Day 8 – Heading west

So we decided on two things today. First, we would abandon our attempt to travel the entire ring road. It wasn’t the easiest choice as it felt like we had failed in some ways. And plenty of travelers manage to do it, so why were we struggling? Firstly, we didn’t plan as much as we probably should have. We definitely wasted time trying to plan and move at the same time. Secondly, we decided that  spending all our time on the road instead of at destinations was not what we wanted. At some point, we’d have had to lose the better  part of some days to travelling, and enough of that would come later. Thirdly, setting up a tent in a new destination every night was becoming grueling and I didn’t want to do that anymore. It was a relief to find that Dan wasn’t keen on doing that either.  Camping can be tiring enough without doing that, and it was only leaving small windows to actually enjoy our surroundings, with the  worry of finding the next destination and setting everything up again once we were there. We’re still discovering a great part of the west of the country, and we’ve loosened up a lot of time for ourselves to relax a little, so I’m relieved more than anything.

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Our second decision was we would spend two whole nights at the same destination tonight and tomorrow night. That is absolutely blissful, especially with rain on the way. It was also the campsite at Vik, one we knew had decent enough facilities and after our experience at the glacier campsite, we wanted a bit of familiarity.

Tonight, something happened which really reminded us that we were in a less populated country than our own. At about 10pm, I was in the washing room, thanking god that a washing machine was free. But then, right in the middle of the wash, the machine suddenly stopped. It was just a little irritating. I then noticed a French boy next to me trying to revive the tumble dryer. And then there was a wall of noise coming from over the wall – the dining area. It became very apparent quickly that the electricity had gone off. That meant no lights, no  charging of phones, no free WiFi. It was really interesting to see a wave of heads pop up from their phones and look around! Naturally,  it wasn’t long before people were heading to the office to try and ask the campsite manager if he knew what was going on. When we got to the  door, there was nothing but a note that said “Feeling sick, gone home. Be back tomorrow.”. That note told us that the campgrounds were completely unmanned. There was no contact number on the note or anything!

So, I figured that it would make an awesome story for me and Dan to save the day, so  we decided to go to the neighbouring hotel and ask the manager to help. It wasn’t long before we realised we were being followed by another guy,  trying to do the same thing. It turned out the guy was Irish, and after trying to find the trip switch himself, he had the same idea as us.  Once we arrived, we immediately felt out of our surroundings, as there we were – a bit smelly and dirty, next to a grand piano and underneath  chandeliers. Seeing as we were at the desk together, I tried in vein to make small talk with the Irish guy – asking him where he was from and so on. I can’t even remember the answer, but for some stupid reason I decided to reply “cool, we’re from Wales. So don’t worry, at least we’re not English”. Because mild racism always wins people over. Not only did the Irish guy seem completely unimpressed with me, but before I could even turn around I heard  “hey steady on now!”. An English guy was right there. Since we’ve been here we’ve met a grand total of three English people, and one of them happened to be right behind me during the only time I say anything discriminating against them.

So there we were; An English man, an Irish man and a Welsh man (and lady). I’d failed to connect with one stranger and I’d offended the other, so I decided to bow out of any conversation and shut up. The Irish man appeared to be getting bored of the situation very quickly and started fidgeting, whilst the English man came down on the man at the  front desk very heavily for not responding as we’d hoped. To be fair, when we asked if he knew the manager of the camp ground, his reply was “I knew the previous manager – nice guy!”, so was definitely not as helpful as he could be. Me and Dan decided to just listen to the whole thing unfold. Eventually the desk worker agreed to lend the English man his phone to ring 112 (the Icelandic emergency number). It may seem a bit far fetched ringing the Icelandic  equivalent of 999 because of an electricity shortage, but we decided that, with over 500 campers without electricity, the chances of someone getting cardiac arrest was actually reasonably high. Turns out the person at the other end of the line already knew of the situation and had sent someone over to fix it. Did the sick campground manager know about the situation? Is that why he went home?? Anyway, within about an hour, the electricity came back on and  everything resumed back to normal, including our washing.

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