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Discover Iceland’s language, history, culture, & nature


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Discover Iceland’s language, history, culture, & nature






Naustahvilft: The Troll Seat in the West Fjords – Folklore Friday

A quick but fascinating Icelandic folklore tale about Naustahvilft. According to the legend, a troll was hurrying home to avoid being turned into stone by the sun that was going to rise soon. She was traveling quickly enough that she was ahead of schedule and was able to stop to rest.The area that she stopped is Ísafjörður, the fjord where the largest town in the Westfjords is located. The troll’s feet were aching so she sat down on the mountain to rest. The shear weight of her made an indent in the mountain with her rear as soon as she sat down.Please note that trolls are gigantic figures in Icelandic folklore, so it is possible for them to have this impact on a mountain. When the troll got up to continue her journey, the imprint of her rear was left. That indent was then nicknamed "Troll's Seat". The view from Naustahvilft Random Fact of the Episode There is a short but steep trail here that I loved hiking. I think it took me around 30 minutes to reach the top but I was huffing and puffing at the end because the steepness does get intense. However, the views on a nice day are incredible. For a little bit of effort, you are rewarded with views of the fjord. If you spend some time up there, you might even see some planes taking off or landing.Like other hikes in Iceland, there is normally a guest book you can sign at the top that is being kept safe from the harsh weather in a metal box. There is a space for cars to park for this trail but it can be hard to miss so drive a little slower when you getting close to the location, so you easily make the turn into the small lot. Books About Icelandic Folklore The Guardians of Iceland and other Icelandic Folk TalesIcelandic Folk Legends: Tales of Apparitions, Outlaws, and Things UnseenThe Little Book of the Hidden People: Twenty Stories of Elves from Icelandic FolkloreIcelandic Folk Tales Icelandic Word of the Episode Ísafjörður – ice fjord Send This to a Friend Facebook Email LinkedIn Let's Be Social Youtube Tiktok Instagram Facebook Þakka þér kærlega fyrir að hlusta og sjáumst fljótlega.


Ask Jewells Anything About Iceland – Response Episode 1

This is the first response episode for my new segment "Ask Jewells Anything About Iceland". Thank you to everyone who sent in questions and if you would like to submit a question, you can do it here. Questions sent in from the listeners of the All Things Iceland Podcast 1. Can you please discuss some of the history of Ravens in Iceland. I was delighted to hear about some mischievous Ravens by Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, who were working in tandem to collect and confiscate tourist's goods. Do we know when they arrived in Iceland and how has their presence impacted Icelandic culture? There are several stories relating to Iceland that involve ravens. The first that pops into my mind has to do with Óðinn, the Norse God, that had two Ravens. They were named Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory or mind). They flew around the world (Midgard) and brough back information to Óðinn. Because Norse people settled in Iceland, the belief and worship of Óðinn came with them.Another story that comes to mind is of Hrafna-Flóki. He was a Norse Viking that is said to have given Iceland its name. He didn't stay in Iceland because he encountered a very harsh winter where he almost didn't survive. However, before he left he went on top of a mountain in the fjord and saw that the fjord was packed with ice. Due to that, he called this place the land of ice or "Iceland". 2. Hello. We are taking a cruise out of Reykjavik with NCL and looking to arrive a few days early to explore. We will be renting a car with Go Car Rental and wanted to know the best way to get from their Reykjavik office to the cruise port in September upon our rental return? The cruise port is Skarfabakki. Thank you for your input! The easiest way to get from Go Car Rental Iceland's Skógarhlíð location in Reykjavík to Skarfabakki is to take a taxi. It is about 9 minutes by car, so it will not be very expensive. The name of a taxi company to use is Hreyfill. 3. If there was only one beautiful place in Iceland you could visit which one would it be? This is such a tough question. I know that only one place was requested but I will provide two. One is more remote and that is Eldgjá in the Icelandic highlands. The other is the Westman Islands, which is much easier to access. To learn about all of the places I enjoy around the country, including hidden gems, check out My Iceland Map. 4. Thank you for your informative entertaining podcast. Do you need to drive in order to fully enjoy Iceland? I'm a passenger princess and don't know how I would get around if I don't come with someone who drives. You can definitely be a passenger princess and still see Iceland. I suggest taking tours that are for small groups. It is more intimate than the big buses and you see as much of the country as you want. On this website you can find many day tour and multi-day tour options. 5. How do people in Iceland view the political climate in the US??? The answer to this can be long because it involves so many layers. In short, the Icelanders I have spoken to have often been confused about what is happening politically in the US. Not that they don't understand how the system operates but wondering why it is allowed to be the way it is. An example is that politics in the US is dominated by two parties. There is also a lot of extremism and it seems that politicians often want to pass laws or vote for laws that undermine the safety and rights of their constituents. 6. Can you please slow down and maybe even spell out that names of places you mention in your podcast? It’s a wonderful podcast but it is so difficult to understand Icelandic names without seeing them in print (and even then it’s difficult)! I totally understand that it can be hard to listen to the podcast and not understand how to spell the words I am saying in Icelandic. One of the reasons I write a lot of notes here on my website is so that you can reference it to see what the words look like...


Is Hekla Volcano the Gateway to Hell in Iceland? – Folklore Friday

For this episode of Folklore Friday we're diving into the chilling tales and explosive history of Iceland's very own Mount Hekla, often dubbed as the "Gateway to Hell"! Hekla Volcano's Eruption Patterns & Destructive Past Our story begins in the year 1104, when Hekla made its grand entrance into the annals of volcanic history with a bang!Since the 1970s, this fiery beauty has been quite punctual, gracing us with a spectacle roughly every decade. However, she's been holding back since her last performance in February 2000, leaving us all on the edge of our seats, waiting for her next big show.But why the ominous nickname, you ask? Well, Hekla's notoriety isn't just smoke and mirrors. Picture this: the year 1300, a massive eruption tears through the mountain, the colossal roar echoing to the far reaches of the north. The skies darken with ash, casting a shadow so dense, the brave souls who once sailed for their daily catch dare not venture into the blackened seas.The aftermath? A trail of destruction, earthquakes that shook the land, farms crumbling to dust, and a devastating famine claiming around 500 lives. This wasn't a one-off event; Hekla's wrath has been felt through the ages, leaving behind tales of despair and devastation. Why Hekla Was Dubbed “The Gateway to Hell” During the dark and mystic times of the Middle Ages, the European clergy painted Hekla as the very doorstep to the netherworld. Perhaps their imagination wasn't too far off, even if it was a tad dramatic! Rumors swirled of Satan's abode lying within its fiery depths, witches convening in its shadow to pay homage to their infernal master, and the damned being whisked away by avian carriers to the volcano's gaping maws.Such were the tales that shrouded Hekla in an impenetrable veil of superstition and dread. For centuries, its slopes remained untouched by human footsteps, its peak a forbidden realm, believed to house the entrance to hell itself. The whispers of the clergy echoed across Europe, casting Icelandic volcanoes, Hekla in particular, as undeniable proof of the devil's dwelling beneath our very feet. Is Hekla a Safe Place Now? It wasn't until the bold year of 1750 that curiosity (or perhaps foolhardiness) led the first climbers to defy the myths and scale Hekla's heights. Contrary to the fearsome legends, they found no gateway to the underworld but instead unveiled the rugged beauty of this majestic volcano.Today, Hekla stands not as a feared specter but as a beacon for hikers, its slopes a testament to the courage that overcomes fear. Please note that it is still an active volcano and an eruption can still happen. If you plan to visit please check to see if there is any increased activity in the area, like earthquakes.The tale of Hekla, a volcano shrouded in myth yet bursting with natural wonder. Whether you're drawn by its dark folklore or the call of adventure, Hekla remains a captivating chapter in Iceland's rich tapestry of legends and landscapes. Who knows, maybe your next trek will be along the legendary slopes of the so-called "Gateway to Hell" – just don't expect to bump into any witches or find a stairway to the underworld! Books About Icelandic Folklore The Guardians of Iceland and other Icelandic Folk TalesIcelandic Folk Legends: Tales of Apparitions, Outlaws, and Things UnseenThe Little Book of the Hidden People: Twenty Stories of Elves from Icelandic FolkloreIcelandic Folk Tales Random Fact of the Episode Eggert Ólafsson and Bjarni Pálsson are the names of the two people that summited the mountain in 1750. After dispelling the taboo that climbing Hekla meant going to hell, meeting the devil or some witches, the mountain has become a popular place for hikers and climbers. The Icelandic Word of the Episode The name Hekla can mean a comb for linen or a cloak, such as a cloak of mist. It’s believed that Hekla mountain might have looked like a comb for linen back in the day but after many ...


Will 2024 Be One of Iceland’s Busiest Tourism Years Ever?

As of January 15th, 2024, Keflavík International Airport (KEF) has stated that they are gearing up to host a whopping 8.5 million passengers this year, making it one of their busiest years ever. Yep, you heard it right, this little volcanic island is becoming more of a hotspot than ever before!I know 8.5 million sounds like a lot, because it is, but I will put that into context during this episode because there much more to the story. Why 2024 Can Be a Record-Breaking Year in Iceland? So, what's the scoop? Well, compared to last year, we're looking at a 9.6% jump in visitors. This is both during the bustling summer months and the magical, aurora-filled winters, which usually have less people.This year, a record-breaking 2.38 million international visitors are expected to actually visit Iceland, edging past the previous record set back in 2018. The growth isn't just in the summer; winter tourism is getting a big boost too, with a 13.4% increase in visitors braving the cold for some icy adventures.But it's not just about sightseeing. With more people passing through, about 30% are just here for a quick layover. Still, every visit counts, and it's a great chance for folks to get a taste of Iceland, even if it's just a glimpse from the airport.When the airport reports numbers like 8.5 million passengers, they are counting departures, arrivals, and transfers. For 2024, the number of departures is estimated to be about 2.98 mil, arrivals are about 2.99 mil, and transfers are about 2.5 mil. After rounding up, you have 8.5 million passengers. Keflavík International Airport is Expanding to Meet the Demand Guðmundur Daði Rúnarsson, the guy steering the ship at KEF, is all in on this uptick, especially the winter warriors coming to enjoy Iceland in its frosty glory. It's great for business and even better for showing off our year-round appeal.And to make sure everyone's visit is smooth and enjoyable, KEF's been on a bit of a building spree. Last year saw new spaces for check-ins and luggage, plus a shiny new taxiway to keep things moving smoothly. And there's more on the horizon, with a new wing set to open later this year, packing in more gates and even more spots for shopping and dining. Now, you might wonder how KEF figures all this out. It's all about keeping a keen eye on travel trends, checking out airline schedules, and crunching numbers to predict how many folks will be coming through. Rules Changing For Visitors to Iceland that ae From Outside the Schengen area And with all these visitors, there's going to be a buzz around the new ETIAS system kicking off in May 2025. The ETIAS is The European Travel Information and Authorisation System.It's a new travel requirement for a lot of international visitors, so with Iceland's popularity soaring, the ETIAS applications are expected to go through the roof, especially with those extra winter visitors. From the ETIAS website: “It was announced by the European Commission in November 2016 and was implemented into legislation in September 2018. The intention of forming the system was to improve the security of EU member states within the Schengen region by capturing data on travellers that currently visit the area without a visa. The ETIAS will pre-screen travellers from "third-countries", who are citizens from countries not needing a Schengen Visa. The screening would pertain to terrorism or migration related risks. The objective is to identify individuals who pose security threats before they are able to travel to the Schengen area. ETIAS is not a visa, it is a visa waiver, similar to the U.S. ESTA and Canadian eTA. Travelers currently visiting European Member countries visa-free, will require an ETIAS in 2025 onwards. Passport holders of the EU single market are exempt from ETIAS.” What Visitors to Iceland Need to Know The increase in visitors, especially during the summer,


The Famous Trolls of Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – Folklore Friday

At the famous, beautiful, and dangerous Reynisfjara black sand beach there are three sea stacks clearly visible out in the ocean. They look as though they have popped up out of nowhere but there is a story behind their existence.Legend has it that two trolls were trying to pull a ship to shore during the middle of the night. However, they lost track of time and since this was during the warmer seasons when we have shorter nights, the sun came up sooner than they thought.Any troll caught in the sunlight turns to stone and that is exactly what happened to them. It’s said that the three rock pillars are the two trolls and the ship they were dragging. Not sure why the ship would also turn to stone but that is the story. Random Fact of the Day The beach’s signature black sand is a result of lava flow reaching the sea and cooling quickly. The molten hot lava being rapidly cooled by the cold sea makes the solid lava crack into little pieces. Those pieces are then eroded over time and become a rough sand. Icelandic Word of the Day Reynisfjara – Beach of Reynir. One story I have read says that Reynir was a Viking from Norway that was one of the first to settle in this area. Another says that it was named by Björn from Valdresi in Norway. Either way, the beach is named after a Reynir. Share This Post Facebook Email Twitter Let's Be Social Youtube Tiktok Instagram Facebook Check out more Icelandic folklore stories here.Þakka þér kærlega fyrir að hlusta og sjáumst fljótlega.


October in Iceland – Weather, Fun Activities, What to Pack & More

Visiting Iceland in October offers a unique and captivating experience, characterized by its transitional weather, diminished crowds, and the chance to witness the Northern Lights. Previous Episodes About Months in Iceland January in IcelandFebruary in IcelandMarch in IcelandApril in IcelandMay in IcelandJune in IcelandJuly in IcelandAugust in IcelandSeptember in Iceland Weather and Average Temperature Temperature Range: October in Iceland sees average temperatures ranging from 2°C to 7°C (36°F to 45°F). The weather is cool and often wet, with frequent rain showers.Weather Variability: Expect variable weather conditions. Days can be crisp and clear or windy and rainy. Daylight Hours in October in Iceland Decreasing Daylight: October marks a significant shift in daylight hours in Iceland. The month starts with about 11.5 hours of daylight and ends with around 8 hours, signaling the approach of the darker winter months. What to Wear in Iceland During October Layered Clothing: Essential for adapting to Iceland's unpredictable weather. Include waterproof and windproof jackets, warm sweaters, thermal underlayers, and sturdy, waterproof footwear.Accessories: Don’t forget hats, gloves, and scarves for extra warmth, especially when exploring outdoors.My Ultimate Packing Checklist is linked in the show notes and will provide you with everything you need to bring. I recommend following the winter list, especially toward the end of the month because it is noticeably colder and darker. Road Conditions & Driving in October Road Conditions: Generally stable, but be prepared for occasional icy patches or snow, especially in northern regions.Driving Tips: Stay updated with the weather forecast and road conditions. Daylight hours are decreasing, so plan your travels accordingly. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for more rugged terrains. Expert Trip Planning Tip for Iceland in October Due to decent day light hours, good road conditions, and relatively warm weather, October can be a nice shoulder season month for people to visit who want to avoid the crowds. Driving to different parts of the country is still quite easy, meaning hardly any snow or ice, especially during the beginning and middle of the month. So, I recommend renting a car or a camper van. The Best Company to Rent a Car or Camper Van in Iceland Go Car Rental Iceland If you plan to explore Iceland on your own when you visit, I highly recommend using Go Car Rental Iceland. They are a local Icelandic car rental company that has great customer service, a large variety of cars and very competitive prices. Use my code Iceland10 to save 10% off the entire cost of your rental car.I personally use them for when I go on adventures, and I’m so glad to hear that many of my listeners and subscribers are also having a great experience with them. I mentioned in a previous episode that one of my listeners switched to Go Car Rental Iceland from one of the internationally known rental car companies here and she saved $400! That was for a rental during the summer when prices can sometimes double due to demand. Go Campers - Camper Van Rental If you plan to use a campervan, use my code Iceland7 to save 7% and get two free duvets with your GO Campers van rental. Also, I have a great episode coming up soon about how to choose the right camper van for your travels in Iceland, so keep an eye out for that. Why You Should Visit Iceland in October Less Crowded: With the high season tapering off, you'll find fewer tourists, making it easier to enjoy Iceland’s natural beauty more peacefully.Aurora Borealis: The darkening skies increase the chances of witnessing the Northern Lights, a truly magical experience.Autumn Colors: The landscape turns into a beautiful palette of autumn colors,


An Icelander’s Intimate Encounter with an Elf – Folklore Friday

This particular episode is about Hallgerður Hallgrímsdóttir, who did an interesting interview with VICE back in 2016 about her intimate encounters. An important warning though is that she goes into some graphic details about her and an elf being intimate, as well as an anonymous account that she shares from someone else. It’s definitely out there. What Might Happen if You Meet An Icelandic Elf I am summarizing what she said in the most PG way that I can. Hallgerður claims that she was out walking in the Icelandic wilderness by herself when an elf approached her. For those not familiar with Icelandic elves, they are hidden people that look like humans but are said to be taller and way better looking. After meeting the elf, they go off and have an intimate time and yes, I am using intimate as a euphemism. She recalls it as being amazing and way better than anything she has ever done with a regular person.To make this even more interesting, she illustrated a book using stick figure drawings to show some of the intimate positions that are uniquely elvish. Hearing people’s encounters with elves regardless of them being intimate or not, are fascinating to me. I say that because there are people in Iceland who are self-proclaimed elf mediums and there is even a elf school here. Icelandic elves Random Fact of the Episode Due to a poll taken in 1998, the thought for decades was that that the majority of Icelanders believed in elves. However, another poll was done in 2022 by Prósent that says only 31% of Icelanders believe in elves, 11% were not sure, 1% didn´t want to answer and 57% said no. To be fair, this was based on around 1,000 responders who are 18 years or older. Icelandic Word of the Episode Huldufólk – hidden peopleCheck out other episodes of Folklore Friday here. Share This Post Facebook Email Twitter Let's Be Social Youtube Tiktok Instagram Facebook


An Early Morning Volcanic Eruption Cuts Off Hot Water

In the early hours of February 8th, a volcanic eruption north of Grindavik, not far from the famed Blue Lagoon, marked the third eruption since December, igniting concerns among locals and authorities.With the eruption's intensity waning by the evening, experts from the Icelandic Met Office suggest this latest upheaval might be fizzling out. Yet, the pattern of increasing volcanic activity has them predicting possible monthly eruptions in the near future. The Reykjanes Peninsula compared to the rest of Iceland Loss of Hot Water & The Precaution Needed with Gas Heaters In the wake of the eruption, the Civil Defense has issued urgent safety guidelines for residents using gas heating due to the lose of hot water because lava has flowed over a major hot water pipe coming from the Svartstengi power plant.They are emphasizing the importance of proper ventilation, the installation of gas detectors, and adherence to manufacturer instructions to prevent hazardous incidents. These precautions come amid a spike in gas cylinder sales in Reykjanesbær, driven by disruptions to the local hot water supply. lava flow's impact extended to critical infrastructure, with the Svartsengi power line's electricity being swiftly restored thanks to effective defense measures, despite the damage to protective measures on pylons. However, the hot water crisis prompted the National Police Commissioner to declare an emergency, urging the community to conserve electricity and water as repairs to the damaged hot water pipeline are underway.Despite the volcanic disturbance, international flights remain unaffected, though the Blue Lagoon has temporarily closed its doors to visitors. As the community grapples with the immediate aftermath and the potential for future eruptions, the emphasis on preparedness and safety has never been more paramount. Share This Post The towns on the Reyjanes Peninsula. Facebook Email Twitter Let's be Social Youtube Tiktok Instagram Facebook


Hallgrímskirkja Church: Reykjavík’s Iconic Architectural Marvel

One of Iceland's most iconic and breathtaking landmarks is Hallgrímskirkja church. This isn't just any church; it's a symbol of Icelandic identity, a fusion of history, and a beautiful architectural design that speaks volumes about the island's unique character. Later on, in my random fact of the episode, I share who this church is named after. Ask Jewells Anything Before I jump in, I am excited to share that I have created a form where my listeners and followers can submit questions for the “Ask Jewells About Iceland” podcast episodes I plan to do. Here is he link to submit your question. The Towering Presence in Reykjavík's Skyline Perched on the scenic hilltop of Skólavörðuholt, Hallgrímskirkja stands tall at 74.5 meters (244 ft), making it not only the largest church in Iceland but also one of the tallest structures in the country. Its visibility throughout Reykjavík turns it into a landmark for those meandering through the city's streets. A Church was Commissioned by the Icelandic Government Althingi, or the Icelandic Parliament, put forth a design competition for a church in 1929. The only specifications were that it had to seat 1,200 people and have a high tower that can possibly be used for radio signal transmissions. A Design Inspired by Nature The church's design, a masterpiece by State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson, was commissioned in 1937. Samúelsson drew inspiration from the stunning Icelandic landscape. The church’s exterior mimics the fascinating basalt columns found in places around the country, like on Reynisfjara black sand beach or Svartifoss waterfall. Overall, the design is meant to depict the mountains and glaciers of Iceland soaring up through imitations of hexagonal basalt columns.The building of the church started in 1945 and the first stage of it was complete in 1948. However, only the ground floor of the back of the church was consecrated for service. The whole church was consecrated in on October 26th, 1986. This happen to be the day before death of Hallgrímur Petursson’s death and the same year Reykjavik was celebrating 200 years of being a town and city. Hallgrímskirka is an Example of Expressionist Architecture If you're a fan of expressionist architecture, you'll spot similarities in the interior of Hallgrímskirkja church with Grundtvig's Church in Copenhagen and the Kirche am Hohenzollernplatz in Berlin.Along with designing this iconic church, Samúelsson is also responsible for designing the National Theater, the Roman Catholic Church in Reykjavik, and the main building of the University of Iceland. Inside Hallgrímskirkja: A Harmony of Art and Spirituality Step inside, and you're greeted by a serene yet powerful atmosphere. The interior, spanning 1,676 square meters, is a blend of traditional and modern design elements, evoking a sense of grandeur and reverence. The Sound of Music: An Organist's Dream Music enthusiasts, rejoice! Hallgrímskirkja houses not one, but two large pipe organs. The crown jewel is the Johannes Klais of Bonn organ, featuring electronic action, 102 ranks, 72 stops, and a staggering 5275 pipes.Standing 15 meters tall and weighing 25 metric tons, it’s an instrument that not only plays music but also tells a story of artistic brilliance. The organ was financed through private gifts. I think there are some pipes that people can “purchase” and once it is bought, you receive a certificate that you are a patron of a particular pipe. An Observation Tower with a View For the best views of Reykjavík and the surrounding mountains, take the lift to the church's observation tower. It's not just a church; it's a viewpoint that offers breathtaking panoramas of the city and beyond. Entrance into the church is free of charge but if you want to access the tower, you have to pay 1400 ISK for adults and 200 ISK for children.


Iceland’s Killer Shaggy Trout – Folklore Friday

The tale about Shaggy Trout is one I learned from reading the lovely book “Meeting with Monsters: An Illustrated Guide to the Beasts of Iceland” by Jón Baldur Hlíðberg and Sigurður Ægisson. I’m summarizing bits of the story in this episode but it is really interesting to read about this fish and other creatures in the book The Tale of the Shaggy Trout In the shadowed streams and hidden depths of Iceland's wild landscapes, there whispers a tale as mysterious as the land itself—the saga of the Shaggy Trout. This elusive creature, veiled in myth and mystery, navigates the icy currents with a coat more akin to fur than scales, a peculiarity that sets it apart from regular trout.Tracing its origins to the mists of time, the earliest chronicled mention of this enigmatic fish dates back to the 17th century, when it was branded a "poisonous menace." Legends tell of its lethal nature, claiming that to consume its flesh is to court death itself, even after its unique shaggy exterior has been stripped away. How Iceland’s Shaggy Trout Gets Its Victims The dark lore of the Shaggy Trout is stained with tragedy, as noted in 1692 when the inhabitants of Gröf farm met their untimely demise, a cooked piece of this fish lying ominously beside them. Further intrigue surrounds the creature with descriptions from 1737 hinting at two distinct variations—one adorned with a shaggy fringe upon its head, the other bearing a hairy mane along its flanks, suggesting a diversity that could mirror the sexual dimorphism seen in other species, or perhaps indicate geographical variances akin to those observed in arctic char.Sveinn Palsson, a revered 18th-century physician, recounted his encounters with this and other fantastical fish during his explorations of Arnarvatnsheiði moor, a place teeming with pristine wonders. His narrative intertwines with the grim fate of two brothers, found deceased with the remnants of this perilous fish before them, a cautionary tale highlighting the invisible danger its hair poses once removed from the water. Where Shaggy Trout Can Be Found in Iceland The lore of this fish is not confined to the annals of history but is woven into the very fabric of Icelandic culture, with tales of calamity and narrow escapes from its lethal allure. One such story is tethered to Kaldrani, where a prophetic dream foretold a tragedy linked to the consumption of this fish, a tale that resonates with the dark undercurrents of folklore where reality and myth blur.The Shaggy Trout's domain spans the breadth of Iceland's waters, like the serene surfaces of Kleifarvatn lake to the remote Skorradalur lake in the north, its presence a whispered legend among the myriad lakes and rivers. This creature, with its peculiar aversion from birds of prey and its absence of a soft dorsal fin, embodies the resilience and mysteries of the natural world. The last written account of the shaggy trout was in the middle of the 20th century. Even though it has not been seen or written about in some time does not mean it has stopped existing.In the heart of Iceland's wilds, the Shaggy Trout swims in the shadowed depths, a legend waiting to resurface in the tales of those who tread the fine line between the known and the unfathomable. While it is totally safe to fish in Iceland’s lakes, please be mindful that if you come across a hairy fish that it could be this killer trout. It’s best to discard of it and fish in another area. Random Fact of the Episode According to Jóm Ólafsson’s written account of the fish, the hair can only be seen when the fish is dead and always in the water. When it is above water, the hair sticks to the scales and is almost impossible to see. When in the water it looks like cotton or down, and it covers the body except for the tail. The fish is inedible to all animals. Icelandic Word of the Episode Loðsilungur – shaggy trout Books About Icelandic Folklore


The Golden Circle: An Ultimate Itinerary on Iceland’s Most Popular Route

Iceland, a land of fire and ice, offers a myriad of awesome routes for tourists to explore attractions, but none as well known as the Golden Circle. This popular tourist route is easily accessible from Reykjavik, and it encapsulates the raw beauty and geological marvels of Iceland.In this comprehensive guide, I will take you through the classic stops of the Golden Circle - Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Hot Spring, and Gullfoss Waterfall - and share insights on additional stops that will transform your journey into an unforgettable adventure.Tip: If you were only to do the three main stops, Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Hot Springs, Gulfoss as a round trip adventure that started and ended in Reykjavík, it will be about 3 hours and 27 minutes of driving without traffic or 233 kilometers (145 miles) according to Google Maps. Ask Jewells Anything About Iceland Before I jump in, I am excited to share that I have created a form where my listeners and followers can submit questions for the “Ask Jewells About Iceland” podcast episodes I plan to do. Here is the link to submit your question. It is a super simple form that only asks for your question and first name to submit. I will create a separate podcast episode to answer the questions submitted. It’s basically an ask me anything segment that I decided to start in 2024. Thingvellir National Park: Where History and Geology Converge If you are traveling from the Reykjavík area or the West part of the country, your first stop is Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.This isn't just a place of outstanding natural beauty; it's a cornerstone of Icelandic culture and history. Here, the Althing, the world’s oldest functioning parliament, was established in 930 AD. As you walk through the park, you're literally strolling between continents; the park lies in a rift valley where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.The sight of the vast, rugged landscape stretching out before you is awe-inspiring. In one part of the park is the gorgeous öxarárfoss waterfall. You can easily walk to it and other parts of the park, but there is also the option to drive to different points.Please know that you are expected to pay for parking at the main parking lot, which is where the information center is located. If you do not pay, you will likely get a fine that your rental car company will bill you for.Tip: Don’t miss the Silfra fissure, known for its crystal-clear waters and popular for snorkeling and diving. Geysir Hot Spring Area: A Geothermal Marvel Next on the list of the main stops is the Geysir Hot Spring Area. Home to the famous Strokkur geyser, which erupts every 8-10 minutes, shooting a column of water up to 30 meters in the air, this geothermal area is a testament to Iceland's volcanic activity.The ground is alive here, with bubbling mud pools, steaming vents, and the smell of sulfur in the air. The area is named Geysir because the hot spring Geysir used to shoot water into the air too but it is now dormant.Fun Fact: The English word "geyser" derives from Geysir, the name of an old geyser in the area. Gullfoss Waterfall: The Golden Falls The crown jewel of the Golden Circle is undoubtedly Gullfoss Waterfall. Known as the 'Golden Falls', this stunning two-tiered waterfall thunders into a deep canyon, creating a mist that often produces beautiful rainbows, adding to its ethereal beauty.The power and grandeur of Gullfoss are mesmerizing, and the story of its conservation is equally compelling, epitomizing Icelanders' respect for their natural environment. During summer, there is a trail that runs alongside the falls that allows you to get a closer vantage point and feel the power the waterfall rumbling beneath you. During winter, this path is often roped off because it can be icy and dangerous to walk on.


The Drangey Island Devil – Folklore Friday

In the North on Drangey Island is where this tale takes place. It’s said that a man went to hunt birds and collect eggs on the island. As soon as he stepped foot on the island, he dropped died. Guðmundur "The Good" Vs The Devil on Drangey Island Word got around about the sudden death of this man and people felt that the reason for the death was an evil spirit or a devil. Guðmundur "The Good", who was known as an individual that dealt with these types of spirits, went to try and sanctify the island a few times. In doing so, one time he met with the Devil.According to the legend, the devil said, even evil needs a place to reside. Guðmundur gave it some thought after hearing this from the devil and decided to set aside a cliff area where the evil spirit/devil lives. It is a place where people are not allowed to hunt or collect eggs. In essence, it is a protected area.This specific cliff is called Pagan Cliff. Since no one is 100% sure that an evil spirit doesn’t reside there and will kill you, people have decided to just leave it be. So, if you ever plan to go to this island keep that in mind. Random Fact of the Episode You can take tours to this island. Don’t worry, your guide knows not to take you to the off limits cliff. Also, Drangey island is an important place in Grettir’s saga, a folklore story I will be sharing at another time. See More of North Iceland Along with Drangey island, there are so many amazing places to see in North Iceland. The Diamon Circle route is one that is popular but I’ve had the opportunity to visit so many awesome natural wonders. If you want to add the north to your list of places to visit, I recommend grabbing My Iceland Map. It has over 260 different places around Iceland that I enjoy, including accommodations, museums, hot springs to bathe in, natural attractions, and more.Whether you just grab the map or full access, which comes with pre-made itineraries, you will have loads of recommendations for things to do in the north around the country. You can find the link to my map here or under the “Trip Planning Help” tab at the top of the page. Icelandic Word of the Episode The word Drangey has an interesting meaning. First it is two words together. Drangur and ey.Ey means island. Drangur is stone pillar. If you look at a picture of Drangey island, you will see a small stone pillar next to it the larger island. Together those words are drangey or stone pillar island. Books About Icelandic Folklore 1 .The Guardians of Iceland and other Icelandic Folk Tales2. Icelandic Folk Legends: Tales of Apparitions, Outlaws, and Things Unseen3. The Little Book of the Hidden People: Twenty Stories of Elves from Icelandic Folklore4. Icelandic Folk Tales Share This Story Facebook Email Twitter Let's Be Social Youtube Tiktok Instagram Facebook Þakka þér kærlega fyrir að hlusta og sjáumst fljótlega.


Iceland’s Dazzling Winter Lights Festival in Febraury

There are three main parts to the Winter Lights Festival – The Lights Trail, Museum Night, and Pool Night. I’ll explain each of them briefly and will provide a link where you can find out more about the 150 events going on during this festival where a number of artists participate. Ask Jewells Anything About Iceland Before I jump in, I am excited to share that I have created a form where my listeners and followers can submit questions for the “Ask Jewells About Iceland” podcast episodes I plan to do. Here is the link to submit your question. It is a super simple form that only asks for your question and first name to submit. I will create a separate podcast episode to answer the questions submitted. It basically like an ask me anything segment. The Lights Trail at the Winter Lights Festival The Lights Trail, a magical walk from Hallgrímskirkja down Skólavörðustígur to Austurvöllur, adorned with stunning light artworks that glow from 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM daily during the festival. It's the perfect way to explore outdoor art and make those Instagrammable moments with your loved ones. Pool Night Pool Night on February 1st turns your regular swim or relaxing time in the hot tub into an extraordinary experience with events happening at each pool around the capital area. Dive into twelve different pools from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, all for free, and swim in a sea of light and joy.For all those art aficionados, light lovers, and anyone looking to brighten up their winter, the Winter Lights Festival is your wonderland. Mark your calendars and let's light up the night in Reykjavik!For more insights and details, be sure to check out Winter Lights Festival - About. Museum Night Imagine a world where museums stay open late into the night, offering quirky and unique events to tickle your fancy. That's Museum Night for you, happening on February 2nd, where the city's museums transform into nocturnal wonderlands from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM. What to Wear During Winter in Iceland I highly recommend dressing extra warm because you will spend a lot of time outdoors if you want to get the most out of this festival. If you are not sure what to pack, you can get my free packing checklist for Iceland that provides the essentials, and some extras, that you can pack for winter. In addition, my summer packing list comes along with it too, so you already have that for when you plan to visit in the warmer months. Random Fact of the Episode Every night of the festival, Hallgrímskirkja church is not only lit up but there is a light show that goes along with music happening periodically. I think it is every 15 minutes or so.The kickoff to the festival starts with the first light show there. It is so much fun to watch and a great place to kick off your walk down the lights trail. Icelandic Word of the Episode Vetrarhátíð – winter festival Share This Post Facebook Email Twitter Let's Be Social Youtube Tiktok Instagram Facebook Þakka þér kærlega fyrir að hlusta og sjáumst fljótlega.


Pastor Vigfús’ Scary Encounters in East Iceland – Folklore Friday

Today, we’re diving into some intriguing Icelandic tales from East Iceland, specifically some tales from the life of Pastor Vigfús Benediktsson. Back in the 18th century, Vigfús found himself dealing with some pretty wild supernatural encounters. Luckily for him, some of the intuitive and resourceful women in his life were able to help him out when he was in some spooky situations. Pastor Vigfús' Near Fatal Drink Before landing the gig at Kalfafellsstadur, Vigfús was the pastor at Einholt. Around this time, he bumped heads with a local named Ólafur at Viðborðssel. Let’s just say things got heated from time to time.One day, Vigfús planned to visit his parishioners, despite the nasty weather. His wife, sensing trouble, advised against stopping at Ólafur's place, the guy who he bumped heads with, but Vigfús went anyway. At Viðborðssel, Ólafur welcomed him and offered a drink from a mysterious bottle. At first, Vigfús did not drink from the bottle but as time went on he was getting thirsty, so he loosened the cork on the bottle.Just as Vigfús was about to have a sip, his wife burst in, warning him not to drink. Instead, she took a swig, and spat it out. The dog in the room licked up the liquid she spat out and died on the spot! After that, she reassured Vigfús it was safe to drink, and he did without any harm. Personally, I wouldn’t want to touch the bottle after seeing the dog die from drinking for it but clearly Vigfus trusted his wife with his life. Saved by his Wife Again On another occasion, Vigfús was traveling through the Öræfi district and ended up at Hnappavellir, planning to push on to Hof, which was not far off. While he had been offered an escort, he did not find one necessary, so he set off alone despite the late hour.Later, he showed up at a nearby croft, Litlahof, and saw that someone was in the window. The woman that came out to greet him was surprised to see the pastor so late. Pastor Vigfús asked her if he could stay the night and that she keep a light burning the whole night.Back at home, Malfríður (Sigfús´s wife) woke up in a panic because she knew that her Fúsi, the nickname she has for her husband Sigfús, was in trouble. To make sure no harm came his way, she gnawed on a piece of gray cloth from her bodice all night until dawn. When dawn arrived she knew he was safe and she stopped gnawing on the cloth. A Ghost with a Deadly Mission Before his East Iceland days, Vigfús had a tough time in Aðalvik in the Westfjords, thanks to some hostile magicians. They had been using their magic to torment Vigfús and that is why he had left the area to serve in the East. Even though he was far removed from them, their grudge against him had not subsided, so they decided to wake up a ghost and sent it to kill Vigfus after he moved east! As his leather-clad ghost made its way to Vigfus, it stopped first at Tvisker, scaring a farmer named Einar on Shrove Tuesday. When the ghost arrived early in the morning, Einar was the only one awake. Einar asked the stranger where he was from and the answer was the Westfjords. Einar assumed the stranger had a message for him, so he asked if he had any news and the ghost replied that one of Einar’s sheep was dead in the fields. When Einar heard this, he immediately felt something was not right because how can a man from the Westfjords, which is very far from the East, know the mark that Einar has on his sheep. Just to note that it is common practice for farmers to mark their sheep in some way so they can find them during the yearly sheep round up called rettir or if they get lost in general. It make sense that someone from your own region would know the mark you have on your sheep but for a person from a very far area to know this is odd.To test the stranger even more, Einar asked him where a key was that had been lost twenty years prior. Without a hesitation, the ghost told him exactly where it was. Now,


Iceland’s Latest Volcanic Eruption is Destroying a Small Town

Unfortunately one of the worst case scenarios has happened in Grindavik when an eruption started this past Sunday early in the morning. Two fissures opened and one of them was right next to some houses.Everyone in Iceland and in many parts of the world who have heard about this have heavy hearts because we have been seeing the destruction of people’s homes right before our eyes and can’t do anything about it. My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes.In this update, I will share what is known right now, how the current eruption is impacting the rest of Iceland, if flights to and from Iceland are impacted, what the government is saying/doing, what’s happening at the Blue Lagoon, and where you can keep up to date about the eruption if you want more frequent information. The Start of the Latest Eruption: As a reminder, the last eruption was on December 18th and it stopped after two days.Early on Sunday morning, like about 3 AM, after hundreds of earthquakes, residents of Grindavik that had moved back to the town were evacuated. At around 8 in the morning, the eruption began. This is the fifth eruption in 4 years on the Reykjanes Peninsula.The first fissure caused concern, but the level of fear heightened to a new level when a second fissure opened up very close to the town.It’s being estimated that this eruption is one quarter the size of the previous one. There were thoughts that it could last up to a week but recently it looks like it is fading out. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what will happen next. Donate to help the Residents of Grindavik You can donate to the efforts to help the residents of Grindavik here - What the Icelandic Government is Saying The Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir, said today that, "It is of course the case that the government has decided to protect the settlement in Grindavík with the fortifications that have started to be built and will continue to be built. They have already shown and proven their worth." Katrín Jakobsdóttir Is the Blue Lagoon or Svartstengi Power Station Impacted by the Eruption? Due to the Blue Lagoon's proximity to the eruption, it is currently closed. While the Svartstengi power station is still in tact, there is evidence of land rising in its area. We are waiting to see if that subsides or if another fissure opens up there too. Are Flights to and From Iceland effected by the Volcanic Eruption? Fortunately, there are not disturbances to flights arriving or departing from Iceland. The eruption is happening on the same peninsula where the airport is located BUT the airport is in a safe area away from the lava.There is also no concerns about ash causing issues with flying because the eruption is not causing ash to form. Can People Visit the Volcanic Eruption Site? Due to the volatile nature of the eruption, the uncertainty of where a fissure can open up, and that authorities are working around the clock to finish building a wall to direct the lava in another direction, people are prohibited from visiting the eruption. Please do not put your life at risk to see this eruption because it ultimately puts Search and Rescue team members lives at risk who will need to save you if you get into trouble. Resources for More Frequent Updates About the Volcanic Eruption Check out, if you plan to travel around Iceland - English has a great timeline about what is going on and webcamsRagga at the Lava Show on Tiktok ( and Instagram ( with Helga on Instagram - Share this Post Facebook Email


The Evil Whale of West Iceland’s Hvalfjörður – Folklore Friday

This episode is part of my Folklore Friday series, where I am sharing fascinating stories from Icelandic folklore on Fridays throughout 2024. The Wrath of an Elf Woman Scorned Even though this story is based in West Iceland, it starts out on the Reykjanes Peninsula in a small village. A group of men ventured to Geirfuglasker, known as Great Auk rocky island, on a g mission to capture great auks (a type of bird). But when it was time to sail back, they realized one of their own was missing. Reluctantly, they returned home, heavy-hearted and believing him lost to the sea.A year later, the same crew found themselves back at the the same rocky island, and to their surprise, they found the missing man alive and well. He revealed an incredible tale: elves had enchanted him and held him captive for a year. The interesting part is that they treated him kindly yet keeping him away from his world. Even though they were nice to him, he longed for his home and elated to return to the world he knew with the group.But his story took an unexpected turn. An elf woman, with whom he had shared a brief but intense connection, was expecting his child. She made him vow to baptize the child if she brought it to his church. How the Evil Icelandic Whale Came to Be Time passed, and during a mass at Hvalsnes church, a mysterious cradle appeared outside, bearing a note demanding the child's baptism. This raised suspicion among the people in the village that the man who had vanished for a year was the father of the child.The pastor confronted him, but he vehemently denied any connection. At that moment, a tall, imposing woman emerged, cursing the man for his denial. She proclaimed that he would become a monstrous whale, a terror of the seas, then vanished with the cradle, leaving the villagers in shock and awe.Driven to madness by the curse, the man raced to the sea and leapt from a cliff, instantly transforming into a whale that later was called Redhead because the man was wearing a red cap on his head when he plunged into the sea. Redhead became notorious and feared because he sank nineteen ships in his wrath. A Blind, Magical Icelander Pastor Vs a Massive Serial Killer Whale One of the people deeply impacted by Redhead’s wrath was a blind pastor who lived at Saurbær. Tragedy struck when Redhead drowned the pastor's sons during a fishing trip. Grieving yet determined, the pastor, guided by his daughter, made a pilgrimage to the fjord. One thing that made the pastor different than others who encountered this whale is that he was skilled in magic.There, he and his daughter spotted the whale in the water. The pastor used a stick that his stuck in the ground along the shore to lead the whale through the fjord and up the Botnsá River. Not surprisingly, the huge whale struggling in the narrow, shallow waters. As they reached the roaring Glymur waterfall, the ground trembled like there were massive earthquakes because of the whale's immense flailing about trying to fight against the magic. In fact, it is said tha the hills above Glýmur waterfall (glýmur meaning roaring) are called Skjálfandahæðir or Shaking hills because of this incident.Finally, the blind pastor, with the help of his daughter leading him, had dragged Redhead the hot-tempered whale up to Hvalvatn Lake. Due to pure exhaustion from the difficult climb, Redhead died in the lake. The most intriguing part of the is story to me is that remains of whale bones have been found in this lake, which has led people to believe that it is a true story. When the pastor and his daughter returned home, the villagers were grateful for the work he had done to rid Redhead of the seas so it could be a little safer for all. Random Fact of the Episode Hvalfjörður is only 26 kilometers from Reykjavík, which is about an hour one way. It’s a lovely fjord and the drive is really nice.


September in Iceland: Weather, Fun Activities & What to Expect

Visiting Iceland in September is an experience that combines the tail end of summer's allure with the onset of autumn's charm. Here's what you can expect: Previous Episodes About Months in Iceland January in IcelandFebruary in IcelandMarch in IcelandApril in IcelandMay in IcelandJune in IcelandJuly in IcelandAugust in Iceland Weather and Average Temperature Climate: September in Iceland marks the transition from summer to autumn but the temperature is still relatively mild.Temperature: Average temperatures range from about 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F). The days are generally cool and the nights chillier because we have dark nights now that summer is over.Precipitation: There's a fair chance of rain, so waterproof clothing is advised. However, it varies from year to year as to what the weather will be. Daylight Hours in Iceland Length of Day: In September, the days start to get noticeably shorter. You can expect around 11 to 14 hours of daylight.September 1st – The sun rises at 6:09 AM and sets at 8:44 PM, which is 14 hours and 35 minutes of day lightOn September 15th – The sun rises at 6:49 AM and sets at 7:54 PM, for a total of 13 hours and 5 minutes of day light.September 30th - The sun rises at 7:32 AM and sets at 7:01 PM, which means we have a total of 11 hours and 28 minutes of daylight.Northern Lights: The diminishing daylight hours increase the chances of witnessing the Northern Lights, especially towards the end of the month. What to Wear in Iceland in September Layered Clothing: The key is to dress in layers. Bring thermal wear, sweaters, and a good quality waterproof and windproof jacket.Footwear: Waterproof hiking boots are essential for exploring the outdoors.Accessories: Don't forget hats, gloves, and scarves, especially if you plan to stay out at night.My Ultimate Packing Checklist will provide you with everything you need to bring. I recommend following the summer list. Just know that it can be a little chilly during the evening in July, especially in the north, so you will need some thicker layers. Road Conditions & Driving in Iceland during September Roads: Most main roads are still easily navigable. You can easily drive the ring road and many highland roads are still open, especially during the beginning of the month. Watch out still for sheep that are on the sides of the road. They might cross at any time, so be ready to stop.Weather Impact: Sudden weather changes can affect driving conditions. Be prepared for rain or early snow in higher altitudes. In the north, West fjords, the highlands and parts of the East fjords, it is normal to see some snow on the mountains during this time. It’s winter showing us that it is not far away.Driving Tips: Always check the weather forecast and road conditions before heading out. Sites like,,, are all great for checking if there are closed roads due to storms or other bad weather conditions. Expert Trip Planning Tip for September If you are looking to avoid the crowds of summer, September is a lovely time to visit. There are still long daylight hours and, as I mentioned above, most, if not all, highland roads are open. Plus, you can potentially see the northern lights!Even though this is a shoulder season month, I still highly recommend booking accommodations far in advance. More people have been finding out that September is a great time to visit, so there is spillover of people from the peak summer months. This means accommodations you want might be a little hard to snag. Renting a Car in September in Iceland If you plan to explore Iceland on your own when you visit, I highly recommend using Go Car Rental Iceland. They are a local Icelandic car rental company that has great customer service, a large variety of cars and very competitive prices.


Iceland’s Magical 13th Day of Christmas – Folklore Friday

Today is the first episode of my Folklore Friday series, where I am sharing fascinating stories from Icelandic folklore on Fridays throughout 2024. This one is extra special because tomorrow is January 6th and it is said that many magical things happen then in Iceland. Why January 6th is the end of Christmas in Iceland On January 6th, Iceland bids a vibrant farewell to its Christmas season, a day steeped in magic and folklore. Known as Þrettándinn or "The Thirteenth," this day marks the culmination of a thirteen-day yuletide celebration. Having 13 days of Christmas is uniquely Icelandic in its charm and mystique.In Iceland, Christmas starts on the 24th of December, and Þrettándinn, literally translating to "the thirteenth," aligns with what many know as the twelfth night of Christmas. But here, it holds a deeper significance, intertwining with the enchanting lore of Huldufólk, the hidden people of Icelandic tales.As the day unfolds, the end of the festive season is celebrated. The last of the Yule Lads their family begin their journey back to their homes in the mountains. This retreat signals the end of their annual visit, as they vow to return next Christmas.Under the starlit sky, Icelanders traditionally gather around roaring bonfires on this day. Songs of the New Year and elfin melodies float through the air, a celebration of community and folklore. Keep an Eye Out for the Mystical Icelandic Creatures that Might Appear But the magic of Þrettándinn extends beyond the visible. It's a day when cows are whispered to possess the gift of speech. Their words a tantalizing mystery, yet one must resist the urge to listen, for their voices are said to bring madness. Seals shed their normal appearance and wander the land in human form. It's a sight both wondrous and eerie.The most fascinating part of all is that the Elf King and Queen are said to show up at the bonfires. They dance and sing around the crackling flames. Their jubilant voices echo through the night, a reminder of the enchantment that pervades this mystic evening.Þrettándinn stands as a unique and captivating finale to Iceland's Christmas season. A day where the line between the ordinary and the magical blurs, leaving behind memories as vivid as the Northern Lights themselves.After this day, the festive spirit dims in homes across Iceland. Christmas lights might stay up until the end of the month because the light is nice to see during the dark months. However, trees are dismantled, and decorations are tucked away until next year. Icelandic Word of the Episode Due to so many random facts already shared in this episode, I don’t have a separate segment for that but the Icelandic word of the episode is Þrettándabrennur, which translates to the thirteenth bonfires. Books About Icelandic Folklore The Guardians of Iceland and other Icelandic Folk TalesIcelandic Folk Legends: Tales of Apparitions, Outlaws, and Things UnseenThe Little Book of the Hidden People: Twenty Stories of Elves from Icelandic FolkloreIcelandic Folk TalesÞakka þér kærlega fyrir að hlusta og sjáumst fljótlega Share This Post Facebook Email Twitter Let's Be Social Youtube Tiktok Instagram Facebook


2023 Iceland Wrap-Up: Big News Stories & What’s Coming in 2024

It’s the end of 2023 and it has been quite year in Iceland, my personal life and for All Things Iceland. This episode is a recap that hits on all those areas, and I share what I have in store for 2024! Of course, included in my recap is an update about the most recent volcanic eruption.Like most of my episodes, I will also have a random fact and an Icelandic word of the episode to share at the very end. How My Life in Iceland Has Changed in 2023 I’ll start out with the personal bits first. For those that listened to my 5-year anniversary episode of the podcast in June, you know that Gunnar and I are no longer together. Deciding to split was not easy. While I decision to no longer be together happened in 2022, our divorce was not finalized until July 2023. The divorce process in Iceland is a minimum of 6 months. There have certainly been some challenging times throughout the process.I learned a lot about myself and fir the first time in a long time, I started to live on my own. Even though I continued to work on All Things Iceland, I took many much-needed breaks for my personal well-being and that helped me to feel so much more refreshed every time I came back to publish videos, podcast episodes or to projects for other companies.While my life changed drastically the last couple of years, it has transformed me in ways I never imagined. As I have shared in the past, Iceland is my home and I love being here, so it is where I plan to stay for the foreseeable future. Spending More Time in the US I saw my family much more than I have in previous years. I came to the US three times, which is quite a lot for me, but it was awesome. I met some of my listeners and followers out on the streets of Reykjavik or at a coffee shop. I am often not able to meet up with people because of my schedule but I have thought of hosting dinners where people visiting can dine and chat with me in person while in the country. I would love to hear people’s feedback about that. Feel free to email me at jewells(at) or message me via Instagram, if you are interested in that idea. All Things Iceland Recap in 2023 Even though, this fits into both the personal and professional part of my life, it was such a joy to be one of the people featured on Geography of Bliss hosted by Rainn Wilson.For those who have not heard of it or seen it, the actor who played Dwight Shrute on the hit show The Office (specifically the US version), hosted a travel show where he goes around the world to find out what happiness means in different cultures. The first episode is Iceland. It was originally aired on Peacock, which is NBC’s streaming service, but I think it is available on several platforms now.Not including this one, I published 32 podcast episodes last year, which surprised me because I didn’t feel like I put out that much in 2023. As you’ll soon learn about 2024, I have a lot more in store for the podcast because I miss having lots of great episodes going out that hit on many different aspects of Iceland’s culture, history, language, nature, and travel.I couldn’t do as many interviews as I wanted in 2023, but my favorites were with Chief Phil Fontaine from Canada and Aka Hensen from Greenland.I learned so much from all my interviews but those two were eye opening for me in many ways. I have them linked in the show’s description on my website, if you would like to listen to them. Who the Podcast Reached in 2023 The podcast reached 187 countries last year. For those that are curious, listeners from the US are my largest audience but the top 7 are US, Canada, Iceland, the UK, Germany, Australia, and Norway.There are many European countries after that, but I loved to see all of the ones on the list. Some that stood out to me as I scrolled through the list of 187 countries are the Aland Islands, Cameroon, Honduras, Uzbekistan, Ethiopia,


The Latest on Iceland’s Volcanic Eruption – December 2023

The latest volcanic eruption in Iceland started on Monday, December 18th at 10:00 PM UTC. When it started the fear was that the town of Grindavík would be in danger of being submerged in molten hot lava. Here is the latest on what is happening and if the town is in danger. Will Grindavík Be Spared in Iceland’s Latest Volcanic Eruption? The eruption started north of Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Due to major damage from earthquakes and the potential of magma breachin the surface, Grindavík had been evacuated some weeks ago.Even though, no one was certain where the eruption would happen, it was fairly certain that one was mostly likely to happen in this area or even underneath the town. As of right now, the lava appears to be flowing away from the town and is confined between two mountains – Sýlingarfell and Hagafell. Is the Blue Lagoon in Danger? Even though the eruption is happening across the road from the Blue Lagoon and the power station, there is no current indication that either are in danger. The Blue Lagoon opened on December 17th again after being closed for weeks, but then had to close again due to the eruption nearby.It’s hard to say when it will be deemed safe for the Blue Lagoon to open again. Authorities are monitoring the situation closely and it will be announced when the iconic location will open in the future. Will Flights to Iceland Be Impacted by the Current Volcanic Eruption? Currently, flights to Iceland are not impacted at all by the current volcanic eruption. While this eruption is happening on the same peninsula where the airport is located, it is still far enough away from it to have an impact.There is no expectation that there will be ash created that can pose a threat to engines of planes. If anything, you might be able to see the eruption well from the window of your flight if you are arriving in the country when it is dark. If anything changes regarding flights, I will definitely announce it. Should I cancel my trip to Iceland because of the Volcanic Eruption Happening Now? While I understand the trepidation some people fear of coming to Iceland when an active volcanic eruption is happening, there is no need to cancel your plans to visit. There is only a very small area on the Reykjanes Peninsula that is currently impacted by this natural occurrence.The rest of Iceland is open for you to explore and enjoy. Like I mentioned above, flights are happening according to schedule and there is no current expectation that this eruption will cause delays or cancellations. Share This Post Facebook Email Twitter Let's Be Social Youtube Tiktok Instagram Facebook Þakka þér kærlega fyrir að lesa og sjáumst fljótlega.