Alda Sigmundsdóttir

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Alda Sigmundsdóttir

 •  16.02.15

Happy happy Cream Puff Day!

Today is bolludagur (Cream Puff Day) here in Iceland, during which we gorge ourselves with - what else - cream puffs. It is followed in rapid succession by sprengidagur (Eat Salted Lamb Until You Burst Day) and öskudagur (Ash Wednesday).

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A wee Advent story about some traditions and a tree

As some of you may be aware, the Christmas season is a pretty big deal here in Iceland. We are now into the second Sunday in Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) and this is definitely one of the most magical times of year here, fully qualified to rival the season of the midnight sun.

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The Icelanders and their Big Love of books

This is the time of year when we Icelanders experience the so-called jólabókaflóð, or “Christmas book flood”. Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world and the bulk of book sales happens at this time of year, with the publishing industry receiving something like 80 percent of its annual revenues in the approximately two months leading up to Christmas.

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3 great reasons for visiting beautiful Hofsós (besides the fact that it's beautiful)

Hofsós, located on the banks of Skagafjörður fjord in north Iceland, is a historic trading port overlooking the stunning island of Drangey, which rises almost vertical out of the sea in the distance. It’s a friendly little town, that comes alive in the summer with tourists, hikers and seasonal residents.

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Safnasafnið: a jewel of an art museum in North Iceland

Just past Akureyri, heading north, travellers tend to do a double take on seeing a very tall figure of a man by the side of the road. And I mean VERY tall.

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Alda Sigmundsdóttir

 •  15.07.14

A culinary revelation in a most surprising location

I have had some pretty fantastic meals in Iceland. There are many excellent restaurants here, and of course some of the ingredients you get in Iceland are remarkable for their quality and freshness - in particular the fish and the lamb.

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Trippin’ in East Iceland

We just spent the last two days in East Iceland - an area I had never visited before, but had wanted to check out for a very long time. I wasn’t disappointed.

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Exquisite South Iceland

So, on leaving Þakgil we drove due east, but not before heading briefly into Vík again to take care of some business. And of course to snap some more photos with gorgeous scenery in the background.

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Þakgil: a beautiful hidden gem in south Iceland

We're on the road again, this time bringing you tips for things to see and places to stay on the Ring Road. We're travelling counter-clockwise, starting in Vík, and ending in Varmahlíð.

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The necro pants revisited

A while back I wrote a post about our visit to the Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft, on the West Fjords, and posted a picture of their famous necro pants. I failed to elaborate on the necro pants legend in that post, but alluded to the fact that I would do so later.

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Alda Sigmundsdóttir

 •  26.06.14

On the enchanting, sometimes terrifying beauty of the West Fjords

If you have ever travelled to the West Fjords of Iceland you will know that it is an unbelievably beautiful region, partly because it is so unspoiled. It is unspoiled largely because it is so remote, because the roads aren't great in many places, and because the terrain is such that you have to drive vast distances to get where you want to go, along seemingly endless coastlines of fjords that cut deep into the landscape.

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Day six: beautiful Rauðasandur and the westernmost part of Europe

It was the final day of our West Fjords adventure, and guess what happened. This: After five days of pretty exceptional weather, we woke up to rain and, most annoyingly, FOG.

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Day five: paradise and waffles in the middle of nowhere

In which we barrel along on our road trip of the amazing West Fjords.  Having spent half of Sunday in Ísafjörður we hit the road again, this time due south. We weren't headed far, only a couple of fjords down to Dýrafjörður - more specifically to Núpur, which for decades was a parsonage and also the site of the regional boarding school, but which is now part of the Farm Holidays collective.

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Day four: lovely Ísafjörður and some unexpected tangible history

We left off last post where EPI and I were driving from Djúpavík to Ísafjörður, via Hólmavík. We arrived in Ísafjörður pretty late, the drive being quite a distance - all that threading of fjords in and out, back and forth.

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Day three: more on the the enchantment of Djúpavík

Day 3 of our stupendous West Fjords excursion, ostensibly undertaken to distribute a book but really mostly just for having a fabulous time in amazing surroundings.  We started the day in Djúpavík, a minuscule town in Strandir, most famous for its humongous abandoned herring factory. Djúpavík is a fascinating place.

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Alda Sigmundsdóttir

 •  14.06.14

Day two: sublime pool, dramatic Djúpavík and a factory that defies all logic

Day 2 of our superexcellent West Fjords adventure: We woke up to the sound of birdsong in our lovely, compact cottage in Trékyllisvík. Got up and went for a run along the gravel road (the roads are pretty rudimentary around here), after which we drove the short distance to Krossnes for the express purpose of visiting the pool.

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Day one of our West Fjords tour: necro pants, scary landscapes and idyllic pastures

  Day 1 - Thursday, June 12 Our plan was to leave Reykjavík early-ish to get to Strandir, on the West Fjords, as soon as possible. However, since we had to stop to pick up some booze necessary provisions on the way out, it was actually 12.30 pm by the time we were on our way.

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It's off to the West Fjords

Well as the Germans say, "tomorrow it is so far" - meaning it the time has come for Yours Truly to take off on a road trip to the wonderful West Fjords to drop off books and generally have a marvellous time.  If you have not yet explored the West Fjords you are missing out on an incredible experience. They are the most sparsely populated area in Iceland (the population has drifted southward for various reasons, mostly economic - more on that later, perhaps) and also the area with the most imposing mountains and dramatic landscapes.

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I'm exploring Iceland and you are cordially invited

I'm gearing up for the mother of all trips around Iceland this June and July. [Not really.] [The mother bit.] [I am going on a trip, though.] The plan is for me and EPI [husband] to travel the West Fjords first, up along the eastern coast [an area known as Strandir, or "Shores"], then veer off westward towards Ísafjörður, spend a day or two there, and then head back down the other side, stopping off at some stunning sites along the way.

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I’m Alda, an Icelandic-North American hybrid and the author of several books about Iceland. I have written extensively about Iceland’s social and political situation on my own personal blog and for the international media, including The Guardian, Slate Magazine, The Huffington Post and the Associated Press. My latest book is called The Little Book of the Icelanders in the Old Days - a sequel to the best-selling The Little Book of the Icelanders, published in 2012. In June and July I will be travelling around Iceland to distribute the new book, and will be live blogging the journey, as well as posting regular pictures and updates to my own Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram. I hope you will join me as I meet some lovely people, visit some of my favourite places and share useful tips along the way. It’s going to be great!

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