I’m back in Iceland, visiting over the holidays, and the local weather gods seem intent on making the visit as memorable as they can.
Turns out that my flight yesterday was the last one that could land safely. I stepped out of the terminal, with my dad, into a snow storm with only a few yards of visibility.
Now, normally, in Iceland that wouldn’t be a cause for much concern. With a decent driver, as long as you can see the road and the car in front of you, you’re going to be fine. But as soon as we drove off, the storm weighed down on us and visibility went down to zero. So, we did the only thing sensible: pulled over and put on the hazard lights.
Most of those who didn’t pull over and stop ended up stuck in snow or off the road.
So, to make a long story short, a trip that would normally only take about 45 minutes took me five hours yesterday, two spent sitting in a car off to the side of the road, two spent stuck in Keflavík as the road to Reykjavík was closed, and then an hour to drive back.
Spent most of the time in Keflavík in Hlölla, a hamburger/fast food joint which had an excellent bacon burger special to tide us over while stranded in Keflavík.
This was the worst snow storm to hit the Reykjavík area for about twenty years. Most of the roads outside of the main routes were blocked and impassable. Cars were stuck in snow all over the place. We counted 22 abandoned cars on our way back.
Did they cancel school? Nope. “Drive your kids to and from school and start earlier.”
Did the universities cancel their final semester exams? Nope. “It’ll take you longer to get to work so just start earlier.”
Did people take a day off work? Nope. My sister walked to work through a zero-visibility snow storm. She wasn’t the only one.
Why did she walk? Because there was too much snow for the buses to run.
Welcome to Iceland.