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Ship's log 2010

We had two visits from Sj in summer 2010, but that she didn't actually get here for the first one.

She was supposed to come in April but the un-pronouncable Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland closed European airspace with its dust, So her first account is of not getting here and her second is of when she finally did in July.

Stuck in Iceland 2010

image001  From Sj's LIVEJOURMAL @ 2010-05-17 22:57:00

Ship's Log - England Spring 2010, or what I did on my Icelandic vacation...

Also see Ash clouds

Date: Mon, 04 Jan 2010 10:55:28 -0500
From: Chris
To: Me
Subject: Re: xmas

ok sj i have booked this one...
not a bad price and you get to go to iceland....how cool

 Wednesday 14 April 2010

Noted that I was tempting fate as I posted last year's ship's log. This because of the very first line which read, "A fairly typical day of school and uneventful plane flight for SJ".

Thursday 15 April 2010xmas
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 04:40:52 -0400
From: Chris
To: Me
Subject: iceland

Just taken most of the morning reading your lj sj...well !!!

Now the trauma for this year has already started as to avoid your favorite Toronto, i routed you through Iceland and right now there is a volcano interrupting flights and airspace is closed!!!! argghh

gaia fights back

see you sat am i hope!!!!!

***

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 08:15:23 -0400
From: Eliza
To: Me
Subject: Phone message

Left u phone message about flight. All airports in northern Europe closed - volcano in Iceland. This is not a joke. See abc news.
xxoo

Laughed hysterically all day. Apparently a volcano is erupting in iceland and spewing debris all across Europe. UK air space closed due to dangers to aircraft and the rest of Northern Europe not far behind. Tired of something so trivial as multiple changes as an obstacle to visiting, CJ had clearly decided I was ready for something bigger, a volcano! Wasn't this supposed to happen after I made it to England and so extend my holiday?

A slightly more hysterical edge to my laughter by the time I made it home from school. Things not looking so optimistic that I was actually going to make it out on Friday. Hysterical laughter now giving way to tears. Mom's visit (to have me finish a graphic project) cheered me somewhat, even better once Jared showed up with dinner, but looking more and more unlikely that my flights were going to go. Didn't even bother to pack, just threw some things in a pile and headed to bed - not at all like me the night before a big trip.

Friday 16 April 2010
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 05:04:19 -0400
From: Chris
To: Me
Subject: markup

i think the dust is going to be ok, iceland stayed open yesterday as the wind blew it away from them, you may have to stay here longer though!!!!

i'm heading down to cribbs v soon and will get myself in place to pick you up...will liaise with rs by phone.
the dust should not be a problem for cribbs except the amount we generate ourselves!!!

love c

oh and stable beams!!!

Email from Chris, but the Icelandair website seemed to disagree. Call to airline. Would I like a refund? No! not yet! Later flights all booked, added to a waiting list for Sunday. Cried.

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 11:14:25 -0400
From: Chris
To: Me
Subject: Re: flight status

grrrrrrr they seem to be opening up the airspace now but i would think that anything that can flap its wings will be full for the next week or so!!!

i was just about to leave so will hod off now until i hear from you

love c

***

From: Me
To: Chris
Sent: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 14:29
Subject: flight status

From the look of it I can get to Iceland but that doesn't really do me a lot of good. The flights to London for today have been cancelled. I am on a waiting list for a flight on Sunday and have been told to call back tomorrow. Every flight they have is booked solid through next week so it's not looking good (they were actually really really eager to offer me a refund).

So I will not be arriving tomorrow. I will keep you posted. Here's hoping that I can get a flight on Sunday.

Sarah

***

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 11:55:23 -0400
From: Chris
To: Me
Subject: Re: flight status

just been looking at the dust pattern....iceland is in the clear but not much hope for the rest of us just yet think we will just have to be patient!!!!

it could all start up again as well!!!

grrrr i am so disappointed!!! me wandering around little boy lost...had other plans, now thwarted!!!

not even stable beams to cheer me

Searched for other options. Ferry? Technically yes, but it doesn't arrive in Iceland until Tuesday and takes three days to get to Scotland so not so useful.

***

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 12:07:49 -0400
From: Chris
To: Me
Subject: Re: flight status

have just checked iceland air again and they seem to be saying that there are flights to glasgow, you could do that and then train down to london

Call to airline. The only seats to Glasgow available were in first class. $610- to upgrade. Cried some more then got angry that they were using this as an excuse to fleece customers. Headed home, puttered around the house. Did some cleaning. Getting increasingly annoyed about the upgrade price for the Glasgow flight. Called the airline again to tell them off. Didn't get that far. Didn't even tell the woman my name. Started to explain the situation and she suggested that I get on the first leg of the flight to Reykjavik.

"Really?" I asked, "that's what you'd do?".

"It's your only real chance," she assured me. "So many people are trying to rebook you'll never get out of Boston but if you get to Iceland they'll put you on a London flight as soon as they open up the airspace."

"Really?" I asked in disbelief.

"There are no guarantees that the flights will go, and you may get stuck there, but Iceland is scenic."

Call to Chris. "If you're up for it, do it."

Call to Ross to stop him from getting on a northbound train. Forty minutes to make the bus to Logan. Threw clothes and presents in my bag and took off running. Original plan had called for two bags due to high present count but with my future uncertain, opted for just one. Sacrificed clothes for presents and hit the road.

Made it to the bus station just in time but bus delayed anyway. Attempted to calm my racing heart. 45 minute bus ride not the best medicine for already shot nerves. Shaky mess by the time I arrived at Logan.

Met up with Ross in the check-in hall. Hugs and crying the new order of business. Was this crazy? No, not completely. Would they even let me on the flight? They would! While no guarantees, they could get me to Iceland and Saturday morning's London flight still set to go. If it was cancelled they'd rebook me as soon as possible and put me up in a hotel for a night. After the first night I was on my own but Boston bound flights were still running and they'd put me on one whenever I was ready to give up.

OK. Checked my baggage, collected my ticket and decided to grab some food with Ross. Very amused to suddenly note the check in signs that read

001ypp9w.jpg

"Saga Class"

. That might not be a good sign.

Found a place that served dinner and still jittery, picked at my food. Getting on a flight to an unknown country amid such uncertainty actually quite scary. This might just be one of the craziest things I'd ever done, that fact that I was travelling alone compounded the fear, suspect I would have been fairly nonchalant about that adventure had I had company. As it was the idea of doing it all alone was a bit overwhelming. Made Ross promise that if we were still dating in a year, he would come to England with me.

Finished our meal and decided to acquire a second opinion in the form of Ross' father. He seemed to think that if the airline was willing to fly me in, I should go for it so I said goodbye to Ross and headed through security. Very few people in line, feeling more confident once I'd made the decision to do it but there didn't seem to be a lot of americans on the flight. Clearly I was insane.

Very amused to discover that our plane was named after a volcano - perhaps it was a good omen.

001zec46.jpg

Plane in question named Askja

.

Far more people on the flight that I expected but still only half full. The woman across the isle from me was a Harvard grad student taking a three day Icelandic vacation (on purpose!) but the woman in front of me was also England-bound and she'd jumped on the plane with three children in tow so maybe this wasn't as insane as it seemed.

A whole row of seats to myself, even better, three blankets and three pillows! As my future seemed uncertain, and my best chance was a flight to Glasgow and a train ride to London, decided to seize the opportunity while I had it and laid down to take a nap. Not all that restful but even a short nap was better than nothing.

No food service on Icelandair flights and neither krona nor euros to purchase something anyway. Quite a bit of turbulence during the flight, so the fasten seat belt sign remained on. Desperate to use the bathroom, I asked permission from a stewardess to use the bathroom. "We've already ruined Europe, we're not going to forbid you to use the bathroom as well".

Commotion just before landing in the form of a medical emergency, was there a doctor on board? Several went running.

 Saturday 17 April 2010

001zftwr.jpg

Iceland extremely barren as we flew in above it.

A large blue colored lake looked interesting though the far end was lined with factories. Other than that everything was brown and cracked, not a tree in sight. Almost wondered if we were flying in over mudflats exposed at low tide, but there was the occasional building in the middle of the desolation so perhaps it's nice in summer.

Landed at Keflavik airport and headed through security (apparently US and Canadian security screening don't meet European guidelines) and passport control. The guy at passport control quite grumpy, didn't say a word as he stamped my passport.

According to the monitors, London flight delayed until noon but still flying, directed to the transit lounge to await further info.

Soon enough the bad news, British airspace to remain closed until 7am the following morning. Directed to the service desk by Gate 11 to receive out hotel vouchers. Bit of a wait but nobody particularly surprised by the situation so no histrionics. Personally quite surprised to be receiving a hotel voucher as I'd gotten on the plane on purpose. The man at Logan had assured me that the airline would take care of me for the first night and before I knew it

001yr615.jpg

I had a voucher

good for transportation to and from Reykjavik proper, a night at a hotel, breakfast, lunch, dinner and a three minute phone call. Not such a bad deal. Indeed Icelandair now refusing travel to US originating passengers. Not looking good.

Given the option of calling to rebook my flight or waiting a bit longer for them to do it. As I'd already left enough to chance, opted to have them do it and was given a voucher for a meal in the transit hall while I waited.

001zx44t.jpg

Amused both because the voucher had been signed by Bjork and because the reason for issuance was "volcano".

Headed off with everyone else to acquire food. Food selection itself fairly odd. In the end opted for the breakfast buffet as it consisted of food that was at least recognizable. Wandered around the hall for awhile window shopping (everything was closed as all of the flights into and out of Iceland (other than mine and a new york city flight) were cancelled).

Slowly the airline began calling names and one by one people began to leave. Apparently the Keflavik airport

001zae08.jpg

had recently been named the best airport in Europe

and they were very pleased with the distinction.

001yqqxq.jpg

They even had the trophy on display.

The comfortable chairs and padded benches (perfect for napping) no doubt a good part of the reason they'd won and I took advantage of one of the chairs to take a very pleasant 45 minute nap while I waited for my name to be called.

Wandered around some more when I awoke, eventually ending up at a computer station. Most of the machines weren't working but one had been left on. No navigation bar or way to press the back button so stuck on the only webpage it would display, facebook.

Took a page out of Jared's book and logged on in hopes of finding someone who could relay a message. Alas still far too early in the morning stateside, and the people who were online weren't actually online but rather had simply left their machines logged in. Sent a message to my father detailing the situation and assured him I'd get in touch once I knew more. Just as I was about to log off, someone new logged in. OMG hope!

Rory, the person in question, was someone I'd neither seen nor spoken to since high school. No matter. Pinged him in hopes of a response and eventually he replied, success!

Laid out the situation and assured him that it wasn't a scam no matter what it sounded like. Cleverly he insisted I confirm my identity which I did by reminding him that he'd had an enormous crush on me in the 4th grade when we'd both been in Mrs. Adam's class. He replied just as I was about to detail the extent of the crush and the anonymous note that said, "I love you" that someone had slipped into my jacket pocket and I had always assumed had been from him though I had never spoken about it because I was so horrified, boys had cooties!

While I wasn't able to answer the mysterious question he asked me about ketchup, I assured him I didn't want money but would he call my mother and assure her I was still alive, merely stranded in Iceland and the airline had booked a hotel for me for the evening and I would know more soon. He called her as I sat there and it was nice to have the connection to the real world no matter how tenuous.

Rory was amused to inform me that my mother wasn't the least bit surprised to receive a call from him and I assured him that she was used to the crazy lengths I would go to to pass a message.

Sue, the woman with the three kids that I'd talked to on the plane wandered over, she was looking overwhelmed by the consequences of jumping on the flight with the kids so we chatted for awhile as I wasn't doing all that much better despite the fact that I had made a conscious decision to try my luck. Headed back over to the kids with her as she thought I'd have a cheering effect on them.

Not many people left by this time so when they called her name, I headed over with her as we were hoping to end up at the same place. No hope for that alas, but exchanged contact info (and hotel names) so we could meet up.

Inquired as to when I would be called and it took the woman a few minutes to find my name. Apparently my stuff had been put aside as there was some confusion as to whether I was still at the airport, good thing I checked.

Sue and her kids attempting to fly to Manchester England. No available flights for Sunday to either Manchester or London so both myself and her family rebooked for flights on Tuesday.

Headed off to retrieve our luggage and take a shuttle bus to the hotels, gathering Icelandic travel info while we waited and decided that we'd plan to meet up at the Blue Lagoon, a hot spring lake, the following day. Agreed to split a room for our second night in Iceland and arranged that she would acquire it for the five of us.

001z8h3q.jpg

Hey, is that a dragon hatching in front of the airport?

Ended up on the last bus to Reykjavik with the rest of the stragglers and very pleased to discover that three of them were heading to the same hotel as I was. As all four of us were young and single decided we'd been typecast for our hotel assignments.

The hotel we were to go to was called "hotel cabins" and

001ytr0b.jpg

as the landscape we were passing was barren with hardly any signs of civilization,

all a little concerned that our hotel would turn out to be just that, small primitive cabins with dirt floors and no running water. When we dropped

001ysa7g.jpg

Sue and her kids

off at their hotel, a dilapidated looking building circa the 1960's, even more concerned.

Our trip into Reykjavik proper had taken longer than any of us had expected and the landscape had been fairly consistently bleak the entire way. While it is likely quite nice come summer, when the grasses turn green, in April it was reminiscent of a moonscape and indeed one of my fellow passengers piped up to inform us that according to something they'd read, NASA had used Iceland as a training ground for astronauts in preparation for the moon landing.

001z72p6.jpg

Quite a bit of public art along the drive

though most of it took the form of rock cairns or other rock based sculptures such as three rocks balanced atop sets of table legs. Not a whole lot of variety.

As we neared Reykjavik we began to see signs of civilization. Quite excited each time we passed an N1 petrol station as the advertising at the airport had assured us that many of the N1 stations had free wifi. Nearly 100 of the stations scattered across the country.

A few recognizable establishments like KFC and Taco Bell but otherwise the businesses we passed proved unrecognizable. So strange to be in a place where I couldn't puzzle out enough of the language to determine what anything was.

Quite relieved to discover that it wasn't some sort of rustic establishment

001z6ht6.jpg

when we finally arrived at our hotel

on the other side of the city from where we'd left Sue. Apparently the hotel was a former hostel with tiny rooms the size of the walk in closet in my guestroom. Each room had two beds (not quite as wide as a twin), a little desk and a tiny bathroom. As they were clean and featured private bathrooms -

001yxst2.jpg

it felt like the height of luxury.

It may have been cosy and minimalistic but it was all mine!

Amusingly, while my room had a window, as it was in the center of the building,

001yw494.jpg

the window looked out into a hallway.

Arranged to meet up with my new friends in an hour and a half and took a hot shower and a well deserved nap.

Met up with everyone again around 4:30 and decided to explore the area. Kyle, an in-school suspension teacher from NH, was travelling to see his girlfriend who was studying in Copenhagen. Jordan who was originally from Boston and who had done his undergrad at Harvard, was attempting to reach Oslo where he was a graduate student studying renewable energy engineering. Mardi was Dutch and attempting to make it to Amsterdam. Ironically she'd already had an Icelandic vacation (on purpose!), spending a few days in the country before travelling on to New York, Minneapolis and Toronto for a vacation.

We'd passed a bank just before reaching the hotel so headed towards it as we were all going to need some currency to pay for our food and activities in the following days.

Passed a grocery store, which was good as Mardi had forgotten to pack her toothbrush when she'd left Toronto, and found a bank right next to it. Alas the ATM was out of order or so we assumed from the giant blinking red X on the screen. Another bank in sight so continued onwards. Alas this one seemed to be their corporate headquarters and as such didn't have an atm.

Paused to take some photos by a white house

001yykd2.jpg

that Jordan assured us must be a very important national landmark

and continued walking. Quite chilly in Reykjavik and the coat I'd brought for England's balmier climes wasn't quite up to the task.

Not a lot of people out and about but spotted someone eventually and inquired as to the whereabouts of an ATM. They looked at us quizzically for a moment before pointing at the indistinct building across the street. "Probably at the bank."

I'd done the math earlier and determined that there were 125 Icelandic krona to a US dollar. As they didn't use bills and change in quite the same way we do, prices given as large numbers and bills given in denominations of thousands. Just over 6,000 kr. to visit the Blue Lagoon and on our own for meals after tonight so each withdrew

001yzbhh.jpg

15,000 kr. (approximately $113)

to be safe. Some joking that the Icelanders had awakened their volcano purposefully in order to enforce tourism in the form of stranded passengers and thus revive the economy, As they were also understandably upset with the rest of Europe for abandoning them during the bank collapse last year, it seemed only appropriate that their volcano would bring European travel to a grinding halt.

Next stop a grocery store so that Mardi could buy toothpaste. Quite suspicious of the stuff she found, Dental something, was it toothpaste or some sort of miracle cure for dental problems? Quite eager to look around the store in hopes that I could acquire one of two of the items on my English shopping list but not a chocolate button or Jaffa cake in sight. On the plus side, even in another language, this was a health food store and I'd seen a few Cadbury products at the airport. So perhaps a less high end establishment might have what I was looking for.

Found such an establishment but no luck. Apparently this was to be the year without gravy, as even more practical things like Bisto nowhere to be seen.

001z0663.jpg

On the plus side, they did have dehydrated fish bits.

Acquired a bag for Chris or Ross, whichever I saw first. Would have acquired a bag for both of them but leery I'd be stuck with it in the event I didn't make it to England. Also acquired the requisite "postcards of places I've never been".

Headed away from the water towards downtown with Mardi, who'd explored Reykjavik in depth the week before, acting as our native guide.

A nice walk through town with a stop at one more grocery. "Just in case."

001z2hy3.jpg

Eventually fetched up at the famous church in the heart of the city.

001z1913.jpg

Played the part of tourists and snapped the requisite photos.

Kyle quite amused by the statue of Leif Ericson that the US government had gifted the nation of Iceland with at some point.

001z3rea.jpg

He posed appropriately with his iphone just in front of the statue.

Starting to get hungry so headed back in the general direction of the hotel. Cruising the streets in fully packed cars seemed to be the thing to do among the younger crowd, amused by the procession of mustangs.

"Ohhhhhhh shiny," attention grabbed by sparkling motion on the side of a building. There was a mural of a snow capped mountain on one wall and the snow on top was represented by sheets of silver disks that moved in the wind, catching the sun in ever changing ways. How'd you like to live next door to that?

Made it back to the hotel eventually and dinner had just started.

001z47wr.jpg

Filled our plates with a variety of interesting items and

grabbed a table. Food actually quite good and everyone hungry. Went back for seconds. Personally I was craving fruit so I ate a ton of orange slices to ward off scurvy.

Jordan had his laptop with him and had purchased 24 hours of wifi so we headed upstairs when we'd finished eating to take turns

001z5h0q.jpg

checking e-mail.

Exchanged e-mail addresses and sat around chatting for a few hours, Looked for news and noted Icelandair was urging originating US passengers to return home.

The guys had decided they wanted to go out (apparently Reykjavik has the best nightlife of all the Northern countries). Not sure quite what that means but I was far more interested in getting some sleep. 10pm and not yet dark but headed back to my little cabin anyway and used my free 3 minute phone call to call my mother as I had used Mardi's cell phone earlier in the day to give Chris my flight info for Monday evening.

Three minutes up quite quickly and so relieved was I to hear a familiar voice that she called me back and we chatted for a bit. The stress and uncertainty of my crazy venture was really starting to get to me and things in the real world weren't looking too good.

Apparently the volcano (which wasn't even visible in Reykjavik) continued to spew ash and flights to Europe were looking uncertain for Monday as well. Scientists further concerned that a bigger neighboring volcano was going to erupt soon as well. So not certain Iceland was the place to be for too much longer. Decided that if I didn't make it to England on Monday, I would head home as the other fear was that if the wind shifted I would be trapped in Iceland. While Iceland undoubtably a nice place to visit, no interest in being trapped there permanently. A few countries had tried taking test flights through the ash cloud, KLM's vice president had even been aboard for a trial but a week's vacation didn't seem worth such a risk and not really eager to be trapped in England for months either.

Quite loud in the hotel as most people had apparently decided to take advantage of Iceland's famous nightlife and returned quite drunk - but I managed to sleep eventually.

 Sunday 18 April 2010

Awakened not by my 9:30am wakeup call but rather by someone unlocking and opening my door. Whoops!

Got up, showered and dressed for my excursion to the blue lagoon. Time to spare before the 10:30 shuttle bus so called the airline to see if it was possible to arrange for a contingency flight back to Boston on Monday afternoon if the London flight didn't go. I couldn't sign up for both at once and Monday's Boston flight was full anyway. It was!?!?!? What about Tuesday and Wednesday? Also full. While this was no doubt because it assumed passengers would make it in from Europe, with the danger of the wind shifting and so many stranded Americans, I decided I wasn't willing to take the chance. I'd seen first hand the desperation of the Europeans frantically trying to get home.

Rushed to tell Mardi, Jordan and Kyle what I'd done and since I'd gotten through to the airline fairly quickly, Kyle decided to call about the flights to Trondheim (in Northern Norway) that were being offered. Apparently there were spots available so he decided to take one and catch a train to Copenhagen (a 15 hour journey). Briefly considered pulling such a stunt myself but you were on your own once you got to Trondheim and getting to England a bit more difficult than a destination on the mainland.

Tried to reach Sue to tell her the situation and what I'd decided to do but couldn't get through to her. Felt unbelievably guilty just leaving but it seemed like the best option. Asked Mardi to give her a message and if I find a way to contact her I will happily give her some money towards the hotel. Likely easier without me in the end as there were four of them. Indeed, I had already arranged alternative emergency housing with Mardi at a hotel down the street should Sue prove unable to acquire a room that could accommodate five of us.

Feeling like a bit of a coward as I headed to the airport. I'm going to feel really stupid if English flights go out tomorrow but chatting with a couple heading to Trondheim (who had coordinated train travel with Kyle for the next afternoon), they seemed to think I'd done the right thing as the friend who was helping them from the mainland reported that metrologists were expecting a wind shift that would cut off Iceland as well and seemed to think that the ash cloud would prohibit European air travel for at least another week.

As much as I had wanted to see the Blue Lagoon, it seemed crazy to risk getting stuck as I was mentally exhausted and eager to go home. Another day in Iceland I could have managed, but three or four would have sent me over the edge. So feeling at the same time relieved and like the world's biggest coward, I headed to the airport.

Have I mentioned that I'm going to feel really stupid if flights make it to England tomorrow? Indeed, secretly I'd feel much better if the winds changed and cut Iceland off form the real world for the next week and a half.

Said my goodbyes to Kyle at the airport and amused myself for several hours doing some duty free shopping. Very hard to convert Icelandic Krona back to US Dollars, and not really worth it anyway with the fees, so wandered the airport counting my money and planning my purchases. Quite tempted by a coffee table book entitled "Lost in Iceland". But decided in the long run that I'd prefer a cookbook in case I ever had a hankering for ram's testicles or the national dish of curried shark. (And besides, I have a nice little collection of cookbooks I never want to use from foreign countries I've visited.)

They had two dragon picture books written in Icelandic, one of them was just a single story in the book so opted for the other one and had the clerk translate the back for me to I could get the general gist of the story (I also have an impressive collection of dragon picture books in languages I can't read.)

Acquired some kinder eggs for Ross, to be used as a reward if he eats his dehydrated fish chips and found a wooden magnet shaped like Iceland bearing the words, "I survived Iceland". A must have!

Still plenty of money to spend so bought a sandwich, some cadbury minieggs as a consolation prize, some icelandic licorice and some "Lava Treats" (chocolate wafers) mostly because they were cheap and I wanted the box. Even returned to the bookstore to acquire the second dragon book though I returned again to return it when I found a previously unnoticed mug with a picture of the country on it and the inscription "lost" on it. That I had to have and not quite enough money left.

001zky5z.jpg

All told I must have visited each store five or six times planning out my purchases in order of importance.

Just enough left for a bottle of water with 19 krona to spare. Quite amused by the one kronor coins, fairly large but worth less than a penny. Very light but still far more than a penny to manufacture. Held out a few as a final souvenir and dropped the last in a charity collection box. Several such boxes to chose from (I chose the one to fly sick kids to exotic destinations) and what a good use for whatever remnants of currency people had left when they made it to the airport. Quite a bit of money in any number of currency in the boxes.

Had successfully used 12,000 krona and 3 hours of time in this manner. Excellent!

Headed off in the direction of the gate. Needed to go through passport control before leaving the country and it wasn't open yet so

001zbc0z.jpg

amused myself

001zcsck.jpg

photographing

001zhc9s.jpg

amusing signs.

001zdt3b.jpg

Quite liked the latitudinal marker on the floor of the terminal.

Struck up a conversation with two guys enroute to Trondheim.

001z9g7c.jpg

Five flights in a day and not even a usual stop for the airline.

The people of Trondheim had probably never seen so much business. Soon enough passport control opened and I was sent through. Struck up a conversation with some people who'd spent the week in Iceland on purpose and then with someone I recognized from my own inbound flight who had had a similar accidental Icelandic vacation.

001zwqwz.jpg

Plane filled with lots of random Icelandic facts.

In light of the current situation,

001zgybf.jpg

quite amused by the napkins

with which the drinks were served as people were starting to seriously consider the ferry.

"Ingolfur Arnarson was the first settler in Iceland more than 1100 years ago. His trip from Norway lasted four days and there were no napkins."

I've spent the last few hours stretched out across three seats on the plane writing this account. At this moment London lies 2831 miles away in the wrong direction and I really wish I was there.

All this begs the question, would I do it again? On purpose? Possibly but I'd like to avoid another inadvertent Icelandic holiday. Perhaps next year CJ will find a location slightly easier to arrange alternative transportation from. Then again, this is CJ, no doubt I'll end up somewhere equally "exotic".

Aftermath

Feeling like a coward and really down on myself by the time I landed in Boston. Actually cried my way through immigration and customs. Ross was waiting for me, flowers in hand by the time I made it through. Hopped on a northbound bus and was home before I knew it. Exhausted from the stress of the last few days, I fell asleep almost instantly.

Ross did what he could to cheer me up come morning, even going so far as to sample the dehydrated fish chips and pronounce them "bland".

In an effort to cheer myself further, arranged to throw myself a "volcano party" the following Saturday. As neither ram's testicles nor icelandic moss readily available in the US, opted for reindeer burgers (made with 100% real cow) and

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a proper Eyjafjallajokull dessert in the form of personal volcanos.

Said volcanos were constructed with all of the

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requisite building materials.

Merinque volcanos with fresh strawberry lava, whipped cream snow and chocolate reindeer ash

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(made from real chocolate reindeer).

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The end result was both decorative and tasty.

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Further amusement in the form of volcano themed games completed the evening.

As for the ash cloud it continued to wreck havoc well into the rest of the week and beyond. Indeed no flights made it out of Iceland until Wednesday and on Thursday the wind shifted, cutting Iceland off from the rest of the world and making me sleep a little bit better, secure in the knowledge that I did in fact do the right thing. After all, with thousands of people stranded on Reykjavik. Not everyone made it out on Wednesday and those that didn't had to wait a full week before the airport once again reopened.

Comments

Eyjafjallajokull

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tryfan43
2010-05-18 07:16 am UTC (link)

The volcano that cannot speak its name. Well I still havn't heard anyone in the media speak it either.

You note that it is still up to its tricks, though the Germans were quite active flying when it first flared up so your trip there looks a bit more likely. We hope!

Oh! and BTW there was one GOOD thing about this trip, I DIDN'T FALL IN!

Also see Ash clouds