A trip to Sagaland – Iceland
On the footprints of Elves, Trolls & Giants
Our first view of this mystic island was cloudy and dusty, as we expected. We heard so many stories about this beautiful country and read about the peoples faith in tales, so we couldn’t wait any longer to visit the mystic landscapes. We were wondering if we could find any of the famous hidden people or trolls…
The first impressions of Iceland were amazing. Not even one hour after arriving at the campground close to Keflavik airport, we saw our first giant in the sea. But it seemed to be a very nice one… it splashed air up into the sky and it seemed to be a gentle giant called whale.
The flight made us very tired, so we went to bed early and dreamed about red trolls in green landscapes, grumbling and making some relaxing sounds – just like the sea beneath our camper van and the raindrops on the roof.
The next day we started our journey with the visit of Iceland’s most important historical site: Þingvellir. We learned about the Alþingi and the first democratic parliament and the law court. How many saga-heroes or -heroines have been judged guilty and killed at this site?
Driving and hiking through the various landscapes shaped by volcanic activities, we started to see hidden footprints on mountains, rocks, in caves and fissures and in the water. Completely impressed by the colors of the landscapes and lights of the daylight, we started immediately to believe in all these sagas and tales. Nature in Island is magic – as the elves, trolls and other creatures!
The whole country has so many different colors and it changes every sunbeam. Just have a look at the color of the water for example. Did you see how different it is everywhere? There is the very dark blue sea, the light blue color of blue lagoon, the green of Seljavallalaug, the gray of Jökulsárlón, the milky white of a river in Katla region or the orange river close to Stykkishólmur. Water color changes as much as the weather.
There are not only elves, trolls and giants in Iceland, there must be some witches or evils! Every where you can find some boiling and bubbling cauldrons with devilish smells. Just take a deep breath and you’ll never forget the smell of Iceland… After a while you’ll get really used to it and we are sure, that we will miss it at the end.
In Húsavik we decided to visit the gentle giants in the Ocean. Standing at the reeling we were on the lookout for the biggest animals on the world. We were lucky to find a big family of humpback whales. These impressive animals have to be remaining of earlier giants! Amazing how smooth they move in the water.
We learned a lot about these whales. They can dive for over 40 minutes without breathing and when they dive for a longer period, they show you their tail. And did you know, that the blue whale has the biggest dick of the world? If you go to the phallus museum in Reykjavik, then you will learn a lot more about all the mammal’s dicks in Iceland.
At the seals museum in Hvammstangi we learned about the saga from the seals who became human again. According to this saga this would happen once a year at midsummer but only for a few hours. Then they celebrate as humans before they would take on their sealskin again and go back into the sea. The Saga tells the story about a woman who had seven children on land and seven in the sea. This happened because during the midsummer festival a farmer stole the women-seal clothes and she couldn’t return to the sea. She married the farmer and they got 7 children. But always when the women went to the sea, she was very sad. Once she could find her seals-dress in a coffer and so she left her family and returned to the Ocean.
In Eiriksstaðir we visited the farm of the Viking Eirik. He was the first European to visit Greenland. But most of the Viking stories told about cruelty and murder.
Were the Icelandic people really that cruel as it is written in the sagas? We heard that the Lögreglan, the police in Iceland, doesn’t wear weapons, because they don’t need them. There are very few murders in this country and you can feel very safe everywhere. Wasn’t it like this all the time?
Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to explore the region of Tröllaskagi – where the trolls come from. But we finally met a troll couple in Akureyri – and Simone got immediately into troubles… Finally Nadine reached to deal with them and saved Simone’s life in exchange of a Swiss chocolate…
One big problem in Iceland is, that you can’t hide… What do you do, when you get lost in Iceland? – You just need to stand up and you are higher than the trees! 🙂
The two little red riding hoods didn’t have to be afraid of the bad bad wolf, because he couldn’t hide neither.
After two weeks in Sagaland we still don’t know if we should believe in all these sagas or if they are fairy-tales like the Grimms that we know in our country. All these Sagas made us quite confused. So we decided at the end of our journey to visit the show “Icelandic Sagas” at Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik. We can really recommend this comedy! In 75 minutes you get a brief overview of all the 40 unique stories about the first settlers of Iceland, explained and illustrated with a lot of humor!
It doesn’t matter if these sagas are true stories or not – they are an important part of the Icelandic people and fit perfectly into the landscape. We are happy to know a part of this mystic Sagaland and we will return to Iceland to know more about it!!!
We can really recommend it!
S & N
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