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Giants, Elves and Jules Verne

We drove to Reykjavik which will be our final destination in Iceland. On the trip there we were once again blown away by the beauty and diversity of the landscape around us. I took this photo out the car window.  We did stop to take this photo of sheep.  You see sheep just about everywhere you drive in Iceland, sometimes even on the road.  I marveled many times at how sure- footed the animals were. It was amazing how very high up on a mountain side they could go to graze. We also stopped to take this photo of horses. There are so many herds of horses everywhere in Iceland.  The friendly, sturdy breed is exported to many European countries. In Iceland they are used for riding and racing and rounding up sheep. 

We stopped in the village of Arnarstapi to do a hike to Hellnar village and back.   We walked with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. A rainbow followed us all along the way. At the start of this hiking path was a statue representing a character from one of the Icelandic sagas or mythical stories.  The giant Bárðr Snæfellsáss disappeared into the nearby volcano after a huge family conflict.  Early fragments of  Bárðr’s story have been found in manuscripts dating from the 1400s. We were hiking amongst these lava rocks formed in all kinds of weird shapes and contorted forms. 

Some rocks were covered with a red kind of lichen.  We passed two signs like this one for Drougalag but didn’t know what they were for, although my sister did find a video online of some children from Iceland singing a song about Drougalag who appeared to be some kind of a ghost. We wondered if the signs marked a spot where Huldufolk or elves are thought to live.  Some people in Iceland still believe in the existence of elves and construction projects can be altered or warnings displayed to protect elf domains. Our path led to the village of Hellnar an old fishing port that dates back to 1560. We’d hoped to see some puffins on our hike but all we found were gulls and terns. 

Snæfellsjökull the volcano that was always in view as we hiked is famous because of the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne.  In his book the protagonists find the entrance to the passage leading to the centre of the earth on Snæfellsjökull.

My other posts about Iceland can be found here……..

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