Author Topic: Aurora, Storms, and Snowpants: An Icelandic Saga by Something Fishy, whYME, and ChAiM'l  (Read 55200 times)

Offline Work-for-ur-muny

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YAY :D

ETA: Now that I've read it; not a very long update So sorry to hear that this failed. >:(
FTFY
Was sure that that will be the purpose of your edit...

Offline Yaalili

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Incredible pictures.

Offline JoeyShmoe

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There needs to be a "Previously on the Icelandic Saga..." introduction :)
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Offline Something Fishy

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There needs to be a "Previously on the Icelandic Saga..." introduction :)

Lol ;D

I promise that the next segment (it'll be the last one) will not take this long :P.
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Offline 3yummyboys

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I kept telling myself not to read it until it was finished but I couldn't help myself!

Offline Something Fishy

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[Something Fishy] We woke up around 9 the next morning and climbed out of bed. Or, more accurately, Chaim'l and I climbed out of bed. From above, all we heard were groans: whYME was, quite simply, stuck ;D.

We told him to hang in there, while we suited up for the storm outside. Dressed in everything we owned, we opened the back door and began the rescue operation. Chaim'l pulled from the front, I pushed from the back, and slowly but surely, we got him loose ;D ;D ;D.

It had snowed all night, but the winds had been so ferocious that the snow barely stuck. It was still snowing now, but not too heavily.

The scene that greeted us when we woke up:





[whYME] Ferocious winds might be an understatement. At one point I opened the door to step outside and in a second my yarmulka was gone. Like really really gone. Not like "oh let me go chase it and try to catch it" gone, this was more of a "how the heck did it disappear so fast" gone. Fortunately Something Fishy was wise enough to include "spare yarmulka" in his recommended clothing list. Unfortunately, that was the one thing I didn't pack. Luckily I had a ski cap to wear for the rest of the trip.

[Something Fishy] Once we got dressed (and whYME back to Earth), we knew that our highest priority is to find Wi-Fi and cellphone service. whYME and I were scheduled to fly to Boston at 5:00 PM (we were connecting to JFK), and Chaim'l's flight to LHR was at 4:30 PM. We were a couple hours' drive from Reykjavik, plus we needed time to clean and return the camper, and then catch the bus to the airport. Problem was that according to the tourists we met the night before, there were delays and cancellations all around. It was imperative that we find out the facts on the ground, and make different arrangements if needed.

But first, a picture. We spent seven hours yesterday driving to Kirkufell; no way we're leaving without a picture, no matter how bad the weather. So we pulled out of our spot and back to the main Kirkjufell parking lot. Right away we saw that this won't work: the lot was covered in a thick layer of snow, slush, and ice - no way we're risking getting stuck in that:




Back onto the road, where we pulled off to the side to take a really bad picture of the mountain, through the driving snow:



The resulting picture, after a whole lot of Photoshopping ::):



One of the lousier pictures of the trip, but hey: proof that we've been to Kirkjufell.

Off we drove to Grundarfjörður, the closest town. The drive was harrowing, but quite pretty:






Once in town, the search for Wi-Fi was on. There was no obvious place to try, and not a soul stirring that we could ask. So we just drove around, stopping outside any building that looked like it may have some signal leaking out. Unbelievably, this batty idea actually worked. After a couple of false hits, we found some sort of clinic with an open "Guest" network, presumably for patient use.

On the Wi-Fi hunt:




As soon as we connected, a flood of emails came in: All of our flights were indefinitely delayed, and the airport is shut as well. In a way, we were somewhat pleased, as we now had more time to reach Reykjavik, which we needed due to the bad weather. On the other hand, obviously, this was very bad news. whYME and I would definitely be missing our BOS-LGA connection, which was booked separately with Avios.

At this point, Chaim'l had gotten cellphone service, and began making calls. Before long, he had new estimates for all flights. Best of all, he was able to sweet talk the agent to put us on the direct flight to JFK 8)! Our flight was now scheduled to depart at 9:00 PM, while his was at 6:00 PM.

Eventually we peeled ourselves away from the Wi-Fi and began the long drive to Reykjavik. The scenery was absolutely incredible, and the weather had stabilized a bit - for now. Save for the surprisingly large number of snow plows, the roads were pretty much deserted.

Views leaving the Snæfellsnes Peninsula:












[whYME] One of the downsides of being the one driving is that it's really difficult to get pictures at the same time... Here we are driving by all this beautiful scenery and Something Fishy is hanging out the window snapping away, while I'm stuck driving. I really needed to get some pictures, so I grabbed my camera and started drinking shooting and driving. I'm not quite sure exactly why, but for some strange reason Something Fishy and ChAiM'l freaked out when I tried that. I needed another plan. Something Fishy graciously offered to steer ("AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH LET ME STEER YOU NINCOMPOOP!!") while I worked the gas, and so we merrily continued driving and shooting.

Photos by ChAiM'l:





[Something Fishy] Only 138km left:



A quick stop to shoot Hafursfell mountain looming over the road:



Photo by ChAiM'l:



The wind at this point was so wild that it was impossible to stand; the only way to take the picture was the either crouch down to the road, or lean on the van for support:



whYME shooting:



A lonely house in the middle of nowhere:



A while later, whYME fighting valiantly against to wind to take a cellphone shot:



But back on the mainland, the bubble of better weather burst. The storm returned in full force, along with near-whiteout conditions:







As we headed further south, however, the snow slowly turned to driving rain:





Along with the rain came insane winds - at one point they were blowing over 80MPH (!), hard enought that we were getting blown off the road. With no other choice, we actually drove in the opposite lane, so that we would periodically get blown back into the correct lane:



After about an hour of this, our nerves were shot. Needless to say, every time an oncoming car appeared on the horizon we instantly swerved into the correct lane, and then we had to physically fight the camper to stay on the road. It was just too dangerous. By and by we spotted a gas station, so we pulled in and took shelter behind a tall wall while we waited for the winds to subside.

At this point we were beginning to get a bit antsy; it was getting late and we had planes to catch. After an interminable wait, we judged the winds low enough to allow for safe driving and prepared, yet again, to hit the road.

But first, we needed a volunteer to step outside into the nastiness and fill up the diesel tank. whYME picked the short straw, strapped a GoPro to his head, and went to do the dirty work:




...Only to find the pump closed ::):



This video grab he captured while getting back into the van shows part of the rat's nest of inverters, adapters, and chargers that kept our mountain of electronics running:



At one point the rain let up for a minute, so we ran out to stretch our legs in the barren wilderness.

Photo by Chaim'l:



In the end, it took us nearly seven hours to cover a route that should have taken two and a half hours. By the time we got to Reykjavik, it was too late for ChAiM'l to take a bus to the airport as we had originally planned, so we ended up driving him there.

[ChAiM'l] After  spending the day feeling like going through a spin-cycle (bear in mind, I spent the ride in the back of the camper without a seatbelt, holding on for dear life and trying to shield myself from flying suitcases, pots, pans, and whatnot), we finally arrived at Reykjavik Airport. I had spent the last half hour of the ride - in which we had relatively calmer weather – organising and packing up my stuff, as well as changing from my heavy duty clothing into something more travel-friendly. When we pulled up to the terminal - which looked eerily empty – we wasted no time, said our goodbyes (no group hug this time ;)) and I ran to catch my flight.

Luckily, I made it with plenty of time to spare and had some time to freshen up and buy a magnet for my travel collection. Prices at the airport are doubly overpriced being both an airport and in Iceland.

I made it onto the flight with an adjacent seat to spare (phew!) and we took off on time. Unbeknownst to me, SF & whYME’s saga was still ongoing…


[Something Fishy] We now headed back to Reykjavik once again, this time to the Camp Easy office to return the camper. Emptying the can was an adventure in and of itself: three days of living in cramped quarters served to create a mess of epic proportions. Camp Easy's parking lot was covered in a foot of slush, and the wind was intent on blowing everything we owned out of the van and into the goop. We spent more time chasing after our belongings than packing up, and there were some things that got lost in the depths, never to be seen again.

Finally, we were packed, the van was looked over and declared in pristine condition, and we were casually informed that we had missed the last bus to the airport.

Wait, what?????

But indeed we had. The bus was leaving the central bus station in 10 minutes, but it would take us at least 20 to get there. But have no fear!, says our new best friend, he knows a shortcut. He promptly piled us and our luggage into a car, and speeds off in the opposite direction of the bus station.

After a short drive, he pulls up to a random bus stop on a busy street and tells us that the airport bus will come by shortly, thanks for renting with Camp Easy and have a safe flight. whYME and I exchanged worried glances - this didn't sound like a very reliable plan. But what were we to do? It was getting late, and we were stranded in the middle of a strange city with nothing to go on but the word of a local. So we shlepped our suitcases into the bus shelter and waited.

Ten minutes... fifteen minutes... No sign of a bus. Goornisht.

It goes without saying, I think, that it now began to snow. Hard ;D ;D ;D:






Twenty minutes... half an hour... still nothing.

[whYME] So there we are stuck at a random bus stop in a strange city with no Wi-Fi, no cell phone reception and no idea where we even are.  All we had to figure that out by was a map like this hanging in the bus stop shelter:



Not to worry, we had my "super-sleuthing" skillz on the case :))

After a few short minutes our location was found:




OK, great. So now we know where we were still far from being out of the woods. This map did not tell us anything about the bus to the airport (at least I think it didn't, my Icelandic is a little rusty :)) ) so we still had absolutely no clue if there really was going to be a bus coming.

Meanwhile Something Fishy was unsuccessfully trying to keep dry in the semi-protection of the bus shelter:




[Something Fishy] We were now in serious trouble. It was still an hour's drive to the airport, the weather was horrible, and there's no bus in sight. The Hotel Viking across the street was beginning to look mighty tempting.

Suddenly, as if in a mirage, a bus appeared, flashing the magical words above the windshield: Keflavik Airport! We ran out into the street and began waving like mad. Two minutes later, we were comfortably and warmly ensconced in the nearly empty bus and heading for home.

Unbelievably, not only did we make it to the airport in time, but we were actually early. The only lounge in KEF is for Saga class passengers, so instead we headed to the bathrooms before security to change and freshen up. Truth is, we were stinking ;D. We had not showered or changed clothes in four days; I pitied the poor sap that would end up sitting next to us on the plane. But the bathrooms in KEF are actually quite large and very clean, so we freshened ourselves up as much as we could before the flight.

Right before we went through security, we decided that it was a waste to bring all these cold cuts to Iceland and not touch them. Thus found two very large, very odd looking guys sitting on a bench in the middle of the airport, shoveling down four pounds of plain pastrami and turkey. Every couple of bites we'd grab a bottle of ketchup and shpritz in the general direction of the food.

For reasons I still haven't figured out, we were getting lots of stares ;D.

Checking in, there was one more surprise waiting. Due to the weather mess, the planned B752 had been swapped with the stretch variant, the B753. This meant that there was an additional exit on the plane, which of course meant 6 more bulkhead exit row seats. Being that we were technically "displaced passengers" from the BOS flight, we had been assigned the two bulkhead aisle seats. After such a crazy few days, the gobs of extra legroom was more than welcome ;D...


[whYME] This is not something you'd ever expect to say sitting in economy, but this was the most legroom we had all week! It was nice to lean back, stretch out and relax (and catch up on a week's worth of Chitas and Rambam):





[Something Fishy] And so off we went, back to the relatively normal and predictable weather that was New York in February.

-----

And with that, the most epic DO DDF has ever seen came to a close.

The end.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 11:09:08 PM by Something Fishy »
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Offline Something Fishy

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Thanks for everyone who stuck with us and enjoyed this report - it only took a year and two weeks ;D!

Now go back and read it from the beginning ;D ;D ;D.
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Offline ChAiM'l

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Shout-out to Something Fishy for proposing this trip and making it happen. I enjoyed it immensely and subsequently went along on another epic Photo DO to the Arctic. That TR however, will probably premiere in 2020 ;).

Offline Something Fishy

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Shout-out to Something Fishy for proposing this trip and making it happen. I enjoyed it immensely and subsequently went along on another epic Photo DO to the Arctic. That TR however, will probably premiere in 2020 ;).

...and be finished in 2086 :D.
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Offline whYME

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Now go back and read it from the beginning ;D ;D ;D .
great something to read on the fast :)

Offline 12HRS

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love the sprite bottle on the windshield!

great read, thanks for sharing!

Offline Moshe123

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Offline Zevi16

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I got a cold from reading this

Offline @Yehuda

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Wow, what a story! Thanks for taking the time and finally getting it all out. Feels good to finish a TR, no? Aside from loving all the pictures, of course, I really liked the video of looking for a building with wifi. Very funny.

Offline tageed-lee

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Amazing amazing TR!!!! Epic!!! Really enjoyed all of the pics....