No wonder Icelanders used to believe in trolls (some still do)

These rock formations look like petrified monsters, and it is easy to see why Reynisdrangar (last photo) was believed to be a pair of petrified trolls (you can only see one of the trolls in this photo) and a ship under sail.

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Hítardalur

Hítardalur (the valley of Hít) is a long valley in western Iceland. Driving along it, you can see the effects of volcanism, including lava flows and several different types of volcano.This particular example seems to shimmer with rainbow colours as you drive towards it:

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Halfway up the valley the road splits in two and becomes on the one hand the driveway up to a farm nestling at the root of a small volcano and on the other hand a track leading further up into the valley (ending at Hítardalsvatn, a sizeable lake). Coming back from the lake and nearing the small volcano, which is called Bæjarfell, you can see two rock columns:

 

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As you come closer you can see that they are sort of human-shaped. The upper one is called Hít, after the troll-lady who lent her name to the valley, and the lower one is called Bárður. In some folk tales he is said to be Bárður Snæfellsás, a human man who became a troll, but in other tales that Bárður is said to have settled in the glacier Snæfellsjökull, making this a different Bárður.

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There are also a number of caves in the mountain, and a cliff face with carved graffiti going back to the 1700s. I didn’t visit the caves on this particular drive, but I may go back there later and find them.