For the past two days, John and I have been hiking Seyðisfjörður in the Eastfjords part of Iceland. Seyðisfjörður, a town of approximately 700, is nestled within a fjord surrounded by more waterfalls than you can conjure in your most spectacular dreams. If you follow my personal Facebook page, you may have waterfall fatigue from all the photos I’ve posted. In person, I’m convinced it’s impossible to suffer from such a thing. Each waterfall provides unique beauty. Each one is ever changing.
Mark Twain said, “You cannot surprise an individual more than twice with the same marvel.” While I’m not one to disagree with Mark Twain, I’d bet money he never traveled to Iceland.
Vestdalseyri / Vestdalur Valley
This time of year (technically summer), Iceland enjoys midnight sun. I haven’t seen a dark sky in nearly two weeks. The cool thing about this is night hiking. Sleep? We’ll do that later. We can cram lots more sights in with more daylight.
Twice, during night and morning, we’ve hiked around Vestdalur Valley. This northern part of the fjord is covered in ruins from the original settlement Vestdalseyri, once on the mail route between Seyðisfjörður and East Iceland. In 2004, workers found the remains of “Mountain Lady” (estimated to be thirty years old at her death) in a cave near one of the waterfalls, along with over four hundred pearls and Viking-age pins dated 940.
Vestdalur Valley is a place to take in breathtaking views. And it’s easy to feel like a kid again while exploring ruins, caves, and sunken spots in the mountainside. More than once, I was reminded of the gullies on Little River I explored a million years ago with my cousin and sister. We had a river (but no waterfalls), cockleburs (instead of moss), no sheep (but maybe a pig or two). And probably more than once we were Vikings or Indians or early explorers.
I think because I miss Lucy and Annabelle so much, I’ve begun communing with Icelandic sheep. They have so much personality. And the lambs are adorable!
“We should take two lambs home. One for Lucy and one for Annabelle,” I said only half joking.
“That’s just what we need. Pets for our pets,” John said full-on sarcastic.
Dvergasteinn / Dwarf Rock
I absolutely was not going to leave Seyðisfjörður without seeing the Dwarf Rock. And it took us quite some time to find it—part of two days. According to legend, this unusual rock was believed to be the site of prayers for local dwarfs. Originally, it was located on the South shore of the fjord near the church. When the local church was taken apart and relocated to the North side, the rock was left behind. But on the day when the church was finally rebuilt, the people looked across the fjord and saw a strange vessel sailing to the South shore. The dwarfs moved it to be near the original church again.
It is a very odd rock. And if it somehow moved across the fjord? Well, that’s a legendary feat for sure.
(Trying to locate it? The rock is near the shore in a farmer’s field. To get there by road, GPS coordinates = N65° 17′ 23.292″ W13° 55′ 46.280″. There’s a small, easily missed sign. You’ll climb a fence and walk several hundred yards to the water’s edge. It’s well worth it!)
It looks like a giant space sponge. Otherworldly, for sure.
Even though the dwarf stone moved north, the South fjord offers much to see, too. We barely covered any of it.
Tvísöngur is a sound sculpture created by German artist Lukas Kühne. Five domes of varying heights and sizes provide incredible acoustic quality to correspond to traditional Icelandic harmony. What a striking thing to come upon while hiking Seyðisfjörður.
And yes, more waterfalls!
The more I hang out in these fjords, the more magical all of it feels. I begin to look for elf houses among the small rocks and wedged between mossy crevices. Which stone is a doorway?
Look at this next picture. See the square in the very center of the mountain?
I’ve decided that’s a button. Or a doorbell. For the trolls. Push the button to open the secret mountain passageway and enter the land of trolls.
Don’t worry, we’re headed home to Fayetteville soon, and my blog will return from gnomes and trolls to grits and coneflowers. Normal stuff. Fair warning: there may be another Iceland post before I’m done though.
And if you find yourself driving the ring road in Iceland, be sure to spend time in SEYÐISFJÖRÐUR.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
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Mumford and Sons, Awake My Soul