( The Land of the Midnight Sun )

The Prettiest Town in the North
Day 4. 18 June 2004

Friday. Slept well in the former House of Correction and woke at around 9 o’clock to shower, dress and join Adi and Janet for breakfast of cereal, cheese, and cold meats. By around ten thirty we are setting out to drive back to the main road and from there, to continue our journey north.

Looping around the fjörd we stock up on pâté and mjölkurtex at a general store in Patreksfjörður before driving across the hills to Bildudalur. Here, we detour down an ever deteriating track past old farms and fishing huts, and old houses done up by art-world friends of Adi (including the summer house belonging to the owner of the Reykjavik Levi’s shop), to Seládalur.

Samúel Jónsson, living at his remote farm, at the end of a northern Icelandic fjörd, constructed toy houses, churches and statues in his gardens – his intention to build a replica in concrete of St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. Although he failed in this ambition, he did reproduce in concrete a version of the famous Patio of the Lions at the Alhambra de Granada. As we wander these ruins (currently undergoing restoration), the cloud presses in over us oppressively, hiding the tops of the steep walls of cliffs. The wind is biting, and I get a feel of the isolation of this place. I can understand how hobbies and interest, under the weight of this environment, can so easly become obsessions….

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