Iceland - Day 2 : 'If it would be someone else I would think it was made up'

The next day (well, 4 hours later) I woke up. I freshened up a bit and went downstairs to have breakfast, Henk was already there. He hadn't slept the entire night. I ate as much bread as I could, this would likely be my last real meal for the next 3,5 weeks.


We arrived at the airport way too early. When we checked in the man asked if I carried luggage, so I explained how the lady yesterday had told me it would be automatically send to Iceland. The airplane would leave in 1,5 hours. Henk told me he had first planned to stay in Iceland indefinitely, but then he would again have to pay person tax on the way back and he didn't have the 45 euros. He also explained he studied Japanese.

The flight itself went fine and was not delayed. There was also a lot of nice Icelandic music playing because we were now flying with Icelandair. After 2,5 hours we were above Iceland, which looked beautiful. I saw Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Iceland.

After we landed I found Henk again, he was at the help desk and the person there told us that our luggage had not arrived yet. If it wasn't on our flight he would 'have a look in the system'. We  kept on waiting at the conveyor belt, but soon it was empty and our luggage was not there. The help desk guy told us he would give us a call if he had figured out where our stuff was. He asked where I was staying so he could sent it there. I said I didn't have any place to stay, all my belongings where in that bag. He said he had no idea where my bag was or how long it might take before it would arrive. I did get a free toilet bag to confirm I now lived at the airport.


Henk and I kept waiting. There was really nothing to do at the airport. Outside was only a parking lot and the driveway to Iceland's ring road. Henk again asked if he could borrow my phone, but if I would give it to him now I needed to explain that it actually hadn't actually been empty. Eventually he turned to have some money after all and used a phone at the airport. A bit layer a guy came to pick him up, he was possibly even weirder.


By now I was super tired and tense from all the things that had happened, but there was no place to sit down anywhere. The whole airport was made in a way to get people out as soon as possible. Downstairs it was a bit calmer, but there were no benches and signs that it wasn't allowed to hang around there. After much searching I found the ideal spot: it was quiet, nobody could see me, and I could lay down quite easily. If I really had to state a disadvantage it would perhaps be that it was on the floor of the bathroom stalls. I lay down on my jacket and texted Bart what had happened. He texted back 'If it would be someone else I would think it was made up'. You can say all you want, but 1,5 hours later I felt a lot better.

By now three hours had passed since the customs guy went searching for my luggage. Luckily he had some news, my bag was still in Amsterdam, but would be here around 15:30. That was strange, maybe it was held back because of my (empty) stove or the kilos of powdered food. I knew there was a real risk that would happen, but had decided to give it a try so I didn't have to figure out where to buy hiking food in Iceland.


It was around noon now so I still needed to wait 4 more hours. I bought a kilo of peanuts, which meant I will now have 2550 kcal//day to eat. I also bought a lighter as backup for the magnesium stick I carried, so I could light my stove. After brushing my teeth for the third time out of total boredom it finally was 4 o'clock.


The lady  at the desk told me my bag had arrived. I was curious if anything had been removed. When she brought it over she said it was very heavy, that was true, and I still needed to add 5 kg of granola, gasoline, and water. Luckily nothing had been taken out of my backpack, it did have about 20 tags on it, likely it had already been through as much as I had.


Now I just needed to find gasoline to burn my stove. I got on the bus to Reykjavik, which drove over the only big road in entire Iceland. It was just two adjacent 2-lane roads, with no emergency lane, guard rail, or traffic signs, there also was only one row of street lights. The landscape was amazing, it was all moss and solidified lava.

I expected to arrive at a large bus station in Reykjavik, but it was only a small building.

reykjavik bus station

The bus station in Reykjavik

There was a gas station close by so I tried to give it a go. I was laughing, because I had never tanked gas before, and now it was in Iceland to fill up my stove.


I needed two hands to fill my petrol bottles, which didn't really work as I also needed to press the handle on the hose. While I was fumbling a car parked next to me. Those people looked pretty confused, especially when I emptied the water out of one petrol bottle in the garbage, I think they thought it contained gasoline. Eventually I had paid way too much and spilled more gasoline than was safe, but managed to collect enough for 3-4 weeks. Afterwards I went back to the bus station to verify that my intended bus rides would work as I had planned. 


Then it was time to find the campsite and get some real sleep. I knew where it roughly was, but couldn't find it at first. I asked around and the person confirmed I was going in the right direction, he said I could also take the bus to 'Largufrukipliduluk', I had no clue what he said so decided it was safer to walk. Using my GPS I managed to find it.

At the campsite they of course sold coleman fuel, which meant I had gone through the trouble of filling my stove for nothing. I pitched my tent and called home for what might be the last time in quite a while. I ate dinner and took a shower, using water that smelled like rotten eggs. Apparently all the warm water in Iceland is derived from hot springs.

campsite in reykjavik

The campsite in Reykjavik

I am tired from everything that had happened and will have to get up early tomorrow again. During my hike in the Vosges there had also been a lot of things that went wrong which had made me tired and stressed. Eventually I had been destroyed after 8 days. This trip I will try to relax as much as possible, otherwise 26 days of hiking will be impossible. That's why I carry a better mattress and a tent instead of a bivy bag. I also brought better food and a watch, so I can keep a steady rhythm. 

Unbelievable that I have experienced all these things and have only been away for 1,5 days. In hint sight I should have taken the earlier flight and not brought a stove on the plane, but then I would have arrived in the middle of the night, not been able to find the campsite, and needed to wait hours to take the afternoon bus inland, so I am not sure what would have been better. Tomorrow the real adventure starts.