After a brief demonstration from the kind guys at Lava Auto, we were off. Our original plan was to spend the morning exploring Reykjavik, before ending our first day at the Blue Lagoon. Because of our delayed arrival, we didn’t have much time before our 5:30 reservations. In a move all to common for us, we picked a direction and drove. more “Jetlag & The Blue Lagoon”
It snowed in England!! I’d have to guess this doesn’t happen much here, based solely on observation. While the amount of snow was significant (4 inches) based on most people’s standards, their reaction to it was astounding. Traffic on the dual-carriageway roads, think freeways, moved at a snail’s pace despite fairly decent conditions. On the side roads, traffic backed up as many stopped and abandoned their vehicles where they sat, too terrified to move forward. It was apparently so intense that even the emergency crews weren’t responding, which was made evident by the number of wrecked cars left to sit, no attention given by police or tow trucks. It was all quite comical to two Wisconsin natives who now had the streets of England to themselves. I guess that’s one reason to thank the Lord we were born in a land of snow and bitter winters.
Our flight to Iceland was scheduled to depart Chicago at 6:30pm on February 25th. The day had finally come after years of planning, months of preparations, and a frantic, weeklong game of catch up. In just 6 days, we’d quit our jobs, got rid of our belongings, and moved out of our house. Needless to say, we were finally ready for a fresh start.
Unfortunately, our fresh start wouldn’t be had without a few setbacks. First, our flight was delayed 3 hours. Then at the check-in desk, we learned that it wouldn’t leave until 11:30pm. Since Iceland is 5hrs ahead of Chicago, there was no way to inform the rental car company, which was closed for the day, that we’d be late, except by email. So, I shot them an email and hoped for the best.
The time went by quickly, we said our final goodbyes to family and had a nice, albeit expensive airport dinner of sushi and tacos (quite the combination). I was much more relaxed once we made it through security and were waiting at our gate, a couple of cocktails helped with that too. Since we were carrying a large amount of electronics, including a drone, I was worried we’d get held up. No such thing happened and we were on our flight in no time. The half-empty flight provided an opportunity for Andy and I to spread out. I took my own row of 3 seats, laid down, and did my best to sleep. Icelandair’s flight was comfortable. We were given a free bottle of water, a free blanket, and had the option of using the tablet (attached to the seat in front of us) for some free entertainment options. Because we chose the cheapest flight class, wifi was not included. It was available for purchase, however we were simply too tired to look into it.
When we arrived in Iceland, it was almost noon. The airplane didn’t pull up to the airport, so we were shuttled from the tarmac to the arrival gate. Our first taste of Icelandic weather came the second that we stepped foot off the plane. With warning from the flight attendants, I hung on tightly to my glasses and hat, to avoid them being blown away. Though I scoffed at their warning, I must admit that the wind was some of the strongest I’d ever felt, at least up until that point.
The Keflavik airport (we didn’t actually land in Reykjavik, though that’s what airlines will say) is clean, modern, and stylish. We didn’t look around much as we were looking around for our ride. We’d rented a campervan from Lava Auto, through the website Northbound.is. The decision to rent with this company did not come easily. Rental car company reviews tell hundreds of horror stories of customers being charged astronomical prices for damage they didn’t do. Lava Auto had great reviews and were cheaper when booked through a third party. Thus, we chose Northbound Iceland. Much to my relief, there was a gentleman holding a sign with our names, waiting at the exit. We were shuttled to Lava Auto’s main office, just a few minutes drive from the airport. Pickup was quick and easy. A few signatures, a brief overview of the van’s features, and we were on our way. With no real set plans, we drove off to discover the wilderness of Iceland. So begins our 5 day Icelandic road trip adventure.
Coming Soon: A detailed account of our trip around Iceland’s Ring road and the Golden Circle!
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