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Cycling around Iceland

On Arrival in Akureyri... mouthful ey!"

sunny 17 °C

On arrival in Akureyri.......

The last week has been rather a tough one. The wind has been constant and there hasn't been the slightest let up or break to allow for rest. Even when travelling down hills it has been essential to peddle, and peddle damn hard as well. After crossing route 59 at the base of the western fjords on rough terrain and having to cycle on into the night to find affordable accommodation the strain was getting to us. We really needed a break or something to lift our spirits. I know I keep mentioning the wind and its horrendous tendencies to be annoying, but its bloody true. It can really kick you in the teeth. We managed to find an amazing little place to camp at a place called Saeberg, near Reykir. There was a hostelling international hostel there and they offered affordable camping. They even had a hot tub, which was amazing to sit in at night and stare out over the cold Hrutafjordur. Its moments like that, that just raise Icelands profile, as an amazing place to be, and relax in.
The next day we set off for Blonduos. The wind was typically horrendous. It's probably not even that bad to the locals, but when cycling it's mighty hard. Up and down hills with finally a little break of sunshine for a few hours, the day looked like it was going to be fantastic. Around a few more corners however the wind really got up, and only allowed a few miles in an hour or so. We finally decided to stop at a little roadside cafe and gas station in Vidigerdi. After purchasing some bread and snacks, we thought it would be a brilliant idea to throw some energy into hitching again. Time passed by with the usual happy faces and waves from tourists in small cars. Eventually however a large truck pulled over. The Man was heading for Akureyri, which was the destination we aimed to be in, in a few days. We loaded up the bikes and extras and jumped in. The views were lovely. The small town Blonduos was now only a flying visit. It is in itself a well established town, with a very full looking campsite, I would imagine with the convoy of motor homes travelling between Reykjavik and the north. There is also a 9 hole golf course and another interesting looking church in the town. We traveled on around Skagafjordur and up into the high mountain passes near to Akureyri. The views were stunning. Jaw droppingly beautiful. Everywhere you looked the scenery was just amazing, and kept going for a good hours drive. Earlier in the day we were told by some Dutch drivers, that this area wasn't particularly special. I can't imagine therefore what the rest of Iceland shall be like. I can only imagine and prepare my jaw for more dropping moments of natural beauty.
Travelling across the north of Iceland there are a few beautiful towns and places of interest. In Borgarvirki the last Icelandic execution took place in 1830. Local folk law states that to be considered a "real Icelandic man" you have to be able to swim naked to the island of Drangey with a torch in your hand while singing the national anthem (wish me luck). In the Heradsvotn area in 1238 three of the most powerful clans in Iceland fought over lordship of the country, which consiquiently was the largest battle in Icelands History. The area also is the setting for one of Icelands most famous Ghost stories. The glacier named Eiriksjokull is named after a famous outlaw who lost his leg fighting farmers on the glacier, he still managed to escape though.
On arrival in Akureyri we headed straight over to central campsite. It was a nice enough site, with all the required essentials and brilliantly situated. The only downside was that the showers cost an extra 100ISK and were over the road, and the amount of motor homes there were, was rather annoying. We put our tent up and went straight to sleep for a good 10 hours or more. The next day we utilized the local swimming baths. Situated about one block from the campsite, the baths were perfect for the weary cyclists legs. 450ISK was the entrance price, which was more than acceptable due to the amazing facilities. Two different temperature hot pools, two swimming baths, one for lanes and the other slightly heated, there was also a great steam room. The three hours we spent in there was needed. Perfect way to spend an evening in a beautiful city surrounded by the mountains.
We must have done something right, because the sun has been out constantly since arriving in Akureyri. After two nights at the campsite, we moved in with two Polish girls whom are studying and working at the local university. I love couchsurfing. The girls have been fantastic sooo far making us feel at home. At the moment while typing this blog, I'm looking out over some amazing mountain scenery and getting prepared for another adventurous night 'downtown', however I'm still feeling a little precious after last nights antics. Great town.

Icelandic lesson..... remotions

Eg er = I am
godur = good
Hamingusamur = Happy
Aedisiegur = Fantastic
Brjaladur = crazy
ferskur = fresh
sorgmaeddur = sad
reidur = angry
full = grumpy

enjoy. x

Posted by tchgate 11:01 Archived in Iceland Tagged ecotourism

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