Iceland has been on my travel wish list for a while. It was almost our first stop when we began our adventure back in 2011. When researching the most economical way to get back to Europe from the West Coast of the US, I discovered that the cheapest way would be to fly to Iceland first. Then friends of a friend offered to host us, and it was settled.
Sometimes they say the adventure is arriving and that definitely was the case for us.
We had our first introduction to Icelandic culture on the airplane. The flight attendants wouldn’t say “Excuse me” when trying to get past you. They just bulldozed their way through. When they were coming down the aisle with the food and beverage cart, heaven help your elbow if you didn’t hear the squeaking of the wheels. And when they knocked things off their cart and onto your lap, there was no apology or even an “oops.”
Still, our journey to Iceland was pretty uneventful, and at the least the cup and other things that fell onto me didn’t contain liquids.
At the airport I discovered that T-mobile’s data coverage wasn’t working as advertised, so I wouldn’t have Google Maps to help guide me to our friend’s home. And, of course, I hadn’t installed the app with offline maps on my new phone. No worries, I figured, Flybus offers free WiFi. So I pulled up the map and took screenshots to use while we were walking during the ride.
As we rode the bus to the station, the heavens opened and poured down rain. We would have about a 10-minute walk to get to our hosts’ house, and I didn’t relish the idea of getting soaked. So when the rain stopped as we got off the bus, I sent a silent thank-you to the travel gods.
We gathered our things and began our trek. As we walked, it began to snow. At first it was kind of quaint. I smiled as big, fluffy snowflakes landed on my cheeks like shy kisses.
Then the travel gods laughed, and it began snowing much more heavily. Meanwhile, 20 minutes into our walk I discovered we were going in the wrong direction. One stranger we passed said we were on the correct road even though the signs indicated otherwise. Another only spoke Icelandic.
After a nearly 7-hour flight, it felt good to walk. However, the sidewalks were now quite slippery. Apparently wearing a daypack on my back and my carry-on bag across my chest was enough to disturb my balance. When the slush beneath my feet slid, I went down face forward. The carry-on helped cushion my stomach and probably spared my face as well.
Surprisingly, I laughed as I pulled myself up. The look on the person’s face as he picked up the duty-free bag that had flown from my grasp was fairly priceless. He was kind enough to phone our host to verify we were now headed in the right direction.
As we got closer to the bus station, I took another spill. This time I landed on my butt with one of my legs folded beneath me as my knee struck the pavement.
There was no laughter with this one. I swore. Loudly.
As we neared the bus station, I decided I was willing to pay for a taxi to take us the remaining almost 2 km. I’m pretty sure I heard Tigger cheer when he saw me putting my bags in the back of the vehicle. It ended up costing almost $11, but it was worth it.
Sometimes doing everything you can to avoid spending while traveling isn’t worth it. Thanks for the reminder, Iceland.
Were you laughing when you read about my almost face plant? Go on, you can admit it.