We Made It To Iceland

We Made It To Iceland

You’ll notice the title does not include the exclamation point I would normally include… Let’s just get right to it – we’re really excited and happy to be here, but man getting here was a classic “not a pony ride in May-sunshine” experience.

Our saga started sitting in above-average Belt Parkway traffic on the way to JFK. After getting through security, which for some reason closed the TSA Pre check-in line at 7:30 pm (is this a thing at JFK???), we wandered over to the Delta Lounge at 9 pm, where we set up camp expecting to board around 10:40 for our 11:15 flight.

The Delta Lounge at JFK is one of my favorite places to relax before a flight.

Just walking in here made me happy – this was the same lounge Ariel and I hung out at on the day of our trip to New Zealand that kickstarted this blog. The memories alone were enough to make me forget about how annoying it was to have to drag all of our electronics out of our bags at the TSA checkpoint. Normally this wouldn’t be THAT big of a deal, but not expecting to do this meant we had to fish out a bunch of stuff from the bottom of multiple carry-ons with anxious people waiting behind us.

Still, I was back in my airport Rivendell, relaxing with a drink, some truly delicious brownie bites (why does Delta always seem to have the best brownies at all of their lounges?), and interesting conversations with fellow travelers. One person was waiting on an Air China flight to Taipei and she was telling all about the mood in Taiwan. Just really interesting stuff.

This is where things went off the rails.

First… we didn’t board at 10:40, or 10:50. I went over to the gate and heard the captain on the phone with the tower saying the flight was delayed for about an hour because there was no one to tow the plane from the hangar and we had lower priority than flights leaving 30 minutes after us. Ok? Seemed ominous, especially because international flights leaving at the end of day tend not to get delayed.

We eventually boarded. After pushing back from the gate, we sat waiting for about 30 minutes on the runway – even more ominous as there’s never a reason for that at that time of night, since there’s not really any other traffic at the airport. Jacob was getting pretty cranky, especially after spending 2 hours being told to use his “inside voice” in a place which had no nostalgic value for him. Plus was about 5 hours past his bed time. Not a good combo!

Finally they get on the intercom and tell us there’s some kind of problem with the plane and we’re going back to the gate. But don’t worry, we’re not getting off the plane and it should be a quick fix. Awesome.

“We’ll be in the air shortly.”

Long story short, we sat at the gate and didn’t get up in the air until around 3:15 am. About an hour before we were supposed to land.

Luckily… nay… MIRACULOUSLY there were two open seats next to me, so Jacob was able to stretch out and sleep around 1 am. I slept off and on for a couple of hours. Ariel really didn’t. And because we landed so late, and took forever to get into our car (which is way too small for our bags, and because we were late could not get an upgrade to a bigger car after realizing this was an issue, since everything else was already rented), our plan to try and take a 2 hour or so nap to recuperate at the hotel that we paid for an extra night so we could get into around 10 am, was wrecked.

So we’ve basically just been stumbling around Reykjavik all day, making dumber and dumber mistakes as our sleep-deprived brains run out of fuel, and just trying not to lose it. I will say it’s a very charming city, and getting our first views of the legendary Icelandic landscape have been awesome. We had a tremendous dinner at Fiskfélagið, where the fish was incredible and the restaurant looked like the Prancing Pony in Bree. I’m not kidding, if you’re in Reykjavik for any reason, this should be the place you get dinner. The lighting was a little dim so I couldn’t really get a good picture, but one of the walls was actually covered in fur. In other places the walls looked like they were built with medieval stone. But it’s the fish that’s truly amazing.

All smiles, but every time I’ve closed my eyes for more than 10 seconds I’m starting to dream.

Anyway, after a failed attempt to get Jacob some vanilla ice cream (15 minutes waiting for the jerk in front of us *who cut in line* to decide what he and his wife wanted, only to find out they don’t do ice cream scoops there) it was time to bring this excruciating day (days?) to a merciful end.

Tomorrow, after a hopefully rejuvenating sleep, we’re off to our real adventures in the wilderlands of Iceland.

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