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Kári Stefánsson – Icelandic Pioneer in Human Genetics: Ep. 50

For episode fifty of the All Things Iceland podcast, I interviewed Kári Stefánsson, an Icelandic neurologist who is also the founder and CEO of deCode genetics. deCode is a biopharmaceutical company based in Reykjavík. Kári pioneered the use of, “population scale genetics to understand variation in the sequence of the human genome.”WIkipedia The discoveries from using this approach have helped with developing new drugs. Additionally, the discoveries have helped scientists to better...


Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir: An Award Winning Icelandic Singer – Ep. 49

Hallveig has won the Classical Singer of the year at the Icelandic Music awards twice and has been nominated three more times. Additionally, she has twice won the Singer of the Year for the Gríman, which is the Theatre awards in Iceland. Funny enough, I was introduced to Hallveig by her husband Jón after he reached out to me about to being interviewed in the Stuck in Iceland magazine, which they both run. I found it so fascinating to speak with Hallveig about classical music in Iceland. The...


Celebrating the 1st Year of the All Things Iceland Podcast- Ep.48

Today is a very special episode because in June of 2018, I launched the All Things Iceland podcast. A full year later, there are 47 episodes (48 if you include this one) and more than 60,000 downloads. I am incredibly grateful for all of the people that have listened to this podcast and for those who do so in the future. I thought it would be fun to do something a little different for this special occasion. Send In Your Questions For The Podcast I plan to publish an episode that is dedicated...


Alþingi – Icelandic Government & Politics From Creation to Present Day: Ep. 47

The history of the Icelandic government, also known as Alþingi, dates back to the 900s. This episode breaks down the evolution of the government in this country from the very beginning to present day. The World's Oldest Surviving Parliament In previous episodes, I have mentioned the Alþingi, which is the the Icelandic parliament. It was founded in 930 at Þingvellir, which is now part of the Golden Circle and is one of the most historically important sites in the country. Iceland claims that...


Ásatrú – Iceland’s Fastest Growing Non-Christian Religion

Ásatrú, an Old Norse paganism, has become the fastest growing non-Christian religion in Iceland. When most people think of this country, religion is not normally what pops into their minds. However, over 75% of the Icelandic population are registered as members of a religious organization. Later, in the random fact of the episode, I share the number of Icelanders belonging to the top five religious organizations in the country. When & Why Was Ásatrú Founded Paganism was once the norm in...


Reykjanes Peninsula – What to See & Do In Iceland’s 2nd UNESCO Geopark: Ep. 45

After most visitors to Iceland arrive at Keflavik international airport, they quickly grab their bags and set their sights on traveling to downtown Reykjavík. Unfortunately, the don't give any thought to visiting the rest of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Little do they know that a beautiful, less crowded and completely underrated place waits just outside of the airport. I was delighted when I found out that this peninsula had been designated a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2015. I have been fortunate...


Hélène Magnússon – The Icelandic Knitter: Ep. 44

Hélène Magnússon is a very talented and passionate knitter living and working in Iceland. She is well known in the knitting world as the Icelandic knitter. While she originally hails from France, Iceland has been her home for over 25 years. We had a lively conversation that touched on why she moved to Iceland, her experience learning Icelandic, how she became interested in traditional Icelandic knitting patterns, and so much more. The Questions I Asked Hélène During the Interview: You were...


Andri Snær Magnason, Award Winning Icelandic Author: Part 2 – Ep. 43

During this part of the interview, Andri provides some great insight into the current literature landscape in Iceland and the impact of literature from this country on the world. We start off this interview talking about Reykjavík being a UNESCO City of Literature. Andri is a great person to talk about this because he is the chairman of the board for the Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature. Andri also shares he favorite pieces of Icelandic literature, his environmental advocacy work, his run...


Andri Snær Magnason, Award Winning Icelandic Author: Part 1 – Ep. 42

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Andri Snær Magnason, an award winning writer of novels, poetry, plays and films. He is also a very active environmental activist. We chatted about his fascinating literary career, how he chooses topics to write about, and so much more. Because we talked for about one hour and forty five minutes, I decided to break up the episode into two parts. You’ll hear me say in the beginning that I want to speak with Andri about Reykjavík being a UNESCO City of...


Andie Fontaine : The News Editor of The Reykjavík Grapevine – Ep. 41

To kick off my comeback to podcasting, I am sharing an awesome interview I did with Andie Fontaine, the News Editor of The Reykjavík Grapevine. Andie is originally from Baltimore. They have been living in Iceland since 1999 and has Icelandic citizenship. We dive into what it has been like for Andie to learn Icelandic, their views on immigration, coming out as transgender and many other fascinating topics. By the way, we did this interview at the office of the Reykjavík Grapevine, so there is...


The Rich History of Icelandic Literature & Culture – Ep. 40

During this week's episode, I give an overview of the rich history of Icelandic literature and culture. Before I jump in, I have two announcements. Two Important Announcements The first is that today, February 20th, 2019, is the last day for you to enter the All Things Iceland podcast giveaway. If you haven’t entered already, you can do so by clicking on the image that says the All Things Iceland podcast giveaway below. I will pick the winners at random tomorrow and contact them The second...


Icelandic Real Estate: Buying & Renting Homes in Reykjavík – Ep. 39

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Diðrik Stefánsson, a realtor in Reykjavík, to talk about the real estate market in Iceland. His nickname is Diddi and that is how I refer to him during the interview. This topic fascinates me for many reasons. The main one is that there is a lot of confusion and curiosity about the process of renting or buying in Iceland. I decided to reach out to Diddi because he has been sharing his knowledge about the process on Facebook in groups that we are both a...

Game of Thrones: Where Scenes Were Filmed in Iceland – Ep. 38

In anticipation of the season 8 premiere for Game of Thrones on April 14th, I have decided to dedicate this episode to sharing the location of where the scenes for the show were filmed in Iceland. I am also including film locations that have been confirmed for the upcoming season. Even if you are not a fan of the show, the places on the list of where the scenes were shot are beautiful and worth checking out if you plan to visit. Season 2 Beyond the Wall - Svínafellsjökull Glacier in...


Akureyri: The Capital of Northern Iceland – Ep. 37

Akureyri, also known as the capital of the north in Iceland, is the fourth largest municipality in Iceland. Reykjavík, Hafnarfjörður and Kopavogur are larger. This town of about 18,500 people is small in comparison to Reykjavík, but it is bustling with life. Akureyri’s History This area that Akureyri is located was originally settled in the 9th century by a Norse Viking named Helgi magri (the slim) Eyvindarson. However, you don’t see the name Akureyri mentioned in any court records until...


The Cod Wars: Iceland vs Britain – Ep.36

While Iceland is not known for getting involved in wars, the country found itself in a territorial battle with Britain. The disputes are called the Cod Wars and they lasted for almost 20 years. First, It Was Denmark vs Britain The seas surrounding Iceland are rich with marine life, especially fish. British fishermen had been capturing cod in Icelandic waters since the 15th century. In the early 16th century, it became common to see many of their boats off the coast of the island. While...


Iceland’s Hidden People & Mythical Beings – Ep. 35

Many people think that the hidden people in the land of fire and ice are just elves. However, hidden people actually includes the many different types of beings that are rarely, if ever, seen here. In addition to elves, there are trolls, dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, mountain spirits and ghosts. There are also a variety of monsters. Icelandic folklore includes many fascinating and frightening stories that I plan to talk about in future episodes of this podcast. As a primer for future shows, I...


Moving & Adjusting to Living in Iceland – My Personal Experience – Ep. 34

This week is a bit different than my normal episodes because I am going to share why I moved to Iceland. I get this question a lot, mainly because I was born and raised in NYC. People find it very difficult to understand why I would move to such a small country that averages relatively chilly temperatures and has a population of about 350,000 people. After sharing Ingólfur Arnarson’s story, the man who founded Reykjavík, I felt compelled to share my own. So, let’s just jump right into it....


Ingólfur Arnarson – The Founder of Reykjavík – Ep. 33

Gleðilegt nýtt ár!!! Happy New Year. Because the new year can feel like the time for new beginnings, I know 2019 does for me, I thought it would be fun to talk about the person who founded Reykjavík. He is also recognized as the first permanent Norse settler of Iceland. The First Norsemen in Iceland According to the Landnámabók, which literally means the book of settlements, Ingólfur Arnarson, his wife Hallveig Fróðadóttir, his step brother Hjörleirfur Hróðmarsson and their slaves arrived in...


How to Ring in The New Year Icelandic Style – Ep. 32

Now that some of the major Christmas events are over, Icelandic people are gearing up for the New Year. While I did talk about how amazing it is to celebrate the New Year in Iceland in episode 23, which is all about Icelandic Holidays, Traditions and Celebrations and episode 31, "16 Christmas Activities to in Reykjavík, Iceland", I still feel like the New Year's celebration in Iceland deserves an episode of its own. After all, it is one of the most joyous, noisy and fun nights of the year....


16 Christmas Activities to Do While Visiting Iceland – Ep. 31

Christmas in Iceland is a lovely time. Everyone is merry and there are lots of fun events happening. I purposefully decided not to include activities that not specific to Christmas on this list. You won’t hear me say, hunt for Northern Lights, go on a Glacier Walk, ride an Icelandic horse and so on during this episode. While those activities are awesome, they can be experienced when it is not Christmas in Iceland. Because the Christmas season in Iceland lasts for about a month, you will have...