h a f n a r f j o r d u r c i t y
g u i d ec r o w d e d w o r l d
Hafnarfjordur has always been Iceland's gateway to the world, and for a time in the early 1400s was actually an "English town", according to some reports. The spirit of the town (current population about 22,000) is Viking through and through, however, and it is for reminders of the Viking past that many visitors come here (a lot of folks also come here to see the Elves.) One of the more fanciful structures you will see in Iceland is the Viking Village at Fjorukrain or Viking Village at Strandgata 55, Hafnarfjordur. While many visitors and Icelanders enjoy attending the town's International Viking Festival in midsummer, Viking Season reigns all-year-round at Fjorukrain. As well as a banquet hall serving stupendous feasts, the Viking Village boasts a hotel -- the only one in Hafnarfjordur -- carved out of the remains of a former blacksmith's workshop. In the same building is the West Nordic Cultural House, the only venue of its kind dedicated to Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands and their native Inuit and Viking cultures. You can find out all about the Inuit/Viking clash in Greenland here -- my view is that the Inuit of Greenland adapted to survive climate change, while the Vikings of Greenland refused to change their ways, to continue life in a now frozen environment. They refused to adapt, and they died. At least the Vikings of Iceland survived to maintain this wonderful culture!
Promoting the release of her latest album, Bjork hit out at those who stereotype Iceland as a magical realm of elves and other wondrous beings. "I never said I ever saw an elf," Bjork said, adding that Iceland's elvish reputation was a projection of the Anglo Saxon world (and geeks who had read too much Tolkien.) "After all, Tolkien said he set The Lord of the Rings in Iceland..." But if Icelanders really want to lose the elf stereotype, which as Bjork said is kind of childish and silly, then why do they insist on trotting out all the elvish cliches when foreign tourists are about? Why do Sigur Ros goof around out in the lava flows in silly elvish hats? I guess it is an easy way to make money, by exploiting the projections and fantasies of others. And hats off to them! nobody is harmed! and everyone loves a bit of fantasy! Anyway, whether you believe in them or no, Hafnarfjordur is renowned as the elf capital of Iceland, and reputedly hosts one of the country's largest settlements of dwarves and other mystical beings as well (they are called Hidden People in Icelandic.)
Though the Hidden People are only visible to those possessed of Second Sight, a great many Icelanders believe in their existence. Hidden Folk enjoy a certain regard, and nowhere more so than in Hafnarfjodur. There is even a Hidden Worlds tour, which takes you to a variety of elvish sites such as the Hellisgerthi Park and the base of the cliff Hamarinn, which is said to be the home of the Royal Family of the Hidden People.
If you want to know more about the town's Hidden Population, a small shed at the Hafnarfjordur Musuem now houses a special dedicated display. Furthemore, local clairvoyant Erla Stefansdottir has drawn up a map of the local Hidden World, as revealed to her by the Hidden Residents. You can easily obtain it from the town's Tourist Information Center.
On top of all that lava and history and all those Hidden Realms from the past, Hafnarfjordur has plenty of modern attractions. Swimming in naturally warm geothermal water is one of them. Hafnarfjordur has two pools: an outdoor pool at Hringbraut 77 (telephone: 565 3080) and an indoor pool at Herjolfsgata 10 (telephone: 555 0088). Both pools have hot spots, sauna, massage and solarium, and both cost 220 Kronur for admission (children half priced.)
Some of the other attractions in town:
a r t ++ g a l l e r i e s
Hafnarborg: Strandgata 34. Phone: 555 0080: Hafnarfjordur Institute of Culture and Fine Arts.
Asian Express: Strandgata 220 | Hafnarfirði | Sími: 5553737 | firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hér er meiningin að bjóða upp á asíska rétti úr heitu borði og eru fánar ríkjanna notaðir til stuðnings. Gæti verið flott en er bragðlítið og varla meira en þokkalegt.
This seems to be a popular place in Iceland, and is fitted with "hot tables" so you can watch the delicious food cooking at your table (just the way it is done in Phuket or Seoul!) Plenty of Icelanders recommend this place, in the southern suburban sprawl of Reykjavik (on the way to the international airport.)
SUfistinn Kaffi & Te: Strandgata 9 | Hafnarfirđi | Phone: 5653740.
This place boasts freshly roasted coffee and teas from all over the world. Quick delicious lunches and incredible cakes are also said to be available. The cafe is the partner of the Sufistinn Book Cafe in the heart of downtown Reykjavik.