This past summer when I booked my flight to Iceland, I wasn’t sure how long I would stay, or even if I would be returning from Reykjavik. My airline ticket would have been $400 one way, or $450 round trip. So while I originally intended to just book a one way ticket and see where I ended up, my pandemic paranoia got the better of me. What if all hell locked down, and I had to get out of there? Airfares would likely triple. So as an “insurance policy,” I bought a round trip ticket with the hopes that I didn’t have to use the return. It seemed like a worthwhile gamble either way.
When doing research on potential destinations once I left Iceland, the ferry kept popping up. How cool would that be to leave Iceland by ferry? Cruising out of the Seydisfjördur fjord just sounded so much more intriguing than a Delta flight back to Newark.
But this would mean backtracking from Reykjavik where I had to return the camper van, to the port of Seydisfjördur on the east coast of Iceland. There was really no other option but to fly from the domestic airport, an experience worthy of a blog post in its own right. How many years has it been since you boarded a flight with no type of TSA security check?
Now that I am retired, I am enjoying the pleasures of open-ended travel with no particular destination in mind….or rather many destinations dancing in my head like sugarplums, but no definite plans. With the Winnie is safely parked up back on the family farm, and my brother is visiting with my Mom for now, I’ve got nothing to tie me down. It’s my ultimate definition of “freedom.”
With one exception, that is….the COVID curse. Each country has its own set of rules, with varying levels of lockdown. Navigating borders during this time is worse than the strictest of visa restrictions. Some countries want entry forms for tracking. Some want QR codes. Some require a negative COVID test, while others expect you to have a digital COVID passport. Most use the “stoplight” system to determine who can enter from which color-coded country, but it changes almost as fast as the traffic lights for which the system is named.
So I set my intentions for this trip….I would keep traveling for a while until I was stopped by COVID restrictions, or I was needed back home. Most countries in the European Union have strict protocols for mask wearing and vaccination acceptance, so I have actually felt safer traveling internationally than I do in my native state of Texas where they are dropping like flies, yet you can’t give the vaccine away with a million dollar lottery ticket.
So once I got back to Reykjavik where I returned my CampEasy camper van without a scratch, thankfully, I set my sights on Seydisfjördur, departure port for the Smyril Line ferry. I would sail off the edge of Iceland, through the fjord for which the town was named, and onward through the North Atlantic Ocean.
Seydisfjördur ended up being my favorite town in Iceland, not only because of its quaint charm, but also because it was the only town outside of Reykjavik I could pronounce. My flight actually landed in Egilsstadir, 18km (11 miles) inland. The “bus” ride (converted Sprinter van shuttle) alongside lakes and waterfalls, ascending up and over the foggy mountain pass added to the ethereal ambiance of the tiny town. It made for the perfect ending for such an incredible exploration of Mother Nature’s Icelandic playground.
I feel like my next destination on the Smyril Line ferry requires a bit of explanation, so stay tuned for the next post…