18.07.2010 15 °C
Leaving Egilsstadir was actually quite upsetting... after a few days in this cheeky little town I felt quite attatched. I believe it was a mix of the warm hospitality shown by the locals and a chilled out atmosphere to this adilic little town. Anyway we were heading to Höfn only 246k away. The route 1 here ran between the south eastern fjords, and there was a noticably bad stretch of road which we were to look out for. Its amazing that on the main highway through a country in europe you can actually come across road like this. The road wasn't by any means Nepalie standards, where every bump throughs you out of your bus seat, and leaves you scrambling around in embaracement. No, these roads stretched through amazing fjord landscapes with rocks, sand and pebbles all over the road. Not even a good tyre tred was left by passing vehicles to allow an easier cycling path for the weary traveller. Yes, yes, yes.... I should shut up about the roads and just get on with it... its like the wind, it grinds you down. You can't cycle fast over this surface. As we had already had one inner tube blown out in the northern fjords we were taking no chances, and taking our ride with extra cautioun. We tried to hitch for a while, but with no luck we plodded on in our general slow fasion. The weather wasn't great and the clouds were decending down upon us, it didn't look good. So after maybe travelling 60k we decided to call it a day, and settle down for the night in a random field which looked softer than the rest of the surroundings, but turned out to be just as pompus and irritating as the hard ground all around us! Not a great first nights sleep. It only added to the annoyance, which the road had already caused us. Brighter things were to come.
The next day however was much better. After finally leaving the gravel road and returning to the beautiful asphelt surface everything seemed to get better. The sun was out and shinning bright, the wind was down, and the scenery was stunning. It was rather dreamy. Cycling past mountains and mountains on the way to the coast was beautiful, I kept thinking to myself, and the same question came up...... 'why didn't they film any of "Lord of the rings" here?' The landscape was rugged and wild, and empty up untill meeting the small town of Breiðdalsvík. There wasn't much going on in the small town, however it made a brilliant stop for some food, and an hour or so to relax and take in the mornings views, and the ever pending ones which were all around us. The bay was amazing. I feel that we were lucky to witness this bay area on such a calm day. I have a feeling that we should have tried to camp around there and taken the rest of the day off. However we dragged ourselves onwards to Djúpivogur.
Djúpivogur is also a fantastic little settlement. It is located near the island of Papey, which it is believed, was the settlement of Irish monks before the Norse conqueres came. The island is named after Papar, which is apparently from Latin and Old Irish meaning 'Father' or 'Pope'. The town itself seemed to revolve around the fishing industry, like many towns in Iceland. It was quaint and still. There wasn't all that much going on though. It was a brilliant place for a coffee and book, and an early-ish night.
The next days ride to Höfn was much the same as the last with the addition of wind. The views were spectacualar, the sun was out and the lack of hills helped awefully. It wasn't a hard cycle to get down to Höfn. The wind wasn't that bad for once, and we were all in good fetle. Stafafell was beautiful. It was a marking point that we weren't that far from Höfn. This picked up the moral of the group and pushed us on to complete this leg of our journey. we couldn't wait to hit some form of bigger civilisation for a few days or a day atleast. We hadn't muched our way through all of our provisions but we were needy of more pasta, rice and beans at this point. Our staple diet, oh the joys of cycling food. Baked beans and rice for dinner again tonight haha, why not throw in some chilli flakes to change it up a little bit. However, the views of the mountains around here were impecable, and would essentially make any food worth eatting. At this point I did feel really lucky to be here and just spend some time doing nothing! It was ace.
On arrival in Höfn, we realsied that we were a few days too late for the July Lobster Festival (Humarhátíð). Apparently it is amazing. We heard that the locals stand out on the streets, just cooking up lobster and giving it away to passing people. The streets were still lined with banners and cartoons of giant lobsters. It looked like a town with a hangover from one hell of a party. It was annoying that we had missed it but you can't do everything now can you?! On first apearance, ignoring banners and giant 'man eatting' lobsters, the town seemed nice. Nothing special but a pretty little coastal town with a nice harbour area and relaxed atmospher about it. This was to be home for the next few days, a place to rest the legs and relax. Lovley.
Icelandic lesson......... Nature (Náttúra).....
Forest - skógur
Sea - sjó
Mountain - fjall
Pond - Tjörnin
Glacier - jökull
Beach - fjara
Volcano - eldfjall
Lake - vatn
River - fljót
Waterfall - foss
Fjord - fjörður