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Cave House Rebuilt

An old house inside Laugarvatnshellir cave in Southwest Iceland has been reconstructed and will be open to tourists this summer, RÚV reports. Two children were born in the cave around a century ago. The cave received a royal visit in 1921 by King Christian X of Denmark, the only king of Iceland. The king was served a traditional Icelandic dish of skyr (resembling thick yogurt) and cream by the home’s inhabitants.

“This was inhabited just under 100 years ago. Here there was a young couple who moved in during 1910 and lived here for one year, Indriði and Guðrún, and so it happened in 1918 that another young couple moved in here, Jón and Vigdís, and they lived here for four years. And during this time, they had three children, two of them born inside the cave,” states Smári Stefánsson, who took part in the reconstruction.

According to Smári, it was during the wintry April of 1919 that Jón and Vigdís had their first son. Jón rode for eight hours on horseback through heavy snow to find a midwife.

As was common in the Icelandic countryside during that period, livestock kept the home warm. The cow was kept behind a partition, and there was an opening into the next cave where sheep and horses were kept. A coal stove also heated the cave throughout the winter.

The house was located along a well-traveled route, so the inhabitants started selling refreshments to travelers. Christian X of Denmark’s visit occurred in 1921, when he paid 30 krónur for his skyr and cream, recounts Smári.

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