Saturday, February 2:
We're off on our next adventure! This time we are heading north. Far north. Almost to the arctic circle! We're going to Iceland! We're hoping to see the Aurora Borealis and catch some stunning scenery on the way. Our flight leaves Boston at 8pm. This gives us all day to pack. Which is great because we didn't really prepare as early as we normally do. We decided to check a bag this time so that we could bring microspikes for icy terrain. We have read mixed reviews about whether they are allowed in carry-on and we didn't really want them to be confiscated. We gathered all of our clothes and utilized compression sacks also so that we could fit everything in the checked bag. We both carried on a small day pack as well that contains a change of clothes, a book, and chargers/camera gear. After we were fully packed, we brought Loki to his friends' house down the street for his week long stay-cation. Though he loves staying with his pals, it is always the saddest part of our trip when we have to leave him!
Shortly after we dropped Loki off, our friends Shaun and Jenny came to pick us up. They were kind enough to agree to take us to the airport. For a dinner fee. We took them to Tacos Lupita in Lynn, MA because they have the best tacos around. But they still don't compare to the tacos we got in Guatemala. That's what Mandy thinks. I'd say they are a damn close aproximation. After we finished our tasty meal we made our way to Logan Airport. Rob and I weren't really sure what the airport security lines would be like even though the government had been turned back on. We were dropped off at the airport shortly after 5pm, checked a bag and were through security by 5:25pm. Then it was time to sit and wait. Our flight started boarding at Gate E11 promptly at 7:20pm and we took off as scheduled at 8pm.
We started the flight off with a movie. I watched Crazy Rich Asians and Rob watched Sideways. After the movies concluded, we both decided that we should try to get some sleep because we weren't sure how long it would be until we had another chance to do so. Sadly the seats were very uncomfortable and neither of us were able to get much shut eye. Sleep never comes when you're trying to force it.
Sunday, February 3: The flight arrived at Keflavik Airport at 5:30am about 30 minutes earlier than anticipated. We deplaned in a parking lot and boarded shuttles that tooks us to the terminal. Sadly, it wasn't until we had boarded the shuttle that I realized I forgot my inflatable neck pillow on the plane. Iceland: 1. Mandy: 0. We made our way through the airport and found a duty free shop. We've read that everything is extremely expensive in Iceland, so if you want any goods you should get them at the duty-free shop. This includes alcohol. We picked out a bottle of pinot grigio and a small bottle of rum that we could enjoy in the evening together. Rob also picked out a candy bar as he was hungry. It was called Kaffi. We got to the registers and were about to pull out a credit card when the cashier asked for our boarding passes. I said "Okay, but we're arriving. Does that matter?" Apparently the duty-free shop we were in was only for departures. We had to exit to the departure area and then buy the goods we wished to have. It was slightly frustrating as we had spent the time to pick out our products and then wait in the line to pay for them. But that's fine. We continued through the exit area, picked up our checked baggage, and then did the whole shopping thing again. At least we already knew what we wanted! This time we were allowed to pay for our items and take them with us. Sadly, Rob wasn't able to find the candy bar again. After we exited the duty-free shop we made our way to the bus terminal where we had reserved a trip to Blue Lagoon that also continued to Reykjavik. The bus we needed to take would start loading at 720am.
We hopped on the bus once it finally arrived. It was on time, but there were several, and we weren't sure which was the right one. The ride was short and uneventful. Once we got to Blue Lagoon, we stowed our gear in a locker, showered, and donned our swim trunks. We got into the water and released the stress of travel. What a fantastic way to wrap up an overnight flight! The water was warm and it didn't smell of sulphur like we anticipated. We found a swim-up bar and ordered a hard cider and a wine. The cider was way better than I expected! After we finished our drinks and disposed of the containers in the trash, we found some awesome reclining lounge chairs in a small quiet room and caught a quick nap. The nap was punctuated with the occasional infant scream, but it was better than none! Somewhat rested, but most definitely relaxed, we swapped back to our street clothes and caught a bus to Reyjavik.
In Reyjavik, we only had to walk like 47 miles with a thousand pounds of luggage to pick up this glorious machine. What a beaut! A like-new, one-owner, low miles, mint condish Dacia Duster diesel 6-speed with AWD! We tossed all our gear in and basked in the delicious scent of diesel that someone else probably spilled in the hatch. Refreshing!
We burnt rubber (not really, at all) all the way to Saffran for some lunch because, whatever time and day it was, we were hungry! We had no idea what it was because Mandy can't read the online menu in Icelandic. Hoping they'd have an English hard copy in real life, we stepped in. Surprise, Indian cuisine! I ordered Piri piri chicken. I got chicken satay. The piri piri was amazing. I also got an Icelandic white ale called Einstock Olgerd (or something?). It was better than I expected, usually foreign beers are disappointing.
We continued driving in totally blase weather with really lame visibility. It was spitting snow a little bit. Once we were out of the capitol area, the roads were essentially solid ice. There was snow on top, and maybe some holes here and there, but there were no painted lines visible, and certainly no real length of exposed pavement. It was a little sketchy, but once we got a feel for the car it was fine. The tires performed fantastic! We made our way to Flúðir ("flew-theer") where we'd be staying for the night in a tiny cottage. We stopped along the way to get some groceries to make breakfast and one dinner. Once we got settled in the cottage and brought our stuff in, we showered off the minerals from Blue Lagoon. Then, we went out in search of dinner. Although we weren't super hungry, we figured if we ate at the right times, it might help force us into the local time zone.
We went to Mika Restaurant, a local family-owned establishment we found. We weren't sure what to expect, but their website had an option to reserve a table, so we did. We walked in to exactly zero other patrons. So glad we made that reservation! We got seated and ordered a salad for Rob, and a pizza to share. All of it was delicious. We got a coffee and a tea afterwards (to help stay awake until the normal hours instead of crashing at about 6pm), which were served with a pair of chocolates made at the restaurant. They were the highlight of the meal, for sure, and we bought a couple small boxes of them to go. We cashed out and went back to our home for the night. We got into our swimsuits and went out to the hot tub to relax a bit before bed.
Only...there was no water.
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
- Bilbo Baggins
We're just an adventure-loving couple with a puppy looking to share our stories with the world.