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  • Accidents, Search and Rescue

    Midnight rescue of British hikers in distress on Mt Esja on the outskirts of Reykjavík

    By Staff

    Mt Esja The majestic mountain dominates the view to the north from Reykjavík. Photo/Vitor Marques

    Shortly before midnight yesterday five groups of ICE-SAR members from Reykjavík were called to assist a group of British hikers who were in distress in the slopes of Mt. Esja on the outskirts of Reykjavík. The hikers were close to Hábunga peak on the mountain late last night when the weather deteriorated, bringing a thick fog and strong winds. Unable to see where they were going the hikers decided to call for assistance.

    According to the National Broadcasting Service 30 members of ICE-SAR participated in the search and rescue of the travelers. Police and ICE-SAR were able to contact the men by cellphone. The men were found some 800 m (x ft) to the southwest of Hábunga peak. The rescue operation went well and the men had been escorted safe and sound from the mountain in an hour.

    The local news site Vísir reports that after escorting the men down from the mountain they were taken to a Police station where they spent the night: Not because they broke the law, but because the men were unsure where they were going to spend the night. The Metropolitan Police therefore offered them shelter from the storm.

  • Travel

    Roadwork on Ring Road in S. Iceland: Ölfusárbrú bridge in Selfoss town closed

    By Staff

    Ölfusárbrú bridge One of the busiest bridges on the Ring Road, built in 1945. Photo/Ernir

    Roadwork on Ölfusárbrú bridge in the town of Selfoss will begin today, Monday August 13. The bridge will close at 16:00 today, and remain closed for one week while it is resurfaced. The bridge is scheduled to be reopened on August 20. Traffic along the Ring Road is rerouted to roads 34 and 39 to the south and roads 31, 359 and 30 to the north.

    According to the Icelandic Road and Coastal Authority the bridge over Ölfusá river is in urgent need for repairs and resurfacing. During the summer more than 17,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily. The two-lane bridge is too narrow (only 6.1 m/20 ft) to permit traffic on one lane while the other lane is repaired. Long lines would also form on either side of the bridge, creating a traffic jam in downtown Selfoss. The IRCA estimates that by closing the bridge entirely the work will only affect traffic for one week, instead of at least three weeks.

    The bridge was opened to traffic on December 22 1945.

  • Crime

    Group of French travelers cause irreparable damage in Central Highlands with off-road driving

    By Staff

    Central Highlands Patrol The Central Highlands are patrolled by ICE-SAR rapid response teams, as well as Police. Photo/Fréttablaðið

    Six French travelers will be charged with criminal off-road driving for causing serious and permanent damage in the Central Highlands. On Sunday afternoon the six travelers drove their three small SUVs over delicate vegetation and wetlands, leaving deep tracks. According to Police in East Iceland it will take considerable effort to repair, while it will take the vegetation decades to recover. Some of the damage caused by the people cannot be repaired and is permanent.

    UPDATE: Group of French travelers fined 300,000 ISK for their destructive off-road driving

    The group will give a statement to the Police in East Iceland today. They are expected to pay be fined as much as 500,000 ISK (4,600 USD/4,000 EUR). This summer The Police in South Iceland has charged ten groups of travelers for criminal off-road driving. A month ago a second group of French "adventurers" had to request Police assistance after getting their cars stuck in wetlands while ploughing a trail of destruction off-road. Only a fraction of off-road offenses lead to criminal charges.

    Read more: French off-roaders publish apology peppered with wild accusations, ask to be allowed to "continue their travel in peace"

    According to the National Broadcasting Service the French travelers were driving rental cars, three SUVs along the highland track Austurleið (F910) when they arrived at the crossing over Þríhyrningsá river. The river crossing was blocked, as previous travelers who had attempted to cross the river had gotten their car stuck in the middle of the stream. 

    Read more: Ask the expert: How to cross those unbridged rivers in the Central Highlands?

    Rather than turn around and revise their travel plans, or wait for the other car to be towed out of the river, the group decided to go searching for a second crossing over the river, driving off-road alongside the river. The group drove 200 meters (660 ft), leaving deep tracks in the ground. "Part of the tracks and the damage is permanent and cannot be repaired," a spokesman for the Police in East Iceland told the local news site Vísir.

    The Central Highland Police Patrol found the travelers, taking down their names and other information, and told them to show up at the Police station in Egilsstaðir town in East Iceland today. 

    A spokesman for the Police in East Iceland told Vísir that officers have not noticed an increase in the cases of off-road driving this year. Only a fraction of reports result in charges being filed. He said that most of the cases involve foreign travelers, but added that locals have also been caught driving off-road. "I wouldn't think of absolving Icelanders from responsibility for this problem," he told Vísir.

  • Culture

    Saturday, Aug 11: The annual fireworks show at Jökulsárlón is the highlight of the summer

    By Staff

    Firing up the sky The Fireworks at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is an unforgettable event you should not miss! Photo/Visitvatnajokull.is

    If you are looking for things to do tomorrow, Saturday, you can choose from several great events. There's the Reykjavík Pride Parade in downtown Reykjavík, and in North Iceland the Great Fish Dat Dalvík, but if you are in the south or south-east you should definitely head over to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

    Read more: The world's biggest little pride parade in downtown Reykjavík tomorrow, Saturday August 11

    The highlight of the summer in Vatnajökull National Park is the 30-minute fireworks display at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in August. The show is a collaboration between the local Iceland Search and Rescue teams and tour operators.

    Seeing the spectacular scenery and the floating icebergs in the lagoon lit up by fireworks is a not-to-be-missed unforgettable experience.

    This year the event will take place on August 11 at 23:00. The 1,500 ISK entrance fee goes to support the all-volunteer ICE-SAR.

    For more information head over to visitvatnajokull.is

  • Culture

    The world's biggest little pride parade in downtown Reykjavík tomorrow, Saturday August 11

    By Staff

    Páll Óskar at the 2016 Pride The Pride Parade is one of the biggest events in downtown Reykjavík each year. Photo/hinsegindagar.is

    Reykjavik Pride has been celebrated annually since 1999. It has grown from a small event to one of the largest (and certainly most colorful) festivals of Reykjavík. The six-day celebration, which includes various events including concerts, exhibitions, seminars, and performances, as well as the Pride Parade celebrates diversity and promotes the visibility of LGBTQ people. People of all genders, friends, and families come together to show their solidarity and commitment to the cause of equality.

    The August 11 Pride Parade, described as one of the “Biggest Little Pride Parades in the World,“ draws participants from all around the world.

    The parade starts at 2 p.m. at the intersection of Sæbraut and Faxagata streets, next to Harpa Concert Hall. The parade will then proceed through downtown Reykjavík and alongside the downtown lake Tjörnin, proceeding along Kalkofnsvegur, Lækjargata, and Fríkirkjuvegur streets. The parade then concludes at Sóleyjargata street near Hljómskálagarður, where an outdoor concert will then take place.

    The concert in Hljómskálagarður is free and open to the public. Performers include well- known Icelandic singers, bands and entertainers, and starts at 15:30 (3:30 pm). In the evening a Pride Party will be held at Gamla Bíó theater in downtown. The party, which is hosted by one of Iceland's best known entertainers Páll Óskar (Paul Oscar) starts at 23:00 (11 pm) and continues into the morning hours. The age limit at this party is 20 years, and admission costs 3,500 isk.

    For further information, head over to the hinsegindagar.is

  • Food & Drink

    Omnom chocolate joins Reykjavík Pride with unicorn rainbow chocolate

    By Staff

    Rainbows and unicorns Omnom is Iceland's only bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Photo/Omnom

    Tomorrow is the highpoint of the Reykjavík Pride Festival when the Parade Pride, described as one of the "world's biggest little pride parades" takes place. 

    Read more: The world's biggest little pride parade in downtown Reykjavík tomorrow, Saturday August 11

    To celebrate last year's Reykjavík Pride the chocolate maker Omnom has released a special limited chocolate bar. Omnom is an official sponsor of Reykjavík Pride, and proceeds from the sales of the bars went to funding the festival and its causes.

    Originally the chocolate which is made with 50% milk chocolate and topped with caramel pieces coated in even more chocolate was a limited edition batch, but due to its popularity it is now available all year round. The chocolate maker is promising that anyone who buys the chocolate from the factory store on Grandi, on the western edge of the Old Harbor, will receive a (temporary) unicorn tattoo as a complimentary gift. 

    We at Iceland Magazine can vouch for the quality of the Omnom chocolate (Omnom is not a sponsor of Iceland Magazine, nor have they ever advertised with us, so it's not financial interests that spur us to recommend the chocolate!), and their factory store on Grandi is a must visit for any chocolate lover strolling around the harbor area.

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