Icelanders decorate their houses for Christmas with colourful ligts to brighten the darkness. They start decorating by the end of November and usually a big Christmas tree is lit up in the centre of every town and willage with a big ceremony on a Saturday or a Sunday, four weeks before Christmas. That´s the starting of the Christmas preparation.
Akureyri in the north is a lovely town to visit in December. Walking around the town enjoying the colourful Cristmas decorations, listening to Christmas carols, hot chocolate and candlelight. Cosy atmosphere.
On the webpage visitakureyri.is you can find more information about Akureyri.
Reyðarfjörður is the longest and widest of Iceland’s eastern fjords; more than 30 km. long. Norwegians used to operate whaling stations along the fjord and fishing was frequented along the coastline.
During World War II, Reyðarfjörður was occupied by British forces. The remains of the occupation are fairly visible, ranging from an airport to old barracks. In 1995 a War Time Museum was founded in an empty Freezing Plant extending to some of the old barracks. An interesting museum in a country that was never at war.
In January 1942 a platoon of British soldiers on
winter exercises were caught in a very bad blizzard on the mountain
above Eskifjörður. The family at Veturhús farm rescued and housed 48 of
them but unfortunately another nineperished.
The Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes, West Iceland, is the place of the week. The centre reveals Egils Saga and the Settlement Saga in an entertaining and simple way by leading the visitor into the adventure world of the sagas by audio guides in 14 different languages.
The Egils Saga exhibition describes one of the most colourful of all the saga characters, Egill the son of Skalla-Grimur. Egill was a great poet but also a viking and ribald abroad. The story intertwines battles and love affairs, sorcery and pagan lore.
The Settlement exhibition portrays the first men who set foot in Iceland and how the country was settled up until the Althingi parliament was founded in the year 930. By using the modern technology of multi-media and theatre an attempt is made to give the visitor a sense of how it must have been to set foot in unsettled territory.
The Icelandic Settlement Centre is open all year, for further information see settlementcentre.is
Dverghamrar (Dwarf Cliff) are peculiar twin columnar basalt cliffs forming a horseshoe shape, just east of the farm Foss down from the Ring Road, 55 km west from Skaftafell.
The Dverghamrar landscape was formed by wave action when the sea level was higher at the end of the Ice Age. Such columns are often found where lava has flowed into water
and been abruptly cooled.
The cliffs are a protected natural site.
Photo Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir
The music festival Iceland Airwaves will take place in Reykjavík November 2 – 6. It was first held in 1999 and has become one of the premier annual showcases for new music – Icelandic and otherwise – in the world. Some of the world’s most exciting artists have performed there, too. The Shins, The Rapture, TV On The Radio, Florence and the Machine and Fatboy Slim. Including Icelandic bands such as Sigur Rós, FM Belfast, GusGus, múm, Of Monsters and Men.
Special guest this year is Björk, she will perform an exclusive show in Eldborg, Harpa on Saturday November 5th.
Iceland Airwaves is more than just music. Reykjavík is quite possibly the perfect festival city – small enough to be welcoming, sophisticated enough to offer cultural, historical and nightlife diversions to rival cities ten times its size. Maybe twenty.
For further information see their web, icelandairwaves.is.
Hvítserkur is a 15 m high basalt stack along the eastern shore of the Vatnsnes peninsula, in northwest Iceland, by road no 711.
The rock has two holes at the base, which give it the appearance of a dragon who is drinking. The base of the stack has been reinforced with concrete to protect its foundations from the sea.
Several species of birds, such as gulls and fulmars, live on at Hvítserkur and its name (“white shirt” in Icelandic) comes from the color of the guano deposited on its rocks.
Photo Bjarki Björgúlfsson
The Imagine Peace Tower is a memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono, located on Viðey Island near Reykjavík.
It consists of a tall tower of light, projected from a white stone monument that has the words “Imagine Peace” carved into it in 24 languages. These words, and the name of the tower, are a reference to Lennon’s peace anthem Imagine.
Buried underneath the light tower are upward of 500,000 written wishes that Ono gathered over the years in another project, called “Wish Trees”.
The tower lit every year from October 9th, Lennon’s birthday, through December 8th, the date he died.
Photo Ragnar Th Sigurðsson
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are visible in Iceland from September until April.
The best time in the day to see them is around 9 pm till 2 am.
There is a strong connection between the solar winds and the Northern Lights. The lights are caused by the speed of the solar winds, and the direction and magnitude of their magnetic fields.
Many tour operators in Iceland offer mystery evening tours “to hunt for the Northern Lights”.
The Northern Lights can only be seen on a clear night.
Place of the week this time is Þverá in Laxárdalur, North Iceland by road no 856.
At Þverá is a traditional turf house built in 1849-1851. All of Iceland´s remaining turf houses now belong to our National Museum and are a part of the National Museum’s Historic Buildings Collection.
Þverá turf house has belonged to the museum since 1968 and it was preserved in 1990.
There is an old church at Þverá, built 1878.
This photo is from the church window showing the old turf house at Þverá.
Photo Regína Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir
The place of this week is the Shark Museum at Bjarnarhöfn. It is located on the northern side of Snaefellsnes Peninsula, by road 54.
Shark fishing and the production of shark meat has been a part of the family at Bjarnarhöfn for generations. It has long been a vital part of of the lives and the economic lifeline for the family.
Guests are invited to take a personally guided tour of the museum and will see the preparation of shark meat first hand when their guide accompanies them to the drying house. Shark meat (hákarl) and dried fish (harðfiskur) may be purchased at the museum.
Sample a taste while you’re there – you know you want to!