Today at work we all went out together for lunch to eat “Skata”. I had never even heard of this dish before, so when they said this was something I needed to try since it’s an Icelandic tradition to eat this on the day before Christmas, I decided to tag along. That was a HUGE mistake. Just the smell of this fish made me want to turn in the door and run to safety. I guess the reason it smells so bad is because it’s rotten fish, so when you think about it I kind of makes sense. What I don’t understand is how some people can really like it.
Doddi had of course warned me that it would be bad, but I had no idea it would be this bad. Many people had warned me about “Hákarl” (shark) but I did try that and it was far from as bad as I thought. “Hákarl” isn’t something I enjoy, but I could still eat it. “Skata” was a lot worse! But even if the smell wasn’t inviting I did try it, and it doesn’t taste as bad as it smell, but it’s still quite horrible and I will never ever eat it again.
Skata. (Picture is borrowed)
Instead of eating “Skata” I had some “Saltfiskur”, which is just salted fish. But sitting in the smell from the “Skata” and eat was not pleasant, and I had a hard time finishing my food. I felt like my “Saltfiskur” started to take taste form the “Skata” smell.
The worst part is that now my clothes and hair and everything smells, so I can’t get away from it. All I want to do right now is to go home and take a long hot shower and wash everything that I’m wearing, but I still have to finish my working day.
Next year when I get invited to this I will without a doubt say NO! I’ve learned from my mistake 😉
You know that Christmas is right around the corner when the Icelandic Yule lads start showing up at Dimmuborgir. This weekend three of them were out greeting the tourists visiting Dimmuborgir, which is said to be their home. I’m still getting used to the Icelandic Christmas traditions and the Yule lads are one of those things that is completely new to me. In a few days all Icelandic kids will put their shoes in the windows before bed and waking up to find gifts in the shoes that a Yule lad has left for them during the night. Each night there is a different Yule lad coming to visit the houses and if the kids have been naughty the might find coal or a potato in the shoe instead of a gift.
The Yule Lad Giljagaur (Gully Gawk) is the second one to “come to town” and will arrive on the 13th and he will hide in gullies to try to sneak into the cowshed to steal milk.
The Yule lad Gluggagægir (Window-Peep) comes on the 21th to peep through windows in search of something to steal. This lad try to steal our car 😉 Good thing the keys weren’t in the car or he might have succeeded 🙂
On the 12th the first Yule lad makes his way to town and the first one to arrive is Stekkjarstaur (Sheep-Cote Clod). Unlike our Santa Clause the Icelandic Yule lads aren’t nice, but still they leave you gift so I’m not sure how that goes together to be honest 😉 But I still think it’s very nice that Iceland has kept this very old tradition, even if the gift part is fairly new I think. I guess the whole thing with the Yule lads were just to get children to behave during Christmas, if they didn’t the Yule lads would come down and scare them and steal things, and if the children had been very bad the Yule lads mother Grýla would eat them. It’s kind of a funny tale and it’s a tradition I will make my own.
The Yule lad Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer) is the last one to “come to town” and will come for a visit on the 24th to try to steal our candles. Here he’s warming by a nice fire.