Catch a selfie with the Icelandic Horse

Posted on Categories IcelandTags , , , , ,

The Icelandic horse.
Originally from Mongolian descent, the Icelandic horse was moved here from Scandinavia by vikings more than 1000 years ago. It is aesthetically unique as it is shorter than other horse breeds. It also is built very strong and is conditioned to handle the worst kinds of weathers. It is generally easy to train and has a mild temperament which is one of the reasons the Icelandic horse is admired by horse lovers all over the world. There is just something very adorable about the Icelandic horse with those kind, intelligent eyes and shaggy long hair.

Horseback riding tours have been very popular tourist activity in Iceland for some years and still is, but now with the popularity of social media we are seeing another trend within our horse loving visitors which includes ‘selfies’ with the Icelandic horse.
When driving along route 1 you will often see travelers pulled over on the side of the road with the sole intention to catch a photographs of the Icelandic horse and some even try to feed them grass to lure them closer.

Sturlureykir horse petting and selfie stop.
Unfortunately due to the unforeseen weather and road conditions in Iceland it is not recommended to pull over aside the main road for the obvious reason of causing a road accident and it is also not popular by many horse owners and farmers that their horses are feed without permission. Some claim that it may ‘teach their horses bad habits’.
To solve this problem, a couple who breed and train horses in West Iceland decided to set up the perfect petting- and selfie-stop for horse lovers at their farm Sturlureykir in Borgarfjörður fjord! Sturlureykir has offered horse tours for more than two decades, but the new service will satisfy the needs of a broader group of travelers. For a small entrance fee visitors who might have a busy schedule can get a personal experience with horses and an Icelandic horse farm. The new meet-and-greet stable opened on June 1 and will remain open each day from 10-16, year-round.

Happy and Safe petting!

Iceland’s South Shore for movie buffs

Posted on Categories IcelandTags , , , , ,

Iceland has become quite the popular destination for film shooting in the recent years due to its unique landscape. It is also easy to travel to from the US and Europe, it has a developed economy and infrastructure, and everyone speaks English. This affords the big-budget movie producer some extraordinary opportunities here.

Among the more popular areas for film shoots In Iceland is the South Coast with it’s black sand beaches, stunning waterfalls and glaciers and of course Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon which was seen in two James Bond movies, A view to a kill and Die another day and also Lara Croft, Tomb Raider.  

Iceland´s South Coast is also portrayed as the planet Lah’mu in the Star Wars film Rogue One where Jyn Erso and her parents are in hiding at the very beginning of the film. Those black, sandy and alien looking beaches can be found in the south of Iceland. This is Mýrdalssandur which will also play a key role in the next season of the hit TV series Vikings. The trailer seems to show one of the main characters of the series, Flóki, standing on a black sand beach in South Iceland.

The nearby Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe is also popular site for filmmakers. In the 7th season of Game of of Thrones, everything that happens north of the wall is filmed there or at Svínafellsjökull which is a part of Vatnajökull, same location as in Batman Begins.

Too see all these landscapes with your own bare eyes we suggest you try the South Shore Adventure Tour or Jökulsárlón Glacial Boat Tour by Reykjavik Excursions or if you prefer to drive yourself it´s only approximately a 3 hour drive from Reykjavík, for car rental we recommend Procar.

Enjoy the incredible South Shore, we know you will!

 

Midsummer night – Jónsmessa

Posted on Categories Events, ReykjavikTags , , ,

Jónsmessa, also known as Midsummer Night, is an Icelandic holiday celebrated on June 24th. The holiday is named after John the Baptist and June 24th is supposedly his birthday.

The beauty of this holiday is how it interweaves magic and religion. According to Icelandic folklore there are four particular nights of the year when both good and evil forces unleash and you can expect mysterious things to occur, the nights are: Christmas eve, New Years Eve, Thirteenth Night (January 6th) and Midsummer night.

The tales tell that on Midsummer night various things gain special powers for example seals become human, cows gain the ability to speak in human tongue and the earth has special healing powers which is why rolling around naked in mud or dewy grass at midnight is considered good for your health and you can receive unbelievable healing. And while you are rolling around in the dew, be sure to make a wish because it is likely your wish will be granted on this special night. Icelandic folklore also states that if you sit at a crossroads where all four roads lead to separate churches, elves will attempt to seduce you with food and gifts.

There are some interesting midsummer events this weekend including the Midnight Sun Run which will take place on the evening of June 23rd and the Reykjavík Midsummer Music, a top notch music festival with some of today’s leading artists, held at Harpa music hall June 22-25.

Icelandic Independence day – JUNE 17

Posted on Categories EventsTags , , ,

June 17th, 1944 is when Iceland was formed as a republic and gained its independence from Danish rule. The date was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson, a major figure of Icelandic culture and the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement.

Like in many countries, Icelanders celebrate their independence day with style starting with a parade down Laugavegurinn, the main shopping and restaurant strip in the city center. There will of course be a marching band and families singing and waving the Icelandic flag some with their face painted in the national colors.

Downtown there will be a big family festival with all sorts of shows, vendor booths and live music that goes on until late hours in the evening.

There will be a family concert in the beautiful Hljómskálagarðurinn, by the Reykjavík pond that starts at 14:00 and ends at 18:00.  

At Ingólfstorg, directly in front of centerhotel Plaza, MOLD SKATEBOARDS will host a skateboarding party starting at 15:00 with good music and skilled skateboarders showing off their tricks.  

Each urban area and towns in the country will have their own June 17th celebration with parades, music and lots of family fun.

Happy June 17th! ~ Gleðilegan 17.júní!