Stuck in Iceland http://stuckiniceland.com A platform for sharing Icelandic travel adventures Sun, 14 May 2017 23:05:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 100778804 This App Gives You Immersive Experience in Your Iceland Road Trip http://stuckiniceland.com/places-to-see-in-iceland/iceland-travel-companion-app/ Sun, 14 May 2017 22:32:36 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7439 When you work in the travel industry you are constantly thinking about new ways to create new and more immersive experiences for your customers. We at Iceland Travel took a close look at how we could do this for our road trips (or self drive trips). We decided upon creating an innovative app for our customers [...]

The post This App Gives You Immersive Experience in Your Iceland Road Trip appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

When you work in the travel industry you are constantly thinking about new ways to create new and more immersive experiences for your customers. We at Iceland Travel took a close look at how we could do this for our road trips (or self drive trips). We decided upon creating an innovative app for our customers who go on our road trips.  It was just launched it exclusively to customers who book one of our 38 road trips. The app shows in the customer´s trip, hotels she stays on and about 2,500 of points of interest. We source the points from our web site or from the Icelandic Tourist Board.

In the Iceland Travel Companion app, you can read about Iceland in the included road books.
In the Iceland Travel Companion app, you can read about Iceland in the included road books.

Find the must see places in the app

The application is included in a tablet we give to our customer at the start of each road trip. By using it is easy to discover the important places to experience on each journey. The most popular tours are Ring Road Highlights, Around Iceland and Golden Circle Self Drive.

 

App features list

The Iceland Travel Companion has the following functionality:

  1. Thousands of points of interests and services
  2. Safety guidelines
  3. Linds to the app of the  Icelandic Meteorological Office and The Icelandic Road Administration
  4. Itinerary and GPS road guide to accommodation for each journey
  5. A map view for single days or the entire trip
  6. PDF travel book about Iceland in English, Swedish, French, German and Dutch

 

The Iceland Travel Companion shows you your road trip in Iceland.
The Iceland Travel Companion shows you your road trip in Iceland.

The post This App Gives You Immersive Experience in Your Iceland Road Trip appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7439
Iceland is a Place of Great Extremes http://stuckiniceland.com/places-to-see-in-iceland/iceland-is-a-place-of-great-extremes/ Sun, 07 May 2017 00:24:21 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7404 Words and photos by Claudia Bordeleau, a  Canadian French photographer. The climate, for instance, can change drastically every 10 minutes. It makes Iceland a country of extremes. The weather can be so sweet and so harsh at the same time, it’s difficult to keep track of the time. Every minute is different from the other. The [...]

The post Iceland is a Place of Great Extremes appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

Words and photos by Claudia Bordeleau, a  Canadian French photographer.

The climate, for instance, can change drastically every 10 minutes. It makes Iceland a country of extremes.

You never know when it's gonna be sunny!
You never know when it’s gonna be sunny!

The weather can be so sweet and so harsh at the same time, it’s difficult to keep track of the time. Every minute is different from the other. The violence of the elements can be overwhelming, but after the sun comes out, all is forgotten. Beings of gigantic proportions reappear in all their majesty, having been hidden by the fog or the storm. The immortal mountains look at us from above, they silently witness the passage of time and yet, they are ever changing.

Kirkjufell mountain in Iceland.
Kirkjufell mountain in Iceland.

As we drive, the landscape makes transitions through many different scenery. Sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically, lava field succeeds volcanoes and glacier.
Colors and shapes follow each other with a common element: they have been formed by water and fire. You can’t help but wonder, what terrible things happen, when looking at some of the views; the violence must have been particularly brutal in order for those shapes to appear.

Icelandic mountains.
Icelandic mountains.

On clear days, color blooms in every direction. The moss on the rocks looks saturated with life and the sky can be the purest and deepest blue, but this is just temporary. Soon the sky will be dark, eating away the light and the colors, rendering the landscape almost monochromatic . This is particularly true of the beaches. You’d expect beach to be fun and light, the sand to be pale and warm. Not in Iceland. The sand is black, cold,  thin and volatile, created by the actions of fire on the earth and the waves of the sea.

Icelandic horses in winter.
Icelandic horses in winter.

On a windy day, it floats around you like a swarm of mosquitoes. I was prepared to feel shaken by the wind, the rain and the beauty of Iceland. I wasn’t
prepared to feel shaken by the immensity of it, nor by the feeling of infinity that Iceland project. The waterfalls look like they’ve been there forever, and that the water will always flow. That the waves come and go and they will never get tired.

Icelandic vista.
Icelandic vista.

Have you ever had the sensation that your body was too small, that your soul, your spirit was trapped in your own body? In Iceland, it’s impossible to feel that way. It’s like a microcosm, everything is present and infinite and so are we. The vast open spaces can seem empty at first glance, but they are full of violence, of
movement, of life. No wonder there are so many stories and legends about Iceland, so many historians, skáld and writers.
Iceland is truly a place to discover.

The post Iceland is a Place of Great Extremes appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7404
The Soundscape of Southern Iceland http://stuckiniceland.com/icelandic-highlands/soundscape-of-southern-iceland/ Sun, 30 Apr 2017 19:46:29 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7358 The Southern Highlands of Iceland is the subject of an  unique video, or soundscape, made by Jamie Goldrick (web/Instagram). When I watched it I was impressed that it featured the the old and beautiful poem Verses of Vatnsenda Rósa (1795–1855). In the poem Rósa confesses her love and admiration of an unnamed man whose identity [...]

The post The Soundscape of Southern Iceland appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

The Southern Highlands of Iceland is the subject of an  unique video, or soundscape, made by Jamie Goldrick (web/Instagram). When I watched it I was impressed that it featured the the old and beautiful poem Verses of Vatnsenda Rósa (1795–1855). In the poem Rósa confesses her love and admiration of an unnamed man whose identity we shall never discover.

You can learn more about Southern Iceland in the Iceland Destination Guide provided by Iceland Travel.

Anyway, the video features lovely scenery from such places as Landmannalaugar, Hvanngil, and the Syðri Emstruá river.

The highlands of Southern Iceland look mysterious and gloomy.
The highlands of Southern Iceland look mysterious and gloomy.

Hello Jamie, thank you for sharing this video from the highlands of Southern Iceland with us. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I am a freelance writer and filmmaker based in Dublin, Ireland.

Jamie Goldrick wanted to show the highlands of Southern Iceland in a new light.
Jamie Goldrick wanted to show the highlands of Southern Iceland in a new light.

What inspired you to create the video?

This is my second time in Iceland and my second time walking the Laugavegur trail in Southern Iceland. I wanted to make a film which covers this spectacular route. I was also mindful that I wanted to make a short film which was a departure from a lot of generic travel videos that are coming out of Iceland these days. The island in parts is so rugged, inhospitable and unforgiving, what struck me when I was there is how small and inconsequential to this world that this landscape made me feel.

The landscape of Southern Iceland makes you feel small and inconsequential.
The landscape of Southern Iceland makes you feel small and inconsequential.

When I look at the multitude of travel videos coming out of Iceland in recent years and I see the opposite, I see human experience given centre focus, for example the cliched shot of somebody wearing a yellow PVC jacket on Vik beach cut with superduper drone footage set to the backdrop of some epic Sigur Ros or M83 track. Like, these videos look great, but lack depth and I feel that they somewhat misrepresent the frontier aspect of Icelandic culture.

For this reason I chose to shoot in black and white to (a) focus on the form of the landscape and (b) to omit any people in the shots to make the landscape centre stage.

What were the main challenges you faced when creating the video?

The main challenge for me was walking the full 55km of the Laugavegur trail with my camera, monopod, sound recorder while carrying my tent, food and hiking equipment.

You are using the Verses of Vatnsenda Rósa which I really like, what is the reason for that?

Quite simply,I was looking for traditional Icelandic music on youtube for days and this was the standout track of what I was looking for, also I felt there was a great contrast with the Fennesz track Black Sea that I ended the piece with.

What were your favorite places you discovered during your traveling in Iceland?

The highlands were really special, Thorsmork was absolutely beautiful.

What advice do you have for people visiting Iceland?

Get out of Reykjavik as quick as you can! The city appears to be struggling with the sheer number of visitors and the character of the city and the warmth of the people has understandably suffered. The warm welcome and curiosity towards that I felt on my first visit was distinctly missing on this visit but can still be found outside the city.

The post The Soundscape of Southern Iceland appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7358
Bringing Burlesque and Cabaret to Reykjavik – Prudes Need Not apply! http://stuckiniceland.com/things-to-do-in-iceland/burlesque-and-cabaret-to-reykjavik/ Sat, 22 Apr 2017 18:43:05 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7329 Reykjavik has most things you would like in a European city, there is a lot of culture and art. One crucial piece in the cultural puzzle, which has been missing until now is a cabaret and burlesque scene. One entrepreneur and her friends are responsible for bringing this venerable and slightly naughty art to Reykjavík. [...]

The post Bringing Burlesque and Cabaret to Reykjavik – Prudes Need Not apply! appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

Reykjavik has most things you would like in a European city, there is a lot of culture and art. One crucial piece in the cultural puzzle, which has been missing until now is a cabaret and burlesque scene.

One entrepreneur and her friends are responsible for bringing this venerable and slightly naughty art to Reykjavík. Margrét Erla Maack and her crew in Reykjavik Kabarett regularly transform the basement of a small bar in central Reykjavík called ´The Green Room´ into a cabaret theatre which rightfully should have been situated in Berlin during the roaring twenties. Next week will be their last shows at that location, the venue becoming too small for their budding cabaret scene. In the next months we will see performances in Café Rósenberg and Kex hostel, and in the fall the Cabaret will have shows in Leikhúskjallarinn, the basement of the National Theatre.

Miss Encircled greets fans by the door
Miss Encircled greets fans by the door

It is noteworthy that the performers are a mix of international and local talent. It is safe to say that pundits don’t have to speak or understand Icelandic to enjoy the shows. After all, it is all about the music and the visuals. The shows by Reykjavik Kabarett are filled with roaring humour, refined erotica and all the joy one evening can include.

Margrét is a personal friend of ours. Burlesque is just one of her many talents. She has been a TV presenter, Radio personality, dance teacher (e.g. a personal Beyoncé dance teacher to the Germany´s male handball team), columnist and was instrumental in founding Sirkus Íslands, Iceland´s first professional circus which in 2013 crowdfunded Iceland´s only Circus-tent and has toured with it since 2014. Her stage name is Miss Mokki, which of course reminds one of the fact that the performer and the regular person are two different beings.

What made you interested in burlesue and cabaret?

In 2007 I had my heart broken and won the lottery in the same week. With a broken heart and what was like a three month salary I decided to heal in New York and take masterclasses in belly dance. Little by little I got to know people there, mostly through karaoke and going to standup. I met Reggie Watts and he got me a gig at The Box as a belly dancer, I got several gigs there and got hooked on the variety aspect of entertainment. When I moved back to Iceland Reggie insisted I would drop out of University. A week after I got back, I saw an ad at Kramhúsið dance studio, where i teach, about free circus classes on Sundays. I was like YESSSS THESE WILL BE MY PEOPLE. That was the beginning of Sirkus Íslands, the first and only circus in Iceland. I got a permission from my circus daddy to produce shows outside of circus operation times, because they have an adult show, Skinnsemi, that has a similar feel to what we’re doing.

Tourist gets a lesson in Icelandic swimming pool etiquette
Tourist gets a lesson in Icelandic swimming pool etiquette

You seem to be one of those highly entrepreneurial people which are constantly creating new things. What is the reason for your drive in doing this?

I love it when people try to tell me “that will neeever work in Iceland” because I’ve always proved them wrong. The circus and Reykjavík Kabarett are a good example. It also has to do with the fact I think Reykjavík has so much more room for entertainment. Take Seattle, a city of 600.000 people. Last time I was there I could easily find information about 9 variety shows, burlesque and drag in one week when I was there. That means that Reykjavík could easily carry 1-2 shows a week. And we’ll get there, slowly.

You have great success in getting international talent to perform here in Iceland. Is it a hard sell to get the artists to come to Iceland?

Oh no. All of them are my friends I’ve gotten to know when I have travelled as a show girl, mostly from The Slipper Room in New York, where I perform several times a year. Since the scene is so new here I want to provide good things, so I seldom book acts I haven’t seen or know personally. Most of them are already doing Europe tours, and stop here on their way to there or back home (thank you airlines for this stopover thing). My house turns into a cabaret commune around the times we have shows! Everyone wants to come to Iceland and to be able to score a place to stay and a decent pay are what lures them here. I’ve never had to convince people, they have always approached me. And I am proud to say we’ve lined up guest artists until January next year.

Presenter Lalli and the Bearded Lady
Presenter Lalli and the Bearded Lady

The Green Room is right in the center of Reykjavik, what other places do you recommend there? Think of restaurants and bars which would be a part of a cabaret themed night out?

Green Room is great, but it’s becoming too small for us, so the April shows will be the last ones there. We will be trying out places, doing Rósenberg and Kex in June, and The National Theater basement in November.

I would start with happy hour on Hotel Holt. Then cocktails and pizzas at Hverfisgata 12, the pizzaplace with no name. The food, decor and athmo is simply great. On the second floor of the same house there is Mikkeller beer bar, with a carnival themed décor.

The scenes here are small, so unfortunately there is not a lot of variety offers YET. I’d either go and see some comedy, look up Bylgja Babylóns or Jonathan Duffy and see if they are doing stand up in English. Rósenberg has great, intimate concerts with a good variety. If you are super lucky you can see the monthly Dragsúgur show – they are a great drag community. Improv Iceland will do weekly shows this summer in Tjarnarbíó and they are great too. In 3-4 years I could give you a whole list of places with variety entertainment, but we’re not there yet.

The barber shop group Barbari titilates with their tunes.
The barber shop group Barbari titilates with their tunes.

Do you have a favorite place here in Iceland?

101 Reykjavík where I live and breathe. I worked in Mývatnssveit as a teenager and that place has a special place in my heart. If you’re talking place place: Hverfisgata 12. Good music, great drinks, divine food. I eat there 2-3 times a week.

On a final note, do you have any advice to travelers coming to Iceland?

Splurge on Icelandic fashion, you won’t regret it. Book the Blue Lagoon in advance. Layer up for the unpredictable weather. Icelanders are not easy to f***, if you have problems getting laid in your own country, you’ll also have that problem here. Wash yourself properly before going into the Blue Lagoon and the swimming pools. Everything is expensive here, we hate it just as much as you. Fish of the day during lunch time is usually a steal and always good in Snaps, Kopar, Apótek and Sjávargrillið.

And yes, thanks for the delightful naughtiness Margrét!

The post Bringing Burlesque and Cabaret to Reykjavik – Prudes Need Not apply! appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7329
Discover the Icelandic horse, the pure breed of the Vikings http://stuckiniceland.com/icelandic-wildlife-and-birds/the-icelandic-horse-at-the-origin-of-the-settlement/ Sat, 07 Jan 2017 18:05:54 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7312 Words by Camille Thiébaut, pictures by Evelyn Ýr Besides the five gaits he is famous for, the most remarkable thing about the Icelandic horse is how decisive it has been for the settlement of the country.  The Vikings came to land in the 9th century, bringing with them this small horse, which is now known as the [...]

The post Discover the Icelandic horse, the pure breed of the Vikings appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

Words by Camille Thiébaut, pictures by Evelyn Ýr

Besides the five gaits he is famous for, the most remarkable thing about the Icelandic horse is how decisive it has been for the settlement of the country.  The Vikings came to land in the 9th century, bringing with them this small horse, which is now known as the purest breed that exists. Right from the start, horses have been used as an essential mean of transportation through the rough Icelandic terrain and sometimes harsh weather. Horses not only carried people from one side of the country to the other, they also fostered the exchange of goods like wood, hay, or dried fish. Without them, any form of settlement would have been simply impossible.

Lýtingsstaðir: Where Past and Present merge
In North Iceland, Lýtingsstaðir puts an emphasis on celebrating the Icelandic horse, by offering riding tours and sharing stories from the past.

Two ladies ride on Icelandic horses in front of a turf stable.
Let´s ride.

Lýtingsstaðir was named after the first man to have settled the area, Lýtingur. In the old days, Lýtingsstaðir consisted of a manor, as well as a small church that became afterwards the local community house “þinghús”. Later, the farmhouse was built along with the sheep barn and horse stables, with period materials such as turf and wood.

Turf stable.
Turf stable.

None of the mentioned above buildings survived so to keep the memories of the past alive, the construction of a storage room and a turf stable like they used to stand in the old days was completed in 2015, in accordance with traditional techniques. 2016 also saw the addition of a turf horse pen on-site.

Icelandic horse outside a turf stable.
Icelandic horses are hardy. Here is the horse Falki trying out a traditional turf house stable.

The luckiest ones can encounter the stable’s inhabitants like for Christmas when the turf stable hosted Tenor and Vinur who adapted quickly!

Icelandic horse inside a turf stable.
It is cozy inside a turf house.

Horses and Heritage

Horses and history being inseparable, the idea of a Horses and Heritage Tour naturally emerged at Lýtingsstaðir.  During a day, you are taken through the beautiful Öxnadalur valley, that connect the capital of the North, Akureyri, to Skagafjörður, the cradle of Icelandic horsemanship. On the way, our passionate guide tells you everything about the big clan battles that ocurred in the area as well as thrilling ghost stories you will never forget!

You then discover how Icelanders used to build houses until 20th century, out of turf and rocks, and what rural life was like back at that time. At the only horse stable made from turf, Lýtingsstaðir, you are told more about the Icelandic horse role through the ages, and get up close and personal by going on a ride with one.

For more information, check our Horses and Heritage Tour!

The post Discover the Icelandic horse, the pure breed of the Vikings appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7312
The Purity and Creativity of Iceland put on Show in the Short Film Gaia´s Dance http://stuckiniceland.com/places-to-see-in-iceland/the-purity-and-creativity-of-iceland-put-on-show-in-gaias-dance/ Sun, 27 Nov 2016 21:45:15 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7296 I love getting great videos that feature Icelandic nature and one of these came recently to me from Katie Teague from the US. She visited Iceland for the first time in June 2016 and stayed in the country during the height of the midnight sun. During this visit she filmed the short film Gaia´s Dance. Katie [...]

The post The Purity and Creativity of Iceland put on Show in the Short Film Gaia´s Dance appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

I love getting great videos that feature Icelandic nature and one of these came recently to me from Katie Teague from the US. She visited Iceland for the first time in June 2016 and stayed in the country during the height of the midnight sun. During this visit she filmed the short film Gaia´s Dance. Katie has previously created the social issue documentary Money & Life which was voted the best social issue documentary in the 2014 Atlanta Docufest. She was also one of the
collaborating filmmakers on the Sundance film 99% The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I interviewed Katie about her film making and her new Iceland focused short film.

 

Hello Katie and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, please tell me about your background. 

Born and raised in the U.S. I am a wandering mystic/visual storyteller/award winning filmmaker/time-lapse photographer. I am a sacred activist for Mother Life. In my earlier days I was a psychotherapist and shifted to film making following the call of my own heart and creative becoming and seeing visual storytelling as a great means to tend and heal the soul of the world. I bring years of study in depth psychology, human development and the world’s wisdom traditions to my work as a multi-media mystic. I am committed to reclaiming and following inner wisdom and busting paradigms of business-as-usual as we collectively (as humans) move into a new planetary epoch. My work in the digital media arts is dedicated to Beauty as medicine for the messy modern world and to telling the emerging story of humanity and bringing inspired transformational media to the social change process.

Tell me about your short film, Gaia’s Dance and what it is about? How did the idea about the film come about?

I journeyed to Iceland twice in 2016: once during the Midnight Sun and then again just this September. Both trips were spent mostly outdoors time-lapse photographing the amazing landscapes of Iceland. While spending hours in quiet meditative postures, I experienced direct apprehension of our planet as an alive being, quite literally feeling the elements looking back at me, whispering to me. The soul of Iceland seems to have a quickening on the soul of the human. This was so for me. As the land of fire and ice, where more new earth is created (per the volcanic nature of island) the time-space of Iceland opens us to ancient futures. People are flocking now to Iceland and sometimes I think it is a call of our collective soul, that we are being drawn by forces we don’t even recognize, that people are visiting
in great numbers for reasons they don’t really know and we just call it “tourism.” It is deeper than the surface of the Earth, deeper than the obvious beauty — but
sometimes it starts here. There is a purity and creativity in the place itself of Iceland that vibrates these frequencies in our own bodies and hearts. These are the
things I felt and contemplated during my time in Iceland and so I felt charged to begin somehow to transmit this in a short film from my visual harvest. “Gaia’s
Dance” is what came of these contemplations. Gaia as the personification and literal being the Living Earth, our universal Mother. Her perpetual motion and
evolution is the dance we, as humans, are an integral part of — affecting and influencing — and the more conscious of this we become, the more we can co-create
with Life itself.

What inspired you to visit Iceland?

Iceland seems to be on every photographer’s list these days. There are so many amazing visuals coming out of Iceland that are going viral on the various social
networks that is putting Iceland more and more in the awareness of our collective consciousness. This is certainly what inspired me.

You edited the film in two days, what were the greatest challenges you faced?

The overall creation was a culmination of two 2 week trips, plus a couple weeks of organizing and editing the time-lapse photos. Then the great moment of sitting down to edit the actual short film, which is a great joy by this time that feels akin to being a painter finally ready to put some color on the canvas. The challenges are many at each stage of the process. The actual recording in Iceland probably being the most challenging per the extreme weather conditions. It’s tough being out there at crazy hours of the night especially in very cold weather, fumbling with equipment. It can be very frustrating and tests ones’ patience and commitment. But the reward is always there. Just being out there and greeting and being greeted by such majesty is reward enough.

What tips would you like to give people wanting to visit Iceland?

Bring layers of clothes!! Meet and speak the locals. Be curious. Stay in one spot long enough to hear the land and waters speak to you. Greet the place as a living being. Visit the Highlands. And please walk with awareness, with kindness and gratitude in each step. Be humble. Leave no trace. Receive the immense beauty. And give back.

Gaia’s Dance (in 4K) from Katie Teague on Vimeo.

The post The Purity and Creativity of Iceland put on Show in the Short Film Gaia´s Dance appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7296
Reykjavik 1st Most Inspirational Winter City http://stuckiniceland.com/greater-reykjavik/reykjavik-1st-inspirational-winter-city/ Wed, 16 Nov 2016 20:54:09 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7293 Got this in my inbox and thought it was noteworthy. Package holiday specialists TravelBird have released the 2016 Inspiring Cities Ranking offering a comprehensive ranking of some of the world’s most inspirational cities. The Ranking utilises eight criteria associated with innovation and creativity to allow travellers to best pick their next inspiring adventure. In a [...]

The post Reykjavik 1st Most Inspirational Winter City appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

Got this in my inbox and thought it was noteworthy.

Package holiday specialists TravelBird have released the 2016 Inspiring Cities Ranking offering a comprehensive ranking of some of the world’s most inspirational cities. The Ranking utilises eight criteria associated with innovation and creativity to allow travellers to best pick their next inspiring adventure. In a ddition, their analysis of winter and summer cities means the Inspirational City Ranking can be used to inspire seasonal travel, further empowering curious travellers.

To create the Ranking, TravelBird began with a list of renowned inspiring cities worldwide and continued to add vibrant locations until they reached 85 destinations.
They then calculated the Inspirational Rank of each, factoring in performing arts companies, art schools, art galleries, museums, music production facilities, film
industry facilities and startups seeking funding located within the city. They also ranked each location by the number of Google searches for romance-focused keywords (e.g. searches for romantic areas or dinners), in the native language, in each location. Scores for the criteria are equal to each factor per 100,000 residents in each city.

Interestingly, TravelBird found that many larger cities did not rank as high as smaller cities in the same country. A main reason behind this can be attributed to
smaller cities ranking with high numbers in multiple factors which, coupled with having smaller populations, mean higher accessibility to each inspiring criteria per
capita.

Reykjavik came 5th in the Inspirational Cities Ranking. The city placed 1st in the winter cities ranking and for for the number of museums per 100,000 citizens. The
city came in the top 25 for the number of performing arts companies, the number of art schools, art galleries, film industry facilities and for the number of startups
seeking funding per 100,000 citizens.

TravelBird also sought to incorporate seasonal inspiration into their Index, to inform travellers of stimulating seasonal travel and adventure. To do so, the
company looked to artwork depicting each city and from thousands of images assigned a score based on a ratio of whether winter or summer had inspired more painters, and therefore, which season made each city more inspirational. These scores were taken into account a long with the Inspirational Ranking to create a seasonal rank.

The top 5 cities to rank for winter and summer are as follows:

Miami
Bruges
San Fransisco
Bristol
Reykjavik

The post Reykjavik 1st Most Inspirational Winter City appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7293
Northern Lights – the divine diva http://stuckiniceland.com/west_of_iceland/northern-lights-divine-diva/ Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:24:28 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7264 Guest writer Nancy Claus sends another article , this time about an excess of Aurora borealis. There are few natural phenomena quite as awe-inspiring to behold as the magical northern lights. Perhaps rivalled only by a total solar eclipse or a volcanic eruption. No amount of images or videos circulating on the internet can truly convey [...]

The post Northern Lights – the divine diva appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

Guest writer Nancy Claus sends another article , this time about an excess of Aurora borealis.

3-heart-shaped-northern-lights

There are few natural phenomena quite as awe-inspiring to behold as the magical northern lights. Perhaps rivalled only by a total solar eclipse or a volcanic eruption.

No amount of images or videos circulating on the internet can truly convey the feeling of what it’s like to be surrounded by them, and see them in all their glory in real life. They will completely overwhelm you, to an extend where you can only utter sounds of sheer admiration, with a fading voice due to being blown away.

Yet the elusive northern lights are notorious for their whimsy and unpredictable diva behaviour. Sometimes they will not turn up when they are supposed to. And on other occasions they crash onto the scene completely unannounced, demanding your immediate attention. Because, they’re here! It’s the northern lights! You never know how long they fancy staying, or when they will return.

Some say you can’t see the northern lights in summer. And that it has to be really cold for them to appear. I can say from my own experience that is not true. Cold in itself has nothing to do with it. It just needs to be dark enough, relatively cloudless, and the magical ingredient has to occur: a solar flare, spewing forth from a coronal hole on the sun’s surface when it’s facing the Earth, its charged particles colliding with the Earth’s magnetic field . The resulting energy lights up the sky in a brilliant display of moving colours, circling around the latitudes where it enters the magnetic north and south pole of the Earth. That’s the magical zone where the aurora oval is situated.

4-filling-up-the-sky

And Iceland is right underneath it, which means you will see northern lights all around you when they fancy showing up. Including multi-coloured coronas bursting out above you and branching out to all sides when an X-rated flare is coughed up by the sun.

 

Even though the activity goes up and down during an 11-year cycle, you can still see northern lights in Iceland when the sun’s coronal holes are less active.

I’ve actually seen my first glimpse of northern lights at a time when solar activity was almost at its minimum, in 2007, in one of the least likeliest places – in the middle of Reykjavík, at the end of August. I was standing on the balcony of my guesthouse next to Hallgrímskirkja late at night, having a midnight coffee and enjoying the view.

And then it suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I almost choked on my coffee, and at first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was very faint and subtle; a wisp of light appearing for a few seconds before it faded into darkness again. But after a few minutes I saw it again, and it was definitely an aurora. Even though it was tiny, there was no mistaking it. Little curtains of green light were flowing & moving across the sky, disappearing briefly, and then they reappeared again. It was nowhere near as grand like the massive blasts of lights you’ll see on postcards and pictures on the internet, but I was in awe nevertheless, overwhelmed by a feeling of happiness & gratefulness – to see them when I least expected it.

Unfortunately I didn’t see them again after that, even as I went on travelling to more remote parts of Iceland, with much clearer skies. Proverbially screaming in frustration, because they wouldn’t show up with all the right conditions being present.

It wasn’t until early October 2015 before I could see them again, in all their full-blown glory.

6-major-distraction

I had talked my friend into going with me to Iceland, again, while we already went and cruised along the south coast the year before. But, being a like-minded geology and natural phenomena enthusiast, he wasn’t difficult to convince, and one of the many reasons was the likeliness to see northern lights. According to the predictions based on the 28-day cycle of the sun around its own axis, there would be a massive sunspot with coronal mass ejection potential facing the Earth, and chances would be highly likely to have northern lights at a very convenient time during our trip.

There was already some disputed and unclear activity going on when we were in Reykjavík, but that wasn’t very convincing. It didn’t really get going until we got to Stykkishólmur, which was the day the solar flare was due to arrive.

As it was getting darker, anticipation increased. We were finishing our meal at the restaurant by the harbour, and my friend just had to go outside to check if any activity could already be observed. Moments later, he came rushing back, frantically waving.

It was on. In a big way.

We jumped in the car and quickly got to a darker spot just outside town, at the foot of a hill called Helgafell.

2-view-over-helfafell

The skies opened up and flares of electromagnetic charged particles & energy from out of space came pouring in, colliding with the Earth magnetic field, creating a display of light so magnificent it took your breath away.

Massive green curtains dropping down with purple tips on their edges, below and above, constantly shifting and changing and moving in all directions.

It was literally out of this world. It filled the whole sky, and it went on for hours on end. You just didn’t know where to look next out of sheer excitement and ecstasy.

Even the locals were impressed.

And my friend was over the moon, because he actually had them for his birthday. When they finally slowed down a little, we went back to the guesthouse to have a celebratory drink of Brennivín.

It was difficult to go to sleep after all this excitement. They just kept on going. When we looked outside, activity had increased again. At some point I woke up in the middle of the night, and they were still at it. There was lots of stuff hanging in the sky, flaring up at irregular intervals.

The next evening, they became visible as soon as dusk settled in.

We were still bumbling along Snæfellsnes on our way back to Stykkishólmur, as we had started our rúntur (driving round) around the peninsula a bit later than initially intended.

Serious warning! Driving a vehicle along small & windy Snæfellsnes roads in the dark while northern lights are exploding overhead on all sides is potentially lethal. I had difficulties keeping my eyes on the road. Do not, under any circumstance, continue driving while they are unfolding in front of you. They are extremely distracting. Go to the nearest turn-off where you can park safely to watch them, and to avoid possible accidents.

7-kirkjufell

Luckily we happened to be very close to Kirkjufell, which provides a spectacular backdrop to the northern lights action. And there’s a good place to park too.

Photos courtesy of Nancy Claus and Freek Slangen.

 

The post Northern Lights – the divine diva appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7264
Reykjavík Graffiti http://stuckiniceland.com/icelandic-culture-and-people/reykjavik-graffiti/ Sat, 17 Sep 2016 00:09:59 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7235 Reykjavík is full of graffiti. Yes some of the boring dirty malicious vandal ones but Reykjavík inhabitants have found the way to get the vandals to stop. Mostly anyway. The thing is, even the vandals tend to respect property that people obviously care about. Well cared for houses and walls rarely get tagged. If you [...]

The post Reykjavík Graffiti appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

Reykjavík is full of graffiti. Yes some of the boring dirty malicious vandal ones but Reykjavík inhabitants have found the way to get the vandals to stop. Mostly anyway.

The thing is, even the vandals tend to respect property that people obviously care about. Well cared for houses and walls rarely get tagged. If you get an ugly tag on your wall, painting over it straight away is normally the answer, the vandals tend to see that their mementos don’t stick around and don’t bother tagging the place again after a few times.

Sometimes this isn’t quite enough though. Big walls with no windows always get tags, electricity and phone connection boxes get ugly looking graffiti all the time.

The solution: Get a proper graffiti artist to wax eloquent in painting your wall at will.

We tried this out with the electricity box outside our house:

rafmagnskassi

It did get tagged a couple of times but we painted it right back and it has been left alone for years now. And even in the middle of a snowy winter we always have some flowers outside.

Better than this, right?

rafmagnstagg

Here are a few of the pieces of art:

The best known artist is one Sara Riel. She is responsible for this dragon:

dreki

That wall always had tags on it but since the house owners got Sara to paint a graffito of her own design, I don’t think a single tagger has performed on site. If you look very closely, the Toy Spreader from our last article has added their logo inside the space from where the dragon originates!

A couple more of Sara’s art:

api

geimskip

Some artists also use the street instead of walls:

gata skumaskot

A recent favourite:

fuglar

and this, outside Ölstofan, a pub with some pretty good beer and a weekly pub quiz (sorry, only in Icelandic):

slinkies

 

An interview with Sara and a few other graffiti artists can be found here, I really miss the mushroom graffito shown in that article, that house has been torn down! Condé Nast has some photos too.

These photos are of course just the tiny tip of the iceberg. All in all, this has made our city all the more inviting and I certainly don’t miss the ugly tagging that used to be in those spaces and the others that have now exciting graffiti art!

The post Reykjavík Graffiti appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7235
Reykjavík Toy Spreader http://stuckiniceland.com/icelandic-culture-and-people/reykjavik-toy-spreader/ Sat, 03 Sep 2016 22:50:24 +0000 http://stuckiniceland.com/?p=7221 There’s an surround artist on the prowl in Reykjavík. He or she (or indeed them?) is called Dótadreifarinn or the Toy Spreader. The name is self-explanatory, they take small toy items, namely figurines, toy soldiers, sheep, ducks, you name it, and glue them to houses. The criteria seem to be flat surfaces or not very [...]

The post Reykjavík Toy Spreader appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>

There’s an surround artist on the prowl in Reykjavík. He or she (or indeed them?) is called Dótadreifarinn or the Toy Spreader.

The name is self-explanatory, they take small toy items, namely figurines, toy soldiers, sheep, ducks, you name it, and glue them to houses. The criteria seem to be flat surfaces or not very slanted, out of direct reach, the toys are never in places you can just stretch your arm and take them. The artist(s) must be around in the early morning hours with a ladder.

We first noticed a toy on our roof a few months ago. I fail to find the photo I’m certain I took. A few weeks later the Buzz Lightyear which was the first figurine was replaced with this one, which is still here:

my house

I took a walk around a couple of blocks around my house in central Reykjavík. Those are the ones I found:

businessman

Businessmen need some time off too!

duck

A purple duck? I want a pet like that!
wizard

Wizard ruling his realm

soldier

Sniper hiding behind a light pole
soldier and truck

We don’t have a military force, maybe the toy spreader is trying to change that!
sheep

Sheeple!

pony

and a My little Pony. Is that a Pegasus pony? Certainly looks like he’d like to take flight from the roof.

Here is an Instagram page with some of the toy spreader’s innovative places.

The post Reykjavík Toy Spreader appeared first on Stuck in Iceland.

]]>
7221