Hat? Check. Parka? Check. Gloves? Check. Some might tell you that September is still technically summer. Some people were wrong – at least when they talked about Iceland. So, what can we do instead of sunbathing? What about troll hunting?
North of the Wall
The flow of tourists is already declining in Iceland, not that there has been more than herring this summer. The wind and mist are also doing their best to make the interior look more stunning, promising comfort, security from elements and perhaps a hot drink to warm up with, while they cuddle on the couch with a cozy blanket. If you’re miserable.
How about a trip to the northernmost town in Iceland instead? Fortunately, I still have the opportunity to travel to the outermost regions of the island, thanks to it being part of my job. But what to do so far north? Sure, the view from the car seat will be great, through the mountains and along the cliffs, but how much fun can there be in the small fishing villages we are going to visit? Depends on what you’re looking for, I would say. And what I’m looking for is famous for avoiding the sun. That’s right, I’m going to catch some trolls.
A typical Icelandic troll tends to be a rather grumpy fellow, sometimes suffers from noise sensitivity and occasionally has a craving for human flesh. They also have a very severe allergy to sunlight. Our skin problems are nothing compared to the constant threat of turning to a solid stone as soon as they are hit with the lowest dose of vitamin D. Iceland has a great legend around these boys, some trolls come more kindly than others. I have made it my mission to find at least a few remnants of the stories, while also enjoying the magnificent scenery of the Wild North.
Across the Misty Mountains
The journey starts early, where I, a loyal Grapevine cameraman, Art Bicnick and I drive from Reykjavík through the endless Hvalfjörður, to Borganes for coffee which is absolutely necessary and we stop from time to time for a particularly beautiful shot of a mountain. The weather starts nice enough, with sunshine making strong winds more bearable as we get closer and closer to our destination Soon heading for the gray fog and not knowing what awaits us on the other side.
Our first big stop is at Húnafjörður, along a windy coastline, down a cliff until we are right in front of what should be the remains of the trawl. The large rock, a few meters in the sea, is known as Hvítserkur, which roughly means “white coat”. Fits as it is coated in a white bird cushion. That’s clearly what you get for trying to break a monastery before ringing your bell and then being beaten in the morning sun.
It’s to die for
The North Coast offers stunning views of the North Atlantic despite the mist. If anything, gloomy weather adds to the atmosphere. The part that I probably least like is the mountains that we have to travel on our way into Siglufjörður. There is one lane for almost a mile. A car coming in front of us has to drive into one of the spaces that is cut into the shoulder every few meters. I hate every second of it. And I do not even consider myself a claustrophobic.
When this ordeal is over, we finally enter the historic village that started as a center for fishing sharks, then enjoyed the herring season and became an exhibition site for some modern dark stories. In the shade of the mountains and surrounded by cute wooden hunting lodges, fictional murders have also found their home. Author Ragnar Jónasson made Siglufjörður the setting for the literary series Dark Iceland and much of the crime series “Trapped” was recorded here.
Swimming pool with views
As remote as the small fishing village, it certainly has its charm. The Siglunes guesthouse we stayed at offers not only coziness but also Moroccan cuisine by the master chef, Jaouad Hbib, who built the restaurant’s reputation and changed the menu daily. I honestly doubt that I will find such a symphony of spices back in Iceland at any time. Our second day in the north is thankfully sunnier and we can watch the sun rise slowly over the mountains. We go out – again through the cursed tunnel – and stop at Hofsós to take a dip in the swimming pool with a view of Skagafjörður. In the fjord I can also see the small islands Drangey and Málmey, both of which have giant stories connected to them. Drangey is said to have been a large cow that was led by trolls when they all landed in the morning sun. Málmey is even said to be cursed! Obviously, a couple should not live on the island for more than 20 years, so that the woman mysteriously disappears and possibly turns into a troll. However, perhaps you should simply not isolate your spouse on a rock in the ocean. It could lead to some friction marriage … even if the northern landscape of Iceland is breathtakingly magnificent.
Source: The Nordic Page