Day two of my Iceland trip started with breakfast on the top floor of the hotel before meeting with our guide in the hotel lobby. We loaded up into a small bus and started our trek of the Golden Circle.
The first stop was part of our literary tour. These stops usually were for our group alone and they all had knowledgeable speakers. This day we stopped at the home of Halldor Laxness (winner of the Novel Prize for Literature in 1955). The home and farm, Gljufrasteinn, had been in his family for more than half a century. Now it is open to the public as a museum.
A specialist on Laxness’ life gave us a rundown of his life as a child, adult, and into his later years as well as his frame of mind on each step of his literary works.
Our next stop reminded me of the history of American Indians. While it might be a far stretch for some, as we stood at Thingvellir, the open-air assembly area where the chieftains of each clan and many of their followers would meet for two weeks every year to settle disputes, I thought of the gatherings of American tribes as they traded and discussed the coming of changes. This assembly would set laws that all men would abide by. And it was here that the decision to convert from paganism to Christianity came, although they said they would live and believe as Christians to make the King of Denmark happy, they also agreed that they could still carry on some of their pagan ways as long as no one knew about it.
Their were mounds that revealed where “booths” of huts were built that people lived in while at the assembly for two weeks. Around 50 fragments of these booths built from stone and turf are visible. This is now a National Park and is visited by many tourists each year. But I could see the Icelanders of the 10th century meeting here- rowdy, loud, and demanding their quarrels be settled.
This was a long day- I’ll tell you more in the next two posts.