A Long Walk - A Short Ride / by Anthony Brooks

Status update: It's Tuesday, August 16th, 2016 and I'm in Iceland. It's windy and randomly rainy. The skies are grey and the clouds are plentiful. Granted, I arrived roughly an hour late, but with a flight laden with features like northern lights and a view of Greenland at dawn, who's really complaining?! I'm not. In fact, I'm in a great mood. Or rather... I was. Until the woman working at the border crossing/customs decided that 90 days didn't equal three months and as such, 180 days doesn't equal 6 months. 

Let me go into a bit of detail on this...

I walked up cheerily to the woman (who looks rather nice, though isn't super expressive, so I guess the dial could lean either direction). I handed her my passport and the dialogue was as follows:

Border Agent: How long will you be staying in Iceland?

Me: 9 Days.

BA: And then you'll be going back home?

Me: Nope, I'll be backpacking the majority of Europe for the next year :)

BA: Do you have a visa?

Me: I don't, though I plan to follow Schengen policies and only stay for 90 days every 180 days. 90 days in, 90 days out. 

BA: You can't do that. You need to be gone for 6 months. 

Me: (having done a ridiculous amount of research on this very subject) No, I only have to be gone for 90 days out of every 6 months. Not the 6 months itself. 

BA: No, it doesn't work like that. 

And so it went with her denying that a month consists of 30 days and me trying to explain that I won't be here for more than the 90 days allotted to US citizens visiting the Schengen states. For the next 10 minutes. Until she graciously turned to the guy next to her and said something in Icelandic and he, with a look of ridicule, said something that caused her to FINALLY stamp my passport and hand it back. Quite lovely lady, really.

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Yada yada, so that all happened. Then my one phone died leaving me changing batteries in the barren land surrounding Keflavik airport in what was by then a torrential downpour. It sucked, but coupled with the walk to the airbnb that a friend was staying at, was rather therapeutic. Not to mention it gave me a chance to see how forthcoming the people of Iceland are with their cars. The readiness to pick up a hitchhiker was definitely welcomed on my part and especially so seeing as I wasn't TRYING to get a ride. I was simply walking. This, by the way, would prove extremely helpful when myself and two others hitched a ride to the outskirts of Reykjavik after less than 10 minutes of waiting. Gotta love Icelandic hospitality. 

The rest of the day was spent catching up and getting to know each other with an evening of Jazz at a local hostel turning into a late-night rendezvous/bar crawl of sorts with us grouping up with other couchsurfers and forging friendships. The place had an aura about it that transported you back to a different age. A simpler age, if you will. No gadgets or distractions. Just good old live entertainment and time making friends. All in all, I'd say it's another successful day in the land of ice. 

 

Oh, and the image below is on a gov't sign. That's not simply sharpied on... Enjoy!

 

 

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