Iceland Horseback tours in saga land
Transcriber’s Note: Obvious printer’s errors have been corrected. Discrepanciesin spelling and hyphenation have generally been left as is,unless there was an overwhelming majority for one option, in which case anerror was assumed and rectified.
The map is clickable for a larger version (if the device you’re reading thison supports that) but unfortunately, some of the place names on it got lost downthe fold.
HORSEBACK TOURS IN SAGA LAND
W. S. C. RUSSELL
Illustrated from Photographs
By the Author
BOSTON: RICHARD G. BADGER
TORONTO: THE COPP CLARK CO., Limited
Copyright, 1914, by Richard G. Badger
All Rights Reserved
The Gorham Press, Boston, U. S. A.
TO MY WIFE
WHO TWICE COURAGEOUSLY ACCOMPANIED ME
OVER ICELANDIC TRAILS
DISPLAYED THE GREATER COURAGE
REMAINING AT HOME
THIS SIMPLE RECORD OF OUR WANDERINGS
This Foreword, were it not for the tyrant Custom,might as well be omitted, since a preface is seldomread. Boldly I make my first appearance before thecritical public with no excuses to offer and no apologyto the reader for adding another volume to the longlist of travel books in the English tongue. But I havereasons why I have ventured into print.
First,—Iceland has a fascination for all who know it.Its history, its ancient and modern literature, its legendsand folklore, the people with their customs of a thousandyears unchanged, the magnificence and grandeurof its scenery, its bird and plant life, its unexcelledopportunities for the student of geology,—all theseand many more, are reasons why all the English speakingpeople should know something of this ancientbranch of the Gothic line from which time and circumstancehave separated the Angle and the Saxon.
Second,—There is little or nothing in the Englishlanguage that is authoritative concerning present conditionsin Iceland. Henderson, publishing in 1819, andMiss Oswald in 1882, are the only writers in Englishwho have given to the public a fair and appreciativestory of Iceland and its people. True it is that thereare a few brief works, mainly the accounts of a sojournof two or possibly three weeks in the country, but theyare of necessity limited in scope of observation and lackingin appreciation of real conditions. A characterstudy of the conservative Icelander may not be completedin a single season, one must live with him to knowhim.
Third,—The kindness with which my numerous lectureson Iceland have been received by the public andthe manifest lack of any definite knowledge concerningthis country and its people have led me to place beforethe public this straightforward, simple tale about theIcelanders with some descriptions of their fascinatingland. It is the result of extended travels during thesummers of 1909, 1910, 1911 and 1913 through thewell known sections and in the out-of-the-way places aswell as the unknown portions.
I desire to make the following acknowledgments:—Ihave both Henderson and Miss Oswald to thank formy first interest and their observations and remarks haveever been in my mind for a comparison with my ownexperiences. My thanks are due to many Icelanders, toall those who unselfishly opened their doors that Imight share their hospitality, more especially to thosewho in kindness answered my numerous questions, oftenquite personal, about their countrymen and customs,—inparticular do I mention Helgi Zoëga, who has beenuntiring in furnishing ponies, provisions and sound advice;Steffán Steffánson, who has written many lengthyletters in answer to inquiries; Ólafur Eyvindsson, myfriend and trusty guide, whose name frequently occursin these pages and Dr. Geir T. Zoëga, First Master ofthe Latin School at Reykjavik, for his advice andcouncil. Finally, I acknowledge my indebtedness to her,to whom this volume is dedicated, for her kindly criticismof these pages while in progress of compositionand for the final reading and examination of proofs.
Sir Walter Scott has said in reference to one of hispoetical works:—
And so I say,—if one person acquires an interest inIceland and its noble people, its history and its ancienttales,—this labor has not been in vain.
|Outline of Discovery and Settlement.|
|Why I Go to Iceland.|
|How to Get There.|
|The Faroe Islanders, their Manners and their Islands.|
|The Westman Islands on the South-west Coast.|
|Educational and Sociological.|
|The Mecca of Iceland, Historical, Descriptive.|
|The Greatest Geyser Known.|
|Waterfalls, People and Customs.|
|Its Ascent, Its History, Its Grandeur.|
|Descriptive Customs and Information.|
|The East Coast, the Scenery and the People.|
|The Fairest Spot in All That Land.|
|Volcanic, Historical, Experiences.|
|Descriptive, Sagas and Romance.|
|Caves, Waterfalls, Hot Springs and Snorri.|
|Notes and Corrections.|
|Mrs. Russell in Festal Costume of Iceland, the Author in Full Dress of the Faroese,||Frontispiece|
|Cutting up Whale Meat at Thorshavn,||38|
|Heads of the Bottle Nose Whale,||38|
|Helgafell, Volcanic Cone, Vestmannaeyjar,||56|
|A Chain of Basalt Pyramids in Faroe,||56|
|The Hay Market and the Harbor at Reykjavik,||66|
|An Odd Corner in Reykjavik,||66|
|The Latin School at Reykjavik,||72|
|The Thinghús, Parliament Building, Reykjavik,||72|
|Foot of the Öxerá in Almannagjá,||96|
|Lögberg, Mount of Laws, between the Rifts, Ármannsfell in the Distance,||96|
|Bridge River, Brúará, near Geysir,||114|
|Tube of Geysir Filling, Photographed from within the Basin,||114|
|Favorite Ponies, Sunlocks and Greba,||158|
|Mountains of Sulfur, Solfataras, at Krisuvik,||158|
|When the Fog Lifted,—Entrance to Seyðisfjörðr,||184|
|Washing Split Cod at Faskrudsfjörðr,||184|
|Goðafoss, the Icelandic Niagara, on the Skjalfandafljöt,||204|
|Island Craters in the Mývatn, from Skútustaðir,||204|
|Fording a Shallow Arm of the Mývatn, Turf Cottage in the Distance,||218|