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White-tailed Eagle Haförn Hafernir

Eagle Empire

All cultures have myths of large birds carrying children away. In Greek mythology, Zeus takes on the shape of an eagle to kidnap a young boy. The stories often have the same wording no matter their origin. There are not only legends but also historical records of child-stealing eagles. As a child, I’d heard stories of humongous eagles living on high cliffs. They could fly higher and farther than other birds, and in the stories they also stole and ate children. I never saw these magnificent birds with my own eyes as there were only a handful of them left in the country then and no eagle habitats in the region where I grew up. It wasn’t until I was grown that I caught glimpses of frightening creatures gliding high in the heavens over the islands and skerries of Breiðafjörður fjord, their nesting grounds in western Iceland. The sight filled me with awe and fear-tinged excitement but my wish to see such a bird up close was never fulfilled – until last spring.

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What it's like to drown

What It’s Like To Drown

Friðgeir Einarsson has published three books; one novel and two short story collections. He has also attracted attention within the Icelandic performing arts scene as an actor, director, and author with performance groups including 16 Lovers and Kriðpleir. His play Club Romantica was premiered at the Reykjavík City Theatre earlier this year and has received praise from both viewers and critics. What It’s Like to Drown first appeared in his book Ég hef séð svona áður (I’ve Seen This Before) in 2018.

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For Art’s Sake

Akureyri is the largest town outside of the Capital Area but its 18,000 inhabitants still make for a relatively small town in an international context. But a sense of identity can’t be quantified in numbers only and Akureyri has a long and rich culture and history.

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Korriró, Baby

It explained a lot when Snæfríður figured out that there were trolls in her apartment. The discomfort she’d felt over the last few months was vague, but real. Respiratory infections. Chronic fatigue. Panic attacks.             She went online immediately and looked up an exterminator.             The exterminator was more attractive than she’d expected. He had […]

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The 2014 Eruption in Holuhraun

As the eruption by Fagradalsfjall in the Reykjanes peninsula began, many feared that air traffic would halt as it did during the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Lucky for us (and the rest of Europe) the Fagradalsfjall eruption is a fissure eruption that isn’t coming up under the ocean, a lake, or a glacier. Instead, it produces slow-flowing lava that sputters up from a long fissure before lazily sliding down the valley until it cools from a bright red or yellow to a dull, craggy black. Only the steam rising from the fresh rock indicates the enormous heat that lies below.
In fact, the eruption has a lot more in common with the 2014 eruption in Holuhraun, albeit on a much smaller scale.

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Stöð Stövarfjörður Viking Age longhouse excavation

Buried

Once upon a time, there was a brave Viking chief called Ingólfur Arnarson. He took to the open ocean along with his family and farmhands to seek out a land far across the sea that only a handful of explorers had visited. When Ingólfur saw this new, uninhabited land rise from the sea, knowing nothing of its opportunities or the challenges it presented, he asked the gods for direction on where to settle. Ingólfur threw his high-seat pillars overboard, swearing an oath to build his farm wherever they came ashore. The gods directed the pillars to Reykjavík, where Ingólfur made his home in the year 874.

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carbon neutral Iceland 2040

Clearing the Air

Not long after it signed the Paris Agreement, the Icelandic government set an even more ambitious goal: to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, ten years earlier than the agreement outlined. Since then, the City of Reykjavík, the National Power Company, and the National Church have all hopped on board, with their own timelines for reaching carbon neutrality by 2040 or sooner. While it seems that Icelanders are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work, they have a daunting task ahead of them.

So how do you make a country carbon neutral? Experts, activists, and decision makers are realising that it’s not one step at a time. Rather, it’s many steps at once, in time with the steps of others – a co-ordinated dance towards a brighter future.

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Music and Lyrics

If you google “Icelandic musicians,” his picture appears third from the right – right next to Björk and Of Monsters and Men.

Born on July 1, 1992 in Akureyri, Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson aspired to a career in javelin-throwing or music. When a prolonged back injury put an end to his athletic ambitions, he narrowed his attention to songwriting.

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Raising Riders

To reach Hólar University in winter, you must drive through the ice-covered Hjaltadalur valley. On your way there, you’ll pass groups of horses in almost every colour of the rainbow. You’ll notice their thick and shaggy winter coat, and how they huddle together to keep warm. The snow on their furry backs might send a shiver down yours – but the horses have been here for a millennium, bred to survive the harsh conditions.

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Hungry for More

When opening acclaimed restaurant Agern in New York, Gunnar Karl Gíslason tasted twenty different types of butter before he found one he liked. His pastry chefs sourced several kinds of organic milk because the ice creams made from regular milk tasted off to him. He never did end up finding lamb that met his standards in the US, though he found a single farm in the mountains of Pennsylvania whose grass-fed sheep he deemed adequate to serve his guests. But in Reykjavík, he’ll scarf down the local classic – a hot dog with ‘everything:’ crispy fried onion, fresh onion, mustard, remoulade, and ketchup – like the Akureyri-raised country boy he is. There’s a catch though: he’ll only get one from certain shops where they heat the sausages the way he likes them and serve the right kind of ketchup.

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