ICELANDIC TOURIST BOARD                                                                      DATELINE JULY 2010

We are certainly having an eventful start to 2010 in Iceland. Just when we think things (like a certain volcano) have calmed down, they are heating back up again. Rock festival Iceland Airwaves has started announcing bands and selling tickets, Icelandair has rolled out a plethora of ticket and package deals at hundreds of dollars off regular prices, a television star came to Iceland to find love, and – well – it’s warm and sunny all day (and most of the night) here now. We’re bringing all that and more to you in this month’s Dateline: Iceland.

SILVER LINING: VOLCANO HELPS FARMERS

Ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption appears to be making farmers’ corn and grass grow better than usual. One farming couple, Kristin Magnusdottir and her husband, Sigurjon Eyjolfsson, were recently making hay and cutting grass in Petursey, among the areas affected worst by ash fall from the recent south Iceland volcano.

Eyjolfsson said that they had been afraid of the possible pollution in their hay, but they are now feeling positive as the summer is going better than they could possibly have imagined when the ash started raining down. There is a 1-1/4-in. thick ash layer at the roots of the grass, but by rinsing it they hope to remove it. The flip side is that the dark color of the ash seems to be heating the soil more, speeding up growth and causing the cornfields to be extremely productive.

Tourists have been known to collect ash in baggies for display back at home, to which we say, knock yourself out. Take all you want. We’ll make more.

(For the latest news about volcanic activity, visit www.pressan.is. Click the Union Jack in the upper right hand corner for English).

ALI LOVES ICELAND

Ali Fedotowsky, the ABC-TV bachelorette in search of love, has found it in Iceland. Her travels through the country on horseback, shopping in Reykjavik, soaking in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, and even a helicopter ride to view the erupting Eyjafjallajokull volcano, convinced her to give the country a rose.

“Iceland is the most amazing place I’ve ever seen," she said during the June 21 telecast of the hit network series. “It’s so hot and sexy."

The bachelorette and her lucky rose-bearers departed Reykjavik after days of outdoor activities – helicopter rides, horseback riding, soaking in the Blue Lagoon – providing them with a small taste of what Iceland has to offer. While the show aired on June 21, you can still see the episode here:

http://abc.go.com/watch/the-bachelorette/SH5556990/VD5572452/week-5-part-2?cid=fullepisodeaccess

Meanwhile, Icelandair is offering a special package which is posted to www.icelandair.com. Or call (877) I-FLY-ICE. (Details below).

AIRWAVES IS COMING


Iceland Airwaves is back to rock Reyjavik with some of the hottest bands from both sides of the Atlantic from Oct. 13-17. Acts from Aretha Franklin and Yoko Ono to Everything Everything, Hercules and Love Affair, The Antlers, Jaako and Jay, Agent Fresco, Minus, Mugison and Seabear will storm in with a host of other talent at multiple venues around the city.

See and hear all these great bands, plus get round-trip airfare and hotel from just $549* from Icelandair. Click here to see this great deal and put your package together today.

PRIDE IN REYKJAVIK

Reykjavik likes to party, Iceland has always been an open and accepting society, and the 2009 Reykjavik Gay Pride Parade was such a booming success, we’re doing it again. Nearly 80,000 revelers took to the streets last year, and this Aug. 5 – 8 celebrants can let their flags fly all over town. A record 37 parade floats made their way through Reykjavik last year: sounds like a challenge to us. For more information, log on here.

PICTURE THIS: PHOTOGRAPHY TEACHER IS ON DREAM TRIP TO ICELAND

Expeditions are not always about climbing Everest or circumnavigating the globe at the age of 16. Sometimes, a simple concept can become the trip of your dreams. Brian Rueb from Redding, Calif., is a professional wildlife and landscape photographer and teacher who is in Iceland now on the photo op of a lifetime. He's using his summer break to backpack across the picturesque country in just over two months.

He'll be sharing his travels on his personal website as he snaps memorable photos, and begins writing a book on the experience. It's also going to add a whole new perspective to his photography class at Mountain Lakes High School in Shasta Lake, Calif. He hopes to inspire students who are passionate about taking photography outside of the classroom.

He blogs, “Over the course of my journey around Iceland, I’ll walk, bus, and hitchhike my way from point A to point B. Eventually in early August I will arrive back in Reykjavík, where I will take a deep breath and head south to the famous ‘Blue Lagoon’ where I will soak my travel weary body all day long before getting a flight back to the United States, and starting the real work of the project: writing the book."

A majority of his travel costs are being covered by sponsors and people who donate money. All are guaranteed an original photograph from the trip. Thanks to his Spot Messenger device, you can follow him like a tagged polar bear at http://brianruebphotography.com/project-iceland/. Or keep track via Twitter: http://twitter.com/BrianRuebPhoto

THEY SAID IT

"The principal industry (in the Westman Islands) is commercial fishing, and the wharf is lined with unassuming seafood restaurants. 'They're packed during lunch and dinner,' Zimmern says. 'I'd walk down the row and pick a different one for each meal.' The just-caught fish—cold-water species like cod and halibut—are usually prepared in a traditional European style, sautéed in brown butter. 'In the States, cod gets kind of a bad rap,' says Zimmern. 'But here, it's the most pristine, beautiful, flaky white fish.'"

– Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, a Travel Channel series devoted to exploring local cuisines that keeps Zimmern globe trotting for about 30 weeks each year. Source: Beth Collins, writing in Budget Travel magazine. (See the story here: http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/content/article/2010/05/25/AR2010052501812.html)

“From the summit ridge on Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s highest peak, the world dropped away to a blanket of clouds. It was late May, and I’d come from far below, a daylong climb up from near sea level to Hvannadalshnúkur’s 6,922-foot ridge in the sky.

“As mountaineering adventures go, the climb on the hard-to-pronounce Icelandic peak is a slog. But what a beautiful slog it is, including an ascent from misty highlands, past waterfalls, and up a rock ridge.

“You pass through the clouds, then onto the snow. Finally, on a high plateau, snow stretches miles in all directions, a glacial scene unlike anything I’ve ever seen."

– Stephen Regenold, editor of gearjunkie.com, in the Redding, Calif. Record Searchlight, June 19, 2010. (See the complete story here: http://gearjunkie.com/highpoint-climb-in-iceland)

“Volcanoes are at the heart of this remarkable country, which lies only about five hours from New York’s JFK. With its hot springs, snow-covered mountains and lunar-looking rocks, Iceland offers one of the most dramatic natural landscapes on earth. Meanwhile, the capital city of Reykjavik appears to have been assembled from colored Lego blocks and has a legendary weekend nightlife that goes way past dawn (note: when you’re this far north, dawn can arrive at 2am.)."

– Everett Potter, "Closer Than You Think: Iceland", Everett Potter’s Travel Report, June 24

TRAVEL DEALS OF THE MONTH

Travel Like A Bachelorette

Iceland has played host to the latest episode of "The Bachelorette." There's no better time to visit this amazing land than now. Stay in the same hotel and enjoy the same experiences as Ali and company did with this driving holiday. Driving, horseback riding, even a trip to the Blue Lagoon can all be yours.

From $799* per person based on double occupancy. Departures Oct. 1 through Dec 12. Just click here for more information.

Reykjavik City Break

Reykjavik is a city that is small in size but big on energy. With award winning restaurants and a fabulous range of activities, its clean and safe streets shine with eye-popping color whether it’s the grassy piazzas, historic landmarks, or azure blue ocean peeking through the vibrantly hued houses. Arrive in Iceland and take a soothing soak in the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa, tour the jewels of nature and protected historic sites of the Golden Circle, and make the most of your time in our capital city. They’re all part of this great deal. From $649 per person based on double occupancy. Departures Sept. 1 through Nov. 25.

There Are Too Many Deals To List

So we’ll offer some quick hits:

- Fall sale madness at Icelandair is in effect right now. Boston or New York to Reykjavik from $379*, Seattle from $399*, special deals to Oslo, Copenhagen and more, upgrades to Economy Comfort or Saga class… it’s all available just by clicking here.

- Log onto www.icelandair.us, click on “Packages,” then “Special Offers” and see the crazy cost slashing offers we’re making to you, such as deals on Golden Circle tours including trips to either the Reykjanes Peninsula or Blue Lagoon Spa for just $59 (normally $111). Take a look and set your dreams in motion.

- Hertz auto rentals is offering 20% off all rentals in Iceland. Iceland has a long history with Hertz, and the company is expressing their appreciation by passing on this terrific deal to you. Click here for the full story.

*Prices quoted are exclusive of applicable taxes and official charges by destination of approximately $100-$270, per person including the Sept. 11th Security Fee.

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