They Don’t Call it Fireland – All the Times We Froze in Iceland

Jay and I, the self-proclaimed king and queen of travel, booked the cheapest ticket we could find to Split, Croatia to rest up before the big world trip or as my mother , the eternal optimist, called it “you won’t come back from that one so might as well come see your family one last time”
We got ourselves a sweet deal trough Stansted Airport in England with Primera Air for 200$…and then got an e-mail the airline no longer exists 😀

Luckily, (they’re not sponsoring this post BUT I’M OPEN TO IT), gave us credit and we got a sweet layover with WoW air trough Iceland for a couple of extra $.


It’s a pink plane!

After some light skateboard wrapping action (apparently it’s an oversized item for WOW), a small panic attack in take-off (I’m getting better with flying), and meeting our new friend Peter [Pjotr] – shout out to Pete who is probably busy making Rakia in Bulgaria-  we landed in the darkness of Keflavik Airport.

“I’m not even jet-lagged!” 

We had a small suitcase, just a carry on but annoying enough to carry around. I ask the information desk for one of those drop-off-luggage spots they have in airports.
The good news is they have it, the bad is it’s not open.

Ok, we’ll have to go with all our stuff. The optimism is still strong.
The 45 min bus to Reykjavik went by in darkness. It was now 7 am and still as dark as my mothers sense of humour.
Then suddenly, in the middle of nothing, the guy stops and says
“This is it!”

Jay I looked at each other like we thought the other had an answer to what’s happening.
Guy shut the bus down.
I look around, suddenly the jet lag hit me, I guess it comes with reality checks.

I was trying to find any kind of landmark, the driver now left the bus.
I ran outside and caught the man leaving asking him where to go next.

“You need downtown?” he kind of yelled at me but I learned the Icelandic people just kind of have this yelling tone to their voice, I guess that’s why they got the polite English to give them everything back in the day.
“Stop!!” Then the man yells out something to some guy in a van in Icelandic and tells us to go with him.
It was either this guys van or this dark parking lot so we prayed this is legit and got in with one more couple.

I guess that’s what you get when you get the cheaper bus option and save 30 euros.

I’m writing this so you can tell we made it to downtown Reykjavik.
We were again politely kicked off the van into the darkness and OH MY GOD IT’S SO COLD.

Freezing rain pinched our faces and black ice on the road made it a mission to walk anywhere, the suitcases somehow got heavier.
People were waiting for a bus to go to work, it was now 8 am. Still dark.

We spotted a coffee shop,and ran into the warmth while waiting for the sun to rise.

10 AM, finally some light!

“We are here we might as well see something” we convince each other to go face the cold.

We walk trough the Laugavegur (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈlœi:ɣaˌvɛɣ.ʏr], go ahead, give it a go) and try to enjoy the beauty of the cute architecture but it’s too cold.

All of the sudden, it’s sunny.
Still cold.

I thought I got used to the cold in Canada, but this one bites the bones like an amazon spider, it finds a way to creep trough all the layers of clothes and lets you know you’re it’s bitch.
Then I saw a guy wearing shorts so fuck me and my bitch ways.

After a short walk… or more a light run, because we wanted to see the street but also did not have it in us to be outside, we found another coffee shop.

Having fun in Iceland.

This coffee shop had a patio! That people sat on!!!
Jay and I, the two bitches we are, went straight inside.
The jet lag kicked in full mode, Jay started sneezing, I got a headache, we were a mess.

“Maybe the next beverage will help”

We died a little in the coffee shop. I saw a walking tour go by and remembered I had booked us a spot on it.
No force in the world could make me go walk for two hours outside, we watched them go, chipper and full of optimism as we sank into the furry chairs of the coffee shop.

“We have to see more of the city!” I jumped out of the nap I don’t even remember having and woke Jay up.
The sun is shinning, it can’t be that cold. It was only noon and our bus back was picking us up at 430 pm.

“Yes, yes we do!” Jay was forcing optimism out of him.
We walk out and OH MY GOD IT’S SO COLD.
The suitcases got heavier.

We run to the other side of the street to try and see something. I wanted one of those “looking in the distance Instagram photos” but the place was fenced and I was freezing so all I got is this fail.

I’m wearing all the clothes I packed and the optimism is dying.

“Let’s go have lunch” we force the last bit of optimism.
Our original plan was to get some groceries and be budget savvy but we didn’t expect that we are going to die from the cold so all the planning went out the window. Let’s just pay 30$ for soup, I don’t give shit.

We walk to the restaurants trying to find an open spot but everything open is so expensive we just give up and go to yet another coffee shop.
Two small sandwiches and two coffees later, we fall asleep in the chairs like we’re two 80 year olds.
“Let’s try get on the early bus to the airport!” Jay jumps out of a nap again.

We find the bus stop and it’s on top of the hill covered in black ice. I step on it and just slide back down. My suitcase slides further away.
Fuck me.
Jay is ahead of me as he has experience with ice, but I’m just sliding back, trying to yell out for him but my voice betrays me.
I see him turning around looking for me but I’m over here fighting with the suitcase and the ice cursing in three different languages unable to YELL.
I use all the energy I have left to JUMP to the side that has some grass and throw my suitcase that now weighs a ton with me, and get up there to the fuckin stop like I just ran a marathon.

The stop has no place to hide from the cold, and there’s no schedule or any information online.
40 coldest minutes of my entire life, a van finally shows up.
“Please let us in, please, please!” I whisper.
The tall Icelandic warrior of a man looks at my ticket and yells out it’s for 430.
“I know…” I say defeated “but please can we go now?”

He goes away for a couple of minutes.
“Ok.” He lets us in. He probably saw the desperation in our eyes.  I have never been more grateful.

We get in the van and we realize from all these temperature changes, cold sweats and involuntary cardio we smell like two sewage pipes.
The van stops to pick up some people, driver yells at some guy named Kevin for not being polite enough, and we make it back to the airport.

We try to check in like 7 hours before our flight but they just laughed at us, of course, so we go to the airport bar and order whatever the fuck they have and try to sleep.
The bar kept playing the same three songs and we kept smelling worse so we didn’t get much sleep but we finally made a good decision to book an AirBnb in Manchester, our next stop, because my God we stank.

We smell even worse.

Time went by somehow, Jay and I didn’t speak much.
Landing in Manchester we realize our phones are at 2% and we need to let the guy know we are coming but I guess the desire to sleep and shower pushed our limits and we managed to get in touch with our savior.

This regal looking man waited for us in his robe and we walk in the old style built castle of a home with marble entrance and huge stairs.
We just rented out a room in the basement, so he takes us there, trough the hallways and passages like it’s the Buckingham Palace, all in white, all in marble.
Jay and I knew how much we smelled so we were extra awkward.

We took our stinky clothes off and sealed it. The Gods of time were looking out for us because the clock just went back an hour so it meant we get one extra hour to sleep.

Finally, we were in a bed of some sort.
I looked at the weather report for Croatia.

21 degrees and sunny.