Iceland is a beautiful country with some amazing landscapes and unique wildlife. However, it does have a very quirky side to it as well. Specifically, they have some unusual folklore which is surprisingly believed by a large percentage of the population. Three of the most popular figures of icelandic folklore are the Elves, Trolls and Hidden People.
First up, the Elves…
No. the guy in the red shirt is not an elf. He’s our guide explaining to us during a free walking tour of Reykjavik that this rock is a doorway to the elf world. How they know this is a bulldozer was trying to break up this rock in a nearby construction sight but after several attempts it only made some small marks in it. This somehow signified it was an elf rock and need to be moved to a safe place.
He went on to talk about a women who talks with elves, delays in construction, and other things but all I could remember is the amount of hassle they went through to move this elf rock. As the guide was telling the story he kind of laughed at the whole thing but in the same breath also tried to convince us that it could be true. We got this same kind of half laughing / half believing the folklore from several of the guides. It’s almost like they know it’s silly to believe it but just can’t help themselves.
Next up are the Trolls..
No, the guy in the hat is not an Troll. He’s another one of our guides trying to point out the outline of a troll in the rock. Others in our group nodded saying that saw the troll but I couldn’t see anything. It was a rock and not that interesting of one either. There was a rock formation just off the beach that did have an outline somewhat similar to a person but you need to have a very good imagination. I suppose it’s not much different than Catholics seeing the virgin Mary in a piece of burnt toast.
Last up is my favorite. The Hidden People.
No, that is not a hidden person. It’s just Miki. I tried to take a picture of a hidden person but I couldn’t find one so a picture of Miki hiding behind a rock acting like one was the best I could do. My favorite story of Icelandic folklore is about the hidden people and the cheating wife. Our guide explained a story that a husband comes home one day to his wife… his pregnant wife. The problem is that he has been gone for many months and the could not have fathered the baby. The husband confronts the wife and says how is this possible? The wife simply says a hidden person must have came through the window during the night at did this. The husband believes it without question and they raise the child as if it was his own.
But like I said at the beginning, Iceland isn’t just about their folklore. It’s a beautiful country with some spectacular scenery. One such place was Gullfoss falls.
and the nearby Strokkur geyser is also a must visit spot.
there are also smaller waterfalls all over Iceland and are equally spectacular as the popular Gullfoss.
Stay tuned for a few more posts from our tour of Iceland…