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
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.
Jon keeping a tight grip on the summit cairn
That's a serious piece of cliff
Mad sky, airbrushed by The Gods
|Travel stats!||Camp stats!|
|Offroad||12 km ||Paid?||No one there to pay |
|Tarmac||18 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
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.
An ant's eye view (chocolate stop)
The well-kept church at Selvogur
[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?"
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!|
|Offroad||23 km ||Paid?||Yes|
|Tarmac||71 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)
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.
Metallic deposits inside the brittle aerated rock
Dude, you smell!
Oh, so do I
Unga munga cavey wavey! Class.
The trusty steeds take a breather
Bikes and beards, it doesn't get much better
Fishing boats at Grindavik harbour
|Travel stats!||Camp stats!|
|Offroad||50 km ||Paid?||No one there to pay |
|Tarmac||12 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.
Form an orderly queue please ladies
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.
15 days of well earned beard
All gone (but I predict they'll be back)
|Travel stats!||Hostel stats!|
|Offroad|| - ||Paid?||Yes |
|Tarmac||22 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
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.
|Offroad|| Lots but on a plane |
|Walking || 1 ½ hrs |