I’m in Iceland right now, but this photo was taken on an earlier trip. Seljalandsfoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland, and deservedly so. Those majestic 63-meter falls are quite photogenic, with a trail that runs right behind the cascade. No wonder it swarms so thickly with tourists you can barely see the water.
But right around the corner is a second fall, Gljúfrabúi. Harder to say, easier to see. Hardly anyone knows it’s there. It has cut a channel back into the rock. Visitors follow the stream back to the hill, then walk through a rock channel into a cave. The waterfall has carved out a doughnut-hole in the roof. You can climb up on a big rock in the middle, look up at the open sky, and feel the fine shower of waterfall spray on your face.
Earlier this year I was contacted by Siggi Jensson, the creator of the Eistnaflug 2014 10th Anniversary four-DVD box set. Was I interested in receiving a press copy for review? Unfortunately, I had to say, ‘No’ because I had already purchased the box set in question. But why would I sit on a historical document like that without reviewing it? No reason at all. So here it is. Continue reading
That time I went to Canada just to see a museum exhibit about Vikings.
Is it Iceland? Or is it Rohan?
No big deal. Just a turf house in the middle of a small town.
In 2014 I visited Reykholt as part of a sort of saga pilgrimage. Here is the hot pot known as Snorrilaug, or Snorri’s Bath. It is believed to have existed in the fourteenth century, when the saga writer and preserver Snorri Sturluson lived in the area, and to have been used by him. As you can see from the steam and my attire, it was just the sort of freezing day that makes a hot soak sound good. Of course the pool is not open for swimming, and the spot is not quite quiet enough to sneak a dip. But looking at the pool that day, I felt a little like a pilgrim standing on the edge of the Ganges. If that holy river can purify a penitent soul, what might Snorrilaug do for a hopeful writer?
In the middle of a small park in a small town not far from Reykjavik, there is a grass-covered mound. No fence protects it from climbing feet or digging hands, but a placard nearby reports that it contains the bones of the horse that belonged to Skallagrim, the father of the legendary saga character Egil. (It perhaps also contains the remains of Skallagrim himself, and/or Egil’s son Bodvar. I can’t tell because the sign is in Icelandic.)