In my last post (see it here), I outlined my rough itinerary for the first half of my week in Iceland next June. I’ll be spending the week mostly up in West Iceland because of my interest in seeing sites related to some of the Icelandic family sagas, especially Laxdaela saga and Egil’s saga.
In that first half of my itinerary I proposed first to do either the Viking festival in Hafnarfjordur or else a stay in a hostel in Borgarnes, where many of the Egil’s saga sites took place.
That night’s stay would be followed by two nights in a homestay on the peninsula known as Snaefellsnes, with natural wonders like volcanoes, black sand beaches, and a glacier. Plus more saga sites and a boat trip on Breidafjordur to see PUFFINS. 😉
After Snaefellsnes, I will head back to the body of Iceland to the region of West Iceland known as Dalir, or the Dales.
The Dales are rich in sites from my favorite saga, Laxdaela. One big reason I’ll be vising Iceland in the summer, instead of during less-crowded months, is that the Hotel Edda Laugar in Saelingsdalur is only open in the summers. That is also true of the other Edda Hotels around the island. All the following photos are from the hotel:
This is an example of the single room with shared bath that I’ll be staying in:
The Hotel Edda Laugur in Saelingsdalur is located on the site where Gudrun Osvifsdottir, one of the main people of Laxdaela, grew up. The hot springs where she was courted by Kjartan, son of Olaf the Peacock, is still there and is accessible to hotel guests. (See the photo at the top of this post.) I simply must have a dip in that hotpot and change in the original, quaint turf-covered hut!
About five miles away from the hotel is the site of Hvamm, one of the first Icelandic homesteads dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries. Hvamm is distinguished because it was founded by a woman, Unn (or Aud) the Deep-Minded, daughter of Ketil Flat-Nose.
Both Unn and the farm she founded were so important that the fjord connecting it to the rest of the bay of Breidafjordur is called Hvammfjord. (See the map in my last post, here.)
Unn the Deep-Minded’s story is given in the opening chapters of Laxdaela, and she is referred to in many of the other sagas, as well as in such historical works as the Book of Settlers and the Book of Icelanders. It was her story that brought me to my enduring love of the Icelandic family sagas as a whole, and thus to my interest in all things Icelandic! ❤
At Hvamm now nothing remains of Unn the Deep-Minded’s estate, but there is a quaint much more recent church. She would have approved of that, because she was one of the few original land-takers during the Settlement Era who was Christian.
Unn the Deep-Minded impressed me so much that the character I made up for my SCA persona is her fictional great-granddaughter. I was “named” by my father (Olaf Feilan, the historical grandson of Unn) after her. In SCA parlance, I am “Unnr Olafsdottir.”
To mark the differences between my fictitious character and the very real, historical, and heroic person Unn the Deep-Minded, sometimes I am known in the SCA as Unnr the Shallow-Minded. 🙂
Other sites I’ll definitely be seeing while I’m staying at the Hotel Edda include the recreated turf longhouse of Eirik the Red and his son Leif the Lucky, better known to us as the Leif Eriksson who settled in Newfoundland at L’Anse aux Meadows.
The photo is from the WordPress blog, “The Road to Reykjavik,” which belongs to my SCA friends Tom and Orilee, who have just embarked on two years of graduate studies at the University of Iceland. See that blog here.
I also hope to be able to locate the point along Hvammsfjord known as Kambsnes, close to the village of Budadalur. That name refers to the incident and place where Unn the Deep-Minded lost her comb.
After all my time looking at places relating to Laxdaela and Egil’s saga, I’ll return for my last two nights to Reykjavik. There I will experience the life of the Big City. 🙂 It’s all relative!
I do want to go to at least two museums, one of which is known as +/- 841, referring to the first settlement on Iceland by the Norse, and the other being the Saga Museum.
I also want to take the elevator to the top of the iconic church Hallgrimskirkja, for its panoramic view of the city, the bay, the surrounding countryside, and even the glacier at Snaefellsnes if the day is clear enough.
Strolling along the main shopping drag, Laugavegur, is another possibility. I’ll be rooming in a very nearby hostel called Loft. It has a bar on the top floor, and live entertainment most nights (all photos courtesy of the hostel):
It also has a restaurant and a breakfast buffet, both of which cost extra.
One thing I dread about the trip is the cost of food and gasoline. I’m going to pack as much food to take with me as I can. There’s not much I can do about gasoline, though, except to try not to get lost and burn fuel trying to find my way back again…
Then, after two nights in Reykavik, it will be back to the airport to turn in my rental car and fly home to Ohio USA, where I’ll start planning my next foray! ❤