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As a part-time viking, Ísleifur practices sword play / Image: Sigga Ella

Reykjavík is home to a subculture of sword-fighting Vikings, and Ísleifur Gissurarson is a swashbuckler of the highest order. He meets up twice a week with Reykjavik Viking club, Rimmugýgur, to train in sword fighting and close combat. We asked him why his city is so legendary. 

“Viking folklore is strong in Reykjavik.  

There are lots of nods to our Viking heritage all over town. You’ll find shops and bars with Viking names, and other public tributes like The Sun Voyager – a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason on the city's waterfront that's modelled after a Viking long-ship."

“Vikings are a friendly bunch.

The best thing about the scene is the people you meet. I always have someone to call no matter where I land – a fellow Viking who will take me out and show me a good time. But when we fight against each other in tournaments, the competition is fierce. The last one I went to, there were 600 other Vikings competing, and I took second place, which I was pleased with.”

“Reykjavík is such a beautiful city.

There are so many nice parks, but Klambratún is the best. I love playing Frisbee golf there. And, on a nice day, the beach near Grótta Island Lighthouse is a lovely place to walk.”

“The best part about being a Viking is the people you meet.

I always have someone to drink with since my Viking friends are all over town. I’ll often go to Dillon when I want to party – it’s a rowdy whisky bar where some of my friends work. We may be carrying weapons, but we're really a friendly bunch."

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Images: Sigga Ella / Adobe Stock / Getty Images

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