Monday, 15 August 2016

August 12 - Iceland Here We Come or 310 days wait

Macayle says it was a 310 day wait, from the date I booked the flights to we left. It's been a long wait for both of us.  Macayle is my 12 year old granddaughter. This is a trip for just the two of us.

Our flight was schedued for 5:30 am with Westjet from Saskatoon to Toronto so we travelled to Saskatoon on Thursday night to stay at the Super 8 Hotel where we could leave the car during our holiday rather than pay airport fees. I had forgotten to check if the hotel had shuttle service to the airport - they didn't - so we booked our taxi early. While  we boarded the plane, fog rolled in and we had a half hour delay before we took off.

Our intention was to use my free lounge passes in Toronto during our 9 hour layover. However, we were not on a connecting flight and had to go through security again to access the lounge privileges.  To our surprise WowAir only had one flight out of Toronto scheduled this had to wait in the pre-secure side of Terminal 3 at the airport until 3 hours before we could check in. This 5 hour wait was long. We walked around, had lunch, walked, played Exploding Kittens (a card game), people watched and just remained bored. Finally the WowAir ticket booth opened. Macayle's excitement reached new peaks - "it's really going to happen ". 

WowAir is a no frill budget airline offering cheap flights and pay for any extras. The cost of the flight didn't include the cost of the seat - a basic seat was an additional  $8. No T.V., no USB cable connections, no frill drinks or snacks. The plane is painted/decorated in purple or pink. The stewards were wearing bright purple uniforms and the pilots had matching ties. Our flight was schedued for 7pm Toronto time.

The flight was 5hrs and 40 minutes. We dozed, played Skip-bo (card game) and I read. At 4:40am icelandic time we arrived 23 hours after leaving Saskatoon.

The process getting through security was very simple and we got to the arrival area quicker than I expected. We were to wait at the arrival area for the car rental company.  Although many car rental and tour companies were holding signs with people's names - ours wasn't one of them. After 45 min of watching people come and go, I used the airport wifi to buy a data plan to enable phone calls. I attempted to call the Rental agency but got a recording indicating "this call can not be made, please check the number and try again". After a couple more frustrating attempts, I asked a gentleman from another rental company  (he was at the arrival area holding a sign like I was expecting) for assistance. He called our rental company and found out they had changed their pick up policy and now had a shuttle running from the airport. This man pointed out the yellow bus that was just leaving, but said it runs every 10 minutes.

We then went to the shuttle area and took the next one to Ace Rentals. The car rental was more than I expected. I show the agent my email with the price and directions (wait at arrival area). He explained he couldn't do anything about this and I would have to take it up with the owners. I asked him how I would do this as if I was able to make a phone call, it would be him I would be taking to. He suggested an email.

We did our walk around the car and found some additional makes that needed to be noted. We then took off. Very quickly we are taken by the Icelandic scenery. The lava fields, the volcano in the distance and the ocean view is breath-taking.  We then notice three cracks in the windshield that we had missed previously. We turn around and return back (about 20 min) to the rental agency to get these recorded and turn around and start again.

Macayle is the navigator. We don't have GPS or wifi signal, but we have screen shots from Google maps. Somehow we missed the first turn into Hafnarfjörður but as we knew our Airb&b lodging was near the harbour we aimed in that direction. We actually found our place very quickly.  The accommodations are exactly as they were described and will meet our needs well. We were exhausted and quickly fell asleep.

After a brief rest we got up and went into Hafnarfjörður's main center. This day they were having a family day event. Ballons and other festivities were available. The stores had additional sales, a tailgate sale was happening in a parking lot and a vegan festival was happening in the town square allow with music and (I'm assuming) vegan hot dog sales. The lineup for the hot dogs circled around the park in the light rain. 

We were much to tired to participate, but we did go shopping for some groceries and then stopped in the Elf gardens a block from our Airb&b location.

We were much too tired to do anymore sightseeing.  We returned back to our cabin, made some supper, watched some Netflix and had an early night.

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