Iceland by bike [pt 4 of 4]

Posted by Eddo on November 10, 2012

From what I have heard, this final instalment of a series (part 1, part 2, part 3) has been long awaited apparently ;-). No, I am not apologising for the delay, have been working on other stuff recently that I’m pretty stoked about. For those of you who follows me on the twitter verse, you may have noticed something. For the rest of you, I’m keeping it a surprise. Ha!

So, for this final blogpost about my bicycle tour on Iceland, we pick the story up in Höfn. Like the day before, it will be another day spent in a bus. From Höfn I am making my way west again, with the destination of Vík i Myrdal at the end of the day. Waiting for the bus I see a couple familiar faces from the night before, it seems that practically everybody was camping the last night, and had been at the Jökulsárlon fireworks. I meet up with a couple French-Canadian girls with whom I spend talking the entire bus trip. To our amazement we do even stop at Jökulsárlon for an hour; imagine that, the train between two points stopping at a tourist hotspot.

We spend the time walking on the shores of the glacier lagoon and cracking jokes, it’s not too warm according to Icelandic standards, so we end up in the coffee shop (the kind where do you get coffee). The girls behind the counter apparently recognise me from about a week ago when I camped there. The hot chocolate still tastes good, and makes me not want to leave there. However, my stuff is still on the bus so I have to continue.

Amphibious tour of the glacial lagoon, taking you close to the ice.

Jökulsárlon

In Skaftafell I have to say goodbye to the girls, and wish them a good stay for the remainder of their trip. Unfortunately I didn’t include Reykjavik for the rest of my trip, so will not them again on Iceland. The third leg to Vík is less entertaining, and familiar views pass by the windows, as I recognise the places where I’ve cycled in the opposite direction not too long ago. Although a big place on the map, Vík i Myrdal is actually not that large, and would be marked as a small town in the Netherlands. Due to strong winds I don’t dare to hike up the headland close to town, this is a spot famous for puffin viewing.

At the campsite I once again see familiar faces, other cyclists that I’ve seen on the road. We spend the rest of the night discussing the things cyclists discuss.

Next morning Niccolo and I decide to ride together in the still strong winds, it takes a bit of effort to get up a few inclines as the wind isn’t helping here. In the climb out of town Niccolo is practically blown across the road, onto the wrong half. Fortunately no traffic is coming from either direction, but there is nothing to stop him as I am also leaning sideways into the wind. With some magic he brings his bike back in the correction half of the road, and we dive again down into the valley.

Niccolo making his way to the top of a hill

It hasn’t been this easy in quite a while, we cycle quite relaxed at a pace of about 25kph. It is not often that Iceland does give you wings by providing such a tailwind. Nearing Skogafoss the tailwind is pushing us less fast, and we do have to actually work again to keep our pace. Coming from the east Skogafoss comes into view only once after you’ve come onto the terrain itself. I was awestruck when I saw it! What a violence and thundering sound coming from this fall. We park our bikes against a small bench, and both grab our camera and tripod. Niccolo ventures out into the freezing river to get a few cool shots, I stay on the river’s edge as I don’t want to get my feet wet (whimp that I am), and take photos of him ;-). I also get a couple cool shots of Skogafoss, both with the 10-stop ND filter and without.

Skógafoss

Skogafoss, slowed down to an 8 second exposure using a B+W 10-stop ND filter.

Seljalandsfoss in the afternoon

What surprises me is the amount of tourists, there really aren’t that many around near the waterfall. Later learned that the Golden Circle tours visit Skogafoss later in the afternoon. This latter fact was becoming apparent when we visited Seljalandsfoss. We shared cups of tea and a few choc-chip cookies, as this would be my end point of today. Niccolo pressed on a good 20-30km to find his next place to camp. Fast forward to my second-to-last day in Iceland, I met Niccolo and Eileen (the cyclists I met in Vík) again at Camp Alex in Keflavik. There we spend another night having loads of tea, and some liquor brought by a Dutch couple.

Back again to being on the road, though a bit further; my day cycling from Selfoss to Grindavik was gruelling. Again some headwinds make the progress hard, however I shouldn’t complain as the sun is trying its best to make it a beautiful day. I keep myself motivated with the thought of spending the next day at the Blue Lagoon, and once again the quote “if it was easy, it wouldn’t be an adventure” pops up in my mind.

On the road towards Grindavík, the southern part of the Reykjanes peninsula.

Relaxing in the Blue Lagoon (Bláa lónið in Icelandic)

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