Berjamó

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Lately you may have heard Icelanders talk about ‘Berjamó’ with great enthusiasm.

That is because right now is berry picking season in Iceland and Berjamó is what we in Iceland call the activity of picking berries. It is a popular activity amongst Icelanders of all ages during late summer/early fall season. You may be asking why, and reasonably so..

Well, for some Icelandic families berjamó is a yearly tradition and a fun way to end the summer. Families gather, young and old, in the beautiful Icelandic nature and look for some ripened blueberries and crowberries to pick. Everyone has their own bucket and picks away, some families even create fun games and ‘who picks the most’ contests.  At the end of the day a serious jam session will take place at home where all the day’s pickings will be thrown into a pot and made into a delicious berry jam, pies or just served alone with some sugar and whipped cream. Yum!!

The best berry picking regions are generally in the north and north west, but there are also some great berry picking areas around Reykjavík. Heiðmörk recreational area is one and if you don’t find berries; it’s still worth the visit as Heiðmörk has great walking trails and cozy picnic spots. The slopes of Mt. Esja can also be good for berry picking and again worst case scenario you can always enjoy a spectacular Esja hike.

If you don’t have the time or ambition for Berjamó, you should be able to find fresh Icelandic blueberries this time of year at most major grocery stores. We also highly recommend stopping by Ísafold Restaurant and trying the September cocktail of the month ‘Blueberry Glacier’. Ísafold Restaurant is located at centerhotel Þingholt.  

Happy Berry Season!

Explore the majestic Snæfellsnes Peninsula

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Snæfellsnes Peninsula is 90 km long and features tall and dramatic cliffs that have been shaped by volcanic ash and glacier erosion. The peninsula is home to a majestic nature and rich culture and the communities of Snæfellsnes Peninsula were the first in Europe to receive certification from Green Glove, an international benchmarking system for sustainable travel and tourism.

On the tip of the peninsula is the Snæfellsjökull National Park, the country’s youngest national park and only park in Iceland that is situated at the coast. It features sites like the mystical glacier Snæfellsjökull, an inactive volcano and Djúpalónssandur or the black Lava Pearl Beach. There you will find peculiar rock formations, one which has a large hole in the middle and by looking through it you will see Snæfellsjökull..great place to stop and take a photo.

Mineral springs can be found at various places, such as at the farm Ölkelda and at Lýsuhóll, which has a thermal pool with naturally-carbonated water.  

Hellnar is an old fishing village on Snæfellsnes peninsula right beneath Snæfellsjökull glacier and a popular travel destination. There is a hotel and a cafe and a visitors center for the national park.  At Hellnar you will also find a large freestanding rock with one of Iceland’s most peculiar cave called Baðsofa with colorful interior walls that vary according to it’s exposure to light and tide.  If you are into photography then check out the Hellnar church which is build on a very picturesque site.

Arnarstapi is another village and was an important trading post in the past. Today it attracts many travelers, and there is a camping ground, guesthouse and a restaurant. At Arnarstapi you can arrange tours to Snæfellsjökull and you can also tour an 8000 year old cave called Vatnshellir Cave, that was created by volcanic eruption from a nearby crater.  This is the volcano that Otto Lidenbroch and his nephew descended into and started their adventures in the famous 1864 science fiction novel ‘Journey to the center of the Earth’ by Jules Verne.

Skarðvík beach is a cove located on Snæfellsnes peninsula, surrounded by cliffs, with white sand and blue waters. A number of hiking trails lead to and from the beach over the lava fields.

Finally when visiting Snæfellsnes Peninsula, make sure to ask about the tales and old ghost sagas about the area’s extraordinary happenings, which has given this beautiful area a mystical energy.

You can book your trip to Snæfellnes Peninsula right here.

Enjoy the mystic Snæfellsnes!

Reykjavík Marathon and Culture Night

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Reykjavík Marathon and Culture night (Menningarnótt) take place this Saturday, August 19th.

Reykjavík Marathon will start and finish in Lækjargata located in the center of Reykjavík and there are several things that make the Marathon stand out from other city marathons. First of all Reykjavik actually has some of the cleanest air of any city,  in addition to the Marathon and Half marathon distances; it also includes a 10k, 3k fun run and a kid´s marathon for children 8 years and younger which makes it an event for the whole family. Finally the course of the Reykjavik Marathon is exceptionally unique and scenic. The race is one lap and starts and finishes downtown within sight of the beautiful pond and the city hall. Runners pass along seaside with views of the ocean and Esjan and Snæfellsjökull glacier, through residential areas where many inhabitants come out of their houses to cheer the runners on. The participants also pass a number of famous buildings, including Höfdi House, a Reykjavik City Council reception venue where US President Ronald Reagan and USSR General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met for a summit in 1986.

The date of the marathon is planned to coincide with ‘Reykjavík Culture night’ or Menningarnótt.

The Reykjavik Culture Night is a yearly event that brings almost a third of the entire population of Iceland onto the streets to celebrate. It is held on or around August 18th every year which is the anniversary date of Reykjavík city. There is a long program of cultural events throughout the day and night such as art exhibitions, outdoor karaoke, youth circus for the children, food and music events and graffiti artists. The event peaks with a concert by Arnarhóll at 20:00 and ends with a not to be missed fireworks show over Harpa and the old harbour at 23:00. 

Enjoy a full day of fun this Saturday in Reykjavík!

Reykjavík Pride

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This week Reykjavík will be full of colors, happiness, glitter and glamour while celebrating Reykjavik Pride. The Pride has been an annual event celebrated in the Reykjavík since 1999.  When looking even further the event really goes back to 1993 when Icelandic gays and lesbians gathered together in the city demanding freedom and human rights.

Today the festivities are one of the largest events held in Reykjavik that attracts thousands of guests from all around the world. The celebration goes on for six days offering various events all around the city center. Some of the events are free of charge to attend while others are accessible for a moderate fee.

The events include amongst other the mayor of Reykjavík painting rainbow on the streets of Reykjavík, a photograph exhibition showing beautiful moments from queer couple’s stories at Skólavörðustígur, outdoor fun with the queer sport group at Klambratún,  George Michael tribute concerts at Gamla bíó and finally the Pride parade that will be held on Saturday (August 12th).  The parade becomes bigger and more glamorous every year attracting more participants and viewers.  This year the parade will depart from Hverfisgata at 2 o’clock ending up with a set of concerts at Hljómskálagarðurinn.

So, if you’re in town – you should definitely go and check it out!