Day 17 — Stöðvarfjörður

Once upon a time in the Eastfjords, there was a girl named Petra. The name Petra means “rock” and from an early age, Petra loved rocks.

She would go into the hills and mountains behind Stöðvarfjörður and collect rocks, often returning with a full rucksack containing as much as 80 pounds of rocks.

Now, Iceland is a volcanic place and rocks have a big history here.

But perhaps no one outside the scientific area loved rocks as much as Petra.

For decades, she collected rocks and brought them to her home.

Eventually, there were too many rocks inside and they basically had taken over her house.

So, Petra moved the new rocks (and there were always new rocks) out to the garden.

Word of her collection spread and for decades people would come to her house and she would gladly show them her collection. She always refused to take money for this service and was happy to share her love of rocks and her glowing collection with people. But eventually, there was a need to care for the house and the collection and Petra and her family started charging admission.

Sadly, Petra died a few years ago, but her Stone collection lives on, with her family now running the business.

Many people driving the Ring Road in the summers stop here. The fact that it’s one of the few things to see (besides the unending beauty of the natural landscape) for hundreds of miles.

There’s some attempt to include educational materials (and perhaps pass this bunch of barely organized rocks as a “museum”), but it’s mostly just rocks. Some have been painted. Some have been carved into odd and amusing shapes. Others have googly-eyes pasted upon them.

There’s also a collection of pens, for no real reason. And matchboxes. And handkerchiefs.

And a strangely foreboding wooden statue of Petra.

So, what does all this mean? I’m not sure. There’s more than a touch of “Hoarders” to all this and it’s not clear exactly what we’re meant to take away from this.

But there’s a gift shop. And you can buy rocks from a bin (if you don’t like to think of looking for your own rocks in town and picking them up) or handmade jewelry and other goofy things.

Really, your guess is as good as mine.

Despite all that, I’m glad I went.

And I’m pretty sure I’ll never need to go back.

Usually Petra’s is closed after the summer, but they arranged to open it specially for us. So a group of eight of us trudged down there (it’s maybe a half-mile from the Fish Factory) and wandered around trying to decide what to make of it.

And then I came back and wrote a new story about how exact measurements nearly killed off the old gods. (As one does.)

More later.

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