Tag Archives: East Iceland

A Little East Icelandic Shopping, Anyone?

Krosshöfði

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.

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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.

Lessons from a Poet’s House

Kristján Einarsson lived here in Djupalæk.

It’s a bit more exposed than a North American or Continental poet’s house. Here’s the kind of poem you write in a place like this:

Strings

Stones are strings.
The water makes them roar.
Its a delight to know
What lives in the mind of water…

Kristján

Mind you, water is tight these days:

Lots in the Atlantic, but for fresh water for the sheep, it has to be brought in in plastic tanks. Even though it falls, almost daily, from the sky. Isn’t this the real poverty and isolation?

Some Mountains Aren’t Nice (But Say Hello, Anyway)

Throwing stuff at you all the time, and everything.

Quite endearing, really. So, this exclusion is really attractive to humans. We can really identify with it. So what do we do? Build a road so we can dump two piles of gravel at the end of it, just to say hello.

Well, in mountain language, that is.

~

Welcome to the East.

Big Game in Iceland

Not elephants. Bigger. You can spot one in the distance, looming down on Höfn.

Papafjörður

We call them glaciers now, but, come on. Look at it! The Icelanders call them Jöklar. It’s an interesting word. Kayak is the same word. So is a jacket. So is, believe it or not, an ice floe, or even a little iceberg floating in the fjord. A white-capped wave is also the same word. Perhaps you can see the commonality. For a sea-going people, these are waves on the land, and what is a wave but a swell, a well or a welling, and, when it approaches land, a breaker. Look at it break up there! The Germans put it very well. To them, the line of waves breaking on a shore is a Brandung, a “burning.” If you wonder why, just light a fire then throw a bucket of water on it. That’s the spirit of these big spirit animals that haunt Iceland. Humans eke out an existence at their feet, always with a view into the other world. it is never far.