of this art is raw, in-your-face and utt­­­erly exciting, leaving you with a sudd­­en and overwhelming urge for one of Vila Viniteca’s popular liquid refreshments. Olé.


.

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DYNAMO REYKJAVĂ?K

Connect with culture!

Enjoy the nature!

Recharge and relax!

See the Sights!

Take a dip in our thermal pools!

Discover Icelandic Design


Enjoy Reykjavík with one easy to use card The Reykjavík Welcome Card offers great value for money by giving you FREE ADMISSION to all of Reykjavík’s thermal pools and museums, with unlimited travel on Reykjavík buses, free ferry rides to Videy Island and DISCOUNTS at selected shops and restaurants. The card is available for 24, 48 and 72 hours. For more information on the Reykjavík Welcome Card visit www.visitreykjavik.is. You can purchase your card at the Official Tourist Information Centre or at one of our many sales outlets.

The Official Tourist Information Centre in Reykjavík Adalstraeti 2 101 Reykjavík Tel +354 590 1550 info@visitreykjavik.is www.visitreykjavik.is


Retail therapy

The pleasures of Paris Visiting spas in Germany and having a little maintenance work done twice a year in Switzerland brings forth no more pleasure than shopping in Paris. Text and photos by Cindy-Lou Dale

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here is no greater bliss than the ac­­cess­ory stores on Rue de Gren­­­­­­­­­­elle or the fashion boutiques on Les Halles, a sub­­­­­­terr­­­­ anean shopping center with more than 180 stor­­­es. Envision exquisite clothes and styl­­­ish one-of-a-kind war­­drobe additions that would dazzle even the most seasoned fashion afi­­cionado. Now arm yourself with a credit card or two and get ready to black-belt your way through the city’s fabul­­­ous boutiques and department stores—BHV, Bon Marché, Gal­­­eries Laf­­ayette, Printemps and Samaritaine.

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Begin with the basics Champs-Elysees is the world’s best-known shopp­­­­­ing avenue. There’s no shortage of sup­­erl­­a­­tives to describe this main thorough­­ fare where you’ll rub shoulders with names like Louis Vutton, Hugo Boss and Guerlain. Then there’s Avenue Mon­­taigne which is the street of haute couture with a string of boutiques like Dior, Chanel, Valentino, Nina Ricci, each more elegant and sumptuous than the last, with red-carpeted sidewalks and exhibitionist windows displaying size zero cloth­­ing befitting most of Paris’s petite lad­ies. For a slightly more affordable à l’américaine shopp­­­ing experience check out the plethora of col­­ossal department stores; two of the most famous rivals, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, may be found side-by-side on Boule­­­­vard Hauss­­­mann and carry designer, brand name as well as private label merc­­handise.

Little treasures On weekends the flea markets brighten up the gateways to Paris. Both popular and professional, Paris’s flea markets are verita­ ble treasure troves. There are three flea markets situated around the old gates of the city: Saint-Ouen Flea Market, which attracts 11-million visitors a year to its 2,500 antique and bric-a-brac dealers is spread across 17

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Come for the arts Paris encourages art and design and has spawned several neighborhoods entirely given over to artistic professions. Like the former Viaduc de Paris, now transformed into the Viaduc des Arts and houses some fifty designers and their studios beneath its brick arcades. Then there’s Maris, where numerous second-hand art and design mark­­ets can be found every weekend in vari­­ous trendy areas of the district. Shopping on a Sunday in a relaxed pedes­­trianized environment brings with it the irres­­istible desire to acquire. Head to Canal Saint Martin for colorful stylish boutiqu­­­es; stroll along the rue des Francs-Bourg­­eois and see the whole of the Marais district comes acres; then there’s Porte de Van­­ves and alive; boutiques on the Champs­-Elysees and Porte de Montreuil. The flea markets are the Cour Saint Emilion are open too … each entertaining in every respect and are a neighborhood has its own personality. good source of bargain treasures if you Paris is the object of everyone’s shopping go early enough (between 5 and 6 a.m.), desire. Creative energy and couture course before the massive influx of shoppers. through the city’s veins. Parisians cherish the ideals of elegance, good taste and The vantage of vintage chicness. It’s a village for every mood–‘vill­­ Paris’ vintage stores are all about mixing age’ because it doesn’t have just one city and match­­ing different periods and center–there are many–each one easily teaming them up with something current. accessible and boasting its own specific Three of the best vintage boutiques are identity. Side-by-side and hand-in-hand, the Kiliwatch on 64 rue Tiquetonne, Come on districts (or villages) of Paris invent a new Eileen on 16 rue Tailandiers and Rag on 81 human-urban geography. Visit them on foot, rue Saint Honore. Whether you’re a real stroll from one area to the next and as you shopping fiend or simply a now-and-then turn a corner, take in dilettante, Paris gives you the surprising glimpses the opportunity for all kinds For a slightly more myriad worlds of retail pleasures. In the affordable à l’amér- of pro­­claiming their diff­­­ world’s fashion capital, icaine shopp­­­ing erences. Each year new luxury and style boutiques neighborhoods move are an essential part of the experience check into the spotlight: while landscape with some­ out the plethora others never lose their thing to suit every pocket, of col­­ossal departappeal. You see, the especially during the sales or in the big-name stock ment stores; two of districts are redesigned, adopting a fresh look outlets. Paris never runs out the most famous which giv­­es them a of different ways to shop rivals, Printemps new lease of life or they across the whole spectrum, from every­­day needs to and Galeries Lafay- sim­­ply come into being spontaneously. Paris is wild shopping sprees that ette. pulsing with life. do wonders for the morale.


Welcome to Tapas house Tapas is so much more than just food. Tapas is a way of life.

Tapashúsið - Ægisgarður 2 - Sólfellshúsið - 101 Reykjavik +354 512 81 81 - info@tapashouse.is - www.tapashouse.is


Libra 23 September - 23 October You should leave the comedy to the comedians, you’re way too politically correct to tell a decent joke. Don’t tell your partner that you are better than they are at sex. It’s probably not going to win you any favors.

Scorpio Aries 21 March - 19 April Crossing your arms, legs and fingers is fine. You might feel “world weary”, but the truth of it is that you don’t do anything worthwhile. This week may be a good opportunity for you to change that. You might find yourself on the wrong end of a stick of wood today. All will become clear as the moon begins to wane.

24 October - 21 November That new addition to your family is so cute you can’t seem to focus on any­­thing else. Please keep filling your Facebook wall and Instagram feed with pictures of that cutie. Your friends love it. Just make sure to include yourself in these photos every now and again so they won’t forget what you look like.

Sagittarius 22 November - 21 December

Taurus 20 April - 20 May Ignore those who laugh at your sense of style. Good luck is not what you need right now. You could do with the services of a made-up superhero call­­ed “Miracle boy”. Wood may be lucky for you this week especially if you meet a very irritating Aries.

Gemini 21 May - 21 June Many of the solutions given to you in life make you feel like there’s no hope. This is true. Baskets of eggs may cause problems for you today as you try to take on too much work. If some things start to appear impossible, it may be time to switch with a robot. Steer clear of that little man with the loud mouth; he’s trouble.

Cancer 22 June - 22 July When leaving your house this morn­­ing, don’t forget to lock up and give the children a pat on the head. Your patronizing ways will only make some­­­one angry with you. Try to avoid low blows.

Leo 23 July - 22 August How’s your back? Do you feel old? The stars are a little worried about you to tell the truth. They had a lot planned for you this summer but it seems your inability to take care of yourself first could put those plans on hold.

Virgo 23 August - 22 September Parts of you feel like giving up today, but feed­­ing those parts with ice cream and bacon bits may revive them, to an extent. This is a good time to try that food you’ve always disliked again. Your tastes may have changed.

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Changing your lifestyle and underwear are always a good start. You may feel like starving yourself today in order to lose some weight. The stars say don’t do it, ´cause there are lots of bett­er ways to do it, like eating your vegetables. Clarity of thought is some­thing you need to accomplish today. That’s definitely not something you achieve on an empty stomach.

Capricorn 22 December - 19 January Hiring an intern is not the same as buying a slave. Please remember that when you get ready to load all your tedious work stuff on someone else’s desk. Your wardrobe is looking well stocked these days after a journey abroad but just so you know, your old clothes are getting a little jealous. We recommend that you mix and match a little more.

Aquarius 20 January - 18 February You’re thinking about moving across the country just to avoid your parents but the stars say don’t do it; they love you (your parents that is, the stars are kind of on the fence). In the coming months you’ll be flying high both regarding work and personal life. Just make sure you land safely and help out with that big project every­­body’s been planning for months. If you don’t, you won’t get invited to the Pisces birthday next year.

Pisces 19 February - 20 March Your birthday was a big disappoint­­­ment. You got fewer Face­­book mess­­­ages than last year and your family might as well have forgotten all about your special day. The stars want you to know that the universe is just lay­­ing the groundwork for an awesome birthday next year so be prepared to act surprised. Whoops Disclaimer: This horoscope is total and utter nonsence. Any accuracies, real or imagined by readers, are purely incidental.


Your home in the north

HÓTEL REYNIHLÍÐ

GAMLI BISTRO & BAR

HÓTEL REYKJAHLÍÐ


Really, really bored? Here are a few sudokus to make time fly. But how do I do it?

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

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Explore

Learn

Discover

Are you here for the nature and northern lights?

Is the weather funking it up? Then visit us and experience our multimedia exhibition It's only a ten-minute walk from the city center

Grandagarður 2 - 101 Reykjavík Open every day from 10:00 - 22:00 Maritime museum CCP

Hotel Marina

The Northern Light Center

The old harbour Harpan Music hall Reykjavík Art museum Kolaportið fleemarket

www.aurorareykjavik.is


The Traveling Inquisition

“Ok, now I’ve seen it all!” Gurý Finnboga is a young Icelandic clothing designer who lives in Copen­ hagen with her husband, jewelry designer Breki (also an Icelander) and their two kids. They also lived in Vietnam for a while where they’ve gathered a lot of interesting stories. Gurý was taken into questioning by The Traveling Inquisition where she shared some of her experiences by Dísa Bjarnadottir / Photo: Hildur María Valgarðsdóttir

Q: What is the most memorable travel experience you’ve had? “Standing in the middle of a busy street, in Hanoi, Vietnam, with the cars driving crisscross everywhere. The children in Vi­­etnam aren’t told to wait until a car stops like in most other places of the world. They’re sup­­posed to walk straight ahead and the cars will drive past them or go around. I was completely frozen there, with my husband calling that I could walk ahead, but it took some time to find the guts to do it.” Q: How about the most fun travel experience you’ve had? “To experience Bangkok in Thailand for the first time. I’ve traveled quite a bit but this is the most fun city I’ve ever been to. It’s a totally different world. We’ve been there four times in the last two years and I’ve seen and experienced so much but every time we go there there’s something new. Sometimes I’ve thought to myself “ok now I’ve seen it all” but there’s always something waiting. I love it! Also it’s a mecca for shopaholics like me. To go to the fabric markets there is a dream. And the food never fails, the weather is always warm and nice and the people are lovely, always making you feel welcome in their country. And I love their custom of bowing whenever they say hello or good­­ bye. More countries should take that up!” Q: You’ve lived in Vietnam, now you live in Copenhagen, but you’re from Iceland, what do you do when you come back to visit Iceland?

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WOW Power to the people

“I love the swimming pools and always go there. I check out the stores downtown and in the mall. I check out the nightlife with my friends and relax with my family. I probably gain about 2-3 kilos each time I come home. My mom’s cooking is my favorite of course, but I love the noodle soup at Asia, the pizzas from Eld­­smiðjan, Nonna biti, the ham­­­burgers at American Style, KFC, soft serve ice cream in a cone, a snúður [large sweet rolls availa­­ble in all bakeries and most grocery stor­­ es] with chocolate, a hot dog with potato salad at the gas station and the candy, yum, yum, yum.” Q: How about in Denmark? What’s essential to do there while visiting? “I recommend coming in the summertime, going to the beach, Islands Brygge or to a public park with a blanket. Bring a singleuse grill and a bottle of white

“We’ve been there four times in the last two years and I’ve seen and ex­­ per­­­ienced so much but every time we go there there’s something new.”

wine and then just sit and enjoy for hours. It’s a dream. I don’t go to night­­clubs a lot but when I do go out I like to go to Breki’s and my favorite place which is a rock place called High Voltage. I also love Danish fashion brands and recommend checking those out, like: Storm & Marie, Malene Birger, Second Female and Moss Copenhagen to name a few.” Q: Speaking of fashion and de­­ sign, where is a good place to find yours and your husbands? “I have my own online store at www.guryonline.com where I sell my designs and I’ve also recently started selling on asos [asos.com]. Breki has his at www. brekijewelry.com and we’re also both very active on our facebook pages and Instagram, which is a good way to keep up with what we’re doing. Our de­­signs will be worldwide before you know it. That’s our goal for this year.”


Watchmaker Frank Michelsen, founder of Michelsen Watchmakers, at his desk in Sauðárkrókur, N-Iceland, in 1920.

Michelsen Reykjavík 64°N/22°W A fine mechanical self-winding movement, a 316L Stainless steel case with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, a black, lava-grey or silver dial and a choice of 15 different handmade leather straps. These exclusive watches are made in a limited, numbered edition.

Reykjavík 64°N/22°W Lava-grey dial Icelandic Wolffish strap

Laugavegur 15 - 101 Reykjavík - Tel. 354 511 1900 - www.michelsenwatch.com


E&Co.

ICELANDIC WOOL

WORN OUT FOR CENTURIES We offer clot h i n g & ot her mer c h a nd i s e t h at r em i nd s u s of go o d old Ic el a nd

– 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 r.com –


WOW magazine issue 2 2014