A house with a history

Posted on Categories ReykjavikTags

Höfði house was built in 1909. Initially it was the house of the French consul in Iceland. At the time it was one of the largest houses in Reykjavík and certainly one of the most impressive and beautiful.

Later the house was leased to the British ambassador and received famous guests such as Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, as well as singer Marlene Dietrich. The last British ambassador in Höfði couldn’t stand living in the house as he said it was haunted by a White Lady.

The house was bought by the city of Reykjavík in 1958 and was used for receiving distinguished guests and hosting important meetings and still is to this day.

One of the most important meetings to take place in Höfði was the Reykjavík Summit when presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met there in 1986. The meeting was first considered a failure but later people have said the meeting was the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

By Höfði there are several interesting works of art such as the Throne Pillars by artist Sigurjón Ólafsson, a statue by Ásmundur Sveinsson of poet Einar Benediktsson, who lived in the house for a few years.

The house is unfortunately not open to the public but visitors are of course welcome to explore the house from the outside.  Höfði house is located at Borgartún overlooking the sea shore.

 

The First Day of Summer

Posted on Categories ReykjavikTags

The First Day of Summer will be celebrated on Thursday April 20, it is an annual public holiday in Iceland held on the first Thursday after April 18. In former times Icelanders used the Old Norse calendar which divided the year into only two seasons, winter and summer and that is the reason why the first day of summer is celebrated rather early.

Although the weather in late April is often not very nice, after the long winter Icelanders still celebrate the first day of summer with parades, sporting events and organized entertainment, held in various places around Iceland.

The festivities in the center of Reykjavík will be held at Klambratún, a large park where you’ll find a variety of activities, a playground for children, Frisbee golf court, a basketball court and a beach volleyball court.  Free hot dogs and bike repairing for the children in the neighborhood will be available along with organized entertainment and games of all sorts.  Kjarvalsstaðir, the art museum is located in the park which makes visiting the museum an ideal idea to spice up the day.

Another type of festivities will be taking place in the center and that is a 5 K race through the streets of downtown Reykjavík which has been an integral part of the festivities since 1916.

Enjoy the first day of summer, let‘s hope the weather will be nice!

“Páskaegg” – Not just a chocolate egg

Posted on Categories IcelandTags

Icelandic Easter eggs are quite something else and very dear to Icelanders.

Here are a few fun facts about these delicious and tasty eggs…

– Icelandic Easter eggs are made out of sweet Icelandic chocolate, traditionally given to children but also exchanged by adults.

– Like in some other cultures, some parents hide the egg either in the home or outside in the yard for the kids to find.

-They usually have a yellow Easter chick perched on top for obvious reasons but newer variations offer a plastic smurf or other random plastic cartoon figures on top for a more obscure reason.

-They come in variety of sizes from size 2 to a size 10, depending on the size and appetite of the individual you are offering it to. And it is not uncommon that children get more than one egg during Easter.

-The eggs contain a small bag filled with Icelandic candy AND an Icelandic proverb which are derived from Icelandic medieval sagas. Despite the lure of the candy, the proverb is often times the first thing most people look for when they crack their eggs open. Many people collect them and it’s not uncommon that people around you inquire what proverb you got and share theirs. Here are a couple of examples of these quirky proverbs:

“Blindur er bóklaus maður” meaning “Blind is a man without a book” and “Sá má fullvel fasta sem fisk hefur á borði” meaning “He who has thrown fish overboard, may well fast”

Happy Easter!!

 

Celebrate Easter Icelandic-style

Posted on Categories IcelandTags

Icelanders consider Easter a big deal, it´s not only our second biggest holiday after Christmas but it is celebrated with BIG chocolate Easter eggs filled with candy and wise words. Easter is a family oriented holiday and many families use the opportunity of a long five day weekend to travel. There are a number of things to choose from to spend the Easter vacation. For some it’s skiing in the town of Akureyri which is located up north and for others that are more into music Easter is all about the music festival “Aldrei fór ég suður which is a free music festival in Ísafjörður in the Westfjord.  Some just use these days to eat and kick back.

Here are some more fun facts about Icelandic Easter.

Easter eggs – “Páskaegg”…

…are made out of sweet Icelandic chocolate, traditionally given to children but also exchanged by adults. The eggs come in many sizes and are available in different kinds of chocolate, but there’s one part of the Icelandic Easter egg that never changes, each egg contains a small note with a wise Icelandic proverb or a saying.

Easter decorations…

…is something many Icelanders place a huge effort in and that involves decorating their houses for Easter in shades of yellow and green. The decorations are connected with the coming of spring and we tend to associate Lilies to this particular holiday and call them Easter lilies.

Easter party….

Easter is a 5 day weekend which for many Icelanders means extra days to party. Since most bars and clubs close down at midnight the night before Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Wednesday has become the popular party night as bars stay open until until 3 am. The party picks up again at midnight on on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday when bars open up again.

Easter lamb…

After a day spent on gorging on chocolate eggs, what’s better than the savory relief of a delicious Icelandic lamb. Lamb is the Icelandic traditional Easter Sunday dinner and considering the quality of the Icelandic lamb, that’s really no surprise. Although there is no specific Easter lamb dish, a roasted leg of lamb is popular among Icelanders and that is exactly what SKÝ Restaurant & Bar will be offering on it’s Easter menu.

Happy Easter everyone!

Eve Fanfest

Posted on Categories ReykjavikTags

The annual EVE Online Fanfest is set to take place April 6-8 at the Harpa Concert & Conference Hall in downtown Reykjavík, hosted by the game developer CCP.

For an awesome three-day gathering in beautiful Reykjavík, Iceland Eve fans from all over the world gather to socialize, attend presentations, tournaments and take part in various activities connected with gaming. There are parties, an amazing pub crawl, community camaraderie, and the infamous Party at the Top of the World hosting acts such as DJ Kristian Nairn (Hodor from Game of Thrones) and illustrious Permaband, CCP´s in-house rock gods.

We at Centerhotels are once again proudly partnering with CCP and hosting EVE fans from all over the world at our hotels.  The hotels hosting the EVE fans are CenterHotel Plazalocated right downtown, close to all the action and Centerhotel Arnarhvoll that is located across the street from the Fan fest venue.  Arnarhvoll has a beautiful roof top restaurant; SKÝ Restaurant & Bar with that offers views over Harpa where you can sip on an exclusive EVE Online cocktail, while observing the excited and possibly dressed up attendees enter the event across the street. 

The exclusive EVE Online cocktail that we created just for this event will be available at all our hotel bars during the event days.

Have fun at EVE Fanfest 2017!