Return to Iceland, Pt. 13

Bound for Home

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We had a mostly sleepless night, which worried me, because we would have to be at the airport by 3pm. I still felt extremely crummy but was able to take more broth. Our host was still unresponsive, so we somehow managed to get ourselves out by the check-out time of 11am.

I needed a “safe harbor” where we could expend as little energy as possible before taking our bus to the airport. We took a cab to the National Gallery where they graciously kept an eye on our luggage while we explored the museum. Our backpacks went into complimentary lockers downstairs. The staff probably had no idea how helpful this was and I will always be grateful for it. This allowed us to avoid an extra round trip to the bus terminal to purchase time on the public lockers there.

The audiovisual pieces in the Vasulka Chamber could be unsettling, but for the most part were perfect for me in my condition; I could simply sit there with headphones on, listening to generated tones and watching hypnotic visualizations. The Vasulkas were pioneers in digital art and this part of the museum preserves and promotes the medium.

On the upper floor we viewed art created by Icelanders, from romantic landscapes through modernist canvases. We also walked among Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir’s surreal hairscapes. There were plenty of benches to rest on. The museum was as quiet as a library. We shared a carafe of water at the cafe in an attempt to re-hydrate.

taugafold vii hrafnhildur arnardottir

And with that, our visit to Iceland had come to an end. We took a cab to the bus terminal and caught the 2:30pm FlyBus to the airport. We got our bags checked and through security far quicker than I expected. That meant we would have to wait about 2 hours before boarding. Waiting was about all I was really up to doing, so that was fine. Katelyn bought a sandwich and split it with me – my first solid food in 24 hours. I was able to eat it with no ill effects.

The gate call came over the loudspeaker relatively early. We quickly found out this was because they had to shuttle everyone over to the big plane out on the tarmac. There was no order to this system, which seemed chaotic at first, but it all turned out fine.

It was perhaps the most uncomfortable flight of my life due to the 8-hour length, last remnants of food poisoning, and general dehydration. My body temperature seemed to skyrocket every time I tried to sleep. It was a challenge to stay cool and drink enough. At about the halfway point, we each ordered some soup.

After that, I just concentrated on burning up the remaining time with downloaded TV shows and movies. By the time we landed, I was thoroughly exhausted, but eager to get home and crawl into bed.