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BEST OF REYKJAVlK IS HERE AGAIN

BEST OF REYKJAVlK IS HERE AGAIN

Published July 19, 2012

Our BEST OF REYKJAVÍK LIST is here! Again we’ve spent countless hours compiling the thing [via your suggestions, e-mails, Facebook comments and bar-talk], and as always we are sure you are more than ready to contest and challenge every single entry.
And this is the point. We should strive to spend our time having conversations about stuff in our environment that contributes to our quality of life. We need to care about our surroundings and show love for the things we are thankful for.
As we like to lazily copy/paste on this occasion: “We love the great city of Reykjavík. We really do. In fact, we love it so much, we named our magazine after it—and most of us choose to live here for extended periods at a time. It really is an excellent little city, all things considered. Of course it’s lacking in many things a city will need. Decent public transport, actual neighbourhoods, a variety of ethnic eateries, clubs for late night partying on weekdays and about a million people, to name but a few. But we still swear by it, and if you’re reading this, chances are you do too.”
What follows are some nice tips on some of what makes Reykjavík-life worthwhile, some good entries into a hopefully neverending discussion. The primary purpose of this BEST OF REYKJAVÍK thing is celebration! It’s about big-upping stuff, giving mad props to it and patting it on the shoulder.
Our list is of course by no means a scientific one, and it is certainly contestable. It should be used as a starting point for a conversation; something for you to read, verify, distrust, totally disagree with, argue over, send us angry rants about and enjoy.
Here’s how we do it: Ever since spring 2009 we’ve been accepting readers thoughts on what’s BEST at bestof@grapevine.is, as well as conducting random polls on our Facebook, on the street and at the bar. Using your suggestions and arguments for guidance, we then assembled a couple of panels of tasteful folks that represent most genders, income brackets and political affiliations. Below are the results. Enjoy, and remember to send your suggestions to bestof@grapevine.is for consideration in our 2013 edition.
Read REYKJAVÍK INSTITUTIONS here
Read BEST OF REYKJAVíK: Dining & Grubbing here
Read BEST OF REYKJAVíK: Shopping & Commerce here
Read BEST OF REYKJAVíK: Drinking & Nightlife here
Read BEST OF REYKJAVíK: Activities & Fun-Times here



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In A Class By ItsELF

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Reykjavík’s Elfschool is an institution of learning unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Nestled on the second floor of a nondescript building in the commercial neighbourhood Skeifan, this one-of-a-kind school purports to teach “everything that is known about elves and hidden people,” according to its founder and headmaster, Magnús Skarphéðinsson. For 26 years, Magnús has taught students about where elves live, what they think of humans, and told stories from those people—“witnesses,” as he calls them—who have seen, heard, or made contact with the invisible world. Perhaps more reminiscent of the education you might receive from listening to a great-grandmother’s stories

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It Was My Way, And The Highway

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On the Álftanes peninsula, a good ten kilometres from downtown Reykjavík, lies a unique lava field called Gálgahraun. The towns of Hafnarfjörður, Álftanes and Garðabær were all built around the 8,000-year-old lava, which is on the Nature Conservation Register and was immortalised on canvas by celebrated Icelandic artist Jóhannes S. Kjarval. Gálgahraun was widely considered to be one of the few spots of unspoilt nature left in the greater metropolitan area, but it isn’t any more, as a big highway that cuts the field in two is currently under construction. The road is being built to accommodate the people of

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News In Brief Early August

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A whole new angle on the ever-brewing Ministry of the Interior scandal came to light when it was reported that Interior Minister Hanna Birna had contacted then-Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson, in person and by phone, in part to ask if police could be trusted with ministry files, and when their investigations would end. Cue media maelstrom, replete with Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson formally requesting the minister explain herself. At the time of writing, the Ombudsman is still waiting for a final answer from Hanna Birna, who had until August 15 to respond. Former Prime Minister Geir

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Hidden People: They’re Just Like Us (Kind Of)

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When foreign media outlets report on Iceland and need to add a little local colour, they will invariably throw in a quick, ironical side note about the country’s pervasive belief in elves, or Hidden People. The tone is generally one of indulgence with just a dash of condescension, the written equivalent of patting a small child on the head when she introduces her invisible friend Mister Bob Big Jeans. Although many academic studies and informal surveys alike have concluded that a not insignificant portion of the Icelandic population “will not deny the existence of elves,” as Terry Gunnell, a leading

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Hidden People Folktales

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It is due to the efforts of two men, Jón Árnason (1819-1888) and Magnús Grímsson (1825-1860), that such a large body of 18th and 19th century Icelandic folktales exist today. Jón was a writer and also the first librarian of the National Library of Iceland, and Magnús was a student-turned-priest. Following the popularity of the Grimms Brothers’ fairytales, which were collected and first published in the early 1800s, similar folktale compendiums were collected throughout the Nordic countries. However, it was not until an English scholar named George Stephens issued a special request to Icelanders for a similar collection to be

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“An Absurd Film Set In Reykjavík”

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In September 1942 the inhabitants of Reykjavík had breakfast in a state of shock. They were reading an article in Morgunblaðið newspaper about a new Hollywood film set in their city, starring the world famous Norwegian figure skater and movie star Sonja Henie. The headline read “An absurd film set in Reykjavík” and the news lead to a public outcry. Subsequently the US government received a complaint from the Icelandic government. Today Iceland is a natural movie set frequented by famous directors. The makers of big projects like ‘Prometheus,’ ‘Noah’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ have all used it to film

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