A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Holuhraun, still spewing lava. Bárðarbunga, still sinking.
Mag
Articles
Best Of Reykjavík: Shopping And Commerce

Best Of Reykjavík: Shopping And Commerce

Words by

Published July 2, 2010

We just published our second annual Best Of Reykjavík guide today, full of favourite things as selected by our esteemed panel of colleagues and your suggestions. Something weird happened when we went to print though and the section about shopping and commerce somehow didn’t get printed. What the! Boy, is there egg on our faces. Anyway, here it is for your enjoyment, and be sure to check back soon for all the other awesome categories of great stuff in this city!
Best place to shop for touristy stuff: Handprjónasambandið
There are now a lot more tourist shops around in Reykjavík than when we researched this category last year. The fact remains unchanged, however, that Handprjónasambandið offers the most authentic, useful and plain nice Iceland-memorabilia out there (unless you’ve got a thing for stuffed puffin and volcanic ash-in-a-bag). Handprjónasambandið sells the ultra-traditional, always-stylish hand-knit sweater, as well as a plethora of other hand-knit items (their name does translate as “The hand knitting association,” so go figure). They sorta rule, we think
Runners-up: The more trendalicious of you might make your way to the Farmers Market store. They also sell a lot of knitwear, but with a stylish, modern twist (“their sweaters look really cool”).
(2009: Handprjónasambandið)
Best place to get a trendy haircut: Rauðhetta og úlfurinn

Rauðhetta og úlfurinn are pretty much verging on institution territory when it comes to trendy haircuts. In fact, that’s what some of your write-ins suggested, as in: “they are Iceland’s hairdressing institution, especially since the place is ancient in ‘fashion years.’ It’s unusual for any place to keep their stature for so long in the fickle word of fashion, but they keep doing it.” It comes with a price, of course.  
Runners-up: There were many nominations for all sorts of “unofficial” hairdressing joints that we didn’t really feel comfortable recommending (we don’t want to get anyone arrested for “unauthorised hairstyling” or anything). But you should seek them out if you’re into it. Some folks also mentioned Slippurinn as a fresh new place to shed them locks.
(2009: Rauðhetta og úlfurinn)
Best place to shop second-hand: The Salvation Army store

A veritable treasure chest for those that don’t mind digging around a little for their threads, the Salvation Army store has a lot of nice variety “that you can sink yourself into for hours on end,” as well as “unbeatable prices,” and a nice central location.
Runners-up: The Red Cross stores all have some very nice items on offer, it’s for a great cause and a lot of folks were rooting for them to get the prize. Maybe next year?
(New category)  
Best place to shop for high fashion: KronKron

KronKron have been supplying the fashion conscious crowd with high-end designer wear for many years now. Well stocked with a plethora of interesting and innovative international brands and designers that can make you look all sophisticated and world-weary at the drop of a hat, they’ve managed to “constantly stay ahead of the curve.” Oh, it comes at a price, but beauty is pain and all.
Runners-up: In the same league, GK caters to a “slightly older crowd,” but they’ve been doing it with style and panache for a very long time.
Best haberdashery: Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar
There really never was any doubt as to who would score the title here. Shopping at Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar is always a fun and interesting experience, the store clerks are knowledgeable and helpful and you can walk out looking like a Mad Men extra (note: they are probably the reason why so many local dudes walk around looking like Mad Men extras).
(New category)
Best place to shop organic: Yggdrasill

Even though they moved location, from Skólavörðustígur to Rauðarárstígur, Yggdrasill are still the reigning kings of this category. They’ve got pretty much everything you need for some healthy and/or “health conscious” living in Iceland in stock – except for willpower.
(2009: Yggdrasill)
Most welcome addition: Fiskmarkaðurinn við gömlu höfnina

We have no idea if this place is going to stick around for winter, but we want to give it a large BIG UP while they’re here anyway. Fiskmarkaðurinn við gömlu höfnina (“The fish market by the old harbour”) is open every Saturday from 10-17, and they are, well, a fish market. You can buy fresh fish, processed fish and all sorts of other stuff there, mostly fish-related. It really is one of those places that has been sorely lacking in Reykjavík up until now, and we are hoping they’re not going anywhere.  
Runner-up: Frú Lauga is another equally welcome addition to the Reykjavík foodie scene. They offer
(New category)



Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Holuhraun Continues To Erupt

by

It’s been almost a month since the Holuhraun eruption started, and there doesn’t seem to be any indication of it stopping soon. Meanwhile, the Bárðarbunga caldera continues to subside, which means that it must still be feeding magma to the Holuhraun eruptive fissure. The surrounding area is still closed to the public (sorry!) due to high concentrations of poison gas and the continuing risk of flooding. In the last two weeks there has been quite a bit of air pollution (mostly sulphur dioxide, the one that smells like rotten eggs) due to gas emanating from the eruptive fissure. Daily forecasts

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Which Way 
The Wind Blows

by

“This is what we call a ‘washing board,’” our guide Kormákur Hermannsson says, his voice barely intelligible as we jostle violently on the bumpy mountain road. Indeed it feels like we are driving over one. It’s been nine hours since we set off from Reykjavík to see the Holuhraun eruption in Iceland’s remote highlands, and we are shaking. To our right, the sun is a blinding red ball peeking out from behind the clouds. Mount Herðubreið looms over an orange haze that blankets the horizon. We are still a few hours away from the eruption, yet its presence is unmistakeable.

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

One Man’s Miracle

by

Möðrudalur, one of the most isolated farms in Iceland, lies under the icy nipple of Mt. Herðubreið in the northeastern part of the island.  In 1919, a man named Jón Stefánsson bought Möðrudalur from one of his brothers.  Jón was a saddler and harness maker by trade. He was also an accomplished musician. At night he’d sit at his organ, and the echo of Bach sonatas, which he’d play backwards note for note, would sweep over Möðrudalur’s lava and empty sands. Jón was, to put it mildly, an eccentric. He’d wake up at 4am and get the farm labourers working

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Mexicans: They’re Everywhere!

by

When I began my search for Mexicans in Iceland, I was prepared to hear fantastic stories about cultural polarity. And that’s exactly what I got. From tiny Vopnafjörður we travel to the centre of it all, Reykjavík. This is the story of Rodrigo Aparicio, who found a second home in Iceland. What does “exotic” mean? For many, Mexico—with its countless ecosystems, dialects, blue shores, sandy beaches, archaeological sites and colonial cities—fits the bill perfectly. To Mexicans, “exotic” is perhaps the type of place where you’ll experience midnight sun and the Northern Lights, where folks aren’t coy about the human body,

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Höfði-San: Shrimp Salesman Built A Replica Of A Reykjavík Landmark

by

Iceland became the focus of world attention when US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in Reykjavík in October 1986 to discuss nuclear disarmament. The powerful couple met at Höfði, a small villa on Borgartún, the street where the ghosts of the fallen Icelandic banking system roam today. Many of the banks had headquarters and offices on this street, which lies only a kilometre or so away from the city centre. Before the international financial crisis obliterated the overweight Icelandic finance industry, the bankers wanted to build huge towers and other mega structures in the area, which

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Independence Is Not A Disaster:

by

After decades of discussion on the political and economic details of a theoretically independent Scotland, the Scottish citizens finally face the vote that could bring this country into reality. The vote on the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill, asking “Should Scotland be an independent country?” will take place this Thursday, September 18, 2014. “We have a shared interest” As part of the discourse on their potential independence, Scottish political leaders are looking to the Nordic countries as models in developing their social and economic policies. In addition to potentially modelling welfare and taxation on Nordic systems, other involvement ranges from applying

Show Me More!