Yesterday, determined to head down to the little grocery store, lunch at the Grill and a soak in the hot pot, the wind pushed me all the way down the hill. There were times I had to catch my balance on the road. I walked on the road because the few sidewalks that exist, were covered with snow. It was a wet, sloppy, slushy snow that turns to mud, whenever the sun begins to melt it down. I don’t have boots, to-boot.
I made it to the grocery store, purchased a few items and put them in my bag with the swim suit and towel, then hopped over the snow to the grill. Everyday the grill restaurant/convenience store/ gas station, puts out a lunch and keeps it under flame from around 11 o’clock until around 3:30 p.m. Today was the first time to treat myself to lunch there. I had time to kill before trudging back up the hill to the hot pot. Today’s lunch was a casserole with ground beef, spaghetti, carrots and a cheese topping, a salad of grapes, red bell pepper, cucumbers and lettuce, and a rhubarb syrup that I didn’t know where I should put that, but dashed some on the plate. The meal also came with mashed potatoes, that had a surprise ingredient.
The potatoes were mashed with the usual milk, butter and salt, and the surprise was sugar. “Is this a typical way to prepare mashed potatoes?” I ask Hulda, the young lady who has been very accommodating towards me since I’ve been here, and speaks perfect English. “Yes, don’t you like it?”
“Oh, yes I do. It’s just different than I expected.” I told her that in Holland nutmeg is the surprise ingredient in mashed potatoes.
Hulda is a delightful young woman who agreed to print out my plane ticket for when I leave Thorshofn in about two weeks. She spent two months as an au pair in Spain, and will continue on to Iceland University in Reykjavik to pursue a degree in physical care for the handicapped. We spoke for quite some time, while I worked up the spirit to tackle the up-hill trudge to the hot pot.
Finally, I pulled myself and the bag up hill, facing the icy wind, a grey sky that was now freezing the slush into slippery, crunchy mounds of little snow caps. Now I felt it wasn’t safe to walk on the road because of the ice. I made it, walked into the town hall where the swimming pool and hot pot is located and announced. “This is summer in Iceland?”
It is unusual, two different people have told me. In fact, Siggi said he was worried about the tiny birds who flew to the area in search of the warm air.
So in the hot pot, I soaked along with an Italian, a sprightly, but muscled young man who will be in the area for two weeks. He told me through smiles that he will be hiking in the peninsula and camping out. Camping out? In the snow?
That’s right, he’s all prepared with a sleeping bag, tent and everything he’ll need for the next two weeks. He works at a water park in the town where he lives in Italy and has long weeks of vacation, so he hikes in different locations every year. His work at a water park explains his perfect swimming stroke and powerful kick while swimming laps, when he wasn’t in the hot pot.
A young father and his boy about three, also stepped into the hot pot, and while the father ignored me, the little boy began to throw plastic cups of water out of the pot on to the floor. The father ignored him, as well.
When I finally felt warm enough for the last part of my journey, I got out, got dressed and found the Italian in the lobby writing into his journal. That’s a read I would covet.
Right now at 9:45 a.m. the area is fogged in, strong winds continue to roll the ocean in high waves, and the snow remains bright and white on the ground.