Tuesday, August 11, 2009



Iceland is famous for its Sagas. The Icelandic Sagas, some quasi-historical texts, were mostly written anonymously between the 12th and 13th centuries. Some of them recount the discovery and first populators of Iceland, at a time when the people were Pagans, worshipping the old Norse Gods: Odin, Thor, and Frigga.


"JON ARASON - Late in the 10th century, Christianity began to spread into Norway, and soon reached Iceland, which converted to Christianity in the early parts of the 11th century. In 1550, Jon Arason, then bishop of Hólar, was captured after some disputes with Lutheranism and beheaded. He was the last Roman Catholic bishop in Iceland"

"THINGVELLIR, ALTHING - During the time of the Sagas, the main feature of the political system in Iceland was the annual assembly called the Althing, being held during two weeks in the month of June. Estate holders had the power to decide judicial and legislative issues at the event, though their ruling power depended on the voluntary adherence of their supporters, the free farmers. This is the place where the original Parliament or Althing was established in 930 and where it remained until 1789"

"BOOK OF LAWS - In the winter of 1117-18 someone set to work in a farmhouse in northern Iceland and wrote out the whole code. Five winters later, the laws of the church got written down, too. The Book of Law had a primacy in Iceland that had few parallels in Europe until the Code Napoleon was drawn up in France at the beginning of the 19th century. Not only was it the book by which everyone lived, but it was also the book with which everyone learned to read"

"THINGVELLIR is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is on a power spot, along the Mid Atlantic Ridge separating the North American and European Continental plates"


"HEKLA, at 1,491 metres, is Iceland's most active volcano; over 20 eruptions have occurred in and around the volcano since 874"

"YELTSIN? - On a tour in Iceland we made a stop at the Greenhouse Hveragerdi. I wonder what was this one doing there..."


"VIK I MYRDAL, the wettest place in Iceland, is also its southernmost village, located 180 km of Reykjavík. Despite having only 300 inhabitants, it is the largest settlement for some 70 km around"

"REYNISDRANGAR - These three rocks, the tallest standing at 66m, are the subject of another Icelandic story. They were formed when two trolls dragged a three mast ship to the shore. However, as trolls do not survive in daylight, when the sun rose, the trolls and the ship turned to stone. The ship's masts are the only parts visible above the water. They are named Landdrangur, Háidrangur and Langsamur"

"GERMAN MEMORIAL - It commemorates a German fishing boat that was wrecked off the beach and was erected by the fishing company to thank the Icelanders who had risked their lives to save crew members"




"SKOGASAFN - The Skogar Museum, one of the best folk museums in Iceland, has a collection of over 6000 artefacts and examples of various types of dwellings in Iceland since the early times"

"DWELLINGS - The museum also has an old turf farmhouse, where guests can experience the standards of living in Iceland in past centuries"


"CODFISH - The collection of tools and equipment used at land and sea is outstanding, but the dried codfish is amazing. It shouldn't be forgotten than the Portuguese had in the past one of the most important fleet of cod fishing ships and are probably the largest consumers of dried cod in the world..."




My Canadian Blogger friend of Baron's Life was so kind to pass this award to me. Thanks Baron!


Trotter said...

Hi Everybody! Some more rural Iceland before we make the Blue Lagoon and get away... Hope you enjoy it! Have a great week or, even better, a terrific vacation!! I’ll be just green with envy... ;))

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Wow! Very interesting pictures indeed! They help gain a certain insight into the culture of the land and also showcase the immense beauty of the place! Thanks very much, as always, for sharing these timeless masterpieces!

Also, many congratulations on the very well deserved award!

Olivier said...

j'aime bien ces grandes etendues, et les "DWELLINGS" je ne connaissais pas

april said...

A wonderful landscape there. I think that is why people go to Iceland. And very interesting to see something of old times in that museum. Life wasn't so different from ours in those times (we have such museums, too).

Kcalpesh said...

These are really very interesting pictures. A very beautiful place beautifully shot!

diane b said...

Enjoyed reading about the history of Iceland. The landscape is something different. Thanks for taking me on a virtual tour because it looks too darn cold for me.

Lori said...

What amazing sights. I'm glad you captured a person walking in the photo of Thingvellir, it really shows how huge those rocks are. The scenery in Iceland must be so spectacular!

alicesg said...

Very beautiful village. I wondered how they grow grass on the roof.

alicesg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am still cold Gil! :) Although Frigga is associated with love, that name sounds like Frigid to mean....brrr. :) Looking forward to the Blue Lagoon.

Mariposa said...

wow intriguing Sagas! I enjoyed this post!

thank you.

eye in the sky said...

breath-taking vistas...

bindu said...

Beautiful, lush green countryside. The colorful churches stand out well in contrast. I love the turf roof!

Chuckeroon said...

Huh! I see Mrs. Trotter bravely gritting her teeth to feign a smile in Vik. Just imagine, the weather is so awful you get 2 weeks to come together for an Althing. Perhaps that's actually a good idea. No politicians meddling.

Anyway......you've noticed the effect the weather is having on me!!! Sorry.

*lynne* said...

oh my.. I looked at all these photos with a huge lump in my throat, especially the Thingvelir site. I took a course in Icelandic Sagas in college (complemented with Norse Mythology too), and absolutely loved not just the tales, but the style of the tales and how they painted such a stark yet strong picture of life of Icelanders of that time. One day... one day... I'll see this 'live'! :)

Ron said...

This is an awesome post. I really find that museum interesting. I must check that out someday. The pic with the church is the bomb, love it!!!!!

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Very beautiful, I especially love the church with the red roof.

Light and Voices said...

My favorite photo was of THINGVELLIR. What a site to behold.
Joyce M

Unknown said...

Thank you Gil for the tour, I didn't know a thing about Iceland before. You take care too about the virus, it is most potent and all my traveling plans have been shelved. Have a great week ahead.

Rajesh said...

The snaps are amazingly beautiful. The items in museum are very realistic. The snaps of THINGVELLIR, HEKLA are exceptionally beautiful.

Anonymous said...

such an interesting place and peculiar names - gotta love those Vikings!

Thérèse said...

I am particularly impressed by the "THINGVELLIR!
Very nice tour of Iceland.

Unseen India Tours said...

Beautiful shots and a great location to see.Everything out there is amazing..Thanks for sharing...Unseen Rajasthan

Pietro Brosio said...

Great pictures, Gil!
Very interesting the church in Vik (so beautiful!), the sculpture in the green, and all the other amazing views!
Have a very nice week!

Nomadic Matt said...

Beautiful green...land... :)

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

Very rural and beautiful!!!

rochambeau said...

Very interesting Trotter, especially since I'm part Norwegian. My mom said she knew about the gods you mention, but not me. So thank you!
Hello to Mrs. T.
Keep the traveling torch burning!
I like coming along for the adventure~

Indrani said...

Amazing statues!
I liked the glimpse of the Iceland homes of past. Great post.

Nikon said...

Beautiful shots, Gil. You make it look like a place I'd like to visit!
I love that turf house! Looks like a rugged place to live, but I like it :-)
Thanks always for your visits!

~PakKaramu~ said...

Pak Karamu reading your blog

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Quel beau pays !
Merci pour ce reportage.

yyam said...

Thanks for sharing...glorious pictures! :)

Neelima Vallangi said...

Iceland was exciting to me only because of the rich and unique landscape but never knew it also had such interesting sagas!
Very good information you have given on local folklore and the "DWELLING" in particular was interesting as it reminds me of the Hobbits and the Shire and their dwellings.. :)

leo said...

Recently I read a book and it had Iceland folklore love story. Your post gives me the depth in seeing Iceland landscape. TQss :))
Congratulations on the 34th Anniversary!! Yes, champaigne is certainly well-deserved to such wonderful couple such as yourself. Here's to another 30 years. Cheers!!

Unseen India Tours said...

Some really beautiful and fantastic shots !! Thanks for the lovely trip and congratulation on the award too..Unseen Rajasthan

P.N. Subramanian said...

As always the pictures are excellent. The last standing sculpture seems to be of the earliest inhabitant.

Daniela Valdez said...

What a charming place! I love it! Your pics always make me smile :)



Emery Roth said...

The sod house was amazing. Were the subsequent shots the inside? I never knew Iceland had this ancient tradition of laws. As always, you tours are enlightening.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Gil

Happy 34 anniversary! We will be celebrating our 35 in October. Where did the years go?

I enjoyed seeing these photos and leaning more about the history and folklore of Iceland.



Anonymous said...

WoW...simply beautifully captured shots....iceland is just amazing...have a nice weekend!

joo said...

Beautiful series! It's amazing country - your posts made me think about going there!
Greetings from Poland:)

Tinsie said...

Landdrangur, Háidrangur and Langsamur look very impressive indeed!

lv2scpbk said...

That church looks like it's in the middle of nowhere but a wonderful place to hold a service. Love the horse sculpture.

Shantanu said...

Ha, ha! A goat called Yeltsin. Wonder what the Russians think about that. :)

Baron's Life said...

Another great post and a piece of history...well done..I just enjoyed reading it

Trotter said...

Hi Folks! Summer is coming to its end and my one week yearly vacation is coming closer; but there is still a lot to do until August 31st arrives...
Iceland 2008 is also coming to its end, as the next post will be the last one in the series. Hope you have enjoyed as much as I did and thanks for your comments. Truly appreciated as always!!

The idea was to draw the attention for the famous Icelandic sagas, which are a quite important part of the culture of these people! Glad that you liked it!!

Les logements des anciens gens d’Islande sont vraiment attrayants, mais je ne suis pas sûr d’être capable d’y vivre ; j’ai déjà eu ma part avec une visite que j’ai fais à une maison Masai au Kenya… ;)

I’m sure people go to Iceland much more for the landscape than for the city… But there is also 66 North, a trademark for winter clothing… ;))
I’m not so sure life of the Icelandic fishermen was that close to the German ones, at least in the first half of the 20th century…

Thanks! A beautiful place for sure; as for beautifully shot, it’s obvious that you most kind…

It’s cold, but not as much as one could think, taking into account that it lies just below the Arctic Circle… And if you go in winter, you may (may…) catch the Northern Lights… ;))

That guy was taking his time to walk the way and the rain was threatening, so I had to take the shot while he was still around… Fortunately it came out well as it gives some dimension to the place… ;))

Alice SG,
The dwelling id covered with some sort of soil, so no wonder the grass grows on the top of it…

It looks much cooler than it actually is, taking into account the latitude of the place; wonder of the Gulf Stream… ;)). I’m sure you’ll love the Blue Lagoon when you see it…

Much more intriguing than Don Quixote de La Mancha, which must be one of your favourites…

Great to see!!

There isn’t any lack of green in Iceland; like someone said: Iceland is green, Greenland is ice… ;). Those turf roofs are a guaranteed success in any picture you may take… ;)

Must confess that the stay in Vik was a rather grey, except for some nice hot lunch we had there; it looked even worse than a summer I also spend in Scotland some thirty years ago… ;))

That must have been an experience: a course on Icelandic sagas… Couldn’t even think that existed… I’m sure you will enjoy the Saga Museum when you’ll land in Reykjavik!!

That’s truly interesting, though most of the sagas are a bit violent, to say the least… I also love that picture of the church in Vik; it would have been much more interesting if there was some blue sky around… ;))

That’s the bit of colour that would make a painting lively, isn’t it? I thought you would love it…

Just imagine that they use to meet there for only two weeks every year to decide everything important in their lives... Amazing!

Glad that you liked!!
I wonder what to do; have only one week out and if I can’t travel it’s going to be very hard to keep things running... ;)

You found the right term for the items in the museum: very realistic!! Actually there was an explanation on how they built the characters in the museum to look like people, and it’s not like the Wax museums... they’re much more impressive, indeed!!

Welcome back! We were missing you for a while here!! The names are the most difficult part of the subject... ;))

Glad that you enjoyed the tour! Sometimes one finds some amazing places where one doesn’t expect at all; Iceland is probably one of such places...

Trotter said...

Part Two of the replies to the comments on this post!!

It’s quite different from Rajasthan, but there is also some beauty around... Green, Ice and rain... ;))
Thanks for the congratulations on the award! Always thrilled with that!!

The church in Vik is a true gem! According to Wikipedia, «Vík lies directly beneath the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which itself is on top of the Katla volcano. Not only is Katla an active volcano, but it is also well overdue for an eruption. Locals fear that such an eruption could trigger an enormous flash flood of glacial runoff, potentially large enough to obliterate the entire town. The town's church, located high on a hill, is believed to be the only building that would survive such a flood. Thus, the people of Vík practice periodic drills and are trained to rush to the church at the first sign of an eruption. » Eppure... they keep living there! Peculiar

Better green...land than ice...land!!

Hope everything is running better with you... Quite rural indeed; Iceland isn’t known for its metropolis... ;)

Great to bring back some memories to your mom and to raise some curiosity to you!! It’s not easy to keep the travelling torch burning: first, time is scarce; then the flu is driving us crazy...

I knew you would pay some attention to the statues; amazing aren’t they...
The turf house is also intriguing...

I’m sure it won’t be the best place to live, that turf house... But I’m also certain you will love to visit Iceland!


Vraiment beau! Mais un peu dangereux pour y vivre; au moins dans certains coins... ;))

My pleasure! It’s always great to read you here. And also to read your most lovely blog

Wandering Soul,
Iceland is surely perfect for a wandering soul... As for the dwellings, it seems J.R.R.Tolkien is taking the lead... ;))

Great that the post helped to locate your readings!!! Thanks for the compliments. Cheers to you also!!

OK! Let’s take it as the representation of the earliest inhabitant... It could also be a troll or something else... ;))

Glad to keep you smiling!! It gives me a great pleasure!!

No, the subsequent shots were taken inside the larger building of the museum you may see on the right hand side of the previous picture to the turf house! Laws are amazing; they came from long, long time ago... ;))

Where did the years go? Great question! Time flies... unfortunately! Happy 35!!
Cheers to you also!!

Great to see that you’re again active in the blogosphere!! Thanks for the comment!

There is a direct flight with Lufthansa from Hamburg, on Saturdays... Probably the closest connection for you!!

Must confess that all those «gur»s are a bit confusing... And all men in Iceland are named «...sson» and all women are «...dottir»; of course they are sons and daughters of someone else... ;))

There are interesting facts about the church in Vik Y Mirdal. Just have a look at my reply to Pietro!!

I’m not sure it is a joke of good taste, but I was just making it known; no liability for any other guy’s acts... ;))

Great to see that you liked it! It’s not an easy task to put some interesting text on the subtitles of the pictures...

Cergie said...

Des légendes, un paysage de légendes, la nature si inquiétante il faut l'apprivoiser avec l'invention de mythes dignes de la mythologie grecque...
J'aime beaucoup lire un auteur islandais moderne, Arnaldur Indridason, cependant je suis ravie de ne pas habiter la-haut toute l'année....
Par contre y aller faire un tour, encouragée et intriguée par tes récents messages, pourquoi pas ?

Trotter said...

Les mythes scandinaves, dont les islandais sont tributaires, ne seront peut-être si complets que les grecques, mais quand même...
Le seul auteur islandais que j'ai lu a été le Prix Nobel Halldor Laxness, «Peuple Indépendant»,; très intéressant!!
Je crois qu'il faut y aller...

Wow Gold said...

fantastic blog.

Trotter said...

Wow Gold,
Probably spam, but thanks for the time being...