GPS typo results in American crossing Iceland by mistake

A vehicle moves on a highway near Skeidararjokull's Vatnajokull glacier near Skaftafell, about 320 km (199 miles) from capital Reykjavik. © Ints Kalnins
A New Jersey native has completed the Herculean feat of crossing Iceland from south to north on nothing but pure faith and GPS. The trip was actually a huge misadventure and came about by complete accident – but turned the man into a local celebrity.

All it took for Noel Santillan, 28, to achieve star status in Iceland was a pesky GPS mistake in the form of an extra “r”: instead of typing Laugavegur, a street name in Reykjavik, into his rental car’s GPS, the unfortunate Santillan put in Laugarvegur.

Oops.

Turns out the first variant is one of the main streets in the Icelandic capital, while the latter is a small road in a northern fishing village.

The hapless retail marketer drove six hours over treacherous roads, feeling that something could be amiss with every passing mile. Some 430 kilometers (270 miles) later, Santillan ended up in freezing Siglufjordur, news portal Visir reported.

All the young man wanted was to settle into his hotel in the capital and set about exploring the endless, mesmerizing wintry stretches of inhospitable terrain. But Hotel Fron never received Santillan, because he was busy exploring those other endless wintry stretches Iceland has to offer.

And you can’t argue he didn’t have it coming either. While Santillan told local news he really enjoyed the scenery, one may wonder why he ignored every sign telling him to drive in the opposite direction.

His answer was he was just too tired and really trying to focus on settling in as quickly as possible. “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!”