The Old Norse sources describe in uncharacteristic detail the course that one has to travel in order to reach Hel. Myths of the Pagan North: The Gods of the Norsemen.
It’s presided over by a fearsome goddess whose name is also Hel. 2012 Pyrography on pine. Gylfaginning, chapter 34. Lots of phrases and superstitions are attached to it. For instance, her dining table is called hunger and the knives are called starvation. The common elements in Snorri’s and Saxo’s accounts seem to be the following: Hel was located underground – down and to the north, the realm of cold and general lifelessness.  The dead in Hel spend their time doing the same kinds of things that Viking Age men and women did: eating, drinking, fighting, sleeping, and so forth. Jackson Crawford (2015) The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes (Hackett Classics) ISBN-13: 978-1624663574 / ISBN-10: 1624663575, Jesse Byock (2005) Snorri Sturluson, The Prose Edda. edition. Hel has a huge hall, and inside her hall, everything has names associated with misfortunes.
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