e azin mag Issue five 2014
We were born for the USA
Announcing flights to Boston and Washington in 2015
yo u r f r e e c o p y ta k e m e w i t h yo u
Tax & Duty Free
The very best Iceland has to offer KEF Airport is one of the few airports in the world that is both tax and duty free so you can save up to 50% off city prices. Check out our hottest summer items at kefairport.is/summer
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3 ÍSLENSKA/SIA.IS/FLE 69889 07/14
HOTEL GEYSIR elegaNt restauraNts, spa with hot spriNg jacuzzi, beautiful Nature & fuN activities
Geysir TOp 25 besT places TO phOTOgraph On The planeT earTh popphoto.com
Nice aNd cozy rooms iN chalet or oNe wiNg hotel right opposite of the hot spriNg geyser area gourmet a la carte restauraNt local luNch buffet every day hotel & spa outdoor activities all year rouNd amaziNg NortherN lights
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W E LC OM E TO G EYSIR the geysir ceNter is directly opposite of the geothermal area of the great geysir aNd strokkur e
geysir glima bistro Coffee house With freshly ground Coffee sWeet iCe Creams & Cakes traditional iCelandiC meat soup fish soup & vegetarian soup loCal food museum of hot springs, volCano and iCelandiC glima
The geysir cenTer haukadalur www.geysircenter.com / www.geysirglima.com / tel: +354 480 6800 / email@example.com www.facebook.com/hotelgeysir / www.twitter.com/hotelgeysir Issue five
ONE OF 25 WONDERS OF THE WORLD - National Geographic
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Öxney 101 Reykjavík
Icelandic design and lifestyle store Öxney is situated in downtown Reykjavik in one of the city’s most treasured houses, right next to Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s biggest shopping street. Drop by for a friendly and inviting atmosphere, great service and of course a variety of Icelandic design. Öxney is a must-stop for your shopping pleasure.
ÖXNEY I KLAPPARSTÍGUR 40 I 101 REYKJAVIK I TEL.: 571 4010 I FIND US ON FACEBOOK
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Photos: Íris Stefánsdóttir
A letter from the editor
wow magazine – the Nature Issue
14 Letter from the CEO
In this issue Issue fIve 2014
We were born for the USA
14 This and that … mainly this.
Power to the PeoPle
18 What’s going on? … quite a lot actually.
Issue five 2014
A whole new world
What an incredible time we‘ve had here at WOW air these past months. Everyone has been doing their utmost to make WOW air flights to America in 2015 a reality and the time to announce our new US routes has finally come. This really opens up a lot of possibilities for connecting flights and further travels between Europe and America. We couldn‘t be more excited about this milestone and we hope our guests are too. Autumn has absolutely arrived in Iceland and that only means one thing: Winter is coming, but we can promise that this wint er is going to be a little different than the previous one, because this one will definitely be warmer at a certain spot north of Vatnajokull glacier, called Holuhraun lava field. This is a place you’ve probably read about in the news. Why? Ohh, nothing re ally, just a little lava spewing magnificently from a fissure in the earth. It’s really quite spectacular, especially in the dark with the northern lights dancing above. If you’re not already on a plane to Iceland “WOW” that you’ll get on board first thing to see this unique phenomena for yourself (read more on pages 30-32). I’m out of space now so I’ll just add real quick that I hope you’ll enjoy this issue. Ok, bye!
Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir, editor in chief firstname.lastname@example.org
WOW magazine staff Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Design and layout: Ivan Burkni Contributing writers: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson, Donna Tzaneva, Marvin Lee Dupree, Dominique Plédel Jónsson, Inga Thorunn Waage, Kamilla Guðmundsdóttir, Ólöf Hugrún Valdimarsdóttir, Svava Jónsdóttir, Elli Thor Magnusson, Cindy-Lou Dale, Dísa Bjarnadóttir Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman
ERFISME HV R M
© WOW air Katrínartún 12 105 Reykjavík Iceland
un: Oddi umhverfisvottuð prentsmiðja Tel: 00 354 590 3020 E-mail: email@example.com
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What you missed You must visit Reykjavik in August 2015. Look at all the fun you missed this year.
It’s a marathon – not a sprint. Matthew Pelletier came to Iceland for his honeymoon and on the side just happened to win the 19th Reykjavik Marathon.
28 Reykjavik street art If these walls could talk … 30 Fire in the hole The eruption at Holuhraun lava field is a spectacular sight. 34 Save the Icelandic goat These cute and cuddly goats might become extinct. 48
WOW moments We love it when our guests share their WOW moments with us.
Connecting the continents WOW air is announcing flights to the USA in 2015. We’re going to discover America once more.
52 Leifur Eiriksson Do you know the European who first set foot in America? 56
An epic journey The Viking ship Íslendingur (Icelander) has sailed between the continents.
58 Gudridur’s travels Meet the first really well traveled Icelandic woman. 58
Always on the move Iceland lies on top of two great tectonic plates and a tiny microplate that no one’s ever heard of.
The center of the Earth Why has Iceland become a hub for intercontinental travels between Europe and North America? It’s all about location of course.
64 Viking for a day Mink Viking Portrait Studio specializes in changing ordinary people into fierce Vikings.
Oddi environmentally certified printing company All rights reserved. Reprinting, direct quoting or recapitulation prohibited except with a written permit from publisher.
That’s deep Come spring 2015 one of the largest man-made ice caves in the world will open in Langjokull Iceland.
Announcing flights to Boston And Washington in 2015
yo u r f r e e c o P y ta k e m e w I t h yo u
On the cover Our cover this time is a tribute to a famous photo of Bruce Springsteen’s derriere shot by Annie Leibovitz for his ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ album. The photo is iconic and we did our best to capture its spirit but at the same time putting our own WOW twist on it.
Photographer: Sigurjón Ragnarsson Model: Bjarki Jónsson On-set assistant: Haffi Haff Post production: Jón Kári Hilmarsson Belt: Spútnik on Laugavegur
68 A year of fire and ice Photographer Katherine Loveless came to Iceland to commemorate her brother. What she didn’t expect was to fall in love, both with the country and one of its in habitants. 72 Þúfa What’s the deal with that strange grassy knoll by the sea? 74 Dress like an Icelander Traveling through Iceland is only half the experience unless you’re wearing a lopapeysa. 76
Where East met West One of the most famous houses in Reykjavik is the Hofdi House.
78 Backcountry skiing Soon it will be time for back country skiing again. Ready?
Dublin is ready to welcome all who seek it.
112 Billund WOW air has just added the perfect destination for the whole family, Billund! 114 When in Rome … This amazing city will impress you. 116 The Austrian Alps It’s time to get higher. 120 Paris Just because we’ve added some new destinations doesn’t mean we’ve for gotten our trusted old ones. Paris is still one of our favorites. 122 Berlin Check out the lively Mauerpark in Berlin. 124
A London pub crawl Some people claim that they need no guidance from one drinking establishment to the next; some people are quite wrong.
88 Shining bright WOW air supports some awesome people.
WOW horoscope What’s in your future? WOW air’s famed astrologist has the answer.
90 WOW entrepreneurs There’s no lack of good ideas here in Iceland.
128 Bored on board? Solve these sudokus.
92 WOWing the WOWers A rough guide to a success ful staff outing
130 The Traveling Inquisition Toggi Pop is a poet who’s touched our heart.
84 WOW Cyclothon Read all about the winners of WOW Cyclothon’s A category.
98 Fun on board WOW air is truly a presi dential pick. 100 Reykjavik’s winter fun Reykjavik doesn’t fail to entertain during the winter. 106
Washington, D.C. WOW air has just anno unced flights to Baltimore Washington International Airport starting in June 2015. This means Washington, D.C. will be just within reach!
108 Boston Boston will be a whole year destination for WOW air, starting in March 2015. 110 Delightful Dublin From the emerald isle of Leprechauns and Guinness,
P.S. Would you like your very own copy of WOW magazine? Take this one with you or contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org 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! email@example.com
Keeping Iceland Warm Since 1926 66north.com Issue five
A letter from the CEO
lying to North America has been our goal and dream from day one! Therefore it is with great pride and enthusiasm that we now announce Boston and Washington as our two first destinations in North America. Of course we are staying true to our mission, always trying hard to offer the lowest airfares to our destinations and now look forward to introducing prices that have never been seen before between Iceland and North America or between North America and Europe with a stop-over in Iceland. How is this possible? Simply by offering newer Airbus A321 aircrafts that are much more fuel efficient than older planes as well as more environmentally friendly. Also, by having as little overhead as possible and using the latest technology to optimize customer service, safety and not least by reaching out to our dear customers over the Internet. It also helps that we’ve kept our great track record of being the most punctual airline in Iceland.
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So far we have been overwhelmed by the feedback we have received and are thrilled that our 1 millionth passenger is just around the corner. This is a major milestone and recognition for how quickly WOW air has grown in a short period considering there are only 320,000 people living in Iceland. We are very grateful for the warm welcome we have received among travelers and always welcome your feedback. Don’t hesitate to send your thoughts and comments on how we can continue to improve our service through our social media or to me personally: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for choosing WOW air and we look forward to seeing you again. Skúli Mogensen WOW air’s CEO and founder
Fresh from the sea
This and that …
Get your thrills beyond The Wall During your time in Iceland why not journey to a place that’s other worldly; where the Night’s Watch guard against giants, wildlings and white walkers, where shadows lurk, silent and powerful, to a place beyond the wall. If you’re up on your “Game of Thrones” you’ll know the fatal dangers of attending a family wedding, why being a Stark reduces your chances of looking forward to putting your feet up and drawing your pension and how the Lannisters make the most dysfunctional of families look like a picture of bliss. Join Grayline on a tour of the sites where “Game of Thrones” was filmed. With the aid of an Icelandic actor who took part in the series—and yes, unsurprisingly he died a violent death at the hands of the wildlings—Greyline has put together a tour that lets you follow in your favorite characters’ footsteps. Experience the hair rising at the back of your neck at Thingvellir, the stomping ground of the white walkers and the trail of the wildlings from north of the wall. And of course you’ll want to see where the most elaborate scene and greatest massacre (so far) has happened, so you’ll go to Thjorsardalur and the Settlement Era Viking Lodge.
The Fish Company on Vesturgata 2a in Reykjavik celebrates its 5th anniversary by publishing a new book. In the last five years the restaurant has been grandly complimented by its guests. These years have proven to be truly exciting and the atmosphere has been really wonderful. The fruit of their labor and this atmosphere has now been captured in a new book, ‘Around Fish Company’, which has been published both in English and Icelandic. The book provides you with seafood, meat and vegetable recipes from all over the world, in style of the Fish Company. ‘Around Fish Company’ can be found in most book stores and in The Fish Company’s restaurant as well. For more information on the book, contact The Fish Company (info@ fiskfelagid.is) or call +354 552-5300.
For more details and booking visit www.grayline.is or give them a call at +354 540 1313.
BEST THAI FOOD 2014
also. . . .
1/10 the best restaurants in iceland
“ the best thai food
many famous people are regulars here
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
the finest Thai restaurant in Iceland
Laugavegur 130, ofan við Hlemm 14
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Tel : 692-0564
The great indoors Bringing nature inside, Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson, has created a real riverbed inside the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art near Copenhagen. It’s not often that guests get to touch or step into an artwork, let alone walk all over it but in this case they have to. What Eliasson has created is not just any riverbed but an Icelandic riverbed, barren and made from rocks and gravel that spread quite spectacularly through the white walls of the Louisiana Museum; it’s an impressive and humbling sight. Eliasson’s ‘Riverbed’ has been very well received, for instance it got 5 out of 6 stars from Torbein Weirup in the Berlinske Tidinde newspaper. If you find yourself in Copenhagen before January 2015 we recommend a visit to the Louisiana Museum to see the massive artwork.
Can we goat you into some portraits? One of our favorite photographers, Kristinn Magnusson, has done a fun but yet serious portrait series to support the Icelandic goats at Háafell (read more about them on page 34). Check out Kristinn’s portraits on www.kmphoto/goats, buy a goat or two for your home or office and support the Icelandic goat population while you’re at it. These are actually famous goats as they played an important role in the latest season of Game of Thrones. For more information visit www.kmphoto.is/goats
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Northern Lights Tour SRE-63
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EXPERIENCE A GREAT EVENING WITH US! More information on our tours in our brochure located in the seat pocket in front of you.
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The Icelandic horse for Hermès
This and that …
Recently fashion powerhouse Hermès released their new autumn and winter 20142015 campaign entitled Metamorphosis. Among the models are some beautiful specimens of the Icelandic horse (not pony) along with some ethereal Icelandic scenery. The photos portray a stunning and mysteriously moody scene and in the middle of it all are model Othilia Simon and the Icelandic horses. Beautifully done, hooray for Hermès!
There seems to be no end to the fresh, young talent here in Iceland. Keep your eyes peeled, and your ears clear for the mysterious Young Karin from Reykjavik who hit it off at the Bumbershoot, Seattle’s Music and Arts Festival at the end of August. Young Karin has a fresh sound influenced by modern hip hop and avantgarde pop productions adding some creative sampling and rattling sub basses. This is Scandi navian art pop at its finest. Check out upcoming gigs for Young Karin at www.facebook.com/youngkarinmusic.
Belle and Sebastian are coming to Iceland
ATP Iceland 2014 was headlined by the awesome Portishead.
The Icelandic Gymnastic Team and Skuli Mogensen. Photo: Sigurjon Ragnar
All Tomorrow’s Parties have just announced Belle & Sebastian as their first confirmed headliners for the music festival in 2015. ATP Iceland has now been held with great success for two consecutive years at Asbru, the former NATO base in Keflavik. Next year’s ATP Iceland will be held on 2-4 July. “We very much look forward to playing ATP Iceland. We have very strong connections with ATP, and can’t wait to do another All Tomorrows Parties in one of our favorite places,” said Richard Colburn, Belle & Sebastian’s drummer. ATP Iceland’s early bird tickets are now available so hurry up, get your ATP bracelet and some cheap flights to Iceland with WOW air and join us next summer for the third edition of ATP Iceland.
Skuli Mogensen and Arnar Olafsson, chairman of the Icelandic Gymnastics Feder ation, shook hands after signing the sponsorship agreement. Photo: Sigurjon Ragnar
Jump for gymnastics WOW air recently signed a 2 year sponsorship agreement with the Icelandic Gymnastics Federation and has sub sequently become the biggest sponsor of gymnastics in Iceland. WOW air will now help Icelandic gymnasts with their international travels and be visible on all gymnastic related events such as the TeamGym 2014, the 10th European TeamGym Championship, which will be held in Iceland on 15-18 October. Iceland won championship titles at the last two TeamGym Championships and we know Icelanders are pretty excited to see their team at home. To formally sign the sponsorship agreement and celebrate this awesome collaboration with the Icelandic Gymnastics Federation, WOW air’s CEO, Skuli Mogensen, dropped by while the Icelandic Gymnastic Team trained for the upcoming TeamGym 2014. “I’m no match for these girls, that’s for sure,” said Skuli of his tryouts with the team although he proudly managed to somersault and land on his feet. In the air. Photo: Sigurjon Ragnar
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OPEN 24 HOURS
in Hagkaup Skeifan, Garðabær & Eiðistorg
pping o h s n u F th : shop wi eries
• Groc ing • Cloth s • Shoe • Toys eware • Hom , DVD’s • CD’s ronics • Elect .
Welcome to the only 24 hour Hypermarket in Iceland
fun shopping Issue five 17
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.
WHEN? 24 - 26 October WHAT? Reykjavik Comedy Festival WHERE? Harpa Music Hall Iceland becomes laughable once more at the first ever Reykjavik Comedy Festival. Held in collaboration with The Europe Comedy Fest at Harpa Music Hall, Reykjavik Comedy Festival is bringing numerous renowned comedians to Iceland, such as Stephen Merchant, Rob Deering, Harriet Kemsley, Sean McLoughlin, Kerry Godliman, Andrew Schulz, Ricky Valez, Jim Breuer and many more in addition to the funniest people of Iceland: Ari Eldjarn, Saga Gardarsdottir, Thorsteinn Gudmundsson and Dori DNA. Find tickets on www.midi.is or call 528 5050.
of Postminimalism, Lawrence Weiner. The exhibition will feature wall works, drawings and objects based on language – Weiner’s primary medium. In his show, Lawrence Weiner will be showing text based works; drawings, wall works and fish bins. The bins, featuring the sentence “Along the Shore”, are stacked up in the exhibition space and will also travel the world carrying fish between harbors. Weiner’s last show with i8 was during the 2010 eruption at Fimmvorduhals. This time around, it looks like his show will coincide with the Holuhraun eruption. Find out more on www.i8.is
Photo: Alexander Matukhno
some more established ones, at numerous venues around Reykjavik. The bracelets for Icelandic Airwaves have sold out but if you find yourself in Reykjavik during the festival you can find numerous off-venue events to go to. Check out more on http://icelandairwaves.is/
WHEN? 16 October - 29 November WHAT? Along the Shore by Lawrence Weiner WHERE? Gallery i8, Tryggvagata 16 ‘Along the shore’ is the third solo show at i8 by one of the founding figures of the Conceptual arm
Photo: Lauren Greenfield
WHEN? 13 September 11 January WHAT? Girl Culture by Lauren Greenfield WHERE? Reykjavik Museum of Photography, Tryggvagata 15 Girl Culture records the vanis hing distance between the everyday life of girls and the idealized discourse about women in American popular culture. The exhibition show cases Lauren Greenfield’s five year photographic investigation into the life of girls and women around America. Greenfield’s portraits and interviews cast light on the experiences and ex pressions of women within a culture that demands a certain appearance, behavior and per formance. Check out more on www.ljosmyndasafnreykjavikur.is
WHEN? 5-9 November WHAT? Icelandic Airwave WHERE? Various venues around Reykjavik First held in 1999 in an airplane hangar, Icelandic Airwaves has become one of the biggest music events in Iceland, show casing music from around the world with fresh new artists and
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Fronting by Alexander Roberts and Asrun Magnusdottir. Photo: Jeaneen Lund
WHEN? 26-29 November WHAT? Reykjavik Dance Festival WHERE? Around Reykjavik If you’re flying with WOW air to Iceland for the last weekend in November, you should check out Reykjavik Dance Festival – the heartbeat of dancing and choreography in Iceland. Reykjavik Dance Festival takes place four times a year, which means that Iceland, and its visitors, can expect a bold and brave program of domestic and international artists all year round. We’re talking perform ances, workshops, dancing for the sake of dancing, as well as a host of other formats every three months. As such, RDF has become something more than a festival. It is the pulse for a scene, the ongoing birth of a community, a space for consuming dance, dancing and choreography. And yet, even with four a year, November is still set to be some thing truly rare, exceptional and charming and you are invited to watch, to dance, to party and to get involved. Check out the program on www.reykjavikdancefestival.is.
WE‘LL TAKE YOU THERE!
The Golden Circle & Fontana Wellness
ALL THE MOST EXCITING PLACES IN ICELAND
All Year MON TUE WED THU FRI
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The Horse Theatre & Northern Lights - Legends of Sleipnir Seasonal* MON TUE WED THU FRI
EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY AND WELLNESS OF ICELAND!
SUN GI NU:I D A N C E
Adults (16+): 12900 ISK 12 - 15 years: 6450 ISK 0 - 11 years: Free of charge.
WE‘LL TAKE YOU THERE! ALL THE MOST EXCITING PLACES IN ICELAND
18:00-23:00 SUN GI NU:I D A N C E
*16 SEPTEMBER 2014 – 15 APRIL 2015.
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! PRICES
Adults (13+): 11900 ISK 6 - 12 years: 5950 ISK 0 - 5 years: Free of charge.
BSÍ Bus Terminal 101 Reykjavík +354 580 5400 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.re.is www.flybus.is
BOOK NOW on www.re.is
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More information on our tours in our brochure located in the seat pocket in front of you.
The Reykjavik Art Museum is the largest visual art institution in Iceland and it presents contemporary art in its many manifestations. WHEN? 1 November - 25 January WHAT? Worlds and Ways by Gunter Damisch WHERE? The Reykjavik Art Museum in Hafnarhus WHEN? Every day WHAT? Exhibitions at the Reykjavik Art Museum WHERE? Hafnarhus, Kjarvalsstadir and Asmundarsafn The Reykjavik Art Museum is the largest visual art institution in Iceland and it presents contemporary art in its many manifestations through diverse programs at the museum’s three venues: Hafnarhus in downtown Reykjavik, Kjarvalsstadir at Miklatun and Asmundarsafn at Sigtun. Here are some of the highlights on the Reykjavik Art Museum’s program this fall.
This exhibition is a selection of works by Gunter Damisch (born 1958) from the 1980s to 2013. On display are both graphic works that Damisch has given the Reykjavík Art Museum and a selection of other works by him. The works are highly individual iconography and mythology that oscillates between figuration and abstraction.
WHEN? 6 September - 19 October WHAT? Future Crash /Tribal TV by Asdis Sif Gunnarsdottir WHERE? The Reykjavik Art Museum in Hafnarhus This is a large video installation comprised of ten video works whose narrative is unconventional, with glimpses of past and future. This overlap in time, references films that are set in the future, in which beings with special powers appear in mysterious places, like long-forgotten splinters of memory. Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir. Photo: ESPTV.
WHEN? 1 November - 25 January WHAT? Flatland by Sirra Sigrun Sigurdardottir WHERE? The Reykjavik Art Museum in Hafnarhus In this work, the artist juxtaposes structural stasis with movement, by integrating video with text, movement and sculpture. The title Flatland is a reference, among other things, to a book of same title published in 1884, a satirical portrayal of the social hierarchy using the language of mathematics and geometry.
WHEN? 20 September - 18 January WHAT? Synthesis by BCD WHERE? The Reykjavik Art Museum in Hafnarhus © Tomas Saraceno, without title, 2010.
This international exhibition comprises works by seven artists: Tomas Saraceno (Argentina), Ernesto Neto (Brazil), Ragna Róbertsdóttir (Iceland), Ryuji Nakamura and Rintaro Hara (Japan), Mona Hatoum (Lebanon) and Monika Grzymala (Poland). The artists make three-dimensional installations, which share the qualities of reflecting a certain perception, thinking and rhythm. The curator is Ingibjörg Jónsdóttir.
WHEN? 6 September 2014 - 27 September 2015 WHAT? Erró and Art History WHERE? The Reykjavik Art Museum in Hafnarhus Erró is well known for creating his own visual world in his collages. In this © Erró. Title: Maður með blóm (e. Man with flower), 1985. exhibition you’ll see works in which he has borrowed images and fragments of pictures by some of the leading artists in history, such as Picasso and Léger. He also makes references to works of lesser known artists of different periods. One could almost say that Erró has created his own version of art history in his works. The curator is Danielle Kvaran.
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© Andreas Eriksson. Title: Ted Kaczynskis Cabin, 2004.
WHEN? 27 September - 4 January WHAT? Andreas Eriksson: Roundabouts WHERE? The Reykjavik Art Museum in Kjarvalsstadir
Andreas Eriksson (born 1975) is one of the most acclaimed Swedish artists of his generation. The exhibition presents Eriksson’s works from the last ten years, spanning his entire oeuvre. His imagery is often derived from the nature surrounding his house in Sweden, where he has his studio.
WHEN? 27 September - 4 January WHAT? Top Soil Where? The Reykjavik Art Museum in Kjarvalsstadir Andreas Eriksson has selected paintings and drawings by Kjarval, which will be displayed along with new works by Eriksson himself in appreciation of Kjarval’s art. Kjarval has served as a historic source of inspiration for Eriksson.
© Stefán. Title: Stefán Jónsson, Reðir Rafaels (Rafael’s phalluses), 2014.
Ásmundarsafn WHEN? 13 September - 1 February WHAT? A Posteriori: Houses, Sculptures WHERE? The Reykjavik Art Museum in Asmundarsafn The exhibition presents a selection of artworks by eight artists with original references to buildings or houses. As a feature of the exhibition, Asmundarsafn, befittingly a sculpture and a house, becomes the embodiment of the reconstructed references. Curator is Yean Fee Quay.
WHEN? Every day WHAT: Cinema Paradise WHERE: Hverfisgata 52, 101 Reykjavik Cinema Paradise is an art house cinema in downtown Reykjavík. During the months of October and November the cinema will screen various quality films, many of which were awarded at Cannes and other festivals this year as well as contemporary Icelandic films with English subtitles. This fall Cinema Paradise will also commemorate the 25 year anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall and have Russian Film Days and a Spanish Film Festival. Check out their website for Cinema Paradise’s program and more details: www.bioparadis.is.
Here are some samples from Cinema Paradise’s program in October and November. Björk: Biophilia Live / UK 2014 Björk : Biophilia Live is a documentary that reveals the revolutionary world of Biophilia where the entire universe is involved and technology, science and music merge into one. Björk travelled the world with this project, in order for children to be inspired to create their own music through technology. The documentary is a live recording from the last concert of her world tour, held in London on September 3, 2013. The directors mix animation of natural wonders into the film and the result is enchanting. The Tribe / UKR 2014 A deaf mute teenager enters a specialized boarding school where, to survive, he becomes part of a wild organization – the Tribe. This director’s debut is described by Indiewire as “from one mesmerizing scene to the next. ‘The Tribe’ never loses its flow. Even its harshest moments are defined by vibrant motion.” White God / HUN 2014 A winner of Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, this movie has been described as a dystopian drama where political and cultural tensions in Europe are described in a masterful way. Jimmy’s Hall / IRE 2014 Inspiring portrait of activist Jimmy Gralton who was faced with violent protest from the church for his liberal thinking. It competed in Palme d´Or section at Cannes last spring. Leviathan / RUS 2014 A winner for the best screenplay in Cannes Palme d´Or, the movie tells a story of corruption and other social issues of contemporary Russia.
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Aðeins Aðeins 690 690 kr. kr. daggjald daggjald svo mínútuverðið svo mínútuverðið heima heima
August in Reykjavik
Look at what you missed! Text and photos by Gunnlaugur Rognvaldsson
August is one of the most happening months in Reykjavik and it seems the city is welcoming back its people after their summer vacations with festivals upon festivals. If you missed it this year, don’t worry, August in Reykjavik will be back and so will these awesome festivals.
Reykjavik Pride There is certainly something to be proud of during Reykjavik Pride and for many, this gay weekend is one of the reasons they are proud to call themselves Icelanders. Contrary to many pride walks around the world the Icelandic gay pride walk is a celebration of diversity where families, supporters and the LGBT community come together for a day of fun and festivities. This joyful day is rivalled only by the Reykjavik Culture Night when it comes to the number of people in attendance.
Follow that swan. The Reykjavik Pride walk is always an interesting and fun event and singer Paul Oscar really knows how to put on a show. A swarm of spectators followed his swan to the center of the Reykjavik Pride festivities.
We’ve got company. Numerous guests from all over the world come to take part in the Reykjavik Pride festivities.
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Swan song? One of Iceland’s most beloved singers and enter tainers, Paul Oscar, sang his heart out upon his swan float.
That cow! There were many characters at the Bacon Festival and this lady, perhaps to be on the safe side, came dressed as a cow. Upon further inquiry it became clear that she and her friends were simply celebrating her last days as a free woman and a cow costume happened to be the perfect attire for that.
Reykjavik Bacon Festival
Imagine the smell. Skólavörðustígur Street was filled with people attending various bacony events.
A few years ago a couple of friends decided to get together and eat a lot of bacon and now, thanks to those innovative entrepreneurs, we have a full blown bacon festival. Yumm!
Viking style. The traditional idea of a Viking helmet is not really what the Vikings had on in the old days, but it sure looks good.
Reykjavik Jazz Festival The jazz scene in Iceland may not be the biggest but we certainly make up for it with talented and larger than life jazz musicians.
Talented and energetic. Local jazz artists from Samúel Jón Samú elsson Big Band performed for the public in the large foyer of Harpa Music Hall. This energetic band always puts on a good show.
Jazz parade. Reykjavík Jazz Festival starts with a parade down Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavik, and then goes on at various venues for the next six days.
Reykjavik Culture Night You can’t really stay in Reykjavik on Culture Night without getting at least a little whiff of culture. The people of the city go all out in creating and displaying culture for each other literally filling the city with it. Most of these little happenings are in the downtown area and we recommend using your ears and just wandering off in any direction that sounds fun. Run for it. The Reykjavik Marathon is always held on the morning of Culture Night. With massive participation, this year’s event brought more than 10,000 runners to the fore, in different groups for either short or long distances.
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Open house. Dagur B. Eggertsson, newly elected mayor of Reykjavík, and his wife Anna Dögg Einarsdóttir where just one of numerous downtown inhabitants who opened their homes to the public and served waffles on Reykjavik Culture Night. Heavy metal. There’s a place for every type of musical genre during Reykjavik Culture Night. Local heavy metal specialists Skálmöld, have made an impact on the Icelandic music scene and their lead singer really got the crowd to sing along.
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. Laugarâ€™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 five
It’s a marathon, not a sprint American Matthew Pelletier, won the nineteenth Reykjavík marathon in August, and did so during his honeymoon. He got married back home on Rhode Island to Jill Rowan in August and they decided to spend their honeymoon in Iceland. Text and photos by Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson
atthew Pelletier is a 35 year old teacher of health and physical education, and among the top 75 marathon runners in his home country. But his run here was not the piece of cake he thought it to be, after surveying the times from past years. For sure it is unusual to run a marathon on your honeymoon and under standably Pelletier was tired after the race. “I thought I could arrive and run at a relatively slow pace and still win, but I got a strong competition from someone from England and Poland, who had obviously gotten a similar idea,” said Matthew.
Why choose Iceland? Matthew and his wife chose Iceland after some research: “We looked into England, Scotland and Ireland, but it cost more to go there and as I am not into beaches – I get restless after 20 minutes – Jamaica or the Bahamas were out. I wanted to go to a unique place and we are very happy with our choice. I love Iceland; we had a blast. It’s beautiful,” said Matthew. The happy couple went on a tour of the Reykjanes Snæfellsnes Peninsulas, as well as experiencing Reykjavik Culture Night which is celebrated on the same day as Reykjavik marathon. “I have never seen an
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Honeymooners, Matthew Pelletier and Jill Rowan shortly after Matthew won the Reykjavik marathon.
entire city party until 6 o’clock in the morning. It was unbelievable to experience. There was a sea of people still partying when I woke up at 5:30,” said Matthew. “We went to bed at ten, tired after the marathon, but the firework display woke us up an hour later, and we had perfect view from the room. I told my wife I had planned it like that for the honeymoon.” Matthew and Jill were at the same high school when they were younger, but never really connected until sometime later when Jill nearly ran Matthew over with a car, while he was out for a run: The rest is history. Besides the extra ordinary joy visitors usually experience being in Iceland, their excitement intensified with all the seismic activity that took place near Vatnajokull during their stay (Unfortunately they missed out on the beautiful Holuhraun eruption: see page 30-32). “Not knowing much about it, I relied on local people for information and since they didn’t seem nervous, I wasn’t either. I have never been interested in geology, but we visited the bridge between the tectonic plates and saw the ridges running between them. We also visited Blue Lagoon thermal area located in a lava field. The landscape here is so amazing,” said Matthew. Coming back to do another marathon in Iceland is an option for Matthew, but this visit has gotten him interested in going to other countries too, igniting in him a thirst for new cultures and more extensive travel.
Gold in hand, Matthew Pelletier rests after 42 km of running on the streets of Reykjavik. Issue five 27
Reykjavik’s street art scene Iceland and its capital of Reykjavik is known to possess that discreet nonchalant, laidback and hip vibe. Its multi-colored roof tops being one example of its noticeable quirkiness (all of which can be seen with a bird’s eye view from the top of Hallgimskirkja Church). It is indeed a truly captivating city, and only after a few hours of carelessly strolling up and down its streets, chances are you will want to reconsider the date of your return flight! Text and photos by Donna Tzaneva
o many, Reykjavik is thought to be one of the most artistic capitals in the world: a large portion of the population being musicians, photograph ers, painters or just ubertalented in every way, shape or form.
Getting the message through
Car park opposite Skolavordustigur 12.
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Reykjavik’s emerging street art scenery also Skolavordustigur 14. greatly contributes to the city’s creative atmos phere. Street art is present worldwide. It is there to tell a story and passively convey a message, a thought or a simple idea. Through Reykjavik’s street art, one can easily establish the city’s vibe and atmosphere. The shapes and colors used, as well as the objects depicted through street art or the murals downtown convey a sense of calmness, security and peace, not to mention the abundance of animal subjects as well as nature (we wonder why…). Once perceived as vandals, street artists nowadays are only required to obtain permission from Reykjavik’s property owners in order to legally paint. It pro vides the city with a new vibrant and con temporary look, which, is valued by many. The growing accep tance of this kind of art is probably one of the major factors contributing to the daily emergence of fresh appearances as well as its omnipresence within the city center itself. Unlike many European capitals, one doesn’t need to go far or search hard in order to find street art. The majority of it is located within a walking distance and decorates the walls of downtown Reykjavik. If you feel adventurous and would like to go exploring on your own, we recommend you focus your wandering around the side streets off Laugavegur and around the Old Harbor, where the majority of Reykjavik’s street art lies.
Reykjavik’s emerging street art scenery also greatly contributes to the city’s creative atmosphere.
Construction site walls, corner of Hverfisgata and Klapparstigur.
Near the Old Harbor.
Parking lot at Hverfisgata 42.
Parking lot at Hverfisgata 42.
Corner of Hverfisgata and Klapparstigur.
Corner of Hverfisgata and Klapparstigur.
Harbor, near the Saga Museum.
Iceland keeps the lava flowing The recent geological unrest that has been occurring in Iceland for the past month has probably not been lost on anyone. And so, to the dismay of many around the globe, or at least in Europe, Icelandic nature appears to be acting up yet again. by Marvin Lee Dupree Photos: Courtesy of Myflug Air / Axel Sigurdarson. Photos on the ground by Þorsteinn Jónsson
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ow it is the lava field Holuhraun that is erupting and there is frequent and considerable seismic activity occurring in the stratovolcano Bardarbunga. Iceland’s nature seems to reflect the personal disposition of its inhabitants, who are both defiant and tough. At the time of this writ ing, the end of September, Bardarbunga is still showing considerable seismic activity, with over fifty earthquakes and the lava activity from Holuhraun still quite prodigious.
In Iceland there are close to 30 known central volcanoes, which are also known as volcanic systems.
Is it safe? While Holuhraun has been spewing lava and indeed there has been quite persistent seismic activity in and around Bardarbunga, especially near the caldera rim and close to Dyngjujokull, it is still quite safe outside the eruption area and in the skies above. The general consensus within academia and among experts is that it is quite unlikely that this will in any way effect international flights. Also, if you are worried about earthquakes in Iceland, don’t be. Earthquakes are quite common
in Iceland, due to its unique geology. In fact, Iceland is one the most seismically active countries in Europe, because Iceland is located between two tectonic plates, the Eurasian and North American ones, and it lies on the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Therefore, because of Iceland’s geo graphical position earthquakes occur fairly frequently but seldom cause any damage to infrastructure within the country, so when travelling around Iceland there is nothing to fear except for stray sheep and the dramatic change in weather Issue five
Hot stuff! conditions – and perhaps elves and trolls. Furthermore, earthquakes seldom indi cate there will be a lava eruption. Yet, all levity aside volcanic activity does not always entail volcanic ash and flight delays. Iceland is still a lovely and safe place to visit. The chaos and disruption caused by Eyjafjallajökull was more of an anomaly than anything else. In fact, farmers in the nearby area surrounding Holuhraun have mentioned how the portrayal of these events in the media have engendered fear into tourists, who are then afraid to come visit the region, whereas photographers both professional and amateur alike swarm to capture these spectacular events. Unfortunately, in some instances, people have even cancelled travelling to Iceland. Most likely you are not one of these people since you are reading this, but pass on the word: visiting Iceland now is a once in a lifetime opportunity; you will be fascinated by how nature can be constantly recreated by the immense power being generated. This is nature at its most majestic. Factor in some northern lights, and you will feel like you are in a fantasy world.
Yet, all levity aside volcanic activity does not always entail volcanic ash and flight delays. Iceland is still a lovely and safe place to visit.
natural lake in Iceland. Actually, this amount of lava would also blanket most of Reykjavík. In addition to all of this, in recent Icelandic news, the volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson went on record saying that the Holuhraun eruption has become larger than the Krafla eruption of 1984 and the magma contains more gas, and that despite the eruption having only lasted three weeks it has already reached over half of the Hekla eruption in 1947, which lasted for two years and was 800 million cubic meters. According to geologist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, if the lava flow continues at this rate it will surpass the amount produced by Hekla in 1947. The sheer volume of magma that has originated in the area is much larger than the Eyjafjallajökull eruption back in 2010.
been warnings issued by the Icelandic Meteorological Office that warn about pollution in numerous towns and villages around Iceland. For example, officials at The Environment Agency of Iceland have been quoted as saying that lava eruption in Holahraun is unique for many reasons, including the emission of large amounts of sulphur dioxide gas. Experts think that the amount is easily thousands of tons per day, which is more than all EU countries produce per day and included in these numbers are industry, transportation and domestic heating. So even though the scenery is breath taking, the Civil Protection in Iceland has warned people not to enter the eruption area illegally since the gases in the area could be quite harmful, also volcano activity is far from predictable and you
If you are wondering about how much lava this really is, well the lava emitted from Holahraun is now believed to cover an area of between 40 and 45 square kilometers (15 to 17 square miles).
could suddenly find yourself close to an ash eruption or a magma one, or even a flash flood from glacial water that has melted due to the conditions. So, re member to be cautious and stay safe. If you want to see what is going on near Bardarbunga, you can always check out the action online at www.livefromiceland.is. But, if you want to witness this magnifi cent and rare event, many companies, for example Myflug Air, are offering sightseeing flights over the area. Witnessing such a unique and natural phenomena while you still can is indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity. Visitors and photographers that have been to the area have gushed over the fiery, glowing lava rising over a hundred meters up into the air, while recently the constant river of hot magma flowing into the cold glacial river Jökulsá from the Vatnajokull glacier can also be seen. All in all the scenery is gorgeous and should impress everyone.
But where is Holuhraun? You might ask: where exactly is Holuhraun and how did it commence? Holuhraun is essentially sandwiched between the volcanoes Bardarbunga and Askja, with the former being located under the famous glacier Vatnajökull and the latter located just north of Holuhraun. In Iceland there are close to 30 known central volcanoes, which are also known as volcanic systems. One of them is Bardarbunga, and the caldera is covered with close to 900 meters of glacial ice. Yes, despite it being hard to pronounce all these silly elvish sounding names, let us explain briefly: the seismic activity in the Bardarbunga caldera began around the middle of August, and magma underneath the surface seems to have travelled underneath Bardar bunga and the surrounding area, which finally resulted in a fissure eruption that began in Holuhraun lava field, which is approximately around 3 kilometers long. Ever since then, fountains of lava have been emerging from newly formed fissur es in the lava field. The older surface was caused by an eruption in 1797.
What is so special about Holuhraun? The lava flow that has been emitted by Holuhraun is apparently, according to volcanologists and other experts, the most amount of lava to flow since the 19th century. If you are wondering about how much lava this really is, well the lava emitted from Holahraun is now believed to cover an area of between 40 and 45 square kilometers (15 to 17 square miles). The volume is about 500 million cubic meters and the average thickness is 14 meters. In order to contextualize the size: this area is equivalent to half of Þingvallavatn, which is the largest
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Despite being isolated as a small island, that has not stopped Iceland’s natural wonders from greatly influencing world events. Most people remember how Eyjafjallajökull was being reported in all major media outlets only a few years ago for disrupting aviation schedules and forcing aviation authorities to shut down air space all across Europe, causing the airlines to cancel over 100,000 flights. The estimated cost to the financial markets due to volcanic ash from Eyjafallajökull, both indirect and direct costs, was calcu lated to be around 5 billion euros, at least according to economists. Of course, for those living and visiting the southwestern corner of Iceland, there is relatively little if any danger from the volcanic eruption, since the eruptions are occurring in the highlands and are 300-400 kilometers away from Reykjavík. Nonetheless, if you are visiting the region, you must bear in mind that the plume from Holuhraun can potentially cause respiratory problems; and there have
For more information check out www.livefromiceland.is
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Help needed at Háafell
Saving the Icelandic goat When the Norse settlers came to Iceland they had to bring with them all livestock such as sheep, cows, horses, probably pigs and hens too and of course, goats. by Dominique Plédel Jónsson Photos: Kristinn Magnusson
oats used to be very common in Iceland, and you can read their history through the topology all over the country as many names are connected to goats: they all include the word “geit,” the Icelandic word for goat, such as Geitháls, Geitfjall and many more.
The poor man’s cow
Goat milk was the main reason for goat farming and after the 18th century the goat was sometimes called “the poor man’s cow” but from the beginning sheep have been culturally more important than goats and easier to keep since they could run more or less wild in the heaths and mountains after being milked for some time. Later the cows took over as a milk providers, as quantities of milk (and thereof skyr) were more important. The history of the Icelandic goats has had its ups and downs. There’s no evidence of import of goats to Iceland after the settlement in the 9th and 10th century which means the genetic makeup of the Icelandic goats was isolated and has remained unchanged for centuries. Registration of goats began in 1703 and since then the goat population has rocked from under 1000 animals up to 3000 (around 1930). It was all the way down to under 100 in 1885 and 1960. In 1960 there was growing concern that the breed would simply become extinct and small grants were offered to farmers for keeping up to 20 goats. This idea has proven to be just as dangerous as it was positive: small herds of goats or other animals aren‘t sustainable and goat farming turned into hobby farming, without the possibility of marketing the farmers’ products (too small quantities), therefore making the breed unappealing for farmers. Today the population of Icelandic goats is fragmented into very small herds; 78% of the breeders keep 1-10 goats each and the average is 4.7 goats per herd. That is where Jóhanna comes into the story. In 1999 Jóhanna Bergmann Þorvaldsdóttir, a farmer at Háafell in Borgarfjörður, about 110 km from Reykjavík, was asked by a head veterinary to take over a herd of goats which was going to be slaughtered after their farmer decided to turn to other activities. She said yes and now she has a herd of 190 animals on winter fodder, which means around 400 goats and kids in the summer months. Thanks to her dedication, her breeding herd is one of the very few in Iceland
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offering a genetic diversity, a common problem in small popu lations, and some specific traits, such as colors and hornless goats, are only found in Jóhanna’s herd. It might be added that these goats have some serious acting skills as seen in an epic dragon scene in the fourth season of popular TV series Game of Thrones. Yes, these were Jóhanna’s goats getting attacked by Daeneryes’ dragon and now they are under a different but equally serious threat. Small grants from different funds have been used to support the farm, but the official grant for 20 goats, which has been on the government’s agenda since the sixties, is not much of a help. Legislation in Iceland bans the production of raw milk cheese and the investment for a full dairy production is far too high and unrealistic. Without being really able to sell her products, and even though people come by in great numbers to visit the the farm, Jóhanna got caught in the 2008 bank collapse; her bank loans accumulated interest and led the farm straight into bankruptcy.
Goodness triumphs To save Háafell farm from being auctioned off by the bank last September, a fund-raising action was launched under the title “Save Háafell Goat Farm” on Facebook. Crowd funding goes through Indiegogo: www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-theicelandic-goat-from-extinction. The crowd funding has gotten a lot of attention but to save the goats a great effort is still needed.
The role of leadership The Icelandic authorities are not only among the states who signed the Rio Declaration in 1992, but rules have been implemented in the local law stating that they are responsible for sustaining biodiversity by all possible means when the danger of extinction is at stake. It can’t be the responsibility of an individual to fund the rescue of a breed in danger of extinction… Those rules apply here, since no one can predict what will happen to the goat herd if the farm gets auctioned off by the bank. Currently, there‘s still a long way to go to save the goats of Háafell. These fancy goat portraits where taken at Háafell by photographer Kristinn Magnusson and are for sale. All proceeds go to the “Save Háafell Goat Farm” fund raising. Visit www.kmphoto.is/goats to check out more pretty goats and maybe get one or two to decorate your walls.
The Lebowski Bar Laugavegur 20a +354 552 2300 email@example.com www.lebowskibar.is
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 Miami-sunshine yellow that will cheer even the dullest of days. Dine and jive Lebowski Bar really captures the diner style with cosy booths and a fabulous jukebox containing over 1,600 songs guaranteed to get those hips swaying. If that’s not enough there’s a DJ on every night of the week so you won’t feel the pressure of selecting all the music by yourself. The menus are the biggest in Iceland … no literally! Their physical dimensions are huge! Doesn’t everyone say that size really does matter? Try their amazing burgers, there’s cheese, bacon, a béarnaise sauce option and succulent beef tenderloin. If that’s not enough, choose from one of the 12 kinds of milkshakes to go with it. “Careful man, there’s a beverage here!” Jeffrey ‘the Dude’ Lebowski, the protagonist of the Coen brother’s comedy, is renowned for his penchant for ‘White Russians’ – vodka based cocktails featuring coffee liqueurs and cream or milk. The Lebowski Bar has taken this now-iconic drink to a new level, offering an astounding 18 varieties of White Russian, along with an extensive bar list. 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)
Bowling at the bar The real icing on the Lebowski cake, however, is the bar’s genuine bowling lane – it’s a classic. How many bars have a bowling lane? In Iceland, not many, unless you count the bars at actual bowling alleys that certainly don’t have the cool vibe of 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 before 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 36
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Lavabarinn Lækjargata 6a Inquiries and booking: Phone: +354 845 88 68 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the center of the scene Lavabarinn represents what Reykjavik is famous for … nightlife! Admit it, you’re not here to collect stamps. You’re here to travel, take photos and brag about it all while sitting at a fantastic lounge drinking delicious cocktails. That’s exactly what the Lavabarinn is all about and the architecture and design is beautiful.
After drinking magical cocktails that taste like paradise, why not move down to the lower floor and shake it to some high class music by hot DJ’s from all over the world.
Lavabarinn focuses on high quality cocktails, mixed by highly skilled bartenders. The age limit is 25 so leave the kids with the babysitter and dress up. This is no place for sneakers and hoodies. If you require VIP services, then this is your place. Lavabarinn has a secret room with a secret door that leads up to the top floor; very 007. The VIP service doesn’t stop there as you’ll have your own private drink elevator, private bathroom and security to hold off all your fans. After drinking magical cocktails that taste like paradise, why not move down to the lower floor and shake it to some high class music by hot DJ’s from all over the world. It doesn’t hurt that Lavabarinn also has a Funktion-One sound system, the most respected sound system in the world. Downstairs also has a large make-up room for everyone that chooses to freshen up while in there and seats to cool down after a great dance session. There’s even an excluded outdoor smoking area for those who are absolutely smokin’ and they can bring their drinks along for the break. You won’t be disappointed by either the cocktails or the music at Lavabarinn. You might want to get in early before the line starts and secure your spot. If it’s nightlife you seek, it’s nightlife you’ll find at Lavabarinn.
Open: Thursdays from 5pm-1am—Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm-4:30 am. Happy hour Thursdays-Saturdays from 5-10pm. That’s perfect. Issue five
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 pilgrimage to the pub’s humble door. Located at the very heart of downtown Reykjavik, the walls of the English Pub are adorned with hundreds of photographs – like an album of the city’s history just waiting to be explored over a quiet beer. A sporting chance Live sporting coverage is amply catered for, with a choice of 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.
Vegamót Vegamótastíg 4 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 511 3040 email@example.com 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.
Try their excellent selection of good beers. Every day there is a special offer on bottled beers worth a taste.
The restaurant has been popular for many years, perhaps because of its wonderful quality of being an all-in-one, restaurant, café and bar. You‘ll never want to leave! 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 shelt ered 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.
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 location 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 selections and offers everything from breakfast to a fantastic dinner.
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Sitting down for a coffee has a magnetic effect on Iceland’s most talented artists and writers. Smokers can have a seat on a heated patio with service all day. Over the summer, this place really comes alive. The yard is completely sheltered from the wind, allowing you to enjoy food and beverages in the bright sunlight. Thursday to Sunday is usually packed with people from all over the world. It’s a great place to meet strangers for some interesting story sharing. Live bands play on Fridays and Saturdays, guaranteeing a crowd before all the popular DJ’s hit the floor with party tunes from 01:00-04:30 AM. The menu consists of great selections and offers everything from breakfast to a fantastic dinner. Hressingarskálinn offers Icelandic food for curious visitors. You can always try the traditional Icelandic meat soup. If not, there’s lamb or the fish stew – You won’t be disappointed. Hressingarskálinn is stylish and old at the same time, a history well preserved. Check out Hressingar skálinn for great prices and awesome fun!
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 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 five
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 brimming Icelandic bar and café scene - a perfect setting for a small group of friends to reminisce over the good old days or for a first date. Be sure to taste David’s “wine of the week” or let his fair beer prices amaze you. 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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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 concept is a mixture of warm modern Icelandic feel with international touches and the furniture of designer Tom Dixon playing the central role. The restaurant is on two floors with an open kitchen and a mighty bar. Both floors are divided into spaces with cozy leather couches and a variety of different table settings. Kol Restaurant centers on the bar where the country’s best cocktail 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 five
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 inde pendence 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 44
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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
Our kitchen is open 17.00–23.00 sun.–thu. 17.00–24.00 fri.–sat.
sushisamba Þingholtsstræti 5 • 101 Reykjavík Tel 568 6600 • sushisamba.is
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
RESTAURANT- BAR Vesturgötu 3B | 101 Reykjavík | Tel. 551 2344 | www.tapas.is Issue five
Kaldi Bar Laugavegur 20b 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 581 2200 www.facebook.com/KaldiBarCafe
A breath of fresh air
Cool as Kaldi Kaldi Bar is one of Iceland’s most unique bars. An oasis in central Reykjavík. It might not be spacious but it makes up for it with great relaxing atmosphere in a rustic setting. Besides the congenial atmosphere, there’s a great outside seating area in a cozy backyard. Known for its wide collection of local micro brews both on draft and in bottles, Kaldi Bar is very popular among locals who check in at happy hour to get their fill of the unfiltered Kaldi brew. Drop by and get to know everybody, they might even give you some good tips on how to become a local.
Kaldi Bar is one of Iceland’s most unique bars. An oasis in central Reykjavík. It might not be spacious but it makes up for it with great relaxing atmosphere in a rustic setting. 46
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Opening Hours Sunday-Thursday: 12:00 noon - 01:00 am Friday & Saturday: 12:00 noon - very late Price list Beer on draft 0.5 – 1,100 IKR Glass of vine – 1,200 IKR Happy hour 16:00-19:00 Beer on draft 0.5 – 650 IKR Glass of vine – 650 IKR
Tapashouse - Ægisgarður 2 - Sólfellshúsið - 101 Reykjavik Issue five 47 +354 512 81 81 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.tapashouse.is
Just a moment …
We love getting WOW moments from our guests. Please keep them coming! Have you ever gotten such an awesome photo that you think the world deserves to see it? We love it when you share, and those who share a WOW moment have a chance to win round-trip tickets with WOW air, which means another great chance for a WOW moment. Send in your WOW moment through moments.wow.is or moments.wowiceland.co.uk and you could be one of those happy snappers. Here are some WOW moments so you can check out the competition. Don’t forget – if you live at any of WOW air’s destinations you could send in a WOW moment from your hometown to win tickets to our hometown.
le road rgettab “An unfo oment on a Wm trip WO elandic empty Ic nning ly te tu s comple g n o road am ndscapes.” la Anna Sent by
“I flew to Ic incredib eland to see th le sight it was, w e erupting volc lava sho ano – a atc o n Sent by t into the sky – hing the hot m olt a real W Sophie Carr OW exp en erience !”
“Team jump at cial Jokulsarlon gla lagoon … !” It spells HOORAY Sent by Klaudia Kristina
“Me and m Austria.” y friend in Sent by Andri J arron
“This is Bergtora Emma. She’s 4 years old and went to Spain (Alicante) this summer. Here she is at the beach for the first time; a total WOW moment.” Sent by Unnur B. Johnsen
Let us tag along @ us to your travelgrams with @wowair and tag your awesome photos with #wowair or #wowmoment.
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“By she er got to e luck we xperien ce the Le M a parade rcé of drag on and fire our last night in Ba Sent by rcelona.” Styrmir Bjartur Karlsso n
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
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We were born for the USA
WOW air has just announced its plans for intercontinental flights. That means cheap flights to America y‘all!
or over a year everyone at WOW air have been working hard to make the American dream come true, starting with applying for and being granted an AOC certificate in 2014. Understandably there is a lot of joy at the WOW air headquarters as the day to deliver the news of WOW air’s U.S. flight schedule has finally come. “Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to live and work in Boston, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Montreal. During those years I traveled extensively across North America and have a lot of good friends and memories from those years. Therefore I am personally very excited about starting our flights to the U.S.A.” said WOW air’s CEO, Skuli Mogensen about the new routes.
3 2 1 GO!
Airbus A319 - 144 seats
Airbus A320 - 174 seats
Airbus A320 - 174 seats
Two new destinations WOW air will launch two new U.S. destinations, Boston via Logan International Airport and Was hington, D.C. via Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). Flights to Boston will start on 27 March 2015 and Boston will become a whole year destination for WOW air with six flights a week arriving at 5:30 PM local time and departing 6:55 PM. BWI really is a 3 for 1 destinations with Washing ton, D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis within an hour’s driving distance. Flights to BWI will commence on 4 June 2015 and for the time being BWI will be a summer destination with five flights a week arriving at 5:55 PM local time and departing at 7:25 PM.
Airbus A320 - 174 seats
To really connect the continents WOW air plans to add new Airbus 321 aircrafts with a flight range of 2,900 nautical miles to their fleet of three Airbus 320s and one Airbus 319. Operating with aircrafts made in this millennium means they are more fuel efficient and have lower maintenance needs, thus saving on expenses and leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Everybody wins! In a recent interview with WOW magazine Arnaud Demeusois, A320 Family Marketing Director at Airbus said: “Today, the A321 offers a step change in fuel efficiency. A 757 typically burns 25% more fuel than the A321ceo (current engine option). […] The A321 advanced technology also allows for lower maintenance cost. For example, all systems on board this aircraft report live their status to a centralized computer.” Demeusois added that the A321’s CO2 emissions were also 25% lower than the Boeing 757 and that on the whole the Airbus 320 Family was much quieter.
Airbus A321 - 200 seats
Airbus A321 - 200 seats
Cheap flights to all of WOW air’s U.S. and European destinations in 2015 are now available through WOW air’s webpage, www.wowair.com. Hop aboard!
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The tale of Lucky Leif By offering cheap flights to and from America WOW air will help Europeans follow in the footsteps of Leif Erikson. But who was this Leif Erikson character and where does he fit into all this? By Marvin Lee Dupree Photos: Kristinn Magnusson
verybody knows who discovered America, correct? Others might argue that this question is faulty, because, apparently it is difficult to be the discoverer of a continent that other people already inhabited. Nonetheless, the “discovery” of the “New World” led to increased affluence in the world and credit should go to where credit is due. Of course, there have been numerous films and television depictions, as well as countless paintings showing Christopher Columbus as the explorer who discovered the New World. Many of these cultural products have emphasized the heroic aspect of Columbus, and Columbus Day is still celebrated in most parts of the United States and various South American countries.
The Greenlander’s Saga In popular culture, Vikings have often been depicted as murderous marauders that went around plundering and were the medieval equivalent of terrorists. However, some Vikings were pioneers and settlers that left their indelible mark on Western culture in a more peaceful manner. In fact, one of Iceland’s most prominent denizens Leif Erikson, or Leif the Lucky as he is also known in the English-speaking world, is considered to be the first European to discover America. Leifur Eiríksson or Leif Erikson was born over one thousand years ago, around five hundred years before the Genonese
explorer. Exploring the world was appar ently in Leifur’s genes, who’s father Erik the Red founded a colony of settlers in Greenland. But despite being the first European to set foot on American soil, Leifur was technically not the first person “to see” this continent. Grænlendinga Saga (Greenlander’s Saga) recounts a tale of how Bjarni Herjólfsson was actually the first to “see” America, when he was blown off course on his way to Greenland while searching for his parents, but he did not wish to set foot on this new land, relegating himself to just a footnote in the history of Western civilization. So, if you wish to offer up snide trivia questions regarding medieval history, this fact might score you a fair amount of points in that department.
Leif was the first European person to set his foot in America, and as such he and his father’s exploits are extensively docu mented in the Icelandic Sagas.
Wines or meadows? Fortunately, Leif the Lucky turned out to be a more congenial character than his father. In the sagas, Leif is described as a “large, strongly-built man, intelligent, with an energetic temperament, moderate in all things.” As for Leif’s discovery of
Like father like son? Leif was the first European person to set his foot in America, and as such he and his father’s exploits are extensively documented in the Icelandic Sagas. From the sources, it is apparent that Eiríkur Þorvaldsson or Erik the Red was indeed a bit of a sociopath, since he had to flee both Norway and Iceland because of his homicidal inclinations; and he is also the person responsible for the great confusion that still exists nowadays regarding the nomenclatures, Iceland and Greenland. Yes, you can finally blame somebody for these wildly appropriate names. Because Eric the Red had to flee from Iceland, he founded a colony
of settlers as mentioned before – and in order to lure the naïve and poor souls from Iceland to this newly discovered land, Erik gave Greenland its rather deceptive name. Obviously, false adverti sing and homicide were strong points for Leifur’s father. Yet, in Erik’s defense, a mini ice age is considered to have arrived just after the settlement. From all accounts Erik was a colorful character and his nickname derives from the fact that he had red hair, although one might think it had something do with his anti-social behavior.
Leif Erikson Born Died Nationality Occupation Known for Religion Partner(s) Children Relatives
ca. 970 probably Iceland ca. 1020 probably Greenland Norse/Icelandic Explorer Discovering Vinland (Part of North America; possibly Newfoundland) Norse paganism; converted to Christianity ca. 999 Thorgunna (ca. 999) Thorgils, Thorkell Erik the Red (father), Thorvald, Thorstein and Freydís (siblings) Issue five
Vinland, this tale is told in The Saga of the Greenlanders and in The Saga of Erik the Red. Around 1000 A.D. Leif along with his crew sailed to find land beyond Greenland. On his voyage, Leifur found Helluland or “Flat Stone Land”, which is now known as Baffin Island and Markland or “Forest Land” now known as a part of Labrador and finally Vinland or modern day Newfoundland. Academics are still divided over where the name Vinland comes from; competing theories argue that Vinland is derived from vín, meaning wine. While the other theory claims that vin means meadow or pasture. Whatever theory is true, Leif has not been as lucky as Columbus in regards to fame.
In Columbus’ shadow Despite being the first discoverer of North America, Leif has received scant posthumous fame in comparison to Columbus. Perhaps, it can be blamed on poor PR but Leif has unfortunately never been as popular in Northern America as Columbus. Fortunately, this might change considering there are now Internet memes celebrating Leif Erikson Day with captions such as: “Discovers North America nearly 500 years before Columbus. Doesn’t rape, pillage and commit genocide on the indigenous peoples.” Yet, hitherto Leif has not been well known in popular culture, at least in Am erica. This was made painfully evident on Jaywalking, a popular segment on the Jay Leno Show. When “jaywalkers” were asked whether or not they knew Leif Erikson, it turned out that none of the people knew about Leif but some did think the name was associated with the mobile company Ericsson. Perhaps, the historical capital of modern Americans has eroded somewhat, considering that the first Technicolor film with a soundtrack was the film The Viking, which had Leif the Lucky in a considerable role. In the film, Leif is portrayed as a sympathetic Christian in comparison to his bloodthirsty and pagan counterparts, especially in comparison to his own father Erik the Red.
A statue to his name Despite living in the shadow of Columbus due to dearth of people cognizant of his exploits, Leif has been recognized in North America, especially by North American immigrants of Scandinavian descent. His legacy was passed on by these Nordic immigrants and this would have substantial effect on American identity. Evidence of this can be clearly seen as the first of many statues in honor of Leif was erected in Boston in 1887. It was a popular belief at the time that Vinland had indeed been Cape Cod (rather than the northern tip of Newfound land as is currently believed). Another statue by the same artist, Anne Whitney, was erected in Milwaukee as well, and then another in Chicago at the turn of
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the twentieth century. In fact, by 1925 Leif Erikson was beginning to be known among large segments of the American population. When celebrating the centenary of the first arrival of Nordic immigrants to America, then President Calvin Coolidge stated at the Norse-American centennial, held in Minnesota, that Leif had been the first European to find America. Coolidge even went so far as to state that the Scandinavian people and their character were in essence “peculiarly American,” while also glorifying the positive aspects of the Nordic race. Regardless of these populist sentiments and vote baiting sound bites, Leif became even better known during the latter half of the 20th century and additional statues of him were later erected in St Paul, Minnesota and in Seattle, Washington where they still stand today.
Leif Erikson Day All of these events culminated with the observance of Leif Erikson Day in the United States. In 1930 Wisconsin became the first state to officially celebrate Leif Erikson Day as a state holiday and a year later Minnesota adopted it. In the fifties and sixties most other states followed
Despite living in the shadow of Columbus due to dearth of people cognizant of his exploits, Leif has been recognized in North America, especially by North American immigrants of Scandinavian descent.
suit and in 1964 the United States Con gress requested that president Lyndon B. Johnson ratify the day as a federal holiday celebrating America’s Nordic and Scandinavian roots. In 1968, Leif received the honor of having a commemorative stamp issued on Leif Erikson Day, which is on the 9th of October each year. The choice of day actually has nothing to do with Leif Erikson since it was intended to recog nize the first organized group of immigrants from Scandinavia, or Norway, in 1825. Well, now that you know the historical mumbo jumbo, you might still be wond ering how Leif got the catchy moniker of “lucky.” Not only did he manage to discover the “New World,” but on his way back to Greenland, Leif and his crew managed to rescue some shipwrecked people. Considering how adventurous Leif was, it should not come as a surprise that Icelander’s named the only terminal at their international airport in honor of this great explorer, The Leif Erikson Terminal. Iceland also honors Leif with a statue in front of Iceland’s largest and most majestic church, Hallgrímskirkja. If you’re still hankering to learn more about one of Iceland’s greatest sons, you can read all about him in The Vinland Sagas.
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This ship has sailed The Vikingworld Museum, located in Reykjanesbær approximately 40 minute drive from Reykjavík, gives an extraordinary glimpse into the sea voyager’s life during Iceland’s settlement. by Inga Thorunn Waage Photos: Curtesy of The Vikingworld Museum
he greatest attraction of the muse um is without a doubt the Viking ship Íslendingur (The Icelander) built in 1996 by Gunnar Marel Eggertsson. In fact, Íslendingur is a replica of a 9th century Viking ship that was found during an excavation in Norway in 1882.
In 2000 Gunnar Marel Eggertsson paid homage to the Vikings and their discov ery of North America, when he sailed Íslendingur from Iceland to New York. This voyage celebrated the 1000 year anniversary of Leifur Eirikson and friends setting foot in North America.
In 2000 Gunnar Marel Eggertsson, sailed Íslendingur from Iceland to New York.
Are you ready to hop on board? The Vikingworld Museum is located at the seaside in the town of Reykjanesbær. The museum offers five exhibitions as well as a settlement zoo, a playground and an outdoor classroom. Visitors can view the great Viking ship from all directions and even go on board. Check out www.vikingaheimar.is for more information.
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City Sightseeing Departure: 09:00 Price: 5.500 ISK
Whale Watching Departure: Various Price from: 9.500 ISK
Northern Lights Departure: 19:00*, 20:00 Price: 6.400 ISK Northern Lights Deluxe New Departure: 19:30* Price: 13.900 ISK
* From 15. October
Golden Circle Departures: 08:30, 10:30, 13:00 Price from: 9.000 ISK
Price from: 2.200 ISK
Price from: 1.700 ISK
Book your tour now! Contact Information - 24 hour booking service Book now at www.grayline.is or call +354 540 1313 Bus Terminal, Hafnarstræti 20, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland Tel. +354 540 1313 | email@example.com | grayline.is Issue five
Going the distance
The daring explorer In all honesty, there is no shortage of strong, empowering and independ ent women in Iceland. Not now, nor in the past. To mention but a few famous examples: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the world’s first elected female head of state, Björk Guðmundsdóttir, a worldwide celebrated artist for her groundbreaking music, and Annie Mist Þórisdóttir, the only female to win twice at the Reebok CrossFit Games. by I. Thorunn Photos: Courtesy of Þórunn Erna Clausen
ne of the earliest records of strong females is found in the Icelandic Sagas. The Saga of Erik the Red and The Greenlander’s saga, both written in the 13th century, focus on the dangerous voyages of explorers into the unknown world west of Iceland, and their daring quests for new settlements. Eric the Red and his son, Leifur Eirikson, have been famed for discovering Greenland and North America, and history has celebrated their discoveries of the ‘New World’ but Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir, Erik the Red’s daughter-in-law and Leif Erikson’s sister-in-law, was not any less of a great explorer and her exploits depict a series of incredible adventures worth mentioning in any good school textbook. The Icelandic Sagas serve as a great source of information about the life and struggles of the Icelandic settlers. First of all, we learn that Mr. Columbus was very late. Some 500 years before he sailed off from Spain to discover the ‘New World,’ the nomadic Icelanders had stumbled upon it and made an honest attempt to live there.
Guðríður Þorbjarnar dóttir was an incredi ble adventurer and a brave person and it is safe to assume that few men or women of that time travelled such great lengths as she did in her life.
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not get along with the native people who had lived in America for thousands of years. The Vikings took their leave and went back to Iceland. Guðríður and her husband settled down in Glaumbær in northern Iceland, built a church and after his death spent her last days as a nun in solitary. Guðríður had one more adventure up her sleeve as the last chapter of Saga of Erik the Red recounts how she made the journey south, presumably to Rome where so she could meet the Pope.
Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir was an incredi ble adventurer and a brave person and it is safe to assume that few men or women of that time travelled such great lengths as she did in her life. In fact, she was called ‘Guðríður the Far-Travelled’; a better suitable name is hard to imagine for such a great explorer.
A life of extremes
Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir not only man aged in her lifetime to travel across the Atlantic Ocean becoming one of the first
It is not hard to understand why Iceland ers have for decades been fascinated by Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir and her life’s story. Books and essays have focused on this far-travelled adventurer and now there is a play, written by Brynja Benediktsdottir and directed by María
settlers in North America, later in life she walked to Rome, where she informed the Pope about Christian life in Iceland and Greenland. Don’t forget that in those days travelling consisted of boat trips lasting months on the tumultuous sea, horseback riding (for those fortunate enough to have a horse) and two good feet. No classy WOW airplanes, fancy cars or Segways to carry you to your desired destination.
Ellingsen, about the travels of Guðríður Þorbjarnadóttir, set on a stage very fitting. The play is shown on board the ship Íslendingur in the Viking World Museum in Reykjanes. The actress Þórunn Erna Clausen takes the audience back in time and brings to life the extreme experience of the explorers and settlers; their good and hard times, in a new and unknown world.
Adventures a foot
The far-travelled Guðríður Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir was the granddaughter of a slave who had gained freedom in Iceland and his family became a respectable family in Laugarbrekka, a farm on a western peninsula of Iceland called Snæfellsnes. Guðríður was a young woman when she moved to Greenland with her family and the aforementioned explorer, Erik the Red. In Greenland she married Erik’s son, Þorsteinn but he died before they succeeded in their voyage to the new land. Guðríður then married Leif’s good friend, Þorfinnur karlsefni who went a long on the journey to Vinland, the name that Leif and his fellow explorers gave the newly discovered land in North America. She was soon pregnant with their son, Snorri, who was the first European child to be born in North America. However, the Vikings did not stay in Vinland for long as they did
Between the continents
Thingvellir: A site to behold One could argue that Iceland is most famous for its innovative music, breath-taking nature, questionable eating habits, and cranky volcanoes with tongue twisting names, not to mention its unexpected leading role in the economic crisis that shook the world in 2008. But there is so much more than meets the eye on this exotic and extreme island. Nestled in the North Atlantic Ocean, this big island has gems in abundance ready to be discovered. by I. Thorunn Photos: Thinkstock.com
hingvellir carries a monumental meaning for the Icelandic people and for all fans of democracy, as the oldest existent parliament in the world was founded there by no other than the blood-thirsty and politically savvy Vikings in 930. Again, in 1944, Thingvellir became of significant and historical importance as the place where Icelanders declared independence from Denmark after a very long time of being colonized by their Scandinavian cousins. But Thing vellir is also a World Heritage Site and not only for historical reasons but also due to its breathtaking nature and unique geographical and geological position on the world map. Thingvellir, located where two tectonic plates meet; not the North American plate and the Eurasian plate as is often stated but the North American plate and the much smaller Hreppafleki plate (covering only about one tenth the surface area of Iceland). This tectonic plate rarely gets mentioned but it’s wedged between the American and Eurasian plates that form the rest of Iceland leaving a narrow rift between itself and the North American plate. There is no better place to examine this wondrous gap as the watery nooks and crannies of Thingvallavatn Lake in the Thingvellir National Park.
scape, like a never-to-be-completed pict ure being painted on a canvas through the millennia.
The silver lining Silfra is hailed as one of the best scuba diving places in the world. Silfra is a rift in the Thingvallavatn Lake where the adjac ent plates drift apart about 2 cm a year creating a magnificent underworld display. Back in the days of yore, the melted ice from a glacier located 50 km north of Thingvellir ran through a river that poured into Thingvallavatn Lake. The volatility of Icelandic nature was as great back then as it is now, a volcano called Skjaldbreidur, erupted close to Thingvellir in those days, blocking the river with its hot and steaming lava This incredible union of fire and ice resulted in water slowly trickling through the old lava, leav ing us with the clearest and most pristine water. The icy water may seem a bit daunting for some but its clearness gives divers an extraordinary underwater view of over 100 m. Various shades of blue and turquoise colors can be seen in the Silfra
Trapped between two continents? Iceland is largely positioned on a divergent boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. When the two plates move apart, volcanic materials rise up naturally, since Iceland also lies above a hotspot—explaining all the volcanic action and the explosive hot water that’s bubbling up on the island. There is plenty of geological action here and thanks to this, Icelandic landscape has been formed by the dramatic forces of nature with spectacular results. When the Eurasian and North American plates move, it results in an earthquake. At Thingvellir, the tectonic plates drift apart from each other and the land descends as a result. These ever-moving tectonic plates create a constantly changing land
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This black sphere shows how the world would look without water or plants, the red lines indicating the borders of the tectonic plates. Iceland is located on top of that split volcanic line in the middle.
When the two plates move apart, volcanic materials rise up naturally, since Iceland also lies above a hotspot— explaining all the volcanic action and the explosive hot water that’s bubbling up on the island.
Lagoon, leaving divers lost for words to describe this wondrous phenomenon. This breathtaking underwater landscape is somewhat like an impressionist painting with its pitch-black lava rocks and caves, taupe sand, green algae and all seen through the clearest blue water. Silfra is truly a unique and magical phenomenon and divers travel from all corners of the earth to experience its wonders. Be sure not to miss out on visiting Thingvellir during your stay in Iceland and see for yourself how it is truly is a sight to behold.
Photo: Courtesy of Dive.is
Navel of the world
Iceland is on the way by Marvin Lee Dupree
Are you wondering why WOW air, a start-up low-cost carrier from Iceland, is planning intercontinental flights? What’s the deal with these Icelanders anyway and how is it that Iceland, in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean, has become a hub for intercontinental flights? Well, it just so happens that Iceland is not really out of the way – it’s on the way!
n Journey to Center of The Earth the passage to the center of the Earth is located within Snæfellsjökull, and in the middle ages, Mt. Hekla was considered to be a passageway to Hell. In other cultural circles such as Nazi and occult ones, people believed that Iceland was linked to the mythical Atlantis. Evidently, throughout history, Iceland has occupied a space in people’s mind as a gateway to the fantastical. Even recently, people have come to Iceland in search for the Holy Grail, believing that Dante gave instructions where to locate it in Iceland in his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy. The idea that Iceland could possibly hold a central position on the Earth does not have to be so incredulous considering the aforementioned details. During the Cold War, America expanded as a geopolitical superpower into Iceland and with the influx of
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American post bellum money, Iceland enjoyed prosperity on a level it had never experienced before
A prime location Because of Iceland’s geographical importance during the 20th century, the American military maintained a presence on the island for over half a century as a defense against the communist threat. While the Americans lived and worked in Iceland they had a profound effect on Icelandic culture, everything from literature and films to fashion. On the other hand, Iceland has always had deep cultural affinity with Europe and in many ways, Iceland is divided between Europe and North America figuratively and literally as Iceland is located on both the Eurasian and the North
American tectonic plate. This means that you can basically walk from Europe to North America since these two continents are connected by a certain ridge on the Reykjanes peninsula. Even after the American military left Iceland due to a shift in geopolitical policy after 9/11, the rest of the world or at least the European Union, China and Russia directed their eyes toward Iceland because of its strategic geological position and its proximity to natural resources; therefore firmly placing Iceland in the middle of an alignment between various superpowers. If you are skeptical, then you need look no further than last year when Iceland became the first European country to sign a bilateral free trade agreement with China. In addition to this the official Icelandic foreign policy is to cultivate trade with Eastern Asia and especially China, while bolstering
Iceland’s influence in the Arctic Circle, as studies have indicated that there are plenty of untapped resources under the Arctic Ocean floor.
Iceland in the middle Essentially, Iceland wants the best of all worlds; to belong in Europe through the EEA, while also enjoying diplomatic relations with China and America. Of course, this should come as no surprise since this is a nation that boasts of the first European to find North America, as well as Viking explorers who sought their fame and fortune in one of the most opulent cities of the world during those times, Constantinople. In fact, Icelanders have a bold history of venturing into the thick of things. In 20th century aviation history, Iceland has also functioned as a gateway to the world because of its favorable location in the North Atlantic; only five hours from the east coast of North America, and less than three hours from the United Kingdom and continental Europe, it’s the perfect stop-over between the two continents. Have you ever wondered why flight routes appear to be arced and much longer than an actual straight line? This arc is known as the “great circle route” and because of the Earth’s shape it actually is a straight line, it only looks curved on a flat map. Because of this arc, Iceland is actually smack down in the middle of the busiest intercontinental traffic route in the world. And now, due to the receding Arctic sea ice, Iceland could literally become part of the economic center of the world in the foreseeable future.
Viking for a day Have you ever wondered what you’d look like if you were a Viking. Well, now’s your chance to find out.
ecently opened on Laugavegur 11, MINK Viking Portrait Studio specializes in the art of turning mere modern people into fierce Vikings. MINK Studios proprietor is Guðmann Þór Bjargmundsson who’s had a successful career in both photography and film over the years, for example he’s worked on the popular TV series Game of Thrones. In the MINK studio you’ll find everything you need to become a Viking; clothes,
weapons and other Viking paraphernalia The main goal is to create realistic, powerful Vikings. To top it off they have cool driftwood for a background. What a cool memory to take home from Iceland. Once in front of the camera you can see how people literally become fiercer, their inner Viking revealed. You could say that there is a Viking within all of us and people who have been transformed in this way say the experience is unforgettable.
Check out the MINK Viking Potrait Studio on Laugavegur 11 (walk in from Smidjustigur) in downtown Reykjavik and set you inner Viking free. For more information and photos visit www.mink.is and MINK’s Facebook page.
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The main goal is to create realistic, powerful Vikings. To top it off they have cool driftwood for a background. What a cool memory to take home from Iceland.
All you need in one place • Skólavör›ustígur 19 tel.: (+354) 552 1890 SWEATERS AND SOUVENIERS, NO KNITTING MATERIAL:
• Radisson Blu, Hótel SAGA tel.: (+354) 562 4788 • Laugavegur 53b tel.: (+354) 562 1890 Issue five
WOW that’s deep!
Under the glacier Glaciers can be found around the globe but that doesn’t change the fact that they are pretty rare. In Iceland we have over ten majestic glaciers around the country and one of them, Vatnajökull, is the largest glacier in Europe. Next May we can also take pride in having one of the largest man-made glacier tunnels in the world situated in our second largest glacier, Langjökull. by Kamilla Gudmundsdottir
tanding on top of a glacier is truly a re markable experience. These remnants of previous ages cover about 11% of Iceland. They make strange sounds, can be dangerous, are constantly mov ing and changing and that is exactly why it is not surprising that tourists flock to see and experience Iceland’s glaciers. In May 2015 you can take your glacial experiences one step further when the Langjökull Ice Cave opens. Then you can explore a huge tunnel carved into the glacier and lit with lithium lighting. Fully equipped with smaller rooms for housing art shows, educational material and a nice lounge restaurant, the Langjokull Ice Cave will even have a chapel. How’s that for a unique wedding venue?
Made by the best Langjökull (Icelandic for “long glacier”) is the second largest ice cap in Iceland and is situated in the west of the Icelandic highlands. When fully built, the tunnels will stretch 800 m into the glacier and rank as one of the largest man-made ice tunnels in the world. The construction of the ice cave has been going on for four years and the tunnels are designed to look natural and provide a rare insight into the evolution and changes of glaciers. Overseeing the construction is a team of designers, engineers and our best geo logist and glacier experts. When the tunnels open in May they will have reached 500 m in length and go 30 m below the surface of the ice cap, creating a unique opportunity to see how cracks in the ice close and how rays of sunlight manage to squeeze their way under the ice.
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Is it Safe? Since glaciers are constantly moving and changing and earthquakes and eruptions are quite common in Iceland one might wonder how safe an 800 m ice tunnel really is but rest assured that this construction has been tried and tested and is absolutely safe. For a whole year before opening the cave to the public it will be monitored by a team of experts that are constantly reviewing the structure. The trip over the ice cap to reach the tunnel is made in a very secure eight wheel mountain truck and just for good measure, safety precautions like helmets and ice cleats are available when needed. We can hardly wait to take a stroll along the ice tunnel and see this man-made wonder with our own eyes. How about you?
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Thermal hermal pools and b baths in n Reykjavik are a so source of health, relaxation and pureness. All of the city´s swimming pools have several hot pots with temperatures ranging from 37˚ to 42˚C (98˚–111˚F). The pools are kept at an average temperature of 29˚ C (84˚ F).
Tel: +354 411 5000 • www.spacity.is
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Reykjavik's Thermal Pools
A Year in Fire and Ice
Falling in love in Iceland Photographer Katherine Loveless suffered a great loss when her brother Alex lost his battle with cancer. In his memory, Katherine decided to travel to Iceland, a country her brother adored but never had the chance to visit. Katherine recently published a photography memoir called “A Year in Fire and Ice” where she describes her journey through photos. by Ólöf Hugrún Valdimarsdóttir Photos: Curtesy of Katherine Loveless
atherine’s brother, Alex, passed away in June 2012. A couple of weeks after his death Katherine was involved in a major car accident. The car she was driving was hit head-on by a big semitruck. All her camera equipment broke but miraculously Katherine wasn’t injured. “It was at that point where I was like ‘OK, I want to do something.’ I felt like I owed it to my brother to really live life. He’d always wanted to go to Iceland but he never managed to get there before he died so I decided to go to Iceland for him,” Katherine explains.
Unfiltered emotion Katherine’s photo memoir, “A Year in Fire and Ice” consists both of photos and text. “It notes the progress of my graphic journey and my personal journey. It’s all really honest because it’s my journal. It’s not like I was writing something that was going to be great literature, it’s just sort of vulnerable or silly or sad or
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happy. It’s my unfiltered emotion,” says Katherine. “A lot of it has to do with my brother and my mourning process. It was really fantastic to be in a place I knew was somewhere he wanted to go and to feel connected to him in that way. It was therapeutic to have that journey with my brother and his memory.”
was really sick, in the months before he died, which reminded me of how there’s authentic art to be had. Coming to Iceland was sort of me getting back on track, and rediscovering my love for photography,” says Katherine who originally comes from Utah, in the US. “It’s a desert, for the most part, and there are a lot of mountains. In Utah we have the Red Rock Country, where it’s just orange-red rocks forever, nothing else, not trees or anything; it’s really beautiful. There’s a similar feel to Iceland—the desolation is similar, but the landscape totally different. I felt comfortable in Iceland even though it was a lot different.”
Getting back on track
Katherine worked as a wedding photographer before she came to Iceland. “I was really burnt out. As a wedding photographer I felt like I was just creating people’s version of what they wanted the day to be like but it wasn’t necessarily reality. I took some photographs when my brother
During Katherine’s time in Iceland she worked as an au pair for a family in Hafnarfjörður. “I love Iceland. There’s just a really great authenticity here. People were so encouraging of what I’m doing, which was really nice,” Katie says and puts emphasis on how grateful she was for the support
from her host family, especially when it came to the photography memoir. “The landscape is so inspiring, and the weather, being so horrible one minute and so wonderful the next, always changing. The design, clothes and hairstyles here are different, enough to breathe new life and new creativity. I just love it here,” says Katherine.
The proposal took place in a fairly uncommon location as he popped the question in an ice cave on the south coast.
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Unexpectedly in love Not only has Katherine fallen in love with the country but also with one of its citizens. His name is Rúrik Karl Björnsson, a fellow photographer. The couple got acquainted on a local website for photographers and after a while decided to meet up. “I brought my friend with me to meet him, just in case he was a creeper,” Katie says and laughs. “But he wasn’t, he was wonderful. My friend eventually left and we stayed and talked for hours. Right after that we went on a photo shoot together, on the south coast. Photographing with him was amazing. There are very few people that I feel create a very good space for photography. Instead of being competitive when shooting photos they help make an environment of creativity. He did that. It was so nice,” says Katherine who lets on
how both of them were very shy and awkward in the beginning. “I had no idea if he just wanted to be photography pals or more. Dating here is so different. Finally I formulated this plan with my friend back home. I decided I would suggest we’d go watch a movie outside under the stars. We went to Bláfjöll (Blue Mountains), lay on blankets and pillows and watched a movie. That’s romantic, right? So if something was going to happen, that is the perfect setting,” says Katherine.
Viral wedding proposal It is safe to say Katherine’s schem ing worked out well seeing as Rúrik proposed to her in March this year. Katie’s mother and sister came to Iceland to visit the couple and the group set out on a ring road trip around Iceland. Rúrik was going to propose at Dyrhólaey but there was a total snowstorm so he needed to find a different setting. The proposal took place in a fairly uncommon location as he popped the question in an ice cave on the south coast. Katherine’s sister and mother were in on Rúrik’s plans and filmed the big moment. “It went viral. We just posted the video for our friends and family and
all of a sudden we were on the Huffington Post; we were in Utah at the time and two local stations wanted to do stories. It was so funny because it was so unexpected. It’s nice to share with people but very unexpected.”
Wonderful sense of community Five days after the proposal Katie went back to Utah. Her work visa was up and she had to go home. Rúrik went with her. “It was good that he could come out for a month. It’s not the best thing to have to spend time apart after you’ve spent so much time together and you’re planning a wedding.” The couple got married on September 25th in Utah and will start their lives together in USA. “It will be good to put down roots but we’ll look for opportunities to go back to Iceland, that’s for sure. People look out for each other there, there’s a wonderful sense of community. I like that it’s safe; Iceland is a good place for people. I also liked being around children as an au-pair, just seeing what their lives are like. I wish I’d grown up there, running all over lava fields and scraping my knees. I can’t imagine a better place to raise a family.”
Þúfa is an 8 meter tall hummock of grass, built from over 4,500 tons of material.
The great Þúfa Þúfa is a magical hummock-shaped viewing point in Reykjavík. This piece of artwork just recently became one of Reykjavík’s most interesting viewing points. It overlooks the concert hall Harpa, the harbor, as well as Mt. Esja. It is a place to find solitude, close to the city center, yet far enough away from the main tourist traffic to give some peace and quiet. It can be seen from many places, but is really something to experience up close. Text and photos by Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson
he artist behind Þúfa is sculptor Ólöf Nordal. She won an open competition organized by HB Grandi, a big fishing company that had been allowed to build their pre mises in a visually sensitive area in return for building an artwork next door. Þúfa was built from scratch on a new land fill and was formally opened to the public in December 2013. “The staff at HB Grandi are the pioneers on this new land. Coming from 20 different countries, cultures and religions they make up a kind of a microcosm. Þúfa is made with this colorful group of people in mind, and this is why I use archetypical images in the artwork, collective symbols which can be found in all religions of the world. Like the mountain, the spiral and the temple,” says Ólöf. Over 4,500 tons of ground material went into the making of Þúfa, which rises 8 meters up in the air and is 26 meters wide. Þúfa was built in a very old way in regards to how the grass and stone was laid down, too keep it in place. There is a walkway up the hummock and the view from the top is quite breathtaking, offering
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The view from Þúfa is magnificent and a relatively new sightseeing point.
A local whale watching boat passes Þúfa which can be seen from the Old Harbor area.
The pathway is narrow in places, but opens up as you reach the top.
a select viewing experience for both guests and locals. “I wanted Þúfa to be a destination with a meaning. The concept has a sense and feeling of all religions within it. In the beginning there is a narrow path and you have to be careful walking on the stones laid on the grass in a spiral. When you reach the top, you feel an opening and you see the horizon. You go from being introvert and careful to extrovert walking up to the top and experiencing the view. It’s a real eye opener.” “The aim of the experience of walking up Þúfa is that you can find a quiet place within. It’s a place to relax, meditate and be free with your own self. At the top, there is a small house with dried fish inside, made by people from different cultures working at the company next door who handle the fish in their own way. Funnily enough, sometimes visitors to Þúfa actually steal the fish from the small house. So they are eating the artwork, so to speak,” says Ólöf.
You can see more of Ólöf’s artwork at www.olofnordal.com. Ólöf’s artwork Þúfa has been well received by locals as well as tourists since it was formally opened.
We offers six different tours from Reykjavík Free Pick up at hotels and guest-houses
Adventure Tour with Lunch We ride along comfortable riding paths in Heiðmörk and Rauðhólar accompanied by specially trained guides. Lobster soup is served in our beautiful café. The tour is about 3 ½-4 hours, the time spent on horseback being around 1-½ hour. Max 8 people on each tour Tour from around 09:00 – 13:00 at the hotel. Tour from around 13:45 - 18:00 at the hotel. Price 11.900 isk
BOOK NOW +354 477-2222
www.reykjavikridingcenter.is Issue five
The Icelandic lopapeysa
A trendy winter necessity If you’ve never previously set foot in Iceland, especially during the winter season, chances are that you have absolutely no clue as to what a lopapeysa (lopapeysur in plural) is. Trust me, you’re not the only one. Text and photos by Donna Tzaneva
imply put, a lopapeysa is a traditional unisex Icelandic handmade sweater. The history part: The pattern and style of lopapeysa can be traced back to the 1940s or 50s, when people began to search for ways to better utilize Iceland’s available resources and therefore limit the need for importing goods.
The yarns we weave Icelandic wool comes from the Icelandic sheep and is considered one of the most versatile wool on the market. It provides unbeatable insulation and is much lighter (a major plus during the winter season) than other types of wool. Icelandic sheep have a dual-coated fleece. The inner layer is called ‘þel’ and is very soft to the touch and is considered fine wool (It basically doesn’t scratch your skin raw.) The outer layer, ‘tog’ is considered a tougher type that easily withstands weaving without splitting or breaking. When separated, the outer and inner coats are used for different woolen products but when processed together they make up the lopi yarn that’s used to make lopapeysa (lit. a sweater made of lopi yarn). The lopi yarn can only be made from the fleece of Icelandic sheep. For Icelandic knitters (and there are a lot of them) knitting that first lopapeysa is considered a great achievement and almost an inaugural piece.
Designed for the Icelandic weather Iceland has versatile weather in all seasons and the unique properties of the Icelandic sheep’s wool is probably why it has thrived so well here and also why the lopapeysa is such a popular garment. Almost every Icelander owns one, or has owned one at some time in his or her life. The lopapeysa’s main feature is the distinctive yoke that is found around its collar adding a hint of color, overall character and well, it just looks chic! It is believed that the design is inspired by Greenlanders, however, some believe there’s a dab of Turkish inspiration there as well. The lopi yarn used to manufacture this unique gar ment provides extra warmth during those long, cold Icelandic winter months and during the summer the lopapeysa replaces a parka or jacket—always handy for bright summer nights spent outdoors. To the unfamiliar eye, a lopapeysa might be mistaken for your grandma’s knitted goods but its unbeatable insulation and warm features make it the sweater of choice to local Icelanders.
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Trendy and warm Nowadays, it is slowly turning into a trendsetter: The lopa peysa is manufactured in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, colors and lengths. You can find many with zippers and buttons as well. You can make it as casual or stylish as you wish; pair it with some leggings and high heels and you’re ready for a night out or wear it with blue jeans if you’re going for the causal effortless look without having to skimp on chicness or warmth. This sweater is without a doubt the best souvenir you could possibly get for yourself or bring back for your friends and family—plus it’s got that Viking look to it, which just makes it cool. We recommend you buy one as soon as you land in Iceland to test it in the Icelandic weather.
Shopping for lopi Wondering where you can get your hands on one? Well, you’re in luck. They’re sold practically everywhere! Just stroll down Reykjavik’s main shopping street, Laugavegur, and you will notice that all tourist and clothing shops sell them. Just be sure that when choosing such a sweater that it’s truly authentic and handmade. There are a lot of sweaters that greatly resemble lopapeysa but they are often machinemade from a different kind of wool. When in doubt, check the label or simply ask a store assistant. Happy shopping!
THIS IS IT
WHALE WATCHING • HÚSAVÍK • ICELAND Akureyri
Visit The Gentle Giants up north in Húsavík – The Whale Watching Capital of Iceland Buy your ticket online at gentlegiants.is
Photo@GentleGiants: Stefán Guðmundsson
Ranked #1 attraction in Húsavík “This is what I call whale watching! wowwww”
150 YEARS OF FAMILY HISTORY IN THE BAY HÚSAVÍK
*According to TripAdvisor September 9th 2014
Photo@GentleGiants: Koen Hoekemeijer
“a Whale of a time!” · “A little piece of heaven” · “Highlight of the summer” · “The most remarkable experience I have ever had” · “Family bonding & fun with Gentle Giants” · “Exceeded my expectations” · “Everything was perfect during the whole trip!” · “Memorable experience, forever engraved in my memory” · “Best whale safari ever!”
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Where the East met the West One of the most noticeable houses in Reykjavík is Hofdi House which serves as the official reception venue to the City Council of Reykjavík. The house has a remarkable history; it was for exam ple the location, and perfect middle ground for the 1986 summit meeting of presidents Gorbachev and Reagan. Furthermore the house is said to be haunted by “The White Lady”. by Svava Jónsdóttir Photos: Kristinn Magnússon
Osushi is a unique rest
he blue ocean and the moun tains create a beautiful back drop to the picturesque Hofdi House. It almost seems like a painting without a frame. Perhaps you can even see The White Lady looking out of one of the windows.
Inhabitants Hofdi House was a wooden catalog house built in Iceland in 1909 and was among the largest villas of the town, much admired by the people who saw it. It was built for the French consul, Mr. Brillouin, who moved in with his family. The house still bears some signs of its original purpose like the abbreviation of the French Republic, F.R., and the name of the consul appearing above its inside door. You can also see various de corations such as Roman fasces with two axes. An Icelandic poet, Einar Benedikts son, once lived in the house as well as a British vice consul and later the British ambassador. It’s easy to imagine how the great view became an inspiration to the poet. The last British ambassador to live in Hofdi House was the one who reported seeing The White Lady; a ghost who apparently resided in the house. It is said that she tried his nerves so much that he persuaded the British foreign office to sell the house. The legend of a haunting in Hofdi House has even gained recog nition by the Foreign Ministry who have officially stated that; “We do not confirm or deny that the Hofdi has a ghost.” In 1958 the City of Reykjavik bought the house and restored it to its former glory as it had fallen into
disrepair. It has since been used for official receptions and meetings of the municipality.
Guests Many distinguished guests have visited the Hofdi House. Sir Winston Churchill, Marlene Dietrich, presi dents, kings, queens... Hofdi House rose to international fame in 1986 because of the summit meeting of presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan. We heard it through the grapevine that there’s a motion picture underway to commemorate that famous meeting and of course the Hofdi House will take on a leading role. Hofdi House is also the place where former Icelandic foreign minis ter, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, recog nized the independence of the Baltic States; Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, making Iceland the first country in the world to officially do that. Yes, if these walls could talk... Or per haps we can ask The White Lady?
aurant in Iceland. The method of dining involves snatching small plates from a conveyor belt. Pricing is distinguished by the color and pattern of the plate – most range between 230 - 440 ISK. Everything off the convey or belt is tasty and if you don’t really fancy sushi, you can instead choose for example teriyaki chicken, noodle salad, tempura and desserts. The vibe in Osushi is friendly and relaxed. The restaurant is located almost next door to Althingi (the parliament) which is in the heart of the city.
Pósthússtræti 13 / Borgartúni 29 / Reykjavíkurvegur 60 HF. Tel: 561 0562 / www.osushi.is Issue five
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Backcountry skiing in Iceland
Strangely enough, the first word that comes to mind when I think about skiing in Iceland, is the sea. The sea and the snowcapped mountains bordering it. Skiing all the way down to sea level, to the beach and the smell of the ocean. Text and photos: Elli Thor Magnusson
ackcountry skiing in Iceland isn’t always easy. Iceland straddles the border between the Arctic and temperate seas, between the cold air of the Arctic and the warm air masses of the lower latitudes. In layman’s terms, this can make the weather a bit funky. But, as the Icelandic saying goes “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” And although it’s kind of a cliché, it’s often the case. Storms can move in quickly and snowfall is frequently accompanied by high winds. Deep powder days are rare and can be far between. It might even rain in February. Skiing here requires a sense of adventurism and sometimes the uncommon experience can be the most rewarding. Springtime brings more stable weather, good soft corn snow and the chance to ski down slopes in the midnight sun. And beside the first descents to be skied, there are also amazing waterfalls to witness and natural geothermal pools to soak in after a hard day of touring. Adventure skiing in nature’s wonderland is the best word to describe it.
Ski to the sea There’s just something special about living on a boat; being rocked to sleep by the waves, wooed by the sound of the ocean and sailing fjord to fjord, and then waking up each day in a new luxurious backdrop with mountains to ski.
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Being on an island in the middle of the North Atlantic also has its perks. Many of the best backcountry areas are close to the sea, and it’s this nearness to the sea and the spect acular views it provides, that make skiing here so great. Standing on top of a peak in the fjords of north Iceland can make a skier’s imagination run wild. On one side, what look like endless rows of snow covered mountains stretch out to the horizon; on the other an almost emerald green sea seems to be right beneath your feet. The sea also necessitates the use of a more unconventional means of transportation; Sail/ ski-touring. What better way to access remote fjords, far removed from any roads or signs of civilization, then aboard a sailboat, a floating, mobile ski basecamp? There’s just something special about living on a boat; being rocked to sleep by the waves, wooed by the sound of the ocean and sailing fjord to fjord, and then waking up each day in a new luxurious backdrop with mountains to ski.
How to choose? “Just remember that skiing in Iceland is a sum of its parts. While the ski resorts are small, weather can be unstable and unpredictable, and the snow isn’t always perfect—with an open mind, and the desire to try something new, to walk, sail or even fly instead of being towed, you are in for, something special. “
WOW Power to the people
There are many ways you can choose to spend your time skiing in Iceland. It’s not only the realm of the experienced, ski-touring fanatic. It’s all a matter of picking the right trip, the right mission according to your skill level. For those who want to strike out on their own, Iceland has a fairly extensive road network. Small towns and fishing villages are spread throughout the island, making perfect bases for your ski adventure. There are also numerous mountain huts situated in close proximity to the mountains. Having a guide gives you many advantag es and if you don’t have a lot of experience it should be a requirement. Both Bergmenn Mountain guides (www.bergmennmountain guiedes.com) and Icelandic Mountain Guides (www.mountainguides.is) offer ski touring trips in Iceland for all levels of experience. Both companies can also help out with all the necessary equipment. For those who might cringe at the thought of hiking and sweating their way to the top, or perhaps just want to cram as much skiing as they can into a short amount of time, HeliSkiing might be the best option. Arctic Heliskiing (www.arcticheliskiing.com), Iceland’s first and most experienced heli-skiing company, offers heli-skiing trips in northern Iceland. If hanging out on a sailboat and exploring rarely skied mountains in remote fjords sounds like your cup of tea, both Aurora-Arktika (www. aurora-arktika.com) and Bergmenn Mountain Guides offer sail/skiing trips, each unique in their own way. Just remember that skiing in Iceland is a sum of its parts. While the ski resorts are small, weather can be unstable and unpredictable, and the snow isn’t always perfect—with an open mind, and the desire to try something new, to walk, sail or even fly instead of being towed, you are in for, something special. This is not the easy way. You might have to wait for a storm to pass, or for the rain to stop. But once you are skiing down that mountain in the midnight sun, toward the North Atlantic Ocean and the smell of the sea, you wouldn’t want to exchange the experience for anything.
WOW Power to the people
The victorious Workforce A WOW Cyclothon is not for the fainthearted. This great relay race is a competition of endurance and strategy and sometimes the difference between winning and losing is who can get the most sleep while crumpled up in a moving vehicle that speeds up and stops every 10-15 minutes. In our last issue we gave our readers an overview of the whole competition but it’s now time to check out the winners of the A category, where fast and competitive teams of four cyclists and two drivers raced around Iceland in record time.
OW Cyclothon begins with a group start at the Harpa Concert Hall and then cyclists ride behind a police vehicle until they reach the outermost part of the city where the police give them the go ahead to really start racing. The first changeover is allowed shortly before the cyclists venture into Hval fjörður (Whale’s Fjord). After that, changing cyclists is at every team’s discretion. Every A team has a support vehicle with two drivers who take turns driving and managing the team. Often two or more teams band together and support each other on the road for some distance before staging an attack, trying to leave the other team, or teams, behind. Even though WOW Cyclothon is such a long race, 1,332 km (the longest bicycle race in Iceland), the top teams were in heated competition all the way to the finish line, something no one had imagined.
Photos: Kristinn Magnússon
Workforce A When it was time to start the A category the rain poured down outside the Harpa Concert Hall. Seventeen teams had signed up for the A category and three teams; Örninn TREK, Workforce A and Team Hleðsla, led the race in the beginning. We got hold of Ingvar Ómarsson from the Workforce A team and got him to tell us about the race from his perspective. “The Workforce A team consisted of Emil Þór, Óskar and I,and then we recruited Tigran Korkotyan, a great cyclist from Armenia. He works for bicycle industries’, Specialized and jumped at the chance to visit Iceland and experience it in this way. Our drivers / managers were Sölvi Sig and Ingi Már. Their part cannot be under estimated because without them we would have for gotten to eat and to wake up and get ready. They took care of us and made sure we put on our helmets and gloves and basically kept us alive. They enabled us to focus on the competition 100% while they took care of the rest, and for that I am so grateful,” says Ingvar. Issue five
we’d just watch for whenever an opportunity would present itself. “When we got to Öxi both teams opted to keep on using road bikes despite the gravel ahead. We were lucky because the gravel road was exceptionally good but the heavy fog made it hard to do anything but focus on our front tires. I went into the bus at the top and Óskar took the fast downhill race. When we came out of the fog I saw that Óskar had gained on Bjarki, one of Örninn Trek’s cyclists, and we stepped on the gas to do a switch and use the opportunity. I went back out, cycling as fast as I could to keep the gap that had formed between us but Örninn Trek put out two cyclists, Hafsteinn and Árni, who helped each other and closed the gap. I have to admit that I smiled a little when I saw it. They feared our attack and now began a very exciting chase on the southeast corner of Iceland. We all realized that we couldn’t keep this up all the way to the finish line and having had enough fun and excitement I slowed down, Hafsteinn and his team catching up to me in no time. Hafsteinn and I both got into our vehicles and got our well-deserved rest, preparing us for the never ending south coast.”
“The start is one of the most important parts of this race. A lot of teams are taking off at once and not all are equal when it comes to form and know-how. We decided that Emil and I would start the race and drive up the speed to try and leave some of the teams be hind. We knew Team Örninn Trek would have a similar strategy. As soon as we were past the N1 gas station, shortly before we got out of Reykjavik, Hafsteinn from Örninn Trek’s team raced past me and called out: ‘Ready to start this race?’” Thus began the race around Iceland with 4-5 teams that took turns leading the way. “Hafsteinn, Steinar from Team Hledsa and I were all trying to keep our speed to a maximum, racing at speeds that you’d see in a 100 km race, not a 1,332 km one. Our plan worked great and when we got to Hvalfjordur it was clear that only three teams were leading the race. Now the fun would begin.”
On the road “Our support vehicle was a tiny 13 person bus and into that we had crammed all six of us (although only five at a time), seven bikes and a giant load of equipment and nourishment. Fortunately our team manager / driver, Sölvi, had made a little bed for us in the back so we could get some shut-eye if only for a few minutes. Despite the tight quarters the team was always in high spirits, even during the toughest of times on the road. We soon got a good routine going, changing cyclists every 25 minutes. “It’s hard to describe the experience of racing in WOW Cyclothon, when the sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion start taking their toll. You memory becomes patchy and in your mind events start to blend together; you’re trying your best to focus on the task at hand and not to lose your positive spirit.
The night shifts “We cycled through two nights and the first one was easy as we’d all had a good night’s sleep before the race. We weren’t as physically drained as one might expect, the long training session of the previous winter had obviously paid off as we were in great form. The second night, on the southeast corner and along the south coast was another story. We had shaken off Team Hledsla shortly before we reached Egilsstadir and right after we finished the Öxi Mountain Road we tried to shake off Örninn Trek in an attack that took a lot out of me. I was glad to get two hours of rest after that but I had to keep going and my minutes on the road were perfectly coordinated to Hafsteinn’s from the Örninn Trek team. During our race along the south coast the lack of sleep was really starting to take its toll on me and to make up for it I started eating almost anything in sight while I was resting in the bus. The only thing that really kept me focused was being on the road with Hafsteinn, although at times I was afraid that I’d fall asleep at the wheel and drive him off the road.”
Öxi The Öxi Mountain Road is the most unique part of WOW Cyclothon. It’s 27 km of gravel and about a 400 m ascent, followed by fast downhill cycling on a winding road all the way down to Berufjordur. “Öxi is often the most exciting part of the race and it fell on me to take it on. We had discussed attacking Örninn Trek at Öxi before the race and on paper this looked like the perfect spot to leave any team behind but in reality there are still 600 km of hard cycling left after Öxi and somewhere in northern Iceland we decided
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The plot After completing their race through the south coast it was time for the final race, beginning with Kambar Hill leading up to Hellisheidi Moor. “We knew that Örninn Trek had two TT-bikes and we also knew that catching a cyclist on a TT-bike after finishing Kambar Hill is next to impossible. This was a risk we wanted to avoid. When we got close to the town of Selfoss we came up with a little plan based on our instinct that Örninn Trek would rest Hafsteinn and Árni as much as they could before Kambar Hill, sending Árni out for the climb and having Hafsteinn ready to take over at the top on his TT-bike. “We knew we could win them in a straight race to the finish line but our plot was supposed to mess up their strategy. I would go out with another cyclist, forcing them to put Hafsteinn out, then, when we’d all be together I would hop straight back into our bus. When we were just about to set our plan into action Hafsteinn’s chain fell off. We could have used their misfortune to our advantage but we didn’t want to win the race because of their bad luck so I waved our cyclist on and went back in the bus, awaiting the next opportunity to make an attack. The chance came shortly before we arrived to the town of Hveragerdi, our plan working exactly the way we’d pictured it.”
WHALE WATCHING AND OTHER SEA ADVENTURES FROM REYKJAVIK
The final stretch Now began the steep and winding climb up Kambar Hill: “We raced up Kambar Hill, first Tigran and Óskar against Hafsteinn and then they all went in and Árni and I took over the climb up the steepest part of the hill, the last one before reaching the moor. Suddenly Árni slowed down considerably, I managed to keep behind him, checked out the traffic behind me and made my attack then and there. I put all my strength into it, zigzagging up the hill, watching as Árni fell further and further behind me and the Örninn Trek’s vehicle sped past me to put Hafsteinn back out against me. I had managed to exhaust Árni, even on my road bike. The excitement was so high it charged the air all around us. There was no room for mistakes now and their TT-bikes were out of the picture. I slowed down, waiting for Hafsteinn to catch up, which didn’t take long, and we climbed up the moor where both vehicles awaited putting out more cyclists. “‘Everybody out!’ I heard Hafsteinn shout into their bus and suddenly all eight of us were on the road, 27 kilometers left and we were racing like the last 1,300 kilometers had just been a little warm-up for this moment. We formed a kind of procession where I made sure to use the shelter provided by Óskar, with Emil watching the other team but Tigran fell behind shortly after we got off the moor. Örninn Trek did the same, sheltering Hafsteinn so he would be up for the last 100 meters. “As we got closer to the finish line, just a few hundred meters left, I saw Árni drive up the pace in front of Hafsteinn. I almost lost the group there and I really had to put everything into keeping up with them but I made it. When we got over the small hill right before the finish line Árni went to the back of the line and the line-up was Haffi, Óskar and me. I tried to relax but I saw that Hafsteinn was speeding up so I decided to get in front of Óskar to be as close to Hafsteinn as I could. The final race was on, I stood up and waited for a just a moment behind Hafsteinn and as I saw the finish line I started pedaling like a madman. I felt like my feet were made of rubber and that I had been tranquilized, like I was pushing myself forward with my mind. Perhaps I did and that was enough. At the final moment I shot past Hafsteinn, reaching the finish line only a bike’s length ahead of him.”
Victorious “This feeling is indescribable and it was without a doubt the biggest victory of my career. It’s all thanks to a great team effort as well as a great collaboration with our rivals from Örninn Trek. It’s hard to imagine that a 39 hour race around the country can end with such exciting final moments, after sitting hunched on a bike or inside a small bus. Some people say that this race will go down in history and if so we are more than proud to be part of that history.”
See you in WOW Cyclothon 2015? Keep these dates free! WOW Cyclothon 2015 will be held in 23-26 June. Registrations for all categories will start in January. Follow WOW Cyclothon on Facebook and Instagram and flip through the live feed from the competition for additional photos and insights.
Visit www.wowcyclothon.com for more information about the race and how to sign up.
All aboard for adventure!
Whale Watching Andrea: 09:00, 13:00, 17:00 Whale Watching Express: 10:00, 14:00
09:00 10:00 13:00 14:00 17:00*
09:00 10:00 13:00 14:00 17:00
09:00 10:00 13:00 14:00 17:00
09:00 10:00 13:00 14:00 17:00
*From 15th May-15th September Price: Adults: 8.500 ISK / 53€ Children (7-15) 4.250 ISK / 26.5€ Children (0-6) FREE
10:30 12:30 14:30
10:30 12:30 14:30
10:30 12:30 14:30
10:30* 12:30* 14:30*
PRICE: Adults 5.000 ISK / 33 € Children (7-15) 2.500 ISK / 15.5 € Children (0-6) FREE *Daily until 20th August
MAY JUN JUL AUG
17:00 17:00 17:00 17:00 PRICE: Adults 11.500 ISK / 72 € Children (7-15) 5.750 ISK / 36 € Children (0-6) FREE
DINNER CRUISE JUN-JUL-AUG EVERY FRIDAY AT 20:00
PRICE: Adults 15.900 ISK / 102 € Children (4-12) 11.925 ISK / 77 €
Book online www.specialtours.is / firstname.lastname@example.org Call us +354 560 8800, or visit our ticket sale at the oldfiveharbour Issue 87
Meet the WOW stars
wow magazine – winteraction
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 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.”
to the pe
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
cool adventures in iceland
your free copy take me with you
Vilborg Arna Vilborg Arna is the newest addition to our group of WOW stars. She became recognized in Ice land 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 now she’s work
WOW Power to the people
ing on finishing the Adventurer’s Grand Slam. The Grand Slam includes the Seven Summits Chall enge and reaching both the South and North Pole. Vilborg’s goal was to finish the Seven Summits in one year but the tragic events at Mt. Everest have put a halt to that plan. This summer, Vilborg has spent her time cycling, running, mountain climbing and guiding other mountain climbers as well as getting ready for her next grand expedition, Cho Oyu on the borders of Tibet (China) and Nepal. “I would have never believed the difference 100 meters and a border could make. On the Nepal side you have poverty but beyond the borders you can see new cars, designer outfits and paved streets. It was an ex perience that affected me considerably” Vilborg wrote on her blog, www.vilborg.is. Vilborg reached the summit on 2 October without assistant or oxygen. “I learned a lot on this journey and it’s safe to say that it was a great preparation for my upcoming Everest expedition next spring,” said Vilborg. She’s now back in Iceland, resting after her journey as well as doing motivational lectures and writing an outdoor activities guide for children.
Ásgeir Trausti Ásgeir Trausti became the most popular singer/ songwriter in Iceland in just under a year; his first album selling over 30,000 copies (yes that means over 10% of Icelanders have his album!) and
he DOn Ic ’t el mi an ss iC dI ou a: cC t Bo st hr on ist we m
is in the air
it’s been a good year Margrét Edda Gnarr, IFBB World Champion
guðmundur Felix: Put your hands together for our latest WOW star
Ásgeir Trausti: He‘s just getting started
lifts you up where you belong
iva ou ls h in e eu a ro r pe d 20 ? 13
It’s been a good year
h a ic ve fe
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, third strongest man in the world
has got it going on
rie hi nc s! ei ce la
Benedikt Erlingsson Ásgeir Trausti
The Icelandic football team … and many more
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
What‘s the deal With skyr?
a designer’s paradise
Where did all TheSe
Icelanders come from?
“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
All About london This magazine is really expensive but you get it for free. Special prize, only for you my friend!
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 (European Boarder Breakers Awards). His album, In the Silence, has been released in Europe and like the rest of us here, the critics are loving it. The album has reached the Top 40 lists in most European countries and even reached the Top 10 in Australia. This summer he’s been booked at various festival all over the world and there seems to be no stopping this talented young artist. When this issue hit print Ásgeir was on his way to the USA to perform at 16 concerts around the country. His concert at the Bowery Ballroom in New York was already sold out. Ásgeir will perform in the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival at the end of October and then begin a month long tour around Europe where he’ll play at Kon certhuset in Copenhagen, Shepherd’s Bush in London and Rockefeller in Oslo to name just a
Ásgeir will perform in the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival at the end of October and then begin a month long tour around Europe where he’ll play at Koncerthuset in Copenhagen, Shepherd’s Bush in London and Rockefeller in Oslo to name just a few. Icelandic songstress and songwriter Lay Low will accompany him and take care of the warm up along with British band Tenterhook.
Winter is coming:
CheCk out the WOW winter Cities
Issue sIx 2013
few. Icelandic songstress and songwriter Lay Low will accompany him and take care of the warm up along with British band Tenterhook. In other news a special triple edition of Ásgeir’s albums will be released in November. The box includes both Icelandic and English versions of Ásgeir’s hit album along with 14 extra tracks, re mixes, unplugged version and never before heard songs. We can’t wait!
Margrét Edda Gnarr Twenty five years old Margrét Edda Gnarr has a black belt in taekwondo, is daughter of former Reykjavik mayor Jón Gnarr and oh yes, became the IFBB Women’s World Champion last year, 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 storm. Her first big challenge this year was the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio, where she introduced herself to the world of professional bikini fitness and came in 9th place at the finals; that means that she is considered as one of the top 10 IFBB pros out there. This spring Margrét started her own online personal training service along with her fiancé, Björn Þorleifsson who’s a taekwondo trainer. It’s called Midgard Fitness, and Margrét and Björn offer their online training services all over the world. “Our personal training services have been very popular and the business is thriving. I love being able to help people build a better and healthier life,” says Margrét, who also teaches posing at the World Class Laugar gym. “I spent the summer in Mexico visiting my fian cé’s father and also preparing for the upcoming fall championships,” Margrét told us as she was
issue two 2013
Issue one 2013
Issue one 2013 Your free copy / take me with you
WOW haS gOT iT gOing On
Icelandic designers are cool and creative
is in the air
lIfTS you up where you belong
The history of modern beer making in Iceland
All About CopenhAgen 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!
packing for her trip to the Prague Pro in the beginning of October and for the Nordic Pro a week later. Good luck, Margrét!
Gudmundur Felix Despite losing both his arms at the shoulder in 1998, Gudmundur Felix leads a full life as a father of two grown girls while running a business. His persistence got the attention of French doctors who have agreed to make him the world’s first double arm transplant recipient. So, June last year, Gudmundur moved to Lyon where he’s been re siding during the preparations for the transplant. Since the move to Lyon, Gudmundur has been waiting to get on the transplant list and while the wait is trying at times he still manages to enjoy Lyon. “After multiple test runs for the procedure and rehabilitation I was set to have my name on the transplant list early last spring when I got a message saying something about ANSM and some “protocol.” I didn’t quite understand it but I understood I still wasn’t on the list and it had something to do with some institution in Paris. My doctors took me to dinner and explained that because my operation is the first of its kind it is “out of protocol” and because of recent changes in the regulations, they would have to jump through some additional hoops before I got on the list. The group assigned to that project finished in May and sent out all the documents but told me not to expect any answers for 60-90 days,” says Gudmundur. He was expecting to have some answers by the end of September but when this issue went to print there still wasn’t any news. All of us at WOW air send Gudmundur our best wishes and hope he’ll get the news he’s waiting for very soon. Issue five
Unleashing the creativity Hilmar Gunnarsson is an entrepreneur and an inventor at heart. His company, Modio just launched its first product in May this year. It’s an app that allows anybody, kids or adults, to create amazing models and toys and easily 3D print them using today’s desktop 3D printers. by Ólöf Hugrún Valdimarsdóttir
M “For a long time we were working with smartphones. But the smartphones that existed before the iPhone weren’t really that smart. 90
WOW Power to the people
odio was founded by Hilmar over a year ago and now counts six people. “The whole reason for why I started the company was that I saw an opportunity to help kids create amazing things and play with physical toys again as opposed to being stuck playing video games all the time.”
Viewing the world differently The CEO himself has three boys. “I’ve been watching how they play throughout the years. They, like everybody else, are playing a lot of computer games. I wanted to make an app that would allow them and others to have a lot of fun with 3D printing. Kids today are so used to getting toys that are bought. It’s amazing to see what happens when children start to design their own toys. First of all they value them a lot more than toys bought off the shelf, also the kids start to realize
they can make real things they can use on a daily basis. They start to think of the world in a different way, they start to think less as consumers and more as creators. Ultimately I think that’s good for everybody.”
Optimizing the experience 3D printing as a technology has been around for a quite a while but according to Hilmar, there really aren’t many easy to use design tools for making creative content for 3D printers. “I decided to make an app that is made for today’s desktop 3D printers. There are many challenges in that because even though in some ways these are powerful machines they also have their limitations. So when we designed the app we really had to think about how to optimize the experience for 3D printers, to make the whole experience as easy as possible for whomever is using the app.”
Endless possibilities Hilmar’s background is in the mobile phone industry. “For a long time we were working with smartphones. But the smartphones that existed before the iPhone weren’t really that smart. There was a time period in the mobile phone industry where you had smartphones on the market but nobody was really using them. Then the iPhone came out in 2007 and everything changed in an instance. The smartphone took a giant leap from being just something that was available, but not many people were using, into something that everybody had.”
“We’re starting with toys because toys are a lot of fun, everybody under stands them and sees the value of helping their kids to create amazing ones.
Looking into the future “Technology goes through these phases all the time. Now the status in the 3D printing market is that you have all these different kinds of printers out there. Everybody’s working hard on making printers faster, better, more usable. At some point in time someone will succeed in making a machine that can really become a household item. When the iPhone of 3D printing comes out many things will happen that we can’t envision today. I don’t know when it will happen, maybe in 5 or 10 years but what I do know is that it’s going to happen. What I find interesting about this market is that when these machines do come out, people will be able to design and create all kinds of things which are difficult to envision today. This is especially interesting if you look a little bit further into the future, when you’ll have 3D printers that allow you to print with many different materials and colors at the same time, the possibilities are actually endless.”
see the reaction. People have started to post on Twitter and Facebook all kinds of things they are making. We have 5 year old kids making amazing models and 50 year old hobbyists having fun with their 3D printer using Modio parts.” “We’re starting with toys because toys are a lot of fun, everybody under stands them and sees the value of helping their kids to create amazing ones. For now we are very much focused on building characters and creatures but we have plans to expand beyond that. We’ll be continuously expanding the library with all kinds of fun parts and templates for our users to build from and enabling them to do more with their creations, both within the app and outside of it. We’re just getting started.”
Well received Modio started out as an iPad app with iPhone and Android devices following. “We wanted to make the app available to the creative community as quickly as possible and see what people would do with it, learn from the community. It’s been great to
“A unique experience is an understatement”
.com Issue five
Rod “Steward” and Stephanie from Lazy Town made an appearance. No just kidding!
w has n
Disc o extra balls a d som ethin ded that g.
’ n i v eha
Misb Would you like to experience Dublin for yourself? WOW air starts flying to Dublin all year round in June 2015. Check out www.wowair.com to book cheap flights to Dublin.
WOW Power to the people
WOW air’s surprise trip
WOWing the WOWers
It’s not all work and no play here at WOW air. To celebrate 1,000,000 tickets sold and an awesome summer of 2014 the top dogs here at WOW air decided to treat their hardworking staff to a one-night trip we‘ll never forget. The destination was top secret so none of us knew where we were going until the plane landed. What followed was the most epic staff celebration in history and we’re sorry that we can’t show you all the photos due to some heavy censorship from all directions. To save you some suspense it’s only fair to tell you that the staff was flown to Dublin, Ireland which happens to be one awesome city and a new destination for WOW air in 2015. From all of us at WOW air we thank our guests, all 1,000,000 + of you, for making this possible.
A taste of Guinness history.
The WOW, of course, began at Keflavik Airport.
W sta OW sin ff fuel staff gin ed at Th g a up f nd or e Chu lau a lo rch gh ng ing ni Café gh . Th . t of da e WO nci ng W ,
Rockn’Roll pilots , Sveinn Akerlie and Arnar Mar Magnusson .
Hangi ng out
s t h g bou
f! f u t s ome
Fákasel Horse Park Ingólfshvoll 816 Ölfus +354 483 5050 www.icelandichorsepark.com email@example.com
Iceland’s only horse park Experience Iceland’s only horse park where you can mingle with locals, dine on fresh Icelandic food and, most importantly, get to know the country’s unique breed of horse. Fákasel Horse Park is Iceland’s leading tourist attraction for all things related to the Icelandic horse, and one of the country’s best equine competition facilities. A fun, entertaining and educational place for the whole family to visit all year round.
The name of the show refers to Norse mythology, according to which the Icelandic horse descends from the greatest horse of all time, Sleipnir the eight-legged horse of Óðinn.
From the greatest horse of all time… The 45 minute show, The Legends of Sleipnir, employs large-scale multimedia and special effects to weave together Iceland’s history and old Norse mythology in an exhibition riding which demonstrates the Icelandic horse’s beauty and suniqueness. The result is a magical theatrical experience that emphasizes the Icelandic horse’s special features and pays tribute to its historical relationship with hu mans throughout Iceland’s history. The name of the show refers to Norse mythology, according to which the Icelandic horse descends from the greatest horse of all time, Sleipnir the eight-legged horse of Óðinn. The stage itself is the biggest in Iceland (1600 m2) and lit up with first-class theater lighting. A 40 meter long screen serves as a backdrop for the performance, and an original soundtrack was composed by one of Iceland’s leading musicians and producer, Barði Jóhannsson. This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience, and and located just 30 minutes from Reykjavik. Daily shows at 7 pm.
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Icelandic gourmet menu The restaurant at Fákasel Horse Park offers an original Icelandic gourmet menu with great variety of delicious food. The interior has recently undergone a custom remodeling to create a unique, warm and cozy atmosphere and the staff adds that special Icelandic touch which will make you feel right at home. The chef has created an impressive menu featuring the freshest locally grown ingredients. The result is a menu with a wide selection of delicious food where everyone will find something to their liking. A group menu is available with three course meals, and the newly renovated facilities ensure quality and prompt ser vice even while accommodating large groups. The café offers a wide selection of pastries and coffee beverages. The restaurant and café are open daily from 10 am to 10 pm, all year round.
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
where Icelandic and foreign cooking methods are combined in an interesting way.
TRYGGVASKÁLI IS THE OLDEST AND MOST HISTORIC HOUSE IN SELFOSS, BUILT IN 1890.
Address Austurvegur 1, Selfoss Website www.tryggvaskali.is E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. (+354) 482 1390 Gps 63°56’16.30” N 21°00’12.64” W
Experience excellent food in a unique house with a beautiful view over Ölfusá, the most voluminous river of Iceland.
Austurvegur 1 South coast
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.
INFORMATION Address Austurvegur 7, Selfoss
KAFFI KRÚS HAS A 60 COURSE GRAND MENU.
Gps 63°56’14.97” N
Tel. (+354) 482 1266
Website www.kaffikrus.is E-mail email@example.com
Austurvegur 1 1 South coast
CROSSROAD TO 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.
The Realm of Vatnajokull
Land of ice and fire In the Realm of Vatnajokull you’ll find the real reason why Iceland got its name. The area is dominated by the great Vatnajokull glacier which is the largest glacier in the world outside the Arctic regions. You’ll also find some of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions there, such as the spectacular Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Skaftafell which is the jewel in Vatnajokull National Park and Hvannadalshnukur, the highest peak in Iceland and a popular hike. Photos: Þröstur Ágústsson
he Vatnajokull region is filled with contrasts: black beaches, white glaciers, red volcanoes, green birch forest and the blue Atlantic Ocean. Serenity and the vigorous forces of nature combine to make a visit to the realm of Vatnajokull a never-to-be-forgotten experience. Wildlife is rich in the Realm of Vatnajokull 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 in the region and if you’re lucky you might spot a seal at Jokulsarlon or an Arctic fox running through the land. You will also find dozens of companies that offer all sorts of activities year
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round, diverse accommodation and great restau rants with local food.
Winter Paradise The Realm of Vatnajokull is in southeast Iceland and covers over 200 km of the Ring Road from Lomagnupur in the west to Hvalnes in the east and the accessible southern side of Vatnajokull glacier. Photography enthusiasts should find the Realm of Vatnajokull particularly delightful as it pro vides countless magnificent views of the glaciers and mountains both in daylight but also when dusk settles and th e northern lights light up the sky. Have you ever imagined looking inside a glacier? Wintertime in the Realm of Vatnajokull
glacier offers the opportunity of a unique, never to be forgotten experience! A trip into the ice caves of Vatnajokull’s southern crawling glaciers is an adventure that no one should miss. The colors of refracted light in the ice reveal a world of true wonders, providing a thrill for any photo enthusiast. Local guides who know every crevice of the glacier seek out caves formed during the winter months and offer tours. Travellers should never venture out on such trips without a guide.
Höfn—nature and cuisine! There is one town in the area, Hofn, a lively fishing town with a population of 1,800. Hofn has the ex clusive distinction of being Iceland‘s one and only
The eruptions north of Vatnajokull (Dyngjujokull) glacier are beautiful even from afar.
lobster capital and you can find lovely restaurants offering this precious product as well as various other local specialties year round. Hofn is also a great base for exploring the magnificent lands of Vatnajokull National Park. Also, be sure to drop by at the park’s Visitor Center in the beautiful historical building, Gamlabúð (Old Store), by the harbor.
Activity, accommodation and restaurants Much of the activity in the Realm of Vatnajokull revolves around the glacier and the nature sur rounding it. You can choose between glacier walks and ice climbing, a thrilling snowmobile ride
on Vatnajokull or a comfortable tour of Europe’s largest glacier in a super jeep. The area also offers ATV tours and geothermal baths at Hoffell, reindeer excursions, a visit to Thorbergssetur Cultural Museum, a local mineral stone collection, the local handicraft store, the petting zoo at Hólmur and much more. There are various possibilities in accommoda tions to suit various needs and preferences where you’ll be sure to find a warm welcome by know ledgeable hosts. Several restaurants are in the area and most of them offer local food made in the Realm of Vatna jokull. Be sure to ask for the local beer Vatnajökull, which is brewed with Arctic thyme and water from icebergs from the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon
Accessible year round The Vatnajokull region is very accessible the whole year round due to good weather conditions and frequent transportation. Eagle Air offers daily flights from Reykjavík to Hofn Airport during the summertime and five days a week during other sea sons. Buses between Reykjavík and Hofn (Strætó) are scheduled daily throughout the year. There are also three car rental companies in Hofn. For more information check out www.visitvatnajokull.is.
Fun on board
WOW air – The Presidential pick Low cost does not equal low class as proven by Icelander‘s favorite first Lady, Dorrit Moussaieff who happens to be a frequent WOW air flyer. On a flight to London a few weeks ago, the first lady of Iceland entertained the idea of becoming a flight attendant and so the WOW crew took it upon themselves to fulfill this fantasy. Moussaieff then posed with WOW air‘s crew and had a blast, dressed in the WOW air crew uniform.
Moussaieff then posed with WOW air‘s crew and had a blast, dressed in the WOW air crew uniform.
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You can experience magical light during winter in Reykjavik, both at sunrise and sunset, as well as seeing the northern lights from time to time, right in the city center. 100 WOW Power to the people
Cool winters in the capital
Reykjavik lights up! There will be a shower of lights in Reykjavik this winter, both indoors and outdoors. The dark winter is lit up by a range of colorful events. Last autumn and winter, from September to May, more than 500,000 guests visited Iceland. That is a 37% increase from the same period in 2012-2013, when 400,000 people arrived on Icelandic terrain. Text and photos by Gunnlaugur Rรถgnvaldsson
“Around 40 museums take part in this festival, with art, music and new shows on display and libra ries open in the even ings.
espite darkness setting upon Reykjavík in the winter months the rays of lights from various sources lighten the heart of the locals, as well as visitors. The natural light in the winter can be both romantic and exhilarating, candles are lit where appropriate and the sun casts interesting light and shadows on the city. And of course, the northern lights can be seen at times over the city, but they come and go as they please.
Music and fireworks Two big music events with bright lights will draw a lot of foreigners to Reykjavík this winter: The first is Iceland Airwaves in November and Sonar in February. Christmas and New Year’s in Reykjavik are also a big draw; the sparks and fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve are quite incredible as locals go crazy with their fireworks.
The Winter Lights Festival One of the biggest and certainly the longest event during the winter months is the Winter Lights Festival in February that lasts for ten days. The festival starts on Thursday the 5th of February and finishes on the 14th. “There is more darkness here during
winter than in any capital in the world so our theme is lights of all sorts for the Winter Lights Festival. Reykjavik is the northernmost capital in the world and we want to brighten things up,” says Guð mundur Birgir Halldórsson, event manager for Visit Reykjavík. During the Winter Lights Festival all museums are open with free admittance there and the geothermal pools in the city will be open longer than usual on given days. “Around 40 museums take part in this festival, with art, music and new shows on display and libraries open in the evenings. We are working on getting artists and companies in the city to showcase lights in some form or other during the Winter Lights Festival which will be packed with events.” “Each day something new is happening and for the first time there will be a runn ing event called Electric Run, which is run on a course with specially lit areas to create a special atmosphere while each runner carries a light source. It’s a well-known concept from abroad which has spread to different countries,” said Halldórsson. As soon as the Winter Lights Festival finishes it’s time for the Sonar Music Festi val, then there’s Food & Fun in February and in March the Reykjavík Folk Music Festival, Design March, Reykjavik Fashion Festival and Eve Fanfest to name but a few of Reykjavik’s upcoming events.
Fresh winter snow gives everything a more festive look in Reykjavík. There are many churches to explore within walking distance from downtown Reykjavik.
As a part of the Winter Lights Festival, music and lights feature at the swimming pools of the city. Here a choir sings for guests at Laugardalslaug, Reykjavik’s largest swimming pool.
The Electrtic Run during the Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavík promises to be a colorful event. It’s a 5K run and has been featured in many cities, among them New York. Runners carry glow sticks or light up in other fashion and there’s music along the way to liven things up.
Winter fun. These magnificent sculptures at Perlan in Öskjuhlíð hill tell it all. Reykjavík is about having fun, even in the snow. There are many walking paths in Öskjuhlíð hill which are quiet and peaceful during winter.
Around 40 museums take part in the Winter Lights Festival in February. This little girl studies some artwork, but she was making some drawings of her own as well.
New Year’s wishes and letting go of old memories. It is a custom to light a bonfire on New Year’s Eve and there are many big ones in Reykjavik on the last day of the year and also on the 6th of January when Icelanders bid farewell to Christmas.
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The winter light really is a feast for artists and photographers. This pair went to great lengths to catch the right shot at the downtown pond.
Boston Washington D.C.
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Billund Vilnius Dublin
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WOW air presents
Washington, D.C. WOW air is proud to present Baltimore Washington International Airport as a new destination in June 2015. From there Washington, D.C. is only a short train ride away. Check out WOW airâ€™s website (wowair.com) to find great deals and cheap flights to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Photos: Destination DC
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he great capital of USA, Washing ton, D.C. is a city full of history, great monuments and museums. It is unique among American cities as it was established by the Constitution of the United States to serve as the nation’s capital.
Growing city Located along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, the city was named after the first president of the United States, George Washington, who chose the site in 1800, in part because it already included two exist ing port towns, Georgetown and Alexandria which served as regional shipping centers for tobacco and wheat. During its 200 years as the nation’s capi tal, it has absorbed Georgetown and the surrounding farms and rural areas much beyond the original plans for it. A complex and layered city with multiple personalities, Washington, D.C. is now home to the federal government but also to a diverse mixture of government workers, members of Congress, foreign emissaries, lobbyists, petitioners and protestors.
to the city for a downtown renaissance of housing, offices, entertainment and nightlife. Ironically the residents of Washington, D.C. lack full self-government and their representation in Congress is limited to a non-voting delegate to the House of Repre sentatives and a shadow Senator. They didn’t even get to vote in the presidential elections until 1964. This is why many of DC’s citizens have forgone the city’s slogan, “Justice for all” and taken up another one, “Taxation without representation.”
Enjoy the architecture, immerse yourself in history or take a look at American art. It’s easy to find fun things to do in Washington, D.C. and many of them are free. Here’s a short and absolutely inconclusive list of fun attractions for everyone: The National Zoo – Check out the giant pandas along the Asia Trail. Rock Creek Park – See the stars at the planetarium operated by the National Park Service.
Iwo Jima Memorial.
What about Baltimore? Don’t want to visit Washington, D.C.? That’s alright, from Baltimore Washington Interna tional you can take flights to all parts of the USA or hop on a train to Baltimore; it’s even closer than Washington, D.C.! Explore the world famous museums, taste the Maryland crabs, cruise the Chesapeake Bay, get acquainted with Civil War history and Afri can-American history, shop and dine in style. Baltimore is a city that has it all, plus a nightlife scene to fit any mood.
The National Mall – Take a free and family friendly walking tour with DC by Foot (www.dcbyfoot.com). The National Air and Space Museum – You could play pilot in a mock cockpit. National Museum of American History – See the original “StarSpangled Banner” and … you might learn something. The Friendship Park (aka Turtle Park) – DC’s most popular playground. The Lincoln Memorial – A visit to this stirring and most popular memorial in Washington, D.C. is an absolute must.
The National Mall from above. Photo: Jason Hawkes
It just is for all Washington, D.C. has always had foreign delegations from around the world but it also happens to have an increasingly diverse ethnic population, especially Latino, bringing new restaurants as well as residents. New housing and urban revitalization in the city after the 1990s has attracted people back
What to do?
The Smithsonian American Art Museum – Home to the largest collections of American art in the world and just one of 15 Smithsonian Museums in town which are all free of charge.
WOW air flights to Baltimore-Washington International Airport will begin in June 2015 with five flights a week during the summer months.
WOW air presents
– A big city with a warm heart WOW air will commence flights to Boston next spring, so we decided to take a look at this historic city. Photos: Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
oston is not too big to be over whelming, yet big enough to allow you to experience a variety of inter esting events and venues. Logan International Airport in Boston is also a great place for connecting flights to other parts of the United States or Canada, when flying from Europe. For a European it is easy to feel at home in Boston, not least because the city’s residents come from all over the world. In some ways Boston feels like a big city with the heart of a small town, a warm friendly one. You could say that Boston lacks a concentrated central downtown area, but it more than makes up for it with its many neighborhoods, each with a different flavor to it.
300 year history Boston was formally made a town in 1630, but was incorporated as a city in 1822 making it one of the oldest cities in the United States. There are over 617,000 residents in the Boston area and for over 300 years the city and its people have had a major influence on United States history. The American Revolution actu ally started in Boston, and in the harbor you will find the historic USS Constitution ship and museum.
“Boston is a relatively short drive away from natural gems, such as Cape Cod and skiing areas in New Hampshire.”
the quickest transport around town. It might be added that Boston is a very walkable city. The Charles River runs right through the city, similar to the Thames in London, and rowing and sailing on the river is popular among locals. The river also nourishes the nature, be it the numerous trees, birds or other wildlife which are all a part of Boston’s charm.
A selection of shopping malls Bostonians are hard core sports fans and most root for the Boston Red Sox baseball team and the New England Patriots football team. These teams are very popular in their own right. In the same fashion that soccer is big in England, Germany and many European countries, base ball and American football rule in Boston. You also can’t really talk about Boston without men tioning the Boston Symphony and the Boston Ballet, with many of the finest artists around. For those who are visiting Boston to do a little shopping the Downtown Crossing shopping area in Boston is the largest one in Massachusetts. There also are many malls to choose from, for example you can find them in Copley Square, Cambridge, and further away in Wrentham. The biggest one is in Natick, with approx. 1,862,000 ft2 (173,000 m2) of space. Some go to malls in Braintree and Framingham for good deals. Plenty to choose from.
Hot summer and mild winters Located on the east coast of the United States, Boston really gives you the experience of all four seasons; spring, summer, autumn and winter. Summers can get really hot in Boston, but the winters are fairly mild. The houses in Boston usually attract the attention of visitors because so many of them are made of wood. It is a trend and gives the city a kind of a country feeling in some areas. Somehow Boston has an old soul to go along with its history, and the old looking houses really help out in that regard. The whole atmosphere of the city makes you feel welcome. Boston is a relatively short drive away from natural gems, such as Cape Cod and skiing areas in New Hampshire. In general the transportation system in Boston is extremely efficient and the bus system works well in all directions, over short distances or longer ones. You could be in New York in under 4 hours! The subway system is also good and probably
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Five fun things to do in Boston There is a variety of things to explore in Boston, but we chose these five to get your motor running toward a visit next summer. 1. Newbury Street For those who want to shop in style Newbury Street and Boylston are tempting. Newbury is very fashionable and has a fun blend of designer boutiques and less expensive shops. This is where the trendy people hang out. 2. Red Sox Fenway Park Those interested in the local sports history will seek out Fenway (baseball) Park, which was opened in 1912 and is home to the Boston Red Sox. The park is the oldest original major league baseball park in use, and you can get guided tours there. 3. Harvard Square Harvard Square brings over 8 million visitors a year. It is a historical place of learning, bookstores, cafes, folk music, old theaters and public art. Tens of thousands of students have spent their days in this place. 4. Duck Tours You may enjoy a tour in a Duck vehicle, a WWII style landing vehicle that you cruise on by land to all the places that make Boston the birthplace of freedom. Then it splashes right into the Charles River for a totally different view of the city.
Boston at dusk. Photo: David Fox
From 27 March 2015 WOW air will offer 6 flights a week to Boston Logan International Airport.
5. Fanueil Hall Marketplace A festival-like market place that started in 1742 is now spread over a big area. With worldwide cuisine, the cobblestone promenades are often filled with musicians and street performers.
Prudential Tower supports the Boston Red Sox.
Newbury Street. Photo: Tim Grafft
George Washington. Photo: Alexandra Molnar
Dragon Boat Festival on the Charles River. Photo: Richard Pasley
WOW air presents
Let’s go Irish We’re so excited to announce this new destination. In June 2015 WOW air will start flying to Ireland all year round. Check out WOW air’s website (wowair.com) to find cheap flights to Dublin and visit the Emerald Isle. Photos: Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland
here are plenty of reasons to visit Ireland. This island of lepre chauns, four leaf clovers, river dancing, gingers, whiskey, Irish coffee and absolutely fantastic Euro vision music is a paradise for travelers; beautiful, unspoiled landscapes, dramatic coastlines, dynamic cities and over thous and years’ worth of history and culture. From five star castles to quaint cottages and everything in between, the Irish are great hosts and they sure know how to party. This is why everyone loves Ireland and the Irish.
Dreaming of Dublin Dublin was founded as a Viking settle ment in the 9th century but today it is the largest city of Ireland and the capital of the Republic of Ireland. In modern Irish, Dublin is called Baile Átha Cliath which Photo: Fáilte Ireland
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means “Town of the hurdled ford,” refer ring to the fording point of the River Liffey. Furthermore the real meaning of the name Dublin is “black pool.” Who knew? Over the past two decades, the city has gone through a total reinvention and can no longer be called “dirty Dublin.” Although it has held onto its roots it’s now a modern city with a groovy atmosphere. For a long time Dublin mimicked London in everything it did but after joining the EU in the mid-1990’s it embraced a more Eurocentric way, paving the road to the rise of café culture with cozy bars in the downtown area and restaurants with al fresco dining.
Nature within reach If you are expecting Dublin to be industri al and unexciting, think again. Dublin happens to have an amazing geograp
“Over the past two decades, the city has gone through a total reinvention and can no longer be called “dirty Dubl in.” Although it has held onto its roots it’s now a modern city with a groovy atmosphere.”
Photo: Fáilte Ireland
hical location for outdoor adventures and at the same time the city center is vibrant and buzzing with activity. South of the city the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains offer rugged landscapes, wilderness and a breathtaking view of the glittering expanse of the Dublin Bay. From the mountains and through the city, the River Laffey runs into the bay tying everything neatly together. If you want to enjoy the great outdoors in Dublin try hiking or biking in the mountains, kite surfing at the Dollymount Strand or white river rafting on the Liffey River outside the city. Also, Dublin, and Ireland in general, is a golfer’s paradise.
The Quays. Photo: Jonathan Hession
The great outdoors just outside Dublin. Photo: Fáilte Ireland / Visit Dublin
Here are some awesome things to check out in Dublin: The Long Room at the Old Library in Trinity College – Inspect the ninth century manuscript of the Book of Kells. Explore this most stunning library and stroll on the picturesque grounds of Trinity College. Ha’penny Bridge – A symbol of Dublin’s ancient style named after its original toll. St Patrick’s Cathedral – The largest medieval church of Ireland is a must see. The Spire – Also known as “The erection at the intersection,” this 120 m high giant needle towers over O’Connell Street and is a popular meeting place. Dublin Zoo – Bigger than all of London’s parks put together, this zoo houses a great display of animals from all over the world as well as a petting zoo for kids. Kilmainham Gaol – With a dark history this most hated prison in Ireland is an unmissable symbol of repression through the centuries. Graton Street – The city’s top shopping street is a favorite among street performers making your shopping spree all the more entertaining.
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.
Let us not forget the traditional Irish pubs, a trip to Dublin is incomplete without a visit to at least one such establishment. The Dublin barmen are truly a special breed and take good care to give loving attention to the Guinness they serve. In many of the older Dublin pubs you also find “snugs,” little private chambers that are really a relic from older days when gangs and secret societies needed a place to meet away from common drinkers.
WOW air plans to offer cheap flights to Dublin three times a week starting June 2015.
Scan QR Code for more information.
Bankastræti 2 -101 Reykjavík Tel. (+354) 551 4430 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.laekjarbrekka.is
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The best of Billund We’ve got just the place for your next family vacation: Billund. Come June 2015 WOW air will offer cheap flights to Billund, the home of LEGO. Photos: Thinkstock and courtesy of Legoland and Givskud Zoo.
illund is one of Denmark’s top towns when it comes to summer vacations and for good reason. Close to Billund are two of the top entertainment parks in Denmark: Lalandia waterslide park and Givskud Zoo, but of course Billund is best known for being the hometown of Legoland. There’s no shortage of accommodations in Billund, nice hotels and guesthouses cozy summer cottages, and if you like roughing it, a campsite—the Danish summers are mild with an average temp erature of 14-16°C. In Denmark they have the Danish Krona which you’ll need in order to buy all the LEGOs you can carry.
Let’s play It’s hard to imagine a vacation in Billund without a trip to Legoland but there’s still plenty of other things to do for the whole family. Whether your goal is to relax, play
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If you’re going to Legoland it might be interesting to learn a little about LEGO’s history. Did you know that Nazi soldiers burnt the LEGO factory down in 1942?
golf or have fun with the kids, Billund is the perfect destination for both young and old. Billund’s beer distillery, Bryghuset, wel comes guests and offers them a taste of their best Danish ale. The town has great cycling paths and a few great golf courses in the vicinity. The youngest will love Lalandia, Scandinavia’s largest waterslide park and the lions, giraffes and gorillas of Givskud Zoo will welcome the whole family. When you’ve had enough excitement you can calm down and do something cultural, like visiting the Billund Sculpture Park and have an artful picnic. You can also check out the farm animals at the Karensminde Agricultural Museum and try your hand at old style farming. If you’re going to Legoland it might be interesting to learn a little about LEGO’s
history. Did you know that Nazi soldiers burnt the LEGO factory down in 1942? The Danish toymakers would not be held back and started rebuilding almost immediately. Today most of the world’s LEGOs are made in Billund and it shows.
How to get there? WOW air will start flying to Billund once a week from 15 June 2015.
WOW air presents
A traveler’s feast They say all roads lead to Rome but why not try flying to this most famous world capital? Check out the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum and all the wonders this historic city has to offer. WOW air will offer cheap flights to Rome in July and August 2015. Photos: Thinkstock
Yes, this city is full of mysteries and there’s always something exciting to see or experi ence.
he capital city Rome is Italy’s larg est and most densely populated city, and it’s safe to say that no other city in the world holds as many historical, cultural and architectural treasures. Rome has been the center for European arts, culture, ideology and architecture for over 3000 years and the city’s historic center is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s estimated that Rome is home to over 16% of the world’s cultural treasures. It’s also the center of Catholic Christianity and the only city in the world that’s hosts an entire state within its walls. This is why Rome is often called “the capital of two states.”
even a Roman saying stating that a whole lifetime is not enough to get to know this city: “Per conoscere Roma non basta una vita.” Yes, this city is full of mysteries and there’s always something exciting to see or experience. We recommend that you start with a traditional and super touristy tour of the city, try The Roman Guy (www. theromanguy.com) or hop onto bus num ber 110 for a spin around the city. And then there are the “must sees”; the Colosseum, Forum Romanum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Campo dei Fiori, the Spanish Steps, the Catacombs, Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, Church of St. Paul, St. Peter’s Square … WOW where does it all end? Not to mention
When in Rome … Rome wasn’t built in a day and it won’t be explored in one day either. There’s
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Check out the fares at www.wowair.com.
the dozens of museums and churches around town. Once you’ve feasted on the sights you’ll probably be plenty hungry and Rome does not disappoint in that respect. This is Italy after all and there’s great food and all the gelato you can eat. Rome is also great for shopping. Via Condotti is the city’s finest shopping street with famous labels such as Prada, Armani, Versace, Ferragamo, Gucci and others. For the other 99% there’s Via del Corso and its adjoining streets with most of the big clothing chains and department stores. Food, fashion, culture and the Colosseum – Rome has it all and then some!
Austrian ski paradise
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Take your skis to
Salzburg There are plenty of good reasons to choose the Austrian Alps as your winter skiing destination. WOW air offers cheap flights to Salzburg over the winter months and from there the Alps are just a short and comfortable train ride away. Here are a few of the other reasons to pick the Austrian Alps for your next skiing vacation.
ost people need to be careful about how much they spend. When you pick Salzburg and the Austrian Alps you can rest assured that you’ll get the cheapest flights with WOW air. In addition you’ll find that the price of transportation, accommodations, food, equipment-rentals and lift passes are very reasonable in Austria compared to other ski resorts around the world.
The “drop” Enthusiastic skiers think about the vertical drop because a big vertical drop means longer runs and less crowded lifts. Many of the Austrian ski resorts have a vertical drop of over 4,000 ft. St. Anton for example, has a vertical drop of 4,970 ft (1.5 km).
Favorable climate When choosing a skiing destination you should always check out the average temperature, weather and snow conditions. The Austrian Alps have a long and lavish snow season with powdery and fluffy snow, well into spring. Check out the Austria Ski Resort Report (tap it into Google) to get the latest news on snow conditions in your preferred ski resort. Issue five
Austrian ski paradise
Zell am See
Ski vacations aren’t just about slashing up the slopes, you’ll want a comfortable hotel, a place to relax and rejuvenate, good food and of course some fun. This is understood at Austrian ski resorts and they excel in both value and service. The hotels are both beautiful and picturesque, most four and five star hotels have their own spa facilities and you’ll usually find a ski lift or the end of a slope right next to your hotel. Check out bookings.com when you order your flights with WOW air and see their prices on great hotels. If you fancy taking a day off from the slopes there’s plenty to do and see otherwise, such as ice skating, snowshoe adventures, sleigh rides, hikes and of course chilling at the spas. Don’t forget to check out the unique Austrian boutiques, the local sights and meet the international mix of guests at the outdoor cafes and après skis. Austrian ski resorts are built around longsince established villages, preserving the architecture and traditions of the region and keeping them authentic. Everywhere you go you’ll meet friendly locals and you are invited to take part in the lively Austrian culture. All things considered, the Austrian Alps are the home of downhill skiing. Take the opportunity to have the skiing experience of a lifetime in this awesome Alpine land scape and climate.
This area is especially suited for good skiers and snowboarders but even if you are a beginner don’t worry, Zell am See is for you too. Here you’ll find diverse ski slopes with a magnificent mountain view in this especially family friendly resort with The Maiskogel and Schmittenhöhe tailormade for the kids. Zell am See has one of the longest skiing seasons, it starts in early autumn and extends into early summer.
A mecca for all snow enthusiasts, Lech Zürz is renowned for its hospitality and sophistication. They take skiing and snow boarding seriously here and offer 211 mi (340 km) of perfect pistes and a 5249 ft (1600 m) high snow park that will make your heart go faster and guarantee a varied skiing holiday for skiers and snowboarders of every level.
Create your own low-cost winter vacation When you book your cheap flights with WOW air you can check out low-price-guaranteed hotels on bookings.com. We recommend these resorts:
Saalbach Hinterglemm. © Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Weinhaeupl W.
Saalbach Hinterglemm This is one of the best known ski resorts in Austria with over 200 km of slopes and great runs for skiers of all levels. The winter sports area also known as Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm/Leogang extends on both sides of the valley enabling skiers to ski around the whole complex.
Bad Hofgastein When you want a relaxing winter vacation, Bad Hofgastein is the place to go. With a variety of sunny slopes and the Alpen therme spa resort this market town has a unique ambience that also includes musical and cultural events. This is the best place for those who want to improve their fitness, not just on skis but also in the therapeutic waters of the many spas in the valley and along the scenic winter hiking paths.
“Austrian ski resorts are built around long-since established villages, preserving the architecture and traditions of the region and keeping them authentic.”
Flachau. © Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Pigneter
Ischgl. © Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Mallaun
Ischgl Located in Paznaun Valley in Tyrol, the lively Ischgl ski resort is connected with the Samnaun ski resort across the border in Switzerland. Together they make up the largest skiing resort in the Alps with over 148 mi (238 km) of prepared runs. The pistes and parties of Ischgl are well known around the world but fewer have heard of the broad cultural offer that is getting increasingly more popular. Check out their great website www.ischgl.com to learn more.
Kitzbühel. © Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Ascher
Located at the center of the Ski Amadé, Flachau has been dubbed the “spaciest ski area in Austria.” This fun resort almost reaches the stars and also has some special attractions with a high-tech twist, the most apparent is of course their innovative cable car technology and the most up-to-date cable car equipment. This is an excellent ski resort for modern skiers who want to finish their day in a cozy, traditional atmosphere with the option of a great après ski scene. Flachau offers a free ski bus that will take you from the city of Salzburg to Flachau if you have a ski pass.
Would you like to try your skills and ride down the Kitzbuehel Streif? Here’s your chance. This snow-sure ski resort in one of the most popular among skiers and snowboarders from all over the world and placed in a dreamlike scenery that will guaranty some awesome winter holiday memories. Have fun in the beautiful village where rustic Tyrolean guesthouses blend perfectly with international designer bou tiques, award-winning restaurants and a wide range of wellness facilities. This is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Check out www.flachau.at/en/skiing for more information.
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St Anton am Arlberg. © Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Mallaun
St Anton am Arlberg Visit this snowy paradise if you want a modern holiday resort with a traditional atmosphere and virtually guaranteed good snow conditions. With all the comforts of an international holiday resort, St Anton adds a magnificent backdrop of mountains with 97 railways and lifts, 211 mi (340 km) of prepared pistes and 124 mi (200 km) of great powdery slopes and unlimited possibilities. If you want to choose a resort based on the liveliest après ski look no further.
Check out their great website www.kitzbuehel.com.
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Paris: How sweet it is!
The irresistible Rue du Bac From the swashbuckling Count d’Artagnan and his three Musketeer friends, to 1960‘s New Wave actress Jean Seberg, history has been happening on the Rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement of Paris for the past 500 years. The latest scene to hit this posh little street couldn’t be sweeter as some of France’s most revered chocolate makers and pastry chefs have moved in over the last few years, tempting passersby with delicious decadence. Text and photo by Sylvia Sabes
Royal chocolates Chocolatier Patrick Chapon was making treats at Buckingham Palace before returning home to open Chocolate Chapon, near the Boulevard Raspail, where he sells chocolates made in his own chocolate factory. His pièce de rési stance is the unique Bar à Mousse where his team serves up a unique selection of single-origin chocolate mousses.
Belgian delights Across the street, Pierre Marcolini is the first Belgian to practice bean to bar chocolates. His creations are exquisite enough to distract Parisians. His focus is on the bean, which he transforms into elegant bars and refined chocolates, but Monsieur Marcolini also makes gourmet marshmallows that recall the pure joy of being a kid.
Sweets with a twist Engrained in local history, Ryst Dupeyron has been selling Armagnac to aficionados since 1905. Visitors to the shop are invited to sample the impressive collection of single vintages and ideal blends, with a
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sampling of prestigious Portos available for those who want their digestives as sweet as their desserts.
Exotic delicacies On the next corner, Jacques Genin will soon be another temptation, offering chocolates that were once reserved for gourmet restaurants. His recipes surprise connoisseurs with unexpected combina tions. Equally delightful are his fruit jellies and caramels that hit the palate with an explosion of flavor.
Chapon - 69 Rue du Bac Pierre Marcolini - 78 Mission Etrangères Park Ryst Dupeyron - 79 Rue du Bac Jacques Genin - 89 Rue du Bac
Des Gateaux et Du Pain - 89 Rue du Bac
Just out Jacques’ door is the bakery and pastry shop, Des Gateaux et du Pain with astoundingly beautiful, astonishingly light pastries that feature seasonal fruits touched with feathery kisses of verbena leaf or a surprising wink of angelica. Pastry Chef Claire Damon’s simple, yet unique combinations promise a pleasant surprise with every bite. A peek into the Patisserie des Rêves, reveals a place that looks more like a jewelry shop than a pastry shop, with each precious cake displayed under a glass
Patisserie des Rêves - 93 Rue du Bac Angelina - 108 Rue du Bac Bac à Glace - 109 Rue du Bac
dome. Philippe Conticini, the ingenious pastry chef at the oven, is famous for his modern twist on the classic Paris-Brest, and his breakfast pastries, called viennoi series are truly exceptional. For a more traditional shop, with intricate pastries featuring pastel tones and ornate icings, turn-of-the-century Angelina’s is the place to head. Especially if you’re craving macaroons or want to try their iconic Mont Blanc chestnut cream confection.
Screaming for ice cream Le Bac à Glace is known to have the best chocolate sorbet in Paris. Their vanilla ice cream is pretty amazing, too, as is their entire collection of fruit flavored sorbets. Like the cream in a puff pastry, the Mission Etrangères Park, has been gently squeezed between the ice cream parlor and a sweet shop, with plenty of inviting benches, making it the perfect place to stop and sample all the goodness you may have picked up while exploring Paris’ sweet street.
Sylvia Sabes started writing about Paris ten years ago when she realized her Parisian neighbors were regularly asking her for the inside scoop on where to go, what to do and who to see in the City of Light. She writes for HIP Paris and has a blog of her own, highlighting the most authentic places and people to be found only in Paris at www.OnlyInParis.com
“Like the cream in a puff pastry, the Mission Etrangères Park, has been gently squeezed between the ice cream parlor and a sweet shop, with plenty of inviting benches, making it the perfect place to stop and sample all the goodness you may have picked up while exploring Paris’ sweet street.”
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Amazing Mauerpark The iconic actress and singer Marlene Dietrich once said: “Ich hab’ noch einen Koffer in Berlin” which literally means “I still have a suitcase in Berlin.” This most famous German actress had become an American citizen in 1939 but the bustling and gritty city of Berlin still pulled her in; and she is not the only one to feel so strongly about the city. by I. Thorunn Photos: ©Berlin Tourismus & Kongress GmbH www.visitberlin.de Photographer: Günther Steffens
erlin has been a haven for artists for decades and many have chosen to make the inspirational city their permanent home; or simply long enough to please their muse. Famously, Nick Cave, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and the members of U2 all lived in Berlin and created iconic music during their stay. Then of course, David Hasselhoff, the actor best known for Baywatch, but he sang about freedom and danced in a leather jacket with glistening light bulbs on the remains of the Berlin Wall on New Years Eve in 1989 – clearly he was touched by the city as well.
Great venue for artists Nowadays, artists hail from all corners of the world to live in this city and signs of art can be found all over Berlin. A series of galleries, cinemas, and theaters can be found in each district and more often cafés, restaurants, walls and lampposts serve as platforms for artistic outlet as well. Parks are no exception to be a great venue for artists and lovers of art. Mauerpark is probably
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the most popular park in Berlin. Every Sunday the weekly flea market draws locals and tourists who scavenger hunt for hidden gems and treas ures. The flea market has plenty of old DDR memorabilia on display for nostalgic or chic buyers as well as new and old clothes, records and furniture and whatever strikes their fancy.
Fancy flea market The seasons have no affect on the popularity of the flea market; hot summer days or frosty winter days – Mauerpark always attracts the crowd. Why? The combination of the relaxed ambience, the nostalgic echo of former times captured in the old memorabilia sold in the market, the lingering aromas of delicious food that hovers in the air – all part of the Mauerpark flea market experience.
vintage posters. Or drink a nice cup of coffee or German beer while listening to musicians playing their music in the park. Then, if you are lucky and the weather is nice, there is the weekly karaoke. Irish street musician Joe Hatchiban started bringing his karaoke equipment to Mauerpark in 2009 and thereby launched a trend among the locals. Anyone can sing their heart out and hear their voice fill the Mauerpark – and make no bones about it, it is always a sight to see strangers from all corners of the world stand in front of the huge crowd and sing like there is no tomorrow. Anyone can get on the platform and make it his or her own. It’s all a part of the lovely and relaxed experience of Berlin. Be sure to take in all that Mauerpark has to offer the next time you’re in town.
Fill the park with sound After a stroll through the flea market there is the option of lying in the park and listening to people make a bargain on an old LOMO camera or some
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Parks are no exception to be a great venue for artists and lovers of art. Mauerpark is probably the most popular park in Berl in. Every Sunday the weekly flea market draws locals and tourists who scavenger hunt for hidden gems and treasures.
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Drinking in London
Pub education How about taking an educational pub-crawl through London’s booze history and visit a smattering of the city’s finest and most remarkable pubs? Learn about Britain’s love affair with booze in 16th-century Shakespearian alehouses and Dickensian coaching inns, and the story behind gin palaces. Text and photos by Cindy-Lou Dale
he first pub I visited was Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, an old alehouse just off Fleet Street. Along with most of London, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was destroyed in the 1666 Great Fire of London but was rebuilt in 1667. Approached through a narrow alleyway (Wine Office Court) the Cheshire Cheese beckons you into yesteryear. At the entrance, a board lists the reigns of the fifteen monarchs through which this grand old pub has survived. Beyond the entrance door are two rooms. The smaller is a very dark paneled bar whose entrance is guarded with a sign indicating that only gentlemen would be served. Michelle Buckley, my knowledgeable Insider-London guide, pointed out a stuffed parrot sitting on a narrow shelf above the bar. “That’s Polly. She died in the early 1900s but before then, for forty plus years, she would screech obscenities the sailors had taught her, at everyone
who entered.” Polly’s death was announced on the BBC and obituar ies appeared in newspapers all over the world. The Chop Room across the corridor is reserved for diners. Here high backed setties have been arranged back-to-back to create small booths. With its wooden interior, dark nooks and crannies and sawdust covered floors, you can visualize rowdy med ieval punters toasting one another with their pewter mugs of ale. Each generation that passes through one of London’s landmark pubs adds to its historic drinking tapestry. There’s a warren of narrow corridors and staircases, leading to numerous bars and dining rooms— like those leading down to the cellar bars and a series of vaults. I sat with Michelle in one such honey colored stone room, with our respective half pints and listened intently as she spoke of the pub’s two cavernous split-level cellars and their link to the Carmelite Monastery in Henry
Pubs first started out as alehouses, which translates into someone’s house where ale was brewed in a back room. The front room nearest the road is where pots of ale were handed out through the window, akin to ‘take-out ale’. London’s coffeehouses, tearooms and chocolate shops first emerged in 1660s. They were where patrons of inns, taverns and pubs would go to sober up. The London Stock Exchange was founded in a coffeehouse. In medieval times, when toasting one another, patrons would endeavor not to slosh drink into one another’s tankards. Should an accidental sloshing occur, the sloshee would wait for the slosher to take the first sip, as historically recorded, sailors off boats met locals at times who held a grudge against them and sought to harm them in some way—poisoning being a choice revenge. Pegs were slotted into the inside of tankards containing ale—a patron would take a sip down to the first peg then pass it on to another who would drink till the second peg. Members of the press gang would drop a coin into an unsuspecting patron’s tankard then, when he drained the tankard, a coin would fall on his face, startling him, at which point the press gang would render him unconscious and remove him from the premises. When the patron woke he’d find himself at sea. This was the recruiting process of the Royal Navy. Back in the 16th century an ale-conner was a man that tested if ale was suitable for consumption. He would do this by pouring some ale onto a wooden bench then, clad in leather trousers, he’d sit in the puddle. It would be considered ready for sale if it did not stick to the leather trousers. In Ye Olde London, ale was more like mead than beer. In 1361 Dutch hops were introduced to ale, which changed its composition and became known as beer. When Henry VIII ascended the throne he declared that hops were not to be used in ale as he considered it to be a Dutchman’s drink. Heather Ale (made from the flowering tips of wild purple heather, boiled with Scottish malts and wild myrtle leaves), with its white fog head, is believed to have been drunk since around 2000 BC. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a poem about the recipe of Heather Ale and its originators —a father and son, who were executed because they refused to reveal the recipe. People took their ale very seriously. In Victorian times you’d have a tankard of ale instead of food due to its vitamin and mineral content.
Other must-visit historic pubs The Red Lion, Duke of York St, Piccadilly: Late gin-palace from the 1870s; quaint, quiet, with stunning etched glass mirrors. The George Inn, Borough High St, London Bridge: Best example in London of a galleried coaching inn. The Counting House, Cornhill, City and The Old Bank of England, Fleet St, City: Both were banks in a previous life, giving a wonderful depiction of Victorian counting houses. The Anchor, Park St, Southwark: Destroyed by fire, this pub was rebuilt in 1676 and has been expanded over the years. It’s a bit touristy but holds claim to have served the likes of Shakespeare and Samuel Pepys. It’s also reported to have a few ghosts. The Churchill Arms, Kensington Church St, Kensington: Built in 1750, the pub claims to have received regular visits from Churchill’s grandparents, hence its change of name after WW2. The Shaston Arms, Ganton St, Soho: Offering the private nooks and crannies found only in gin palaces. This pub is off the still very hip Carnaby St.
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The gin craze London has many hidden secrets and when you get to discover some of them it’s quite a thrill. In an attempt to boost the economy, Will iam III encouraged people to distill gin in their homes and sell it, which resulted in every fourth home in the slum area (between Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden) becoming a gin distillery. There were no laws regulating the distilling process, there were no taxes and no age restriction as to whom could drink it. With more than seven million gallons consumed in 1750, the gin craze nearly wiped out all of London. In fact more people died from over indulgence than from the Plague. The government introduced a gin tax and a few decades later, in order to encourage people back into drinking establishments, gin palaces started popping up. The Crown and Sugar Loaf on Fleet Street is a gleaming and pristine example of a shining Victorian gin palace with mirrors, hardwood panels and elegant fireplaces matched to a mosaic stone floor.
London has many hidden secrets and when you get to discover some of them it’s quite a thrill. VIII’s era. She also spoke of how drinks were spiked back then— especially by the press gang who’d surreptitiously be recruiting for the Royal Navy.
Each generation that passes through one of London’s landmark pubs adds to its historic drinking tapestry.
consumption in medieval times). The Old Bell Tavern is what taverns used to look like. At that time it was required that wine barrels be put on display thus ensuring its patrons that it had not been diluted with olive oil or arsenic. The tavern’s back door leads into the tranquil courtyard of St. Brides Church. The design of the church spire is said to have been the inspiration for the world’s first tiered wedding cake.
was the inspiration for the pub’s design. The exterior of the pub has jutting wrought iron signs for each bar and the pub’s name is proudly displayed in mosaic tiles. A statue of a large, laughing friar stands guard above the main door. The immediate impression on entering is that of an extravagantly ornate church, or scaled down cathedral, every inch decorated in marble, mosaic or bas-relief sculpture—it’s a work of art. The walls, clad in green, red and cream marble, are covered with illustrations of merry monks. Above the fireplace, a large bas-relief bronze depicts frolicking friars singing carols and playing instruments. Another called ‘Saturday Afternoon’ shows them gathering grapes and harvesting apples. Three low arches lead into a smaller bar which is like a chapel— this was added after the First World War. Below a beautiful arched mosaic ceiling are mottos of wisdom, such as, ‘finery is foolery’ and ‘don’t advertise, tell a gossip.’ Even the light fittings are carved wooden monks carrying yokes on their shoulders, from which the lights hang. Blackfriars has good real ales and what looks to be good pub grub too. I highly recommend a visit ‘off peak’ so you can get to know it a little better.
Blackfriars Blackfriars is quaint, art nouveau, wedge-shaped pub jammed against the railway station at Blackfriars. It was built in 1875 near the site of a thirteenth century Dominican Priory, which gives the area its name and
The “History of Drinking and Pubs” walking tour is ideal for those who love history— and a good pint. The tour operates weekly on Thursday nights, but also privately on arrangement. See their website for details at www.insider-london.co.uk/londonpub-tours-drinking-tour.
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The Old Bell Tavern In 1672, when architect, Sir Christo pher Wren, was constructing St. Bride’s Church, he came up with the brilliant idea of offering his masons accommodations and entertainment at his adjoining Old Bell Tavern. Thus the wages he’d put in their pockets would find their way back into his. The Old Bell Tavern has a long association with Fleet Street’s print ers and is known as the spiritual home of British journalism. It’s a cozy, informal pub full of character and a colorful plate glass window where patrons would have their jugs or bottles filled. Often they’d send their children to do the task but in 1901 a Parliamentary Act was passed ordering that a child doing so should be over fourteen years of age (there was no age limitation on alcohol Issue five
Virgo 23 August - 22 September Having been touched by a raven you now possess the second sight but that does not mean you should give everything a second look. The stars can see big things in your future, a whole new continent to explore.
Libra 23 September - 23 October Someone at your office has the same name as you and insists on being called “the no. 1”. This person also works longer hours than you so they often get called “the hard working one” and what does that make you?
Aries 21 March - 19 April You’ll be doing a lot of travelling in the near future due to your refusal to buy into society’s narrowminded ideas of good and evil. Let’s just agree that kicking that cat was evil, ok?
Scorpio 24 October - 21 November Your drinking habits have improved drastically but keep on your toes. Just because you only have one glass with lunch and two at dinner doesn’t erase the fact that you finished a keg before you came to work
Taurus 20 April - 20 May Enough with your jealousy already. Don’t try and deny it, the stars already know you read everyone else’s horoscope thinking it was better than yours.
Sagittarius 22 November - 21 December Avoid the number 126 at all cost – it will bring you much heartache and sorrow. Beware of the person sitting next to you.
Gemini 21 May - 21 June It is really important that you read up on everything regarding the mating habits of Arctic char. Let’s just say there’s money involved.
Capricorn 22 December - 19 January Let’s face it, your dreams of finding a secret room (or a whole wing) in your house will never become a reality. Sorry.
Cancer 22 June - 22 July You seem to think that when you just smile and nod everyone will think you know what they’re talking about. This is a misconception, believe us when we say that everybody knows better and they’re laughing behind your back.
Leo 23 July - 22 August You’ve been talking about this for months and now it’s time to organize that labor union. Everyone will rally behind you demanding better hours and wages. Too bad so many of them are assholes who don’t deserve a penny more than what they’re already getting.
Aquarius 20 January - 18 February What’s that? You don’t believe in horoscopes and think they’re a load of bahooey? Well you’re not getting one then.
Pisces 19 February - 20 March In the coming days laughter will follow you wherever you go, which would be great if you were intending to be funny. We’re feeling kind of bad for not giving Aquarius a horoscope so could you tell him that he’s in for a surprise soon. No wait, don’t tell him. Disclaimer: This horoscope is total and utter nonsence. Any accuracies, real or imagined by readers, are purely incidental.
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Really, really bored? Here are a few sudokus to make time fly. But how do I do it?
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The Traveling Inquisition
The poet who touched our hearts by Dísa Bjarnadottir / Photo: Hörður Ásbjörnsson – hoddiphoto.com
Toggi Pop (Þorgrímur Haraldsson), a poet, singer, songwriter, and most recently, a professional gardener, has written pop ular songs both for himself and for others. One of his best known songs called Þú komst við hjartað í mér (You touched my heart) was originally performed by the Icelandic pop icon Páll Óskar and then remade in a different version by the band Haltalín. The song won Toggi the Icelandic Music Award for best song in 2008. The Traveling Inquisition managed to interrogate this talented artist for a few moments.
oggi also writes his own music, his last CD was released in 2011, called Beautiful Secrets. Since then not too much has been heard from him; he’s a busy father of two who runs a gardening company along with his brother and just got himself a degree in professional gardening. He told us that he hasn’t stopped writing music and is now getting ready to record some of the stuff he’s been working, “It’s either going to lead to a new record of my own or something else.”
Q: What is your favorite place abroad? “It is tempting to say Benidorm like one of my least favorite politicians who works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. How ever, I would have to say that Berlin is the most exciting place I’ve ever been, even though I didn’t stay very long and barely felt like I got to know the city. It’s just fascinating how the city is divided in a way— very old fashioned but also super modern. “Berlin is also where I exper ienced one of the biggest and strangest parties of my life: The Love Parade. It’s like a German techno carnival featuring pump ed up muscle men on steroids in multicolored tank tops, girls in really skimpy outfits and ex ceptionally horrible music. I was
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blown away by everything I saw and experienced there. I actually haven’t traveled all that much. I have yet to visit all the exotic places in the world.”
I would have to say that Berlin is the most exciting place I’ve ever been, even though I didn’t stay very long and barely felt like I got to know the city.
never told anyone about this before. Especially since we did not win. It probably didn’t help that I was drunk. Very drunk.” Q: If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go? “I’m a homebody and I really would rather not even leave my hometown of Breiðholt, except maybe to visit my grandmother in Patreksfjörður, but I have always wanted to go to Asia. I doubt I’ll ever go though, because I am an exceptionally picky eater. I would probably die from starvation a few days into my journey.”
Q: What about Iceland? What’s your favorite place here? “Definitely the Westfjords. I visit Patreksfjörður every summer and firmly believe that it’s the most beautiful part of this country. I don’t understand why there isn’t a steady line of cars going there every summer. However, it’s understandable in the wintertime because the roads to Patreks fjörður aren’t in very good shape.” Q: Do you have a fun travel-re lated memory to share with us? “I usually don’t drink alcohol unless I’m abroad. Therefore a lot of my travel memories are in an alcohol daze or related to some kind of alcohol induced partying. It is very memorable when I was invited to Sweden with my band to perform at some festival. We showed up with a very well-rehearsed program for our performance. Then we realized this was some kind of a song-competition, almost like a miniature version of the Eurovision song contest, except the songs were far worse. We were supposed to represent Iceland. This was so embarrassing that I’ve actually
Toggi Pop (Þorgrímur Haraldsson), a poet, singer, songwriter, and most recently, a professional gardener.
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