e azin mag Issue three 2014
Icelandic Festival Summer
Cool festivals – Cultural festivals Musical Festivals – Small town festivals – Athletic festivals Proud festivals – Natural festivals – Food festivals National festivals – Artistic festivals
WOW Cyclothon The biggest cycling event in Iceland just got bigger!
your free copy take me with you
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HOTEL GEYSIR elegaNt restauraNts, spa with hot spriNg jacuzzi, beautiful Nature & fuN activities
Geysir TOp 25 besT places TO phOTOgraph On The planeT earTh 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
hotel geysir 4
WOW Power to the people
W E LC OM E TO G E YSIR the geysir ceNter is directly opposite of the geothermal area of the great geysir aNd strokkur e
geysir glima bistro Coffee house With freshly ground Coffee sWeet iCe Creams & Cakes traditional iCelandiC meat soup fish soup & vegetarian soup loCal food museum of hot springs, volCano and iCelandiC glima
The geysir cenT er haukadalur www.geysircenter.com / www.geysirglima.com / tel: +354 480 6800 / firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/hotelgeysir / www.twitter.com/hotelgeysir Issue three
Insidethe Volcano Take part in a great adventure. Descend 120 metres into a volcano and explore an underground world.
For the first time in history, travelers have the opportunity to see what a volcano looks like on the inside. Descend into a 4.000 year old magma chamber and experience a new underground world. Book now at InsideTheVolcano.com or at your nearest Tourist Information Desk.
• Several departures every day • Maximum 14 people in each tour • Duration: 5-6 hours (up to 45 minutes inside the volcano) • Minimum age: 12 years • Fitness level needed: Moderate. No knowledge of hiking or climbing is required. Price: ISK 37,000 per person More info at InsideTheVolcano.com
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A letter from the editor
In this issue 10 A letter from the CEO 14 This and that … mostly this. 16 What’s going on? Concerts, events, openings and all that. 30 The wheels keep on turning Long, bright summer nights and beautiful nature make Iceland a prime spot for bike riding.
Summer is here
he Icelandic summers are short and far between but that doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had. Actually it‘s just the opposite. Icelanders even have this unspoken and deep-rooted rule of not wasting a single sunny day, meaning you can’t stay inside if the weather is nice. Those, who have moved to warmer and sunnier parts of the world, even talk about how hard it is to stop adhering to this rule. Set on enjoying the summer the best we can, many of us drive around the island taking in the beauty, visiting relatives and checking out one or two of the town festivals and happenings around the country while we’re at it. And almost everyone goes camping, well … if the definition of camping still reaches those luxurious pop-up campers and RVs. You can always count on finding Icelanders at any given camping ground in the country and if you’re lucky you might even witness a full blown family reunion where a whole clan meets, plays games and breaks out in song from time to time, with or without a guitar, and with, of course, mixed results. Fair warning: This does not always diminish the frequency! If it’s raining or windy we dress to the occasion; nothing can stop us from enjoying the Icelandic summer and we hope you will too. Have a WOW summer.
36 Icelandic festival summer 38 June festivals The endless sunshine in June is quite the reason to party - the nation celebrates its Independence Day, the Vikings come alive for a week and the world’s most unique music festival hits Reykjavík.
50 July festivals
July is Iceland’s warmest month so don’t think of staying indoors for a second! The National Competition of Horsemen starts this month off, where the best horses and riders in Iceland compete.
56 August festivals
The most romantic month on the Icelandic calendar, with its gorgeous sunsets and alluring dark nights, make Icelanders go festival bonkers! August holds the biggest.
Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir, editor in chief email@example.com
WOW magazine staff
Tel: 00 354 590 3020 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ERFISME HV R M
© WOW air Katrínartún 12 105 Reykjavík Iceland ntun: Oddi umhverfisvottuð prentsmiðja
Editor in chief: Guðrún Vaka Helgadóttir Assistant editor: Eygló Árnadóttir Design and layout: Ivan Burkni Contributing writers: Dísa Bjarnadóttir, Ólöf Hugrún Valdimarsdóttir, Paul Michael Herman, Cindy-Lou Dale, Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson, Gerður Harðardóttir, Mirna Gacesa, Kate Ware, Nabil Atassi, and www.festivals.is. Proofreading: Paul Michael Herman
Oddi environmentally certified printing company All rights reserved. Reprinting, direct quoting or recapitulation prohibited except with a written permit from publisher.
WOW Power to the people
30 Our cover pays homage to the WOW Cyclothon and shows cyclist Sigurdur Skarphedinsson from bikecompany.is cycling along the south coast during last year’s WOW cyclothon. Photographer: Ernir Eyjólfsson.
90 Slow fashion made in Iceland “If we believe we have any right in nature we must also have some obligations,” says master furrier Eggert Jóhannsson, who was awarded Tradesman of the Year 2014. Disrupting the landscape of social media Four young Icelandic entrepreneurs have created a new social network called Blendin, a mobile application which aims to connect friends when they’re going out.
94 Iceland’s hidden secrets The award-winning, best selling author, Þorgrímur Þráinsson, offers private tours in the haunting area of Snaefellsnes peninsula. 96 Fun aboard The WOW air cabin crew has made flying fun again. 98
Festivals and feasts in the east In the realm of Vatnajokull glacier you will find diverse activities all year round.
100 Reykjavik happens to be a city of nature. 102 Person of WOW Björn Vilberg Jónsson is one smooth operator.
74 Just a moment… We love it when you share your WOW moments with us, and we want to share them with the world.
104 Working hard and having fun The WOW air staff take their fun seriously.
Totally freestyle! Icelandic jazz bands have a free style, and their own recognizable celandic tone.
Let’s go herbal! Kolbrún Björnsdóttir is Iceland’s most renowned herbalist and the proud owner of Jurtaapótek.
86 WOW stars Let’s keep up with the brilliant WOW stars that are shining bright these days.
Warsaw is a metropolis bursting with life.
116 Artistic wonderland near Barcelona
Get a dash of Dalí!
118 Home of the cartwheel 92
70 How to really see the sights Mýflug air will take you above and beyond.
114 An open book of Polish art and history
The jubilant Düsseldorf is the home of cartwheels, specifically joyful ones.
122 The greatest small city in the world
If your budget hinders you from splurging on one-off designs, there are ways of taking in fashionable Amsterdam’s voguish vibe – on the cheap.
126 Your WOW horoscope Check out what the stars have in store for you. 128 Bored on board? Get a pen and solve these sudokus. 130 The Traveling Inquisition Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir is one of those Icelandic superwomen who juggles a hundred different projects at once.
P.S. Would you like your very own copy of WOW magazine? Take this one with you or contact us through email@example.com and we’ll send you a printed copy. You can also check out WOW magazine online at wowair.com.
WOW cities 106 Pretty fly festivals
Feeling festive? Here are some of this summer’s festivals in or around WOW air’s 15 destinations. Start packing straight away!
112 Heavenly slices of Milan The Italian city is not only about fashion but also has several famous places that serve heavenly slices of pizza.
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! firstname.lastname@example.org
The road to Mjóifjörður has been opened. Mjóifjörður is a beautiful, remote fjord in the Icelandic East Fjords. The only road there lies through a mountain pass, blocked by snow eight months out of the year. This makes the snow blower a true harbinger of summer when it finally arrives. www.66north.com
A letter from the CEO
Photo: Ernir Eyjólfsson
Time flies when you’re having fun!
, I can’t believe it’s already 2 years since our inaugural flight to Paris on May 31st, 2012. Most people, if not everybody, thought we were completely crazy to start an airline but now even the biggest skeptics are starting to see the light. I am extremely proud of what the WOW team has accomplished in such a short time. Last year WOW air flew with over 400,000 guests to and from Iceland; we have lowered airfares up to 40% on many popular destinations to and from Iceland; WOW air was the most punctual airline flying to and from Iceland in 2013, and we have received fantastic reviews from our guests. I am also very proud of our community efforts and how we continue to support and sponsor a wide range of individuals and groups who otherwise could not pursue their dreams. Most notable is the WOW Cyclothon, a race around Iceland in support of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the National University Hospital of Iceland. The race has more than doubled in size with each year and this year over 500 contestants are registered to race around Iceland, including of course, two WOW teams. This journey would not have been possible if we didn’t have a great dedicated team at WOW air which is determined to continue to serve you well, find new interesting destinations and last but certainly not least, continue to offer even lower prices. Thank you for choosing WOW air and making this dream become a reality. Skúli Mogensen
WOW Power to the people
ÍSLENSKA/SIA.IS SML 69194 05/14
At Smáralind shopping center you will be able to find the perfect pieces for your wardrobe at tax free prices. Smáralind’s free shuttle bus runs between May 15th and September 1st. Hop on and hop off – the shuttle also stops at Kópavogur’s Museum District. •
Great selection of restaurants
Family entertainment center
15% tax free refund*
*Minimum purchase of ISK 4,000
LARGEST SHOPPING CENTER IN ICELAND
OPEN: WEEKDAYS 11-19 THURSDAYS 11-21 SATURDAYS 11-18 SUNDAYS 13-18 SMARALIND.IS FIND US ON
This and that …
Say cheese! The Icelandic Pantry or ‘Búrið’ is a quirky cheese shop in Reykjavík, located at the downtown harbor area. It offers the best in gloriously stinky cheeses from around the globe, together with a selection of jams, cured meats, olives, chutneys and other nibbles and noshes that make life worth living. The Pantry has developed a strong following among curd nerds for its selection of specialty foods from dairy farms and other small, local producers all over Iceland. This summer, The Pantry offers workshops aimed at food lovers of all types, from the merely curious to the serious cheese enthusiast. Every country has its own unique food culture and that includes cheese. The French serve their cheese before dessert, the British at the end of the meal, the Italians use cheese in their cooking… but what about the Icelandic people, who have the third largest consumption of cheese in the world? The workshop ‘The wonderful world of Icelandic skyr and cheese’ will teach you everything about Icelandic cheese, skyr and the unique Icelandic dairy cow. The workshops are held twice weekly, at noon on Mondays and Fridays all through the summer. Bookings can be made either by phone: +354 551 8400 or email: email@example.com. Bookings ideally need to be made at least two days in advance. More information at: http://blog.burid.is/english
Bring home a song
ften described as the Icelandic Alicia Keys, the young redhead Una Stef is taking the Icelandic music scene by storm, debuting her album this spring and touring around Iceland in the summer. Although she’s only 23, Una has already caught the eyes and ears of well-known producers around Europe and hopes to one day share her talents with a bigger audience than the small but up-to-date population of Iceland. Una’s first album is titled ‘Songbook’ and includes 10 songs in English, that she wrote herself. In the album, Una shows that she’s wise beyond her years, tapping into jazz, blues, funk and soul—all with an accessible pop-vibe. In her personal life, Una has overcome great difficulties but always lands on her feet, giving her a rare and extremely positive outlook on life and love. Her hopeful dreams for the future resonate in soulful songs such as ‘The Lovesong,’ ‘Stay by Your Side’ and ‘Breathe.’ In the upbeat ‘Mama Funk,’ Una’s vibrant personality and cool attitude shines through. Overall it’s a feel-good album that makes its way straight to your heart. Finding the perfect souvenir can be tricky, but what better than red-hot Icelandic music to remember the volcanic island by? Una’s ‘Songbook’ is available at Keflavík Airport and record stores and bookstores all around Iceland.
A trip back to the sixties Genuine American sixties diner atmosphere and a range of great burgers, steaks, ribs and pies come together at the Roadhouse restaurant. Roadhouse is located at Snorrabraut in downtown Reykjavík, and offers real food with real soul. High quality meat, home baked bread, secret recipe sauces… They only use fresh in gredients and everything is made from scratch. Each fry takes two days to make! The smoke oven is Roadhouse’s pride and joy and there they smoke ribs in three different wood blends, each with its unique flavor. The smoked ribs are not to be missed! Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ Roadhouse.Reykjavik
Ólafur wins a Bafta
he wonderful Icelandic musician and composer, Ólafur Arnalds, was awarded the BAFTA Television Craft Award for his music in the BBC’s hit detective series ‘Broadchurch.’ The popular show was nominated for five Bafta awards, including best script and direction. A second season is currently in production, as is a US adaptation, and Ólafur has confirmed he will also be scoring season 2. In addition to Ólafur’s score for Broadchurch, he has composed soundtracks for ‘Gimme Shelter,’ ‘Another Happy Day’ and a piece for the soundtrack to ‘The Hunger Games.’
WOW Power to the people
This and that …
The Icelandic Festival Guide
Art in Berlin The Berlin-based Icelandic artist, Egill Sæbjörnsson, recently revealed his outside art work in Berlin. The beautiful piece is a 6.5 meters tall concrete wall, with a half ball in the middle and on it a self-generating ever changing motion picture is reflected. The piece stands in front of the Robert Koch Institute headquarters, Germany’s main health research center. For the occasion of the new headquarters opening, the institute threw an artwork competition for a piece outside the main entrance and Egill landed first prize. This piece is his second permanent outdoors video-artwork; last year he also won a competition for an outdoors artwork in Germany. That one is reflected on the front side of the art museum Kunstmuseum Ahlen. What a talented guy!
many famous people are regulars here
The festival features in this maga zine were provided by a group of people who are on a mission to bring the spotlight to the many interesting festivals taking place around the country throughout the year. For such a small nation there sure are a lot of little known festivals. The Icelandic Festival Guide started out as an idea which got put on hold while two friends, Atli Snær Keransson and Magnús Þór Gunnarsson, went into business together providing ATV thrills for tourists in the Westfjords. After a while, the idea kept creeping back into their minds so they sold their ATV adventure business and began the production and publishing of the first Icelandic Festival Guide. The guide, a free publication, is an information booklet featuring all the different festivals taking place in Iceland, all year around. The information is gathered directly from the festival organizers so you can be sure you are reading up-to-date, official information on all of them. The first Icelandic Festival Guide, published in 2013 in Icelandic, received great feedback, mostly because no other publication provided such detailed content information. Pretty soon all of the 25,000 copies that had been distributed around Iceland, had been picked up. Atli and Magnús wanted to further their idea so they contacted
Franz Gunnarsson who has an impressive background in music, media and event management. They’ve now published an English version of the Icelandic Festival Guide with an addition of “on the road” stories from popular Icelandic artists like Of Monsters and Men. The second edition of the Ice landic version of the festival guide was published in May 2014. And now they’re online too! The trio embarked on building up a website which hosts a one-ofa-kind database on all Iceland’s festivals, helping both Icelandic and foreign culture enthusiasts to navigate through the Icelandic festival landscape. Apart from the database, the website provides a lot of content in the form of current culture news, features on festivals, events and artists. There is also a “games” section where you can enter for free to have the chance to win great prizes in the form of event passes, adventure trips and great meals, to name a few. Set on providing the essential information and interesting reading material that will help visitors discover new things about Icelandic culture and travel, the group around the Icelandic Festival Guide is still growing. The website was formally launched on June 1st and will be in further development throughout the year 2014.
Visit the Icelandic Festival Guide website www.festivals.is, pick up your free copy and enjoy Icelandic culture & travel. It’s really one of a kind.
Ban Thai the finest Thai restaurant in Iceland
I 1/10 The Best Restaurants In Iceland
the best thai food 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013
Laugavegur 130, ofan við Hlemm 16
WOW Power to the people
Tel : 692-0564
t can’t be said that interesting museums aren’t to be found in Iceland. The Icelandic Phal lological Museum is now located in Reykjavík but used to be housed in the town of Húsavík, and in that same building a brand new museum is now opening. The Exploration Museum celebrates the history of space and land exploration. Why space you ask? Well, when foreign travelers land on Iceland their first words are quite often, “WOW it’s like being on the moon!” This must have caught NASA’s ears because in the 60’s, NASA brought astronauts to Iceland to train for the mission that first brought man to the moon. Penises and astronauts—it’s all good.
Go home witthh a story wor sharing!
Open everyday from 8am-10pm
Ice Climbing Snorkeling
Glacier Hike Canoeing
Horse Riding Sightseeing Snowmobile Whale Watch ATV
Mountain Hut Camping
www.adventures.is | firstname.lastname@example.org | +354-562-7000 | Downtown ReykjavĂk Sales Office at Laugavegur 11
How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes 25 May-late August
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.
Performed in English by actor Bjarni Haukur Thorsson, the show will open in Harpa Concert Hall on the 25th of May and run until late August. This show is a tour-de-force theatrical comedy show focusing on the Icelandic human condition: Their attitudes, struggles and everyday life; from Vikings to Bjork and from bankers to wankers. You will walk out of the show feeling 100% Icelandic!
Henning Kreitel’s ‘Nightlight in Skotið’ 2 May-24 June Henning Kreitel’s photo exhibition ‘Nightlight in Skotið’ is inspired by the architectural structure of Reykjavik’s old city center and the light that surrounds it. The interaction between the natural darkness and the bright electric illumination in Reykjavik creates a special atmosphere. Henning photographs at night but uses a photographic technique that make the photos look like they were taken during the day. This bluff creates visual poetry. Check it out at www.ljosmyndasafnreykjavikur.is
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program ‘All Jazz is Modern’ goes through the history of jazz from Jelly Roll Morton to the present day. Visit www.en.harpa.is/ for more information.
Bottoms up! 7 June For the fourth time the good people of Hólar in Hjaltadal celebrate The Beer Festival, where beer producers gather to introduce their popular products and anything new and exciting coming up. Plus an annual keg rally and awards for the best beer and the best booth. Quite the reason for beer fans to visit Sauðárkrókur in northern Iceland. Tickets are available at www.midi.is.
Get heavy with it! 12 June in Reykjavik / 13 June in Akureyri
The Icelandic heavy metal band DIMMA releases a new record ’Vélráð’’ in early June. For the occa sion, DIMMA will throw release con certs in both the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik and The Green Hat in Akureyri. Their new record is inspired by deceit and deception; how dis honestly people manipulate each other. Although the topic is dark and gloomy, the music is melodic and accessible. Not to be missed by rock fans. Visit www.midi.is for tickets and hurry - DIMMA sold out every show last year!
How to dress a president 7 February-5 October One of Iceland’s newest museums is the Museum of Design and Applied Art located in Garðabær, a 10 minute drive from the center of Reykjavik. The museum’s current exhibition “Are you ready, Madam President?” is its largest to date presenting clothing, shoes, purses and other accessories from the wardrobe of Mrs. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland, from her 16 years in office 1980-1996. The items are from Vigdís’ private collection who participated in the preparation for the exhibition by sharing the stories behind the clothes and her personal account of the role of clothing during her presidency. The perspective of Vigdís’ clothing is much more than a historical overview of formal wear for heads of states at that time. As the world’s first democratically elected female head of state, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir had very little to base her formal wardrobe on. She was not a queen, not a princess, not a bride and definitely not Winston Churchill. The Museum of Design and Applied Art is located at Garðatorg 1, and open Tuesdays to Sundays from 12 noon – 5 pm, offering guided tours at 12 noon on Fridays.
Getting around Jump the airwave! 5-9 November
Food & Drink What to do! What to see! Shopping Last minute in Iceland
WOW Power to the people
All Jazz is Modern 4 July Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will perform at Harpa Concert Hall along with his band, Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra. Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He is the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum. His
Iceland Airwaves is one of the premier showcases for new music in the world. Known for its intimacy and party spirit, reviewers have applauded the festival and the music - stating that “…there is not any place in the world like this. Airwaves really does catch Reykjavík in its best light” (Drowned in Sound). The program offers the finest Icelandic talent as well as international acts, and many see Airwaves as their breakthrough moment. We are telling you about Iceland Airwaves early, since it is not to be missed! Check out www.icelandairwaves.is for this year’s line-up and ticket info.
facebook.com/enneinn ÍSLENSKA/SIA.IS ENN 69215 05/14
Tank up at N1 on your way around Iceland
The points indicate where you’ll find N1 service stations around Iceland
Wi-Fi at selected N1 service stations
N1 is a network of service stations, located all around Iceland. There you can find anything you might need for the road, both fuel, food and entertainment. Our mission is to offer excellent services to anyone on the road. At selected N1 service stations, travelers enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi – perfect to share those travel memories in real time. At the largest service stations, you can either tank up yourself or rely on our swift service, shop for essentials, entertainment and snacks or just take a well-deserved break over a cup of coffee. Tank up your car at N1 and fuel your body and soul at the same time.
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 Miamisunshine yellow that will cheer even the dullest of days. Dine and jive Lebowski Bar really captures the diner style with cosy booths and a fabulous jukebox containing over 1,600 songs guaranteed to get those hips swaying. If that’s not enough there’s a DJ on every night of the week so you won’t feel the pressure of selecting all the music by yourself. The menus are the biggest in Iceland … no literally! Their physical dimensions are huge! Doesn’t everyone say that size really does matter? Try their amazing burgers, there’s cheese, bacon, a béarnaise sauce option and succulent beef tenderloin. If that’s not enough, choose from one of the 12 kinds of milkshakes to go with it.
Lebowski Bar is my favorite place to hang out at. I love grabbing a good beer, a burger & topping it with a delicious milkshake. Lebowski Bar plays oldies music which makes the vibe like none other in Reykjavik. They also have happy hour from 4-7pm and who doesn’t love that! Bottom line, Lebowski Bar is a great mainstream bar where you can meet fellow travelers and have a drink with locals. Practice the word ‘SKÁL’ (Cheers) ~ Inga,@TinyIceland (www.tinyiceland.com)
“Careful man, there’s a beverage here!” Jeffrey ‘the Dude’ Lebowski, the protagonist of the Coen brot her’s comedy, is renowned for his penchant for ‘White Russians’ – vodka based cocktails featuring coffee liqueurs and cream or milk. The Lebowski Bar has taken this now-iconic drink to a new level, offering an astounding 18 varieties of White Russian, along with an extensive bar list. Bowling at the bar The real icing on the Lebowski cake, however, is the bar’s genu ine bowling lane – it’s a classic. How many bars have a bowling lane? In Iceland, not many, unless you count the bars at actual bowling alleys that certainly don’t have the cool vibe of Lebowski Bar. DJs and a bass player add to the music mix at weekends and there’s room to dance. Check it out dudes, you’re guaranteed a good time. WOW Challenge: Dress up as a real rockabilly chick or dude be fore you go to the Lebowski Bar. You’ll fit right in.
FIND IT ON FACEBOOK and Twitter Twitter: @LebowskiBar - Instagram: #LebowskiBar - Open 11:00 – 01:00 Sun-Thurs and 11:00 – 04:00 Fri/Sat 20
WOW Power to the people
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 bar tenders. 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 FunktionOne 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 Lava barinn. 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 three
The English Pub Austurstræti 12 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 578 0400 Mobile: +354 697 9003 www.enskibarinn.is
Save water, drink beer!
For years, Iceland has enjoyed a diverse selection of restaurants and often sophisticated bars. However, one tiny grumble occasionally surfaced from the country’s Anglophiles – simply that there was no proper “pub”.
And so the English Pub was born. From modest beginnings it has built a hearty reputation, seeking out, with the advice and guidance of its dedicated customers, the finest ale available to mankind. Today it offers its enthusiastic clientele the chance to sample 50 beers from around the world, as well as a staggering 15 Icelandic brands. Whisky galore Not content to rest on its laurels, the English Pub has ventured north of its virtual border and also offers the finest selection of whiskies anywhere in the country. The choice of some 60 malts include many of Scotland’s finest, ensuring that numerous Icelanders and worldly travelers make the pilgrim age to the pub’s humble door. Located at the very heart of downtown Reykjavik, the walls of the English Pub are adorned with hundreds of photographs – like an album of the city’s history just waiting to be explored over a quiet beer. A sporting chance Live sporting coverage is amply catered for, with a choice of three big screens and TVs. Inside the pub there is room for up to 150 people, and an outdoor terrace can accommodate plenty more on those balmy Icelandic evenings! Whether it is football (Premier and Champions League), rugby or golf, there are always special offers when live events are being broadcast. Live music every night adds to the atmosphere and for anyone feeling lucky, there is the Wheel of Fortune. Regulars like nothing more than to spin the wheel and chance a “Sorry” or preferably win what used to be called a Yard of Ale. These days, it’s inevitably known as a meter of beer, but the winners don’t seem to min
WOW Power to the people
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.
The restaurant has been popular for many years, perhaps because of its wonderful quality of being an all-in-one, restaurant, café and bar. You‘ll never want to leave! Here the decor is rich on the Mediterranean side and yet elegant with a jazzy ambiance. In the summertime tables are moved outside to the sheltered terrace, probably one of the hottest places in Iceland during those short summer months. This place is famous for their ‘fresh fish of the day’, served all day from lunch hours. It has very reasonable prices for quality, portions and presentation and guests can choose from a wide variety of decadent desserts – if they make it that far. Try their excellent selection of good beers. Every day there is a special offer on bottled beers worth a taste.
Try their excellent selection of good beers. Every day there is a special offer on bottled beers worth a taste. Issue three
Hressingarskálinn Austurstræti 20 101 Reykjavik Tel: +354 561 2240 facebook.com/hressingarskalinn
Coffee house, restaurant & night club Hressingarskálinn is a warm place with plenty of seating and a great loca tion in downtown Reykjavik. It’s one of the few places that open at 9 AM to serve breakfast for hungry travelers or locals. Hressingarskálinn is a big part of Reykjavík’s history; the house was built in 1802 and the restaurant was established in 1932. The house has hosted Hressingarskálinn since 1932.
The menu consists of great select ions and offers everything from breakfast to a fantastic dinner.
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Sitting down for a coffee has a magnetic effect on Iceland’s most talented art ists and writers. Smokers can have a seat on a heated patio with service all day. Over the summer, this place really comes alive. The yard is completely sheltered from the wind, allowing you to enjoy food and beverages in the bright sunlight. Thursday to Sunday is usually packed with people from all over the world. It’s a great place to meet strangers for some interesting story sharing. Live bands play on Fridays and Saturdays, guaranteeing a crowd before all the popular DJ’s hit the floor with party tunes from 01:00-04:30 AM. The menu consists of great selections and offers everything from breakfast to a fantastic dinner. Hressingarskálinn offers Icelandic food for curious visitors. You can always try the traditional Icelandic meat soup. If not, there’s lamb or the fish stew – You won’t be disappointed. Hress ingarskálinn is stylish and old at the same time, a history well preserved. Check out Hressingarskálinn for great prices and awesome fun!
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 three
Tíu dropar Le Chateaux des Dix Gouttes Laugavegur 27 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 551 9380
Tíu dropar / Le Chateaux des Dix Gouttes Tíu dropar (Ten Drops) is a café located in the cellar of Laugavegur 27. This is one of the oldest cafés in Iceland and for the last 30 years to this very day they serve freshly baked pancakes and waffles á la the grandmothers of Iceland, with lots of whipped cream and Icelandic jam.
Ten Drops is also known for its homemade cakes, baked from scratch according to old recipes, and of course, their hot cocoa, known by many of their guests as ‘The Only Real Hot Cocoa on Earth’. If you’re not in the mood for old fashioned Icelandic goodies you can choose from an assortment of light dishes, tea, wines and beer. We recommend the French meat soup, a popular dish and another old favorite. Where did the café go? Don’t be surprised if you can’t find the café after 18:00. Something happens around that time that transforms this little cellar into a French wine room known as Le Chateaux des Dix Gouttes or the Castle of the Ten Drops. This is a lovely place to sit and enjoy good wines along with cheese, ham or other light dishes for as little as 500 ISK a plate, and don’t worry, the coffee, cocoa and pancakes are still there! Lovely French music sets the mood and the
ambiance is perfect for a deep conversation. Guests wanting to break out in song can have their turn after 22:00 on the weekends, as long as they can find someone to play the antique piano given to the café’s owner, David Bensow, by a regular. Choose your wine Guests can have their say on the wine list of Le Chateaux des Dix Gouttes and David will make special orders to fulfill their wishes. In fact, he welcomes any suggestions making the wine list one of the more, well-endowed in Reykjavík. He’s especially interested in serving good Port to his clientele. Intimate climate The little wine room and café seat only 40 guests and the mood is set in the early evening. It’s safe to say this is just the kind of place that was missing from the brimm ing Icelandic bar and café scene - a perfect setting for a small group of friends to reminisce over the good old days or for a first date. Be sure to taste David’s “wine of the week” or let his fair beer prices amaze you. Check out the ten drops twitter feed and find both café and wine room on Facebook.
Don’t be surprised if you can’t find the café after 18:00. Something happens around that time that transforms this little cellar into a French wine room known as Le Chateaux Des dix Gouttes or the Castle of the Ten Drops.
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Kol Restaurant Skólavörðustígur 40 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 517 7474 www. kolrestaurant.is
Cocktails and feel good food at Kol Restaurant Be prepared for a memorable night out at Kol Restaurant.
Kol Restaurant centers on the bar where the country’s best cocktail bartenders serve craft cocktails from the best ingredients available and offer an ambitious cocktail list to begin and complete the dining experience.
Situated at Skólavörðustígur 40 in Reykjavík, Kol Restaurant’s design con cept is a mixture of warm modern Icelandic feel with international touches and the furniture of designer Tom Dixon playing the central role. The rest aurant is on two floors with an open kitchen and a mighty bar. Both floors are divided into spaces with cozy leather couches and a variety of different table settings. Kol Restaurant centers on the bar where the country’s best cocktail bar tenders serve craft cocktails from the best ingredients available and offer an ambitious cocktail list to begin and complete the dining experience. The selection is feel good comfort food with a twist on classic cuisine. The menu offers a variety of finger food, salads, fish, steaks and desserts. The head chefs, Einar Hjaltason and Kári Þorsteinsson, have over 20 years of experience at Reykjavik’s best restaurants as well as work experience in several known restaurants in London, for example Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons, Dabbous, Noma, 28/50 and Texture. Don’t miss out on this brand new gem on the Reykjavik restaurant scene. This is a great place to begin a fun evening.
Kol Restaurant Open: Monday-Friday 11:30-23:00 Saturday-Sunday 17:30-23:00 Issue three
Den Danske Kro Ingólfsstræti 3 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 552 0070 www.dendanske.is
When in Iceland, go Danish! You know that Iceland used to be a Danish colony, right? Even though independ ence from the Danish Crown was necessary, Icelanders still celebrate everything Danish, so don’t expect to meet a big Danish crowd at The Danish Pub, they are all Icelanders just acting like they’re Danish. Really!
This bar has made a name for itself in the Reykjavik social scene and is known locally as Den Danske Kro (we all just want a reason to speak Danish in public). This popular downtown venue serves a remarkable selection of beers including the famous Danish white beers, the darker more malt brews and of course the traditional and almost obligatory Tuborg and Carlsberg. If you come during the Christmas season you can taste some of the renowned Christmas brews, very popular in demand. Just ask for Julebryg (“you-le-bree”).
Get carefree or “ligeglad” (leeglaath), shoot some darts, try the customary Gammel Dansk bitters or catch some live football. Watch the world go by on the outside terrace and have a taste of the traditional smørrebrød (fantastic open sandwiches).
Do as the Danes do The owners of the Danish Pub strive to create the true Danish atmosphere known among the Danes (and Danish-prone Icelanders) as “hyggeligt”. If you truly are Danish this can be your “home away from home”. And in this spirit, check out the “house” within the pub – an off-the-wall design in its most literal sense! Get carefree or “ligeglad” (lee-glaath), shoot some darts, try the customary Gammel Dansk bitters or catch some live football. Watch the world go by on the outside terrace and have a taste of the traditional smørrebrød (fantastic open sandwiches). You can pre-order these delicious snacks for larger groups. Does this sound too tranquil? The Danish Pub is nothing if not a place to party. The atmosphere is easy going and you can choose from a variety of shots and even cocktails if you’re not in the mood for a beer (Does that ever happen?). Reminder: If you thought you were in for a quiet night guess again, The Danish Pub features live music every night with special appearances and unadvertised happenings on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Put your musical knowledge to the test at the Wednesday night pop-quiz; the prizes will surprise you. Best local pub in Reykjavík Wherever you‘re from you’ll want to have a great time while visiting Reykjavík. The people of Reykjavík do anyway, so they flock to The Danish Pub for a beer “en øl” during the Happy Hour every day from 16-19. The place is crowded and you’re guaranteed to meet some fun, “lee glaath” people. WOW Challenge: Imagine there’s a potato in your throat and receive every drink with the words: “Tag skaadoo haw”. They’ll all think you’re from Copenhagen. Honest!
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 14:00 – 01:00 and Fri-Sat 14:00 – 05:00 28
WOW Power to the people
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
The wheels keep on turning Long, bright summer nights and beautiful nature make Iceland a prime spot for bike riding and this is what the WOW Cyclothon is all about. The WOW Cyclothon is a relay bike race where team members take turns cycling on Iceland’s Ring Road, a 1332 km road that circles this North Atlantic island, in less than 72 hours. Photos: Ernir Eyjólfsson
WOW Power to the people
Birtíngur Publishing and from private collections
Cyclothon promotes healthy living and outdoor activities in the beautiful nature of Iceland while raising money for charity. The funds raised through WOW Cyclothon 2014 will go toward buying some much needed equipment for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the National University Hospital of Iceland. Founded in 2012 by a team of energetic, outdoorsy people inspired by the nature, 24 hour daylight and the idea to cycle around Iceland, the WOW Cyclothon has seen immense growth in just three years. The first year, 20 teams, each with four cyclists and two drivers, competed, also raising money for a good cause. This year over 400 contestants will race around the country.
María Ögn Guðmundsdóttir, project manager for WOW Cyclothon, and WOW Cyclothon founders Skúli Mogensen and Magnús Ragnarsson, met with Páll Mattíasson (third, left), CEO of the National University Hospital along with a team from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. The funds raised during WOW Cyclothon will go toward purchasing essential surgical equipment for the department. Photo: Sigurjón Ragnar Sigurjónsson
The more the merrier Each year has seen some significant change in the structure of the com petition. In 2012 there was only one category and each team had six members; four cyclists and two drivers. In 2013 the WOW Cyclothon added a category to the race, the B Team category where each team can have 10 members that take turns cycling and driving. This year yet another category has been added and it’s probably the ultimate challenge; a solo category. Each solo cyclist has a support team of two drivers who take turns driving the support vehicle. It goes without saying that the solo racers get a little bit more time to finish the circle around Iceland; 84 hours.
Founded in 2012 by a team of energetic, outdoorsy people inspired by the nature, 24 hour daylight and the idea to cycle around Iceland, the WOW Cyclothon has seen immense growth in just three years.
Visit www.wowcyclothon.com for more information.
Let’s hear it from the teams
here’s a great variety of teams competing in the WOW Cyclothon; longtime friends, work colleagues, family members and gym buddies; there are all women’s teams, all male teams and blended teams. Some take part to win, some to enjoy the nature and others do it for the unique fun but all are in for the challenge of a lifetime and a race around Iceland they will never forget.
start. “We dragged behind right in the beginning and had to race back into the game right away. We tried to lose our competition which counted 8 teams at the time, at Möðrudalsöræfi (the area between Mývatn and Egilsstaðir) but were unsuccessful. Finally we managed
to get ahead at Öxi,”Sigurður explained. “Every single team we spoke to mentioned Öxi, the notorious gravel highland road between Egilsstaðir and the southern region. Öxi is clearly a strategically important part of this cycling competition as well as being a memorable challenge,” he added.
The Inside Imps Team IP is the winner of the 2013 WOW Cyclo thon, coming in just four minutes ahead of team in second place, Synir Helga (Helgi’s sons). It just goes to show that even though the WOW Cyclothon is long and hard there is still excitement and suspense until the last minute. The members of Team IP are all runners and the abbreviation in the team’s name stands for InniPúkar, an Icelandic derogative term for people that spend too much time indoors, translating as “inside imps,” a nickname the team got from spending most of their time exercising indoors on treadmills. They share a history of running injuries that gradually drew them into cycling. “It’s a great sport and it’s much easier on your joints and back” said team captain Sigurður Hansen. It took Team IP a mere 41 hours and 3 minutes to finish the 1332 km around Iceland but despite their victorious results they had a troublesome
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WOW Cyclothon winners 2013 Team IP with second place Team Synir Helga. Photo courtesy of Georg Vilhjálmsson.
Cops on Bikes The first team to sign up for WOW Cyclothon 2014 was Team Hjólalöggur (Cops on Bikes) and team leader Sverrir Guðfinnsson says there was never a question whether Cops on Bikes would compete again. Cops on Bikes are competing for the third time and say that even though they don’t have the most experienced team of cyclists they are very enthusiastic and that slowly but surely their gear is getting better. Their goal for this year is improvement. “The hardest part about last year’s race was definitely the weather, which was very bad in some parts. We’ve planned to be better prepared for all weather conditions this year with better gear and by toughening up, training outside through the winter,” said Sverrir and stated that the teams only secret weapon was hard training. “The WOW Cyclothon is not just a question of how well you can ride a bike; it’s about endurance, to be able to continue despite the lack of sleep and the weather conditions. Our experience after two cyclothons has not only taught us about what gear to take but also how to be tactical, what food works well and how to train for this trial. We learned a lot in our first year and even more last year.”
The WOW girls Proving that you do not have to be an experienced cyclist or a super fit athlete, a team of 10 WOW girls went the distance in 2013 smiling all the way. Only one team member had tried a racer before. “We didn’t know how to change gears, the first of us to try couldn’t reach the pedals and the next one used the same gear for over half an hour. You could say that we learned how to change gears around Varmahlíð and how to use the brakes near Mývatn,” Svanhvít, WOW air’s director
of communications joked. Being the least experienced team, the WOW girls had a tough journey but back at the office the atmosphere was charged with excitement. “Everyone was following our progress on the map. Their support kept us going, plus all the pledges. Our team came in second in the pledge competition,” the girls told us. The girls all agreed that this was an experience they will never forget. Although they didn‘t have the best gear and despite coming in last, the WOW girls had a smile on their face. “Our goal was a
simple one: to reach the finish line before the 72 hours were up. And we did it, finishing the whole circle in 59 hours. We are very proud of that. Our motto was to smile all the way round to the finish line. You could say that we defeated the Ring Road with joy,” they said and added, “You don’t have to go to win. Just do it for the joy and for a good cause. It‘s an experience of a lifetime.” Team WOW girls will be back at this year’s cyclothon and we expect them to keep a smile on their face no matter what. Good luck girls!
Basel Boy Hans cycling at the Swiss Cycling Alpenbrevet.
The Basel Boys It’s not just Icelanders who compete in the WOW Cyclothon. We got in contact with a few enthusiastic boys from Basel who were preparing for the WOW Cyclothon 2014. “We’ve all been active cyclists for pleasure. WOW Cyclothon is a great opportunity to raise funds for a good cause while forcing guys like us, who spend most of the week sitting in an office, to go outside and stay healthy… and where else can you experience such breathtaking landscapes with lava fields, glacier lagoons and hot springs?” the team members say. When it comes to strategizing for the race the Basel Boys admit to having gotten a little overexcited. “We started planning for the race already in November last year, before we even started training. We have discussed a lot about sleeping, food, changeovers, repairs and massages, but we still need to sort out these things in detail,” the Basel Boys admit. When we asked them if they were in it to win it they said: “Of course, we always take on such challenges to win! However, we are not underestimating the major obstacles that await us and will be more than satisfied with finishing the race in a decent time! This will be our first WOW Cyclothon after all and for most of us, the first time in Iceland. At the end of the day we are taking part for the experience, and we are sure it will be great fun no matter what.”
“The WOW Cyclothon is not just a question of how well you can ride a bike; it’s about endurance, to be able to continue despite the lack of sleep and the weather conditions.”
Photo: Örn Sigurðsson
Going solo One of the first people to take on the WOW Cyclothon solo category is 22 years old Jón Halldór Unnarsson. “I’ve always been a cyclist but it wasn’t until 2010 that I bought my first racer and still I didn’t start really practicing this sport until the summer of 2013. Since then I‘ve fallen in love with cycling and I’ve decided to take it all the way,” says Jón Halldór. Why compete in WOW Cyclothon? “What fascinates me about this challenge is to be able to cycle while my assistants takes care of provisions. All I have to do is ride the bike and then ride
it some more. I’m more excited by the solo category because I am used to competing in individual sports. This is a big challenge and in the end it’s just me that will have to live up to it or fall, the results are all on me,” Jón Halldór explains. In Jón Halldór’s team are his longtime friend Andri Karl, and Jón’s father, Unnar. “I’ve never taken on anything
even close to this challenge,” says Jón Halldór. “I’ve followed news of the WOW Cyclothon but this is my first time competing. I know that a lot of challenges await me. I expect my muscles will get sore, I’ll get cramps, tires will burst, repairs will have to be made, there will be all kinds of weather and I will get extremely tired.” One of the deviations the solo contestants are allowed is to choose between the Öxi highland road, a 62 km shortcut (with 29 km of gravel road), or the 123 km paved road over the Breiðdalsheidi heath. What is Jón’s strategy? “I plan on taking the Öxi route. It’s shorter and it will be nice to get on a different bike for a change. I plan on finishing this challenge within 84 hours but I don’t have a lot of experience with long distance cycling so I’ll have to play this by ear. I expect the lack of sleep and just sheer exhaustion will slow me down as I get further in the race so I think it’s important not to expend too much energy in the beginning,” Jón informs us and adds that he’s been training regularly since last summer so he’s in great shape for the challenge. “My main goal is to enjoy it, at least until I reach Stadarskáli in northwest Iceland,” Jón says with a smile.
Cyclothon history 101 How does a competition like WOW Cyclothon become a reality? Well, let one of the men who founded it tell you the story of the competition that was originally dubbed “WOW – Icelandic Forces of Nature Cyclothon”.
agnus Ragnarsson and WOW air’s CEO Skuli Mogensen have been friends for many years and, just to let you know, there is somewhat of a competitive streak between those two. One evening, after a lovely meal out, they got to talking, comparing notes on their previous challenges, mostly triathlons abroad, brainstorming what challenge they could take on next. “After talking about it for a while we realized all the challenges we had listed were somewhere abroad so we brainstormed a little further and soon concluded that if we really wanted to take on a big challenge here in Iceland we would have to create it ourselves. And that’s how the idea of cycling around the country came up,” says Magnus, adding that the idea of just cycling around Iceland by themselves as a personal challenge never came up. “When you’re doing a great challenge you have to have someone to compare yourself to, someone who’s doing it at the same time, under the same circumstances and playing by the same rules. We wanted a competition,” Magnus explains. The following morning Magnus kept on brainstorming and sent his ideas to Skuli who, as it turned out, had been thinking almost the exact same thing. From there the idea kept spinning, resulting in what we now know as WOW Cyclothon. “Right away we got a lot of support. Cycling was beginning to gain a lot of momentum in Iceland at the time and it soon became clear that many enthusiastic cyclists had been waiting for a demanding challenge like this,” says Magnus.
Getting bigger “We always had a vision of WOW Cyclothon becoming something big and decided that it should be a non-profit organization right from the start. As far as having this idea and being “the founders” our only real gain from this competition is to see people get more interested in cycling in Iceland and
WOW Power to the people
having this amazing challenge to take on each year. The pledges of course go to a good cause and the entrance fees and sponsorships all go into planning and managing this project efficiently and rewarding or helping the teams in various ways. I believe this competition could become one of the world‘s great cycling competitions and it’s already getting good attention abroad with multiple non-Icelandic teams competing this year,” Magnus informs us.
aving made a commitment to expand WOW Cyclothon in every way they can, Magnus and Skuli have never been Magnús Ragnarsson and Skúli Mogensen on the same team in the cyclothon. are ready for WOW Cyclothon 2014. “He’s beaten me once and I’ve beaten him once. We’ll see how it goes this year. We’re actually pretty relieved right now because when we decided to add a solo category to the competition, Skuli and I promised that if no one signed up for it the two of us would take on the challenge. Fortunately we have five solo contestants in the race so we are off the hook,” Magnus concludes. Photo: Sigurjón Ragnar.
Visit www.wowcyclothon.com for more information.
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
WOW Power to the people
Having such a long dark winter makes Icelanders go a bit stir-crazy. So when summer finally comes, there seems to be a perpetual urge to run around the island celebrating every sunny weekend as if it were the last. Each summer month is filled with various festivals and celebrations all over the country and this issue is dedicated to this festive trend in all its diverseness. Take WOW magazine with you on your travels and you wonâ€™t miss out on any fun going on or arrive in a town and wonder why there seem to be color themed decorations and strangely clad people everywhere. Have a WOW summer. Let us tag along on your travels and add @wowair to your photos on Instagram. #wowmoment #wowair
At the Braedslan Music Festival. Photo: Ingibjorg Torfadottir
Party in the midnight sun When it comes to daylight, June has the longest days, with the sun not setting for 24 hours during the summer solstice. Endless sunshine is quite the reason to party, so make sure to go through the list of June festivals and find something fun to do, we’ll keep the light on for you.
by a ton of ice cream. Icelandic handcraft will be shown on a market square, where you can buy beautiful souvenirs for your friends back home. And for a perfect finale of a good day there is a concert with some of Iceland’s leading musicians.
What: Grímseyjardagar (Grimsey Island Festival) When: May 30-June 1 Where: Grímsey
t’s quite an adventure to cross the Arctic Circle, but it could be even more mem orable if you make your journey during the local Grimsey Island Festival and join the celebration. The Arctic Circle runs through the remote island in north Iceland, Grimsey, with its population of ca. 90 people. And while the island is short on people it’s big on birdlife with views that are quite impressive: Thousands of puffins and seabirds nesting on the island cliffs and feeding from nature’s largest buffet; the sea. The festival blends the old Grimsey traditions with modern times - always a delightful experience. Both locals and guests enjoy seasonal local food and music. The food and the music are both products rising from the nature of the island and the sea around it. And if you like freshness, it doesn’t get fresher than collecting eggs and catching fish - and then eating it a few minutes later. cereal. The International Scottish High land Games will be held this summer for the 4th consecutive year, so if you like hanging out with the big boys, Selfoss in south Iceland is the place to be at June 1st. Check out these mighty men in kilts, bellowing and grunting, and first chance you get make it a point to hit the gym.
What: Hafnardagar (Dock Days) When: May 29-June 1 Where: Þorlákshöfn
WOW Power to the people
Photo: Karólína Thorarensen
What: Reykjavík Midsummer Music When: June 13-16 Where: Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavík
t’s not that easy living on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but of course there is one big advantage; the opportunity to fish. Icelanders celebrate the decisive role that fishing, and our hardy fishermen, have had on the economy and the integrity of this nation throughout the centuries. These courageous men (and women), and their supportive families, who brave the rigors and risks involved with this tough profession are honored at the annual holiday called ‘Seaman’s Day’. In one of Iceland’s big fishing towns, Thorlakshofn in South Iceland, they go big and throw a 4 day festival around that holiday known as Dock Days. The whole weekend is filled with events for the whole family, in honor of the brave seamen.
Photo: Karólína Thorarensen
What: The International Scottish Highland Games When: June 1 Where: Selfoss
hen it comes to competing in feats of strength, Ice landers are on home ground. Who doesn’t remember Jón Páll Sigmarsson and Magnús Ver Magnússon, both former World’s Strongest Man title holders, who between them won the title 8 times? Huge guys tossing huge things, has us regular folks reassessing our breakfast
What: Kótelettan (Lamb Chop Festival) When: June 13-15 Where: Selfoss
ótelettan (The Lamb Chop) is a town festival in Selfoss in south Iceland, focusing on products from Icelandic farmers. Mmmm, just thinking about it makes our taste buds go crazy. Loosen your belts; the main feature is the awesome grill, a giant meat buffet where lamb, beef, pork, sausages and hamburgers galore will be sizzling and gobbled down, followed
eykjavik Midsummer Music is a music festival in Harpa, Reykjavik’s fabulous concert house. Founded in 2012, the festival was chosen ‘Event of the Year’ and praised for its dynamic concerts and artistic vision. RMM takes place in June each year, around summer solstice. A time “ideal for creating something beautiful, inspired by the extraordinary energy that results from 24 hours of daylight”, according to the artistic director Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson. The festival features some of the best and the brightest from Iceland’s vibrant music scene, bringing them together with stars from the international concert stage. Classical enthusiast or not, it is definitely worth going. Check out this year’s program at http://reykjavikmidsummermusic. com/en/
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Photo: Axel Darri Þórhallsson
Photo: Axel Darri Þórhallsson
What: Shell Car Week When: June 13-17 Where: Akureyri, North Iceland
uring the Shell Car Week, Akureyri is the perfect place to be if you’re a motor enthusiast or happen to be traveling with one. This is the biggest annual car and motorcycle related gathering in Iceland with thousands joining to meet, watch and participate. Apart from the big car show on June 17th, Iceland’s Independence Day, the main events are drag racing, drift racing, mud bogging and a burn-out competition. Other events in the program include the audio competition where participants compete in who has the loudest stereo equipment, auto-x and safe driving competitions. After a day of tire smoke you can enjoy the Live2Cruize grill before you check out the vibrant nightlife of Akur eyri. Expect smoke, fury, mud and all around good time.
What: Gönguhátíðin Umfar (Umfar Hike Festival) When: June 20-June 29 Where: Patreksfjörður and surrounding area
f you’re a hiker, this is the week for you to visit west Iceland. The Umfar Hike Festival is held in the south Westfjords, where you can choose from an easy stroll to a hard, huffing and puffing, all out hike. You can even walk in the footsteps of Viking HrafnaFlóki, the man responsible for naming Iceland - yes, the name, Iceland is a bit foreboding; the man was clearly no marketing genius - and have your choice of natural wonders depending on the path you choose. For example Iceland’s highest sea cliff Latrabjarg, rising 441 meters from the sea at its highest point, the golden beach of Raudasandur, the isolated valley of Selardalur and lot more. Experienced guides lead the way on all hiking tours. These guys know the area like the back of their hand and can tell you the tales of the people who lived there; you can bet there were some colorful characters. The southern Westfjords are one of Iceland’s hidden treasures, a great area for nature lovers and hikers alike.
As with every great festival the Midnight Sun River Festival also features live music, bonfires, camping and local cuisine, and last but not least, the company of great peo ple and thrill seekers alike. What: Jónsmessa (Midsummers Night) When: June 21 Where: Eyrarbakki
yrarbakki is a beautiful small fishing village located on the south coast of Iceland. Every year the village celebrates the Midsummers Night Festival, also known as Jonsmessa, a family oriented gathering hosted by the villagers. Jonsmessa refers to summer solstice - the day in Iceland when the sun stays in the sky for the whole night, conjuring a mystical feeling of an ‘endless day.’ Lots of activities for children, live music, arts and crafts, and good food are the backbone of the festival program along with the popular bonfire. Campsite available and friendly atmosphere guaranteed.
What: Midnight Sun River Festival When: June 20-22 Where: Hafgrímsstaðir, Varmahlíð
oo cool for river rafting? How about overnight rafting down a glacier river? I bet that squeezes your lemon! Plunging head-on into its second year, celebrating the success of last year’s ‘First Annual’ Whitewater Adventure Festival, this festival is gearing up to be even bigger and better than before! For the true adventure seeker the festivities offer a great opportunity to experience an overnight (but not night as you know it) rafting trip down world class rapids running through the stunning scenery of the East Jökulsá River on the longest day of the year. On the second day there’s an extreme kayak race made to suit the level of participants and featuring an abundance of excitement for both competitors and spectators. As with every great festival it also features live music, bonfires, camping and local cuisine, and last but not least, the company of great people and thrill seekers alike. If you’re not afraid to get wet, love the idea of celebrating our great outdoors or simply want to worship the midnight sun, an extraordinary experience, then be sure to check out this festival, hosted by Viking Rafting at their beautiful countryside base camp in north Iceland. And even if you prefer to stay warm and dry, just wrap yourself in a blanket and watch from the bank, while others get splashed and damp. The festival welcomes everyone and their grandmothers. For more information about the festival’s location and other activities the company has to offer, be sure to check www.vikingrafting.com. Their passion for paddling is strong, and they are set on getting your adrenaline pumping with the most fun and professional service in the industry! www.vikingrafting.com
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Photos: Anup Gurung
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The Viking Festival Vikings, mostly Norsemen, settled in Iceland in the second half of the 9th century. Living in Norway had become increasingly difficult and there were some political issues that they weren’t too happy about. In Iceland, free land was in abundance but it only took the settlers about 60 years to occupy it all! Still, Iceland, because of the uninhabitable areas, is sparsely populated.
What? The Viking Festival
When? June 13-17
Where? Viking Village in Hafnarfjörður (in the Grand Metropolitan Area)
any Icelanders and other Scandinavians celebrate their Viking heritage, and a great platform to do this is the Viking Festival in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland’s third biggest town, with over 25,000 inhabitants. It’s easy to reach the festival site by bus or car from anywhere in Reykjavik, but if you prefer to stay at the event site, you should consider staying at Hótel Víking. Be sure to book in advance. The Viking Festival is a remem brance of the old ways, exhibited in an entertaining and very interactive way. Every day of the event there’s a market, the children’s Viking school, music, jesters, dancing, sword fight ing and numerous other events.
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This year, there will be around At the Vik ing Festival, 300 Vikings at the festival, from Iceland and other countries. They people can all wear their time-honored attire, see archers, but of course Viking clothing is not mandatory for guests – although axe throwguests are welcome to wear tra ers and ditional Viking outfits. swordsmen demonIn with the old Back in the 9th century, settling strating in a new, foreign country required these ansome survival skills. Stonemasons, cient skills woodcarvers and blacksmiths were and witness of much value to the societies, and such craftsmanship is honored at exciting battle re-en- the Viking Festival. Guests can see how the old ways were used in actments. working with these materials. The outcome is unquestionably stunning.
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Furthermore, guests can buy excel lent handcrafted items to take back home, be it jewelry, decorative articles or more practical things. The market is open every day of the festi val from 1pm to 8pm. Vikings are renowned fighters. At the Viking Festival, people can see archers, axe throwers and swords men demonstrating these ancient skills and witness exciting battle re-enactments. Vikings were also good storytellers, singers and even dancers and of course these art forms will have their place at the festival. The Viking culinary arts are certainly not forgotten during the Viking Festival. Guests can enjoy the cuisine during the Viking Feast
in Fjörugarðurinn restaurant, on the event site. After the dinner there will be live music, naturally in the Viking style. Those attending the events are sure in for a treat, since the program is diverse and impressive, and a pleasure for the whole family. The perception is that guests have stepped one thousand years back in time, and the emphasis laid out by the event managers is to create a genuine and authentic atmosphere. If you want to experience the Norse heritage up close and personal while having the time of your life, this is an event you should not miss out on. For more information visit www.fjorukrain.is.
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
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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
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PRICE: Adults 15.900 ISK / 102 € Children (4-12) 11.925 ISK / 77 €
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What? Iceland’s Independence Day
When? Everywhere in Iceland
Where? 17 June
Today we celebrate our Independence Day Sorry for borrowing the title of the popular American movie but the truth is we also had alien invaders; first from Norway and later from Denmark, that ruled Iceland for centuries.
n the 19th century, Icelandic academics in Copenhagen started paving the way for independence, with the final victory in 1944 when Iceland reached full independence. We celebrate this on June 17th, the birth date of Jón Sigurðsson, a man very active in the independence movement, who is honored for his firm beliefs in our sovereignty. But that’s enough of the history lesson. What about the festivities? All towns have programs to celebrate this special day. In Reykjavík it’s quite spectacular, with numerous events during the whole day. Surely everyone will find something they like to do on this momentous day. In the morning, there are speeches and other ceremonial events. Now you may not believe it but on this special occasion, Fjallkonan (the Mountain Maid, an Icelandic lady of high repute) descends from the mountain to give a speech alongside the president and the prime minister. Choirs chime in and marching bands play patriotic songs. If you see people in their best clothes wearing white hats with black visors you can be sure these are college graduates as some of the leading colleges graduate their students on this day. During the ceremony with the Fjallkona and the president, new graduates put a wreath of flowers by the Jón Sigurðsson memorial.
Maid of the mountain? Wait a minute, who really is this Fjallkona? Fjallkonan, the Mountain Maid, represents the nation as the embodiment of the collective spirit of our strong, independent, beloved people. For each Independence Day most municipalities select a woman to represent her. The Fjallkona wears an outfit called “skautbúningur”, which is a festive version of the Icelandic national costume, only used for such special occasions. If you’re in Iceland on June 17th you can’t miss her. She’s the one with the voluminous, white lace hat.
What else? Countless events punctuate the pleasure of this special day. In Reykjavik there are parades led by marching bands and scouts that offer free
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family entertainment. Then there’s cotton candy and helium balloons everywhere, live music, dancing and art shows. In the bigger towns and Reykjavik, the program ends with an outdoor concert where some of the most popular Icelandic artists perform, a fun event for everyone. The Icelandic music scene is blossoming, so no matter what kind of music you like, there’s something there for you. For a recap: Iceland’s Independence Day is a national celebration that families generally spend together having fun all day and into the night. Of course, for those who are drawn toward the nightlife, you’ll find good fun in the city’s bars, pubs, clubs and squares, but that, of course is an ongoing thing. If you happen to be in Iceland on the 17th of June, make sure you plug in to experience the arts, the fun, the high spirits and energy. Take part and enjoy Iceland’s hard won and energetically celebrated independence.
Kiosk Laugavegur 65 www.kioskreykjavik.com Open: Mon-Fri 11-18, Sat 11-17
Cool creations After all Kiosk was voted the best place to stock up on local Icelandic fashion design by Grapevine in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Kiosk, located on the happening Laugavegur, the main shopping street in the center of Reykjavik, is a co-op collective boutique run by 9 Icelandic fashion designers. This is a trendy boutique where you can be sure to find a wealth of gorge ous clothes and accessories from unique silk dresses in Icelandic camouflage print to quirky knitwear. After all Kiosk was voted the best place to stock up on local Icelandic fashion design by Grapevine in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The labels in the store are: EYGLO, Hlín Reykdal, Helicopter, Hildur Yeoman, milla snorrason, Sonja Bent, kyrja, Sævar Markús and Kristjana S Williams. The designers take shifts behind the counter so you’re guaranteed to meet one of them when you pop in.
Set during the summer solstice weekend on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of June, the introductory event will feature a host of acts including Massive Attack, Woodkid, Schoolboy Q, Disclosure, Banks, Múm and nearly 150 more.
World’s most unique music festival hits Reykjavik this June Imagine living every day to perpetual daylight, spending your morning soaking in a volcano-powered geothermal pool, and then partying the rest of your day away to some of the biggest music acts on the planet.
What? Secret Solstice
f the thought of that has your senses tingling with excitement, and you happen to find yourself in Iceland this June, then you probably should check out Reykja vik’s Secret Solstice Festival.
When? June 20-22
next big thing on the international circuit, Secret Solstice is already standing out from the crowd not just for its elite lineup, but because of the remarkable astrological event that just so happens to be taking place in Iceland over the festival weekend.
Elite lineup For the first time ever, Secret Sol stice will pack 10,000 people into the Laugardalur entertainment precinct in the center of Reykjavík, to take part in a truly one-of-a-kind event. Set during the summer solstice weekend on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of June, the introductory event will feature a host of acts including Massive Attack, Woodkid, Schoolboy Q, Disclosure, Banks, Múm and nearly 150 more. While new festivals constantly come and go, and all claim to be the
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Iceland’s endless summer days During the summer solstice, the sun literally won’t fully set for an entire three days, meaning 72 hours of continual sunlight and nature’s most incredible lightshow for festival attendees. For this reason, Secret Solstice has already been called “the world’s most unique music festival” by one of the biggest enter tainment publications in the USA, and has ticketholders coming from as far away as Australia.
While the constant daylight means organizers won’t be able to fully utilize the traditional stage lighting you’d expect to see at a standard event of this scale, nature provides the most spectacular ocular backdrop to the music, due to sun’s incredible arc through the sky during this time of the year in the subarctic.
The party event of the season With five stages, and musicians coming from around the globe co vering almost every genre, Secret Solstice will kick off at midday on
Friday the 20th and continue until midnight Sunday – of course, with breaks in the music for patrons to get some much-needed rest in the midnight sun to get ready for the following day’s festivities. It’s yet to be seen whether Secret Solstice will make its mark on the global festival scene by truly daring to do something completely different. However, there’s little doubt the party event of the season is going to be a truly compelling reason to stay in Reykjavik during these three days, instead of heading out into Iceland’s magnificent nature.
Tickets start at 19,900 ISK (around $178/£105/€128), and you can grab one for yourself, as well as check out the full lineup by heading to www.secretsolstice.is, popping into Lucky Records in Reykjavik, or at the event gates over the festival weekend. WOW air is proud to be a major sponsor of Secret Solstice 2014.
What: Brákarhátíð (Thorgerdur Brak festival) When: June 28 Where: Borgarnes What: Blúshátíð (Blue North Music Festival) When: June 26-28 Where: Ólafsfjörður You can find the blues in many places in the world and you will find Iceland‘s oldest blues festival in Olafsfjordur. It is called Blue North Music Festival and has been held annually since 2000. Olafsfjordur is located in northern Iceland, a beautiful town with towering mountains and the ocean spanning the northern sector. Although labeled the Blues Festival, you will also find other music genres performing in the line-up. Concerts are held at night in the culture house, and in the middle of the day on Saturday locals gather outside the culture house and set up a market where they sell their crafts and other products. There is also a barbecue with live blues music. This part of the festival is always free.
What: Jazzhátíð Egilsstaða (Egilsstadir Jazz Festival) When: June 27-28 Where: Egilsstaðir Egilsstadir is part of Fljotsdalsherad, which is east Iceland’s most populated municipality. Famous for its natural beauty and pleasant climate, what really stands out in Fljotsdalsherad are its woods, an uncommon feature in Iceland. The waterfalls, lakes and rivers contribute to the many scenic attractions favorable for outdoor recreation. The Egilsstadir Jazz Festival (JEA) has been an annual event since 1988, which makes JEA the oldest jazz festival in Iceland. Through the years, many great artists have performed at the festival and this year there will be no change in that regard. Some of the artists that have played there are Larry Carlton, James Carter, Beady Belle, Finn Ziegler, Svend Asmundsen, as well as all the great Icelandic musicians. Be sure to experience great jazz performances in a beautiful environment.
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Concerts are held at night in the culture house, and in the middle of the day on Saturday locals gather outside the culture house and set up a market where they sell their crafts and other products.
On the last weekend in June, Hvera gerdi hosts its annual flower exhibition, representing all the best from Icelandic gardening and horticulture.
Brakarhatid is a festival to honor Thorgerdur Brak, a slave who sacrificed her life for a child she fostered. The boy became one of Iceland’s best known Viking heroes, or bandits depending on how you look at it. His name was Egill Skallagrimsson, a true Viking who slaughtered his first victim at the age of seven. And the cause? He felt cheated during a ball game. He was surely a menacing character. This town festival in west Iceland welcomes everybody with open arms. A true family festival where people can enjoy themselves, but in a way we modern people find acceptable. We promise that nobody will behave like Egill, so don’t be afraid to participate in the Viking games, mud fights or sailing.
What: Blóm í bæ (Flower Festival) When: June 28-29 Where: Hveragerði The small town of Hveragerdi is a cozy little place, just 45 km from the capital. Hveragerdi is often called the hot springs capital of the world because of its geothermal park where people can enjoy bread baked in the ground, natural hot springs and a relaxing foot bath in natural clay. You can also refresh your mind and body by dipping into the local pool at Laugaskard. The pool is heated with steam directly from the ground. In Hveragerdi, hot springs can literally be found in people’s backyards. There are also a lot of interesting places in the near vicinity to discover, and some great hiking trails. On the last weekend in June, Hveragerdi hosts its annual flower exhibition, representing all the best from Icelandic gardening and horticulture. In addition, a LandArt program will be launched for the first time. The annual flower show has attracted thousands of visitors, that all come to enjoy the lush greenery of this unique village and all the beautiful flowers.
e c r u o s A ealth h f o O N LY*
isk. 600 TS ADUL 130 isk. CHILDREN
Th er m al sw im m in g po ol s
Hot t ubs and jacuzzi
Sa un as , steambat hs an d sh ow ers
Se ve n lo ca t io ns
Op en earl y un t il la te
Thermal hermal pools and b baths in n Reykjavik are a so source of health, relaxation and pureness. All of the city´s swimming pools have several hot pots with temperatures ranging from 37˚ to 42˚C (98˚–111˚F). The pools are kept at an average temperature of 29˚ C (84˚ F).
Tel: +354 411 5000 • www.spacity.is
*Admission January 2014 . Price is subject bj t tto change h
Reykjavik's Thermal Pools
Midsummer madness With July being Iceland’s warmest month, sun-craved Icelanders head out into the blossoming nature and long hours of daylight. Don’t think of staying indoors for a second! Go celebrate the end of a volcanic eruption or dress up like a Viking. Go French or go Irish, go all out with metal heads or talk art with the creative souls.
Raudasandur festival is a non-profit initiative and any proceeds are put towards building up the area and the festival. The environmental policy of the festival is to preserve the natural beauty of the area and to leave no trace behind. The music genres featured at the festival and the lines set forth by the organizers bring about a chilled out ambiance and significant spirit of comradery.
Photo: Friðrik Örn Hjaltested
What: Rauðasandur (Red Sands Festival) When: July 3-6 Where: Melanes, Rauðasandur
here are some special festival locations in Ice land, Raudasandur (Red Sands) in the Westfjords being one of them. Raudasandur is a 10 km long and 3 km wide red sandy beach stretching to Latrabjarg Cliffs, which is the westernmost point of Iceland (and Europe). The sands are a unique natural wonder, and under parliament consideration to be recognized as a national park.
Photo: Friðrik Örn Hjaltested
The festival has been held for the last three years in the first weekend of July, when the sun never sleeps. Raudasandur Festival offers a unique genre of country, blues, folk, bluegrass, reggae and everything in be tween, plus a variety of perfor mance artists. The atmosphere is family friendly with activities for parents and children, be it toddlers or teenagers, such as beach volleyball, sandcastle competition, yoga and hiking. And of course dipping into the warm ocean, since the sea at Raudasandur beach heats up to between 15 and 18 degrees in the summer sun.
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What: All Tomorrow’s Parties When: July 10-12 Where: Keflavík
What: Goslokahátíð (End of Eruption Festival) When: July 4-6 Where: Vestmannaeyjar
he people of Vestmannaeyjar are known for three things; their fisheries, their volcano and their festivals. Early morning January 23rd in 1973 the inhabitants of Vestmannaeyjar awoke to a nightmare. Their backyard volcano had started erupting. The island was quickly evacuated and the 5300 inhabitants of the island spent the next few months in refuge on the mainland. July 3rd marks the official end of the eruption and for the past 15 years the people of Vestmannaeyjar have celebrated this date with a cheery festival. Since 1998, the end of the eruption has been celebrated by people gathering in Skvisusund, a section that a lot of the partying takes place, where they transform the old houses used to store fishing gear into makeshift galleries and music venues. Art exhibitions, stage performances and an old fashioned accordion dance on the old wharf are among the many lively events going down on this first weekend of July. For this celebration of life and history ‘islanders’ of all ages, current inhabitants as well as former, and even people with just a remote family connection to the island, flock together to make this celebration a truly unique experience with the feeling of a huge family reunion. The pubs and restaurants in Vestmannaeyjar also partake in the celebration by offering a variety of live music mixed with local cuisine. So if you find yourself roaming in the southwest of Iceland in early July, feel free to hop on board the ferry Herjolfur and take a trip to Vestmannaeyjar to mingle with the partying locals.
What: Írskir dagar (Irish Days) When: July 3-6 Where: Akranes
t may seem strange that an everyday normal Icelandic town will go all Irish for one weekend but there’s a reason. The first settlers who settled in Akranes, in the year 880, were Irish (although originally their families came from Norway). For this annual event this small town in south west Iceland gets it’s ‘Irish Hat’ on, offering program from dusk till dawn. The whole town is filled with life and happenings, all kinds of exciting activities for the whole family; such as go karting , laser tag and paintball. Music concerts, art exhibitions and barbecues can be found in open areas and private gardens. The locals sure know how to welcome guests and make a true carni val atmosphere. The festival’s peak is the well-known party ‘Lopapeysan’ (The Icelandic wool sweater) on Saturday night. Oh, we nearly forgot to tell you guys about one of the weirdest competition held in Iceland! ‘The most red-headed Icelander’ will be selected at the Irish Days Festival since we all know that Irish people have lots of beautiful red hair in their gene pool. The festival is well attended by red-headed Icelanders from all over the country who dream of being chosen and winning the title ‘The most red-headed Icelander’.
ll Tomorrow’s Parties goes against the grain of the larger, more commercial music festivals. It was founded in 1999 with the first festival taking place in the unusual setting of Pontins Holiday Camp in Camber Sands, UK. That first festival was curated by the Scottish band Mogwai. Since then the festival has been held every year and remains intimate, noncorporate and fan friendly with lineups chosen by significant bands or artists. All Tomorrow’s Parties outgrew the venue capacity and the popularity of the festival made the organizers outsource its brand, hosting ATP in different countries with great results.
This is the second year ATP is hosted in Iceland. The festival location is called Asbru, the former NATO base in Keflavik. The old base dates back to 1941 and the last US military personnel left in 2006. The site is located only a few minutes drive away from Iceland’s main international airport, fifteen minutes from the famous Blue Lagoon and thirty minutes from the capital, Reykjavik. The festival site will host two indoor stages and a cinema with films picked by ATP
and the bands, as well as the usual ATP extracurricular activities like DJs, Pop Quiz and much more. The capacity for the intimate festival is just 5000 people. This year ATP in Iceland will treat you to such international bands as Portishead, Interpol, Swans, Kurt Vile and The Violators. A special Reykjavik venue will offer live per formances with the legendary Neil Young and Crazy Horse. You will also witness Iceland’s hottest performers so you will most definitely not be disappointed with the sights and sounds on display. If you want to experience great live music and fun activities in an exotic location you should really think about attending ATP in Iceland. After the festival it is ideal to soak your tired body in the Blue Lagoon or one of Iceland’s thermal swimming pools and hot tubs.
Photo: Guðný Lára Thorarensen
Photo: Guðný Lára Thorarensen
addition to the festival program is also booking ‘not so hard’ artists to the line-up. On this anniversary, Jónas Sig & Ritvélar Framtíðarinnar will perform - a recipe for a very good show. Special international guests are no other than At the Gates (SWE) with Doom/Sludgers Zatokrev (CH) and Thrash metallers Havok (US) sure to bring down the house. The off venue program called ‘Mayhemisphere’ will feature concerts, performance art and galleries show cases. With the beautiful backdrop of the ocean and dramatic mountains towering this small town, invaded by thousands of heavy metal heads, it’s like a scene from a David Lynch movie.
And talking about the music… The program is a full blown explosion of the hardest bone crushing perfor mances you will witness this year and probably for years to come. A stellar Icelandic artist line up consists of legends HAM, veterans Sólstafir, Skálmöld and Brain Police, among other solid festival favorites.
Photo: Alísa Kalyanova
What: LungA Art Festival When: July 13-20 Where: Seyðisfjörður
or 15 years LungA Art Festival has been a smorgasbord for artistic and creative young people. What started out as a small festival inspired by ideals has actually put its ideals into practice and started an art school (with the first students probably contributing to the festival this year). From the beginning LungA has offered workshops that still are the core of the festival. The main goal of this art festival is to get young people interested in art and culture, harness their creative forces, broaden their horizons and connect them with established working artists. A large number of artists and bands have made the journey to Seydisfjordur, the beautiful town in east Iceland, bringing their art and soul with them. Among instructors that have participated are Mugison, Goddur, Dark Matters, Saga Sig and Henrik Vibskov. Live musical guests include FM Belfast, Trentemöller, GusGus, Trabant, Hjaltalín, Ojba-Rasta, Retro Stefson, Hermigervill, DJ Medhi, DJ Margeir and Mínus.
What: Eistnaflug (Flying Testicles Festival) When: July 10-12 Where: Neskaupstaður
his year Eistnaflug Festival celebrates 10 years of metal and hard rock mayhem in an otherwise a quiet little town. Neskaupstadur is in Nordfjordur on the east coast of Iceland. Located 700 km away from Reykjavik, the drive there is pretty long by local standards but a very scenic one. Flight travel is available. With a no bullshit attitude toward violent behavior in every form, the festival creates a very positive vibe where everybody is anybody’s friend. It’s all about the music. And talking about the music… The program is a full blown explosion of the hardest bone crushing per formances you will witness this year and probably for years to come. A stellar Icelandic artist line up consists of legends HAM, veterans Sólstafir, Skálmöld and Brain Police, among other solid festival favorites. A recent
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The Icelandic horse, of course! The first Landsmót was held in the historic site of Þingvellir in 1950; since 1998 it’s been a bi-annual event and as time goes by its popularity continues to grow. The 21st Landsmót will be held this summer in Hella, in southern Iceland. But what’s it all about? What? Landsmót hestamanna (National Competition of Horsemen)
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When? June 30 – July 6
Where? Hella, South Iceland
People are friendly; You will meet locals who will be more than willing to tell you everything about the horses and the Icelandic equestrian culture. You will meet foreigners, some of whom are novices, and others that come on regular “pilgrimages” to Landsmót. Foreign guests usually number around 2,000-3,000, and repres ent over 20 nationalities. And don‘t worry about communicating, most everyone speaks English.
What’s it all about? The best horses and riders in Iceland compete against each other and show in “best of breed” categories. The competitors range from talented children up to world-class adult riders who’ve dedicated their life to this sport. What they all have in common is the inextinguishable passion for the Icelandic horse. Landsmót is one of the biggest sporting events in Iceland, and if you want to see what the buzz is all about, you should come on by. This year, they’re expecting 10,000-12,000 attendants. People of all ages will come to this family-friendly event with exciting activities organized for the young ones.
Before you go there The Icelandic horse is smaller than most other breeds; they’re sturdy and resilient and have five gaits (ways of walking), which is unusual. There are no other breeds of horses in Iceland, since importation is prohibited to prevent the spread of diseases and preserve the breed. Ice landic horses are cute, cuddly and loveable and it’s easy to fall in love with them.
But I don’t know anything about horses! Landsmót isn’t only for hard-core enthusiasts of the Icelandic horse. Even if you don’t understand what’s going on you can enjoy the music, dancing, singing, people having fun and the up lifting atmosphere. The pacing races are where most of the action is; it‘s fast and it’s furious.
never sets and the fun never ends. That’s the place to be if you like being in the middle of it all. However, if you’re not much for camping there are hotels and guesthouses in and around Hella, but make sure to make reservations in advance! Expect to have the time of your life, making new friends, and maybe even finding romance. Expect to learn a lot about the Icelandic horse, about Iceland and Icelandic culture. Hope for sun and be prepared for rain. Interested? Then hurry up and get tickets for you and your friends and family, put on your lopapeysa (woolen sweater) or buy one locally and head south to Landsmót, where new adventures and great fun awaits!
Where should I stay and what should I expect? Most guests stay at the Lands mót campsite, where the sun
For more information visit www.landsmot.is.
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Photo: Hörður Geirsson
What: Bryggjuhátíð á Stokkseyri (Stokkseyri Pier Festival) When: July 18-20 Where: Stokkseyri
he small village of Stokks eyri in South Iceland is rich in cultural heritage and nature. At this interesting pier festival people can experience the best that the village has to offer. The whole town is adorned in its finest decorations, making it even prettier than usual. The aim of this cozy festival is to welcome emigrants back in their old town for a good time with the younger generations. There is a lot to see at Stokkseyri and guests can visit its many museums. A special one is the Ghost Museum where you can learn about all the famous Icelandic ghosts. But beware it may make the rest of the trip around Iceland a little bit scarier. At the turf house, Thuridarbud, you get a glimpse of how life was for fishermen in medieval Iceland. The nature surrounding Stokks eyri is renowned for its beautiful seashore, breaking waves and birdlife. Take a walk along the coast0line, release all you cares and get yourself ready for the festi vals shows, concerts, bonfires and group singing.
clothes, weapons, boats and basically all the tools and trades of Icelandic medieval times. Eyjafjordur is located in north Iceland, and Gasir used to be one of Iceland‘s biggest trading posts with the largest harbor for over 400 years. Today you can find Iceland‘s largest archeological sites there. During the summer the place boomed with life when farmers, fishermen, peddlers and craftspeople came together and formed a big temporary town based on the trading activities. Liver oils, skins and falcons are a few of the items that people from all over the country, even from abroad, sought after at the market in Gasir. The lively medieval market atmosphere is brought back to life on this one week end every year. The Medieval Festival at Gasir is con sidered among the best reenactment events in Iceland and is celebrated for the 10th time this summer. You can try your hand at archery, rope making, medieval row boating and even an oldtime ballgame played by the Vikings, a game that strongly resembles hockey. The festival offers some great and wholesome fun for the entire family.
What: Franskir dagar (French Days) When: July 24-27 Where: Fáskrúðsfjörður
F Photo: Hörður Geirsson
What: Miðaldadagar á Gásum (Gasir Medieval Days) When: July 18-20 Where: Gásir, Eyjafjörður
ver wondered how you would look dressed in the fashion of medieval times? At the medieval festival in Gasir we travel back some 700 years and experience the food,
askrudsfjordur is a beautiful village located in the Eastfjords. The town has a touch of French influence since French fishermen practiced their craft off its shores in the 19th and early 20th century. The bond between the French sailors and the villagers have never been broken and this festival is dedicated to the memory of the former French residents. The French Days festival has been held since 1996. When Icelandic and French culture meet, it is sure to be a good cultural fusion. The program offers art displays and history exhibits, concerts, parades and nature tours, a marathon and an old fashioned accordion dance. Faskrudsfjordur welcomes visitors with open arms. Bonjour les visiteurs!
In 2005, Iceland’s sweetheart, Emiliana Torrini, was asked to throw a concert to commemorate the birth of the areas most famed son, the renowned painter, Kjarval.
There is a lot to see at Stokkseyri and guests can visit its many museums. A special one is the Ghost Museum where you can learn about all the famous Icelandic ghosts.
Photo: Ingibjörg Torfadóttir
What: Bræðslan (Braedslan Music Festival) When: July 26 Where: Borgarfjörður eystra
ike a hipsters wet dream, music festival Braedslan takes place in an old rusty fishing plant in a small town on the northeast coast of Iceland. Bakkagerdi, in Borgarfjordur eystra, is one of the smallest and most remote towns in the country, but that doesn’t stop the locals from thinking big and global. In 2005, Iceland’s sweetheart, Emiliana Torrini, was asked to throw a concert to commemorate the birth of the areas most famed son, the renowned painter, Kjarval. The singer agreed on the condition that the concert would be ‘different’. The venue, a huge abandoned herring rendering factory, seemed like the ideal place. Thus the name ‘Bræðslan’ which means ‘The Rendering’ was considered fitting for the festival, since the word also means ‘Fusion’. Belle and Sebastian, Damien Rice, Of Monsters and Men, Eyvor Palsdottir, Hjálmar, Ásgeir Trausti, Þursa flokkurinn, Megas and Glen Hansard are just a few of the names that have graced the stage at Braedslan since it started in 2005. In the days leading up to the main event there are many off venue events all around this picturesque little town that, up until recently, was better known for huge elf population and excellent hiking trails. Be sure to pack your ‘lopapeysa’ and bottle of ‘brennivín’, since it can get a bit chilly when the breeze streams in from the north.
Photo: Ingibjörg Torfadóttir
Photo: Ingibjörg Torfadóttir
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t s o l t e g t ’ n o d d n a l e c i in tlas a d a o R
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Light those fireworks August has to be the most romantic month in the Icelandic calendar. The bright midnight sun is replaced by gorgeous sunsets and luring dark nights which make Icelanders go festival bonkers this month! August holds the biggest travel weekend of the season, with every part of the country offering various festivals. Reykjavík also gets its groove on and throws the huge city parties: Culture Night and Gay Pride Parade.
What: Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum (Westman Island’s National Holiday) When: August 1-4 Where: Vestmannaeyjar
D What: Ein með öllu (‘One with Everything’ Festival) When: July 31-August 4 Where: Akureyri
n Iceland, the first Monday of each August is known as ‘the Shopkeeper’s Holiday’ and the weekend preceding it is called ‘the Shopkeeper’s Week end’ (Verslunarmannahelgi). Traditionally Icelanders flock together at various locations around the island to celebrate this long weekend. The people of Akureyri are known for doing their bit to contribute to the long list of summer festivals. One such festival, taking place in Akureyri on that last long weekend of the season, is the aptly named Ein med ollu, which translates to ‘One with Everything’, the most popular hot dog order in Iceland. This family friendly festival aims to give everyone a good time, from the stroller-sitting toddler to the walker-pushing senior, kicking off on a Thursday night with an outdoor concert in the town’s center and ending with a big fireworks display on Sunday evening. Among the variety of activities available during the festival are theater shows, concerts, a carnival, a muffin auction, watersports, a children’s song contest and much, much more. For the dance thirsty night owl most local pubs and clubs are open until 5 in the morning, offering a good variety of music and themes. So pack up your tent and sleeping bag and head north. This vibrant town, nestled under the edge of the Arctic Circle, is guaranteed to provide a good time for everyone during the first weekend of August.
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uring the Shopkeeper’s Weekend’ many like to gather at Vestmannaeyjar, a small island off Iceland’s south coast. Since 1920 the people of Vestmannaeyjar (‘The Westman Islands’) have celebrated this weekend with a festival they call Thjodhatid, or ‘The National Holiday’. The name is quite appropriate since this is Iceland’s oldest and biggest festival. Vest mannaeyjar has a population of just over 4,000 but the festival generates close to 20,000 guests! Thjodhatid officially starts on a Friday but you can be sure that guests will start arriving on the island a couple of days earlier, either by plane or a ferry. The festival is somewhat of a hybrid mix between a county fair and a music festival. Most commonly, guests stay in tents around the festival’s main area, but some locals have started renting out their houses for the indoorsy types. The locals even have their own base-camp nearest the festival’s main stage, where they are known to welcome guests with Icelandic schnapps and a selection of local delicacies. For mingling with the locals, just aim for the white tents. This three-day festival is packed with activities, and the organizers’ main goal is to help everyone enjoy their stay. With adventure trips, a market square, live music, fun and games during the day and Iceland’s biggest outdoor concert during the night, including a lineup of the country’s most famous musicians, everyone is sure to find something they like. The festival is mainly known for its three highlights; the unbe lievable Friday night bonfire, the spectacular Saturday night fireworks exhibition and last but not least, the Sunday evening sing-along – the biggest sing along in Iceland – where a seasoned singer and guitarist, leads a hillside full of people through Icelandic folk songs. All this kindness is not only to be found within the festival area, as the town is filled with endless opportunities to entertain oneself in one way or another. Don’t be afraid to seek out locals for information or directions back to the festival valley. You might even get a ride back in one of their specially decorated lorries where you can listen to some lively music as you roll into the festivities again. If you’re looking for the biggest party Iceland has to offer, this is it!
The Swamp Soccer Cham pionship is not just a sporting event – actually it’s hardly a sport ing event – since the town of Isa fjordur is filled with live music throughout the weekend.
What: Mýrarboltinn (The Swamp Soccer Championship) When: August 1-4 Where: Ísafjörður
ave you been looking for an excuse to play in the mud since you were 6? Did a lifestyle of partying force you to put your soccer shoes on the shelf by the age of 18, even though your dream was to compete at the European championship? Well, you can put all these regrets behind you as you’ll have a second chance at both of these things at the European Swamp Soccer Championship, held in the town of Isafjordur in the Westfjords. Join the two-day swamp soccer tournament: Play some dirty socc er (with vague and sometimes inconsistent rules) during the day and party hard into the night with an awesome mountain view as a backdrop.
The Swamp Soccer Champion ship is not just a sporting event – actually it’s hardly a sporting event – since the town of Isafjordur is filled with live music throughout the weekend. Last year’s number of participants in the tournament was about 1,200, but clearly soccer and party fanatics also enjoy standing on the sidelines watching the gam es, since Isafjordur greeted a total of 3,000 guests.
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What: Síldarævintýri (Herring Festival) When: August 1-4 Where: Siglufjörður
F Participation from international teams has increased for the last couple of years and it’s popular to register a ‘national’ team into the European championship in swamp soccer. Even if you don’t have a team, you can still register and join the oddball team. Be sure to pack your least favorite clothes and shoes, since they are not likely to survive the weekend. You don’t even have to be on the winning team to get a prize since awards are also given to the team with the best costumes, the best behaved team, to the most obnoxious player and the muddiest player. This is a dirty weekend if ever there was one!
or the past 23 years the town of Siglufjordur has celebrated The Herring Festival on the first weekend of August. This pretty little town in northern Iceland was the country’s biggest herring fishing village in the early 20th century and until 1970. The theme of the festival is the town’s history, bringing the herring era back to life. The Herring Festival is a family event. The main focus is on good Icelandic music, played both by locals and by well-known Icelandic musicians. There are other cultural events, such as a theatrical perfor mance of the local herring girls at the award winning Herring Era Museum and traditional Icelandic rhymes and chants sung at the Folk Music Center. Not to mention special events for the kids, the big herring buffet at the town square and a lovely display of fireworks on Sunday evening.
Registration is open in June. For registration of English speaking/ foreign teams and players, email email@example.com.
The Herring Festival is a family event. The main focus is on good Icelandic music, played both by locals and by wellknown Icelandic musicians.
What: Edrúhátíðin (Sober Festival) When: August 1-4 Where: Laugarland
he National Center of Addiction Medicine hosts an annual gathering for everyone who wants to enjoy a sober weekend, full of great activities for all ages. This festival is only for those who will not drink or use drugs, and as such it is the perfect healthy option for a family outing. The festival is camping only, so bring your tent and camp out in the green grass of south Iceland. The sober festival has a fun filled program like a Zumba dance course, yoga, sports contests, bonfires and singing. The festival location has a restaurant, sports venue and a swimming pool. Live music is presented every night. 12 step meetings can also be attended at the site.
For the 13th time the aptly named Innipukinn (The Inside Imp Music Festival) will offer a great line-up of popular Icelandic musicians and special guests.
What: Innipúkinn (The Inside Imp Indoor Music Festival) When: August 1-3 Where: Reykjavík center
What: Neistaflug (Neistaflug Town Festival) When: August 1-4 Where: Neskaupstaður
eistaflug is a family oriented festival held annually since 1993 in the town Neskaupstadur in east Iceland. The festival has grown immensely through the years but the main goal has always been to entertain people of all ages, lifting their spirits and making the comm unity proud of their beautiful town. Neskaupstadur has a population of 1,400 people so it’s not a big town. Everybody knows everyone, making Neistaflug a friendly festival where inhabitants welcome guests with open arms. All who come will find something they like. There are concerts and dance shows, entertainment for kids, a campfire, the yearly run through Bardsnes, a fishing competition, a children’s singing competition and much more. The people of Neskaupsstadur will decorate their neighborhoods for the festival with specific colors making the town wonderfully colorful.
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uring the ‘Shopkeepers Weekend’, many in habitants flee Reykjavik to attend a range of countryside festivals on offer. But in the city there’s an annual festival where all the cool and hip people stay behind to uphold the Reykjavik culture scene. This festival is for all those who don’t want to sleep in a wet tent and drink warm beer. That is, for those who enjoy a soft bed, cold drinks and delicious meals in trendy restaurants. For the 13th time the aptly named Innipukinn (The Inside Imp Music Festival) will offer a great line-up of popular Icelandic musicians and special guests. Inni pukinn brings great artists for a comeback performance. Last year the festival revived the spirit of an old indie festival ‘Rykkrokk’ with the Sugarcubes as the biggest headliner. This year will be no exception. Expect every thing from the roots of Icelandic music, established acts, to classic comeback surprises.
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What: Fiskidagurinn mikli (The Great Fish Day) When: August 7-9 Where: Dalvík
he people of Dalvik in north Iceland are renowned for their hospita lity, but this event really takes the cake (fishcake that is). The Great Fish Day is an annual celebration of life and generosity, and occurs on the Saturday following the first Monday of August. Local fish processors and entrepreneurs, with generous aid from their sponsors, invite the whole country (as well as foreign guests) to feast on delicious seafood served down by the harbor from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm in the afternoon. The menu changes each year, but regular visitors can still be sure to find some of their favorites from the year before. Each serving is accompanied by bread and drinks. The menu can be quite innovative. Last year’s selections included raw whale and sashimi, fish burgers, courses made from herring, shrimp, cod, haddock, salmon and arctic char, just to name a few! Last year they even unveiled Iceland’s biggest soup pot which was used to produce some of the finest fish soup this country has ever seen. Between courses, guests can walk around the harbor and enjoy live music and other fun activities. Since Icelanders seem to be unable to let one day of celebration suffice, The Great Fish Day has, of course, expanded to a two-day feast. Outside the town’s church there’s a delightful friendship greeting on Friday afternoon, where people come together and enjoy live music, watch the release of the peace doves and partake in Iceland’s biggest group hug. But that’s not all… The locals even open up their homes to guests and serve fish soup from their own kitchens or gardens. For two hours guests can enjoy a peaceful walk around town and if they see two torches outside a residential house, they are welcome to go inside and enjoy a warm bowl of soup conjured up by a local soup aficionado. There should be enough for everyone. Since this tradition started, the residents of Dalvik have served an annual average of 16,000 bowls of soup on this one night, quite a feat for a population hovering around 1400. This festival is truly the fish lover’s biggest catch.
But that’s not all… The locals even open up their homes to guests and serve fish soup from their own kitchens or gardens.
The festival begins with a music workshop in the care of the artist/band performing. Kids will learn about the band and the music world, and can even try out the instruments and make some noise. 60
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What: Handverkshátíð (Artic Handcraft and Design Festival) When: August 7-10 Where: Hrafnagil
he 22nd Annual Artic Handcraft and Design Festival is held in Hrafnagil, just 10 km south of Akureyri in north Iceland, and is one of a kind in Iceland. Over 100 artist and designers, many of whom base their craftwork on old Icelandic traditional methods, will be selling their exclusive items. The pro ducts are varied and made from materials such as fish skin, lambskin and cowhide, lava from Eyjafallajokull vol cano and of course, Icelandic wool. And there are other types of crafts; some of the festival stalls offer a varied selection of fresh food made from the best organic Icelandic ingredients. Explore the core of the Icelandic culture by seeing products made from all the raw materials the land has to offer. The festival will also have a lively medieval camp with lots of activities bringing us back in time, albeit for a brief moment while ensconced in the wonderful embrace of the peaceful mountains of Eyjafjordur.
What: Pönk á Patró (Patreksfjordur Family Punk Festival) When: August 8-9 Where: Patreksfjörður
unk in Patro’ takes place at the Pirate House in Patreksfjordur on Iceland’s west coast. This festival aims to give children a chance to meet popular musicians, learn about and listen to music, and have fun. The festival begins with a music workshop in the care of the artist/band performing. Kids will learn about the band and the music world, and can even try out the instruments and make some noise. After the workshop refreshments are served, for kids to recharge their batteries as the band gets ready to put on a concert for the youngsters. Later in the evening the band performs a second show for the whole family. The music style is actually not punk at all but all kinds of music.
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Out and proud The sixteenth Reykjavik Pride event will be held August 5-10, with the ever-so-popular parade on the 9th of August. The Reykjavik Pride has grown in popularity year by year, with between 80,000 and 100,000 people viewing the parade last year. That is almost a third of the Icelandic population! Oh how very gay and merry the people of Reykjavik become that day. What? Gay Pride
When? August 5-10
ids, grandparents and every one in between gather down town with rainbow flags and dance around. The parade is followed by an outdoor concert with well-known Ice landic performers, and later in the evening, an indoor dance with live music and DJ’s.
The good fight The fight for LGBT rights in Iceland has been very successful. Gay couples now have the legal right to get married (includ ing a church wedding), adopt children and undergo artificial insemination (well when there is a uterus in the house). Therefore the Reykjavik Pride is colored by joy, triumph and happiness, rather than the anguish of dramatic demonstrations. The festival celebrates every success and pays tribute to those who have fought diligently for the equal rights of straight and LGBT people.
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The Pride Parade is the highlight of the festival. The parade floats shine with pride and ambition and there’s music, dancing and general happiness. Many relatives and friends of LGBT people participate in the parade, showing their support and recognition. But honestly, most of the cheering spectators don’t have a deep personal connection to the LGBT cause. They simply enjoy the colorful expression of love and solidarity. The support of families, friends and the general public has been imperative in the fight (the peaceful fight nota bene) for legal and social equality in Iceland.
Diversity for all No matter what your sexual orientation, if you plan on being in Reykjavik in early August you should definitely grab a copy of the Pride program and join everybody else in this huge glitter party.
The program is very diverse with multiple events such as a rainbow mass, documentaries with LGBT themes, poetry reading, literature discussions and photography exhibitions. You name it – it’s a part of the program. The opening ceremony is a spectacle on its own, featuring amazing artists, high spirits and compli mentary drinks. On top of all that, there are various off venue events. No matter what your sexual orientation, if you plan on being in Reykjavik in early August you should definitely grab a copy of the Pride program and join everybody else in this huge glitter party.
The parade is followed by an outdoor concert with well-known Icelandic performers, and later in the evening, an indoor dance with live music and DJ’s.
Culture Night In the 18 years that Reykjavik city has celebrated Culture Night, it has become one of the biggest events in Iceland. Each year up to 100,000 people participate, which is quite impressive for a nation of 320,000 inhabitants. The festival spans the whole day with over 600 events going on, all of which are free of charge. What? Menningarn贸tt (Culture Night)
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When? August 23
he main objective of Reykjavik Culture Night is to encourage people to show their art, in whichever form it may be. Any one can participate in the creation of the program, which results in a diverse and intriguing mix of events. The events take place everywhere in the city; on the streets or in shops, in museums, cafés and galleries; even in people’s homes and backyards! The event’s slogan is after all “Come on in!” referring to some good old fashion hospitality.
Run to have fun The Icelandic arts scene is flourishing, and on this eventful night you can see a broad spectrum of what Iceland has to offer in art and culture. There will be music and dancing, games and treasure hunts, artwork on display and architectural exhibitions. Street artists will have the perfect showcase for their skills. Culture Night marks the launch of the winter program for many art establishments, such as theaters and museums. The Reykjavik Marathon is also on this date, so be sure to bring your running shoes if that’s what floats your boat.
Create your own special itinerary You can make your own Reykjavik Culture Night program, selecting the events you’re most inter ested in, from the detailed program that will be published online.
The downtown traffic is limited that day to ensure safety of those attending Culture Night and the marathon. If you come by car, make sure to find information about street closures and parking options beforehand. Public transportation is the best option on Culture Night. The biggest concert of the day is in the evening, where some of the most popular Icelandic artists perform in open air; a good way to catch a glimpse of the mainstream music in Iceland. The program ends with a spectacular display of fireworks. But that doesn’t mean the fun ends there and everybody goes home. The nightlife in Reykjavik is always lively and you can dance until the clubs close and the sun rises. Reykjavik Culture Night is one of the biggest events of the year, so be sure to grab a program if you’re in Reykjavik on the 23rd of August. This grand buffet of events is without a doubt one of the best ways to learn about Icelandic culture and arts. Have fun!
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What: Aldamótahátíð (Millennium Festival) When: August 15 Where: Eyrarbakki
W What: Berjadagar (Berry Nights Festival) When: August 14-16 Where: Ólafsfjörður
he Berry Nights Festival celebrates creativity and nature. It takes place in the natural splendor of Olafsfjordur in north Iceland. The Berry Nights Festival brings a great musical program together with arts and crafts including ceramics, wood carvings and oil paintings. The music and art workshops are a mind expanding inspiration. This great little festival, now being held for the 16th time, gets better each year.
ant to step back in time and witness daily life in rural Iceland in the year 1900? At the millennium town festival, the good folk of Eyrarbakki village greet visitors dressed in clothes from that bygone era and demonstrate how their ancestors worked the land with old tools and techniques in these days. The unique ‘old urban landscape’ has been preserved in this south coast village. With houses dating back as far as 1765, it is the perfect setting for the festival. A lot of fun (and well some might say strange) activities are scheduled, such as the lawn mowing contest or the chicken beauty contest where the winning chickens are joined together in a wedding ceremony later in the day. There is also a traditional parade, a music program and a millennium dance, and guests can enter a sports competition, competing in events from the millennium era. Not to mention a lovely barbeque where you can try grilled horse, rabbit and other traditional and nontraditional food. But if you prefer, you can always feast on pancakes rather than grilled goods.
What: Gæran (The Sheepskin Music Festival) When: August 14-16 Where: Sauðárkrókur
he small town of Saudarkrokur in the northern part of Iceland is the location of a developing music festival called Gaeran. It’s a three-day event with both solo artists and bands performing every night. The show reflects the diversity of the Icelandic music scene by mixing established acts with up and coming Icelandic artists. The town of Saudarkrokur has everything needed for a great stay; shopping, dining, a swimming pool, cultural and outdoor activities, and accommodations including camping. Plus the locals are very friendly indeed. It is easy to get there with buses leaving from the capital twice a day.
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The town of Saudar krokur has everything needed for a great stay; shopping, dining, a swimming pool, cultural and outdoor activities, and accommodations including camping.
What: Blómstrandi dagar (Blossoming Days) When: August 15-17 Where: Hveragerði
lossoming Days is a town festival held in the town of Hveragerdi, a hald hour drive from Reykjavik. Hveragerdi truly is a blossoming town and an appropriate place to hold this festival, for a green revolution has taken place there in recent years, expanding the woodland areas in and around it. Hveragerdi is also renowned for its geothermal environment where people can actually make their bread and boil their eggs in the ground. There is a geothermal park open to the public, every day in the summer. There are not too many places like Hveragerdi.and during the Blossoming Days Festival, the residents will show guests the best Hveragerði has to offer. The festival is replete with activities for the whole family. Drop by and have a nice, blossoming day in this beautiful town.
What: Danskir dagar (Danish Days) When: August 15-17 Where: Stykkishólmur
anish Days Festival is held at Stykkisholmur and, as the name infers, is a celebration of the town’s connection to Denmark. Throughout its history, this small town in the Westfjords has been a center of commerce for Snaefellsnes. With Danish merchants staying at Stykkisholmur, the inhabitants were influenced by Danish culture. It is said that the residents once spoke only Danish on Sundays and not a word of Icelandic. Even though this tradition hasn’t survived, the Danish heritage deserved some acclaim. Hence, the Danish Days Festival will be
celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. During the festival, streets in town are renamed to fit the theme and houses are decorated in the Danish flag colors. The festival program offers a variety of fun activities for the whole family. Drop in at the Danish days and see a cool mixture of Danish and Icelandic culture.
held at Fljotdalsherad region and its town Egilsstadir, in east of Iceland. The area is known for its natural beauty and pleasant climate. The woods make the area unique, since Iceland is mostly kind of bald with all its sand and lava. The biggest forest in Iceland, Hallormsstadaskogur, is located at Fljotdalsherad. Be extra careful when walking on the Lagarfljot riverbanks, because the biggest water monster in Iceland lives in it. According to ancient history, the ‘Lagarfljotsormur’ is a big ugly worm – hence the name of the festival. It hasn’t been seen for centuries, but none-theless, some people are certain that it is there somewhere down in the deep dark river. Ormsteiti offers a diverse program for both young and old. For further information check www.fljotdalsherad.is.
What: Ormsteiti (The Worm’s Party) When: August 15-24 Where: Fljótdalshérað
rmsteiti is one of the biggest town festivals in Iceland and is now held for the 21st time. This family oriented festival is
Guests of the Reykjavik Bacon Festival can enjoy diverse entertainment, live music and enlightening bacon lectures.
Photo: Styrmir Kári Erwinsson
What: Beikonhátíð (Bacon Festival) When: August 16 Where: Skólavörðustígur, Reykjavík center
acon fans… this is the festival of your dreams! The Bacon Festival is held annually on the lively street of Skolavordurstigur in the heart of Reykjavik. On this tasty day, the street is covered with bacon catering stalls and bacon fans can sample a wide variety of bacon and bacon inspired treats. Ever tasted bacon ice cream? Chocolate covered bacon? Or maybe it’s time to introduce your little one to some bacon flavored baby formula? Last year, thirty thousand people attended the festival, which offers a true carnival atmosphere. Guests of the Reykjavik Bacon Festival can enjoy diverse entertainment, live music and enlightening bacon lectures. Food tickets and merchandise will be sold at catering stalls. Follow your nose downtown and check out this lip smacking fun festival.
Photo: Styrmir Kári Erwinsson
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The Melodica Acoustic Festival has grown a lot since its humble beginning in Melbourne, Australia in 2008. What: Bláberjahátíð (Blueberry Festival) When: August 22-24 Where: Súðavík
Photo: Hulda Sif Ásmundsdóttir
estfjords International Blueberry Festival will be held for the fourth time August 22-24. This festival is all about blueberries. These healthy berries, so rich with vitamins and nutrition, grow wild all around the town of Sudavik making it the perfect place for blueberry picking. Guests of the festival are encouraged to pick as many blueberries as they can, plus there are plenty of other blueberry related activities to choose from. Competitions like ‘the best blueberry recipe’, ‘the biggest blueberry picked at the festival’ and ‘the blueberry run’ are popular. Markets are set up and concerts are held in the town, making Sudavik a happy place to visit in late August.
Photo: Hulda Sif Ásmundsdóttir
always been on bringing contemporary dance closer to people, by introducing choreographers currently working in Iceland. The program draws on the extended daylight hours, running from early morning to early morning, the next day. These hours are filled with great dance performances, discussions and unexpected events. Past activities range between an impromptu dance, with a crowd filling the dance floor during lunch time, to dancing in the Blue Lagoon. All in all if you like to dance or witness expressive performances you should definitely mark the Reykjavik Dance Festival on your calendar.
Photo: Hulda Sif Ásmundsdóttir
What: Danshátíð Reykjavíkur (Reykjavik Dance Festival) When: August 22-30 Where: Reykjavík
ounded by independent choreographers in Iceland, the Reykjavik Dance Festival is the only festival in Iceland with a specific focus on contemporary dance. The group decided in 2002 to create the festival as a platform for innovations in the Icelandic dance world, thereby sharing their creative energy with the populace. The main focus has
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What: Í túninu heima (Green Grass of Home Festival) When: August 28-30 Where: Mosfellsbær
his is a true family festival in the town of Mosfellsbaer, filled with all kinds of happenings. Each district is decorated in a specific color theme and the festive atmosphere is really joyful. It all starts
Past acti vities range between an impromptu dance, with a crowd filling the dance floor during lunch time, to dancing in the Blue Lagoon.
Akureyri is the perfect mix because it combines life in a city or large town with all the benefits of living in the country.
with a bonfire and group singing in the beautiful valley, Alafosskvos. During the three-day festival there are concerts, art exhibitions, markets, sporting events and an exhibit with airplanes and classic cars. On Saturday night it’s party time with a grand concert at the town square. For those still up for more, there is a dance at Varmá that runs into the night. By the way, make sure to wear a traditional woolen sweater (lopapeysa) as that is the festival’s theme this year. What: Melodica Acoustic Festival When: August 28-31 Where: Reykjavík
he Melodica Acoustic Festival has grown a lot since its humble beginning in Melbourne, Australia in 2008. A celebration of the grassroots acoustic music scene, the festival brings together local artists as well as Melodica artists from all over the world. This year, the Reykjavik Melodica will feature over 50 acts, including 10 international acts; singer songwriters from Australia, Germany, USA, UK, France and the Nordic countries will join the Icelandic scene for four days of blissful camaraderie. The festival will mainly take place downtown on the corner of Klapparstigur and Laugavegur and in cafés around that spot, such as Bravo and Café Rosenberg. Melodica happenings in other locations around town include record stores and the Reykjavik Maritime Museum, as the festival has a strong connection to the sea.
What: Akureyrarvaka (Akureyri Festival) When: August 29-31 Where: Akureyri
kureyri, often called the capital of northern Iceland, is the second largest urban area in Iceland with a population of about 18,000. For many people, Akureyri is the perfect mix because it combines life in a city or large town with all the benefits of living in the country. With sightseeing gems around this little city, Akureyri makes a popular tourist destination. This festival is a celebration of Akureyri’s birthday, expressed in a wide spectrum of culture and nature. There’s music, art shows and an assortment of happenings for general merriment. It begins at Lysti gardurinn, ‘The Botanic Garden’, which has most of the Icelandic flora as well as 7,000 foreign plants. If you find yourself in Akureyri during August 29–31, you’re in luck.
How to really see the sights
If you find yourself near Lake Myvatn in Northern Iceland you’re in luck because Myflug air will take you above and beyond.
The Myflug tours range from short 20 minute tours around Mývatn and Krafla, up to 2 hour tours to Vatnajokull and all the way down to Asbyrgi canyon.
stablished in 1985, Myflug air offers sightseeing and charter flights from Reykjahlid airport by Lake Myvatn. The airport is conveniently located in regards to some of the most interesting and beautiful scenery in Iceland; Dettifoss waterfall, Ásbyrgi canyon, Askja stratovolcano, Mt. Herðubreið and Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier, to name but a few, all less
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than 1 hour away. Myflug operates two Cessna 206 airplanes for sight seeing from Reykjahlid. The tours range from short 20 minute tours around Mývatn and Krafla, up to 2 hour tours to Vatnajokull and all the way down to Asbyrgi canyon. The experience is unique and you’ll get a bird’s eye view of Iceland’s greatest volcanoes, glaciers and some truly spectacular areas where volcanic eruptions have played a
crucial role in the formation of the landscape. Myflug air does not operate on a fixed schedule so most flights are operated upon request. Tours can be modified to meet special requests or needs, for example
flights can be made with a pickup in one place and drop off at another. Bookings take place through phone, email or simply by dropping in at the airport in Reykjahlid. Just bear in mind that the minimum booking for most tours is 2 persons.
Would you like to go higher? If you are interested in a flight or have any questions contact Myflug air, Tel. +354-464-4400, email to email@example.com or visit their website, www.myflug.is.
Apótekið þitt í gamla Héðinshúsinu við Seljaveg 2
Reykjavíkur Apótek býður upp á allar tegundir lyfja. Mikið og fjölbreytt úrval af heilsulyfjum, bað- og ilmvörum, gjafavörum auk ýmissa annarra góðra kosta.
Reykjavíkur Apótek er sjálfstætt starfandi apótek sem leggur áherslu á persónulega þjónustu og hagstætt verð.
Öryrkjar og eldri borgarar njóta sérkjara hjá okkur Afgreiðslutími: 9-18:30 virka daga 10-16:00 laugardaga
Seljavegur 2 | Sími: 511-3340 | Fax: 511-3341 | www.reyap.is | firstname.lastname@example.org
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Enjoy Reykjavík with one easy to use card The Reykjavík Welcome Card offers great value for money by giving you FREE ADMISSION to all of Reykjavík’s thermal pools and museums, with unlimited travel on Reykjavík buses, free ferry rides to Videy Island and DISCOUNTS at selected shops and restaurants. The card is available for 24, 48 and 72 hours. For more information on the Reykjavík Welcome Card visit www.visitreykjavik.is. You can purchase your card at the Official Tourist Information Centre or at one of our many sales outlets.
The Official Tourist Information Centre in Reykjavík Adalstraeti 2 101 Reykjavík Tel +354 590 1550 email@example.com www.visitreykjavik.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 an even greater chance for another WOW moment. Send in your WOW moment through moments.wow.is or moments.wowiceland.co.uk and you could become one of those happy snappers. Here are some WOW moments so you can check out the competition.
our aw d tag y n a ir a ow ith @w ment. ng o tag alo rams w Let us your travelg ir or #wowm a o t w s o u w @ with # photos
e done any hav “How m nd in front of ta a hands am Palace?” h Bucking na Guðrún An y b t n e óttir S Heimisd
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Totally freestyle! Iceland is a special country – in almost every sense. Maybe because of its ‘emotional landscape,’ as Iceland’s famous daughter Björk sang in her song Jóga from 1998. Arts play an important role in Iceland; many of its inhabitants work as designers, artists or musicians. The capital Reykjavik reflects that. It is an open-minded, charming and creative place. In its rehearsal rooms, ateliers, studios, bars and clubs, one can grab a hold of this atmosphere. And within this creative bowl, there is a hidden treasure that‘s rising up to the surface; Icelandic jazz. Text and photos by Nabil Atassi
esides the famous Björk, a stunning amount of musicians come from this sparsely populated island in the north Atlantic. Many of those artists are well recognized and successful; such as Sigurrós, Múm, FM Belfast, Emiliana Torrini, or more recently Of Monsters and Men and Ásgeir Trausti. There is a synergy between the Icelandic musicians and everybody is present and accessible. This leads to interesting music, stylistically open and fresh sounding. And in this mix, the recognizable Icelandic jazz scene has not gone unnoticed outside the country. Last May, Berlin hosted the four day jazz festival XJAZZ and chose Iceland as its first official partner country. Icelandic bands and musicians that represent the country’s musical variety were chosen to participate. The musical variety of Icelandic jazz bands is large. Many Icelandic musicians play on a very high level in the jazz world. They tour regularly on the European continent and have earned themselves a large fan base. Stylistically Icelandic jazz bands are totally free. Still they often touch on other styles
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like independent or pop music. But even when they stand in the tradition of European jazz, they have their own recognizable Icelandic tone, inspired by the surreal landscapes, special climate and circum stances of their homeland. This is not meant to suggest that they all sound the same.
The Reykjavik Jazz Festival – A mirror of the Icelandic music scene Together musicians cultivate a lively and diverse scene, mostly based in Reykjavik. Every year during one week in late August this scene presents itself at the Reykjavik Jazz Festival. It is an international event with lots of guest bands from Europe and the US and a distinguished headliner, such as Joshua Redman who came with his quartet in 2013. But mainly the festival is the show of the Icelandic jazz musicians, where they present themselves in various formations. The festival director, Pétur Grétarsson, defines the character of the festival, “We have
always tried to reflect what is happening in musical life in Iceland.” This mixture makes Reykjavik Jazz Festival one of Europe’s most interesting jazz festivals. The atmosphere of the festival is familiar, but it can also be very sophisticated with the highlight being a night at Harpa Concert Hall in the heart of Reykjavik’s harbour area. This year Reykjavik Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary and will be held August 14-20. The director plans a very special program for the jubilee, but not too far in advance: “I have lots of things in mind, but we also try to stay open for something new and unexpected. That’s how we work here in Iceland!” In a total of ten locations, bands get a remarkable platform. The smaller stages such as Jazz Corner or Hannesarholt are taken by newcomer bands like Kliður, Gaukshreiðrið and DÓH Tríó. They present a musical variety reaching from rather academic jazz standards up to wonderful folk loristic influenced music and fusion, futuristic jazz. Within the last 30 years, the whole music
scene in Iceland has gone through a notable development. The jazz scene has been present there from the beginning. Reykjavik Jazz Festival debuted in 1990. Its inception goes back to an initiative of the Icelandic Musicians’ Union, an association founded in 1980 by some Icelandic jazz musicians coming back from studying abroad. In the late 1970s, an independent scene was slowly evolving in Reykjavik and the first jazz club opened its doors. In 1983, a band called Mezzoforte earned international recognition with their song Garden Party. The song hit the charts in the UK and Germany, and the band still plays around the world. The Icelandic Musicians’ Union founded the FIH music school in Reykjavik, knowing that an active jazz and music scene is associated with a functioning musical educational system. Today, there are around 84 conservatories in Iceland and among them, FIH is the most important. Through the years it has become a center of musical activity, having educated the majority Issue three
Icelandic jazz of the currently active jazz musicians in Iceland and providing space for rehearsing and recording. “It was very important for us to provide a high level education for young musicians in Iceland, as there was no real opportunity for them before.” says Björn Th. Árnason, chairman of FIH and the Icelandic Musicians’ Union. Still, most of young Icelandic musicians continue their studies abroad. They go to Germany, Denmark or the USA to develop their own style. One of these musicians is Einar Scheving. After graduating from FIH, he left for the USA to complete his studies – and stayed there for 10 years. Back in 1997 he recorded his first album, Cycles. A melodic modern jazz album that was produced with an all Icelandic band. “These guys from home just know exactly what I want to say with my music” Einar says. “That’s why I got them to New York to record with me.” Back in Iceland Einar recorded the album, Land míns föður (My father’s land), as a tribute to his home country and his father, Árni Scheving, a vibraphonist and early generation jazz musician that passed away in 2007. The album combines jazz with Icelandic folk music. “But the next album,” Einar says, “goes more into the Cycles direction again.”
ADHD play whatever they feel on the spur of the moment and if, by chance, a recording machine is on, a record comes out. gives us a special musical freedom.” ADHD play whatever they feel on the spur of the moment and if, by chance, a recording machine is on, a record comes out. Pianist Davíð Þór Jónsson calls that “the documentive moment.” “We record what reflects that instant.” Davíð’s eccentric style on the Hammond B3 organ is one of the band’s brand recognitions. ADHD’s first album came out in 2008 and the latest one in 2012. “There’s no pressure,” Davíð says. “When we want to record, we get together and do things.”
From Iceland to Africa to Latin America – jazz knows no boundaries
The band ADHD with the Guðjónsson brothers, Ómar (guitar) and Óskar (saxo phone), crosses borders between jazz, am bient and independent music, and there fore is a good example of w hat makes an Icelandic jazz act stand out. The drummer Magnús Tryggvason Eliassen is one of Ice land’s most heavily requested drummers, playing in several bands and genres but ADHD is special to him: “I love playing music with those guys, but we also do other things together. Of course it’s about the music, but also about the people in the band. So we don’t only rehearse together but we also go to the cinema. This kind of relationship does not come very often and
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Trombonist Samúel Jón Samúelsson and his big band recently recorded an album call ed Afrobit, inspired by African music. The album contains the band’s typical powerful arrangements with reminiscences to Africa and a political historic view. “We Icelanders have something in common with Africans. We used to be a colony under a European kingdom, so I kind of relate,” explains Samúel. The album is also influenced by musicians like Mulatu Astake and Tony
Allen. These influences can be seen and heard while watching Samúel and his big band live on stage. Icelanders in African traditional dresses is not something you will come across every day. It’s worth seeing. Another musical traveller is Bassist Tóm as R. Einarsson. In his early years, this per sonable musician had already discovered his musical designation; Latin jazz. After extensive travelling to Latin America and several longer stays in Cuba, he became Iceland’s expert in this field. “I was tired of only playing the classical jazz; it felt kind of monotonous. Cuban musicians don’t improvise with the jazz cliché.” And he played with a lot of Cuban musicians, with the result of a 4-CD box called HavanaReykjavik. A remarkable album with Latin music interpreted the Icelandic way. To date it is Iceland’s best sold jazz album of all time. Havana-Reykjavik was recorded both with Cuban and Icelandic musicians, but of course they do it their own style. Tómas’s brand new album, Bassanót, came out recently. “Icelandic jazz musicians now play Latin music on a very high level,” according to Tómas, “because they have been playing with me!” he says with a proud smile.
Weblinks: www.reykjavikjazz.is - Reykjavik Jazz Festival www.icelandmusic.is - IMX Island www.felagsmenn.fih.is - Icelandic Musicians Union www.xjazz.net - XJAZZ Festival
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Let’s go herbal! Kolbrún Björnsdóttir is Iceland’s most renowned herbalist. She began to practice herbal medicine in 1993 which included consultation and sales, and opened her own shop, Jurtaapótek, in 2004. Kolbrún is a very positive and energetic person and believes a positive attitude is essential to people’s health; “It will certainly keep you healthier and will, of course, give you a much fuller and happier life.“ Text by Paul Michael Herman Photos: Kristinn Magnússon
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t the age of 17 when Kolbrún was in high school, she became interested in sports and did a lot of running. This sparked her interest in staying healthy and particularly in how much our diet affects us. After graduation she worked for a few months at Heilsuhæli, a sanitorium in Hveragerði, a town not far from Reykjavík. “I wanted to see how such a place operated, because one day I would like to open my own.“ After that she got a job at Heilsuhúsið, a health food store in Iceland. During the year Kolbrún spent there she considered her prospects for the future. “I was thinking about becoming a naturopath learning all kinds of natural therapies, but I soon realized that rather than learning a little about many things I‘d like to learn a lot about a few things. From there I went to the UK and entered a four year school to study herbal medicine.“ Since graduating Kolbrún has completed many courses, particularly on the subject of diet. She is convinced that when people improve their diet they‘ll heal much faster. Kolbrún now runs both a factory manufacturing herbal products and a retail outlet where her products are sold. She tries to use as many Icelandic herbs as possible, but hiking mountains collecting bulks of herbs for drying isn’t easy or fast work. Opening the shop in 2004 was a big step for her, “and a scary one too,“ she admits. “I was already pretty busy but I wanted to help more people.“ This resulted in a big boost in business but there was another event that had taken place many years earlier precipitating her first major increase.
Male menopause... Say what? “Eighteen years ago Heilsuhringurinn, an association that provides information on health matters, advertised that I would give a talk on female and male menopause.“ It may be of interest to the reader that hormones (males only) begin to decrease from the age of 30 but as Kolbrún explained, “because it’s so gradual you don‘t really notice it until you’re between 50 and 70. Not many people had heard about male menopause and while I hadn‘t learned much about the subject either, I knew I had ample time to research it before presenting it to the public.“ That was before Kolbrún got a call from Eirikur Jónsson, a TV interviewer who asked if she’d like to come on his show in two-days-time for an interview on male menopause. Fortunately, for her, Kolbrún had not known that Eirikur was notorious for “chopping up his guests into little pieces.“ She prepared for the interview in just one day. If any of WOW air’s guests had been flying over Reykjavík on that day they could have caught sight of the 27 year old feverishly cycling from one medical library to another — four in all — gathering infor mation for an intensive study. Despite her limited education on the subject, and the nature of the interviewer, according to Kolbrún, the interview went very smoothly.
you can always have questions answered by email. Besides providing information through individual consultations, Kolbrún lectures on male and female menopause, arthritis, gut flora, the nervous system and on sleeping and feeling better. Most of Kolbrún’s customers come for help with arthritis and stress. She recalls an unusual case. “I told a lady with depleted energy, pain from arthritis and a skin problem that she should take one tablespoon of flaxseed oil three times a day. By mistake she took triple the dose. Her energy increased, her pain disappeared and her skin became smoother and softer. But her recovery did not come from just the oil. She had also followed my advice to change her diet, and take herbs and other oils. That was five years ago. She‘s been back every year to restock.“
Naturally high! Asked about the one piece of advice on how we could take better care of our health, Kolbrún is all about the oils. “Just like your car, if you want to take care of your body you need oil.“ Olive, omega, sesame and flaxseed are some of the oils she recommends. ”For the past 15 years I‘ve been using flaxseed oil regularly. I take supplements too, but not all the time: Vitamin B and D, and green herbs like chlorella, spirulina, parsley and beetroot. All of these things are included in a mixture called ‘green bomb’. I don‘t drink coffee and besides a little butter and cream, I use very little dairy. Oh yes,“ she remembered, “I drink very little alcohol.“ The reason is obvious. She‘s naturally high! To keep fit Kolbrún does many things. “I exercise, but not just one kind of exercise. For me, that would be boring. In the
“Just like your car, if you want to take care of your body you need oil.“ Olive, omega, sesame and flaxseed are some of the oils she recommends.”
Want to be a customer? Kolbrún was busy before the interview but afterwards, things really got crazy! Besides her own retail outlet, Kolbrún’s herbal products are sold at some pharmacies and the two largest health food stores chains in the country, Heilsuhúsið and Lifandi Markaður. In October of last year she brought her factory and shop together into one location (Skipholt 33, in Reykjavík). Of course, you can drop by her shop anytime during opening hours but unless you have an appointment there‘s no guarantee that you‘ll meet Kolbrún. “Still,“ she says, “the salespeople are well informed. Through attending my lectures and courses, reading my webpage and always hav ing at least one person available who has been to a health school in Iceland, where they learned quite a few things, a lot of questions that people often ask are answered.“ If you‘d prefer to meet Kolbrún, scheduled appointments for con sultation can be arranged. Even people who are just visiting Iceland might like a consultation. For an appointment you can call or email (354-552-1103, firstname.lastname@example.org). After that Issue three
past year I‘ve been hiking once a week and swimming a thousand meters. Now it‘s five years since I‘ve been running 5 km once a week. I ski with my children several times over the winter, do a little yoga every day and dance a lot, usually at home. Mostly though, I exercise outside where I can breathe the oxygen and get the sunshine when it‘s available,“ she explained. “I‘m never pale!“ Both of Kolbrún‘s businesses are successful but her dream doesn‘t end there. “For the time being I will work to make these businesses strong and while I‘m at it I think I can do a lot to help people by getting them to take fewer drugs and more herbs. I also want to teach more, I see this as a teaching center more than a retail outlet.“ Next Kolbrún wants to fulfill her longtime dream. “After ten or twelve years I want to sellout and use the money to build a sanitorium.“ And where might a person who’s interested in health and wanted to follow in Kolbrún’s footsteps begin? “If they want to study herbal medicine, they should take a three or four year course in the UK, where they teach it the old way.“ Kolbrún mentioned that Australia was also a good place to go but she seemed to favor the UK. “Next they should read a lot and what they learn they should practice.“ A good education, continually learning and putting it into practice sounds like good advice for everyone.
“For the time being I will work to make these businesses strong and while I‘m at it I think I can do a lot to help people by getting them to take fewer drugs and more herbs. I also want to teach more, I see this as a teaching center more than a retail outlet.“
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WatChIng - visitors' top pick sinc
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A 4 hour combination of whale watching, birdwatching and experiencing sailing traditions.
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whale watching from akureyri We will pick you up in Akureyri and bring you straight to Húsavík Harbour for the Húsavík Original Whale Watching tour.
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A day tour with Eagle Air where you fly directly from Reykjavík domestic airport to Húsavík for whale watching.
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Fákasel Horse Park Ingólfshvoll 816 Ölfus +354 483 5050 www.fakasel.is 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.
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From the greatest horse of all time… The 45 minute show, The Legends of Sleipnir, employs largescale 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 uniqueness. The result is a magical theatrical experience that emphasizes the Icelandic horse’s special features and pays tribute to its historical relationship with humans 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 per formance, 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 located just 30 minutes from Reykjavík.
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.
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 Ice landic 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 service 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.
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 are an inspiration to others. WOW air’s goal is to help its stars reach their goals by sponsoring their international travels. Skúli Mogensen, CEO of WOW air says, “Iceland has so many noteworthy people doing good things in arts, sports and culture, it’s really unbelievable.”
to the pe
Issue one 2014
WOW star: Vilborg Arna
GoinG where few women have Gone before Lighten up:
Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival
M Ásgeir Trausti: He‘s just getting started
Power to the PeoPle Issue one 2014
h a c feve
iva ou ls h in e eu a ro r pe d 20 ? 13
lifts you up where you belong
cool adventures in iceland
your free copy take me with you
What‘s the deal With skyr? Ásgeir Trausti:
“I didn’t even plan on releasing a record” Run touRist, Run! A cool way to travel and get your blood pumping this summer
From ale to beer
lIfTS you up where you belong Issue one 2013
WOW Power to the people
The history of modern beer making in Iceland
Icelandic designers are cool and creative
Issue one 2013 Your free copy / take me with you
All About london This magazine is really expensive but you get it for free. Special prize, only for you my friend!
Vilborg Arna is the newest addition to our group of WOW stars. She became recognized in Iceland when she decided to do a solo ski walk to the South Pole which she succeeded around Christmas in 2012. After reaching the South Pole she knew she couldn’t stop and she’s now working on finishing the Adventurer’s Grand Slam. The Grand Slam includes the Seven Summits Challenge and reaching both the South and North Pole. Vilborg’s goal was to finish the Seven Summits in one year but in light of recent events her plans have now changed. “For the last two months I’ve been traveling a lot and the highlight is, of course, my trip to Nepal. I went there to climb Mt. Everest, the last summit on my Seven Summit list and the trip started out great. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve fallen completely in love with Nepal and I plan on going there often in the future. The people, the culture and the incredible nature are so spectacular, I don’t think anyone can go there without being touched by it.” On April 18th a great avalanche fell on the Khumbu Icefall on Mt. Everest, killing 16 Nepalese guides, mostly Sherpas. “I will never forget the sorrow I felt that day. This terrible accident had an immense effect on me. We cancelled the expedition soon after out of respect for the people who died and their loved ones,” Vilborg says. Vilborg is now back in Iceland and says she’s been spending her time cycling, running, mountain climbing and skiing. “I love the spring and there’s nothing quite like having your own Icelandic adventure under the midnight sun. The next couple of months will be spent guiding other mountain climbers and getting ready for my next grand expedition which is planned next fall.”
Ásgeir Trausti became the most popular singer/songwriter in Iceland in just under a year; his first album selling 30,000 copies and named ‘Album of the Year’ at the Icelandic Music Awards last year. This year has been a great start for Ásgeir, beginning with a performance at the Eurosonic Festival where he received the EBBA awards (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 where Ásgeir will be performing soon. Ásgeir recently took a well-deserved break from a successful tour around Europe where he played at grand venues such as the Store Vega in Copenhagen and Union Chapel in London. He also headlined CCP’s Eve Fanfest in Iceland in May. At the end of May, it was time to head back to Europe and first up was the We Love Green Music Festival in Paris. On June 7th, Ásgeir will play along with Kent, the Raveonettes and others at the Rosenborg Live, a grand outdoors concert in Copenhagen. Soon after he will be traveling to the States where he’ll perform in seven cities, among them are New York, Boston, Washington and Manchester were he’ll perform at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. More music festivals are lined up for July: Latitude Festival in the UK, Slottsfjell Festival in Norway, Fuji Rock in Japan and Splendour in the Grass in Australia. Ásgeir will headline two concerts in the land down undah’, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney. When this issue went to print, the Sidney concert was already sold out and only a few tickets left in Melbourne. Nice going, Ásgeir! Check it out: On April 19 (Record Store Day) Ásgeir released a 7” picture disk vinyl that contains a new song called Here it Comes and Ásgeir’s rendition of the Nirvana hit Heart-Shaped Box.
It’s been a good year
D e Ic On’t el m an
is dIc s ou Ch t rist
is in the air
it’s been a good year Margrét Edda Gnarr, IFBB World Champion Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, third strongest man in the world Benedikt Erlingsson Ásgeir Trausti The Icelandic football team … and many more
is in the air issue six
Winter is coming:
CheCk out the WOW winter Cities
Issue sIx 2013
has got it going on
rie hi nc s! e ic ela
Wild norTh Guðmundur Felix:
PuT your hands TogeTher for our laTesT WoW star “i can’t wait to give my daughters a proper hug” I C e l A n d a designer’s paradise
Where did all TheSe Icelanders come from?
WOW haS gOT iT gOing On issue two 2013
Twenty five years old Margrét Edda Gnarr has a black belt in taekwondo, is daughter of our legendary 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. She says her goal was to introduce herself to the world of professional bikini fitness and she did a little more than that by coming in 9th place at the finals; a pretty good result for a first time contestant. It pretty much means that she is considered as one of the top 10 IFBB pros out there. “I’ve been working hard at the World Class Laugar gym only taking a break on the weekends. At the end of April, I signed a contract with Muscle Teck, one of the largest names in the fitness nutrition industry. It’s a great honor to be on their team,” says Margrét. In the beginning of May, Margrét went to Slovakia to compete against the best in Europe at the Mozolani Classic Pro Bikini. “I came in 4th but I would have liked to go higher. However I am very happy with my form and my overall performance on the stage so I can walk away proud,” says Margrét. Margrét has been running her own online personal training service for a while but recently she joined forces with her fiancé, Björn Þorleifsson, a taekwondo trainer, and her friend Karen Lind, a national model fitness champion to launch a new online personal training service for people anywhere in the world. “I love helping people get in shape and master a healthier lifestyle. The new online training team is called “Midgard Fitness” and right now you can find us on Facebook. Our webpage will soon be ready,” Margrét informs us. Coming up for Margrét are the Prague Pro and Nordic Pro, both in October. “I’ll spend the summer taking an ‘improve ment season.’ I want to add a little more bulk on my upper body. I’ve also decided to change my stage look a bit for the fall,” says Margrét, adding that she might even consider competing at the Korean Pro and Russian Pro in the near future.
guðmundur Felix: Put your hands together for our latest WOW star
Margrét Edda Gnarr
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!
Guðmundur Felix Guðmundur Felix just celebrated his birthday, hopefully the last one without hands. Despite losing both his arms at the shoulder in 1998 Guðmundur 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, Guðmundur moved to Lyon where he’ll be residing during the preparations for, and recovery from the transplant. Since the move to Lyon, Guðmundur Felix has been constantly waiting to get on the transplant list and the wait is trying at times but still he manages to enjoy Lyon. “I’m still trying to improve my French and I’ve met some great people who are helping me with it. I’m lucky to have the most beautiful woman in France as my private tutor,” Guðmundur informs us adding that one on one sessions are the most beneficial for him as he has a hard time following traditional classes where students have to take a lot of notes. “Lyon is great. I love going to restaurants and coffee houses. My favorites are Brasserie le Pearl and Le Republique and it’s also nice to walk around Croix Rousse; there’s a lot of good cafés there and a great view over the city. During the day I like to pop into one of the ‘boat pubs’ along the Rhone. If the weather is nice it can get crowded on the banks of Rhone as groups of friends and families go there for a picnic,” Guðmundur tells us. Due to summer vacations it’s unlikely that there will be new developments in Guðmundur’s case until next fall but he’s tackling that fact with his now trademark patience and smile. “I’ll just keep working on my French. Thanks to WOW air my time here has been good. My friends and relatives have been able to come visit me and my mother, who’s been here with me, helping me out, has also been able to fly home for a break,” says Guðmundur set on enjoying his summer in Lyon. Issue three
SmáraTívolí Hagasmára 1 201 kópavogur +354 534 1900 www.smarativoli.is
Great fun for everyone! SmáraTívolí is in Smáralind mall, Iceland’s largest shopping center, located in the grand capital area. This is the only indoor family entertainment center in Iceland with over 100 gameplays on two floors. SmáraTívolí guarantees a great time for all ages in a setting that has not been seen in Iceland before.
The Laser Tag is specially recommended, up to 20 people can play at a time in 200 square meters with lots of dark places to hide to make the game more fun and exciting.
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On the ground floor you’ll find bumper cars, dark ride, trampoline, mini bowling and a whole alley of Tivoli games for the whole family. SmáraTívolí also offers childcare for ages 3 to 10 and parents can play with younger children in a special Comfyland area that has won prizes for its state-of-the-art cognitive and exploratory design. Children can stay in the childcare for up to two hours while their parents play or shop in the Smáralind shopping center. On the second floor SmáraTívolí hosts birthday parties for children and receives groups for team building or a fun day out. The Laser Tag is specially recommended, up to 20 people can play at a time in 200 square meters with lots of dark places to hide to make the game more fun and exciting. The second floor also has lots of video and tivoligames, for example; basketball, Speed of Light, Guitar hero, Super Bikes and air hockey. If you want to have an adventurous time with the whole family, a group of friends or colleagues SmáraTívolí is a place worth visiting.
In with skin
Slow fashion made in Iceland The popular Skolavordustigur shopping street near Reykjavik’s center is home to an established family business named Eggert Feldskeri. Located in a house at the top of Skolavordustigur it’s all in one, a boutique, workshop and home to master furrier Eggert Jóhannsson, who was awarded Tradesman of the Year 2014 by the Association of Tradesmen in Reykjavik. Photos: Anders Engström and Styrmir Kári
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wild fur such as mink, fisher marten and raccoon. “Wild skins are more demanding, they have more character and the end results is always more vibrant. I find the thought of hunter societies living off and with nature very inspiring. We can learn a lot from them as they show us how to live in balance with nature,” Eggert explains.
The Deimatic collection “Deimatic behavior in animals is any pattern of threatening behavior, such as suddenly displaying conspicuous eyespots. Such displays are often combined with warning coloration.”* During this year’s Design March, The DEIMATIC collection by Helga Björnsson for Eggert Feldskeri was presented in a fashion show that was held in an old power station on Baronstigur, an empty relic of old times that had been in relative disuse for over 20 years. “When I heard of some developments going on there I jumped at the chance to use it as a venue for our show,” says Eggert. The stage and catwalk were designed by Elín Hansdóttir. Using mirrors the stage worked as a kaleidoscope, so the viewers could see the models from different angles. Each piece in the Deimatic collection can be reversed to dramatically change the colors, patterns and textures. “We presented 22 designs in the show using 11 coats. Some are men’s coats on one side and women’s on the other. We didn’t tell people that they were reversible; each side had to make sense on its own,” says Harper, Eggert’s future son-in-law, and shows how the expert craftsmanship on each garment means there is no doubling of the material. The effect can be seen in the photos of two Deimatic coats here on the right.
ggert started the company in 1977 and nine years later he moved the boutique and workshop to its present location. Last year Eggert Feldskeri was awarded Most Innovative Shop of 2012 by the City of Reykjavík. The award was for imaginative thinking and a new approach to the Reykjavík shopping experience. “I share this award with my staff, my street Skolavordustigur and my fellow Icelandic craftsmen,” said Eggert in his acceptance speech.
Surf and turf – Icelandic lamb skin and fish leather “If we believe we have any right in nature we must also have some obligations,” says Eggert who believes one of these obliga tions is to not waste nature in any way but to utilize it whenever possible. In the 90’s, Eggert worked with Sjávarleður (now Atlantic Leather) to advance the tann ing of fish skins so that the leather would be supple, pliable and strong. After a few years of research and development these characteristics were achieved. “In Milan 2001, with Yukon Furs of Toronto, we intro duced our collection made from Ocean Leather,” Eggert tells us. When asked about his favorite material Eggert is quick to assert Icelandic lamb and
“We presented 22 designs in the show using 11 coats. Some are men’s coats on one side and women’s on the other.
can pick up their item before they leave Reykjavik,” Eggert adds. When we visited Eggert’s boutique we saw the Deimatic collection on display along with a varied selection of staple fur garments. “Our creations are only sold in our shop at the top of Skolavordustigur and at Anderson & Sheppard in London.” says Eggert. It’s obvious that he takes great pride in giving all his clients personal and professional service.
Q: Would you say that fur fashion is slow fashion? “Yes, Eggert Feldskeri is a small family run business of artisans. All our fur and shearling is ethically sourced, and harvested in a sustainable manner.” Eggert explains.
Custom-made Icelandic shearling Eggert is furrier to London‘s Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard, creating their men’s line of shearling and fur. “This is an establishment that I like to work with, as we have a similar vision and goals regarding the source of the materials, the quality of each item, durability etc. It’s been a great pleasure working with them,” says Eggert. In 2011, Anna Gulla, Eggert’s daughter, and her fiancé Harper, who are both hatt ers, joined the Eggert Feldskeri team. “A lot of what we do is custom work, spe cial orders, products that never reach the boutique,” says Anna Gulla. “We try to be accommodating because we realize travelers aren’t always on a shop-hour schedule. We are happy to make appoint ments outside of our regular hours. Alterations can take a few days, so if people come at the beginning of their stay they
Visit Eggert Feldskeri at the top of Skolavordustigur in Reykjavik or check out his web page, www.furrier.is.
Disrupting the landscape of social media Four young Icelandic entrepreneurs are on the verge of something great. They have created a new social network called Blendin. It’s a mobile application both for IOS and Android devices which aims to connect friends when they’re going out.
he Blendin team consists of Davíð Örn Símonarson, 24 year old industrial engineer and CEO, Daníel Björn Sigurbjörnsson also 24, an industrial engineer and lead mobile developer, Ásgeir Vísir, a 25 year old graphic designer and Kristján Ingi Mikaelsson, a developer who’s probably the youngest CTO in Iceland, at 21 years of age. The team recently came back from a successful stay in the United States but this story starts, like so many good ones, at a party. “Eighteen months ago a guy named Egill Ás bjarnarson, came up to me at a party in Denmark, annoyed because he didn’t know if any of his friends were going out or not. Every weekend he had to get on his phone and contact his friends
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By Ólöf Hugrún Valdimarsdóttir
by calling, texting or by messaging them on Facebook. I understood it was a problem for him but I wasn’t sure if it really needed to be solved,” says Davíð. “But it got me thinking; how many countless nights have I spent, wondering what to do? Some of my friends were probably in the same situation at the same time. Most of the time I didn’t bother to contact anyone and missed a great night out!” he adds. A team consisting of some bright, young and upcoming talents was formed and the collabora tion started in March 2013. The guys developed the idea during the summer and in August they all quit their jobs and started working on Blendin full time. Or even more than full time, seeing as the guys have been working from 16-18 hours every single day for the past 9 months. This, however, is the life of serious entrepreneurs; when you’re doing a startup you have to be all in.
A more personal interaction with friends Blendin was founded on a shared vision. It aims to get its users away from their devices and into a real life social situation with friends. “Our mission is to be a disruptive power in the social landscape. The social networks have actually been making people lonelier than ever before. Even though in some ways social media has brought friends closer together, people are spending all their free time alone in front of the computer or on their phones. That’s what we want to change,” Vísir explains. The app itself is map centric; you can see visually where your friends are located, check into places and let them know where you are and if you’re going out – “Blendin”, or if you haven’t made any plans but are “Open minded”.
One of Blendin’s competitive advantages is a strong privacy model, similar to Snapchat. “Sometimes you just want to share your information with a certain group of friends or coworkers and so on. So every time you check into a place you have to carefully choose people receiving that data, similar to Foursquare. We think this is very valuable,” says Vísir, and Davíð agrees. “Because we want to have a completely private social network you will never be able to post any thing outside of our network. You won’t be able to post your location simultaneously on other social networks as so many other apps are doing, because they want to have more exposure. We want to do exactly the opposite; we are very keen on being exclus ive.” Vísir continues, “We are seeing the privacy model changing in the older social networks. Right now they are all taking this stance of changing their privacy model or changing course to a more private network. In the end it’s all about you and your closest friends. We truly believe this is the future.”
The capital of innovation and entrepreneurism Earlier this year the guys decided to head to the United States where they stayed and worked for three months. “We were positive this was the right time for us to move to San Francisco. We had two major milestones in mind. The first one was to launch our product, in the form of an MVP, a minimum viable product, which is a basic version of an idea. The second one was to get funded and close the seed round, which is the first round of funding at a company,” our CEO leads on. Vísir adds, “Some people don’t know this but San Francisco is actually the capital of entrepreneurism and innovation which is why we went there.” Eight weeks later the app was launched and the team managed to secure $200,000 in capital from two investors one day prior to launching. In the startup scene, this is quite extraordinary “Usually the product is launched and when you have solid proof of concept and have metrics that show that people are using your product, investors will get excited. But we got to know two visionaries who share our dreams and wanted to be part of this advent ure from the beginning,” says Vísir. “It’s pretty ironic, going to Silicon Valley to find investors and coming back, funded by two Icelandic investors with foreign capital,” Davíð says with a chuckle. The team will use the capital to secure work on the app for the next 6-12 months. The strain of living and working together under pressure in San Francisco didn’t have a negative effect on the group according to Davíð, “There were no drama scenarios at all.” “Just some beer drinking and crying,” Vísir remarks. They both have a hearty laugh and Davíð explains the situation “Oh yeah! We came home after a great night out, maybe a little bit tipsy, and sat down in our living room,
got emotional and just started crying. That brought us even closer together. We got to know each other only one year ago but now we are definitely best friends. We can talk about everything.”
The beginning of an amazing adventure
Eight weeks later the app was launched and the team managed to secure $200,000 in capital from two investors one day prior to launching. In the startup scene, this is quite extraordinary
In the Reykjavík nightlife Blendin recommends English Pub Laundromat B5 Austur Kaffibarinn Kaffi List and Dolly.
Since the launch, Blendin has gained more than 10 thousand users. Most are situated in Iceland, the rest in USA and other countries. According to Vísir, Iceland is a great stepping stone. “Living in Iceland and having the app spring to life from there is proving to be a major asset to the company. We are close to the users and have easy access to good feedback and valuable information regarding how to adapt to the market. People see the value in our product but they also see space for expansion and improvement. For the next few months we’ll be refining it, marketing globally and hopefully getting 10 million users within a year,” he says jokingly. Davíð is equally excited about the future, “It takes time when you’re building a social network. It’s more like a marathon. It took Twitter 24 months to get 1 million users. Our adventure is just beginning and it’s going to be one hell of a trip!”
The app itself is map centric; you can see visually where your friends are located, check into places and let them know where you are and if you’re going out – “Blendin”, or if you haven’t made any plans but are “Open minded”.
Icelandâ€™s hidden secrets Imagine wild Icelandic nature and lurking about mysterious places in one of the most beautiful peninsulas in the world. Nature is vibrant with life and with every step fairytale creatures appear, whose tales are spun by a native storyteller. With all the land hugged by the surrounding ocean its deep voice of heaving waves calls out, smashing along its coastal rocks and sands. You can have this experience at SnaefellsÂ nes with the private tour Morning 2 Midnight.
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celanders love Snaefellsjokull (Snaefellsnes glacier) in all its glory and mystery. Perhaps the glacier actually is a gateway to earth’s center as the French author Jules Verne said in his famous tale Journey to the Center of the Earth. Others believe the glacier is a landing spot for alien spaceships. Whatever secrets the glacier holds, Icelanders feel it’s surrounded with spiritual power. Most tourists choose to travel the Golden Circle and therefore miss the haunting magic of Snaefellsjokull, giving you a chance to relish complete solitude in the exquisite unspoiled nature. The award-winning, bestselling author, Thorgrimur Thrainsson (Thor), now offers private tours to Snaefellsnes; no bus, no crowd, no noise… just him and his jeep and his amazing stories. Although Thor was nominated the City Artist of Reykjavík 2013 he grew up at Snaefellsnes and knows every rock there; and yes, most of the sheep too.
The award-winning, bestselling author, Thorgrimur Thrainsson (Thor), now offers private tours to Snaefellsnes; no bus, no crowd, no noise… just him and his jeep and his amazing stories.
Elves and ghosts But why start offering private tours to Snaefellsnes? “The last few years I have taken friends and foreign guests there, showed them some unexplored spots and told stories of trolls and strange people. To experience Icelandic nature in some remote locale where it seems time is standing still, is simply amazing. I want those who visit Iceland to be able to have this kind of heavenly experience. I call the adventure, Morning 2 Midnight because I pick my guests up at their hotel in Reykjavik in the morning and have them back by midnight. Snaefellsnes has a variety of magical places and natural wonders, and the guests decide how long we stay at each spot. Travelers have the option of visiting an Elf castle, the dark sand where ghosts hide, a golden beach (which is actually quite rare in the black sanded shores of Iceland) or the coziest café in the world. They can also go horseback riding, swimming in a mineral spring, browsing around a cave, to the top of the glacier and more.” Thor can offer four seats on each tour, but actually up to six if two of them are less than 160 cm (good news for kids and all kinds of short people!). The tour has the same price regardless of the number of passengers. “It’s an easy day tour for kids and elderly folks since I give personal service and everyone enjoys experiencing the magic of Snae fellsnes,” says Thor.
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.
Thor (in the middle) with his assistants!
Thor’s tour is sold at most Tourist Information centers and his brochure “Private tour to Snaefellsnes – Morning 2 Midnight” is available at hotels and cafés. Travelers can call Thor at +354 6614000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to check which days are available. For more information visit www.morning2midnight.is.
Scan QR Code for more information.
Bankastræti 2 -101 Reykjavík Tel. (+354) 551 4430 E-mail: email@example.com www.laekjarbrekka.is
We wish you a WOW flight
Fun aboard The magnificent WOW cabin crew makes the air a better place to be. Take a look at the WOW atmosphere aboard and give the cabin crew a big smile. You‘re guaranteed to get one back. But sometimes it‘s our guests that bring that something extra to the WOW flights. The WOW cabin crew welcomes everyone and that‘s why this extraterrestrial being, who said his name was Rex, hitched a ride with WOW air one fine afternoon. He was being escorted by the Men in Black, who stay ed watchfully by his side throughout the entire flight, never even taking off their sunglasses. According to our sources they might not have wanted to loose Rex in Iceland as he was scheduled to get married soon after the journey and this was his last hoopla as a bachelor. Congratulations Rex!
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THIS IS IT
WHALE WATCHING • HÚSAVÍK • ICELAND Akureyri
Visit The Gentle Giants up north in Húsavík – The Whale Watching Capital of Iceland
“Highlight of the summer”
“The most remarkable experience I have ever had” · “Family bonding & fun with Gentle Giants” · “Excellent service” · “Everything was perfect during the whole trip!” · “Memorable experience, forever engraved in my memory”
150 YEARS OF FAMILY HISTORY IN THE BAY HÚSAVÍK
The Realm of Vatnajokull
Festivals and feasts in the Southeast In the realm of Vatnajökull you find the real reason why Iceland got its name. The area is dominated by Vatnajokull glacier which is the largest glacier in the world outside the Arctic regions. In this area, you’ll also find some of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions such as the spectacular Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Skaftafell which is the jewel in Vatnajokull National Park and Hvannadalshnjukur, the highest peak in Iceland and a popular hike.
Photography and Fireworks The realm of Vatnajokull is in the South east of Iceland and covers over 200 km of the Ring Road from Lómagnúpur in the west to Hvalnes in the east. It covers the accessible southern side of Vatnajokull National Park and photography enthusiasts should find the realm particularly delightful as it provides countless magnificent views of the glaciers and mountains in the 24 hour daylight during the summertime. The annual fireworks show at Jokulsar lon in the Vatnajokull Region is a notto-be-missed event that you will always
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remember. A gaze at the illuminated icebergs from the magnificent fireworks show in the most spectacular natural surroundings creates an extraordinary experience. The fireworks show, a colla boration between the Hornafjordur Search and Rescue team, Jokulsarlon boat trips and the Realm of Vatnajokull – Tourism Cluster, will be held in late August. All entry fees running to support the rescue team.
Hofn and the Lobster Festival There is one town in the area, Hofn a lively fishing town with a population of 1,800.
Hofn is additionally known for being the one and only lobster capital of Iceland and in the end of June each summer the locals throw a celebration for this delightful delicacy. During the Lobster Festival you can enjoy a pure Icelandic town festival with a taste. The lovely restaurants in Hofn offer 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 and be sure to drop by the park’s Visitor Center in the beautiful historical building, Gamlabúð, by the harbor.
The Vatna jokull region is in southeast of Iceland and spans over 200 km of the Ring Road from Loma gnupur in the west to Hvalnes in the east. Photo: Ragnar Th.
Activity, accommodation and restaurants Much of the activity in the realm of Vatnajokull revolves around the glacier and the nature around. 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 bird watching tours on Ingolfshofdi Cape, All Terrain Vehicle Tours and geo thermal baths at Hoffell, reindeer excursions, a visit to the Thorbergssetur cultural museum, the local handicraft store, the
petting zoo at Holmur and much more. There are various possibilities in accommodations to suit different needs and you’ll be sure to find a warm welcome by knowledgeable hosts. Several rest aurants are in the area and most of them offer local food made in the realm of Vatnajokull. Be sure to ask for the local beer Vatnajökull, which is brewed from icebergs found in the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon and arctic thyme.
Accessible year round The realm of Vatnajokull is well accessible the whole year around due to good weat her conditions and frequent transportation. Eagle Air has a daily flight from Reykjavík to the Hofn airport during the summertime and five days a week in other seasons. Buses between Reykjavík and Hofn are scheduled daily during the summer and three days a week during other seasons. There are also three car rental companies in Höfn.
For more information check out www.visitvatnajokull.is.
A city of nature
The Ellidaardalur Valley is a great place to take a walk or ride during the summer. It When tourists arrive in Reykjavik city they often have a pretty fixed idea connects to a long walking and bike route, of what they want to see in the capital. Many go look at the most promo which can take you from the center of the ted places, walk up and down the main shopping streets, Laugavegur and city along the coastline all the way through Skolavordustigur, and visit the Hallgrimskirkja church and the Harpa Conthe valley. This route is fantastic for willing cert Hall. A lot of people also go whale watching from the Old Harbor or try and enthusiastic bikers or hikers. out the local cuisine, renowned for its freshness and good taste. There are nice waterfalls in Ellidaardalur, called Selfoss and Storifoss. A small forest with walking and biking routes is also en ut there are so many other things to see and experi route. The lava in the area is 4,500 years old, and came from a ence in Iceland’s one and only city. Reykjavik has a volcano in the Blue Mountains ski area, about 20 km away. river running through it, with the possibility of salmon fishing, and other cool natural places to enjoy, most of them in walking or bicycling distance or a short bus ride away. We’ve compiled a list of places that are well worth visiting and are popular among the locals. Relax in natural surroundings and find history along the way. Strap on your boots and walk or rent a bicycle and go exploring in the capital.
Grotta A person with a dog; a couple walking hand in hand; watching the sunset; someone walking on the beach or throwing pebbles into the sea… all these scenes and more are common close to the Grotta lighthouse on the Seltjarnarnes peninsula, one of the suburbs of the capital.
Ellidaardalur Valley There is true nature at hand in Ellidaardalur Valley and the river is popular among anglers who go there in the hope of catching salmon from the crystal clear water in the middle of the city. Over 2,500 salmons swim up the river every year, and if you want to catch one you’ll need a proper fishing permit.
WOW Power to the people
Reykjavik has a river running through it, with the possibility of salmon fishing, and other cool natural places to enjoy, most of them in walking or bicycling distance or a short bus ride away.
Text and photos: Gunnlaugur Rögnvaldsson
Natural treasures in Reykjavik
It is indeed a magical area, made for those who love the out doors and the fresh sea breeze. Bird life proliferates there during the summer. And it offers an easy walking route around the penin sula with a good view of the lighthouse. The house by the popular lighthouse has been unoccupied since the lighthouse guard died in 1970. Here you’ll also find a great golf course with a wide view of the sea. This area, popular with locals, is mentioned in a script from the 15th century, and while it has changed over time, it carries memories of a distant past.
Nautholsvik Beach This is really the only true beach for tanning in Reykjavik, and on a sunny day you can find people of all ages there. In good weather, packing a lunch and enjoying the warm sea water and pool is almost mandatory. The sea and pool are heated with geothermal water and there is access to changing rooms and showers. You can dive into the sea from small cliffs, which kids love to do. In the old days there was a farm in this area called Nautholl and now a restaurant with the same name is close to the beach; a perfect place for a Sunday brunch. Nautholsvik was a base for sea planes during the Second World War, and the local airport is only a stone’s throw from there. This is a great place to rest after a hard day’s work or a long walk around the city.
Laugarnestangi Laugarnestangi is along the coastline and just walking distance from Reykjavik’s center. If you start your walk from the Harpa Concert Hall, you’ll see the majestic Mt. Esja on your left. As you walk along the rocky beach you can stop by an outpost where breathtaking summer sunsets can often be viewed. Right there on the beach front, there’s an art museum with works from sculptor Sigurjón Ólafsson, who passed away in 1982, that his widow started in his memory. Also, a well known Icelandic film director has a pretty peculiar looking house close by, with unusual art work strewn around that blend in with the natural surroundings.
The sea and pool are heated with geothermal water and there is access to changing rooms and showers. You can dive into the sea from small cliffs, which kids love to do.
Oskjuhlid is a hill, where Perlan (The Pearl) stands in all its glory. The woods beneath Perlan are a natural gem which few tourists know about; a perfect place for walks or picnics. About 10,000 years ago Oskjuhlid Hill was an island, as the sea level was much higher than today. The forest that grows on the hill is home to many birds that nest there and it is quite popular with rabbits as well. Some of the structures in Oskjuhlid are relics from the Second World War when English and American soldiers occupied this area, which oversees the airport. Today you can still see empty machine gun nests and bomb shelters there.
Videy Island The island of Videy is a short boat ride away from the center of Reykjavik. It’s probably best known abroad for being the home to the ‘Imagine Peace Tower’, a memorial to John Lennon which his widow, Yoko Ono, had set up there with the assistance of locals. The Imagine Peace Tower is a tall tower of light projected from a white stone monument and on October 9th every year, Yoko Ono comes to the lighting ceremony held on Lennon’s birthday. The strong beam of light mixes with the northern lights and guides people to peaceful thoughts. It continues to illuminate the night sky until December 8th, the day Lennon was shot. During the summer Videy Island is a venue for walks, bird watching, biking or horse riding and various events like marriages and parties. The island is 1.6 square km, 3 km long and only 700 meters wide. It is home to the oldest stone house in Iceland, dating back to 1755, which is now a popular café and restaurant during the summertime. Issue three
A Person of WOW
There seems to be no end to the talents and WOW in the WOW air team. In every issue we introduce a new Person of WOW, a member of our staff that excels both on the job and in his or her free time. Our latest Person of WOW is Björn Vilberg Jónsson, one of our operations specialists, who just happens to be a licensed commercial pilot and a real fighting machine.
the awesome people he works with every day. “There’s never a dull day at the office.” Why, thank you Björn!
From flights to fights Although Björn has a passion for all things flight related he spends his free time on the ground. “When I am not working I try to spend as much time as I can with my family. My son is 10 months old now and everything
am part of the operations depart ment which oversees the daily operation of the airline and handle various tasks including communi cating with crews, aircraft operators and handling agents at airports. My job specifically is to apply for and handle the airport slots for all flights. I also make sure the schedule is correct in our operations systems and that aircrafts are correctly allo cated to the flights,” says Björn when asked what his job entails and adds that the best thing about working for WOW air is first and foremost all
WOW Power to the people
“Some people may have heard of Brazilian jiu jitsu (or BJJ for short) from MMA promotions such as the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champion). BJJ is one of the fundamental disciplines of mixed martial arts, along with boxing and wrestling.
he does is just the best thing ever! I do have quite a few hobbies as well and I play video games if I have the time, but my main hobby is Brazilian jiu jitsu which I practice at a local MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) gym called Mjölnir, the largest one of its kind in Iceland,” says Björn while sporting a colorful black eye from his last practice. “Some people may have heard of Brazilian jiu jitsu (or BJJ for short) from MMA promotions such as the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champion). BJJ is one of the fundamental disciplines of mixed martial arts, along with boxing and wrestling. BJJ is similar to judo. We train and compete in kimonos or a gi just like judo players. However the main emphasis in BJJ is on grappling on the ground, whereas in judo it is more about the throws from standing position. The goal in BJJ is to make your opponent submit, or “tap out”, by using various joint locks and choke holds. No strikes
“The goal in BJJ is to make your opponent submit, or “tap out”, by using various joint locks and choke holds. No strikes are allowed, however that does not prevent me from showing up to work with a black eye every once in a while.”
Osushi is a unique rest aurant in Iceland. The method of dining involves snatching small plates from a conveyor belt. Pricing is distinguished by the color and pattern of the plate – most range between 230 - 440 ISK. Everything off the convey or belt is tasty and if you don’t really fancy sushi, you can instead choose for are allowed, however that does not prevent me from showing up to work with a black eye every once in a while,” Björn explains.
The right mind-set This BJJ sounds kind of cool, how did you get into this sport? “A friend of mine was training BJJ and got me to come to a training session. I’ve basically been hooked ever since and I have been training for about 4 ½ years now,” says Björn but admits that lately he hasn’t been practicing as much as he did in the first years. “I also used to compete every chance I had and I’ve placed in the top three in my division a few times. These days I train a bit less and mostly to keep my body and mind in shape,” says Björn and explains that BJJ has a lot to do with the right mind-set. “It is very important to check your ego at the door and concentrate on learning the techniques. It won’t matter how long you train, there will always be
someone who is more skilled than you and can and will whoop your butt.” Björn tells us that the MMA scene wasn’t that big when he started practicing BJJ, “There were only a handful of clubs and you could know most guys by name. However the scene has really blown up during the last two years or so. Most likely due to the success of our own UFC star, Gunnar Nelson,” Björn adds. Q: Do you have any future plans regarding BJJ? “Just that I will prac tice this sport as long as I have the health to do so,” Björn concludes. Well, black eyes or not we feel a little better knowing that we have a real fighting champion operating on our behalf here at WOW air.
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 three
… and having fun
It’s important to keep the WOW spirit within WOW air. At WOW headquarters, people are hard at work all day but every once in a while they let loose.
Call me Bubbles!
Two of our gourmet WOW-ers grilled delicious burgers for everyone on a particularly lovely Friday. Afterwards everyone practiced their dance moves in preparation for the country dance.
Proving that sports can be really fun, many WOW-ers showed up for a one-timeonly bubble ball tournament. Believe it or not, running inside a bubble really takes a lot of stamina.
WOW on top In the country In celebration of the two year anniversary of WOW air’s inaugural flight, the staff decided to throw themselves a traditional Icelandic country dance. To make it more WOW they also brought in a mechanical bull. We definitely recommend this!
WOW Power to the people
The sky has always been the limit for WOW air and the most outdoorsy WOWers really take that to heart. At the end of May they took on Hvannadalshnjukur, Iceland’s highest peak and conquered it with style. Despite poor weather condition and visibility they got to the top with a smile, even hitting a few golf balls while they were up there. Now that’s the WOW spirit!
esta es la cara que se te queda
cuando la Aurora AuroraBoreal Boreal cuando ves la
Conoce Islandia en invierno ven a ver la aurora de octubre a marzo y obtĂŠn un 10% de descuento en nuestros viajes con vuelo WOW Air
Pretty Fly Festivals Feeling festive? Here are some of this summer’s festivals in or around WOW air’s 15 destinations. These events are just the tip of the iceberg, as our fantastic cities offer such a great variety of entertainment and events this summer. Start packing straight away!
performances spread around the city in bars and entertainment venues, this year’s festival is an edgy artistic project bringing big names like Mike Stern, Bill Evans, Dave Holland, Kevin Eubanks, Ximo Tébar and many more to this trendy Mediterranean city.
Alicante has it all – culture, beach and traditional Spanish celebrations.
Feast of the Assumption August 15 August 15th is a national holiday in Spain, where people celebrate the principal feast of the mother of Christ. The feast honors two events, the departure of Mary from this life and her assumption.
The bonfires of San Juan Festival June 20-24
Are you ready for the sun? WOW air offers up to 3 flights a week to Alicante until November.
Alicante celebrates the coming of summer with the bonfires of San Juan. In a spectacular display of music, color and fireworks, thous ands of people throng the streets to experience this fiesta which pays tribute to fire.
Alicante International Jazz Festival July 18-26 This jazz festival attracts many great musicians to Alicante. With various jazz
WOW Power to the people
Dance4life is a non-profit organization with the people behind it having spent a decade educating millions around the world about the AIDS crisis. They’ll celebrate their 10th anniversary with a special event at Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw. All profits of this exclusive event will go directly to making a difference. Website: www.dance4life.nl/
Amsterdam The Dutch sure know how to party and Amsterdam offers an abundance of fantastic festive activities throughout summer.
Virgen del Carmen July 16 Alicante is a port that has always depended on the sea for its trade and culture. The sailors’ celebration of Virgen del Carmen therefore gives thanks to their patron. It’s a real maritime fiesta with the boats being lovingly decorated. But to see the best of the processions, catch a boat to the nearby island of Tarbaca for the highlight of the festival.
Dance4life June 6
Jazz at the Lake June 7
Alicante is a port that has always depended on the sea for its trade and culture.
Get aboard the Jazz at the Lake boat or sail in on your own vessel to the Nieuwe Meer and catch performances on two stages on the outskirts of the Amsterdamse Bos (near restaurant Het Bosch). Website: www.jazzatthelake.nl/
Vondelpark Open Air Theater May-August The Vondelpark Open Air Theater presents a four-month program packed with dance, caba ret, jazz, children’s theater, stand-up comedy and all genres of music. Performances are on Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer. Entry is free, although all voluntary donations are appreciated. Website: www.openluchttheater.nl
music maestro Mastiksoul. Acts from all over the Netherlands and beyond are also hitting the fest’s six stages to dish up a hearty mix of dance music, authentic salsa and more. In addition to live music, there are also workshops and dance demonstrations scheduled. Website: www.a-venue.nl We can absolutely recommend Amsterdam this summer and WOW air will take you there; three flights a week until September.
Amsterdam Open Air June 7-8
Rather than being limited to just one genre, the aim of Amsterdam Open Air is to reflect the diversity of today’s electronic music scene and Amster dam’s nightlife. So expect a versatile festival at Amsterdam’s Gaasperpark brimming with deep house, dubstep, electro, tech-house and techno.
The Viva Las Vega’s Food Festival June 29 The Viva Las Vega’s Food Festival showcases the full potential of vegetarian food and healthy eating. Expect a whole day of veggie delights, organic products and entertainment. Website: www.viva-las-vegas.nl
Getting tired of the beach, the Rambla, the tapas…? Not likely, but there are plenty of festivals to choose from in Barcelona.
So expect a versatile festival at Amster dam’s Gaasper park brimming with deep house, dubstep, electro, techhouse and techno.
Loop Fair June 5-7 This is the only fair exclusively devoted to the moving image, showcasing artists’ videos and short films in venues around town. The Loop Fair, the Screen Festival and the Loop Studies together make an unusual mix of art fair and city festival, and provide an innovative space to foster interactions between galleries, artists, distributors, collectors, curators, museum directors and the general public. Website: www.loop-barcelona.com
Comedytrain July The world famous Comedy Train traditionally offers sensational standup comedy performances throughout July at Amsterdam’s Toomler comedy club. What makes the Comedytrain unique is that each and every show is in English, so those who don’t speak the local lingo will still get the joke.
Cruïlla Festival July 11-12 Cruïlla snuck quietly onto the scene in 2008 with an unassuming clutch of bands, before launching into something quite special two years later. Recent lineups have included Cat Power, Iggy Pop, the Specials, MIA, Suede, Rufus Wainwright, Morcheeba and Cypress Hill, and there’s usually an impressive range of local bands, from the Pinker Tones to Muchachito Bombo Infierno and Macaco. Set in the sunbaked Barcelona Parc del Fòrum complex, the festival now attracts thousands of music fans who are keen to enjoy an eclectic and genre-crossing lineup of great bands and musicians in an outdoor setting for two jam-packed days, together with an ever-growing program of additional on-site activities ranging from circus acts and games to workshops of all types, together with stands run by a variety of social foundations. Website: www.cruillabarcelona.com
Circuit Festival August 6-17 The Circuit Festival has grown so popular that it now stretches over 10 days and encompasses three festivals in one: Circuit for gay men, Girlie Circuit, and Circuit Bear. Each has its own specific program of after dark clubs, parties and shows but share many of the daytime events. Among them is Water Park Day, when some 10,000 participants take over the Illa Fantasia Water Park. Although the day out at the park and the frenetic schedule of nocturnal events inevitably get the most attention, the festival also offers a varied daytime agenda with over 30 activities designed to suit a wide range of needs and tastes; from workshops, lectures, debates and documentary screenings to sports events like football and beach volleyball tournaments, fitness workouts and even open air yoga and tai-chi sessions. Website: www.circuitfestival.net
Milkshake July 20 Milkshake is more than your average festival; it’s an event with a clear message. It’s about respect, freedom, love and tolerance, as well as encouraging out of the box thinking. Website: www.milkshakefestival. nl/milkshake-festival-2014
Latin Village Festival August 10 This year’s line-up at the Latin Village Festival includes international DJ Franky Rizardo and Portugal’s house
Book your flights to the most perfect city in Europe. WOW air offers up to 3 flights all summer until October.
The International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art (aka Sónar) June 12-14
For four days, this street festival takes over Blücher platz in the Kreuzberg district, celebrating the cultural diversity of Berlin.
Sónar Festival is a must for anyone into electronic music, urban art and media technologies. Sónar by Day comprises multimedia art, record fairs, conferences, exhibitions and sound labs. It takes place in the trade fair area at Plaça Espanya and DJs provide the music. Sónar by Night is out in the vast hangars of the site in Hospitalet Del Infante. Confirmed acts for the 2014 line-up include Massive Attack, Richie Hawtin, Plastikman and many others featuring a mash-up of music, film and video, in the shape of everything from installation art, audiovisual concerts, and media lab presentations to DJ sets at the Fira Barcelona Gran Via. Website: www.sonar.es
Berlin Berlin is undoubtedly one of the coolest cities on the planet and is widely known for its pulsating culture and exciting happenings. The Carnival of Cultures June 6-8 For four days, this street festival takes over Blücherplatz in the Kreuzberg district, celebrating the cultural diversity of Berlin. On several stages, Berlin’s world music scene and international bands play concerts. Stilt walkers, acrobats and magicians invite visitors to test their own abilities. About 300 Issue three
Copenhagen Jazz Festival July 4-13
30th in Duisburg, which is approximately 25 km distance from Dusseldorf in Villenpark (Villenstrasse).
market stalls attract visitors with culinary temptations, arts, crafts and much more. The finale is the street parade on Pentecost Sunday in Kreuzberg where thousands of dancers, musicians and artists perform with about a million people from all over the world watching.
Copenhagen Jazz Festival has existed in its present form since 1979. It features around 1,000 concerts at around 100 venues. The concerts take place at clubs, cafes, bars, concert halls and open air stages in the city’s parks and squares and along the harbor front.
Berlin Music Week September 3-7 The Berlin Music Week takes place at the Flughafen Tempelhof and on Postbanhof. Berlin Music Week has caught the imagination of some of the music and creative industry’s most influential players, with a world-class conference set in a business focused environment and an award winning music program taking place in the hippest inner city festival location—mixing sleepless nights with productive days and allowing the creative legend of Berlin to continue to grow. Some of the confirmed lined up this year are Editors, Bombay Bicycle Club and DJ Koze.
Berlin to continue to grow. Some of the confirmed lined up this year are Editors, Bombay Bicycle Club and DJ Koze.
Website: www.jazz.dk/ copenhagen-jazz-festival-2014
Open Source Festival July 12
Strøm August 11-17
The Open Source music festival celebrates all genres; electronica, hiphop, indie, jazz, pop and rock. It takes place in a unique location the Galopprennbahn, a horse race course in the middle of the Grafenberg Forest.
Strøm is a festival for electronic music and is divided into three main categories: 1) workshops, master classes and artist talks, 2) concerts, raves and events, and 3) outdoor concerts in Enghaveparken – one of the nicest parks in central Copenhagen. The goal of Strøm is to spread awareness of electronic music as well as positioning Copenhagen regionally, nationally and internationally as home to a significant and leading electronic music culture.
Eier mit Speck July 25-27
This year’s most entertainingly named festival is the Eggs with Bacon (eier mit speck). It’s a two day shindig in Hoher Busch, Viersen, 30 km drive out of Düsseldorf. This electronica, hiphop, indie, metal, pop, punk, R&B, rock and world music based festival seems to have it all; good music, eggs and bacon. Sold! Website: www.eiermitspeck.de/
Brush up on your high school German and book your flights to Düsseldorf. WOW air offers up to three flights a week until September.
Copenhagen is like Reykjavik’s big brother and that’s why WOW air offers seven flights a week all year round.
London With such abundance of diversity, one is practically spoiled for choice when it comes to the London festival scene. Here are just a few of this summer’s highlights.
Website http://www.berlin-musicweek.de/en/festival/ Get your groove on in Berlin, the city of trends and casual cool. WOW air flies to Berlin all year round, five times a week during the summer
Copenhagen If you don’t love Copenhagen… you’ve never been there. Always adventurous, this fun-loving city offers various summer festivals.
Wireless July 4-6
The fashion capitol of Germ any is not just about clothes. It’s also about great festivals.
Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Rudimental, Bruno Mars, Outkast, Basement Jaxx, Wiz Khalifa, Azealia Banks, Ellie Goulding and even more fan tastic performers will climb on stage at Wireless Festival. This year’s venue for the luxurious lineup of hip hop and R&B royalty is Finsbury Park. Website: www.wirelessfestival.co.uk
Photos: Marcus Palm Andreassen
Distortion June 4-8 Luft und Liebe June 8 & August 30 The Luft und Liebe (Air and Love) Festival is an electronic music festival held under the open sky. It takes place twice during the summer, on June 8th and August
WOW Power to the people
The Distortion festival offers days of massive street parties in the daytime, a sharp festival for modern dance music at night, and one grandiose rave: The final party. This takes place all over central Copenhagen; at Nørrebro on Wednesday, Vesterbro at Thursday and Copenhagen harbor on Friday. Website: www.cphdistortion.dk
LoveBox July 18-20 Held in Hackney’s Victoria Park, the lineup of LoveBox Festival is genre-blurring and consists of DJs, electronic acts and live bands. You will see MIA, Katy B, Nas, The Horrors and many others. Website: www.loveboxfestival.com
Jabberwocky August 15-16
Nuits de Fourviere June 7-July 30
Un Altro Festival July 14-15
Every June and July since 1946, the Nuits de Fourviere festival presents about 60 performances for over 130 thousand spectators. Guests can expect theater, music, dance, opera, circus and cinema during the festival period.
MGMT and The Dandy Warhols are among the bands that take part in the Un Altro Festival. It has a very cool concept, with the festival being held simultaneously in Milan and Bologna. The twist is that all performers will play at both places each day. How clever!
For those who prefer the heavier kind of music, Jabberwocky should be their cup of tea. For two days, the ExCeL Center on Royal Victoria Dock is home to a fusion of metal, alternative rock, electronica, indie rock and punk. This is a brand new festival and interested parties should definitely take note.
Website: www.comcerto.it/festival/ unaltrofestival. Pack light, you’ll buy the clothes when you get there. WOW air offers two flights a week to Milan this summer.
Website: www.atpfestival.com/events/ jabberwocky2014/view/eventinfo.php
Tout le Monde Dehors June 21-September 4 This open air festival runs long and in various venues all over Lyon. For a big chunk of the summer, 80 associations and teams of artists offer over 250 events for all ages in each district - including concerts, cinema, theater, dance and games. Admission is free of charge. Website: http://www.tlmd2013.lyon. fr/tlmd2013.
South West Four August 23-24
Fall in love with Lyon. WOW air can take you there. Two flights a week until September.
Dancing feet get something for their money at South West Four where the House, techno and electro beats are on the loose. Located in the Clapham Common and Deadmau5 being the big name Sunday headliner, this festival might just melt the scene.
Paris Paris J’ai dore! The ever-loved city has so much to offer. Your blood should be boiling with anticipation. Weather Festival June 6-9 The Weather Festival is a four day music festival at Institut du Monde Arabe, honoring house, minimal and techno. Performers are, amongst others, Floating Points, Moodymann, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Derrick May. Website: www.weatherfestival.fr
Milan Milan is perhaps most famous for fashion but the Milanese definitely take to their music as well.
Website: www.southwestfour.com Get ready for this awesome city. WOW air flies to London 10 times a week, all year round.
Lyon What could be better than attending a festival in an ancient French city with colorful squares and top quality cuisine?
The Paris Jazz Festi val spans most of June and July, and is held at Parc Floral De Vincennes. The music? Well, baby it’s all that jazz!
Paris Jazz Festival June 7-July 27 The Paris Jazz Festival spans most of June and July, and is held at Parc Floral De Vincennes. The music? Well, baby it’s all that jazz! Website: http://www.parisjazzfestival.fr/enp
Solidays June 27-29
MI AMI 2014 June 6-9 Not to be confused with a certain US city, the MI AMI 2014 festival offers a variety of live music on its 10th year anniversary. During this three day event, guests can chose between any of the three main stages in dell’Idroscalo park at the Circolo Magnolia.
Here is an event worth supporting. Every year for the last 15 years, the Solidays Festival has attracted more than 50,000 people in support of the HIV & AIDS charity Solidarité Sida. This three day festival is held at the Hippodrome de Longchamp. With major acts being Franz Ferdinand, Vanessa Paradis, Chinese Man and De La Soul. Website: www.solidays.org/rendez-vousen-2014/.
Paris can be yours all year round but during the summer WOW air offers flights to this fair city every day of the week.
Stuttgart is not only about sports. During summer the German city also offers various music festivals.
Wonderful Warsaw, ancient and modern at the same time. The cradle of culture, arts and architecture.
to a one million people taking part – making it the most popoular techno parade in Europe. Website: www.streetparade.com.
Check out Zurich and the beautiful area surrounding the city. WOW air offers flights to Zurich every Saturday until September.
Orange Warsaw Festival June 13-15 This three day music festival is one of the biggest this summer. It offers fantastic performers, such as Florence and the Machine, Snoop Dog, David Guetta, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kings of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age, Pixies, The Prodigy, Outkast and many more! Located at National Stadium. Website: www.vilniusfestivals.lt /EN/vilnius-festival/
Southside June 20-22
Warsaw Summer Jazz Days July 10-13
The great Southside Festival is a one hour drive from Stuttgart. The festival has one of the biggest and best lineups in Germany this year, welcoming Arcade Fire, Ed Sheeran, The Black Keys, Lykke Li, Pixies, Passenger and the list goes on and on.
Attracting a variety of famous international jazz artists and musicians, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days include many outdoor concerts and performances. The razzmatazz takes place at the Congress Hall, in the Palace of Culture and Science.
Mixery HipHop Open July 5 Some of Germany’s finest hip hop artists perform at the Mixery HipHop Open, held at Reitstadion. Website: www.mixeryhiphopopen.de
Stuttgart Jazz Open July 13-20 The Jazz Open Festival makes Stuttgart the hotspot of the jazz scene for a week, now being held for the 21st time. There are many concerts at various venues to choose from, celebrating international jazz, blues, soul and pop. Performers include top jazz artists such as Gregory Porter and Jamie Cullum, the famous blues musician Van Morrison and the legendary rock guitarist Jeff Beck. Website: www.jazzopen.com Our fondness for German cities should be obvious. Hop on a flight to Stuttgart to find out why. Three flights a week this summer.
WOW Power to the people
Attracting a variety of famous interna tional jazz artists and musicians, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days include many outdoor concerts and performances.
Take a Warsaw vacation. WOW air offers three flights a week this summer.
Zurich The citizens of Zurich sure know how to enjoy life. Just check out these amazing music festivals. Rock the Ring June 20-22 Bryan Adams and The Rasmus are amongst those who will be making an appearance at Rock the Ring, a two day rock festival. Website: www.rockthering.ch
Live at Sunset July 9-19 For the 19th time, Live at Sunset offers great music in a unique atmosphere with the Dolder ice rink annually being transformed into a magical concert arena. Surrounded by green ery, overlooking the rooftops of Zurich, the festival offers the audience an exclusive setting for unforgettable concert evenings and cine matic sunsets. Website: www.liveatsunset.ch
Street Parade August 2 The largest annual event in Zurich is this huge house and techno party, which attracts hundreds of thousands of dance enthusiasts to the Zürich lake basin every year. The parade is a colorful mix of love mobiles, live perfor mances by top DJs, international stars and demonstrations. Officially a demonstration for freedom, love and tolerance, it’s comparable to Berlin’s Love Parade. The Street parade proceeds along the side of Lake Zurich, with up
Vilnius The charming capitol of Lithuania has cele brations for everyone. Do you prefer blowing bubbles or listening to classical music? Burbuliatorius Every second Monday all through summer Vilnius is a beautiful, bubbling city. Even so bubbly that the citizens take part in Burbuliatorius (Bubble your city) which is an annual and periodic open source urban event, taking place in different cities around the world at the same time. Every second Monday at 18:30 in summer and September, citizens of Vilnius and other cities meet and blow bubbles together. The aim of the event is to revitalize deactivated public spaces and encourage citizens to explore their potential.
Vilnius Festival June 2-21 The Vilnius Festival is one of the most prestigious classical music events in Lithuania, and a major summer destination for music lovers during the hottest tourist season. With primary interest in presenting classical music, performed by the established soloists, ensembles and symphony orchestras from all over the world, the Vilnius Festival also continues to promote contemporary Lithuanian music by commissioning new large-scale works. Website: http://www.vilniusfestivals.lt/EN/ vilnius-city-fiesta/.
Culture Night June 20 Culture Night means music jingling all night long from an abandoned backyard in Vilnius’ Old Town, a never ending movie show in the middle of a meadow, concerts, performances, exhibitions, creative workshops and installations taking place on the streets, squares and the most unexpected spaces. The entire city is filled with music, colors, lights and smiles – all free of charge. Website: http://www.kulturosnaktis.lt
Christopher Summer Festival June 29-August 31 The Christopher Summer Festival is the largest and one of the most impressive summer music festivals in Lithuania, and runs for two months with over 50 concert events taking place in different locations in Vilnius and other Lithuanian districts. It is not only a music festival with everything from ancient music to electronic, ethnic to experimental music, but it’s also a festival of carnivals, fairs and fireworks. Website: www.vilniusfestivals.lt/EN/christophersummer-festival
Have a great week in Vilnius. WOW air flies to Vilnius every Saturday this summer.
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Always in fashion
Heavenly slices of Milan Whatever most people think of the Italian fashion capital - Milan is not only about moda. This northern Italian industrial city has a lot more on the menu. As any other city in the homeland of pizzas, there are several famous places that serve heavenly specimens of this popular treat. This is their story. By Mirna Gacesa Photos: Thinkstockphotos and Mirna Gacesa
n important piece of ad vice for traveling abroad is to try the local food, prepared in local places. When in Milan, eat as the Milanese do. That would mean sitting in a historic quarter, not noticing the crowd around you, because you’re enjoying a bite from that savory pizza in your mouth. Despite the fact that the province of Lombardy has a lot of rustic, typical meals, pizza is for sure one of the favorite traditional foods to find in Milan.
Pizzeria Spontini Our pizza tour starts on the Corso Buenos Aires, where famous Pizzeria Spontini has been open for business since 1953 (www.pizzeriaspontini.it). This classic Italian eatery is an ideal place for a short, full-flavored break from the designer boutiques and fashion stores in the center. Simple
thin-crust pizza with incredibly fresh ingredients; tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies, assures that this place is overcrowded, especially during the lunch and dinner hours. Italian families love to eat here and tourists even more. This popular pizza place grew into a small chain with four other branches in the city, but the original one is the most conveniently located for travelers.
Flash Pizzeria If you want to take good break from walking why not try a home-made delicious pizza in a quite spacious and calm, warm atmosphere, near Duomo. That’s where you’ll find Flash Pizzeria restaurant. It might not attract much attention at first glance, but once you get your huge portion of pizza, you will understand why this place is so popular. Take a ‘Napolitana’ with tomato, fresh mozzarella, capers and anchovies and travel to Napolitan
How to get there: *Pizzeria Spontini, 60 Corso Buenos Aires, 20124 Milan, +39 02 204 7444 www.pizzeriaspontini.it *Pizzeria Flash, Via Bergamini, 1, 20122 Milano, Italy, +39 02 5830 4489 *Piccola Ischia, Via G. B. Morgagni. www.piccolaischia.it They have three more places in Milan, on Viale Umbria 60; Viale Abruzzi 62; and Via Cenisio 77.
heaven without moving from the table. If you’re a meat lover, order a ‘prosciutto,’ with delicious, tasty slices of prosciutto de Parma. Thin, crispy crust, a real wood oven and a huge variety of pizzas are the greatest advantages of this place.
Piccola Ischia Those whose appetite always in creases when they’re close to Italy (as ours does) should try the biggest pizza pie that can be found in Milano. Looking for typical Napolitan cuisine, we found a place called Piccola Ischia (www.piccolaischia.it). The owners, coming from the tiny island of Ischia, are responsible for one of the best and biggest pizza experiences in town. Simple dough made of water, salt, yeast and flour, becomes a masterpiece when put into a wood oven. There are a choice of sizes with a lot of topping varieties.
Make sure to get your slice of heaven. WOW air offers two flights a week to Milan this summer.
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With his legendary concentration and 45 years of experience our Master Watchmaker and renowned craftsman, Gilbert O. Gudjonsson, inspects every single timepiece before it leaves our workshop.
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Syrenka, the little mermaid watches over Warsaw.
An open book of Polish art & history Warsaw, the capital and largest city of Poland, is a metropolitan area bursting with life and the home of over 1.7 million people. The Syrenka (little mermaid), depicted in the city’s coat of arms, can be seen seated at the bank of the Wisla River next to the Swietokrzyski Bridge.
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here are two other mermaids in the city (Copenhagen would be impressed!); one is located in the city center and the other is on Karowa Street. Armed with a sword and a shield, they protect the city and its residents. According to local legends, after having swum up the Wisla River, the mermaid took one look at Warsaw, fell in love with the city and decided to stay indefinitely. Although initially a bit annoyed with her presence in their waters, the Warsaw fishermen fell head over heels for her fine singing. After being kidnapped by a greedy merchant and saved by a young local, she promis ed the local fishermen help and protection out of gratitude for her rescue. This European city, with grand historical buildings and palaces, neighboring modern and posh districts, offers its visitors a great deal to explore. Whether you’re looking for museums, galleries, music or parties, you will always find something you’ll enjoy in Warsaw. While wandering through
the streets of the Old Town, Stare Miasto, one forgets about the daily rush and is drawn into the world of atmospheric and cozy cafés that can be found all over this oldest district. Approaching the holiday season, the Old Town offers a variety of outdoor, cultural events. One of Warsaw’s most famous historical treasures gracing the city is the Lazienki Park, Lazienki Królewskie. There’s a lake in the park, and in the lake is an island, dignified by the Palace of the Water. The palace was built
Palace on the Water.
One of Warsaw’s most famous histo rical treasures gracing the city is the Lazienki Park, Lazienki Królewskie. There’s a lake in the park, and in the lake is an island, dignified by the Palace of the Water.
The Palace of Culture and Science.
for Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland, in the late 18th century, and it served as his summer residence. It was also there that the famous Thursday Dinners took place. The aim of the Thursday Dinners was to bring intellectuals together to discuss the arts, literature and last but not least ... delight in the marvelous food! One of Warsaw’s most recognizable monuments however, is undoubtedly the Palace of Culture and Science. This palatial building is the tallest in Poland at a height of 230.5 meters, with 42 floors. Constructed between 1952 and 1955, it was somewhat of a gift to the Polish people from the ruling Russian government in command. It has a swimming pool, a cinema, museums and a theater, and from its 30th floor observation deck one can enjoy a panoramic view of the capital. Regardless of whether it is loved or hated by the locals, it cannot be denied that it imposes a powerful witness to the communistic era of Poland.
Take a Warsaw vacation. WOW air offers three flights a week this summer.
Written by the editorial board of Iceland News Polska – a Reykjavík-based media company that daily delivers Icelandic news in Polish, keeping the Polish diaspora in Iceland up-to-date. See www.icelandnews.is.
Heart of glass
Follow the heartbeat of Reykjavík — You can’t miss it
www.harpa.is Issue three
A dash of Dalí
Artistic wonderland near Barcelona With Gaudi’s and Picasso’s masterpieces as some of the symbols of Barcelona, not many get to know that the vicinity of the city hides a true artistic gem; the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres. Prepare yourself for a futuristic trip and discover one of the world’s largest surrealistic objects. By Mirna Gacesa Photos: Thinkstock.com and Mirna Gacesa
ot summer days seem like a natural setting in Barcelona, making it the right place to be and each year thousands flock to the Catalan capital to experience some of its famous wonders. Besides those urban ones, like the magical buildings of Antonio Gaudi, popular Barca has a lot more to offer. If ordinary activities like sunbathing, swimming or dancing under the moon don’t excite you as much as before, you should explore the surroundings of the city, which provide for quite a few interesting activities.
Get out of town
How to get there: Address: Gala-Salvador Dalí Square, 5 E-17600 Figueres Entrance: Gala-Salvador Dalí Square, 5 Exit: Mª Àngels Vayreda Street Tel. +34 972 677 500 Opening hours: March 1st to June 30th: Open from 9:30 am to 6 pm, access until 5:15 pm July 1st to September 30th: Open from 9 am to 8 pm, access until 7:15 pm Night opening in August (days to be confirmed): From 10 at night to 1 o’clock in the morning.
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If you head towards Girona Province for a refreshing escape only an hour and half out of Barcelona, you might pay a visit to a charming town of Figueres, where one of the greatest painters ever, Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) was born and used to live and create. Famous for his illusionistic style, outof-the-ordinary and sometimes bizarre motives with references to violence, death, cannibalism and unusual sexual practices, the Spanish/Catalan painter remains one of the most controversial and paradoxical artists of the last century. Figueres is also the home of the Dalí Theatre-Museum – a small, hermetically closed world of ideas, motives and impressions; a tribute to the life, work and thought of the genius Dalí. Upon entering the gates of the museum, you can enter the mind of Dalí and travel through a paradoxical world of various artistic elements, of which each and every one is the inseparable part of the whole.
A curious collection The museum was built on the remains of the former Figueres Theatre and designed by the Murcian architect Emilio Pérez Piñero, as requested by the artist himself. The grid structure in the form of a geodesic dome crowning the building is not only the emblem of the theatre-museum, but a symbol of the town of Figueres as well. Its art collection contains a wide range of
works spanning through the entire career of the famous artist, including sculptures, three-dimensional collages, mechanical devices, a living-room with custom furniture resembling the face of Mae West when viewed from a certain spot, and other curiosities and elements of Dalí’s imagination.
So egg-citing Salvador Dalí used several significant symbols to express his imagination and creativity. The egg is a common Dalíesque symbol, which one can see looking at the cupola of the museum, as well as in his famous paintings such as “The Metamorphosis of Narcissus” and “The Great Masturbator”. In Dalí’s world, an egg symbolizes hope and love and is linked to the prenatal and intrauterine. Nonetheless, the museum is also a home of many paintings, drawings, engravings, installations, holograms, stereoscopies, photographs, including the works of artists that Dalí admired, such as El Greco, Marià Fortuny, Modest Urgell, Ernest Meissonier, Marcel Duchamp, Wolf Vostell, Antoni Pitxot and Evarist Vallès. Visitors can also see the crypt with Dalí’s grave, situated in the center of the museum. How to get there? WOW air offers flights to Barcelona up to 3 times a week all summer and until November.
Welcome to Tapas house Tapas is so much more than just food. Tapas is a way of life.
Tapashúsið - Ægisgarður 2 - Sólfellshúsið - 101 Reykjavik +354 512 81 81 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.tapashouse.is
Photo: Düsseldorf Marketing & Tourismus GmbH – photographer U. Otte
The jubilant Düsseldorf
Home of the cartwheel Do you remember the days of your youth, turning cartwheels in the grass with your friends in a celebration of childhood? If so, you can thank the eleventh-century children of Düsseldorf. For whatever reason, Düsseldorf is the home of cartwheels, specifically joyful ones. By: Kate Ware Photos: Thinkstock.com
he most prominent legend is that on August 14, 1288, Düsseldorf won a spect acular battle and the children ran into the streets and cartwheeled for joy to celebrate. A lesser-believed tale is that of a boy who jumped in and held together a broken wheel of Prince Jan Willem’s carriage in order to prevent an accident, turning him into a living wheel. In any case it is not unusual to see the local Germans communicating their joy through cartwheels. In response to the legends and the popularity of the cartwheel, the city began holding an annual cartwheeling competition in 1937, and today, more than 700 children from over 15 countries come to cartwheel for prizes.
The Düsseldorfer Radschläger The city’s symbol is the Düsseldorfer Radschläger, or “boy who does cartwheels.” This image can be found on souvenirs and landmarks across the city. There is a cartwheel fountain
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Not only do the jolly cartwheelers appear on every corner, but eclectic decorations adorn the city’s parking structures, neon colored, bendy men statues called “Flossis” clamor over an advertising building, and some classic deconstructionist buildings surround Düsseldorf’s Media Harbor.
in the old town square, the doorknob of the famous Lambertus Church has cartwheelers, and even the manhole covers are graced with the image of the cartwheeler. Whether it’s a cartwheeler made of cake, marzipan, stone, or iron, the joyful figure is the icon of the city. In fact, much of the city is devoted to expressions of happiness and joy. There is a large industrial section of the city that was part of the IBA Emscher Park throughout the 1990s where the city converted the old coal mining buildings and factories into fun attractions like amphitheaters, climbing walls, and indoor snow skiing. During the winter months, they even freeze the local canals so that you can skate around the old industrial park.
Take a tumble Düsseldorf has all of the traditional German trimmings: street fairs, sausages, pretzels, locals doing peculiar things, sauerkraut and more sausages, horse-drawn carriage rides complete with keg, quaint plazas, gatherings of loud beer drinkers who
randomly burst into song, sheep… the usual stuff. In addition though, Düsseldorf has its own trademarks that lend to its irresistible charm. Not only do the jolly cartwheelers appear on every corner, but eclectic decorations adorn the city’s parking structures, neon colored, bendy men statues called “Flossis” clamor over an advertising building, and some classic deconstructionist buildings surround Düsseldorf’s Media Harbor. Everywhere you look, there is some little touch of quirk that makes you want to smile, laugh, or go, “What on earth is that?” The jubilant attitude that encom passes the otherwise rather sophisti cated city is furthered by its many famed celebrations. If you find Düssel dorf in your periphery, you would be amiss to not stop by this historic city of jolly cartwheelers and take a tumble or two in the streets. You certainly won’t be alone. Do you know how to do cartweels? WOW air offers up to three flights a week to Düsseldorf until September.
Reykjavik - London - Copenhagen - Paris - Barcelona - Berlin Alicante - Amsterdam - Dusseldorf - Lyon - Milano Stuttgart - Salzburg - Vilnius - Warsaw
Wake up before they ... Renovation in progress. Please arrive early for check-in to avoid long lines. Iceland is so popular right now that we have to double the capacity of the baggage handling system at the airport. Therefore, we advise everyone who has a flight from Keflavik International Airport to get an early start. Avoid long lines and have more time to enjoy our unique shops, restaurants and our tax- and duty-free prices. Scheduled morning buses from Reykjavik run from 4 am. Hotel pick-up at 3:30 am when pre-ordered.
Bring home good memories from Iceland! Keflavik International Airport is one of few airports worldwide that is both tax- and dutyfree, which can save you up to 50% off city prices.
The greatest small city in the world Text and photos by Cindy-Lou Dale
Amsterdam is a city reputed for its inventiveness and claims as its own num erous fashion and design icons. From night clubs to the fashion runway, the city is a trendy stimulus. Even if your budget hinders you from splurging on one-off designs, there are ways of taking in Amsterdam’s voguish vibe - on the cheap.
New kids on the block
The principal Dutch fashion event, Amster dam Fashion Week, occurs every January and July. It’s the platform that’s launched many young, talented Dutch fashion de signers. Besides the catwalk shows, there are plenty of impromptu events and parties where the average onlooker can socialise with the fashion elite. ‘Red Light Fashion’ is slowly transforming the Red Light District into a quirky fashion scene by turning former prostitute windows into exhibition spaces and studios for talented clothing, shoe and street-wear designers. The aim is to give the city’s many talented designers a stage from which to display their creations in public.
Amsterdam is compact and a great place for international brand shopping, as well as up-and-coming Dutch designers. The Museum District (around the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum) is home to the majority of Amsterdam’s luxury boutiques and designer stores. Put on your sunglasses and stroll nonchalantly down the P.C. Hooftstraat - Amsterdam’s high-class shopping street. Along three short blocks you’ll find Chanel, Louis Vuitton, DKNY, Mulberry, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and more. Renowned Dutch couturiers Frans Molenaar, Mart Visser, Victor & Rolf and Sheila de Vries are totally at home in ‘the P.C.’ and in the chic Cornelis Schuytstraat.
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of every month there’s a huge flea market in the north of Amsterdam (the free ferry behind Amsterdam Central Station will take you there) at the NDSM Wharf. Count on a good few hours to check out all the stalls.
Clothes with a past Of course, you don’t have to shop to enjoy fashion. A must-see museum at the top of any fashionista’s list is the Museum of Bags and Purses (Herengracht 573). Considered to be one of the top fashion museums in the world, it has a focused collection of bags (over 4000 of the little darlings!) dating back to the Middle Ages. Once you’ve overdosed on bags, head to the Hermitage Amsterdam (Amstel 51) for gorgeous antique ball gowns, uniforms and jewel-encrusted accessories. Take time to stop at the Natio nal Museum of Spectacles, which takes you through 700 years of art, culture and history related to eyeglasses.
Twice loved There is a whole range of second-hand shops in Amsterdam - from thrift stores to cosy vintage boutiques. Many are lo cated in the Nine Streets district – four of the best within this area include Laura Dols (Wolvenstraat 7) who has a collection of women’s clothes from different decades. Downstairs there are party dresses ranging from the 20s to the 90s - and a collection of wedding dresses. If you have a party to dress up for, this may just be the place for you! Then there’s Wini (Haarlemmerstraat 29), who specialises in vintage dresses. The shop sells men’s clothing as well. Some of it new with a retro feel, like 50s-style polo shirts or flared jeans. There’s a collection of vintage fabrics and vintage women’s under garments. They have retro kid’s jackets, jewellery and, if you’re on the market for 60s ski trousers or a perfect petticoat, this is your
WOW Power to the people
Although they’re open, tolerant and freespirited, the Dutch are known for their creativity and spirit of commerce. They also have a touch of dry humour; they’re thrifty and have a long history in trade. All of which reflects in their practical and incredibly innovative interior design products. Five of the most exceptional must-visit design stores in Amsterdam include Droog@Home, an Avant-garde design col lective that’s taken up shop in a century’s old building at Staalstraat 7B. Situated in a beautiful old house on Rusland 3 is WonderWood, perhaps the only store in the world to specialise in designer plywood furniture. It showcases vintage plywood shop. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the chairs and tables from the 1940s through small size of 1953 Retro en chic (Staalstraat to the 1960s. Friday Next on Overtoom 31 2) – it’s brimming with must-haves! Once is a concept store in Amsterdam West that inside you’ll find yourself in a boudoir from combines interior design, fashion and eating a bygone era. This shop has many rare in one ever-changing space. Then there’s items, spanning the period from 1800 to Store Without a Home 1980. Dresses, shoes, hats, on Haarlemmerdijk powder boxes, bags, elegant 26 - its name may antiquities and some men’s be a misnomer, but clothing downstairs. Prices there’s no mistaking the range from fairly cheap to interesting collection of more expensive, given that art, furniture, fashion, the owner gets some of AMSTERDAM MUST-DO’s and accessories from Do a cheese tasting at Reypenaer on these rare garments from London and Paris. Out of the Singel 182 and savour some of Holland’s local and international finest cheeses – some of which pack a Closet (Jodenbreestraat 158) punch, especially so when accompanied designers. Woonbeurs Amsterdam on is a thrift chain store from by a good Port. Europaplein 22 is for Do a canal boat cruise and depending on the US. The shop is owned the timing of your visit, go see the tulips in home enthusiasts. Every and operated by the AIDS Kuikenhof Gardens (keukenhof.nl). day you can join in on Healthcare Foundation. Guide yourself around the 4-D Heine workshops, decorating ken Experience at Stadhouderskade 78. Funds earned by the reAt the end you get to enjoy the ice-cold advice sessions and sale of donated clothing, beverage served in a frosted glass. presentations in the accessories, furniture and Eat your fill on pancakes whilst taking living theatre, where in the views of modern Amster dam other items goes directly visitors can see the aboard a 75-minute river cruise on into the organisation’s free the Pannenkoekenboot (pannenkoek latest trends in interior AIDS programmes around enboot.nl). design presented in a Who would have thought the words the world, including HIV/ variety of living styles. Michelin star and affordable could be AIDS testing, education, used in the same sentence! Reserve a Forget about hiring a prevention, outreach and table at Envy (Prinsengracht 381) and car, bring sturdy walking the care and treatment of partake in their irresistible tasting menu. shoes and use them patients worldwide. – walking is the only AMSTERDAM MUST STAY: It’s impossible to escape the city’s way to see Amsterdam, Market bargains history, like that of the quietly elegant unless you hire a bi Canal House Hotel, an affordable gla At Waterlooplein there’s a cycle. You’ll not see morous 17th century merchant house permanent market, open turned 23-bedroom boutique hotel on a street you wouldn’t from Monday to Satur Keizergracht 148 (canalhouse.nl). want to live on, a deli day. Several stalls have you wouldn’t like to get IN NEIGHBOURING ROTTERDAM: second-hand clothing Thirty-five minutes from Amsterdam, to know, or a view you with army wear, dresses and all her tourists, is Rotterdam and wouldn’t like to call your and tons of shoes. At the fresh mint tea at the restaurant atop own. the Euromast Tower (euromast.nl). For Noordermarkt there are stalls with vintage clothes every Monday morning. It’s a real treat to walk around here, rumble through the piles of clothes and try on the crazy boots and party dresses. The first weekend
a 20-minute adrenalin rush partake in a rib shattering high-speed boat ride through Rotterdam harbour in the jet engined ‘Fun Jet’ (funjet.nl). For a spectacular seafood meal reserve a table at the historic Hotel New York (hotelnewyork.nl). Stay the night at the classy yet inexpensive Mainport Hotel – which boasts spectacular views across the harbour (mainporthotel.com).
We can absolutely recom mend Amsterdam this summer and WOW air will take you there; three flights a week until September.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Libra 23 September - 23 October This month you take your wise friend’s advice and start living like the unicorn that you are. It might seem a little lonesome at first but there are other unicorns out there, you just need to find them and say hi. Don’t settle for a regular horse, or even worse, an ass! Zebras are cool, though.
Aries 21 March - 19 April You know you’re competitive. We all know you’re competitive. We also know that you usually win every challenge. But aren’t you getting tired of it? Sometimes it’s best to just kick back. Especially for the next 5 weeks since the Aries is entering a period when knee injuries are in the stars.
Scorpio 24 October - 21 November Scorpios have a reputation of being either sexcrazed or massive party animals but this couldn’t be further from the truth in your case. You are actually a cuddly family oriented creature who likes nothing more than to stay in on a Friday night. However you need to live up to a certain reputation so you head out, fulfilling your destiny as a Scorpio once again.
Taurus 20 April - 20 May Did you sit in front of your computer all day today? And yesterday? You really should go out more. See more people; maybe get a haircut…
Gemini 21 May - 21 June You’ve decided that it’s time the Gemini rise up as a zodiac sign and demand the respect they deserve. You set up a demonstration but it just so happens that the rest of the Gemini are a lazy bunch and no one shows up. That’s ok though; you have plenty of spirit and know how to have fun on your own.
Cancer 22 June - 22 July Emotion runs strong for this deeply sentimental sign and when it comes to family, nothing is more important. Cancerians are often willing to overlook personality flaws when it comes to family, simply because they’re related. You shouldn’t do that anymore. That’s just not healthy. Don’t invite your obnoxious uncle to your birthday party.
Leo 23 July - 22 August Remember back in school when people would bully you about your hair and your shoes, you swore you’d have your revenge? Make today that day. You are no longer a kitten, but a huge fierce lion who eats bullies for breakfast. At least make them a prank call or something.
Virgo 23 August - 22 September That crazy boss of yours is making you work your ass off but is constantly on smoke breaks or long lunches. Just remember, when your positive spirit starts to falter, that this boss happens to be absolutely brilliant and is just trying to give you some sense of autonomy and individual space to “get to know this business.”
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Sagittarius 22 November - 21 December The Sag is philosophical and broadminded. Free at heart and always optimistic, you can’t be held down. The Sagittarian is the traveler of the zodiac and loves a change of scenery, so get off your ass and go somewhere. Wait… are you on a plane right now? Good job!
Capricorn 22 December - 19 January You’re more than a little obsessed with your phone these days. Please try do dial it down a notch. People actually want to talk to you face to face instead of Facebook to Facebook. Put the phone down and have an actual conversation or just an uninterrupted meal for a start.
Aquarius 20 January - 18 February Aquarians are known for their split personality. On one hand you are shy and quiet; on the other you are vibrant and bouncy. Usually this is your strength… but these days the system is on overload and everything gets messed up. You are timid at work and miss the promotion, but make rude jokes at your new in-law’s house – which kind of hates your guts right now. So get your stuff together!
Pisces 19 February - 20 March Oh you compassionate romantic soul; always smelling flowers, kissing babies and thinking you can understand what animals are saying (please stop that, it’s freaky and annoying). And, of course falling in love every five minutes and not under standing why your relationships never work out. Well maybe because you’re flirting with the best friend–and the bartender–and the WOW flight attendant. Just think about it. Disclaimer: This horoscope is total and utter nonsence. Any accuracies, real or imagined by readers, are purely incidental.
Explore Iceland on your own terms My Way – perfect day tours for the independent traveller. My Way is your own audio day tour consisting of a suitable car for you and your friends together with an audio guide programmed into the GPS system. Sold in cooperation with Avis and Budget car rentals.
With so much to see and do, why not rent a car and hit the road in comfort and style with Budget?
To book your own day tour • Visit the My Way website mywayiniceland.is • Contact Budget, tel. 562 6060. • Ask the hotel or next information centre to book it for you.
Tel. +354 562 6060 www.budget.is
Really, really bored? Here are a few sudokus to make time fly. But how do I do it?
The object is to insert the numbers in the boxes to satisfy only one condition: each row, column and 3x3 box must contain the digits 1 through 9 exactly once. What could be simpler?
WOW Power to the people
The Traveling Inquisition
The singing superwoman Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir is one of those Icelandic superwomen who seem to be able to juggle a hundred different projects at once. She’s the female singer of the band FM Belfast. One of her fellow band members also happens to be her boyfriend, and father of their super cute, one year old son. Lóa was caught by The Traveling Inquisition for a short interrogation. by Dísa Bjarnadottir / Photo: Hörður Sveinsson
long with singing in the band, which is currently touring in Europe following the recent release of their album Brighter Days, Lóa has been gaining quite a follow ing as one of Iceland’s funniest illustrators, with her funny comics hitting home with the Icelandic nation. Lóa is also one of the co-writers and voices of Hulli, Iceland’s first animated TV show with adult humor, whose creator is another brilliant animated satirist, Hugleikur Dagsson. When she’s not singing, drawing or raising her son, Loa’s pursuing a mast er’s degree in writing at the University of Iceland. It wasn’t easy getting ahold of her for this issue, as she was touring somewhere around Slovakia, Austria and Germany but we did manage a few quick words with her, when she could find a few minutes between juggling all of her other tasks. Since Lóa has been travelling all
WOW Power to the people
over with her band we asked to share some of the most mem orable travel experiences. “Last November we were playing in Tokyo. The guy who was tak ing care of us and showing us around, gave me a costume from the children’s movie Totoro. He asked me to perform in the costume. We went on stage in a tiny little club and it was ridiculously hot in there. Once I finally got a chance to take the costume off my back went com pletely stiff and I could barely move. The costume had been too small and now I thought I would be stuck in it forever. I freaked out for a few minutes, hoping I wouldn’t suffocate!” says Lóa. We can’t wait to hear more stories when she’s done touring. Q: What is your favorite place abroad? “Caracas. A Venezuelan rest aurant in New York’s East Village.”
Lóa is also one of the co-writers and voices of Hulli, Iceland’s first ani mated TV show with adult humor, whose creator is another brilliant animated satirist, Hugleikur Dagsson.
Q: What do you think people visiting Iceland should definitely try? “The swimming pools! The local pools, the geothermal natural pools ... enjoy the cozy water as much as you can. And of course: don’t forget to buy the ridiculously hideous puffin souvenirs.” Q: Okay, Lóa, we’re almost done... for those who want to know more about you, your music or your drawings... where can they find it? “My band has a webpage, www.fmbelfast.com, and my drawings can be found on Facebook under the name Lóaboratoríum,” Lóa says and then she’s off! Music to be played, son to be raised, drawings to be drawn and stories to be written. Thanks Lóa! We’ll be seeing you around!
Watchmakers since 1909 Sauðárkrókur Where it all began 1909
Reykjavík 64°N/22°W Lava-grey dial Icelandic Wolffish strap
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Laugavegur 15 - 101 Reykjavík - Tel. 354 511 1900 - www.michelsenwatch.com
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