Local Guide

Local Guide

To get to Laugar drive on road number 60 from Budardalur and then make a left turn onto road number 589 into the valley Saelingsdalur after about 16 km (10 miles). Hotel Laugar is on your left shortly after the intersection. Saelingsdalur is a fertile valley with low mountains. The farm Saelingsdalstunga which is on your right is a historical place below the mountain Tungumuli. This was a church-stead until 1853. The chieftain and law speaker Snorri Thorgrimsson (963-1031) built the first church according to the saga of "the People from Eyri.“ The church was dedicated to the Almighty Father, St. Mary, and John the Baptist. The ruins of this church can still be seen. A great part of the Laxdaela Saga occurs in this district. Gudrun Osvifursdottir the hero of the saga traded this farm with Chieftain Snorri and moved to Helgafell (Holy Mountain) near Stykkisholmur on Snaefellsnes.

Major Points of Interest

Eiriksstadir in Haukadalur

To reach Eiriksstadir drive 10 km to the south on road 60 and make a left turn onto road 586. After about 13 km (8 miles) you will see a replica of the farm Eiriksstadir. The Saga of Eirik the Red and his wife Thjodhildur tells us that they lived here at one time. Eirikur had been chased out of Norway for manslaughter. He was also evicted from Eiriksstadir because of killings and other atrocities. He then sailed to Gunnbjarnarsker as it was known then and explored the land for three years. He came back to Iceland after having named the land Greenland. He said: „A land must have a good name so people will go here. “ Twenty five ships left for Greenland in 985. Fourteen made it all the way the others either returned to Iceland or disappeared. The merchant Bjarni Herjolfsson was the first to sight North America but did not go ashore. Leifur son of Eirik the Red was the first European to land there. Other Icelanders in the sagas such as Thorfinnur karlsefni and Gudridur Thorbjarnardottir tried to settle in North America but were chased away by the natives. Gudridur had a son Snorri there and he is the first European born in North America. The replica of the old farmhouse is about 100 meters from the ruins of the old farm. Staff are dressed according to the fashion of the 10th century. A fire is burning inside and you will receive verbal and written information.

Eiriksstadir in Haukadalur

The village Budardalur

The village Budardalur is 16 km (10 miles) from Laugar. The population is around 260. The village is located at the bottom of Hvammsfjordur. The Saga of the People in Laxardalur says that Hoskuldur Dala-Kollsson landed here after his last trip to Norway and built a booth – hence the name. Budardalur has been a trading village since 1899. The village is a service center for the farming community in the Dales district. Tourism is an increasing activity. A short distance away is the farm Hoskuldsstadir where Hoskuldur Dala-Kollson lived early in the tenth century and Hjardarholt where Olafur pa, his son had a farm. They are known persons in the Saga of the People of Laxardalur (Laxdæla). Another famous saga person is Hallgerdur langbrok (long legs) sister of Olafur pa.

The village Budardalur The village Budardalur

Hvammsfjordur

Hvammsfjordur is an inlandfjord from the great Breidalsfjordur about 45 km long and 10-12 km wide. The innermost part turns to the north and the fjord looks like a boot. There are numerous islands at the mouth of the fjord and sailing into it is very dangerous and subject to tides. The tidal current in Hvammsfjordur is so strong that most small boats cannot cope with it. The inner part is deep and sailing is not a problem there. There is very little fish in the fjord and it is often frozen during the winter.

Hvammsfjordur

Laxdaelasaga

Laxdaelasaga is one of 43 family sagas in the remarkable collection Islendingasogur (Sagas of the Icelanders). The sagas were written on vellum (skins). The ink was made from bearberries and various herbs. Feathers from swans were cut into quills. Laxdæla is one of the major Icelandic sagas, originally written in medieval Icelandic (Old Norse); sometime in the mid 13th century. We do not know who the author was. The same goes for the other Icelandic sagas and tales. The saga begins with the settlement of Audur Djupudga (Aud the deep minded) in the 10th century. She settled down at Hvammur (see below). The hero of the saga is, incidentally, Gudrun Osvifursdottir, who was famous for her beauty, and was pursued by the two foster-brothers Kjartan Olafsson and Bolli Thorleiksson. Gudrun favored Kjartan, but married Bolli, because of hearsay that Kjartan was engaged to Ingibjörg, the sister of King Olafur Tryggvason. The two foster-brothers were hostile and it ended with Bolli killing Kjartan. Bolli was later killed by Kjartan's relatives. The saga has a high reputation for its literary qualities, consistent storyline and character description. This is an epic story. There were probably real events behind the saga. The saga is available in English like most Islendingasogur.

Laxdaelasaga

Hvammur

Hvammur is a farm and a church-stead about 6 km (4 miles) from Laugar and it has a historical interest. This was an ancient manor farm and it is here that Audur Djupudga settled down. She was the daughter of Kevil Flat Nose in Norway. She married Olafur the white, king of Dublin, and their sons were Olafur Feilan and Thordur Gellir. A cenotaph for Audur is at Cross Hills near the farm. Audur said her prayers there. She was Christian like many Norsemen who had lived in Ireland. Hvamm-Surla Thordason and Gudny Bodvarsdottir the parents of Snorri Sturluson lived in Hvammur in the 12th century and Snorri was born here 1179. He was a historian, poet, and politician. He was twice elected law speaker at the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, and Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings which moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. When Norway came from under Swedish rule in 1905 the Norwegian government sent Heimskringla to thousands of homes in Norway. This was to create national identity. Professor Lee Hollander at the University of Texas translated Heimskringla into English. Snorri is considered to be the author of Egils saga. Snorri Sturluson was murdered in Reykholt on September 23, 1241. His former son in law Gissur Thorvaldsson was instrumental in this horrendous crime but asked his crony Arni beiskur to finish the task with an ax.

Hvammur

Other Activities

Enjoy the outdoor pool and the hot tub. It is relaxing after a day’s travel.

Walk to Tungustapi

The Saga of the People at Eyri (Eyrbyggja) says that a church had been moved in Saelingsdalstunga and the graveyard excavated including the bones of Chieftain Snorri and Borkur the Stout. This was done when Gudny Bodvarsdottir mother of Snorri Sturluson was present. The story does not tell us why the church was moved but in the Western Dales people believes the story about Tungustapi explains it (see below). Ask at reception for direction to Tungustapi.

Walk to Tungustapi

Diversions off the Beaten Track

An interesting outing is to drive north of Laugar on road 60 for 20 km (12 miles) and then turn left onto road 590 and go around the peninsula Klofningsnes. The total distance is about 83 km (51 miles). Take some refreshments along as there are many places to make a stop and view the islands of Breidafjordur. At first you drive along a coast called Skardsstrond. On your right you will soon see a cluster of 30 islands called Akureyjar. A little further on you come to the farm Skard on your left. This farm and church-stead is considered the best farm in Breidafjordur. It was a manor farm with many benefits and numerous islands and skerries.

Skard

Farmers at Skard were usually wealthy. The most famous during the Middle Ages was Olof the Rich and her husband Bjorn Thorleifsson, the king’s envoy. The British killed Bjorn at Rif on Snaefellsnes in 1467. Olof´s revenge was to arrest some of the Englishmen and use them as slaves on her farm Skard. Among their tasks was to build a stone-walk to the church which can still be seen. Ask permission to look inside the church, the altarpiece is spectacular. It was given to the church by Olof the Rich in the 15th century. There is a good harbor down by the coast. Go down there and enjoy the view. Two of the finest and well decorated manuscripts well are from the farm Skard. The other one is a Skard´s Story of the Apostles. This farm has been in the same family lineage since the 11th century and possibly from the Age of Settlement (870-930). As you drive round the outermost part of the peninsula the place

Skard

Dagverdarnes

Dagverdarnes will be on your right shortly. When Audur djupudga (Aud the deep minded) was looking for her head pillars she and her crew had a breakfast at Dagverdarnes. It was a custom to put the head-pillar overboard and let the Gods select the place for settlement. The Icelandic word dagverdur means breakfast. The small church on the peninsula was built in 1933 and the material from the older church from 1848 was used. A prayer lodge was here during the 13th century but the first parsonage church was constructed in 1758. The islands off shore were in the parsonage but the number of people is diminishing and there are only three left now in the congregation. The church is protected and in care of the National Museum. The view towards the islands is interesting. There are 2700 islands in Breidafjordur.

Dagverdarnes