That is what sheer and utter relief looks like.
I’d show you what it looks like when you realize you are a complete and total moron, but I can’t, because that was also the moment when I realized I had lost my iPhone somewhere in the rocky hills around Akureyri.
I’m back in Akureyri, by the way, which is pointed out here at the top of a map of Iceland. I had originally intended to drop my car off in Reykjavik, but the weather is rainy there right now and I really like Akureyri. Plus, the “change fee” for dropping the car off in a different location is exactly the same price as a flight from here to Reykjavik, so why not stay here?
My trip is winding down. Tomorrow is my last full day before I fly home to Vermont. And I have a few outstanding things I want to check out before I leave. Riding an Icelandic horse is one of the things on my “to do in Iceland” checklist.
So today I booked myself on an afternoon ride at a stable not far from town.
My horse was named Biter. “But don’t worry,” our teenaged guide told me. “It doesn’t mean the same as it does in English. In Icelandic it means ‘getting better.'” That didn’t sound like a great improvement to me. But he was a lovely horse, aside from wanting to stop and eat grass constantly.
Icelandic horses are the only kind of horse you’ll find here. In fact, imports of other breeds are banned. And once a horse has left the country it can’t return. Plus, one of the brochures I read said that if you bring riding clothes to the country they either have to be brand new or cleared by a veterinarian.
I wanted to try riding these horses because of their fabled gaits. They have two additional types in addition to the familiar walk, trot, canter and gallop. The one I experienced is called tölt. It’s supposed to be more comfortable for the rider than a trot or a gallop.
Now, I’m not a very experienced rider. In fact, other than a month or two of riding lessons when I was a kid, the only times I ever get on a horse are when I’m traveling. I was thrown from a horse in Australia, but otherwise my experiences have been good.
This ride was great–along the seafront and then through tall grass (with no worries about ticks) for about an hour and a half.
And when our guides offered to split our small group so some could continue walking while others went a bit faster, I went-with some trepidation-with the faster group, so I could experience tölt.
Which I did, and it was much smoother than the bouncy trot!
I only took two pictures along the way, not wanting to release the reigns.
After each picture, I said to myself, “Now don’t forget to zip up that pocket so you don’t lose your phone.”
So imagine my surprise when we get back to the stable after an hour and a half or so and I grope in my pockets for my phone.
I felt sick. In the scheme of things, I realize this is pretty small potatoes. And anyway, most of my photos should be saved on the cloud. But this is a work phone that they let me take abroad, so I’m sure I would have to replace it. Plus, it just made me feel so stupid. How could I really forget to zip up the pocket of my fleece?!
So I set off alone, as everyone went for refreshments, to retrace the steps we had taken in the slimmest hope of spotting my phone. I ran the first mile or so, to where I remembered taking the picture of the mountains. And then I walked, for what seemed like forever, scanning the ground and vacillating between optimism and resignation.
My throat was dry, my feet were starting to feel a little bruised from the rocky terrain, and I had just about lost all hope when there it was, sitting right in the middle of the path in a tuft of grass, unharmed.
What are the odds?!
I was so relieved. The irony is, I had intended this post to be all about the wonders of technology. That post will have to wait. But it was not lost on me that on the day I planned to wax poetic about wifi and traveling with a mini computer, I lost my connection to all of it.