We slipped away from Winnipeg for a few days in August to visit Gimli
. There was a lot of confusion amongst twin five year olds about where we were going. Most of our travels are across the border to the US, to visit our families. So, although the drive was only about an hour and a half from home, one of our guys kept asking....Is this Canada? The other kid got Gimli mixed up with Italy somehow, perhaps because I was reading a Food & Wine magazine about Italian food that we'd been talking about.
The short answer? Nope, not Italy! We rented a cottage to experience it. Most of the locals here seem to go away to a family cottage in the summer time, so we wanted to try it. On the plus side? We had more room than a hotel, we had access to a deck, grill, kitchen, washing machine and dryer, etc. On the minus side? Mommy (and occasionally Daddy) is in charge of all the food at the cottage and all the clean up, just like at home. That part was a lot of work. Luckily, we tried out several restaurants in Gimli, and greatly enjoyed eating out. I think we ate fish every single day--Gimli is on Lake Winnipeg
, which is an enormous resource for fresh water fish.
including, by the way, most of the fish that goes into the jarred gefilte fish in North America...
We also did a lot of exploring. The guys went fishing for the first time, and the spot the Professor chose just happened to have a big copse of plum trees. Not sure if they were wild Manitoba plums or "feral" trees that had sprung from one planted tree, but I picked plums, washed,and froze them, and can foresee chutney happening once school starts.
We went to the attic of the local Municipal building, (which used to be the school building) to visit with the Huldufolk, Snorri and Snaebjorn.
These are the little 'hidden' people, derived from Icelandic folk traditions, who raise mischief and are only seen by children and 'true believers.' We read a story about them by Kathleen Arnason. The lights flickered, the floor creaked, and it was definitely magical. At least one twin told us he did not believe in these things on the way there. On the way back to the rented cottage? He was a true believer in the Huldufolk. :)
We participated in the annual "treasure hunt" on the beach, too. Kids search the sand for toy coins (with help from their parents) and a list of local shops all agree to take the currency. We scrounged up a total of $4.50 or so, and with that and a twenty dollar bill from Mommy and Daddy, everyone got a special toy from Tergesen's, the 100 year old general store.
(I returned later, by myself, for a luxurious 20 minute shopping spree-- to buy one gorgeous canvas messenger bag, a skein of Icelandic Einband yarn, and copies of these huldufolk stories that had so captivated my kids.)
There are murals out on the Gimli seawall
and we passed by this one of our new friends Snorri and Snaebjorn (and their friends from Iceland, Freya and Fjiola) and had to pose. I think you'll be able to figure out who the huldufolk are and which ones are the twins?
Finally, we spent some time out on the beach. The winds were pretty brisk, which caused a lot of waves. (This is a seriously big lake. It has waves.) So, twins did a lot of digging in the sand and searching with Daddy--the professor-- for fossils and lucky stones.
Mommy (me) spent most of the time parked on the sand, using every body part to weight down our beach umbrella, play tent, and other sand toys and belongings. There wasn't a lot of swimming, although there was wading on one calmer day, with two sets of fancy floaties involved. I strongly suspect that all the boys had a better time with the rocks, since the professor can identify a lot of the fossils, and at least one of my twins is a budding paleontologist...
We've been home now for a couple of weeks, and things have been busy. Packing and unpacking for this trip, keeping everyone fed and occupied and safe from his brother, has been a pretty full time occupation. Plus, we fit in apple picking, trips to the zoo, visits to the little free libraries
and more... I'm pretty worn out. However, tomorrow is the 'meet your new teachers' day at school, and we start back for real, for our first day of kindergarten, on Wednesday.
I think the boys are ready for school, and it definitely will be like vacation for me to have a few twin-free days when school starts. Work--back at my computer-- or getting our household in order again? ...begins to sound like paradise.
Labels: cottage, Gimli, huldufolk, Lake Winnipeg, Snorri and Snaebjorn, twins, vacation, writer's life