Summering at Gamli Bær
In the summertime, Reykjavik’s residents flee the city for a much needed vacation. Many head to houses in Húsafell, a sprawling area of farms turned into summer cottages with restaurants and pools flanked by Eiríksjökull and Langjökull glaciers. Húsafell’s allure lies somewhere between its snow-covered mountains and valleys sprinkled with farms, less than an hour from Thingvellir, the rift between North America and Eurasia.
Húsafell’s charm was tempting enough for Steinunn and her husband Sæmundur to move across Borgarfjörður and take over Gamli Bær, an old farm turned guesthouse built in 1908. “The minute I walked in, I just knew that I was home,” exclaimed Steinunn who prides herself in maintaining the farmhouse in its original condition, complete with a shared kitchen and dining room made for meeting fellow travellers.
At breakfast, the couple at Gamli Bær delight in getting visitors started on their way by directing them to local attractions. Húsafell’s pool, which houses a bouncing castle, will expend children’s energy so that they will sleep soundly if parents want to get in a late night round of golf under the endless summer sun. Glacier hiking and dog sledding guides are also on hand for travellers who want to see Eiríksjökull and Langjökull up close. On the weekend, bonfires light scarcely darkened Saturday nights as a few amateur troubadours serenade the crowd.Giants and Outlaws
Unlike its current residents, Húsafell has a checkered past, unintentionally playing host to several rambunctious outlaws who hid out in Surtshellir, Iceland’s longest cave measuring 1,970 metres. This cave is named after the fire giant, Surtr, who is said to have hollowed out earth using his powerful flames to create a place to rest. Remnants of Surtr’s existence and the outlaws final showdown with the farmers, whose sheep they stole to survive, lie buried in the cave’s recesses. Ghosts and other spirits may lurk in the depths of Surtshellir, but visitors who have ventured into the cave always triumphantly reappear hours later without having encountered any wandering phantoms.Chalk and Art
Chalky rocks found a short hike from Gamli Bær supply artists with the colours to capture Húsafell’s legends. Artwork by Pall Gudmundsson is scattered around Gamli Bær, which lies close to his workspace. Pall’s stone carvings are scattered around the area, which has inspired artists for centuries and is likely to continue for years to come.Gamli bærinn Húsafelli
Húsafell • 311 Borgarbyggð
+354 895 1342