STAVANGER, NORWAY • REYKJAVIK, ICELAND • As promised, a new plane and crew arrived at the airport and we boarded around 3AM for Reykjavik. We touched down in Reykjavik at 5am which became 3am thanks to traveling into another timezone (or twilight zone?).
We were given vouchers for cab rides to and from a hotel, a voucher for the hotel, one for breakfast and one for lunch, and we were told that we would receive an email later that morning letting us know which flight to Boston we would be on; the 5:30PM, or the 8:45PM.
I arrived at my hotel room not long after and since the sky was bright (long days here), I changed into my PJs, brushed my teeth, and slapped on my sleep mask. I was out cold in no time, waking again at 8:30 feeling surprisingly refreshed. Once awake I enjoyed a blissful shower in a tiny stall with a shower head that shared with me both its excellent water pressure and horrible directional capabilities. It was so nice to be clean!
It was clear that venturing into downtown Reykjavik wasn’t going to happen. By car, it was a 50-minute drive and I wasn’t willing to rent, and public transportation could take as long as two hours.
I had not yet received an email and when I called the airline, they said there is no record of me on a flight just yet. I also learned that the original flight I was supposed to be on from Reykjavik to Boston got canceled. So, now, all those travelers were waiting to be put on a new flight as well.
The Icelandic Museum of Rock and Roll was a 25-minute walk from the hotel. I took the scenic route along the coast to get there and it was a lovely stroll with interesting rocks and flowers to appreciate.
One thing I really want to see in person was the black sand beaches of Iceland. While there was no beach, there was some black sand settled around the big rocks that bordered the path I took. This doesn’t quite count but still. Could I take some home? Is that against the rules? I decided that if one of the tiny ziplock bags I’d brought with me for meds and other small items was in my shoulder bag, that was a sign that I should take some.
What luck! I had one!
Once at the museum, I used the WiFi to check in on the status of my flight. No email, but oddly I was able to reach Icelandair on FB Messenger. They told me that I was now booked on the 8:45 flight that night, and it would be a few hours before I got an email about this. I have a flight home!
Both Libby and my brother had separately messaged me about visiting Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa located in a lava field, encouraging me that it wasn’t far from the hotel. I’d read that it was very touristy and saw myself that it was expensive – $85 to get in, but what else was I to do for the next six hours? And since I learned when I got back to the hotel around 12:30 that I had to check-out, I really had no other options to pass the time.
The woman at the front desk informed me that some others had booked a shuttle to Blue Lagoon and I could join them (for a cool $50 round trip!). I took my lunch voucher to the nearby restaurant for a bite before returning to catch the shuttle.
There was nothing special about the restaurant, and when I showed the woman behind the counter the voucher, she said “You can have a cheeseburger, or the fish and chips”
I asked her which she would recommend. I think it was the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten!
I took a ride to Blue Lagoon with two young American girls trying to get back to Syracuse, and two guys from Copenhagen; one a Frenchman and one a Scot, who were trying to get to Boston for a conference.
As I arrived at the Blue Lagoon, I was taken over by that cluelessness that comes with entering a situation you know nothing about. I had to rent a bathing suit, I was given wristband which would lock and unlock my locker. The locker rooms and showers were clean and modern, and there were women everywhere in various states of dress. I tried to take in how everything worked without seeming like I was gawking at others.
I also realized as I arrived that not only would I have to wear a bathing suit, but I needed to also go into hot, salty water with an insulin pump that claims it’s submergeable.
In the end, I went outside with my phone to wander and take some photos before then locking it in my locker and heading back out and When in Romeing it. I put my insulin pump at the shoulder of my suit, weighing being conspicuous with missing out and deciding to just go for it.
I swam into Daniel the Scot and Arthur the Frenchman and we chatted for a long while; about traveling, about Boston, about Game of Thrones. They were very nice fellows and good company. Blue Lagoon was a great experience. Sure, it was overpriced, but the whole country, I think, is rather pricey, and this was the best possible turn-out for a really weird day. Also, would I get another chance for this experience?
Tired, with dry skin and sunburns, Daniel, Arthur and I, along with a few others, took a cab together back to the airport because we were all on the 8:45 flight, and as people do when they make acquaintances in a scenario full of strangers, we gravitated towards each other for the duration.
After getting through security, I noticed my boarding pass was no longer tucked in my passport after going through the X-ray belt. After a chat with security, my suspicions were confirmed; I could print it again at a gate or kiosk in the terminal. East enough.
I passed through the duty-free shops on the way to the terminal and decided I would get some chocolate and licorice for Bonnie, who was kindly caring for Harlow during this unexpected “bonus” day. In truth, I didn’t know what day it actually was at this point, and what time I would get home. It’s Monday, and I’ll get home on Tuesday? Or will I arrive Wednesday and leave here on Tuesday?
I don’t know.
There were two packages of black licorice that intrigued me. I brought them to a salesperson, “Are these salted?” I asked.
“No, they’re both sweet” she told me.
“What’s the difference? I see their labels are different colors”
“This one,” she says while pointing “has marzipan through the middle” she sees my eyes widen (in fascination and revulsion) and adds, “Yeah, it’s really good”
That sounded hideous and I decided I must have it.
I take my choices to the check-out counter and realize – I do not have a boarding pass, and you need one to buy from Duty-Free. They kindly held my items while I headed out into the terminal to find a gate attendant or kiosk to print another one for me. Of course, I couldn’t find any attended gate counters! I notice this tiny kiosk tucked in a corner and went to investigate. Will this print a boarding pass or is it a donation box of some kind?
Boarding pass! Hurray!
I return, buy my items, and visit the bathroom before finding Daniel and Arthur in a dining area.
For this trip, I decided to bring an orange zippered pouch in which to keep my passport, wallet and boarding pass. It was an easy way to find any one of those items when fishing around in my large carry-on backpack. I placed my backpack on a high chair next to Daniel and began fishing for the orange zippered pouch. I couldn’t find it anywhere.
“Well, this is interesting,” I say, before telling the guys what I’m missing, and then heading off in search of it. First I got to the bathroom. I am not yet panicking but after I don’t find it in the stall I used, it begins to sink in how very serious it would be if it’s gone; With no license and credit card, I would not be able to print my boarding pass again. Without my passport, well, I’m sure there’s a plan for this but I don’t want to have to learn about it. This is all bad, but I’m not panicking. Not yet. I’ve only just started searching.
I return to the Duty-Free shop where two blonde young women had been behind the counter. The women I saw when I returned were brunettes, and I thought I’d gone into the wrong Duty-Free somehow. “Were you here ten minutes ago?” I asked the young lady behind the counter.
“Yes, we work here” she answered.
I explain I was here ten minutes prior and there were two blonde women behind the counter. I explain that I’d lost my orange pouch, and as I do so, I hear some Icelandic over the loudspeaker, with the name “Scott” jammed in there among the foreign language.
The woman behind the counter points at the sky “I think that’s you!” And tells me to go around the corner to security, which is where I’d first misplaced the boarding pass but hadn’t been back to since.
My essential belongings and paperwork back in my possession, I return to the table and chat with the guys about life in Copenhagen, American culture, pets, and whether or not the new neck pillow 6’6″ Daniel bought is going to “be a real game changer” like he hopes it will be.
Our flight home is uneventful. I was able to finish watching Bohemian Rhapsody (Freddy still dies of AIDS, alas), and when I arrive home, Dad is waiting for me. I had planned on Ubering home, but after such a harrowing return trip, he felt I’d like to see a friendly face. It was very nice, but when he gave me a hug, it was the tightest I can ever recall getting from him. I think he needed the hug as much as I did, and that was fine with me!