Our flight out of Keflavik was fairly reasonable at 11:15 am but with all the restrictions and possible issues, we did not want to leave anything to chance. So we wanted to be at the airport bright and early.
We still had the flat tire issue with the Duster to deal with at the hire car drop-off and then all the faff of a pandemic airport check-in. So we got up early, enjoyed our last Icelandic Breakfast (honestly we will be glad to be back to tea and toast for a bit), and headed for the Airport…
… So where are the Car Keys…
Panic started to creep over us as we couldn’t immediately place them, a systematic search over every pocket I had used recently ensued, then the ones that were not so recently, then every pocket in and the entire contents of both our suitcases…Still no Keys.
Out to the car, maybe I just left them in it…Nope. Ask at reception, maybe they have been handed in. Nope…oh crud.
Another sweep of the suitcases, hand luggage the entire room…nothing. When suddenly regurgitated from the deep dark bottom of my mind, I remembered. I had put them in my hiking boots as we carried the take-out burgers in last night! These had been carefully wrapped in a double plastic bag to keep the suitcase clean. Open them up and bingo!
This all took probably 20mins but felt like we had used up hours and were now late. Actually, we were still ahead of our schedule but mightily stressed now…Breath, Reset, and go again.
We headed to the Airport and filled up with fuel for the last time.
It is worth mentioning that we had used, in total over £1000, $1400, 1200eur in fuel during the trip. We had covered over 3500km/2200 miles in total according to the Trip computer and had completed our most epic road trip. We are well versed with road-tripping but this one really did demolish even our largest west coast US epics. Hard to believe when you look at the tiny spit of land Iceland appears to be on the map!
Blue Car Rental
We had become quite accustomed to our little Duster. It has seen us through thick and thin, rain, snow, and hurricanes, and never missed a beat. The only issue being a flat tire, which could happen to any car and we knew needed to resolve this.
We had opted for minimal insurance and took out our own third-party cover, but we hoped they would overlook a flat tire which is nobody’s fault. Not so, they claimed the cost had to be covered by us and we would be charged the price of a Full tire. They would attempt to fix it, and it looked like that would work but until then they needed the full cost and would refund us the difference.
Now, this would have been ok, however, we were really not happy. Mainly due to the condition of the tire before we rented the car. I had clocked on pick-up the tires were about the lowest tread I have ever seen on a hire car. They were legal, so there was nothing to argue about but they were on their last legs. I had taken photos of this including a coin comparison of the tread depth.
It looked to use like they were running down the Summer tires and were ready to fit a new set. There was NO WAY that tire was getting fixed. The whole car needed four new boots. And we were not letting them get away with that. Ready to fight, we mentioned the low tread.
Oh, sorry Sir let me just go check…1 minute later…yes Sir you are right they are all pretty low and it will be getting new tires very soon. So no charge for the flat today.
This lead to a kind of mixed emotion, happy we had got the right outcome, and the company were honest and doing the right thing, but we had got ready to fight, so a bit of a let-down! Not really but there is that mixed emotion.
From there we headed for the terminal. After fighting across the carpark on arrival we had decided to wait for the connecting bus, but in the end, as it was nowhere to be seen, we just headed to the terminal on foot. This time without a force 10 gale blowing and with no Duty-Free in tow. It was much easier and we wondered how we had made such a meal of it on Day1
Into the terminal and check-in was fuss-free, Kate had a huge issue with her passenger Locator Form until we realized she was checking the wrong E-Mail account, and onto the plane in No-time.
In Duty-free we had a bit of a field day as suddenly all the Prices seemed so Cheap compared to the last two weeks. We got some festive Black Death (Brennivín), some real Black death for presents (punishments?) Some Cheap Flavoured Vodka (Absolute) and 3 Bottles of the now Discontinued Cafe Patron XO. These might be the last bottles available now the Patron has called time on this Epic Tipple!
The Flight to Manchester was short and trouble-free. We miss flying and these little hops don’t really cut it. The service is minimal and we grabbed a toasty and some Tea, but it was a bit early to start boozing!
We had our trust tablet and just watched some TV as we hopped across the North Atlantic. The Route out of Ocelanf followed the southern part of Route 1 and we got great views of the snowcapped Glaciers.
Landing in Manchester is always a come-down. But the Airports are so quiet at the minute everything went smoothly. Until we got to Immigration. One Passport officer was on duty and there were at least two planes waiting to be sorted. This was going to take a while.
After 5 mins and Border official appeared and opened up the banks of automated Passport Machines and we filled through there in no time. As we got to the Arrivals Hall, the Baggage Carousel had just started up and our bags were one of the first through. So off we went into the bizarrely warm Manchester weather.
We had apparently had a really out-of-character heatwave the last few days and we were just catching the tail end.
Iceland was not the trip we wanted to take this year, but it was one I had been dreaming of for an awfully long time. It was not Kates’s ideal destination but the very fact we were out having adventures again meant it was still a really wonderful trip for both of us.
This little Volcanic Rock is a real wonderland. It really is not finished yet and that is what makes it so dynamic and sticking. New Land is made with regularity and the old and brand new sit side by side. This along with the ridiculously wild location cut-off in the remote north Atlantic makes it wild and rugged and its people and culture totally unique.
This was supposed to be a once in a lifetime Bucket List destination…but I am not sure we are done yet…
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