This day was the day we were supposed to leave Reykjavik and make our way to Höfn.
Note- this post is also going to be a *What They Don’t Tell You About Iceland* post. So, you get a two in one. Whoop there it is!
Now, I am skipping forward a little bit. This day I am addressing, we didn’t actually leave Reykjavik. We just picked up our rental car and decided to explore. The NEXT day is when we went to Höfn. But, yes, while we are on the subject, there was rental car drama. Isn’t there always?
I don’t trust rental car companies as far as I can throw them, and because we were poor college/fresh out of college kids, we picked the rental car company with the most affordable price. This company is an Icelandic company called Sixt, and boy do they know how to take advantage of foreigners. I should have known this considering I work for a travel insurance company, but I was still pretty fresh and wasn’t savvy in the rental car insurance side. Now I am, and looking back on it, I’m pretty irritated. Naturally, since this is an international trip, we purchased travel insurance and everything through the company I work for. Well, Sixt didn’t want to accept that and said we, meaning Jessie since she was the driver of the car, had to have a $500 hold on her credit card, (basically an insurance collateral) until the car was returned. -_- #nothappy. Bless Jessie’s dad for helping some sisters out! So, we got our rental car and proceeded to drive around the outskirts of Reykjavik looking for waterfalls or any other interesting pieces of scenery. Pssh, like it, was hard… We were hungry though, so we were looking for some places to eat.
Note- there are two different types of grocery stores in Iceland: the regular kind which is like Publix expensive and then the cheap kind which is like Aldi or Lidl expensive. Bless our souls, we found the Aldi type grocery store. So, we stocked up on some Skyr, meats, cheeses, and other tasty things and went waterfall huntin’.
The first waterfall we saw signs for was Seljalandsfoss. Jessie took the scenic route, which was appreciated, and we finally arrived. Holy cannoli. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. They have a rock placed perfectly in front of the waterfall so you can get a perfectly posed picture, and we took total advantage.
Oh yeah, you can also climb behind the waterfall and feel like you’re the Queen of Iceland.
It started to get dark, so we climbed down the slippery rocks, (well, Jessie climbed down like Indiana Jones and me being the clumsy person I am, climbed down like a toddler), and started to head back to town for our last night in Reykjavik before Höfn!
It’s Höfn time!
Explore, explore, explore! This is what we did our whole way. And, how could you not? It’s Iceland! Where everything around you is absolutely gorgeous and picturesque. Jessie, of course, ate it up! As she should. Me, on the other hand, I could feel my depressive darkness inside, but I didn’t want her to know that, so I held it in for as long as I could. #Exhaustion.
We departed and started our day at about 830am. Me, being an exhausted little mouse and having the car as a natural rocking chair, I fell asleep on poor Jessie as she was driving. I did this a lot actually. Luckily, she had Ed Sheeran to keep her company. Gullfoss was on the agenda that day and that was about a 1.5-hour drive from our hostel in Reykjavik that we said goodbye to that morning. I was super excited to see Gullfoss. It’s one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland and I was all about that.
During our drive, we had to make a stop for gas, naturally. ***Remember this moment, as this has a BIG climax to our story for this day.
After getting some gas, we continued our journey to Gullfoss. We turn our little heads to look out the window and what do we see? ICELANDIC HORSES! So, Jessie swerves off to the side of the road and I rush out the car like I did that bus for the Northern Lights tour.
By the way– that horse LOVED me.
After they were tired of us loving on them, we hopped back in the warm car and were back on track for Gullfoss. About 30 minutes or so later, we arrived and there were A LOT of people there. Ugh. Crowds make me nervous. But, I swallowed my anxiety and kept going.
The scary thing was that there was ice EVERYWHERE. I’m like, if I slip, I’m going down in this icy waterfall and dying. Do I want to die this way? That’s a painful way to go. I’d rather have a less painful death. However, it is a pretty death, right? Oh ya know, just the thoughts of a borderline while they are staring at a world wonder…the usual.
When we leave Gullfoss, this is when we get in a sticky situation.
Remember when we stopped for gas?
Well… as we start on the road from Gullfoss, Jessie notices that the car just doesn’t feel right and we’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, we did find a gas station and he was kind enough to speak English to us. *Many Icelandic individuals we encountered pretended not to speak English so they did not have to interact with us. It was super nice.* The individual we met that was nice enough to help us, gave us directions that were difficult to maneuver, but we did, and we risked going to to the next town. Once there, we found a KFC/Taco Bell, just like AMERICA! Bless the woman who worked there! She spoke English and was SO nice! Thankfully, she was able to call the mechanic who was with our rental car service and he would come to the shop down the street and help drain our tank. Yep, you guessed it. We put the wrong gas in our tank. We didn’t know this until the wonderful waitress told us how cars work over here. *ANOTHER THING THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT ICELAND* We met said mechanic at the shop down the street and he was super friendly and fixed our tank. At this point, I was super anxious. I know Jessie could tell and she felt AWFUL since she filled up the tank. I didn’t want her to feel bad, but I couldn’t help how my face came across. Then, I felt bad that she felt bad and down the spiral, we went.
Finally, we got on the road and went forth to Höfn. When I say the car puts me out like a light, I mean it. We had about 4.5 hours left and of course, I fell asleep. Jessie entertained herself with some Icelandic pop music when I do remember there was a fun song that I thoroughly enjoyed and now I got nothin’. I couldn’t remember it if you put a gun to my head. Anywho, we finally made it to our guesthouse, Hvummer Guesthouse, which was so charmingly cute!
Here’s where I fell apart.
We got to our room and my anxiety was on threat level midnight. There was a reason, one that I can’t remember now, that triggered me. Not only was the day super stressful, but the boyfriend at the time totally triggered me and I went into borderline mode. This then prospered into a full fledged panic attack. The painful ones where you can’t breathe, your chest tightens to the point where you think you’re going to die, and you want to die. Then I felt guilty because Jessie had to witness it and I know I was ruining her time.
Yeah. It was bad. And it lasted for about 45 minutes. After I have a panic attack, I usually dissociate and go numb. I don’t really remember if I did that at the time because I didn’t even know dissociation was a thing because I didn’t know I had a disorder. But what I do know is that Jessie thought it was a good idea to go on our own Northern Lights tour, and we did.
Honestly, I think the photos you see on social media are super photoshopped and have INTENSE editing to them. This is no editing except brightness with a specific phone app. Not impressed. ANOTHER THING THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT ICELAND.
Stay tuned. More misadventures in Iceland to come.