Icelandic Dwight Schrute, Accidental Detour
Sept 18, 20:11
There were several times today where I didn’t think I’d make it to where I am at the moment. Which, at this point, I can hardly describe exactly where that is.
This morning, I got my first real taste as to what it meant/felt like to stay in a hostel. Noisy. People coming in and out all night. A 20 year old brit who snored like a sailor. With about 6 hours of off and on sleeping, 7:30am came too early. And there was no sleeping-in, of course, due to the hustle and bustle of the place. I started with a Via pack and a Clif bar, per usual. After giving a breakfast bar to one of the girls staying from Scotland, she gave me a beer in exchange, which I’m drinking now as I write. My rental car was supposed to be ready by 9.
Before I was able to leave at 10, though, I met and chatted with a fantastic couple from Vancouver, who just gave up their jobs (IT & graphic design), sublet their house, and decided to move to Berlin for a few months (after a sightseeing trip in Iceland). I love people like that. Those who are wiling to leave attachments, things, security, to search out new and inspiration. We talked about jobs, healthcare, nursery rhymes, country music, Canadian life, etc.
I hopped in my 10+ year old Subaru, which upon request, was, thankfully, automatic transmission. The speedometer is in km & 90k is about the average highway speed (around 60 mph). The radio, surprisingly, was mostly American music – oldies, pop, and country. I heard the words “Texas” several times today, when I didn’t think I’d ever be reminded of it here.
Sidetone: my favorite mug to use at the hostel was, coincidentally, the TEXAS mug.
The drive was breathtaking. Horses, mountains, water, red/blue/white churches and villages, perfect weather, sunshine, rain, clouds, and snow.
My original plan was to take the ring road until I hit Skarreshur (sp?!) and then find my B&B from there.
Two hours later, I wasn’t sure if I had missed the turn, given most of the signs are goofy and sound the same. Turns out I went an additional 2 hours out of the way on the ring road. Because I couldn’t cancel my reservation at the B&B, I had to contemplate whether or not I wanted to backtrack for 2+ hours, or keep going and eat the fee.
I couldn’t think of wasting a warm, paid-for bed, so I turned around.
I ended up using the map in the car that came with the rental. Mind you, it also functioned as a floor mat, so only a handful of cities and roads were represented on it. As in, about 7 in Western Iceland.
I saw where, if I took Hwy 54, which intersected with the ring road, it would lead me to the city that (at the time) i thought my B&B resided. I drove to the right and the paved road quickly turned into gravel with more potholes than I’ve ever seen in my life.
The road looked like swiss cheese. And ended up lasting 40+ miles.
Well. This was the adventure I wanted, asked for, and got.
I was the only one for miles and miles, surrounded by sheep that cross roads, abandoned farm houses, and what appeared to be the eye of Mordor. Oh, and no cell phone battery (or cell reception, for that matter). Oh, cheap rental car place and your no GPS (I wasn’t going to get one anyway, but it feels good to blame them).
Around lava fields.
The dark side of the mountain – or the moon – I imagine they look similar.
I stopped and took pictures along the way, until I quickly realized the sun was going down and I hadn’t found my place yet. I kicked the Subaru into gear, thanked the dear Lord I bought gravel insurance, and put that Subaru to work – all 236,000 km of her.
Soon, I reached what I thought at the time, was my city. Since the hotel’s name was on my phone and said phone was dead, I couldn’t look it up. So I drove around, wondering if any of these hotels would sound familiar. Little did I know that my hotel was actually a house. And the house was still 40 minutes away.
I thought I could go into a restaurant for the first time this vacation, order something cheap, and ask for directions. (This was attempted at an earlier location, but instead of food, I ordered coffee; and instead of asking directions, I plugged my phone and converter into the wall to charge. I thought it had charged, but soon realized it hadn’t. So, a now-caffeinated me continued on her journey with no map.)
So this time, I decided to ask someone and then ask for a charger.
Mistake 1: I had no idea this cute cottage that read ‘cafe’, would in fact, be a hoity toity restaurant with leather-bound menus. I felt sick as I quickly assessed the situation — > me, not showered since Saturday night, greasy hair, no makeup, sweats, holding a camera, and a large charger.
I ordered from the appetizer menu (it was all in Icelandic….I was so tired from driving 10am-18:00pm, at this point, I didn’t care).
It ended up being amazing: fresh pasta parm and seafood in a cream sauce. With beer.
I worked the bartender for a charger, but he said he didn’t have one. I asked a nearby table for one. One of the girls said it was her night off, but she actually worked at the restaurant and she knew where one was. RELIEF.
The couple next to me struck up a conversation (they were from San Francisco) and we talked travels and Icelandic Sagas for a bit. Until I realized I was in the wrong town.
Latitude and Longitude coordinates and google mapping (round about…they don’t understand Icelandic roads and addressees), I found my destination. Twenty minutes before the closed check out. AND, surprise, it’s a HOUSE!
On a gorgeous bit of land.
My initial reaction was that I reached the wrong location, but the owner (who appeared to be Iceland’s version of Dwight Shrute) was working on repairs and let me in.
I have a quaint room with a view of the water and hills.
I am showered, warm, and happy.
Time for more picture sifting (no uploading, due to no internet – tis ok to unplug for awhile!!!).