Leave it to me to set the stage for an end-of-vacation drama…
But first, let me say that we’re home, which is the most important point about today’s story. And, as promised, pictures from yesterday in Reykjavík are now in the post below. When I get a little time this week, I’ll put together some photo albums with descriptions, but until then, here’s the picture for today:
To end our trip to Iceland, Shawn and our innkeeper found one of the most desolate spots on the entire island (“Oh, there’s nothing there,” she said. “It’s beautiful!”). The lake, set in a volcanic crater, was just 20 minutes or so from the airport, so we stopped and grabbed a sandwich on the way and then set out on foot to hike around the lake.
It was 1:45 p.m. We needed to be at the airport around 3:30, so everything was looking good. But no more than five minutes after I snapped this photo of Shawn, he uttered five simple words that changed the entire day.
“Did you get the passports?”
<Insert deafening silence here.>
The passports were at the hotel nearly two hours to the north. Needless to say, we ran most of the half-mile back to the car, both of us keeping our cool. “Should I start planning for contingencies?” I asked.
We scrambled back to the bakery where we bought lunch. There are no pay phones in Iceland (at least that we could find, and trust me, we were looking), so the nice sandwich lady let us use hers. After a frantic call to our hotel, we got in the car and hauled our über-tiny little Toyota Yaris back to the tunnel that runs under Hvalfjörður, where our innkeeper said she would have our passports waiting for us. After dropping a cool 1,800 kronur ($30) in tunnel tolls, it was a little after 3 p.m. Time was running out, but we had our documents.
Thankfully, the Icelandic Elf gods smiled on us, and we may well have set a new record for driving from the tunnel, through the city (at the beginning of rush hour, no less) and to the airport terminal in 70 minutes. Flat. And we made our flight.
Unfortunately, I will never hear the end of this story from Shawn.
A huge shout out to Ásta Björnsdóttir, our kind innkeeper who saved our butts and got us back to Washington in time by having our passports delivered to the Hvalfjarðargöng!
Oh, and there’s a correction to run with this entry. My math on filling up the Toyota Yaris was wrong. Gas in Iceland is about $8.75 a gallon, and our car had a tiny tank, so the fill-up only cost $75, not the $133 I estimated earlier. Dharmamonkey.com regrets the error, Shawn.