(18) Iceland Dreaming… Not planning on waking up anytime soon

We woke up to this.

One thing this vacation has taught me more clearly is the importance of seizing each moment and then soaking in them. They are gifts, and the opportunity of having another “just like it” might not come. But if you have enjoyed what you were given completely and fully, then there is no sadness, but rather just gratitude. When we woke up to this, we had no idea if we would ever see shoreline again, but we were content… and this view – just as stunning.

And like the hopeful champ that he is… Chris got our view shinier, prepared for continued amazingness. We were here to rest and soak in all in. We weren’t compelled to leave and see more, (but of course we did.)

 

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone…”  🙂

 

So after a laid back egg breakfast (no hurry when you have until midnight to explore) we were off to explore some more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We set our sights on driving up the valley (south) that we could see far off to the “left” of our perchtop view… and we happened on this:

Have no idea! Except we were pretty sure it had to do with the life size wooden Santa signs we’d been seeing along the way. (And I love me some Christmas!)

My version of a “Ho, ho, ho!” (Hard to do when you’re laughing.)

They had these tic tac toe games here and there. This was Chris and my “Cat’s game. “

I snuck a pic of this girl was reveling in her victory with her dad. Only caught Dad’s twinkle of a smile in my heart’s camera.

 

And then there were the stores.

 

This first one was the food and trinket store. SOOO totally touristy, and I loved every minute of it!

All of you knitters, Iceland is your paradise, your Mecca, your Ben & Jerry’s, your Voodoo Donuts, your Disneyland……………(you get the picture.) 

And had to grab this last store pic for a friend of mine and its Wizard of Oz feel. (You know who you are!)

 

Then on to the Christmas store!

Didn’t know this would be a Selfie!

This room was built as a hidden treasure hideaway under the staircase for the little guys! Such a great idea.

So the story had the usual Christmas ornament displays etc…) But in one corner was a small room set off all by itself. In the corner was a rock mountain with a cave opening to look through.

This gentleman must have heard Chris and I talking and asking ourselves questions about this “oddity.” I was remembering Olaf (our first day walking guide) telling me that if I wanted to get a Christmas ornament that was Icelandic (I had asked), I should get a Santa Clause, because they had 13 of them. There hadn’t been a lot of time to talk at that point, so her reply had been a bit cryptic… But here we were trying now to figure it all out, and an older gentlemen broke into our thoughts, “Do you know what you are looking at?”

“Excuse me? I’m sorry, what did you say?” I was caught by surprise. So far, it had been our experience that Icelanders did not start conversations. Ever.

“Do you want to know the story?”

!!!

So this man begins to tell us the story of Gryla and the 13 Yule lads. Gryla, turns out, is Santa Claus evil mother, who will capture children if they are being bad (but has to release them if they repent). Each of her 13 lads has a unique character and are all a wee bit mischievous and want different gifts left (like we leave milk and cookies out). The story was so different from ours. I kept exclaiming in disbelief… “You mean Santa – sweet, nice giving Santa – has an evil mother?”

“Ja. Like good cop, bad cop.”  Ha.

“And she takes the bad children to boil in a cauldron?!”

“Ja. And every child leaves a potato in their shoe and each Yule lad with leave small gifts and treats in the shoes each night or a rotting potato if they were bad the day before.”

!!!

Then he went on to start to tell me which each Yule lad was like – what kind of mischief they’d be up to. (I am so bad at remembering all the details, so here’s a website you might like. (Celebrating Christmas with 13 Trolls.)   )

But what I remember most of all is the joy on his face as he told us his tale. I could see himself remembering the excitement of growing up during the cold, dark Christmas days and celebrating with fun and mischief the ancient tale. The tale sounded somewhat dark and even horrifying, but his face told a different tale. It was about tradition and family, and even reflected the harshness of life contrasted in their seasons of light and dark. And, with all my exclamations and mouth-opened amazement, he laughed and another Icelandic family joined in. They were very much enjoying the fun of sharing with a couple of Oregonians the magic of their childhood tale.

The ‘little things’ become the big things. This little roadside treasure was a big thing.

Unabashedly, I put away my caution and asked him for a picture.

And in his eyes I saw a suspiciously familiar twinkle as he smiled and replied,

“I go stand right next to these other Santas. Ja?”

Indeed.

 

Who knew I’d be celebrating Christmas in July, in Iceland!

 

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