Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 13: Ólafsvík - Stykkishólmur
Time: 3:36:23
Distance: 65.83 km
Average Speed 18.2 km/h

As we were packing up our tents the rain started. We got some skyr and coffee for breakfast at the petrol station from yesterday before setting out. The weather improved as the day went on. We passed a lot of waterfalls, lava fields and a copy of Ben Bulben before reaching Stykkishólmur. We were expecting to get a bus at 5pm but it turned out that the bus only goes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so we found a hostel by the harbour. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 12: Vegamót - Ólafsvík
Time: 5:42:33
Distance: 104.34 km
Average Speed 18.2 km/h

We set off in sunshine today stopping off for breakfast after about 5km. At our next stop about 57km in we ate some terrible hamburgers and met 2 Irish girls driving a car around for 5 days. A lot of today's cycle was through lava fields with snowy mountains a constant part of the scenery. We spent a long time passing the Snæfellsjökull glacier. Ryan had his first flat in Hellissandur just a short bit away from a petrol station. We got a coffee in there to warm up our hands before making the fix. Another 10km after we reached our destination Ólafsvík which has a campsite just outside the town. We got pizza in the only place in town that looked open (a petrol station) watching the end of the Bayern - Real Madrid game.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 11: Borgarnes - Vegamót
Time: 3:23:20
Distance: 66.44 km
Average Speed 19.6 km/h

On the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Internet connection is rubbish. Will post something in the next few days.

Update: Snaefellsnes has been described as a sort of miniature Iceland in that you can see most of the geographical features that Iceland has to offer on this peninsula. Iceland's weather decided to be nice today and most of the journey was done with the wind at our backs. We travelled mainly through remote farming areas with snowy mountains a constant sight in the distance. Once it got near dark we asked 2 young farmers if we could camp in one of their fields. They sent us to the one where they wouldn't be spreading slurry (they did this up until around midnight) and where there were no horses (fields of horses are common in Iceland, there are 2 horses for every 3 people). Our "dinner" consisted of cream crackers, nuts and penguin bars washed down with Paddy and Brenevin (an Icelandic spirit). I set an alarm to wake me up for the Northern Lights but no success tonight.

Day 6-10

We decided to bus down to Reykjavík since the roads west of Akureyri would be closed for a few days with the snow. The new plan is to cycle the Snæfellsnes peninsula on the West of Iceland. Over the last few days we drank beer in Reykjavík and got around to the waterfall at Gullfoss, the Þingvellir National Park and the Geysir at Geysir.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 5: Akureyri - Akureyri
Time: 4:35:54
Distance: 60.72 km
Average Speed 13.2 km/h

Today was most likely the toughest 60km I have ever done on the bike. The reason that the queue for the off licence was so long yesterday was that Holy Thursday was a day off. The town was very busy and we stayed out in the bars until about 3am. We set off at 1pm on the 95km road to Lake Mývatn. After 2 hours on the bike we had only covered about 30km due to all of the climbing and wind. The last 5km of that were into a wind that would almost knock a man from his bike. Without much hesitation we decided it was best to turn back since continuing could of left us stuck on a snowy mountain in the dark and we were sure that we'd have a place to stay in Akureyri. We climbed back up the mountain we had just descended from. The first time up and down the mountain the road was clean. It now had snow in some sections. Another reminder that the weather can turn upside down in minutes in Iceland. For the final 20km again we had seriously strong wind in our faces. At times the speed went down as low as 5km/h. We arrived back in Akureyri just after 6pm looking and feeling pretty beaten up. Luckily there was room to stay in the hostel we stayed in last night and freezing from the cycle we thawed out in the sauna. I found out later that there were storm conditions up ahead at Lake Mývatn so the decision to turn back looked like a good one. A likely next move will be to get a bus out of Akureyri to the Eastern Fjords. As I'm writing this the roads in that direction are blocked with snow blizzards so maybe we'll be stranded in Akureyri for another night.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 4: Flugumýrarhvammur Akureyri (Car) 95 km

It was snowing as I looked out the window this morning. The weather forecast was for sun all day but with the amount of snow on the ground it was looking like a non-bike day. We checked the road updates website and part of the road we needed to cycle on was closed all morning. The farmers wife was driving to Akureyri and recommended that we take a lift with her. She cooked us lunch of lamb and beef sausages before taking us and the bikes through the snowy mountains. Akureyri is Iceland's second biggest city with 10,000 people. We took a walk around before using the sauna in the hostel. There's only one off license in the town that closed at 6. At 5.45 pm there was a line of about 50 or 60 people trying to get into the place. Tomorrow we hope to get some cycling in and will aim for Lake Mývatn.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 3: Borgarnes - Varmahlíð (Bus) 244km
Varmahlíð - Flugumýrarhvammur (Bike)
Time: 0:32:19
Distance: 10.19 km
Average Speed 19 km/h

On advice from the hostel in Borgarnes, the tourist information office and anyone Icelandic we took a bus to avoid the snowy roads on the mountain pass after Bifröst. Bifröst looked an unusual place with a university holding just 200 students surrounded by lava fields. The first part of the bus journey looked like it could have been cycled. It was only when we got into the snowy area that our decision to bus looked vindicated. When getting on the bus in Borgarnes the bus driver had to get the bike rack from the luggage space and said it was the first time he'd needed to take bikes this year. Temperatures are a little better in Varmahlíð compared to Borgarnes. We cycled the short distance to a farm that Ryan has stayed at while researching for his University program. They were a very welcoming family who all spoke great English. We had lunch and dinner with them. There is a story about the farm right next to theirs which was burned to the ground years ago. The farmer survived the fire by hiding in a barrel of Skyr (Icelandic yogurt).