What you don't know YET (confession is so good for the soul, don't you think?) is that I have a very vivid imagination too, which puts me at risk for jumping to conclusions and finding trouble where trouble hardly has a chance to grow.
Which is to say 8 hours into my trip to Iceland, there was trouble. In hindsight, I think it was the elves; or maybe it was the trolls. I'm not sure which. I'm hardly an authority on the "hidden people" of Iceland, otherwise known as huldufolk.
Perhaps it was all just power of suggestion. After all, on the flight over, Icelandair’s inflight entertainment system revealed that more than 50% of Iceland’s population believes elves and trolls exist. And of course, our tour guide for the week plied us with all kinds of tales and sagas about Icelandic folklore and tradition, even current events involving Icelandic elves and trolls. That kind of information just shoots a vivid imagination straight into orbit.
I started spotting elves and trolls everywhere. I think the “hidden” descriptor might have been a misnomer. I spotted these two loitering in the middle of downtown Akureyi, a bustling port city in northern Iceland.
disguise was a dead ringer for huldufolk.
I know, I know. It all sounds a little ‘out there.’ Maybe the pure Artic air or a hole in the ozone has my imagination working overtime. Certainly Iceland looks like a place where elves and trolls might live.
There's the wise, mighty volcanoes that speak of things beyond our control;
For the rest of us, unabated news coverage of angry elves reacting to human interference keeps the legends alive. Type in “elves and Iceland” on Google and there’s no less than 846,000 hits. That’s more than twice the population of the entire island of Iceland.
Needless to say, factors were in place for drawing an obvious conclusion for the source of my trouble our very first day in Iceland.
The trouble started just after we checked into our hotel in Reykjavik. The city beckoned, but
“I can’t find my purse,” I told Jim as I made another circuit around our small room.
“Where’d you put it?” Jim replied, joining in the search.
Definitely a guy response!
“If I knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t be looking for it, now would I?”
And so my own Icelandic saga began. Two hundred dollars gone, along with one credit card, one license, one cell phone (not my SIM card, please!), one tube of lipstick (I look so washed out without lipstick!), and one little bottle of prescription pills; my thyroid medication. Holy huldufolk! I can’t function without that medication.
“We’ll check at the front desk,” Jim promised as we made our way to the elevator to grab some lunch with my sister Lynda and her husband Rodney.
Jim sounded like he was going to check with the concierge to secure tickets to the symphony later that night.
I was obviously getting a little tense. Ya think!?
“Maybe you left your purse in the bus we took from the Blue Lagoon,” Lynda offered during the elevator ride down.
And maybe pigs fly! Or elves crawl out from under rocks. Poof! Party pooper was back.
We went to extraordinary measures to determine what happened to my purse over the next two hours of blood, sweat and tears.
Actually, the blood, sweat and tears might have been a little over the top; we ate lunch while hotel security reviewed their tapes to determine if my purse, a cross body style, was over my shoulder and across my chest when we checked in. The bus company was working to locate our driver, still out cruising the streets of Reykjavik, to see if I’d left my purse on his bus. Rodney scoured pictures on his camera that he’d taken of me and Lynda as we left the Blue Lagoon to try and nail down a time stamp for the disappearance of my purse.
With lunch behind us and no purse in sight, Rod and I waited in the lobby for answers from hotel management while Jim and Lynda went back upstairs to scour both rooms one more time.
And then, just like that, mystery solved. Rod and I learned from hotel management that not only had I walked into the hotel with my purse but I also had it in my possession when I entered the elevator. OMG! We've lost our marbles, not my purse!
Upstairs Jim and Lynda each went to their respective rooms to continue the search. No success; and then, Jim heard my cell phone ringing. Next door, in a last ditch effort, Lynda decided to call my cell. Like a foghorn cutting through the mist (and it was quite misty!), Jim found his way to port, and to my purse.
Was it there all along? Do elves really exist?
I can't say for sure. Maybe it was the fatigue we were all fighting, maybe it was the elves.
I do know I plan to share my own Icelandic saga for years and years to come. Sagas need telling, again and again and again, generation after generation, to preserve and protect a heritage that speaks to the mystery and obvious mayhem of life.
Here’s a picture of the purse behind all the mayhem our first day in Iceland.
But that's okay. There's very little in life that's a sure thing.