Journey to Iceland – Planes, Pains, and Plains

After years of serious discussion, Michael and I have finally decided to take our relationship to the next level! Vacationing together! In a foreign country! We like challenges, and trial by fire (or in this case, ice…land) was our next great adventure. We have never flown together and I’ve only ever flown by my lonesome. When I stated that it would be nice to fly with someone for a change, Mike’s response was “Yeah, it’ll be nice to have someone watch your stuff while you get food!” Take notes, fellas. #romance2016

Iceland landscape

We took a direct flight out of Logan International Airport in Boston, MA. After we fought with the check-in kiosk who switched our identities, and trudged through the Candyland that is TSA, we found ourselves with a nice view of the tarmac. Mike’s wide-eyed, childlike wonder at the giant airbuses taxiing and taking off made getting fondled by a state worker with the warmth of Cersei Lanister (almost) worth it.

Logan International Airport

We flew out of WOW airlines, which is the “budget” airline to and from Iceland. Think of it as a the younger cousin of Icelandair who has to sit at the kiddie table during holiday dinners, BUT has the most fun regardless. We knew we chose the right airplane when we saw one taxiing in all of its bright purple glory! #absolutelyfabulous

The flight to Iceland was mostly uneventful, but was a wonderful wading pool of observations when it came to people watching. The businessman sitting next to us tried his hardest to get comfortable and fall asleep, and squirmed around more than Mike does when he sees a spider. The Icelandic man across the aisle was very friendly and introduced himself to his seatmates. Later, he proceeded to accidentally spill his drink in the aisle and acted like it never happened. Good man. The family sitting directly behind us consisted of a father and two young sons who did not stop talking or high-pitch “squealaughing” (yes, it’s a word now), or hitting our seats until an hour before we landed. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep much. Now, I usually have as much tolerance for “airplane spawn” as the next person (which is probably the same tolerance a Freshman has when drinking for the first time), but when they began to sing “Watch me whip, watch me nae nae” I wanted out. And when the father started singing along, oh I was so cat-in-a-bathtub-of-water out. #idontneedthisadult

Once we landed and exited the petri dish of a plane, we waited in line to get through Customs which was pretty simple. They asked us how long we were staying “in Europe” and if we were staying in Iceland only. Then, they stamped our passports and sent us on our way like good little wayward children. This was probably the second easiest Customs I’ve ever been through. The hardest part was waiting. However, nothing will beat getting through Canada before passports were mandatory for U.S. citizens. The only thing keeping us from entering that country back in the day was a single guard reading a newspaper behind a desk, and guard rails like the ones you find while waiting in line for rides at amusement parks. U.S. Customs on the other hand is like trying to traverse Mordor. The officer is essentially Gollum who claims to be helping you, but in actuality just asks you odd riddles and wants to know what’s in your pocket, Precious.

When we picked up our rental car, the only one available was a Hyundai i30 hatchback. The exact car Mike did not want to drive. I laughed internally…and externally. While he preferred driving something he’s never driven before, I preferred something familiar, especially in a foreign country. Then again, he’s never driven a Hyundai before so… Potato pot-ato. Most rental cars in Iceland are standard transmission (which translates into “automatics are more expensive”) so Mike was the main driver on this trip. I’ve always wanted my own chauffeur. Christmas came early.

Car rental Hyundai i30

Driving from the airport to the hotel was fairly easy and was a sight to behold. The mountains were in the distance and humanoid stone statues were scattered throughout the rocky terrain. The land barely had any trees and was mostly covered in moss, which you are not allowed to walk on due to the plant’s sensitivity. Iceland moss is apparently like coral – it takes time to heal and it’s against the law to step on them.

Iceland landscape from airport

We saw at least two rainbows, a black sand beach, and went through about five rotaries. Iceland. Loves. Rotaries. #stoppingisforsquares

Once we reached our hotel it was only 6:30AM, and their website stated that check-in wasn’t until 2PM. Just for funsies and sheer curiosity, we went in to see if we could access our room early. Luck was on our side! Oh sweet baby Jesus I could have kissed the receptionist. What a nice lady.

Now, Iceland is very environmental and their hotels reflect this. In order to turn on power to the room, you need to insert your key card by the door. They “highly recommend” that you reuse your towels, and you have easy access to recycling bins. The country as a whole commands respect for the environment, which is a nice change of pace compared to the general attitude in The States.

We promptly passed out for a few hours to recover from the devil plane spawn, and to prepare for new explorations!

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