D-Day had finally come – the day of departure. It was hard to say goodbye to such a beautiful country, but we vowed to return some day.
The journey home from Iceland was probably the longest day of this vacation. Our flight was at 3:30 PM, but we wanted to get there earlier than normal since we were traveling outside of the country. We rose from our slumbers to checkout of our hotel, and said goodbye to the various wooden statues that were placed around the lobby.
Once we got to Keflavik International Airport, we headed straight for the tax refund desk. The nice thing about Iceland is if you’re a visitor (AKA you aren’t staying for more than 90 days), you can receive a tax refund on items you’ve bought if they’re over 6,000 ISK, or approximately $52 USD. The sales tax is a whopping 24.5%, and is included in the price of an item (so you don’t need to do a lot of math). If you decide to visit Iceland, don’t be surprised by the prices. If you buy anything that isn’t a meal at a restaurant and you’re asked if you want a tax-free receipt, go for it. It’ll take about 8 weeks to see the money returned to your account. Be forewarned, sometimes the tax refund associates will ask to see what you’ve bought to make sure it matches your receipt, so make sure to do this before you check any bags.
After we got our money back, we grabbed the elixir of life. Mama needs her fix.
Then, the Waiting Game began. First off, at least for WOW airlines at this particular airport, you cannot check in at the front desks even though they say “check in.” Those are only for baggage checks. Plus, they didn’t say when they opened so we stood there awkwardly for a while. Regardless, we didn’t have to wait in that particular line, and instead had to check in at the unmanned kiosks! #rage But, we were able to check our own bags since the kiosk printed out the tags so I guess that was nice…
Our journey through TSA was actually more cumbersome than the one in Boston. They didn’t have the full body scans, and instead, had you walk through a metal detector that was more sensitive than a hormonal-raging tween. I set the thing off about three times. I even took off my jewelry and it still went off. Maybe the government DID install those brain chips. I had to step aside and get frisked which was super fun, but the lady officer was nice about it. Ladies, please note that underwire bras can set off metal detectors.
After our TSA excursion, we headed to our terminal which was about a 15 minute walk away. Hurray. We grabbed some food and I had to have Icelandic yogurt one last time. It is now my favorite yogurt, and I can never go back to Chobani. Fage is good, but Skyr ran away with my taste buds on a romantic and fruity getaway. #toneitdown
After lunch, we continued on our journey to the elusive terminal. We were blocked by a passport check and had to wait another hour for them to open. Again, Keflavik is a very nice airport, but they don’t announce when things open, or they do and I’m just blind. Yes you can ask someone, but that requires you to A.) find someone who works there in that particular department, and B.) general social interaction. And nobody wants that. Good thing I had the new “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” book to keep me occupied! #potterhead
Once we got through the passport check we finally reached our terminal, or rather, the door to our terminal. A woman observed out loud that “they don’t make this easy,” and it’s true. In retrospect, with the way this airport is designed there were no seats near certain gates to wait in. That may be a reason they shut us out. Or they just hate us.
After another hour or so, they finally let us in! We were slowly loaded onto a bus and taken to our plane. I’ve never been happier to sit in an airplane after all of that.
The flight would take about 5 1/2 hours to reach Boston, so we had some time to kill. I convinced Mike to read the new Harry Potter book, and the guy sitting next to him also had the same idea! #nerds4life
I’m usually pretty good on airplanes (no screaming or crying from me that’s for sure), but I was getting a bit antsy. I felt slightly claustrophobic, but through sheer willpower and my “superpower” to fall asleep in any moving vehicle or mode of transportation, I fought through it.
Finally, we reached Boston! The city never looked so beautiful! Yeah, yeah, argue with me later, but I wanted LAND, people! LAND!
Once we were free from the giant metal bird, we made our way through U.S. Customs, which honestly was not as bad as I thought it would be (disclaimer – your experience may vary). We scanned our passports, got crappy photos taken of us, and gave the Customs officers said crappy photos. We were only asked three questions – where did you go, how long were you there, and did you bring back any food? We told them we brought back some chocolate, but they didn’t seem to care. As long as it’s not meat, fruit, or vegetables, it should be fine.
We finally made it home, and our cats, Hansel and Gretel, were quite happy to see us. They did give us the stink eye at first (maybe that’s just because they’ve never seen Mike wear a hat before), but after 5 minutes they warmed up to us. And yes, they loved the wool blanket. And yes, they chewed on it as I predicted and much to Mike’s horror.
Our trip to Iceland was amazing, and we plan to visit again in the future. Maybe we’ll even hike the glacier (and remember to bring water with us). We would definitely like to explore the northern part of the island, especially where they filmed scenes from “Game of Thrones.” Mike wants to go during the winter where 20 hours of darkness is the norm. We could cross-country ski, see the aurora borealis, and be cold all the time! Maybe the first two would outweigh the third. Regardless, if you’ve ever thought about visiting Iceland, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful country with a wonderful culture, and it’s always nice to get away from the usual hustle and bustle of life in the States once in a while. If you seek new landscapes, peace and quiet, and all the sheep and ponies you’d ever want to see, Iceland should be at the top of the list!