Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hótel Hellissandur, Hellissandur, Iceland

At breakfast this morning they were playing the same damn song, still on repeat. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the people who work here.

Some cereal and gjetost1 later we got into the car for the drive to Hvamm. Hellissandur is at the western end of the Snuffelupisberg2 peninsula, and Hvamm is all the way around Hvammsfjord3. Directly it might be an easy trip. Going all the way around the fjord takes some time. Particularly when you’re stopping every few kilometers for a photo op.


Dad’s pretty taken with the countryside, but I find the colors dull and generally uninspiring. The mountains, while large, are so eroded that they look to be piles of dirt. Big piles, mind you, but piles none the less.


Which is not to say that someone who had a better night’s sleep might not feel differently. I’m pretty sure someone was moving furniture around the hotel until well after midnight last night.


The peninsula is deceptively long, and it took us nearly 2 hours to reach Bodahumfumfumfur4, one of the larger towns we would be passing. We were wondering, when we were maybe 45km away, whether or not we should try to make it all the way there. The drive had become tedious. Really tedious. After a delightful lunch of overcooked hotdog with suspect toppings and 2 pieces of decent apple pie from the local gas station (the pizza joint wasn’t open) we felt much better and continued on.


You have to put a lot of blind faith into these roads. First that just because it’s not paved doesn’t mean it’s not a main road, and second, that it really is wide enough for you and that car barreling in your direction.



First stop was Krosshólar5...


where Aud supposedly erected a bunch of crosses (she’d converted from Paganism to Christianity).

My folks

Now there’s a recently-erected stone cross that says something about her in Icelandic. Plans for translation are pending.

One day I will translate this


Then on to Hvamm – her settlement in Iceland – where there’s now a private farm and a sign with historical factoids (the last of which is completely baffling)6.


We took pictures,


Hvamm farm

scoured the ground for any very unlikely artifacts,


and took off back again.


(The uncountable islands)

Then to Kambsness (we think -- there wasn't a sign, though the map said it was right) where she'd lost her comb. It's now an airport so we couldn't get too close (though I'm pretty sure the security wasn't exactly rock-solid).


Finally we stopped to wander a black sand beach.


I tramped over some rocks and out onto a small cliff.


(Click for note)



(The view from the cliff)

We encountered some more arctic terns feeding their young. The adolescents would wait on the beach, and the parents would take off, find food, drop it in front of their babies, and head out for more. I’m sure human parents of teenagers can relate.


After some rest and relaxation we went back out to Olafswhatever 7 for dinner, noshed on some lamb and talked Aud (question: DID she take advantage of her stable boys after her husband died? Discuss). No “My Way,” but lots of 80’s American pop. Now it’s 8:30 and looks like 5pm outside.

Tomorrow, whale watching. Mmm!

1 A caramel-flavored cheese that I never buy because it’s su-u-u-per expensive.
2 Snæfellsnes
3 Hvammsfjör∂ur
4 Bú∂ardalur
5 ?
6 "Around the year 890 Unnur the Deep minded from Dögur∂ará settled the land between the outer edge of Hvammssveit and Skraumuhlaupsá in Hör∂adalur. She built her farm at Hvammur and for a long time after her kin lived there. Unnur was Christain.

The father of the Sturlunga-family, Sturla Þór∂arsson (1115-1183), lived at Hvammur. He was of the ninth generation counting from Unnur the Deep minded. His sons Þór∂ur, Sighvatur and Snorri were born there.

Ámi Magússon (1663-1730), professor and collector of manuscripts, grew up at Hvammur.

Priest would remain at Hvammur. Since the Reformation until 1944 only 15 priests held the position."

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