Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 16: The Hidden World Walk and Hallgrimskirkja

With only a few days left in Iceland, we've been slowing down the sightseeing, and taking our time getting up in the morning. We had a lazy morning today, had lunch at Cafe Paris, and drove to Hafnarfjördur, which local legend has one of Iceland's largest colonies of Álfar (elves, dwarves, and other spiritual beings), for a Hidden World Walk. We've come across many mentions of elves, ogres, and the like; and much of the walk consisted of elf and troll stories - including a creation story - and a walk through Álfagarðurinn (the elf garden), which was located between some gorgeous lava rock formations and the occasional cave.

We also saw a troll remnant (if you look carefully you can see a big forehead and a nose; the face points to the left); trolls turn to rock if they don't get out of the sun before it rises:

It was interesting that there was such a strong history of elf, troll, and ogre mythology; I wondered if there had been any connection to the Celtic mythology I grew up with, insofar as when Iceland was first settled, there were a large number of Irish women among the population.

Before dinner we walked about a third of a mile to Hallgrimskirkja, where we listened to an in-progress organ concert for a few minutes before taking the elevator all the way to the top to check out the views of Reykjavik.

We had a really wonderful dinner tonight at Lækjarbrekka, where we had Hákarl (fermented shark). The entire waitstaff was wonderful, but one fellow in particular was amazing: He paid special attention to us (for no reason I could discern), and stopped by often to joke around with us; I was able to ask him how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull, the 2010 volcano that erupted and caused international aviation havoc.

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