Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

View of Seydisfjordur sheltered in one of the many fjords on the northeast coast of Iceland.
Church II
Church of Seydisfjordur, where rehearsals of the village's choral singing take place.
cold terrace
David Kristinsson and Philippe Clause on the terrace of the Hotel Aldan.
Village house at the foot of the mountains that delimit the fjord.
Aldan Cafe Interior
Interior of the Aldan café, once a grocery store and a video club.
fjord view
Framed panorama from the 1st floor of the Aldan hotel.
Tinna Gudmundsdottir at the Skaftafell Arts Center.
The cricket
Cafe bar sign bearing the name of a British oil tanker sunk in a Nazi air raid in Seydisfjordur.
Church of Seydisfjordur, where rehearsals of the village's choral singing take place.
David Kristinsson at the desk of his Hotel Aldan.
real estate bet
Interior of a former village bank, now converted into a "Norwegian wood" style house.
between the sea and the mountain
Margin occupied by the old houses of Seydisfjordur.
Philippe Clause
Philippe Clause, one of Seydisfjordur's expats at the studio where he produces stylish scarves and scarves.
a few decades ago
Historical showcase of the Hotel Aldan.
The Seydisfjordur fishing dock, once crowded with fishing boats, is now almost empty.
When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.

The flattened location of Egilsstadir, on the edge of one of the many thalwegs invaded by migratory birds from Iceland, leaves little to foresee in the stretch that follows.

After the junction, the road climbs the mountain, first covered with dry vegetation that lends it ocher and brownish tones, but which, with the altitude, soon gives way to white.

The snow increases visibly. At the top of the slope, the track is tucked between high walls of ice. Samples of avalanches fall on both sides that bury more and more the already suffocated asphalt.

It's the 4-wheel drive that saves us from an otherwise guaranteed drag.

The Twilight Descent to Seydisfjordur

Once the summit is reached from the front, the descent into the depths of the fjord begins.

It's almost ten, as they say, at night.

The sun persists in resisting in this Iceland, despite the frigid setting, already officially spring. The light from the subarctic sunset tinges the peaks of the mountains beyond magenta but misses the winding slope as we descend towards the foothills and the sea.

coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland

View of Seydisfjordur sheltered in one of the many fjords on the northeast coast of Iceland.

We spent a frozen waterfall. A few meanders of asphalt later, we finally glimpse the diffuse houses. Seydisfjordur, Iceland's furthest city from Reykjavik, is soon.

David Kristinsson meets us in the car park next to his Hotel Aldan. We hit the nail on the visit and realized that he expected us to get to know the charm and fame of the place beforehand.

This was not yet the case.

Night falls for good. On the host's recommendation, we stayed in the old bank building that he had also recovered. Installed there, we recharge the batteries of the work equipment and, as soon as possible, ours, almost to zero after the long journey from husavik.

New Day Among the Norwegian Wood Houses of Seydisfjordur

Morning and breakfast bring us back to lucidity. David enjoys. Show us the picturesque corners of Norwegian wood of the Hotel Aldan, probably brought in the form of Kit da Norway, once a grocery store, then a video club.

owner, hotel Aldan, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland

David Kristinsson at the desk of his Hotel Aldan.

Philippe Clause, a Welsh friend from the outskirts of Paris who lives in a studio across the street, keeps us company.

Norwegian fishermen resumed a previous colonization that is presumed to be prior to the XNUMXth century.

Attracted by the abundance of herring, they built the first wooden buildings and established, there, a fishing post, the same as the North American whaler Thomas Welcome Roys, in the XNUMXth century.

houses, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Village house at the foot of the mountains that delimit the fjord.

World War II and the Annihilation of the Local Fishing Fleet

When World War II broke out, the village had already developed significantly. It housed a precursor undersea cable car connecting Iceland to mainland Europe and the country's inaugural high-voltage station.

British and American strategists detected the advantages of its location and decreed that a military base and airstrip be installed there. Today, that track is disabled.

church, village, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland.

Church of Seydisfjordur, where rehearsals of the village's choral singing take place.

David picks up the story further on: “Until a while ago, there was a good fishing fleet leaving here and a large fish processing plant. In its own way, the municipality evolved to become the most prosperous in east Iceland.

Until the powerful shipowners of Reykjavik bought almost all the boats. Seydisfjordur no longer had jobs to offer and was abandoned.”

dock, boats, fishing, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland

The Seydisfjordur fishing dock, once crowded with fishing boats, is now almost empty.

Seydisfjordur and Dieter Roth: A Creative Shift from Fishing to Art

The advent of tourism saved it, by unconventional means, by the way. Early onlookers appreciated its secluded beauty and settled down. This was followed by a community of bohemians and breeders attracted by the welcome of the pioneers and the feeling of freedom.

Some arrived from other parts of Europe.

The most famous, the Swiss-German artist Dieter Roth, saw in Seydisfjordur a magical place. In the last decade of his life, he established one of several seasonal residences in the village.

storefront hotel Aldan, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Historical showcase of the Hotel Aldan.

Roth died in 1998. In that same year, a group of admirers of his work, of art in general and of the village, founded a Center for Visual Art in the villa where Skaftfell lived.

The Devotion and Dedication of David Kristinsson by Seydisfjordur

That's where we walk with David, between the inlet that invades the fjord and the colorful houses at the foot of the slope. Along the way, the tour guide tells us a little about his life: how he was born in Akureyri, the capital of the north.

The period when he moved to Copenhagen with his girlfriend, where, after three years, he learned good Danish, despite a childhood teacher telling him that he could never do it.

He also tells us about his return to Reykjavik, where he also lived, but which he never got used to.

And his move, in 2011, to Seydisfjordur, with arms and luggage, with ideas and some money to invest in the community, as he confesses to us, without any obsession with profit.

interior, real estate, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Interior of a former village bank, now converted into a “Norwegian wood” style house.

We arrived at Skaftafell.

Skaftafell and Dieter Roth: Place for Art and Creativity

David introduces us to Tinna Gudmundsdottir who, in turn, introduces us to the center with undisguised pride. On the third floor, it shows us the rooms in the residence allocated to art students and other passersby.

arts center, Skaftafell, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Tinna Gudmundsdottir at the Skaftafell Arts Center.

In the second, we looked at a series of sketches displayed on the walls and examined with chemical amazement the window of fast food rotten with which Dieter Roth, resorting to countless bacteria, once again expressed his social restlessness and critical creativity.

This type of biodegradable works was common in the artist who, for that reason, was also known as Dieter Roth.

A born experimentalist with inexhaustible energy and dedication, Roth has produced numerous artists' notebooks, printed works and sculptures. “He would turn to this table when he had any more outburst ideas. I created sketches and accumulated them around here until, later, I associated them in books or other formats.

We now invite those around here to leave their marks as well.” Tinna tells us, then leads us to a bookshelf filled with the former owner's other books and guides us page after page.

Seydisfjordur's Political Misalignment

At a certain point, the conversation changes tone, as the sparkle in the blue eyes of Gudmund's daughter who protests against the situation that Iceland has reached, reassures us due to their right-wing governments, always too concerned with financial returns.

“Profit, profit and more profit. That's all they think about. Even the new supermarket that was installed up there, insists on exploiting us with hyperinflated prices. Here in Seydisfjordur, most of us avoid it.

landscape, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland.

Margin occupied by the old houses of Seydisfjordur.

We'd rather do the 60 km over the mountain and shop in Egilsstadir than get robbed.” The political-economic debate lingers. Tinna is intrigued and, for a moment, disarmed when we tell her that in Portugal there is a strong sense that the last left-wing government has bankrupted the country.

The time we had for the city runs out.

Around the Seaside of Seydisfjordur

We leave Skaftafell around lunchtime. David escorts us halfway to the Hotel Aldan. When we arrive at a service station, he tells us the time of separation: “Well, I'll stay here. On Fridays, we all meet at that restaurant. The food is very bad, the conviviality pays off.”

On our own, we decided to explore a little more of the village and the fjord. In almost two hours, we only found eight or nine souls out of the nearly 700 that are supposed to inhabit.

church, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland.

Church of Seydisfjordur, where rehearsals of the village's choral singing take place.

The tourist office works but is empty, like the closed dock where we see only a few boats lined up, the few left over from the commercial raid perpetrated by the capital's fishing companies.

And Philippe Clause's Artistic Knitwear

Before we left, we still went through the Philippe's house who, in the comfort of the studio, shows little concern with that apparent civilizational stagnation.

scarves studio, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Philippe Clause, one of Seydisfjordur's expats at the studio where he produces stylish scarves and scarves.

His art is knitting and, at a table full of colorful skeins of wool, the French expatriate is dedicated to finishing new scarves, shawls and scarves elegant ones that he promotes in a makeshift showcase on the walls and online, where he is the model himself.

David told us that his hotel business and the city were more interested in visitors who wanted to spend several days there enjoying the tranquility and cultural dynamics, not so much those who ran around Iceland in six or seven days.


view from Aldan hotel, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Framed panorama from the 1st floor of the Aldan hotel.

We were exploring the island with some more than just. Still, we belonged to the last class.

We got into the car and said goodbye to Seydisfjordur. Until the next opportunity.

Miami, USA

A Masterpiece of Urban Rehabilitation

At the turn of the 25st century, the Wynwood neighbourhood remained filled with abandoned factories and warehouses and graffiti. Tony Goldman, a shrewd real estate investor, bought more than XNUMX properties and founded a mural park. Much more than honoring graffiti there, Goldman founded the Wynwood Arts District, the great bastion of creativity in Miami.
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

The Origins of the Remote Viking Democracy

The foundations of popular government that come to mind are the Hellenic ones. But what is believed to have been the world's first parliament was inaugurated in the middle of the XNUMXth century, in Iceland's icy interior.

The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

Most visitors value Iceland's volcanic scenery for its beauty. Icelanders also draw from them heat and energy crucial to the life they lead to the Arctic gates.
Jok​ülsárlón Lagoon, Iceland

The Chant and the Ice

Created by water from the Arctic Ocean and the melting of Europe's largest glacier, Jokülsárlón forms a frigid and imposing domain. Icelanders revere her and pay her surprising tributes.

The Island of Fire, Ice and Waterfalls

Europe's supreme cascade rushes into Iceland. But it's not the only one. On this boreal island, with constant rain or snow and in the midst of battle between volcanoes and glaciers, endless torrents crash.
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Thorong Pedi to High Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Lone Walker
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 12th - Thorong Phedi a High camp

The Prelude to the Supreme Crossing

This section of the Annapurna Circuit is only 1km away, but in less than two hours it takes you from 4450m to 4850m and to the entrance to the great canyon. Sleeping in High Camp is a test of resistance to Mountain Evil that not everyone passes.
Bertie in jalopy, Napier, New Zealand
Architecture & Design
Napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s

Devastated by an earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in an almost ground-floor Art Deco and lives pretending to stop in the Thirties. Its visitors surrender to the Great Gatsby atmosphere that the city enacts.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Camel Racing, Desert Festival, Sam Sam Dunes, Rajasthan, India
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
One of the tallest buildings in Valletta, Malta
Valletta, Malta

An ex-Humble Amazing Capital

At the time of its foundation, the Order of Knights Hospitaller called it "the most humble". Over the centuries, the title ceased to serve him. In 2018, Valletta was the tiniest European Capital of Culture ever and one of the most steeped in history and dazzling in memory.
Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Martian Scenery of the White Desert, Egypt
White Desert, Egypt

The Egyptian Shortcut to Mars

At a time when conquering the solar system's neighbor has become an obsession, an eastern section of the Sahara Desert is home to a vast related landscape. Instead of the estimated 150 to 300 days to reach Mars, we took off from Cairo and, in just over three hours, we took our first steps into the Oasis of Bahariya. All around, almost everything makes us feel about the longed-for Red Planet.
capillary helmet
Viti levu, Fiji

Cannibalism and Hair, Fiji Islands' Old Pastimes

For 2500 years, anthropophagy has been part of everyday life in Fiji. In more recent centuries, the practice has been adorned by a fascinating hair cult. Luckily, only vestiges of the latest fashion remain.
Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

days like so many others

António do Remanso, Quilombola Marimbus Community, Lençóis, Chapada Diamantina
Sheets of Bahia, Brazil

The Swampy Freedom of Quilombo do Remanso

Runaway slaves have survived for centuries around a wetland in Chapada Diamantina. Today, the quilombo of Remanso is a symbol of their union and resistance, but also of the exclusion to which they were voted.
View of Casa Iguana, Corn islands, pure caribbean, nicaragua
Corn Islands - Islas del Maíz , Nicaragua

pure caribbean

Perfect tropical settings and genuine local life are the only luxuries available in the so-called Corn Islands or Corn Islands, an archipelago lost in the Central American confines of the Caribbean Sea.
Correspondence verification
Winter White
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
El Cofete beach from the top of El Islote, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
Natural Parks
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

Fuerteventura's Atlantic Ventura

The Romans knew the Canaries as the lucky islands. Fuerteventura, preserves many of the attributes of that time. Its perfect beaches for the windsurf and the kite-surfing or just for bathing, they justify successive “invasions” by the sun-hungry northern peoples. In the volcanic and rugged interior, the bastion of the island's indigenous and colonial cultures remains. We started to unravel it along its long south.
M:S Viking Tor Ferry-Wrapped Passenger, Aurlandfjord, Norway
UNESCO World Heritage
Flam a Balestrand, Norway

Where the Mountains Give In to the Fjords

The final station of the Flam Railway marks the end of the dizzying railway descent from the highlands of Hallingskarvet to the plains of Flam. In this town too small for its fame, we leave the train and sail down the Aurland fjord towards the prodigious Balestrand.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Surf Lesson, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
Waikiki, OahuHawaii

The Japanese Invasion of Hawaii

Decades after the attack on Pearl Harbor and from the capitulation in World War II, the Japanese returned to Hawaii armed with millions of dollars. Waikiki, his favorite target, insists on surrendering.
Djerba Island of Tunisia, Amazigh and its camels
Djerba, Tunisia

The Tunisian Island of Conviviality

The largest island in North Africa has long welcomed people who could not resist it. Over time, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs called it home. Today, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities continue an unusual sharing of Djerba with its native Berbers.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Bright bus in Apia, Western Samoa

In Search of the Lost Time

For 121 years, it was the last nation on Earth to change the day. But Samoa realized that his finances were behind him and, in late 2012, he decided to move back west on the LID - International Date Line.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Daily life
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Transpantaneira pantanal of Mato Grosso, capybara
Mato Grosso Pantanal, Brazil

Transpantaneira, Pantanal, Mato Grosso Ends

We leave from the South American heart of Cuiabá to the southwest and towards Bolivia. At a certain point, the paved MT060 passes under a picturesque portal and the Transpantaneira. In an instant, the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso is flooded. It becomes a huge Pantanal.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.