February 4, 2016

"When Noel Santillan typed the word Laugarvegur instead of Laugavegur into his rental car’s GPS..."

"... the New Jersey resident couldn’t have imagined that the extra 'r' would make him something of a celebrity in Iceland."

Laugavegur is a significant street in Reykjavik, 45 minutes from the airport. Laugarvegur happens to be the name of a road  in a fishing village called Siglufjordur, and Santillan drove 6 hours and got there.
“I was very tired after the flight and wanted to get to the hotel as soon as possible,” Mr. Santillan was quoted as saying by Visir. “That’s why I kept driving. I did enjoy the scenery on the way. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. And the horses!”
Informed of his mistake, he spent the night at the Hotel Siglo in Siglufjordur. In the morning, the hotel receptionist told him "he was famous in Iceland now."

40 comments:

tim in vermont said...

He is like that character in Woody Allen's To Rome With Love. Marshall McLuhan chalks up another win.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Computers are much faster than you. But at the current state of technology, they are only smarter than you if you are really, really stupid.

Bob said...

Looking at a map of Iceland I see he actually crossed the country entirely from SW to northern coast. He would have had to pass through Reykjavik on his way to the north coast. And in mid-winter? (the Keflavik airport, which services Reykjavik, is only a 20-minute drive west of the capitol)

Damn. *shakes head sadly*

Well, at least he's a good sport about it, bless his heart. Had him an adventure.

Anglelyne said...

Luckily for him, Iceland is probably the most scenic safe and pleasant place in the world to make a mistake like that.

The Drill SGT said...

pretty dark scenery at this time of the year

EDH said...

You really do have to wander the countryside outside Reykjavik and ride those cute horses.

rehajm said...

Did he rent the red one or the blue one?

MadisonMan said...

So being stupid makes you a celebrity.

When I go somewhere, I have a rough idea of how long it should take to drive there. When you're 2 hours into a 45-minute drive, something should be twigging at your brain saying "You made a mistake".

If I'm the accountant looking at his expense account, his is SOL.

Ann Althouse said...

The article doesn't explain how Iceland found out about his mistake, which he might have wanted to keep private. The hotel receptionist surprised him in the morning that he'd become famous overnight. I would think hotels have an ethical responsibility not to put stories about their guests up on social media. It seems cute because he was a good sport, but what if you were sensitive and embarrassed and genuinely distraught about having driven all that way in the winter and (perhaps) paying for 2 different hotels, one of which you did not use.

The Drill SGT said...

It seems cute because he was a good sport, but what if you were sensitive and embarrassed and genuinely distraught about having driven all that way in the winter and (perhaps) paying for 2 different hotels, one of which you did not use.

Likely it was the hotel in the little fishing village at the north end of a winding road. I don't imagine they have much trade in the dead of winter.

As for 2 hotel bills, it was the first hotel that created the mistake by misspelling their own address...

Laugavegur was misspelled on many travel websites and that some locals also struggled with the name of the popular shopping street. In Mr. Santillan’s case, the name appears to have been misspelled on the booking confirmation he received.

tim in vermont said...

Yeah, the clerk obviously posted it on some blog. Who else would know? You have a point that it would have looked different if she posted "Guess who slept with who's wife here last night?" But in Iceland, that wouldn't really make news, I guess.

rehajm said...

The article doesn't explain how Iceland found out about his mistake

Iceland is a very small town. Word gets around.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The tourist who became a traveler.

ganderson said...

GPS is a useful tool if you kinda know where you are going

Hagar said...

Laugarvegur = Bath/wash Street

tim in vermont said...

GPS is a useful tool if you kinda know where you are going

Like a calculator if you already know some math.

oleh said...

https://vimeo.com/84978889

TWW said...

Actually only two hours as the crow flies, but he had to drive around the Trolls and Elves.

Original Mike said...

We once headed home to Madison from Minneapolis after a UW/gopher hockey game. We were probably half an hour into the trip when I noticed the moon rising in the rear-view mirror.. We were headed west instead of east. Oops.

In our defense, we had spent the entire time talking about the thrilling overtime win. And we had celebrated a bit at the bar.

Chuck said...

I hate GPS direction-givers. I despise the notion of a machine telling me to turn right, then bear left in 1.4 miles.

I want a map.

Of course, it can be a digital map on a screen. "GPS," meaning "global positioning satellite system" is highly useful technology. But I just loathe having the data turned into some female voice telling me where to drive. I'll never buy such a system. If it comes embedded on a mobile phone or a car's dashboard, I'll never use it. I want a map. If it is an interactive map, so much the better. If it tells me, via GPS data, where I am within the map, that's great. Just spare me the "directions."

Tom said...

This occasionally happens with Europeans trying to travel to Sydney, Austraila. Occasionally, a flight will get booked to Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada instead of its Southern Hemisphere counterpart. The town makes a big deal about it and tries to make the "new" vacation as fun as possible.

EDH said...

I had the same problem, with a "Safe Word" at a European sex club

Original Mike said...

"This occasionally happens with Europeans trying to travel to Sydney, Austraila. Occasionally, a flight will get booked to Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada instead of its Southern Hemisphere counterpart."

I travel to Sydney (Australia) often. Thanks for the heads up, Tom. I'll pay more attention in the future.

MadisonMan said...

We once headed home to Madison from Minneapolis after a UW/gopher hockey game. We were probably half an hour into the trip when I noticed the moon rising in the rear-view mirror

This happened to me once in NDak -- got on I-94 going in the wrong direction. Then it was 45 minutes to the next exit before we could turn around. And it was the moon that first clued us in then too: How'd it jump to the other side of the Highway?

JSD said...

Erwin Kreuz, a German tourist achieved fame in 1977 when he was traveling to San Francisco. He got off the plane at a refueling stop in Bangor Maine. He spent four days exploring Bangor trying to find the Golden Gate Bridge. Fifteen minutes of fame ensued.

Original Mike said...

"And it was the moon that first clued us in then too: How'd it jump to the other side of the Highway?"

Glad I'm not alone, MM.

To this day I remember my slow-rolling thought processes. "Hey, look at the moon! That's so beau .. hey, what? How'd it do that? Oh.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

For a previous job I occasionally traveled to Microsoft in Redmond, WA. I always flew into Seattle. Then my company changed travel agents, and they got me a flight directly into Redmond. It wasn't until I got off the plane and saw the sign Welcome to Redmond: The Heart of Central Oregon that I realized the travel agent's mistake.

I mentioned the problem when I finally arrived at Microsoft the next afternoon. Apparently it is not uncommon.

rehajm said...

I mentioned the problem when I finally arrived at Microsoft the next afternoon. Apparently it is not uncommon.

This still happens with the Bend, OR and North Bend, OR airports too...

wildswan said...

There is a drone video done by Italians that shows what Iceland is like so you can see why this Jersey guy just kept driving to see what would be next

https://vimeo.com/103847613

MaxedOutMama said...

Everyone gets their fifteen minutes?

rhhardin said...

"Longueur" will get you a boring story.

lgv said...

It's not as bad as the guy who boarded the plane heading to Oakland. When he woke up the plane was nearing Auckland.

Pretty sure this was before 9/11.

Original Mike said...

Last year when I went to Australia I went to the bank and informed them I would be using my credit card in Australia. Before leaving I learned that I could do this myself online, so a few days before leaving I went online to check. They had me traveling to Austria. Sure glad I checked, that would have been a royal pain in the ass.

coupe said...
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holdfast said...

If you see icebergs and dudes in wool sweaters who smell like fish, you are in Nova Scotia (i.e. New Scotland) and not in New South Wales. Though Nova Scotia does have whales.

Captain Curt said...

I'm reminded of the American guy in the 1970s who wanted to fly from NY to the SF Bay area. The cheapest itinerary he found was the first leg of an Air New Zealand flight, which went from NY to LA, then a short flight from LA to Oakland.

When the first flight landed in LA, the flight attendant announced, "All those continuing on to Auckland, please stay on the plane." So he did!

When he got back to the US, he went on the Johnny Carson show, which is how I heard of it.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Magson said...

I recall a similar news story back in the late 80's about the man who thought he was flying from Los Angeles to Oakland, but ended up going from Los Angeles to Auckland.

The Godfather said...

Iceland is roughly the same area as Kentucky, but Kentucky has 13X the population of Iceland. So it isn't surprising that it doesn't take much to become a celebrity in Iceland.

Dr Weevil said...

A friend worked in a cold-storage warehouse in Harrisonburg, VA, and she said she once got a call from a trucker who was having a terrible time finding the warehouse. It turned out he was in Harrisburg, PA, 210 miles north on I-81.
In fact, up to 6 or 8 years ago, I believe the sign on I-70 westbound in Hagerstown, MD said something like "Next Exit: I-81 North to Harrisburg, South to Harrisonburg". (Probably the eastbound sign, too, but I never drove that way.) It certainly says "North to Harrisburg, South to Roanoke" now. I wonder how many drivers ended up in the wrong H-burg before they changed the sign.