Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bus Blunder

Saga´s are a part of Icelandic folk law. They are usually very long, sung and involve death, near death, love, hate, food, a viking or two and many take a few days to tell.... This is my saga.

Its a really good idea to be in a great mood all day when something is not going to go right... Something so simple can go a bit wrong... The Netherlands tour group i passed on the my morning hill climb invited me to join them on their walk to a waterfall and then onto the icelake. Sounds great, but i have to catch the 3,30pm bus. No worries so do they. They put my luggage with theirs and say their drivers will put it all on the bus and the bus will get us all from the Ice lake. Everything is sweet.

So we catch the bus over one of the glacier rivers to the start of our walk to the waterfall. Dandy. We walk in but soon we have to cross some streams of very cold water and of course i don´t want to get my boots wet and you can´t cross without shoes. But this tour group are well organised with second shoes for getting wet. They loan me a pair and i manage to cross. Just wonderfull. The waterfall is just magic. We have to again walk up the stream and climb over rocks to get to the fall, but once there it is just loverly. I´m under the fall of the waterfall, its only small, but the high mountain walls are covered in green moss...and the water flows through a small opening at the top. Its a great walk and i was so please i was invited...

I´m still having a great day. What could go wrong?

We make our way back and head towards the ice lake . At the rate we are walking I know we´ll not make the lake, but no drama its been a great day... We don´t make the lake, but the bus stops on the road to collect us. There are two busses going back as so many people. The 1st one keeps going and the second one stops. We all climb aboard, happy laughing and please withourselves. I´m stopped. There are two drivers. One for the tour group and one to get them across the glacier rivers. Now the drivers know i´m not part of the tour group and they say i have to get off the bus... I think no problem when the tour group leader gets here she´ll sort this out... She can´t. she is speachless... not good when she is Icelandic and so are the two drivers kicking me of the bus..

Now this might not sound too much like a problem. But I´m and my luggage are removed from the bus and to be left on the side of the road. Great I could walk back to the camping, but i have to cross the Glacier river, its 5kms (the river is about 1/2 wide and ice cold) and i don´t have my luggage in a backpack, but just a duffel bag. I do point out to the driver that its not such a great idea to leave me in the middle of the road with no way of getting across the river. I´m told get the next bus... when is the next bus...don´t know maybe tomorrow... I´m not that fussed about having to stay, but i really do need help in getting across the river... I´m thinking hitching across a river would be novel, but i don´t like my chances...

The reason i'm off the bus is because its full. The fine for the driver to have an extra person in 10,000kn. There are too many people to take back...as it is 6 people have been left at camping due to no room... I say happy to stay, but i can´t get to camping without help... Still the lady tour guide is speachless. One of the drivers is calling his office to find out when the next bus will be... everyone is now on the bus and i´m in the middle of the road,.... There is no way the bus is going to drive me across the river, its running late to met another bus and handover 8 passengers... its engine is running and the 1st driver is trying to get his co-driver on the bus and leave... I´m alone in the middle of the road...

Then someone has a really bright idea...re-count the seats.... can you believe that there is one seat left...What a relief... I´m welcomed on board and off we go...

There is just no way i was going to let the bus drive off... I needed to find a way of making it take me or drive me over the river. In hindsight I know that the best think i could have done was to offer to pay the fine... Ouch $200Aust... but better than being left between two glacier rivers you can´t cross...

We get back safe and sound. I tell the driver i understand his issue with the overloading, he is a bit coy but i think appreciated me speaking to him... I get my bike and ride of to the camping ground... The sun is now out. It´s cold but a nice everning

Monday, July 24, 2006

Porsmork thoughts

What a few days... let me see where do i start. I set off from Claudia´s on Friday 14th July with a short ride to the bus port. Yep bike and i are taking a bus to a place called Porsmork or at least thats what we planned in the morning. Now the P is a Th again here, a second elephant stamp if your saying it right.

The day is wet.. but i´m getting used to being on a bus when its raining. Better than riding i say. Its also cold and windy and the forecast is for a storm in the Landmannalaugar area with 20m/s winds... this is not riding weather

Now Porsmork is due south of Landmannalaugar, via a 3-4 day work. Its 50kms through the painted and volcanic landscape and one of the worlds most aclaimed walks... Were is my backpack and light tent! bugger I have to take bus. Porsmork is a valley with some trees situated between Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull.... And what is a jokull? Its a glacier and from Porsmork you can walk between the two glaciers over a mountain pass over 3 days to Skogar near the south coast... This was killing me not being able to do the walks. But then there is the issue with the weather!

So i take bus. At a small town called Hvolsvollur i´m told i have to change busses. Not a problem i think, but it is. Bike can´t go on second bus... Great, as i was planning on staying the night at Porsmork. Instead i have to store the bike at the Esso and return with the bus. I only get 3 hours in the area. Oh well that can´t be helped. So i get on second bus and we roll off to the 4x4 road. Now this is no normal 4x4 road... there are many river crossings and these are directly flowing off the glaciers so i´m told by the Icelandic folk that you have to be extra careful as the hight of the river can change and does change throughout the day due to melting of the icecaps.

Even through the rain and mud covered windows the view of the area is very special. We have crossed over some rivers that i´m sure the old touring sidecar would have coped with. We round a bend and then I´m godsmacked! The glacier is there in front of the bus along side of the road, complete with iceburges in the small lake. Now this is where using busses in Iceland is a real hoot. When you get to a great spot for a photo you don´t have to try to take it from the bus, the driver stops the bus and says ´do you wan´t to get a photo?... of course everyone does and we all bundle out into the ice wind and rain to get a photo and then wet we climb back into bus... just great.

At this point i don´t care that i only have 3 hours and that its wet and rainy seeing the lake and ice was so special. But then things change. The bus has to cross the large glacier river. The driver is on the phone (mobile phones work nearly everywhere here) checking with other drivers on the condition. Its not good. We are only 5kms from camp, but with the rain the river is too high for the bus to cross. As it is there are two 4x4 stranded on the land between the rivers flows waiting and hoping it will fall so they can cross. Everyone on the bus is dissapointed, except me... I now can get my bike, store is properly and make my way up the next day and stay overnight...

I can´t camp this night as the wind is just too much to attempt to put up a tent, so 8 people who were on the bus with me manage to find a guess house for us all for $2500 per/night/person ... ouch but not much choice... I have great company for the night chatting to everyone... I re-pack my stuff, arrange to leave my bike overnight at the guesthouse and book a spot in one of the huts at Porsmork for the next night... I´m stoked!

Next day... Still wet and windy i catch bus at 10.30am... There are too many people for the bus. This is because of the overflow from yesterday and also there is a marathon in the area. Yes thats right... 150 people are running from Landmannalaugar to Porsmork in a day, that usually takes 3-4 days to walk... its a 50km run... This is not for the fainthearted and to boot there is a storm! To my amazement and others... the Icelandic folk on the bus are asked to give up their seats for the tourists... To my further amazement they do. The driver says he´ll return and collect them on a special bus run.

So we trundle out again. This time we can cross the river. And i see why we had to turnback. Its not that we actually cross it, we have to drive in it for some time before the bus can turn across the flow. Now this crossing would be a bit of a tall order for the old sidecar, but with a few mods I'm sure a way could be found. As for the smaller 4x4... its would be a case of holding your breath as you cross. On the bus, and this is a bus with a lift-kit, the water lever is over the wheels. We all watch the landdrovers and other big 4x4 with oversized tyres attempt the crossing after watching the bus... They make it fine. Its not technically difficuilt once you can follow someone else... you just need to know where the ford is. Its the flow of the current that is daunting...its very fast, very grey and you can´t see the otherside. And i´m told if you stop in the flow thats when you´ll have problems. As the flow is so fast its also carrying a lot of sand, this is why its grey. As soon as you stop the sand builds up around your wheels and you can´t get the car to move. So once you decide to cross you have to keep going.

So i now arrive in Porsmork...yippy its still raining. I find my hut and sleeping bag spot in the loft of my hut...These huts are great they have a kitchen with all the cooking things you need and a loo. You have to use the showerblock, but this is not such a drama as it has a sauna and there is a thermal hotpot in the garden. Remember folks this is a National Park...with a sauna...

I have been chatting to Dori from the USA, her husbane is running in the marathon. She tells me the runners will be starting in around 3pm.. So i have around 3 or so hours to do a walk or longer if the rain stops... as the runners will keep arriving until around 6pm... thats around 8 hours of running! I´m determined to go on a walk even thought its no stop rain and wind and the storm is still in the area...

Now this is what i´m wearing for my walk attempt.. I have my walking boots on and wool sox´s. Over the boots i have my cycling plastic rain covers, they are to act like gatters and to try to keep water out of my laces and not run down the top of my boot. My boots have been sealed with snowseal but this rain finds a way down the top of your boot. Then i have my usual wool thermal leg-on´s you have been seeing in my photos, over the top my u-bute 'The North Face' (have to through in a brand name) gortex walking pants, then on top i have my usual wool clothes, Icebreaker of course, the windstopper and my Gortex jacket. I have a beenie on my head and on my hands i have my now waterproof mittens... Dork yes! Waterproof yes! warm just!

I set out... i make the 1st minor hill climb. Here i have been protected by the forrest of Birch trees... I must tell you the Icelandic joke about forrests here 'if your lost in an Icelandic forrest, stand up' The trees are small and there are only few, but what they i have is very nice. anyway back to my saga...

okay once over the rise i´m hit by the full force of the wind and rain. I have the hood of my jacket drawn in covering my lower face and touching the top of my glasses, i have to walk with my head down as i can´t see through the rain getting on to my glasses... As i said i´m determined to go for a walk. I have my day pack and i have water and food... no that i can actually stop to eat or drink.. I can´t take photos as my camera i now in a waterproof bag & not that i can see anything to take a photo of. And remember folks 150 people are running in this weather... are they mad! I make it to the other camping ground, this place is situated in a wonderful glacier river valley with soring mountains ranging in height of 500 to 1000mtrs... I guess they are snow covered, but i can´t tell at this point as the rain cloud is at 100mts.. I trudge on.. I manage to cross the 1st foot bridge over the glacier river.. i then wander around the rocks and river and then i stop.... I´m wet, cold, hungry, its 3pm and i´m not going to see much so i return to my camp spot to watch the runners return.

Now the marathon. What a feat of endurance. At the 1/2 way point 30 runners have stopped. Dori husbane Greg is one of the 1st 30 runners in, He describes near hypothermic conditions as he was running. I spend the next few hours listening to the stories of the runners and what the presentations to the winners. I think the 1st man was in at around 5-hours and the 1st girl around 5,30-hours. I am impressed. These folks are fit... This is the 10 year of the marathon and it has an international standing now.

Several of the runners are staying in the hut i´m in and everyone is chatting about the run and cycling in Iceland (yep 3 of the English runners have their bikes here and are riding back to Landmannalaugur!) I met my 1st fellow Aussie in the hut over from Sydney and going to walk to Landmannalaugur... Great!

Now the next day i´m hoping for clear sky. I wake at my usual 2,30am time and check the view... yes i can see blue sky... yippy...I return to sleep... I get up at 7ish... No blue sky, but no wind and no rain either so I set out again. Only this time I´m going to climb the mountain behind camping that will if the sun comes out give me a view of the glacier river valley i was in yesterday but most importantly a view of the glacier... So i set out... wearing less but carrying it just in case... I climb, overtake a tour group from the Netherlands and get to the top...

Iam spellbound... What a view... The cloud has lifted the sun is out, at least over the glacier and i´m on top of a mountain watching it all happen... I wan´t to tell someone i´m here... i want someone to ring me... i wan´t to sing and dance its a wonderful day...

My phone rings...much to my surprise... Its Ron calling to tell me that Justine Kelly from 720 ABC want´s to interview me for 6-degrees of seperation! What a hoot.. Wish we could have done the interview on this mountain! I´m in a buzz all day from my walk.. which is good as it helps me cope with what is about to happen... Something so seaming simple can go very bad....

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Reykjavik and around

When i left you i was making my way to Reykjavik with the assistance of Claudia and her car...Well much has happened since then...here goes....

Reykjavik Town
So what does a girl do on her own in a big city? yep same as Berlin... shop! This is a 1st in my life but i have managed to do my christmas shopping in one day. Why now you may ask, it takes 12 weeks to send things home so thats around October before i see anything, so i thought why not just get it done now. I can recomend taking an overseas holiday and combining it with your christmas shopping... (if u see to mmmany ´mmm´s in a word its because the mmm keeps sticking) So i shopped... had a ball trying to find anything at all that i could afford... so if your on my regular christmas shopping list, expect something very small, very Icelandic, know that it cost a fortune (NB: koffee here is $7 Australian) and i had fun in buying it.. if your not on my normal christmas shopping list, you´ll just have to wonder about the things i bought...

Now if you have plenty of money, Reykjavik is a great place to come and shop. Its so Bjork! if you get my drift. The place is full of art stores, great clothing shops, more art shops, lots of wool, koffee shops, North 66 shops and much more. There are some great churches... generally these are very grey with no or limited art. I guess trying to match the landscape but they missed the point somehow.

I also booked a tour or two which i´ll now tell you about in turn... photo´s later.

Elephant stamp for anyone who can say this correctly when i get back. What a place... but from the start. I got picked up from Bjork Hotel (next door to Claudia´s place) at 8,30am. The bus then collected others from the other hotels and then stopped at the busport. By 9,30am we hit the road for the day long trip to Landmannalaugar... by 10am we were stopped in a Esso station waiting for the 3people we forgot to get from a hotel. But then we were off again.

Its a really good idea to book bus trips on wet rainny days. I´m getting very good at this now or its just wet and rainy in Iceland when i choose not to ride. The trip trundles along the route 1 to a place called Selfoss (yes there is a waterfall for those of you who remember the foss conection)... a bit south from here it takes the inland road 32 which is a 4x4 road. Mostly because you have to cross a river or two.

On the way we stop a very nice fall but i have no photo's as at this point in my travels my camera decided it no longer wanted to be wet and cold and spat the dummy. I hoped that if i put the battery in my pocket and tried to dry the camera it would be responsive... it works but is moody for the whole next week... So we rolled on to a place called Stong. Now around 1100ad a volcano in the area called Hekla decided to errupt and bury the farm in ash. In the 70´s the Icelanders uncovered it and have restored part of the home. The farmhouse is a stone and turf construction with a central fireplace, the animals are also housed nearby to added warmth. We leave here and roll over rock road, through black lava sand mountains.

Now rain can be a wonderful thing at times and today was one of those times. I´ll try to describe what i saw in as much detail as i can... picture if you can very black sand mountains, lofty, steep, vertical sides, rocky on top and in shapes that make you swear its a Troll up there. Dust them with red and yellow rust. Then from the top of the mountain have green moss and lichen growing down towards the base of the mountain but not making it. Overlay on the valleys and divits on the mountain side lichen and moss that is so vivid green it radiates, like veins, giving life to the mountain.

From within this valley we climb up to take in the view of a lake and the hills. The lake is called 'ugly pit' in icelandic, but it is far from this. Though the ice cold wind and rain makes it very hard to get a good photo shot and the camera is still a bit niggly about all this rain... Now its the final drive into the Landmannalauga camping spot. What a crowd! Think everyone is here. Our driver encourages us to join him on a walk over the coloured hills to the solphur fields in the rain saying its great. We all go and the walk through the lava field is very special. The rain is not as heavy now and once we reach the solphur field and the sun is trying to come out.. Even in this condition the colours of the mountains is just like a rainbow and just like you see in all the postcards and books on Iceland. There is no trickery in the photos here....

I and others wander back to the camping ground, all the time the sun is getting stronger. Landmannalaugar also has a natural hotpot. So i make a big decision to get into my bathers in near artic conditions, and half naked make the 25meter run along a boardwalk, in rain to the spot you can bath. Now bath is the word. The water is only knee deep and you have to sort of sit in the creek and huddle at the exit where the hot water is flowing. Whilst your doing this your burning your bum on the hot rocks, your back is being washed with ice cold water and all the time your covered in long green slim. Not the best hotpot i´ve been into in iceland or Oz for that matter.

Getting out takes super human effort as its still raining and windy. But i manage to make the run back to the change rooms for a real hot shower. I make my way after this to the old USA school bus parked here for the summer and selling hot coffee and food. As i do this the rain and wind stop and the sun comes out... What a view, what colours, what a great time to be here.

The bus rolls back to Reykjavik, via a view of the volcano, Hekla, but cloud has covered its summit. Its a great day and so glad i got to see Landmannalaugar in sunlight.

Blue Lagoon
Now this is a must do on any itinary to Iceland. Its part of your entry to the country that you go. And its made very easy to do by being conviently located very near the International airport. Or you can take the daily buses from Town the 50kms to the lagoon. Now this is a wonderful resort. Yep its a resort and when i was there it was a bit like being in down town New York as a cruise ship was in town from the states. But despite the accents and loudness, the lagoon is very large and you can find your own spot of hot water to relax in, with your very own pot of white silica mud to smear on your face and let harden... They say its very good for the skin... you don´t feel so much like a dork when everyone is doing the same.

I enjoyed myself here just trying to float and rest in the hot water. Just lovery. When i returned to town, Claudia and i when shopping at the hiking and camping shop in town... What a place. What great stuff they have for the very very cold... I bought some waterproof mittens for riding and some walking pants... Yep after walking around town in wool leg-on´s and shorts for 3 days i thought i needed to look a little bit nazzy! Black helps with this of course.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rolling to Reykjavik

I got off the bus Gullfoss. It was cold but a sunny day. Very welcomed after the highlands. Gullfoss is a waterfall, very impressive... anything ending in foss is a waterfall. The photo is not this waterfull but one in the National Park. From here i road about 10kms to camp at Geysir. And yes this is the original Geysir all others in the world use this world from Iceland. Its also very impressive and this is the smaller one as the big one has stopped working. From here I took my time riding to Pingvellir National Park... the P is actually a Th.. but it all gets a bit confusing.

To get to Pingvellir i used road 365. Dirt, great as in the morning I thought i had finished will all my dirt roads and i put some air in the tyres... not such a great move and i was too lazy to let it out. The road is just great the vista´s are just wonderful. its hard to describe but the hills are very colourful, due to the rock rusting so you get lots of reds and yellow with the black volcanic sand and plenty of green moss.

The National Park is loverly. There is a lake and small trees and its very green. This area is very significant for two reasons. 1stly it the original parliment of Iceland in around 800bc and 2ndly its one of the placed you can really see that Iceland is being torn apart.... the rift is very visible and you can walk through it...

I had a great sunny arvo and day here and Cloudia came and picked me up to spend a few days in Reykjavik.... more on that latter and more on where i am now... got to go to catch a bus

PS: hope you like the photo of the truck it was on the ferry with me when i left Denmark... I call the photo 'Iceland extreme' ... Think its a great photo... the truck only had two people

Kjolur Track

Kjolur Track
Now there is an 85k ride from Akureyri with very limited places to camp along the way, then from here I could take the ring road or take the dirt road called the Kjolur Track through the highlands. The ring road is very long and not much to see and the dirt road is much shorter, lots to see, but hard riding. I um and ah for some time, then decide I´ll do the dirt road the Kjolur Track witha bus!

Bus travel in Iceland is very good. I just buy ticket, turn up on time and they just load my bike in the trailer and i hop on to the warm bus and watch the kms race by! On this bus i met Denise again. We had met a few days b4 at on a bus in Myvatn so it was great fun chatting and catching up on our adventures.

The road is do able by bike. but i don´t know why you would want to frankly. It was muddy, rocky , hilly and a long way. We arrive at the Hveravelir camp site at around 11.30pm. Its a great day. Dark cloud but no rain (yet). I re-meet up with the German cyclist, Ove and Brigit. They have riden the track and they tell me that yesterday they had to walk 20kms because of the wind... they were almost unable to hold the bikes upright and puch them into the wind...

Denise and I set up our camps and then make our way to the hot tub... we then spent the rest of the day here. It was just great fun... At some stage we both did the walk of the steaming jets. It was so very cold here, but we both decide to stay a second night and do a walk the next day.

its raining the next day... It rains all day. We manage to walk around 12kms to a geat view of lava, snow and mountains. But we are so wet when we get back. wet jackets, wet boots, wet hats. We have to warm up and again spend s few hours in the hottub... But hunger, cold and tiredness gets too us and we have to crawl into our tents and try to sleep in full daylight and cold wind...

Its not much better the next day. Its worse in fact. The rain is now sideways and very cold. We have to pack up our camp and get ready to catch the bike... At one point i couldn´t feel my hands (Thanks Burkhart for the hand warms just wonderful)... The bus arrives on time.. we load bike and other stuff and head for the ski field called Kerlingarfjoll. This was a great highlight of the bus trip. Its a loverly spot with mountains around and flowing river, but very cold. But there is hot food and shelter. The bus stops for 30minutes so we can get food. I had my 1st bought meal here and it was just the best setting.

From here the bus rolls through the highlands, close to glacier fingers that flow into a lake, pass Icelandic horses and mountains.... to the lowlands

I get off the bus at Gullfoss, but more on that later..

Artic Akureyri

Artic yes... in the sence of being in the Artic Circle but more on that...


1st i want to tell you about my attempt to walk from Krafla back to Myvatn and the hailstorm. I took the bus up to the Krafla area north west of Myvatn. Its only a 13km walk back through a lava field and i thought it would all go so well. I did the walk around the big crater, steaming vents and troll lava field.. Wonderful. Then i had this bright idea i would walk down to the geo-thermal powerstation to take a look and then walk around the back of the powerstation and then do the 13kms to Myvatn. The weather had another plan.

The powerstation visit was interesting, mostly in as much as you realise that its built on an active volcanic area, its using the steam from the earth to run the turbins to produce around 30Mg and everyday you get to go to work in a very nice place... but the thought of knowing that during the construction the Krafla volcanic area errupted and lava flowed over the 1st bore holes , makes me wonder about the OH&S issues of working there.

I did the walk behind the powerstation and found out it was much further than i thought... about 10kms i would say. And after walking throught a recent lava field flow on your own you really do begin to understand why the Icelandic folk believe in Trolls.... The lava is so black and at times you think its moving.. I finally made it to the point where i could cross over the lava, but i still had 13kms to do, its was 4pm and started to rain and i could see the car park about 1km away... At the very point where i needed to make a decision the weather mad it for me... the rain was no longer rain, but hail, fine to start with, but it got bigger... much bigger. About the size of a large pea. It was painful on skin and i had to get all my wet walking gear on and the path turned to ice... So i decided that hitching a lift would be a better idea...

Getting a lift was much harder than i thought but soon after i had walked about 6kms in wonderful sunshine... yes the hailstorm stopped as soon as i got to the car park to hitch. An Icelandic couple picked my up and dropped me back at Myvatn... were i was again confrounted by the flys...

Ride to Akureyri

I then spent the next two days riding to Arkureyri the second largest city in Iceland. The highlight of this ride was seeing Godfoss waterfall and then camping in Vaglaskogur National Park... Trees :) This was just geat so i took a photo from within my tent! The best bit was the ride over the mountain pass and then seeing the Fjord with many snow capped mountains. Just wonderful.. it was a sunny day, but the ride down the mountain had me not able to change my gears with the twistgrip as my hands were so cold.

Air Iceland

Now what does one do when your so close to the Artic Circle and you really want to see the Fjord from the air? You take a flight to Grimsley Island with Air Iceland at 7,30pm. This was just wonderful. I did fell a bit silly as i thought what i´m i going to do on an this island for only an hour... but one of those wonderful things happens... your not alone, 4 others are being as silly as you and you feel much better... Then when your in the air and see the snow mountains and Fjord, plus the road you just road over.. it is worth the cost, time and i don´t feel so silly.

Once we land to mine and the other 4 a lady meets the plane and tells us she will be our guide for the hour. This is just wonderful, she drives us all around the island and then we all go for a walk to see Puffins...but 1st she takes our photo show us we are in the Artic Circle. Finally we re-board the plane and fly back... its now 9.30ish when we land but its sunny and still daylight...

Askja Tour

So when i last wrote i told you i did something fantastic but not what... well now i can and include photo´s...

On Friday 30 June.. i have to mention the date for all my accounting mates i did a tour into the centre of Iceland to visit Mt Herubreid and Askja Crater. Now this was 13 hours on a bus on some prity bad roads. Some bike riders choose to ride the 100kms but not me.. i´m not silly as i know you have to ride the 100kms back out...

Now this place is very volcanic looking. Much of the lava is now old, around 2000 years. You have to consider this with the fact Iceland is only 17,000 years old. I have walked in lava that is only 40 years old so you get an idea of how Iceland is still growing.

Now the tour required a bit of snow walking up to see the crater of Askja. On top of the snow it was very windy and of course cold. Once at the top the view is just wonderful and i guess the photos only give a hint of this... Now this area has a smaller crater called Viti where the water is around 25 degrees. Your allowed to swim here, if you can manage to get down there. Its not as hard as it looks. But there are some rules on the swimming here. You must go in Icelandic style... NUDE! What a blast. The water is not that hot but its much warmer than the wind and snow. Around the base of the water are a few steam jets so you can sort of warm up once you get out to re-dress. I wasn't alone in my swim, but i'm proud of being the second person in!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Myvatn Migges!

I ride the 57kms to Reykjahlid or what is better know as Myvatn in one day... It starts out to be a great day, only a small hill climb out of town and a slight breaze.. then I have to turn left and south and things change... A raging side wind, its too hot to ride with water proof clothes but its going to rain. Then to top it off the road is dirt for about 25kms in the middle... not bad dirt but the rolling hill kind of roads where it takes forever to say goodbye to the Fjord behind you and hello to the hill ahead of you... But i manage.. each peddle turn is a bit further and each step when i have to walk is a bit further.

At one point just when you´re a bit tried of the hills, wind and grey rocky terrain, to cheer you up it starts to hail. Really what i need now mud!... once i get all my rain clothes on it stops... tops so i take them all off again... We do this twice in 25kms. So glad I'm relaxed!

Finally i get over the hills and i can see Lake Myvatn and i can see the sealed road... Down hill wicked! oops its now raining a lot... i need to re-dress!

Myvatn is a lake created from a volcanic event... Too much has happened here to give you lots of details but its very interesting. But the fly's my god they are friendly, in your ears, nose, mouth and hair... a big thick cloud of them. Wonderful... Once i set up camp my 1st stop is to ride out to the Blue Lagoon they have here... Not the best ride out when your tired and have to ride through the same head wind... but the soak is worth it. Its a blue white out door pool that has a solphur smell to it. You have to shower 1st in Iceland to use any of the pools... so your wet, it's generally really cold as you make a dash for the 30 degree pool... Now the water in the pool arrives at about 100 degrees so you can swim around to find the right warmth for you. I stay a while to wash away the days ride...

The ride back to camp was a hoot... tail wind all the way.

My next day in the area was a tour into in interior. This was one of the best things I have done. but your going to have to wait a bit longer to hear about it as I'm out of internet time and i need to get some lunch...