home again…almost

1_BeachPanoSveitarfelagid Olfus Beach on the South Shore

All week we’ve lamented that we should have booked a 2-week stay. We travel south  so that we might have one last picnic on the southern shore before we return to Keflavik Airport. We rise early with suitcases packed and souvenirs stowed in bags for checked luggage, then head south to the beaches along Route 38 to Surdurstrandarvegar 427. Sun glistens across the ocean, but wind is still persistent, so we’re grateful for our Icelandic sweaters. Atop the luggage is a bag of the last of the Myvatn brown bread, raspberry jam, and salmon jerky for our picnic on the dunes at  Sveitarfélagið Olfus Beach. We pull out the selfie stick and take another best couple pic resting in the sand in our beautiful sweaters. An iconic frame of our legacy adventure.

1_LDbeach

Gulls, terns, and herons float above us and along the bay on the other side as we turn out of the parking lot and head to the airport with 2 hours to spare. The volcanic landscape along the Reykjanes Peninsula back to Keflavik is stunning, strewn with boulders, deposits of the richest orange, and black lava formations everywhere.

1_LDroad

We make mistake #1 leaving the last gas fill-up to the end and drive around trying to find a station. Then at the rental car return we are second in line, but it takes almost 45 minutes to resolve the problem with the driver ahead of us for a painful delay. Mistake #2 was timing – if we’d arrived a minute sooner we would have been the first in line. Mistake #3 was stopping at the sales tax line and having the agent tally up all of our receipts for what amounted to a $100 return. When we turn to the check-in area, all of the counters are closed with an hour before our flight. Mistake #4 was not reading the fine print on our tickets that the Icelandic Air ticket counters close 1 hour before the flight. We are stunned. Then as we come to our senses we shift into crisis management mode. I call Icelandic Air for the flights changes – we will need to stay another 4 days for the next available flight. Greg calls to secure a rental car for another 4 days. Fearing the worst, I log onto Booking.com to find hotels – Iceland is notorious for exorbitant prices in June and very possibly no availability. I wince and then am surprised by a dialogue box that asks if I would like to use our “genius points” – oh yes indeed I would! It locates a very reasonable homestay in Rekyavik for the night, and then a return stay at the Héraðsskólinn Boutique Hostel in Laugarvatn to visit Thingvellir National Park. The last night will be a guesthouse on the Golden Circle close to Keflavik. All for about $100 per night. A miracle. Be careful what you wish for. In wishing for additional time to explore Iceland – we manifested it in a rather costly way. I now recommend to friends definitely book a 12-14 night stay to tour Iceland. Either way, the extra days are so worth it. Just do it, by choice, not accident.

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