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Day 11 >> Hvolsvollur

To go to Reykjavik, or not to go to Reykjavik? We'd been going to bed at 7 - 9pm every night and sleeping 10 hours quite easily. With the Reykjavik nightlife being from 11pm - 4am, we figured we'd be rubbish. So today we would walk up the local mountain, and then ride the scenic route back to Keflavik and the airport. Thrihyrningur is a 670m tridentate mountain of palagonite (it says here) about an hours ride from Hvolsvollur. It's a fairly dull climb until you get to the top, when all of a sudden and quite unexpectedly you find yourself on top of an enormous crag that towers above the neighbouring lava field and the Fljotshlid valley. We're not sure whether Thrihyrningur used to be a volcano, but it looks like one and sits in between two of Iceland's most notorious active volcanoes - Hekla (1491m) and Katla.

Still not bored of waterfalls

Oh man, I am so high right now

Straight ahead: the quick way down

Jon keeping a tight grip on the summit cairn

That's a serious piece of cliff

Mad sky, airbrushed by The Gods
The rain returned after we got back to Hvolsvollur, so we ventured out for a large pizza instead of riding anywhere else. A large glass of house wine in that pizza cafe was priced at 18 - we drank Fanta.

Travel stats!Camp stats!
Offroad12 km       Paid?No one there to pay  
Tarmac18 km Showers?No
Walking   3 hrs German campers?  No one else there
Day 12 >> Selvogur

Hey where have all the rain clouds gone? The sun shone brightly, and our journey back to the beginning started. With a fresh North Easterly blowing, we made reasonable progress North before turning South West towards the coastal gravel tracks once again. Now with a direct tailwind, that 15km leg to Selfoss took about 3 seconds, and we cruised down to the sea under warm blue skies. An angry scruffy (and clearly quite mad) dog was our only problem, but even it decided to go back to sunbathing instead of ending it all under my front wheel. By late afternoon we had reached our furthest camp site in the day plan, at the T-Baer coffee shop, at a hamlet on the coast at Selvogur. In the sunshine, this place is a delightful spot, the shop run by a little old lady serving good coffee and cakes and with a quality camping field. If you ever make it there, look out for my (terrible) sketches in the 2nd 2006 visitors book dated 21st September.

Petrol station pit stop (baguette station for us)

About to raid the KFC at Selfoss

Those are Day 10's glaciers in the background

Coastal cruisin'

An ant's eye view (chocolate stop)

The well-kept church at Selvogur
That night was clear and cold, with stars shining brightly in the unpolluted sky, and just a hint of the Northern Lights to be seen. As I lay there cold, wearing 2 pairs of socks, trousers, 4 layers (including fleece) and a hat, inside my sleeping bag liner, inside my sleeping bag, I decided once and for all (and positively for the last time) that the 1995 Vango Ultralight 900M is an utterly useless sleeping bag. I'm going to buy a proper down one next.

[Hmm good pic but don't be gay]  Jon looks rubbish!

Tomorrow we go thata way

Orange light on black sand

Sho I shaid "Why the long face, huh?"
boom boom

It's common to build a little house for the elves
(no really, it is)

A small fraction of the stars visible that night

Travel stats!Camp stats!
Offroad23 km       Paid?Yes
Tarmac71 km Showers?Yes
Walking   1 hr German campers?  No one else there  
Day 13 >> Grindavik

The sunny weather held for our leg back to Grindavik, and gave us time to explore a cinder cone crater, then the bubbling steamy springs and lake at Kleifarvatn. The springs absolutely stink, but are undeniably pretty under blue skies. The water here emerges at boiling point and the earth is scorched white (or yellow with sulphur). The lake is reputed to contain a Loch Ness style monster, but the beast kept itself hidden from us. Instead, the clear flat water, black sand and surrounding jagged peaks combined to make a scene of complete serenity.

A frosty start to the day

Checking out a crater (Jon is on the other side)

Metallic deposits inside the brittle aerated rock

Dude, you smell!

Oh, so do I
After the final off-road leg to Grindavik (and our only puncture), we went out for our only "proper" meal of the trip at the local fish restaurant. I have to recommend this restaurant (next to Mamma Mia's pizza) - the lady there speaks excellent English, the food was great despite us being the only customers, and because she liked us we were not charged for our starters or coffees. It was also refreshing to see service with a cheery smile instead of the trademark Icelandic deadpan style. I think Jack Dee could probably make a fortune over there.

Unga munga cavey wavey! Class.

The trusty steeds take a breather


...and quiet

Bikes and beards, it doesn't get much better

Fishing boats at Grindavik harbour

Travel stats!Camp stats!
Offroad50 km       Paid?No one there to pay  
Tarmac12 km Showers?No
Walking   1 ½ hrs German campers?  Yes
Day 14 >> Njardvik

For the final day we had a relaxing time planned. From Grindavik it is a short ride to the world famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. In reality this is the waste water from a geothermal power station, but they do a good job of disguising it and allegedly the water has magical algae powers. The water is maintained at 36°C or so, the entrance fee including a sauna, steam room, and mud to smear on your face (but not your eyes - that hurt when I tried it). We soaked, steamed and sweated for 2 hours, then rode back to the youth hostel at Njardvik.

Lagoon lounging

Form an orderly queue please ladies

15 days of well earned beard

All gone (but I predict they'll be back)
Next to the hostel is a housing block for Iceland immigrants. "Hey, where you from?" asked a chap wanting a light for his cigarette. "England". "England!" he said. "I know there. I was in Newcastle for a year! In prison!". Hmm. We packed our bikes into their boxes and locked the door quietly behind us.

Travel stats!Hostel stats!
Offroad - Paid?Yes  
Tarmac22 km       Showers?Yes
Spa/Sauna   2 hrs German hostellers?  Yes
Day 15 >> Back Home

A short walk from Njardvik to Keflavik and back was rather uninspiring. In winter when they only have a few hours of daylight each day, it must be downright depressing. But there were some big starfish in the harbour.

We had drunk no alcohol during the holiday [pause here for those eating or drinking to clean up whatever they just spat out] - at 6 a pint and upwards it just wasn't so attractive. So all remaining Kronur was invested in beer after we were checked in at the airport. 3 bottles each soon cleared up all our remaining cash, and of course felt damn good!

Outside Stansted there was a distinct feeling of sugary warmth to the late September air. UK autumn nights feeling warm? Who'd have thought it. The holiday had been first class, but as the singing Germans knew on our first day, it still felt good to be back home.

Travel stats!
Offroad Lots but on a plane  
Walking   1 ½ hrs