Iceland’s slo-mo capital: on a excursion of Djúpivogur and beyond
The paradox of the “sluggish movement” is that it’s definitely dynamic these days. Its philosophy, which encompasses everything from slow tour to slow meals and now slow television (in Norway you may watch actual-time knitting), become born out of anger in the 1980s whilst Italian Carlo Petrini objected to McDonald’s starting on the Spanish Steps in Rome. The movement’s intention – as outlined in Carl Honoré’s 2004 ebook In Reward of slow – is to inspire people to relax the tempo of existence.
So what does that imply while applied to a metropolis? The coastal metropolis of Djúpivogur, in east Iceland, has simply been granted international Cittaslow (slow town) status, and is creating a quiet bid for some worldwide love via presenting to reveal visitors Iceland in slow motion.
I edge my way closer to Djupivogur at a suitably modest pace, first staying at the Egilsstadir Guesthouse, a cosy spa hotel at the shores of Lake Logurinn. It’s a ought to for foodies. Even WH Auden – who wrote the no longer-altogether-complimentary Letters from Iceland (wherein he complained approximately dried fish and sleeping in a wet tent) – praised the meals right here. A part of the ethos of the gradual town is to reconnect one-of-a-kind regions with their food, their nature, and their craft manufacturers to shape a bulwark in opposition to homogenised, globalised culture.
From this summer time you’ll be capable of fly direct from Gatwick to Egilsstadir with Discover the arena, and it takes only half-hour to pressure on to Stöðvarfjörður, where a high-quality network arts centre in an abandoned fish processing manufacturing unit is taking shape. It appears, given the circumstances, like indecent haste. Before the street turned into constructed within the 1970s it used to take seven hours – a reminder of the way remote this vicinity is.
A part of the ethos of the gradual metropolis is to reconnect different regions with their nature and their craft manufacturers
The snow and the black sand of the volcanic beaches offer a fairly Instagrammable monochrome look – even though in case you’re there inside summer, the green mountains will reflect off the water. It’s as if the herbal international is amplified. No wonder many Icelanders have such a strong innate connection to their surroundings.
The project for them now could be that traffic don’t pretty get it. Lately, the identical organization of foreign college students had to be rescued from traversing the treacherous Highlands all through iciness now not just as soon as, but three times. A pair on a tenting ride in the east had been noticed tearing up the moss that paperwork over loads of years to make a comfortable mattress below their tent. To stem these outrages to the landscape, the visitor board has provided you with Iceland Academy, a terrific-natured on-line manual to cultural, eco and safety behaviour inside the Icelandic wilds. (It is also a guide to getting into a public geothermal spring in an effort to save on awkward moments.)
Reyðarfjörður is a town at the base of the biggest fjord that cuts into this southeast Part of the coast. It turned into as soon as the web page of whaling stations, and a critical strategic army base for the allies throughout the second world war (there’s a very good museum at the battle). These days it’s becoming an increasing number of populated via movie corporations who discover the backdrop an extremely good stand-in for Arctic Norway. There is, but, a studied (and endearing) indifference to movie star. I’m advised Dennis Quaid, who stars in the 2d series of Fortitude, trots around entirely unbothered by means of requests for selfies.
Via evaluation, artists and makers are vital here and in abundance. When I finally attain Djúpivogur, domestic of slow, Coca-Cola and petrol symptoms are banned however the workshops of neighborhood artists and craftspeople (who seem numerous in a populace of four hundred) are extravagantly signposted. Even the mini-mart includes a showroom for Arfleifð, a tiny hand made style and apparel brand the usage of conventional substances: fish leather-based, horn, wool and horse hair. From the small town lodge to the clapboard houses, specialty is prized and celebrated here.
From the small metropolis motel to the clapboard homes, forte is prized and celebrated here
The local rock museum – and that’s as in rock accumulated from the encompassing basalt lava deposits, not rock’n’roll – is mainly precise. An arresting public artwork installation, Eggin í gleðivíok (the Eggs of Merry Bay) by using Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðmundsson, uses 34 large-scale egg replicas positioned across the bay to symbolize 34 chook species.
On the Desert Centre on the threshold of Iceland’s Highlands, Denni Karlsson, a filmmaker, and his wife Arna, a historian, have built a dormitory that gives you a glimpse of how 19th-century Highlanders (albeit with tremendous flavor stages and bathrooms) would have lived. Basically you get to “sleep in a museum”. Downstairs a brand new cultural and artwork exhibition opens this June.
There’s also a nice herd of Icelandic horses, and from June you could be a part of epic rides together with a middle of the night amble during a summer’s sunny night time. This offers adequate opportunity to attempt out the precise Icelandic gait known as the tölt. I listen it feels like flying.
I realize the sensation. Who says sluggish travel is gradual paced? In four days I probable packed in more in than I’d in a town ruin. I just didn’t feel so raddled through the quit.
For information approximately east Iceland goes to east.Is. The Iceland Academy is at inspiredbyiceland.Com. Return flights to Keflavíok (for Reykjavik) from Heathrow with icelandair.Co.united kingdom begin at £151. A double room on the Berunes Hostel is £85 (berunes.Is) and at Egilsstadir Guesthouse £109 (lakehotel.Is). A mattress at the Barren region Centre dorm room is £38 (Wilderness.Is). Excursions of East Iceland, inclusive of a sluggish-journey jeep excursion, start at £123 (tinna-journey.Is)