For those who remember the 90’s Scandic Pop diva Bjork, you will be able to picture in your mind my first two hours at Iceland’s Keflavik Airport. There has not been too many times I can say that using Hotwire to book a hotel or rental car has gone bad. Last night in Paris I made one of my biggest travel mistakes ever by using Hotwire to book with Budget.
A few steps into the arrivals lounge in Iceland and things became a lot clearer. There was 2 customers at Hertz. There were no customers at Europacar and there was approximately 45 people ahead of me in the Budget line. We all know that no matter how much time you take to be prepared for the rental agent with your licence and credit card at the ready, they are always going to try to up sell you and grind you as much as they can.
It took just shy of two hours in line to make it to the desk and then this happened. BJORK’S evil twin stood before me. Perhaps the face of an Icelandic Angel but the savvy of the worst used car salesman imaginable crossed with the most accomplished serial killer you would never want to meet. It was hard to stand there knowing I was being defrauded of an extra $600.00, but pshyco Bjork continued unphased and clearly without remorse.
Of course I purchased a comprehensive insurance package when I booked on line all the while thinking I was doing the right thing. Bad Bjork advised me that if I did not want to pay thousands of Icelandic Crowns for window chips or god forbid a paint chip as a result of one of those big “F*** OFF” 4-wheel drive trucks passing me, I needed to buy Budget insurance on top of what I already bought.
Now normally I would have said no thanks, but you should have seen the expression on her face. I am not sure where she hid the hatchet under the counter but I am sure I saw her reaching for it before I caved. I said to evil Bjork I feel as though I am being held hostage by your sales pressure tactics. Crazy Bjork just shook her head in silence.
I left the airport with the keys for a VW Polo. We in North America don’t get the Polo at VW dealerships. If you picture a Golf and then slice off a third you have a Polo.
Upon eventually getting behind the wheel I was pleasantly surprised. Good in the snow and comfortable seats. The issues came at the time I wished to sit in it or get out of it. The process was akin to how a Lemans Driver enters his race car during the 24 hour championship. A shoe horn and wedges are useful.
Ok lets move on to Selfoss and the Icelandic countryside. It took me just over an hour to get to my hotel and upon arrival I was greeted by an Estonian girl who was on a work abroad vacation. She checked me in in no time flat. I dumped my bags and walked across the street to grab some water and a couple of snacks. It was about -7 degrees, which I know isn’t that bad but I am not that recently well practiced in dealing with anything resembling northern climes.
I hustled back to my room and was asleep in no time flat. Up with my alarm because if you waited for the sun to rise at 10 a.m. you wouldn’t get much done. I had breakfast at the hotel and packed the car for the Golden Circle Drive. I took some advice from the staff but my intention was to drive where I fancied and at my own pace. I stopped when I felt like it.
I met some lovely Icelandic Ponies. I visited several Geysirs and ended my day at Gullfoss waterfalls. A ton of things to do and see in Vik tomorrow.