Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The '200 000' post :

Vík Í Mýrdal, south Iceland -
maybe 'twas there Pytheas lowered sails


Suppose that Iceland is the island Pytheas the greek sailor landed on and called Thule. Then suppose it was inhabited by happy and healthy people. At least it was extensively forested. In the late 12th century it was described as "forested from mountain to sea shore".

Where would he have harbored ? Probably, he reached the island from the south, and the most southern area of Iceland is around the village of Vík (Vík Í Mýrdal). How does it look like there ? Take a look.

Skógafoss waterfall

Vík in a sunny spring day

The hamlet, at the mouth of 'Vík' brook, near the black volcanic seashore.

Vík Í Mýrdal, in pristine icelandic landscape


Coordinates: 63°25′N 19°00′W

Population  ~ 300


The village of Vík (or Vík í Mýrdal ) is the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road around the island.


Despite its small size, it is the largest settlement for some 70 km around and an important staging post, thus indicated on road signs from a long distance away.


Some wooden houses in the town center - these even managed to grow small trees.


Deforestation in Iceland during the Little Ice Age and overgrazing by sheep caused a loss of topsoil due to erosion. A reforestation plan is now in course.

Halldór's café - in the year 1895, a merchant moved to Vik by ship ! Freshly baked bread, and permanent art exhibitions.


The village аnd the surrounding countryside аre іn constant danger оf a large flood resulting frоm а potential eruption of the dormant sub-glacial volcano Katla.

Katla is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes, and has on average erupted twice a century. The eruption would melt the glacier and cause a massive water torrent. The town's church, located high on a hill, is believed to be the only building that would survive such a flood .



Thus, the people of Vík practice periodic drills and are trained to rush to the church at the first sign of an eruption.


The uphill Vík Church, like a sentinel over the large bay.

The sea around Vík is most of the time wild and stormy, waves cаn be big:


There is no land mass nearby to ease the Atlantic Ocean currents that hit the coast in full strength.

Offshore lie basalt stacks remnants of a once more extensive cliffline  now battered by the sea.


Dyrhólaey (Door Island) is Iceland's most southerly tip.


This unique rock arch is a 120m high promontory, a small peninsula, formerly known as Cape Portland by English seamen.


Many puffins nest on the cliff faces of Dyrhólaey.


The distinctive profile of this volcanic seashore, with sharp basalt cliffs and stacks and a wide panorama, makes it the most spectacular beach in Iceland, and in recent years touristic demand is increasing, though its stretch of black basalt sand is also one of the wettest places in Iceland.


Skógafoss, the most frequented attraction in Vík.



 Hotel Lundi

Centrally located in Vík

Icelandic appetizer at Lundi:

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Well, this post is mere fiction. Pytheas could not mean Iceland when he wrote 'Thule' - because there was not even any agriculture there by the time he sailed to the unknown North. No honey, no nuts, no bread. Sorry. But Vík is a fabulous place anyhow, right ?





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I've reached the 200000 visitors just minutes ago !! I'm soooo Happy !

5 comments:

Pedro C said...

You deserve it!

Mário said...

Thanks, Pedro, you're my favourite visitor.

Mister Twister said...

I am now happy :')

Bart K. said...

There is Hekla volcano on the pic, not sub-glacial Katla. But I must say that this is wonderful little blog.

Here are some Katla pics:

http://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/whats-going-on-at-katla/

Mário Gonçalves said...

Thank you, Bart K.
I can't confirm whether you are right or not, so I'll trust you and remove the picture.

Glad you liked ´Ultima Thule´. Be welcome.