Iceland Day 3

by schroyb

Day three began with a bus ride to the University of Iceland. There we learned how sagas and manuscripts are carefully preserved. We also learned about the historical significance of the manuscripts, the value they have in the Nordic region, and the struggle to retrieve them from Denmark. In the 1600’s, most of the Sagas and Poems of medieval times were sent to Denmark under the Kings request. The people of Iceland were honored that the king felt so highly about their written works and the manuscripts were thought to be safely kept in Copenhagen. As time went on Iceland realized have valuable the manuscripts and sagas were to their culture and requested that Denmark return their work. The manuscripts were returned to Iceland in 1971 after years of arguing.

The manuscripts are often studied and used for scholarly writings. When we arrived at the University a man was translating Snorri’s Edda in Dutch. This would be the first copy of its kind. A lot of the manuscripts tell the same stories, but have different authors and therefore different versions. Scholars at the University of Iceland work to combine the different versions into a more historically accurate edition of the tales. This takes years of time and reading. It is important that they write in Icelandic rather than on translation, because there is a fear that the Icelandic language may become extinct.

After we left the University of Iceland we went to the Culture House, a museum where the manuscripts are kept. We were given a guided tour, however the tour guide seemed to have some of his facts mixed up.
After we left the Culture House we were given free time to explore and what and expedition it was. I started out by trying peppered whale steak.

It was surprisingly delicious. Minke Whale is a popular dish in Iceland because this particular species likes to eat all the fish that Icelandic fishermen are trying to catch. In order to preserve the fishing industry the whales are targeted and have become an Icelandic specialty. There is still a lot of controversy over whaling in Iceland, but it is not illegal in Iceland and no fisherman is going to argue against it.

After lunch I began my attempt to restore Iceland’s economy single handedly. Iceland is famous for their amazing wool sweaters, which I purchased two of. One has the more traditional look while the other is just the most amazing sweater ever.

The weather was nice for awhile and became gray as soon as we arrived at the ocean.

The evening ended with Puffin and more whale