The Northeast, Part III
The Turf Farm at Laufás
Thursday, July 12th
One of the reasons for hurrying along past several interesting stops was that I wanted to ensure we had enough time to visit a place called Laufás, where apparently a very well-preserved turf farm was located. The farm is located a short way off the ring road not far east of the city of Akureyri.
On the way to Laufás, we cut through the beautiful Dalsmynni Valley - probably one of many beautiful valleys shining under a beautiful sun in this part of Iceland, but beautiful to us nevertheless.
Beautiful Dalsmynni Valley
Beautiful Dalsmynni Valley
We arrived at Laufás about an hour before it closed (the turf farm is a national historic landmark, and is a managed place). It turned out to be a fantastically interesting (and scenic) place to visit. There was no fee to visit the grounds of the farm, and nicely for us, there was virtually no one about (two or three other people during the entire time we visited).
Turf building construction
Laufás is (or, I should say, was) a large traditional manor farm. It has apparently been in existance since the times of the Icelandic Settlement (in other words, for well over a thousand years), but its current form dates from the 1800s, when the gabled turf houses were rebuilt and the current Laufáskirkja church was built.
We were quite impressed with the excellent location upon with the farm sits, with a grand, sweeping view of the Eyjafjörður fjord, and scenic snow-streaked mountains rising up behind.
Although we couldn't explore much of the interior of the turf houses themselves (that part had closed the hour before we arrived), there is much else that can be seen. Just the construction of the turf portions of the buildings was interesting enough, built with a meticulous and very pretty herringbone arrangement of sod pieces. Walking around to the backsides of the wood-fronted houses was like visiting hobbiton, except for square windows instead of round; turf walls, grassy roofs and little patches of garden and stone walls abounded.
Turf house and church, Laufás
In addition to the interesting turf houses, the Laufáskirkja church was also a rewarding visit. Unexpectedly, it was open for us to visit - even though most of the staff had gone home - and, it was a tidy, clean, pretty place. The roof was finished in a pale blue with little carved stars - a seemingly common trait amongst Icelandic Churches. The carved wooden pulpit, itself a historic treasure from the late sixteenth century, was also quite interesting. Although still a relatively austere church in the reformist style, there were little touches and flourishes everywhere, like textured paintwork on pillars and uprights designed to look like birch bark.
Balcony seating, Laufáskirkja
Births and Deaths at Laufás
Old farm machinery, Laufás
With our excellent visit to Laufás over, it was time to head south, around the head of the Eyjafjörður fjord to its western side, where we would spend some time (and in fact, the night) in Akureyri, Iceland's second largest urban area.
Enjoying the scene at Laufás
A video sequence covering our visit to Laufas. Click directly on the image below to start it.
Video Sequence - Laufas - Click on video above to start