Our arrival almost wasn't! Granted some of it was our fault (will we ever get this moving thing together?), however, the massive thunderstorm and many accidents that hampered traffic on the evening of June 6 was most definitely not our doing.
We made it to the Avis rental car return approximately, oh, one hour and fifteen minutes prior to departure? While not so bad if the return is next to the terminal, the new BWI car rental return is a good 10 minute drive from the airport in good weather. Not only that, but technically after one returns the car, they take a shuttle rather than drive.
Now, very logical, however, one isn't always moving overseas for 3 years with 4 duffles, 4 suitcases, a laptop bag, video camera bag*, a stroller, a toddler car seat, 2 adults and two children. We had just unloaded the car (and I began to freak at the mountain of stuff) when a very nice Avis employee offered to drive us to the shuttle area. We immediately packed up once again, drove to the shuttle area and looked for carts.
Guess what? The shuttle area is on the other side of this large indoor waiting area. The shuttle also doesn't leave until it is completely full, whether that takes 10 minutes or 30. Our flight was now in an hour and whether it was that fact or just that we looked so exhausted already, the nice gentleman decided to drive us to the terminal!
Now, the thunderstorm did give us somewhat of a reprieve as the plane's landing and subsequent take-off was delayed. While Pete was learning about the delay, the wonderful Avis employee (no, we never did learn his name) and I were grabbing suitcases as fast as we could and shuttling them inside. Apparently, porters don't work at that part of BWI! So, that nice man got not only the tip we had already given him, but also the tip we had planned to split between two porters.
We made it inside, got through security, ran to the gate and sighed with relief to find out that boarding was still 45 minutes off. Thus, Caitlin and I did the logical thing: we went to the gift shop to find that $3 bottle of water with which to quench our thirst.
Just as we were making our final decisions, the manager yelled that it was closing time. Yes, everything in that wing of BWI closes at 9 p.m. no matter how many hungry, thirsty or bored passengers are waiting (and willing) to pay $4.00 for a bag of stale Cheetos!
Despite the long lines of people waiting to board the plane, we eventually made it on the plane and only had one hassle with the flight attendants regarding Kelsey's car seat. Why is it European airlines take such issue with safety? Why is it safer for a 35 lb child to ride in a regular airline seat than in their super-charged safety seat?
Luckily, Kelsey was already strapped in and thus, the flight attendants decided not to argue, they simply said that most kids that age didn't use car seats (cause they prefer to be tossed around during turbulent times?)!
After a 5 hour flight, we eventually landed at Keflavik, which is about 45 minutes from downtown Reykjavik. Our sponsor and a driver from the Embassy met us just prior to customs and assisted us with going through customs and getting our luggage. After the 45 minute ride from Keflavik, we arrived at our new (temporary) home with the lava rocks, bathed for the first time in a while and went to sleep for 8 hours or so!
*Ah, yes, we actually ended up leaving the video camera in the rental car. Many, many thanks to Auntie Dr. Shannon for retrieving it from Avis and sending it to us in Reyk!