Thursday, July 5th
Lots of Kronur
We left for Iceland on a hot, sunny Ottawa Thursday - July 5th, to be precise. All of us except Roland met at the airport after work, where Ewart then gave us some Icelandic Kronur spending money. I thought the money smelled vaguely like a backdoor breeze - perhaps something to do with the fact that the Icelandic currency recently went into the toilet in a severe banking crash in 2008.
Roland was not with us on our flight out from Ottawa because the vagaries of his shift-work meant that he couldn't leave until early the next morning, which forced him onto a more circuitous and expensive flight. The rest of us, however, didn't have that problem, and we scored some pretty decent tickets with a very favorable routing: Ottawa to Halifax, a short layover, and a flight from Halifax to Iceland.
The flight from Ottawa to Halifax was quick and uneventful, until we attempted to land. Thick fog blanketed the airport, and our plane made repeated attempts to land in the thick murk. Each time we just barely started to see ground and were sure we would land, but then the engines would spool up and around we went. Apparently things weren't visible enough for the flight crew.
Fortunately, on the third attempt (and with baited breath), we made it all the way to the ground. Good thing, too - a third go-around probably would have meant a diversion to another airport, which would have put making our connecting flight to Iceland in severe jeopardy. And there weren't many flights out of Halifax to Iceland, so that meant we would be waiting around for a long while.
Safely on the ground in Halifax, we made the somewhat awkward connection between Air Canada and Icelandair, involving an exit from the secure area simply to get boarding passes, and then having to run the security gauntlet again (apparently it was possible to simply go to our Icelandair departure gate, but no one told us we could do that). Despite all of this, we eventually managed to make our way back to the gate, where we boarded into the dark leather interior - somehow Nordically European-feeling - of one of Icelandair's Boeing 757 aircraft.
Our flight left at 10pm local time, arriving in Keflavik Iceland at 5:30am. - only a roughly four-hour flight. Although Iceland feels far away culturally, physicially it is suprisingly close to Eastern Canada.
We took off in the dark and foggy skies of Nova Scotia, heading north and east towards Iceland. It was only a few days after the summer solstice, and we were heading north at over 500 miles per hour. It wasn't all that surprising, therefore, to notice a thin strip of twilight gradually grow brighter out the window. We were heading to the land of the almost-midnight sun - Iceland sits just a hair's breadth south of the Arctic circle.
I'm not much of one to get any sort of decent sleep on a red-eye flight, and I think I may have dozed for perhaps an hour. By 3 a.m., the approach of morning and our track north meant that sun was streaming through the windows.