Thursday, September 4, 2014
Scenery Changes Constantly
Photos: August 12-13, 2014
Driving through Iceland is a constant series of surprises. We left Akureyri and soon found ourselves following a valley between high mountains, some with snow, others looking like jagged volcanic creations.
Wherever there was the least bit of fertile soil, there was a farm (hay seemed to be a major crop).
We stopped whenever we could to admire the views - so different from the lava fields we drove through in the south.
We stayed overnight at the guesthouse on a farm, about 6 km down a gravel road from the main road. The days got noticeably shorter, with a long period of golden light in the evening. It still never got completely dark over night.
Sheep are found everywhere in Iceland and lamb features on the menu at most restaurants as well as fish. This trio was walking on the road. They did not seem overly perturbed by us, though as we approached they trotted away.
We drove up to the town of Hvammstangi. The population is around 600.
Icelandic horses have long manes. We were on our way to visit the site where Eric the Red had his farm. Someone on horseback signalled us to pull off the one land gravel road. Then a few riders proceeded along the road followed by quite a number of riderless horses.
Then one decided to go into the field and those behind followed suit. The rider at the back of the pack managed to get them to go back on the road and then off they went.
We were told later that it takes about 3 years before farmers know if a horse will be good for riding. In the meantime this is one way they train them to follow the pack. Those that don't, those that have a bad temperament and those that don't have the correct gait end up as horse meat, much of which is exported to Europe.
This is a replica of what they believe Eric the Red's farmhouse would have been like (the actual site of the house is just up the hill). We had the chance to go inside. It must have been quite damp and cold in the winter. It is believed that this is where Lief Ericsson was born.
To walk here is to walk where they did. We heard the same kind of sounds they must have heard and looked out on the same landscape. I love these connections to history.
More photos can be found at: Iceland and Faroe Islands album