NOTHING RIGHT EVERYTHING LEFT
Briertartun 9 Air BNB
Monique and I slip out the door of the Airbnb. and ride the elevator down to the ground floor. We are going to walk to the bus terminal, approximately 2.2 kilometers away, to pick up our rental car. We should be there in about 20 minutes. It is a clear but chilly morning, gloves and hats are on. Neither of us have any data on our phone, so I took a screen shot of the google directions map and hold it out to follow as we head down Briertartun then cross the street and turn left up Snorrabraut.
We never find the street we are suppose to turn right on, and by the time we reach the highway on-ramp, I admit we are lost. Time to find someone to ask. We follow the sidewalk that goes under the highway and a young man is walking towards us. ” Excuse me do you know where the BSI bus station is?” He pulls ear buds from his ears, I ask him again, ” Hi good morning, We are looking for the BSI bus terminal do you know where it is?” I bring up the photo I have taken and show it to him. He says he is a tourist like us but… he looks around in all direction trying to orient himself, then says “I thinks it is that direction” Which is back the way we came. He brings up a map on his phone to confirm it. I can’t get a good look at the map but we turn around and head back the way we came. Thanking him for his time.
A lady with a backpack over her winter coat is pedalling strongly on her bicycle up behind us, as she gets within earshot of us, I attempt to get her attention. “Excuse me do you know where the BSI bus station is?” I say as fast and as loud as I can. Without stopping she says, “Yes, follow me.” She doesn’t slow her pace at all and Monique and I are left trotting behind her to stay within range.
Just when we think she is going to leave us behind, she drops a foot to the ground and stops on top of the over-pass and points. “It is over there.” I squint into the horizon to distinguish which building she is pointing towards then say. “Thank you so much,” before I have actually identified it. She nods, then stands on her right pedal and with a big push-off, she is gone. Monique seems to have gotten a line on the building and we head down the sidewalk through an industrial parking lot.
Walking into the terminal the sign at the Enterprise car rental desk states- Open at 08:00 am. I roll up my sleeve to check my watch, it says 07:47 am. I lock eyes on a man standing behind the computer terminal and we step towards the counter. With a stone face he says, “We open at 8:00.” I step back again feeling scolded and I apologize. “Oh sorry, no rush.” Within five minutes a man in a dress suit and tie with a smile on his face walks to the second terminal and waves us up. “Good morning, we have a reservation.” I lay the printout from Artic Adventures on the counter. He finds it on the computer. “MacKay.” I nod yes. Then the add-ons start. “Are you the only driver?” “No, I was hoping all four in my group would drive.” He pinches his lips together then says “to add each driver is $15 each per day. I will need their drivers licenses.” A little shocked at the price but I lay all the licenses on the counter then say, “We will be returning our car on the morning of the seventh day, we fly out early.” “Ok, I can give you a discount for the early return.” His eyes scan the computer screen then he says “You have a basic insurance package.” His eyes leave the screen and he looks directly at me ” Our roads in Iceland are made of volcanic rock. Windshield damage and tire punctures are common would you like to add additional coverage in case of damage to the windshield or tires?” I pause and look at Monique, who gives me a poker face. “It makes sense to me, add it on.” Then he recommends a comprehensive insurance package against volcanic dust damage that occurs to the undercarriage. “It can seize the brakes and engine and erode the paint,” he says like he wants to twist my arm. “No thank you, are you giving me a beater?” I ask with my mouth parted and my forehead wrinkled. He snorts a laugh and says, ” No, no, you are getting a two-year-old Toyota Argo,” and explains its features. I rebut with, “We were told we would have a GPS system to navigate. We can’t find out way around without it.” My voice is expressing a bit of fear and vulnerability. He says, “This is what I am going to do.” We come away with an upgrade to a Mazda SUV with a GPS system, at no extra charge. A plug-in WIFI hot spot for $10 a day, and because I bought the tire and windshield cover he left off the daily charge for the extra drivers. Oh and I took the empty tank return option, with fill up price below current rates. He left us with one final warning not to speed, there are cameras, and not to let go of the vehicle doors “the wind is very strong in Iceland.”
Monique has the fob and randomly pushes it as we walk around the Parking lot looking for a Mazda that lights up in response. I am secretly hoping Monique will volunteer to drive in Reykjavik, because she lives in Toronto and drives a modern vehicle, and I am the country bumpkin with the thirteen-year-old truck, Monique’s poker face continues and I cave. “I will drive, I want to be able to say I drove in Reykjavik.” That is story I tell myself, anyway. Sitting in the seat, Monique sets up the WIFI and puts the Air BNB address in the GPS. I turn on the car and identify what all the nobs and buttons do. Finally ready, “Can you pick a route that is mostly right-hand turns?” I say with a grin. We leave the parking lot, turning left out onto the main highway, the one we saw from the overpass earlier, and make other left at the light. The two-lane roundabouts have different right-of-way rules than we do in Canada, but it is early and I am grateful he traffic is light. After about four or five left hand turns we start to giggle about it. Last left turn is coming up, we are on a narrow single lane road with cars roaring up behind me and towards me, and I have no turn lane, A car is approaching from the opposite direction, kind of slowing down but the driver doesn’t signal his intentions, and judging from his speed, I believe he is coming straight thru the intersection, I hit the brake rather hard and out of the corner of my eye I see Monique launched forward against her seatbelt, her hair swooshing over her face. Last second the oncoming car turns without a signal. and I make my left. I look at Monique with a smile and say, “The brakes work great!” She slides her eyes towards me and I see a curse word forming on her lips.
We arrive at our building with no parking out front, I pull to the curb. “We are at risk of a ticket. We have to hustle.” I apply a bit of urgency to the matter.
Up in the apartment, Tracy buzzes out of the bathroom. She has dried her bathing suit from our Blue Lagoon excursion and done some other laundry, She says, “Thank you so much for giving us this time…” Her and Mary have organized their luggage, showered and had breakfast. Mary points to the coffee pot and says, “There is still some coffee left and I brought oatmeal.” She lifts up a pouch and wags it. I take the packet from her.
We have a civilized hour to relax then I start worrying about the car ” We want to get on the road guys.” We check the apartment that everything is being left better than we found it and hit the road.
Please join me and the gang as we head to our first stop of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Old Akranes Lighthouse.
No money discounts or incentives were received for this post it, was my own experience
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