|Best laid plans||Continents and Caves||Reykjavikian ambiance||Waterfalls and sunsets||Human wrecks and legacies||Kristinartindar: The Journey is the Reward||The finding of firsts, and birthday peace||The endurance of history in Snæfellsnes||The edge of the Earth||An unexpected discovery||Community, love, betrayal, and sharks||The adventure comes full circle|
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Built first in 1880, this church in Hellnar soon gained Christian influence, and after its deterioration became significant, it was rebuilt in 1945 to the church that stands today. Some original elements were kept from first church, such as candle holders, a chalice, church bells, and the copper door ringer which reads "Ásgrímur Vigfússon - Sigríður Ásgeirsdóttir, Anno 1788", a gift given by the priest and his wife. Inside, the altarpiece shows Jesus and the disciples in Emmaus.
When I stopped by the church was closed, and Hellnar was still quiet and serene; the sun was slowly lighting up the horizon, and it was a beautiful morning. This little town is quite picturesque with the mountains of Snæfellsjökull and Stapafell in one direction and the ocean in the other.
I took some time to appreciate the land and its history, and read about Jóhannes Helgason, a local sculptor who created art for the church, and the story of Kristín Hjartardóttir's casket which he'd carved as a gift for her; but it was found with his body after he was trapped and killed in a snowstorm during a long walk from Hellnar to Hellisandur - shortly after they were engaged to be married. What a tragedy.
I walked alongside the small cemetery out back, and made my way towards the next site on the list; an art installation quite unique and rare!
Víddaflakk (interdimensional hopscotch) is an art installation, one part of the story of Eliala Mei-Ning that takes place in a parallel universe intersecting with ours. Other segments of Eliala's story lay as pieces like this in Armenia, Singapore, Japan, and Spain, as well as Lithuania and Wyoming. Suffice to say, discovering this unique "obscure" site thanks to Atlas Obscura, I had to pay it a visit!
Víddaflakk is the story of "a singer whose voice was too beautiful to be concealed, and how she was the sole witness to a murder. The guilty parties chased her relentlessly, and she would try to hide, but eventually she would need to sing. And since her voice was the most beautiful one in the world, people would instantly know it could only be her, and inevitably the bad guys would hear of her whereabouts. Knowing she had to sing, Eliala accepted her fate, traveling the world one step ahead of the Puhnee, the thugs that were chasing her."
( Text of Víddaflakk )A generation of generations ago, three parts of the world which to us seem quite distant - this place, a desert in what we call America, and an island in linear Indonesia - were each just one stride apart. On that to us far island, Eliala Mei Ning, the singer whose voice was too beautiful to be hidden, and the only witness to a terrible crime, was nearly captured by thugs finding her at her 89th place of hiding. Desperate, she raced to an Okinau, an unnerving sort of border - more like a kind of window that essentially erases the neighbouring rezhn's landscape so only a different, quite distant border is present, let alone visible. But Eliala began to sing, so beautifully that those lands briefly returned and she stepped into them. Safely across, her voice pivoted to a deep, visceral note of such resonance that the Okinau reasserted itself, blocking her pursuers. With her next stride, almost a skip, across still more dimensions and jemvelac (qualities of existence), she was in that desert for a transporting beat. Then, with a last hop, she was safely here, and soon in the embrace of the family [Sakknuss?æmm].
The Kcymaerxthaere [kye-MAIR-icks-theer] has over 100 story segments located around the world, one even located under water. An Indiegogo campaign was launched in 2016 to translate the story segments into all 9 languages used among the pieces that exist around the world, and ultimately produce a limited edition print of the project.
Kcymaerxthaere is a “parallel universe that intersects with much of our linear Earth, but with different stories, creatures, peoples, even laws of physics and qualities of existence.” It has been likened to a novel with every page in a different place.
This is an intriguing and epic narrative art project, that's for sure!
Laugarbrekka is an abandoned farm that dates back to Icelandic settlement. Born here in 980 was Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir (also known as víðförla 'wide-fared, far-traveled'), who soon traveled with husband Þorfinnur Karlsefni Þórdarson to Vinland (America, the New World) and gave birth to Snorri in 1004, believed to be in Newfoundland, at l'Anse aux Meadows, the only authenticated settlement of Norse Vikings in North America. Sorri was the first child of European descent born in North America. After eventually returning to Iceland to settle in Glaumbær, Snorri's offspring flourished and the family provided a number of Iceland's first bishops, and was a key member of Eric the Red's clan. Bishop Thorlak Runólfson is Snorri's grandson, who published the first Christian Code of Iceland; and Thorvaldsen, a Danish sculptor, is also a descendant of Snorri.
The remains of a turf church are still visible at this location, which existed until 1881. Laugarbrekka is also the location in the saga of Bárðr Snæfellsáss ("guardian spirit" of Snæfell), and Snorri's tale is included in the Saga of Eric the Red and the Saga of the Greenlanders. There are duplicates of this statue in 3 locations from Snorri's life - here at Laugarbrekka, in Ottawa as a tribute to his birthplace and stay in Vinland, and in Glaumbær where recently his old dwellings were discovered beneath the ground, providing evidence that the legend of Snorri is entirely real.
Discovering places described in Icelandic sagas is an absolutely fascinating experience. Many sagas may or may not be true, some exceptionally outlandish, but many are based in real history, if not entirely true. Locating such memorials and monuments to saga elements lends credence to the folklore, and you feel like you're walking lands of ancient little-known history.
Returning to Hrunting, I had a moment of pride in my noble companion, faithful steed. With Stapafell mountain (having a peak at 521m) and Snæfellsjökull (at 1446m) as backdrops, I took the opportunity to showcase Hrunting in its rugged, aged, handsome beauty. I was proud to call it friend at this moment.