Nature was at its best on the way there, bright blue spots in the sky and the dullness of winter withdrawing for the neon green moss and grass. Nature looked clear and squeaky clean, the smoke puffs from the geothermal heat around Reykholt, smoke knoll made it clear we hade arrived. Reykholt has a unique place in Iceland’s history, the heritage of Iceland’s greatest medieval writer, poet, scholar and historian, Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241). It was in Reykholt that Snorri made all his literary achievements, when he wrote the sagas about the Norwegian kings in Heimskringla, the Poetic Edda, which teaches poetics and Nordic mythology, and the greatest of all sagas, Egils saga Skalla-Grimssonar. His work inspired Tolkien in his creation of the Lord of the Rings and there are many references to Snorra-Edda in the trilogy. If you have not yet read the Poetic Edda then it is a must, there you will find the roots to what Icelanders are really all about. Forget the dirty weekends and drunken single moms at Oprah or eerie music pixies, Icelanders all dream about being warrior poets like Óðinn. There is even a poem in our passports from the Poetic Edda.
Reykholt used to be the centre where all roads could cross; that is before there were roads and people would ride on the tiny Icelandic horses to get around. It was also at Reykholt that Snorri was brutally killed by his two former sons-in-law.
Wandering around Reykholt you will also find two historical churches, an ancient graveyard, Snorri’s natural hot pool Snorralaug and Snorrastofa, an exhibit of Snorri’s writings and a research centre for medieval studies. Outside the old boarding school is the famous statue of Snorri by the Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, inside it is the reserve storage of all the books from the National Library. Just a few minutes drive from Reykholt are the beautiful waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildatunguhver, and several lava tubes and caves to be explored.
I spent a week at Snorrastofa last year and stopped by at the Reykholt Hotel and it was like any other hotel, so I was really impressed about the changes that have been made in order to merge it with the history and culture of its surroundings. The transformation from the brutally boring to intensively interesting perhaps like the adventure about the ugly duckling. To stay at Fosshótel Reykholt is ideal for people who like to relax in the countryside, enjoy reading, writing and are interested in extending their knowledge of Icelandic cultural heritage. You will find plenty of things as a fuel for the imaginative aspects of your soul, fantastic art and library of works inspired by the world of Norse Myth, and make no mistake about it this place is no less informative and interesting for locals as it is for guests from abroad.
Phone (+354) 435 1260,
info at www.fosshotel.is
Phone (+354) 433-8000,
info at www.snorrastofa.is