Battered, bruised, and a little bit intoxicated - a Transatlantic Crossing updated 02/13/18 - Page 2 - PassPorter - A Community of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel Forums
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:31 PM   #16
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Great start! My son took Iceland Air and he was impressed.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:45 PM   #17
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Great start. I'm glad they were able to consider your needs and move you forward at the same time.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:49 PM   #18
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Great start, I hear great things about that yogurt.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:13 PM   #19
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Finally made time to start this TR today. Honestly, I don't often read the cruise trip reports if we don't have a cruise coming up. None is in the foreseeable future. But I loved your title and now I'm hooked, especially since you're traveling by plane, boat, and train, my favorite ways to travel. So glad the trip is off to a great start. You meal on the plan looks very delicious.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:16 PM   #20
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Yay, you're on your way! And how great you were able to get closer to the front of the plane as well...
It was definitely nice to be closer to the front. I couldn’t believe how nice the crew was in their concern for us. We never asked about moving up - they were the ones who felt strongly about it!
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:18 PM   #21
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That sounds like a great start, Colleen! Your pictures are perfect!
Thanks, Tara. I hate to say it, for fear of jinxing it, but Flickr seems easier than PB. Especially with the sizing - I always had so much trouble with that one!
I have much better pictures to come but wanted to start with just a few boring ones to get my feet wet.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:19 PM   #22
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Great start! My son took Iceland Air and he was impressed.
I loved Iceland Air so much I’ve already got another flight booked on them!
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:20 PM   #23
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Great start. I'm glad they were able to consider your needs and move you forward at the same time.
I was very impressed - very few Airlines these days seem to care much about what’s best for the customer!
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:21 PM   #24
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Great start, I hear great things about that yogurt.
I am in with this yogurt! You can find it at my grocery store, but it’s expensive. It may be something I treat myself to every once in a while. I ate quite a bit in our two days in Iceland.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:25 PM   #25
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Finally made time to start this TR today. Honestly, I don't often read the cruise trip reports if we don't have a cruise coming up. None is in the foreseeable future. But I loved your title and now I'm hooked, especially since you're traveling by plane, boat, and train, my favorite ways to travel. So glad the trip is off to a great start. You meal on the plan looks very delicious.
Glad my title pulled you in - that was what I was trying for!
We did hit every possible mode of transportation on this trip!
I’d love another of those hot ham & cheese baguettes right now - it was SO good!
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:51 AM   #26
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Great start! Iceland Air sounds great! I’m not a huge fan of yogurt in general, but maybe I’ll try Skyr sometime.


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Old 10-09-2017, 02:11 PM   #27
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Great start! Iceland Air sounds great! I’m not a huge fan of yogurt in general, but maybe I’ll try Skyr sometime.


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It was such a nice change of pace to have an airline that seemed to honestly care about passenger experience.
You should definitely try Skyr!
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Old 10-10-2017, 07:01 PM   #28
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Soon after we landed, one of the flight attendants came to tell us that for some reason they hadn’t realized our wheelchair was gate checked, so they sent it to the oversized baggage area. OK, weird, since we literally used the chair all the way down the jetway at Dulles and left it right outside the plane. But instead of bringing our own chair up to us in Iceland, they’d sent a guy with an airport wheelchair. That’ll work. The flight attendant was VERY apologetic about the whole thing. Our only concern at that point was that our chair would be down in baggage. We had a long trip in front of us, and the whole reason we brought the chair was to make some things easier. She assured us it would be there.

Little did she know, that may have been a blessing in disguise. When we got to the end of the jetway with our escort, there was an elevator, stairs or an escalator to use to go down to baggage claim and customs. The escalator wasn’t working, so we watched as everyone else on the plane had to walk down the stairs with whatever carryon bags they had. And we all know, some people’s idea of carryon is stretching it just a bit. Our escort called for the elevator for us, and we waited. And waited. And waited. The guy finally realized the elevator didn’t seem to be working. At all. As in, wasn’t even turned on. He left to find help and we waited since we couldn’t very well use the stairs with a wheelchair. The flight crew filed off about this time, and now the same flight attendant was very worried that we’d somehow been abandoned. We reassured her that someone was trying to figure out how to turn on the elevator for us, and that we were OK. She looked skeptical about leaving us, since there was now no one on the plane other than the cleaning crew, but we again reassured her we’d be fine.

Eventually our escort came back with someone higher up the ladder. He seemed to be telling our guy to just hit the button, and our guy was pointing out that the elevator wasn’t even on. None of this was in English, but it also wasn’t really in Icelandic. Turned out our escort had just moved to Iceland from Poland in March. So the two guys were doing a great game of pantomime! Finally, the boss guy motioned for all of us to follow him, and he had to use keypads and badges and the like to get us out of the jetway area we were in, to another that had a working elevator. So you see, it was good we had the wheelchair escort, rather than our own chair, as I don’t know how we would have been able to get out of our space and into another without an airport employee!

It was a bit of a hike to baggage claim, and the areas we went through seemed to be full of folks waiting for connecting flights. I know many people use Iceland Air, but don’t take advantage of the deal to stay for a few days (I’ll be doing just that in March when I fly from DC to Amsterdam). Once we got to baggage, not surprisingly, our bags were all going round and round on the carousel. I should mention here that I was trying REALLY hard to do this trip with only 2 checked bags. I would have been successful, too, if not for the weight limits on WOW. They only allowed 52 pounds per bag. To accomplish that, we ended up needing 3 bags. Remember this was a 2.5 week trip, and we’d need warm things for Iceland with the predicted highs of 50/lows in the 40’s; cooler things for Spain and Portugal where it would be around 80; and then of course extra clothes for dinners on the cruise. Mike rented a tux rather than bringing one, as that saved both the space for the tux, and the shiny shoes. But he still had a sports coat, and I had several dresses.

Once we had our luggage, and our own wheelchair, we let the escort go and made our way through customs/immigration. That took all of about 4 minutes - in part as we could go through the wheelchair line. It was then easy enough to make our way to the rental car counters. I was a little nervous about driving in another country, but we decided that would give us the most flexibility to do what we wanted to fit in during such a short stop. It was also cost effective, as getting a car service to our hotel, and then back to the airport wasn’t cheap.

Getting the rental car all straightened away was also pretty easy. We were given a VW Golf wagon as I wanted something big enough for luggage and the wheelchair. Everything fit in - with some overflow in the back seat - and we started to leave the airport when an indicator alarm went off, saying one of the tires lost pressure. Not what we wanted. We were literally at the gate to leave the airport, so I backed up (no one was behind me) and returned to the parking area. When the rental car agent saw me back she looked very confused. I explained what had happened and she said they have this happen quite often when the weather starts to get colder. She said it was nothing to worry about, but that they would get me a different car (good - as I wasn’t driving off with a car that had an alarm light on). We did some paperwork for the car switch, and she and I walked out to the lot to wait for them to drive up with the new car. When the person drove up in car #2, she said that also had the same indicator alarm going off. Are you kidding me?!? So we got a THIRD car, and this one worked like a charm. We were finally pulling out of the parking lot at 12:30 am local time.

It was an easy 20 minute drive to our hotel - part of the reason I’d booked this. Of course I also thought we’d have arrived there by 11:30 pm or so. We would have if not for the elevator, and then the rental car saga. For this first night, we were staying at the Silica Hotel. It is adjacent to the Blue Lagoon. The prices are stupid high, but they include your admission to the Blue Lagoon (which is also pricey). They give the level of admission to Blue Lagoon that includes robes, slippers, free drink, and extra face masks (you’ll learn more about that in my next installment). When I figured that in, plus the free parking and the proximity to the airport, it seemed like a great option - and not much more expensive than a hotel in Reykjavik, but SO much more convenient.

The first thing we noticed when we stepped out of the car to go in to the hotel was the overwhelming stench of sulfur (rotten eggs). We did worry a little that it would smell that strongly in the hotel, and worse, at the Blue Lagoon tomorrow. It was a relief to walk in to the hotel and not smell it anymore. We got checked in and since the restaurant was closed, the clerk gave us 2 breakfast bags at no charge (we were hungry by now - as it had now been about 6 hours since our meal on the plane). Each bag had a ham and cheese sandwich (seems to be a popular thing with Icelanders), a drinkable yogurt, a regular yogurt (more SKYR ), an apple and a coconut candy bar. My love for Icelandic yogurt only deepens...

Our hotel room was very nice - the whole hotel was amazing. There’s just one floor, and all the rooms open out to the lava fields. We couldn’t see much tonight. The bathroom floor was heated - not sure if it was natural heat from the geothermal activity under the hotel, or if it was more standard in-floor heating. There was no on/off switch for it.

DSC01796 by Colleen McLain, on Flickr
DSC01797 by Colleen McLain, on Flickr

DSC01798 by Colleen McLain, on Flickr

DSC01799 by Colleen McLain, on Flickr

We finally climbed into bed sometime after 2 am (it was only 10 pm according to our body clocks), but neither of us ended up sleeping much as it was HOT in our room. There was a transom window that opened to the outside, and Mike had closed it when we arrived, thinking the sulfur smell would come in and bother us. Turns out, that was keeping the room from being a sauna. Finally around 5 am we opened the window back up and got a little sleep. We’d looked EVERYWHERE for a thermostat to control the temperature, but there was none to be found. We realized they aren’t likely to have A/C in Iceland, so figured it was only heat on or heat off, and the heat was ON.

NEXT: Have I wrecked my hair forever?!
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Old 10-10-2017, 07:34 PM   #29
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Crazy with the wheelchair, the elevator, and the rental cars! Thank goodness you finally made it to resort.
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Old 10-10-2017, 07:36 PM   #30
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Crazy with the wheelchair, the elevator, and the rental cars! Thank goodness you finally made it to resort.
It does seem almost comical to look back on it now - SO many things went wrong! Luckily that was not the entire Iceland experience!
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