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That morning I awoke somewhat less than eager; the knowledge that I was leaving that day was weighing heavily upon my mind. Nevertheless, my plane left that afternoon and I couldn’t afford to miss my flight. So, I pulled up my big girl panties, went to enjoy one last Icelandic breakfast, and then drove off into downtown Reykjavik to check out the Handknitting Association of Iceland’s shop in hopes of finding something to take home. The drive into the city during rush hour was actually very fun and empowering. Especially since I had truly learned how to drive a manual in the past weeks and traffic was no longer an issue. Finding a parking spot wasn’t so easy and once I found one I ended up breaking the law because I had foolishly packed all my Icelandic cash. American credit cards don’t have PINs so I was unable to use my card in the available meters. After deciding to risk it I booked it to the store for some shopping. The shop was really cool, if I were someone who had interest in creating objects and clothing out of wool I probably would’ve been in heaven. As it was, in my typical fashion I was unable to find anything that suited my fancy and so I left empty handed.

My next stop was the Blue Lagoon, which is a big spa by the airport. It’s a pretty neat place, very beautiful and extremely touristy in my opinion, however, even Icelanders had recommended I check it out, so I had signed up for a package. There is nothing much to write about this part, except that it was what you would expect. Very beautiful and relaxing, although it was something that would be a lot more fun with company, it made me wish that I had tried out the one in the Lake Myvatn which was supposed to be as nice, but less touristy. Once I was done enjoying the water I went into the restaurant to grab a bite before returning my car. This ended up being the worst part of the whole experience. The service was so slow I ended up only getting the appetizer part of the (already paid for) meal and the mussels were terribly overcooked. Unfortunately I had to get going if I was to make the airport, so I left, still hungry and a little hangry.

I got to the car rental place without issue and explained the crack to them, a trifle nervously, but hoping that they would be understanding. He told me, “Not to worry.” And went back inside to grab some paperwork before coming back out to tell me, “Ok, so we’re going to charge your card for the damages and you can be on your way.” My heart sunk and I’m sure my face did too as I started to protest. Before I could get more than a few words out, he broke in with a big smile and a great laugh, explaining that he was just kidding, it wasn’t a big deal at all. Based on that experience alone I would recommend Blue Car Rental! So we hopped in the van and headed to the airport. Along the way, the driver started telling me how amazing he thought it was that I had elected to come on this journey alone and to actually drive around Iceland during this time of year without anyone else. Honestly, I was surprised and pretty flattered, I didn’t really think of it as brave or amazing, but apparently to some it was a pretty cool deal. He then told me about his native Romania and how I should do the same thing there, apparently his country is incredibly beautiful as well. Actually, I already had a taste for Romania based on the pictures from a few friends that lived there so it wasn’t very surprising to listen to him wax eloquently about his country. We said a hurried good bye at the airport and he once again pressed me to visit his homeland. I told him it was already on the list, his words had only helped cement my decision.

Navigating the airport was no issue this time around, fun, but not worrisome in the slightest, my nerves had settled in the short weeks spent wandering the wilds of the countryside. I’d faced far more stressful circumstances, even if they were of my own making, and a foreign airport no longer worried me. I was starting to really feel a sense of loss about leaving, but in the interest of not crying I pushed my feelings down and settled in with a book to await my flight. Once boarded, I took my window seat and pressed my head against the cool window, loathe to miss my last sight of Iceland and the place that had grew into a part of me. Then we took off, I’m not ashamed to admit that my eyes teared up and I felt a tearing sense of loss as we flew to the States. I was bound to JFK for a flight change (and Customs) and then onto Ithaca before heading back to Minnesota Sunday afternoon.

And there you go, my friends, that was my trip to Iceland. I hope you enjoyed taking the journey with me, it was the trip of a lifetime and I will be heading back sometime in the relatively near future. If you’ve ever had the urge to go, DO IT.

I’ll have a post detailing my Ithaca weekend as well as the ongoing lessons I have taken from this trip, as I’ve found I am still taking lessons away from my experience.

Thank you for reading and your patience!

Jen