You faithful readers of our traveling blogs (you know who you are) know that almost all of our trips start with our good friend Tom Delaney taking us to the airport, and this trip is no exception. But this time there is a big difference, when we got to DIA ((Denver International Airport), Tom parked the car, grabbed his suitcases and joined us!
About six weeks ago when the three of us were out to dinner together Tom was telling us about an Icelandic author he was enjoying reading. “I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights,” I sighed. “Wanna go to Iceland?” “Yes!” said Jeff. “YES!” said Tom. And there is the start of this adventure.
Naturally, being frugal travelers, we did some Internet researching and found a great deal on Travelzoo…airfare from Denver and their “Hot Springs and Northern Lights” tour. A four night trip (which is really 3 nights because they count the overnight flight as your first night) very reasonably priced. But, hey, if we’re going to Iceland we want to have more time than that, and we’ve added 3 more days to our itinerary.
So, that explains why I am sitting in coach but it does NOT explain why Jeff and Tom are in First class! Here’s the story on that…and you can chalk it up to good intentions gone awry.
Iceland Air invites coach passengers to bid on upgrades to first class. I called Iceland air and knew that four seats remained in “Saga” class. As a surprise for Jeff, Tom and I bid the exact same amount of money and I put in the three bids at the same time. The next day, I was thrilled to see “Upgrade approved” flash into my mailbox…but wait, there were only two! Tom and I had been upgraded, but not Jeff! Crap! This turns into a very long, convoluted tale which I will not relate here. Anyway! I gave my first class seat to Jeff – which was the point of the whole upgrade all along. At least we all enjoyed relaxing in the First Class lounge; something neither Jeff nor Tom had ever experienced. I have been so lucky to have done so several times because of the generosity of my wonderful friends, Eve and Leroy Measner. They are so generous and have shared their frequent flier points with me on several occassions.
Before we boarded and long before anyone else was at the gate, I made friends with the flight crew. They had heard my tale of woe. Right after we took off, and I was scrunched in row 12C, the head stewardess moved me into an exit row – so now, though I am in coach, I have an empty seat next to me and about 3 feet of legroom! (Much more legroom than any first class passenger) and I have a window which neither Tom nor Jeff have!
Apparently the crew has adopted me…they sneak me glass after glass of wine and a dish of caramel corn from the First class section. Jeff came back to give me a gin & tonic, but since by that time I had already had 2 glasses of wine, I drank the tonic and not the gin. After all, I WAS in an exit row! He also wanted to let me know he had had an elk tenderloin appetizer, sea bass entree with cilantro rice and sauteed zucchini and onions for dinner topped off with a wonderful chocolate mousse…. I am thrilled that he is having this experience.
This is about a 7-hour flight…and sleeping is a priority. Now if the crew would just stop waking me up to give me stuff – like this fancy bar of Icelandic chocolate!
After sleeping for a couple of hours, I sneak my way up to First Class. Jeff and Tom traded seats with someone because they are seated together and are both sound asleep. I slip behind the curtain to thank the stewardess and give her a thank you card and bag of Hershey’s kisses I had brought.
She is knitting and we get into a really fascinating discussion about Icelandic wool. The seafaring people in Iceland wear hats, gloves, etc knitted from Icelandic wool, because even if the wool gets wet it maintains its heat preserving properties. It feels very rough which may be how it sloughs off water. She tells me where to buy Icelandic wool yarn in Reykjavik..
We arrived in Reykjavik at 6:30am, which is 11:30 pm in Colorado. We are excited to be here!!
Since it is officially Sunday now, I’ll stop and continue tomorrow.