Tag Archives: East Iceland

Not Post Modern But Post Herring

What do you do with all those industrial plastic fish bins after they have been used to empty out the sea?

Egilsstaðir

You make a beach, that’s what you do — into a lake that is now severely compromised by hydroelectric dam run-off,  and  then  you  sell  it.

Something’s Fishy

I love Egilsstaðir, truly, precisely because it is not romantic.

Spirit Birds of the Lagarfljót

If you wander out of Gunnar’s house to the bottom of the lake, a pleasant 20 minute walk in the right light, you will see birds taking wing above the Hallormstadaskogur, the great National Forest of Iceland.

In any other light, they’d be the outlines of cliffs breaking out into the April sun, but on a day like this, they’re birds, for sure.

The Trolls of Baejarhjalli

On the face of the Austurfell just west of the old monastery at Skriðuklaustur, and at the feet of the Ogre’s Staircase, the trolls are thick. And not just trolls. Have a look:

See them? Here are some hints:

Above: A Family of Fish Trolls Looking Much like a Fish Egg With a Skull for an Eye (or the Moon)

Above: Fat-Bellied SeatedTroll, Waving

Above: Musical  Monks

Above: A  Skull  On  A  Post

Above: Lovers Embracing

Below: Troll With Runes and Spilled Treasure. Beware!

Below the Fell, the land runs with blood in the spring.

 

Well, yeah.

Country of the Wind

In Langadalur, you can find a country where humans can only exist as the companions of elemental powers. To walk here is to be utterly naked in the universe. To do so with a community of people is no help. You must enter with a community of things, and live within them until you have crossed. What the Icelanders have learned in 1100 years is that when the boat doesn’t come, you had better be good at making a new community of things.

You must halter yourself to the Earth, lest you are blown away. You could say that Gunnar returned to Iceland in 1939 because he loved his land, which is true, that he was romantic, which is also true, that he was afraid, which was reasonable in 1939, and you could say that this fold east of Bifrost is an instance of creativity, which is also true, but those are just words. You pick up the Earth one stone at a time, and move them to create a body that shelters you. It is your companion. It is yourself. From their to haunting is not far.

Another Reason to Leave Reykjavik: Learning the Language of Water

If you stay in Reykjavik, vodka’s the thing. Drink that stuff and you might forget where you are.

But if you go halfway to the complete opposite end of the country, the water speaks at last, not with a bottle but with the words that grow still on the very bottom edge of the sky:

Lagarfljót, April

Your choice, between a bar full of travellers and the voices of trolls. Flights to Egilstaðir are cheap. Just $120 return. You could drop three times that much, just having dinner and drinks with a friend in town. Off you go.