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Giving travelers the inside scoop on Icelandic culture, nature, history and language through the eyes of an expat. You'll hear interviews, quirky facts, useful travel advice, and what it is like to live in the land of fire and ice. Additionally, there is a segment of the show dedicated to teaching you an Icelandic word or phrase. Extra resources shared during the episodes can be found at https://allthingsiceland.com.



Jewells Chambers, the host of the podcast, fell in love with Iceland back in 2013 after her first visit. She moved to the country in 2016 and has been on an epic journey ever since.

All Things Iceland Jewells Chambers

    • Gesellschaft und Kultur
    • 4,7 • 7 Bewertungen

Giving travelers the inside scoop on Icelandic culture, nature, history and language through the eyes of an expat. You'll hear interviews, quirky facts, useful travel advice, and what it is like to live in the land of fire and ice. Additionally, there is a segment of the show dedicated to teaching you an Icelandic word or phrase. Extra resources shared during the episodes can be found at https://allthingsiceland.com.



Jewells Chambers, the host of the podcast, fell in love with Iceland back in 2013 after her first visit. She moved to the country in 2016 and has been on an epic journey ever since.

    Hallbera the Trickster Ghost – Folklore Friday

    Hallbera the Trickster Ghost – Folklore Friday

    This episode is part of my Folklore Friday series where I am sharing a folklore story every Friday in 2024.

    Who is Hallbera the Icelandic Ghost?

    There is an old Icelandic folklore tale about a ghost named Hallbera. It is said that she resides in the Scouts Cabin. She specifically occupies one of the bunks.Hallbera is known for her mischievous nature, playing pranks on those who sleep in one of the bunks. She might push the unfortunate sleeper onto the floor or give them unsettling dreams. Any strange occurrences in the cabin are often attributed to her. Legend has it that Hallbera once lived on the land where the cabin was built. When construction began, she was forced to leave, vowing to return and haunt the place forever.The house that Hallbera haunts is part of the Árbær Open Air Museum in the greater Reykjavík area.

    Random Fact of the Episode

    The Árbær Open Air Museum vividly depicts the small-town life and environment of Reykjavík in the 19th and 20th centuries. During the summer, museum staff can be seen dressed in period clothing, actively participating in events and exhibitions that bring Reykjavík’s history to life.

    Icelandic Word of the Episode

    Skátarnir – the scouts

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    Þakka þér kærlega fyrir að hlusta og sjáumst fljótlega.

    • 5 Min.
    The Man with 18 Children Among the Elves – Folklore Friday

    The Man with 18 Children Among the Elves – Folklore Friday

    This episode is part of my Folklore Friday series where I am sharing a folklore story every Friday in 2024.

    The Toddler’s Transformation

    One summer on a farm when everyone else where collecting hay, a woman and her child, a toddler, were in the house because she was doing chores. The child was well behaved, spoke fluently and, in general, didn’t make much of a fuss. At some point in the day, the woman needed to clean the milk troughs. Instead of taking him with her, she sat him on the steps right outside of the house so she could keep an eye on him.When she came back to the house, she spoke to her child but instead of him responding in his normal intelligible and calm voice, he screamed and squealed at her. She was shocked because her child had never behaved like that before. However, it didn’t stop there. From that moment on, the child would either scream, squeal, or act foolishly when spoken to. She was baffled by this and felt so frustrated at his drastic change.

    The Mother Seeks Advice

    She went to seek advice from a neighbor about this strange change in her child. In the area, this neighbor was known to be wise and educated. After telling the neighbor about the change, the wise woman asked some questions to get as much helpful information as possible.After getting the answers, the wise older woman asked the young woman if she thinks it is possible that who she is interacting with is a changeling. Basically, that her child had been swapped out for a creature posing as her child. The young woman didn’t know how to answer that because she was not familiar with changelings and didn’t know how to identify one.The older woman explained that the way to find out is to leave the child alone in a room with a novel item, something they have never seen before, and observe how they interact with that object. If the kid is saying strange things about the object, go to the child and whip them mercilessly until something happens. Out of desperation, the woman of the child said she will give it a try.

    Setting a Trap for a Changeling

    The young woman went back home and thought about something novel to leave her child alone with. While the kid was out of the house, she created a long pole out of wooden shafts and put a small pot on the floor. The pole reached up into the chimney, which is quite long. She then put a spoon on the end of the pole, which was dipping into the pot on the floor. It kind of looked like a super long spoon in a pot.She gets the child and puts him in the kitchen. After leaving the child in the kitchen alone, she keeps the door cracked so she can hear what is going on. At some point the child is staring at the pot and circling around it. The shocker is that she then hears her child say “I am as old as my beard implies and I have 18 children among the elves and yet I have never seen such a long pole in a little pot.”Upon hearing that, the woman burst into the kitchen with a really big broom and starts to mercilessly beat whoever is posing to be her child. Not surprising, the changeling is screaming to the high heavens because it hurts. Not long after the beating started, a strange woman appears in the kitchen with the woman’s actual son.Thankfully, the child looks fine and is just as well behaved as he was in the past. The mother of the child stops beating the changeling and looks at the strange woman who brought her child back. The strange woman expresses that she has been treating the child well and it’s not nice or equal treatment that this person has been beating the butt of her husband. After saying that, the strange woman sets the child down, takes her husband and leaves.They disappear and neither the child nor its mother see them again. It is said that the child grew up to be just fine.

    Random Fact of the Episode

    Changelings in Icelandic folklore show up in many...

    • 9 Min.
    Nykur – A Deadly Icelandic Water Horse – Folklore Friday

    Nykur – A Deadly Icelandic Water Horse – Folklore Friday

    This episode is part of my Folklore Friday series where I am sharing a folklore story every Friday in 2024.

    What Makes a Nykur Different than a Normal Icelandic Horse?

    Nykur is a water horse that is a gray color but it can shape shift into other things, living or dead. However, it’s said that it can’t take the shape of lambswool or peeled barley.In most stories, when the Nykur shows up it is normally around water. It lures people in to ride it. The Nykur specifically hangs out around rivers or lakes that are difficult to cross so that you do want to mount it. When you approach it, the Nykur acts super docile and calm. You first think it is a wild horse that is just out and about minding its own business.The Nykur is hoping that when you see that the river or lake is hard to cross that you jump on it to get a ride across. However, as soon as you mount the horse it immediately starts to gallop into the water. In the water, it turns on its side in the deep area, which catches you off guard. The Nykur uses its body weight to sink you deeper into the water and holds you down there until you drown. Definitely not a fun experience.

    How to Avoid Being a Victim of a Nykur

    One very obvious difference between a Nykur and a regular horse is that it has inverted hoofs. Yes, their hoofs are literally backwardIf you have already mounted the Nykur and it starts to gallop towards the water, saying its name “Nykur” will immediately make it throw you off of its back because it hates the sound of its name. It will then head into the water without you.One story of a child that was able to survive a Nykur is that a young girl was sleeping out in the Icelandic wilderness near some water. A Nykur saw her and started to drag her into the water. She woke up and realized what was happening. Luckily, she was able to say “Leave me alone, Nykur”. Once it heard its name, the creature released her and raced back into the water.Another way is to make the sign of a cross on the backside of the Nykur is another way to protect yourself.

    Random Fact of the Episode

    A Nykur can mate with another horse that is not one of them and create offspring. The offspring look like a regular horse. A big difference is said to be that when water is poured on that horse, it will lay on it side and let the water be poured all over it. Also, if it is going to a river or a lake, it will want to roll over on its side.

    Icelandic Word of the Episode

    Nykur can mean neck in Icelandic but in this context it is a water demon.

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    Þakka þér kærlega fyrir að hlusta og sjáumst fljótlega.

    Ask Jewells Anything About Iceland – Response Episode 4

    Ask Jewells Anything About Iceland – Response Episode 4

    This is the fourth episode for my segment “Ask Jewells Anything About Iceland”. Thank you to everyone who sent in questions. If you want to submit a question, you can do it here.You can check out previous Ask Jewells Anything About Iceland episodes here.

    Answers to the Questions That Were Submitted

    1. Stephanie J. asked:

    "What is the tipping culture in Iceland?"



    Tipping in Iceland is not expected, nor is the service you get dependent on it. While you can tip if you want to, it is certainly not a part of the culture, and some might even tell you that they don’t accept tips due to workers being paid a livable wage.

    2. Ana R. asked:

    "What are your favorites pools and spas around Iceland? Cheers from Brazil!"



    My favorite high end pools and spas are:* Sky Lagoon* Geo Sea* Forest LagoonWhen it comes to natural hot pools, my favorites are in the West fjords. They are as follows:* Laugarnes on Birkimelur hot pool* Heydalur hot pools and indoor pool in a greenhouse* Krossneslaug poolFor local swimming pools, I really like Lágafellslaug in Mosfellsbær and Laugardalslaug in Reykjavík.

    3. Caroline said:

    "I’m traveling to Iceland from the US and I was curious if I should get some Icelandic kronar before I come to have on hand. I know Iceland prefers cards, but would having cash on hand be helpful?"



    Because Iceland is becoming an almost cashless society, using cash is not necessary. Even really small vendors take debit and credit cards. You are more than welcome to take out Icelandic Kronar if you want to but you don’t need cash.

    4. Caroline said:

    "What is the tipping culture for tour guides? For example, is it customary to tip the guide and/ or driver if you do a whale watching or glacier lagoon tour?"



    There is no expectation or encouragement to tip your tour guide. Of course you can if you want to but it is not a custom in Iceland to do that.

    5. Stephanie said:

    "I traveled to Iceland in March 2017 and flew Icelandair. The programming on the flight included tv episodes of an Icelander who had moved to a small town and talked about the life and activities in that town. It was great and I haven't been able to find it again! Do you happen to know what the show is, or can you recommend other shows about life in Iceland? Thank you!"



    Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the show you watched on Icelandair. You can find some shows on RÚV that have English substitles. There is also a channel on RÚV that has educational content. However, it is only in Icelandic.

    6. Kelly N. said:

    "What's a good way or place to get a daily summary of current events in Iceland (in English! ;) )...as I'm sure you know, the daily morning and/or evening New York times is what I use in the US...love your show! :)"



    Here are the Icelandic news outlets online that are in English:* RUV English* Iceland Review* The Reykjavík Grapevine* Iceland Monitor

    7. Mariana said:

    "Have you ever been to the Inside the Vulcano Tour? Is is worth it? Thanks!"



    Yes, I have been to Inside the Volcano some years ago. I think the experience was unique and interesting. I know it looks quite pricey, but I felt like it was worth it.

    • 27 Min.
    The Man & The Polar Bear – Folklore Friday

    The Man & The Polar Bear – Folklore Friday

    This episode is part of my Folklore Friday series where I am sharing a folklore story every Friday in 2024.

    A Tale from Grímsey Island

    I’m sharing about a man and a polar bear in Grímsey, which is the northernmost inhabited island in Iceland. It is the only part of Iceland that is the Arctic circle. I’ve not been there yet, but I have heard it is beautiful. This story takes place many years during a harsh winter.On this day, no one on the island could keep a fire lit. It seems that they were in short supply of resources for it, which was major problem since it was so cold. The intense cold froze the water in the sound between mainland Iceland and the island, which made it impossible for a ship to get to the island to provide more fire.

    Heading Out into the Harsh Winter in Search of Fire

    One solution was to walk on foot to mainland Iceland to get fire but doing that is a long journey that required resilience and endurance. They decided to pick three of their strongest men to make the journey. Early one morning the men set off on their way. Most of the journey was uneventful until they are halfway across the sound. There, they encounter a big gap in the sound. They are not sure how long and wide it is but it looks like it would be difficult to jump across. Two of the men jump and barely make it. The last guy does not feel confident he can make the jump so he just stands there. The other two who made the jump suggest that he go back to the island because they need to keep going. Not wanting to give up so easily, the guy walks along the big crack looking for a place that might be easier for him to jump across.

    Encountering a Polar Bear

    As the time passes, it gets darker and colder. Also, a storm rolls in as well. That storm brings southerly winds that blow warmer air, which starts to melt the ice. He gets caught on a big piece of ice that broke off in the sound between the mainland island and Grímsey. That piece of ice just drifts off in the water. Eventually, the storm stops and the piece of ice he is floating on crashes into a large ice sheet.At this point, he is really hungry, tired and he has no idea how he will get back home. To make matters worse, he encounters a polar bear. For those that do not know, Polar Bear are normally vicious hunters and will not hesitate to kill a person or another animal if they are hungry.Rightfully so, he is scared. The polar bear has cubs and she looks up at him as he stands there stopped in his tracks. She gives him the once over and starts to circle around him.

    How the Polar Bear Saved the Man's Life

    When it seems that he is getting stronger after a couple of days, the bear is walking along with him the bear puts her head down and gestures for him to get on her back. When he does, she shakes violently, which makes him fall off immediately. He has no idea why she did that but just left it alone. For the next few days, she continues to gesture for him to get on her back and shakes so hard that he falls off. At night, she keeps him warm and provides nutrition At one point, he is on her back and she shakes but he is able to hold on. That is when the bear jumps into the water with him on her back and starts swimming to Grímsey. When they arrive to the island, the man wants to show his gratitude so he gives her milk from his best cows and slaughters some of his best sheep for her to take back to share with her cubs. She is grateful for that and she heads back to her cubs with food. Everyone in the town is shocked that he had befriended a polar bear. Right after the bear left, they see a ship in the distance and the two guys from earlier in the story were on that ship. They were bringing supplies for fire back to the island.

    Random Fact of the Episode

    According to a href="https://www.akureyri.

    • 10 Min.
    Iceland Will Require a Visa Waiver Fee Starting in 2025

    Iceland Will Require a Visa Waiver Fee Starting in 2025

    At the beginning of 2025, a new travel authorization system called ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) will come into effect. This new requirement aims to bolster security across Europe, addressing concerns related to terrorism and the influx of migrants and refugees.Non-EU visitors who previously didn't need a visa will now have to apply online for ETIAS, which will screen applicants against a database for criminal activities, prior overstays in the EU, and other security issues.

    Iceland and the Schengen Zone



    While Iceland is not part of the EU, it is a member of the Schengen zone, along with countries like Norway and Switzerland. The Schengen zone has uniform rules regarding entry and stay duration.Therefore, Iceland will implement the same ETIAS requirements as other Schengen countries. This means that if you plan to visit Iceland and then travel to other European destinations, you will need an ETIAS authorization before landing in Reykjavik.Upon arrival, your passport will be stamped for a maximum stay of 90 days, allowing you to travel freely within the Schengen zone during this period.

    Do You Need an Iceland ETIAS Visa Waiver?



    As long as Iceland remains in the Schengen zone, the ETIAS rules will apply. Whether you need to apply for ETIAS depends on your nationality. Citizens of EU countries will continue to enjoy unrestricted travel across Europe, including Iceland. Non-EU citizens are divided into two categories:* Visa-Exempt Travelers: This includes citizens from North America, Australia, and other countries who previously only needed a valid passport for short visits to Europe. Starting in 2025, these travelers must apply for ETIAS approval. The application fee is €7, and the authorization is valid for three years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.* Visa-Required Travelers: Citizens from countries not covered by the visa waiver will continue to need a full visa to enter Iceland, as is currently the case.

    When Do You Need to Have ETIAS?

    The ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is set to launch in early 2025. Following its implementation, there will be a 180-day grace period.During this six-month grace period, non-EU travelers who previously did not need a visa will need to fill out an ETIAS application form. This period will allow travelers to become familiar with the new requirement and give European travel authorities time to train on the new protocols and address any technical issues that arise.After the grace period ends, all third-country nationals will be required to have ETIAS approval to enter the Schengen zone.



    What will be asked on the ETIAS Application form?

    The ETIAS online application will ask for basic information as part of the pre-screening check. Below is the information that is said to be required:* Valid passport / Travel document information* Full name* Current address* Citizenship status* Sex* Preferred gender* Dual citizenship status* Email address* Telephone number* Date of birth* Final destination member state* Educational background* Occupational backgroundDuring the ETIAS application or appeal process, you may be asked about your:* Criminal history* Past incarceration* Felon status* Past European travel* Drug use* Health history



    How Long does Approval of ETIAS applications Take?

    According to the website about ETIAS applications, it will only take a few minutes for an application to be approved once the payment is completed. While that sounds great, I would not leave applying for ETIAS to the last minute to avoid any possible issues.

    Discovering Iceland's Natural Wonders

    Iceland is a treasure trove of unique geological features, offering an abundance of geysers,

    • 13 Min.

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