Worst Valentines day ever a.k.a. what happened to the ice caves?

Ice caves were THE reason to visit Iceland in winter. You know, ice caves are formed under the glacier and it is only safe to visit them in colder months, when there is no fear of melting ice.
Now, please, have a look at the photo below, isn't it magnificent?
source: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com
Just by looking at the photos on the internet we got really excited about the caves and since we celebrated our 10th anniversary this year, we decided to treat ourselves with something special - with ice caves tour in Iceland. We had to book the tour well in advance to be sure to get in and we didn't mind the really high price for the tour (153€ or 18900 ISK). As you probably know by now Iceland is not cheap. At all.

And then the time for our Iceland trip came, we started traveling around the country and every time something went wrong, like rainy days, not being able to see the northern lights, the car dying on us ... we always said to ourselves: Don't worry, the visit to ice caves will outweigh all the difficulties.

source: http://localguide.is
Day D, Valentine's day 2017 finally came. We were staying in a rather shabby hostel in a dorm, which costed us 35€ per person! It was raining outside and one of the roommates was snoring loudly, so I woke up rather early, took our laptop and went to kitchen to write something for the blog. As usual I checked my emails first. There was an email from Local Guide agency, the one that we booked our ice caves tour with. I was expecting something like, don't forget, you have booked a tour today. But I was so wrong.

The message was: this year's winter has been the warmest and the wettest so far and therefore the ice cave that they normally took tourists to is flooded. So the tour is canceled. As a compensation they can take us to a much smaller cave higher on the glacier. But the price remains the same.
I called Rok and told him about the email. He is pissed, of course, he demands some discount, since the new ice cave is like 10x smaller and the tour is not what it is supposed to be. A bit of googling and he finds out that the ice cave has been flooded since December! How come we were informed just a few hours (actually a day before) the tour should take place?! In the mean time we got a reply from the company: the won't give us any discount since the duration of the tour will remain the same. But if we want we can decide not to go and we will get a full refund. Well, since we came to Iceland to see the ice caves, we want to see them, even though they are smaller. The tour operator probably counted on us to make a decision like we did.

source: https://www.epiciceland.is
We started preparing breakfast. Rok just wanted to make tea, when the electricity went out. After a few calls, the manager came and fixed it. Another try to make tea and again the electricity is out. Well, I guess it's just not the day for the tea :) And apparently we will be eating breakfast in the dark (it was 9am but in Iceland it's still pitch dark at that time). Later we realized that only kitchen has problems with electricity, so we managed to make tea and eat breakfast in our dorm. Wasn't really comfortable let alone romantic, but we survived :)

When packing our last things, I received a text. "Who would be texting me now?" was my though. I opened the message and ... I didn't want to believe my eyes. It was a message from Local Guide tour agency saying that the winds are too strong on the glacier and that all the activities are canceled. So we won't be able to see that smaller ice cave. NOOOOOOOO!

So we stayed completely empty handed. The only thing we really wanted to see in Iceland, the reason why we came here, the reason we were staying in the southern part of country, where it was raining all the time, instead of driving to the sunnier north ... this thing, the ice cave tour was now canceled.

Now what? Idea of getting our money back wasn't much of a comfort.

We drove to the Local Guide office to may be find another option for us. On the way there we stopped at Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon which was so amazingly beautiful that we forgot about our loss for a short time. We were looking for big ice parts that had some holes in them and we tried to squeeze in and pretend that we are in an ice cave :)

Katarina in "ice cave", Jokulsarlon

At the Local Guide office they couldn't help us. The cave has been flooded for a long time, but they hope that the water will retain, so they are canceling the tours only a day in advance. And of course they can't do much about the strong winds on the glacier. Safety is of course priority and there is no way to see the smaller cave today. May be tomorrow, but all the tours are fully booked. And we are already flying back tomorrow evening, so that's also not an option for us. In totally bad mood we started driving to our next hostel. The dull weather, clouds, fog, rain, boring grey-brownish landscape ... life just wasn't good at that time.

Almost like an ice caves
Rok then got an idea: to cheer us up, let's treat ourselves with an Icelandic ice cream, they are thought to be the best. We pulled over, went to the first restaurant and asked for an ice cream. No, they don't have it, because they ran out of some powder. And probably we won't be able to get it anywhere in the area, since all the restaurants have the same provider, who comes next day ... we were told. Perfect ... We started talking about eating an Icelandic cake instead of an ice cream, but our conversation was too long and they closed the restaurant in the mean time. It just got personal! We really needed that ice cream, it was the only thing to make up the day. The ice cream became more important that breathing itself :) We were looking for it, asking everywhere, almost gave up, but then finally we found it at the gas station for 5€! No matter the price, we bought it and ate it. And it was good :)
Icelandic ice cream, savior of the day
But the troubles didn't end there. In the hostel we were supposed to stay in a dorm where only 2 upper bunk beds were available. The problem was that these beds were only about 50cm below the ceiling, so one couldn't even sit on them! Rok got claustrophobic just looking at them. Desperately we went to the common room and watched a film while waiting to the receptionist to return.

Once he came back we politely asked if there are any other rooms available. Since we payed already 40€ per person for a dorm, we expected the price for a double room to be way out of our budget so this question was more like "we have nothing to loose". But at least something had to be good that day. Only 16€ more and we had a double room for ourselves!
Yaaay! So instead of sleeping right under the ceiling we spend the night in a comfortable double bed, next to one another.

How was your Valentines day? Hopefully better then ours :)



No comments:

Post a Comment