Thursday, October 20, 2016

days 17 & 18: iceland

Iday 17:

nice to rest in our airbnb, first non-hostel stay in over a week. the night before, I nearly cried when we got in the room and I just plopped down on the bed. a room to ourselves. a not bunk bed. and the shower was amazing.

had a mildly leisurely morning packing up and making sure everything was squared away to leave our airbnb.

headed to the car rental place to drop off the car just after filling it's tank.

went to the place at the airport that was listed as the enterprise rental area for the airport, even asked a nearby hertz representative where it was and they directed us there as well... only to find a sign on the door directing us to another address 8 minutes away.

went there, had a hard time finding it. got on the phone (hah I tried so hard for us to not make calls abroad only to fail) with the place listed on our paperwork, they said the address we just went to isn't right and to go back to the airport. and when we finally found the place the sign directed us to, they said the same thing as well. but a nice enterprise guy gave us directions to the proper place in the airport which was an entirely different location.

apparently the first place we went to is now the car wash place for the second location we went to and neither of those have anything to do with the airport location.

so, following the nice man's directions, we made our way. and after a wrong roundabout exit (there were basically 9 exits on this roundabout) and a very hasty u-turn we finally made it to the proper enterprise location, but goodness we were now very short on time and they still had to check the car over and do paperwork.

to say I was anxious was mild. it was yet again where I let it get the better of me. and it did nothing to help. but all I could think of was missing that flight. not that being stuck in Scotland would be so terrible, but I just absolutely didn't want to have the trouble. I just wanted it to go smoothly.

but we made it to the desk in time, made it through security in time, got our lunch in time, and made it to the gate in time. mind you, it was close. but we made it, thank God.

had our final Scottish sandwiches at the airport, had mine actually on the tarmac as I didn't have enough time at the gate to eat.

I love takeoff on flights. I think it's the most exhilarating feeling. I love flying. I hope one day to go skydiving to get as close to flying as I can. trying to give you guys a picture of how much I love flying, here...

but this takeoff... I was fine. I had my sandwich before, and I was actually quite thrilled about the adventure ahead in Iceland.

but then we got up in the air. and I saw the sheeps dotting the fields. and the lochs and mountains in the distance getting smaller and smaller.

and I lost it. big time. not quite blubbering, but a hefty cry. I didn't want to see it go. I didn't want to go from it. I looked as long as I possibly could. until the clouds faded the rolling landscape away from my view for a final time.

and then I collected myself, saw the selection of on board films, chose Beetlejuice and called it a flight. I thoroughly enjoyed my in flight movie choice. made me quite happy. aside from midway through I needed to prop up my feet as they felt quite tight (which is when I realized I should have worn my compression socks. what an old lady).

and then we began the landing process.

ah. ahaaahhaa....

okay, so when I went to Texas last year, I had a bit of air sickness with the landings, bit nothing too crazy, just a heavy headache and some very mild nausea. they weren't troublesome landings so it wasn't a big deal. same with both of our flights getting here.

but this. was. not. an. easy. landing.
and once I saw and felt the weather the pilot was having to combat, I forgave him. but I had a hard time forgiving him in the moment.

we circled 3 times due to bad weather or gate change.

each time we attempted landing I nearly threw up. it was just so rough. plane bobbing up and down, my stomach going into my chin. no good.

but everyone clapped once we landed. it was quite a feat.

keflavik airport is... odd. it seems they put all the money in the shops and bathrooms and no money in the gates and baggage claim.

the bathroom was a white maze hallway of actual large white rooms you had all to yourself. fully equipped with a Dyson faucet/dryer combo that was impossible to use.

anyhow, managed - got our bags after a very very long wait and got our rental car all sorted before going outside to actually get the car.

you guys.
the wind was a constant 27mph. gusting to probably 40 or 45. I actually wasn't sure I'd make it to the car before me or one of our pieces of luggage was blown away. I've never felt such wind before.

and Jason had to drive in it. but now this manual was on the left side of the car and right side of the street as we have in America. a little Hyundai. and he said "I never thought I'd say this, but I want that stupid little British car back" - this Hyundai is handling so poorly. some funny smells and noises. we are likely going to drop by our rental company and have them check it.

but got to our airbnb in one piece after all the impronoucnable street names.

however I did totally fall down the stairs at the airbnb. these stairs are so incredibly steep and shallow. after I fell and laughed off my skinned hands, bruised butt and bruised pride, the girls in the kitchen said they did the exact same thing and now only go up and down sideways. which I also do now haha. but dang did I feel like such an old lady today!!! halp, I needs my life alert!!

got set up in our room and went across the street to Bonus, their most amazing grocery store here, highly recommended by many.

and this was our first experience being in another land where we had no grasp of the language or currency in the slightest. what an unusual feeling. really gave me some hands on perspective on how many people feel visiting America or even living there not knowing the language. you just desire a frame of reference. thankfully we can do that with our smart phones, but not everyone has those.

got some groceries and the cashiers told us they closed half an hour ago and we needed to leave haha. no announcement overhead about when they were closing or anything, just this expectation that we knew this somehow. but they were just waiting on us and these other girls to check out so they could leave and none of us had a clue! very unusual feeling when you're holding someone up unbeknownst to you.

had our dinner, some supernatural, and prepped for the next day. and shower... the most odd shower I've had thus far, which is saying something. it was odd because the window is in the shower and the top remains tilted open... all with those crazy winds still howling. so it was a mix of hot and cold. and air pressure changing. it wasn't bad at all (not like the shower trickling to nothing in that one hostel!)... just definitely different.

I think that's what I can say about Iceland thus far, it's just so terribly different. the landscape is so similar to Scotland but everything else is completely different.

now we hope to sleep with the wind howling away!

day 18:

blue lagooooon!

what an experience! I was so thankful it wasn't raining, gosh that would have been miserable.

driving up you actually see the pools right at the road, but they aren't the ones you swim in. but it certainly gets you hype. this glowing bright blue water in a sea of black rock.

car park seemed kind of empty to my surprise, but once we walked up, there were heaps of people in line. and I got concerned we wouldn't make our check in for our massage in time (you needed to check in an hour prior to your massage appointment). but it all worked out even though I got all worked up over it. this trip has made me realize how much and often I do let things get to me that I cannot change. it's a bad habit that I must learn to correct.

got all changed and entered the water from the interior of the building... thank goodness that's an option because it was so cooold and wiiiinddyyy!!!

but that water was so perfectly warm and lovely. I still think it was harder to move around in than normal water... Jason disagrees. but what makes it have that crazy color is all the silica that's in the water. so I still stand by my notion that it's more difficult to move in, and I think it's because of the silica.

said silica comes in buckets at the mask bar. you just apply it to your face, let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it hardens then wipe it off in the water. Jason did this twice throughout our stay, I did it 3 times. face definitely feels softer, I'm not sure about the claims of smaller pore appearance though, jury is out for me in that regard.

we each had in-water massages. which were amaze. combine two things I love - floating in water and massage?! I didn't want it to end. was so lovely. 11/10, would recommend on yelp.

overall it was really an amazing experience. only thing Jason and I wish was different was wanting less people there. it was pretty full. but it is one of the 25 wonders of the world, so it's gonna be the most popular girl at school.

afterward we went to get a second lunch, first lunch was around noon at the lagoon, some sandwiches and chips.

we had seen a taco bell nearby and wanted to expirience the difference in Iceland, and also cheap eats.

and this is where we realized the complete garbage value of the u.s. dollar (also, we do not in the slightest understand the Icelandic Krona. sometimes it has a decimal and sometimes it doesn't, but it has lots of numbers, it's just odd).

guess how much we paid for a taco bell meal for 2 people?


that would normally cost, I don't know, somewhere between $8-11 at home.

it sucks when you realize your home country is so much worse off than you already knew (and you knew how terrible it was already).

needless to say, it's not an affordable time for Americans to visit Iceland!

after this we dealt with our rental car issues. went to one facility where a nice young Icelander realized very quickly that we needed a different car but his facility didn't have any extras so we were sent to another down the street.

these Icelanders didn't seem to believe us. they also suggested that the burning oil smell and low oil meant that Jason had pushed the clutch too hard......... and that the crazy noise when accelerating was from loose lug nuts.... yeah, how bout you guys stick to being rental people not mechanics.

we kept silent. but all we wanted to say was "we are Americans, but we aren't Amercan idiots."

in the end we got another car... which ends up having low tire pressure. so we go to a gas station that has air for tires. it is a strange machine unlike ours in America. Jason decides to leave the tire pressure as is, we will deal.

then we decided to not lose the rest of our day to troubles and went and visited Hallgrímskirkja, the iconic cathedral of Reykjavik. pretty cool place, we hope to go inside tomorrow.

then we went to Bonus and got our dinner for later and just packed up and chilled.

Iceland has been a good transition for home (but not going back to work of course). it's made us want to be home more than when we were in Scotland. Scotland feels like home, so it makes it difficult to want to go home. but being a stranger in a strange land (where all the things are improuncable!) really makes you want familiarity.

also when you've been living out of a series of bags for 3 weeks, you really want to be done with that.

and you just want your nice clean bed and your nice clean shower with great water pressure and your toilet that actually flushes.

and you want to see familiar faces. that really hit me when we saw people waiting for their people at keflavik. I looked forward to when a familiar face would be waiting for us to bring us back to familiarity.

and you just want a freaking pizza. a good pizza. we haven't even bothered getting pizza on this trip. both Scotland and Iceland have poor choices... the local options are all thin crust. and the only chain options were Dominoes and Pizza Hut. eeeeew. bleck. definitely not paying any inflated currency for subpar pizza.

anyhow, we check out of our final stay tomorrow morning and have til late afternoon before our flight so we hope to see some more Iceland before we go.

and my goal for the flight is to rewatch all of stranger things to keep me awake in order to go to bed at a normal EST time when we get back!

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