Some lava goes up, some flows and flattens out. It’s one of the mysteries!
If you explore old farm sites in remote areas in Iceland, you will find boulders, set at the boundary of a tun, a house field manured from a barn. This, in Icelandic culture, is a yard, or garden. A pretty special place. With a boulder.
These boulders are all chosen. Many have animal shapes. Many of those are ravens. Some are dwarf stones. Here on the old road up to Vatnjökull from the Fljótsdalur, it’s a raven, which is fitting, because when you walk up the trail, the ravens are watching the whole time, to see if you’re going to tumble down into the gorge and become lunch. it’s best to honour wise creatures like that.
The greatest beach, with the greatest river, on the greatest fjord. This is why Gunnar came home from Europe on the brink of war.
Looking north from the Stapavík-Njarðvík Trail.
Where better to survive the end of the world?
Before there was Egilsstaðir, the service and shopping hub for East Iceland, there was Óshöfn in Krosshöfði. Alas, the harbour filled in. That’s it in the centre of the image below.
But back in the day, it was a h happening place. Men would travel perhaps a week with their horses to pick up the shopping here.
1904: Those people of Hérað who so wish, can have any sort of groceries delivered to Öshöfn next March-April, providing that they deliver their orders to the store in Bakkagerði, Borgarfjörður before the New Year.
Bakkagerði is in the second fjörd to the south. Hérað is a vast district in the East, including Gunnar Gunnarsson’s childhood home at ValÞjófsstaðir, a long five days’ ride to the East. Chances are, the walnut he received for Christmas as a boy, which he broke in half and made into a boat, which he sailed down the pastorage stream, dreaming of going to sea, came from here.
The land has other ideas.
So often in Iceland, words fail us.
December 21 is a cold day in Buðir, with not much light. It’s a day when a little human light works wonders.
And look what it achieves! By June 21, everything is light.
It works the other way. If you don’t honour the midsummer troll, you don’t honour the midwinter dark, or light up the night to make way for the sun. It’s just the way it is.
Here’s an Icelandic road at winter solstice. A powerful black thing, it is.
But don’t be fooled. The volcano, Snæfellsjökull, in the background, faint as it is, is the power here. She can harness the North Atlantic herself. It is a lesson that remains for us all to learn.
This house, hiding behind its collapsed turf buildings near Buðir talks of a country where a landscape view from your picture window is just not really very important.
Whats more, its an old harbour 2 kilometres from a lagoon and 2.5 from open salt water at the Buðakirkja. If you have been at Buðir in the winter winds, you will know why.
That sand is ground up scallop shells. At 70 miles per hour, it cuts into your face like sharp knives. You will have a hard time just standing up straight.
- The tourist road.
2. The other way.
The lighthouse at the northernmost point of Iceland.
In nesting season, the path is closed. But the beach is worth a gander:
That’s art, that is.