There really is no better introduction to a road trip around the magical land that is Iceland, than a friendly chat with two locals around a Christmas beer.
Luckily for these Road Trips, that is exactly what Icelanders Ásgeir and Hjalti offered graciously to these ukuleles and their carrier. That, and a Christmas beer!
As well as diving into their history and the mythology of the vikings, we discuss, in the Reykjavik Podcast, some practical and very useful information for the upcoming travels: don't die. And also, don't freeze to near death in your car. Noted.
For more traveller insights and stunning Icelandic sights you can also view Ásgeir's stunning YouTube channel: Do More Ásgeir !
As a side note, it must be said that this podcast was recorded before I knew I was going around the island with a big robust Kuku Campers van, which is equipped with a big hot heater. And that, luckily, seriously bumps up the survival chances. Or at least, prevents freezing to almost-death. Something we can all agree, is a good thing.
The podcast was recorded in the Slippbarinn bar, in one of the separate meeting rooms. As you can see from the map above the article, it's part of the Icelandair Hotel by the Reykjavik Marina. Handily, this great place also has a big map of Iceland in the corridor, very practical to point at stuff. And there's a goat there too.
In the podcast, there is a song. And in this song there is information. And in this information, knowledge. All the knowledge you'll ever need about Odin, the 'All-Father' of Norse Gods. (The song by the way is a take on the melody of the "Gay Dean" song in Community, season 6 episode 4, itself a take on the song Jolene, by Dolly Parton. It's my favourite show. Just thought I should write this somewhere, at some point)
Odin, Odin, Odin, Odin, greatest God the North had ever seen, Odin, Odin, oh where've you been ?
Inspiration to all Viking men, on the battle fields back when, Northerners spilled enemy blood
Odin, the mightiest of the Æsir Gods, is a war-God. Often depicted wearing armour, he inspires soldiers of the North preparing for battle.
On the land that your Dad did shape, you would freely roam and escape, for adventures with your eight-legged stud
Bor, son of Buri (who himself was licked out of salty blocs of ice by Audhumla, the primeval cow) has three sons: Odin, Vili, and Ve. The sons of Bor killed the giant Ymir, and from his blood and flesh created the universe. Bor shapes the world indirectly, through the actions of his offspring. In this world, Odin would go on many adventures, far from his kin, sometimes riding Sleipnir, his eight-legged horse.
Yes, two ravens and this trusted horse, for the invincible God of Norse, oh the good old times
On Odin's shoulders sit two ravens. They periodically leave him to go fly around the world and then tell all that they have seen and heard to the All-Father. These birds are Huginn and Muninn (thought, and memory)
When your one-eyed face searched the source of all wisdom and of course, of the Prose, of Edda and the Rhymes
Odin is not only out and about looking for adventures, he is seeking many noble treasures, none quite as much as wisdom itself. No sacrifice is too great to quench that thirst, and he took one of his own eyes out for the right to drink from the well of destiny (well of Urd). Thus giving Odin cosmic knowledge of the universe. And an important side note here, those waters hold the roots of the ash tree Yggdrasil, which is the whole cosmos. And also, one of Odin's eyes.
Surprisingly for a warrior, Odin is also a very inspired God. He only expresses himself in poems. Hence the rhymes and prose. The famous Edda is the XIIIth century compilation that is giving us most our Odin-knowledge. It is written in prose, integrating here and there extracts of old Norse poetry. And is fun to read while on an Icelandic road trip!
Odin, Odin, greatest God the North had ever seen. Odin, Odin, oh where've you been?
We miss your knowledge of the runes, your daring deeds set to tunes, never to be bested under the moons
Odin's accomplishments are so great, attempts at glory would pale in comparison throughout the millions of days and nights following his reign. His adventures, often set to music, include also his mastery of the runes: the viking writings are not only precious knowledge, they are drawn straight from the mysterious source of all things to exist, the waters of Urd, below the tree of Yggdrasil. But as you know, Odin drank some of that, so he knows his way around inspired discourse.
You managed to steal the poetic mead, and were quite the charmer for from your seed, are born Baldr, Valli and Thor
The Poetic mead. Bare with me here. To make peace, lots of Gods spat in a bowl, from which Kvasir, the wisest (ever!) human was formed. He was then killed by some dwarves and turned into some sort of honey beer (mead!), magical and imparting infinite wisdom. The dwarves killed a couple of giants, got killed by the giants' son, who hid the mead under a mountain. However, Odin loves wisdom as you know. So, he went to the place, made 9 servants kill each other, worked as a giant's servant for months, made him drill a whole, turned into a snake to get through it, slept three nights with a lady-giant guard (ouh là là), and then drank ALL of the mead, and flew back as an eagle to pour it back out in Asgard, the land of the Gods of Æsir. Some drops fell over the top, and graced the world under theirs, the land of men. So we can have a few poetic inspirations too thanks to messy regurgitating.
Odin charmed not only lady-giants, but also had a few children including Baldr, Vali and Thor, each son, with different women. Goddess or mortal, depends.
Though this last one is still around, where can you Odin be found, come forward as you came forth before !
Though Thor as thunder and lightning can still be seen in today's Iceland, where is the mighty All-Father Odin? Will he roam again through the land of man and grace them with his knowledge and divine inspirations?
Odin, Odin, Odin, Odin, greatest God the North had ever seen, Odin, Odin, where've you been?
This musical cultural adventure that is Ukulele Road Trips is #GOINGNORTH with the handy contributions of Kuku Campers, and singing about all things Norse with the CloudMusic ukes, which you can check out here, after which you will also be able to carve Nordic Gods into their woody flesh.
Hopefully, two things will happen during this trip: you'll enjoy it (and even support it), and also, this: