BORGARFJORDUR EYSTRI – an Icelandic village portrait

Borgarfjordur Eystri- a spectacular location, and all quiet in town.

Borgarfjordur Eystri is the only settlement we pass on our trek through Iceland’s deserted inlets. Most of the farmers who used to eke out a living in the Viknaslodir region have left, so now it’s a hikers’ paradise, with 140km of trails to follow.

The village feels temporary, like a mining camp where people come to work for a short time before moving to somewhere more congenial.

The galvanised iron buildings add to this impression, and few residents have bothered making gardens. The winter would kill the plants anyway.

Why bother with gardening when the lupins bloom like this?

The village church - not all the other buildings are quite so attractive.

The altarpiece of the church was painted in 1914 by Iceland's most popular artist Johannes Kjarval, who grew up in the village. He's depicted the sermon on the (local) mount. Recognise the mountains in the shots above and below?

The owners of this traditional turf house come here in the summer. In the winter they live somewhere more comfortable.

I assume these things used to do something useful, but now they're just decorating the waterfront.

The war memorial. In 1942 a mine like this washed up in Borgarfjordur and exploded. According to the plaque, nobody was hurt, but 187 windows were broken. Compared to the rest of Europe, Borgarfjordur (and the local glazier) had a good war.

There is still some cod fishing from the village, and the catch is hung out to dry on wooden racks. The good bits of the fish are sold in Europe; the heads are sent to Nigeria. Really.

Alfaborg Hill, reputedly the home of the elfin queen. Many Icelanders still believe in elves and trolls. We haven't seen any on this trip, but this is the sort of country where they would live.

So long, Borgarfjordur. It was nice to see you for a night, but there are more adventures ahead.

The writer was the guest of Fifty Degrees North.


Filed under Hiking, Scandinavia

2 responses to “BORGARFJORDUR EYSTRI – an Icelandic village portrait

  1. BdL, I fear that the good bits of fish such as telapia or Nile perch caught in Africa may be exported to places like Iceland, leaving local people to deal with the heads.

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