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Place of the week - Food & Fun festival in Reykjavík

The annual Food and Fun festival will be in February 25th – March 1st in Reykjavik.

The core element of the festival involves world-acclaimed and upcoming chefs from both Europe and USA collaborating with Reykjavik’s finest restaurants.

Each chef is assigned to one of the participating restaurants, where they prepare a special menu crafted from Icelandic ingredients only, commonly held to be the best in the world by Icelanders.

The chefs themselves are on site for three nights during the festival week.

Place of the week - Bessastaðir

Bessastaðir, official residence of the President of Iceland. First mention of Bessastaðir is in Íslendinga saga (The Saga of the Icelanders) by Sturla Þórðarson; the place then belonged to Snorri Sturluson. Later it became the first royal estate in Iceland, being in the possession of the King of Norway.

Since 1941 it has been the official residence of the President of the Republic: Sveinn Björnsson lived there from 1941 to 1952, first as governor then as president from 1944), Ás­geir Ás­geirs­son 1952 - 68, Krist­ján Eld­járn 1968 - 80, Vig­dís Finn­boga­dóttir 1980 - 1996 og Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson frá 1996.

The main building is among the oldest houses in Iceland, built in 1761–66. It has since been added to and renovated. The church at Bessastaðir was built 1777–1823.

Place of the week - Hofsós in North Iceland

Hofsós is one of the places that is really worth visiting. The Icelandic Emigration Center in Hofsós, Vesturfarasetrið, was founded in 1996 and dedicated to commemorate Icelandic emigrants to North America and to promote connections between their descendants and the people of Iceland. More information can be found on the webpage.

In March 2010 a new and impressive swimming pool was opened at Hofsós. It is so designed that when one swims from south to north, the surface of the pool and the surface of the ocean below appear to merge, and the swimmer seems to be setting a course straight for the island of Drangey

Photo from Hofsós: North Iceland Marketing Office.

Place of the Week - Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavík

Those long winter days of darkness in Reykjavík are set to be illuminated magnificently at the city’s annual Winter Lights Festival to be held on Feb. 5 - 8.

The main objective of the festival is to illuminate the dramatic darkness of winter with a collection of sparkling events, which both celebrate and emphasize the beauty of Reykjavík City.

Core events of the upcoming Winter Lights Festival include a number of selected light-art commissions together with our popular theme nights: Museum Night and Pool Night.

For further information see their webpage winterlightsfestsival.is.

This photo by Ragnar Th Sigurðsson is from a Winter Light Festival.

Winter festival “Éljagangur” / Blizzard in Akureyri

The annual winter festival Éljagangur/BLizzard in Akureyri, Capital of North Iceland, has been taking place in the beginning of February each year but in 2015 it will be held in March as a part of The Iceland Winter Games.

The Iceland Winter Games 2015 will be held 6th -14th March. With the biggest events taking place on the 11th-14th of March 2015.

All kinds of winter sports, Mountain hiking, Cross-country skiing, snow-boarding, downhill skiing, snow scooters, super jeeps, exhibition on new equipment related to winter sports, concerts and much, much more.

Place of the week - Mountain Mælifell

Place of the week is this beautiful mountain Mælifell north of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull.

Mælifell is a 791 m tuff mountain towards the east of Mælifellssandur, by the mountain road F210.

Good view from the mountain.

Extreme Iceland sent us this photo.

Places of the week - Skiing in Iceland

Skiing is quite popular in Iceland, exspceially in the Ísafjörður area in the Westfjords (see photo), Akureyri, Sauðárkókur and Siglufjörður in the North and in Seyðisfjörður and Oddsskarð in the East.

The ski areas of Bláfjöll and Skálafell are both only 25 minutes drive away from Iceland’s capital Reykjavík. Bláfjöll is south west of the city and Skálafell east of the city. Both areas have great ski slopes for downhill skiing and snowboarding as well as tracks for cross-country skiing. Bláfjöll has 16 lifts. Skálafell has 4 lifts. For more information about Bláfjöll and Skálafell see webpage skidasvaedi.is

Bláfjöll ski resort is popular with tourists as well as Icelanders and is especially known for its spectacular views and varied landscapes. Bláfjöll ski area is open when snow and weather permit. Buses depart from Mjódd Bus Terminal when Bláfjöll ski resort is open.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

The Iceland Road Guide wish you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

Our Christmas photo this year is from the church in Norðfjörður East Iceland.

Photograph Óttar Sveinsson.

Place of the Week - Dimmuborgir home of the Icelandic Yule Lads

The Icelandic Yule Lads are the 13 sons of Grýla and Leppalúði, vicious trolls that live in in the Mývatn area in north Iceland.

Grýla is ancient - her name is even mentioned in Snorri Sturluson´s thirteenth century Edda.Grýla and Leppalúði brought up their thirteen sons, the Yule Lads by Lake Myvatn. As the lads grew up they wanted a place of their own and Dimmuborgir was the perfect place for them to settle down.

An old legend in Iceland is, that 13 days prior to Christmas the Yule Lads start coming down from the mountain, one each night.

Children in Iceland place their best shoe on their windowsill before going to bed and each night a little gift is left in it from the Yule Lad that came down from the mountain that night. If the child has been misbehaving, there might be a raw potato left instead.

In December the Icelandic Yule Lads welcome guests to visit them in Dimmuborgir in Mývatn everyday between 1 pm and 3 pm. Every year the Yule Lads go in their annual bath in the Mývatn Naturebath where guests can join them and have some fun. Some of the Yule Lads are not happy with this tradition, because they don´t like the water. The bath takes place two weeks before Christmas.

More information about the Yule Lads can be found on the webpage visitmyvatn.is

Place of the week – Friðheimar in South Iceland

Friðheimar is very much a family affair, run by Knútur Rafn Ármann and his wife Helena Hermundardóttir and five children.

At Friðheimar, they grow tomatoes all year round, despite Iceland’s long, dark winters, under artificial lighting in greenhouses. They welcome visitors to see their greenhouses, and then enjoy a taste of the crop. You can take delicious food souvenirs away with you, made of tomatoes and cucumbers.

There is a lovely restaurant in the greenhouse open all year serving food made from tomatoes.

At Friðheimarthey they also breed horses, and put on a horse show – in fourteen different languages.

Friðheimar is in Reykholt, South Iceland by road 35 on the Golden Circle route, only 95 km from Reykjavík. See the webpage fridheimar.is

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