by Þórdís Edda Guðjónsdóttir
*no plot spoilers*
When I watch a movie or a TV show I often pay attention to the things that are in the background, basically the location of the set. I see, for example, a house that plays a certain role in the movie and I wonder what the house is used for in real life. Earlier this year Netflix started showing an Icelandic TV show called Brot or Valhalla Murders in English. In the show there is this one house that plays a big role, the house you can see in the picture below (a screenshot of Netflix). I would like to give you a few real life facts about this house.
Since some of you, dear readers, have not seen this show I will not go into any details on why this house plays a big role in the show or what happens there. However I will say that in Brot/Valhalla Murders this house was a home for troubled boys, located in Borgarfjörður, operated in the 80s and probably early 90s.
In real life this large house had a different role, and is in a different location than appears in the tv show. Its true name is Símsstöðin í Brú and is located in a farm community in Hrútafjörður. When driving on Highway 1 to the North-West of Iceland you will drive by it.
The house was built in approximately 1950 for radio and telephone operation, as well as a post office and it also served as a bus stop. For over 25 years it was a center for long-distance calls between parts of the country. During that time it housed up to 3 families and other staff members. At the turn of this century the post office was moved to a different location and the building was used as a guesthouse, a museum and an information center, as well as to house the staff of nearby convenience stores. For many years the building remained in disuse, so it is sad to say that weather has taken its toll on the structure and it has seen better days. However the good news is that it is now under renovation and it will be interesting to see what role it will play in the future.
There are also many cute love stories attached to this house and location. Quite a few young women came to work as telephone operators back in the day and some of them did not return home, instead they remained in the community as they fell in love with young, handsome farmers’ sons and got married.
Why am I so interested in this specific house you may wonder? It is because it is located in my home farm community and to me it is one of the community’s landmarks. Have you seen this building in your Iceland travels?