History

Today is history day. But don't worry, no lectures on how those crazy Norwegians got on a dragon-prowed boat and rowed to this little island in the North Atlantic. Instead, I'm just going to mention that the National Museum of Iceland has re-opened after six years, to everyone's relief. Talk about going over deadline...but it's supposed to be a beautiful exhibit of Icelandic heritage and history, so when you come to visit be sure to go there.

Also, don't miss out on what my girlfriend Helga calls one of Reykjavík's best kept secrets: The Culture House. Super old manuscripts on vellum are kept there in climate-controlled cases, and I have to admit that I got shivers when I saw them (thought that might be because I'm all into books and stuff). It was like history was radiating from the pages, and like the almost legible scrawl was whispering to me. Helga worked there this summer and says that when visitors fathomed that modern Icelanders could actually read these ancient texts they were blown away. Granted, the script is very complicated to decipher, but the language itself has barely changed at all. As a matter fo fact, I think everyone, especially locals, should go spend some time considering these volumes.

Lastly, I'd like to recommend Eiriksstaðir, a reproduction of the homestead of Eirikur Rauði, or Erik the Red, and birthplace of Leifur Eiriksson, aka Leif Erikson, Discoverer of America. It's a few hours' drive from Reykjavík, but my daughter and I really liked it because you get to touch and play with all the replicas they have in the longhouse. A guide even makes flatbread right before your eyes over an open hearth fire. Then she lets you eat it! You can cut off a chunk of smoked leg of lamb by yourself and gnaw on it at your leisure. Very interactive and wortht the trip. I've linked someone's travelogue about the place so you can read more.

No comments: