Our last day; so sad. Early this morning the boys receive an email sent to the hotel from some Icelanders/Minnesotans they met last night(!). Bright and early, John and I walk into town to do a few errands and a little bit of shopping. We purchase: some Icelandic playing cards, two wool hats, and a book. My gift to myself: a cool bumper sticker.
We spend a lot of time in the jewelry shop of Mariella--by far my favorite jewelry designer in Reykjavik. Maria Langenbacher's designs feature Icelandic stones, horsehair, lava, pearls. Her designs are very unique, and she is happy to explain the inspiration for each piece, and where she discovered many of the stones and items she works into her creations. Her shop is at Skólavörðustígur 12--check it out!
Then we meet Thor Lawrence on Laugavegur for talk, and coffee, and talk. I give him a replacement map for the one he lent me, that we wore out. As usual he has great ideas. One was to purchase a book for me. The bookstore was out of that title, but as it happens, I have read the book and it is one of my favorites--he knows me well already. Thor shows us where to find a birthday present for Peter--a silver representation of...Thor! It is really nice.
John heads off to the Culture House (the Old Library) to see Saga manuscripts. Can you believe it--one of the few museum stops this entire trip. Another reason to return.
Much as I'd love to see the Saga manuscripts it's my last chance to spend time with Thor and Gunnella, whom we meet for lunch at a great pizza place. Somehow I never expected to have really good pizza in Iceland. So we "sandwich" pizza in between yet more talk. My sadness at saying goodbye is mitigated somewhat by Thor inviting us back, and Gunnella promising to visit us when she visits the U.S. in '08 for a folklore conference. (Well, she practically promised.)
I have never liked saying goodbye. John will tell you, as his eyeballs roll around in his head, that I have difficulty saying goodbye to people that I will be seeing again tomorrow. This disability of mine can be inconvenient for my family. AND SAD, for me!
Back to Three Sisters, where Gabe and Pete have returned from a downtown trip of their own, without the shopper's success we had. We pile the guys and the luggage in the car, Bye Sonja and Thor we'll miss you!, and off to the airport.
Quiet Keflavik airport is CRAZY! People in long lines everywhere! Too many tourists, not enough worker-people. I had hoped to purchase my last gifts at the duty-free shop, simply because I wanted to shop at the airport, when there is nothing better to do, rather than in town, where there are people to see and things to do. I had in mind smoked trout, salted lamb, and other treats. Mistake! We fear we might miss our plane, and I have a crucial decision to make. Dash into Duty Free and purchase Brennevin ("The Black Death") for my friend Linda, and risk missing the plane, or...
Linda wins. Linda traveled to Iceland two years ago, and helped me a great deal with my planning. Maps, travel books, what to pack: Linda gave me excellent advice. Thanks in large part to her I had realistic expectations of the weather and the costs. So I get Linda's Brennevin, and a tiny bottle for John and I. Tiny should be more than enough :-) We never tried it here in Iceland; we'll try it at home.
We board the plane sweating and stressed, but thankful not to have missed it. Then we wait another hour before leaving. Hmmm.
My last glimpse of Iceland through the plane window is brief, as there is a lot of cloud cover. But we have spectacular views of Greenland's glaciers, peaks, fjords and lakes. We arrive an hour late to Baltimore, but customs is a breeze. They don't even glance at our luggage. John implored me not to press our luck by bringing in possibly illegal Iceland rocks. But I did tuck 3 or 4 tiny lava rocks from special places we visited, such as Drangey, into my purse. Yea!
We are all so tired that we have to alternate drivers on the way home. We are also very hungry. Dinner consists of salads purchased at Starbucks. But what salads! These salads are huge, monstrous even, fresh, full of lovely green vegetables! We marvel aloud at such huge plates of fresh greens. The other customers marvel at what weirdos we are.
Our house seems unfamiliar. The next evening I fall asleep on the couch, and wake up with no idea where I am. I look around and finally recognize some of the furnishings from our family room, but can't understand why they are in Iceland! After quite some time it dawns on me that the furniture isn't in Iceland--and I am not in Iceland either.
I hope to be there again, someday.