DATELINE ICELAND - January/February
A periodic look at news and events
from the home of the Vikings. Brought to you by the Icelandic
>Icelandair's Third Annual Honeymoon Express
>Join us for the 3rd Annual Food & Fun Festival
>Reykjavik Adventure Packages-Create Your
>Snow Time Is Go Time
>Bolludagur or "Buns Day"
>Sprengidagur or " Bursting Day"
>"Oskudagur" or Ash Wednesday
>Yet Another Reason to Love Iceland
>A Bar Served On the Rocks
>Relax in the Steam of the Laugardalur
>Dinner and a Show
>Get Familiar with a New Tongue
>Paved Roads Are No Fun Anyway
Anyone can visit Iceland when it's warm and sunny. What
fun is that? It takes a true creative, free spirit to travel
in winter. Sure there's less light. And o.k., you have to
bundle up, but not any more than if you were visiting the
Big Apple. Reykjavik, for example, never reaches the low
temperatures experienced by Washington and New York. Land
at Keflavik and you'll think you're in the middle of an
arctic wonderland when you arrive.
The crowds are gone in winter, and the land seems softer,
less harsh, under a veil of fresh snow. But don't let the
cold fool you, the nightlife in Reykjavik, the world's northernmost
capital, is even hotter than ever.
Third Annual Honeymoon Express
What could be more romantic than renewing your vows on
Icelandair and spending a honeymoon in Iceland and England?
Spend your Valentine's Day in romantic Reykjavik and elegant
London, two fantastic places to share with that special
someone. Enjoy exotic scenery, horseback riding, delicious
meals and theater performances... and a few fun surprises
during the trip. The Icelandair Honeymoon Express has received
international media coverage two years in a row. Here's
your chance to dazzle your flame with. Click
here for more information.
Join Us for
the 3rd Annual Food & Fun Festival in Iceland.
The Iceland Naturally Food and Fun Festival will take place
from February 18 - 23, 2004, right when you are in need
of some excitement during the winter. Celebrity chefs from
continental Europe, the United States and Iceland compete
in a Mystery Basket cook-off, preparing a dish from all
Icelandic ingredients - followed by a Gala Event catered
by the best in gourmet restaurants from in and around Reykjavik.
Travel packages start at $685* per person based on double
occupancy, and can last from two to four nights depending
on point of departure. The package includes a stay at the
Hotel Loftliedir, admission to the cook-off, the Gala Event,
one dinner at the festival restaurant and Scandinavian breakfast
every day except day of arrival. Click
here for more details.
Adventure Packages-Create Your Own Adventure!
The perfect start to creating your own ideal holiday adventure
is in Reykjavik, the adventure capital of Europe. By day
explore the wilderness and outdoor adventure opportunities
within minutes of the city. By night, energize yourself
with the city's nonstop nightlife and culture. The Reykjavik
Adventure package is the basis for creating your own Icelandic
adventure. Add hotel, rental car, day trips and more. Click
here for more information.
(* Prices quoted are exclusive of applicable taxes and
official charges by destination of approximately $90, including
the September 11th Security Fee.)
a Reason to See Iceland? Here Are Some More
The long winter in Iceland amounts to just another excuse
for the natives to party. Don't blame them, it's in their
Viking blood, and they have the historic celebrations to
(Through February 16, 2004)
When Vikings sat down for their annual midwinter feast,
it wasn't exactly tea and crumpets time. Vikings celebrated
February - the fourth month of winter - with plenty of dancing
and singing and hearty Viking-sized meals. They consumed
half-boiled lamb's heads called Svid, seal flippers, rotten
shark, and scarfed our personal favorite, pickled ram's
testicles. While these delicacies are not part of the normal
everyday diet of Icelanders, visitors and locals alike can
eat like a Viking during special events in February in restaurants,
homes, and community centers throughout Iceland. Guaranteed
to be an experience you'll never forget.
or "Buns Day" (February 23, 2004)
Iceland celebrates two holidays in February that seem to
revolve simply around the consumption of delicious foods
with guiltless abandonment. Two days before Lent is known
as Bolludagur or "Buns Day." Homes, restaurants
and particular bakeries, overflow with delicately made cream
puffs or "buns." These "buns" come in
all different shapes and sizes, filled with cream, jam,
and sometimes drizzled in chocolate. Children especially
love Bun Day because they get to wake up early and try to
catch their parents still in bed. If they do, they "beat"
them out of bed with their individually made Bolluvondur
or "Bun Wands," which are colorfully decorated
with strips of paper and gleaming ribbon. The parents are
then obligated to give their children one cream puff for
every "blow" received.
or " Bursting Day" (February 24, 2004)
During the second day of this tradition on Shrove Tuesday
(the day before Lent) every Icelandic home and most restaurants
flood with the aroma of Saltkjot og baunir or salted-meat
and peas. The name of the Sprengidagur refers to the idea
that people feast on this hearty dish to the point of bursting.
or Ash Wednesday (February 25, 2004)
Ash Wednesday is celebrated in Iceland with a unique custom
that is very entertaining for children. Ashes are collected
into small bags known as "Oskupokar" or Ash Bags.
As a prank, these bags are secretly pinned onto people's
clothing. The day is also marked with children singing and
parading around the streets and shops, begging for treats.
here for more information about any of these winter
Reason to Love Iceland
March first is Beer Day every year in Iceland. That's right,
a whole day dedicated to the world's favorite beverage.
This celebrated event began on March 1st, 1989, when a 75-year-long
prohibition of beer was lifted. Pubs, restaurants, and clubs
all around Reykjavik are especially wild this night. No
word yet on plans to make March 2nd National Aspirin Day.
Click here for
A Bar Served
On the Rocks
Where else but in Iceland can you find a permanent ice
bar? Right in the heart of Reykjavik is Kaffi Reykjavik
Ice Bar. The interior is kept at 23 degrees F all year-round.
All of the interior fittings, including the glasses, are
made of pure, clear ice from the glaciers of Iceland. The
Ice bar has capacity of 50 people and is open to all. Group
bookings can be made by calling 354 552 3030 or click
the Steam of the Laugardalur Valley
In Reykjavik lies the Laugardalur Valley,
named after its hot springs. For centuries, Icelanders have
been walking, riding and driving there rejuvenate body and
soul. The valley is now home to the newest spa in Iceland,
which includes football fields, athletic stadiums, a skating
rink and a tennis and badminton hall. There is also a Petting
Zoo where all of Iceland's indigenous animals can be seen,
a long with botanical as well as other gardens.
The health spa features a 5400 square feet area with saunas
and steam rooms of varying temperatures, seawater hot pools,
whirlpools, foot pools and even a cold waterfall for bathing.
Various types of massage are offered as well as mud treatments.
Professionals on staff include a doctor, physiotherapists,
masseuses, masseurs, beauticians, hairdressers, nutritionists
and pedicurists, along with numerous other staff. Health
foods and drinks are available in the restaurant.
here for more details.
They say the neon lights are low on Armula Street. Le Sing,
the show where actors, artists and dancers are both the
entertainers and waiters, is the hottest new attraction
in Iceland. Broadway in Iceland, located in the Hotel Island
SAS Radisson, hosts this dinner theater presentation with
the stars of the future as young actors, singers and dancers
lead the good times. Come join these "guys and dolls"
soon, there's only one place to see it.
For more information click
with a New Tongue
For those of you with a flair for language or an interest
in reading the works of Nobel Laureate Halldor Laxness in
original Icelandic, you can learn Icelandic without even
leaving home. Just check
out the list of institutions in the United States that
teach Icelandic Or if you prefer to go to the source, and
learn the mother tongue of the Vikings where it's been spoken
for centuries, you can attend a course offered by the University
of Iceland from July 5-30, 2004. Click
here for more details.
Are No Fun Anyway
Car and Driver magazine recently sent one of its writers
to Iceland to watch modern day Vikings channel their ancestors'
love for adventure and danger in an off-road hill climb
at Stapafell (Mount Stapa). One by one, the Icelanders sought
to climb the volcanic cone in outrageously hot-rodded off-road
vehicles in this yearly gathering of enthusiasts. While
Icelanders had the most fun when they were upside down with
all four wheels clawing the air, the writer preferred to
keep his feet on the ground. It's a great read for any car
here for more details.
Iceland's home in America, www.icelandtouristboard.com,
has a new look and a new brochure to show you everything
the country has to offer. Be sure to log on and explore
the hundreds of reasons to come to Iceland.
"Iceland is a natural laboratory for studying the
interaction of ice and volcanoes, the same forces that have
shaped much of the Martian surface."
National Geographic Magazine
"Locals love their Viking heritage, historic resilience,
and modern outlook. Reykjavik is full of life stories, but
you might have to stay up late to get them. 'Icelanders
don't talk to strangers until 2 a.m., and by then they have
no idea what they're saying,' says Valur Gunnarsson, editor
of the Reykjavik Grapevine, a plucky paper in English."
National Geographic Traveler
"It's hard to think of Iceland as a vacation spot.
Way up there, in the middle of nowhere, a tiny island in
the vast Atlantic Ocean. And then there is the name. Iceland.
Brrrr. There's no doubt Iceland's tourist board faces a
serious marketing challenge. But those who dare to venture
this far north will be richly rewarded."
San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News
Dec. 14, 2003
For information on other exciting
activities in Iceland, be sure to visit www.IcelandTouristBoard.com