Tourists who visit Borgarfjörður eystri, East Iceland are often drawn to a small, grassy turf house near the water’s edge. Those who peek through the windows may be surprised to lock eyes with Elísabet Seinsdóttir, the house’s owner, who lives there all summer.
RÚV visited Elísabet as she arrived at the house this month. “It’s so good to be here. You wait the whole winter to come back,” Elísabet said as she stepped out of the car. “Hopefully I can stay here all summer.”
“This is just an old house. There used to be lots of houses like this by the sea here. They were houses that were built around the turn of the century. This one is from 1899.”
Elísabet, who is nearly 90, bought the house in 1979 with her husband. She was born and raised in Borgarfjörður eystri but moved away later in life, and bought the house in order to use it as a summer cabin. “My cousin said when I bought the house. ‘Are you going to buy this pile of mold?’,” Elísabet remarked. She adds that the house is quite dry and well-ventilated, and not any more trouble than living in a timber house.
Elísabet’s turf house is charming inside and out. Photo: A screenshot from RÚV.
The house, called Lindarbakki, is equipped with electricity and running water. Elísabet heats it with electric heaters when necessary. The grass covering the house requires some maintenance. “It’s mown once a year and then trimmed by the kitchen window so it doesn’t grow over the window,” Elísabet explains.
Tourists who visit the secluded town often think the house is a museum, and many approach it to take a closer look. “Then they knock and then they get kind of sheepish if I say it’s a summer cabin,” Elísabet says. She is used to having visitors, and has a guestbook for them to sign. “I’m just here to amuse myself,” Elísabet says. “Talk to other people and just live life. You just have to try to enjoy everything you’ve got.”
Photo: A screenshot from RÚV.