Sunday, August 31, 2008

Part 4: Husavik to Reykjavik

Firstly, we wish to apologise for our recent lack of blog updates. We failed to find a single internet cafe in the north of Iceland which allowed us to upload photographs, so we've now done a double blog post! Make sure you read part 3 first if you haven't yet.

The final leg of our trip involved several 100+ km days in terrible weather, sometimes the only way to keep warm was to dance around our stove while the water boiled.

Another hill climb from Husavik to Akureyri

Stunning views coming into Akureyri, but terrible headwinds!

Feeling the passion with Saturday night festivities in Akureyri

We woke to discover some cheeky birds had ravaged our food supplies

Trying to give Icelander's favourite cuisine (dirty hot dogs) a healthy touch

Garbage bag improvisation came into play in order to endure all day rain: high five to doing it with class!

Let me in: Cycling into Varmahlið was our coldest, wettest day

Barn escape: Our first night indoors in 22 days... bliss

Freezing 6am set off in Blonduos : This is meant to be summer!

An early start with good weather allowed us to make our furthest distance of the trip (120 kms) from Blonduos to a mountain pass 50km from Bolgarnes. We decided to go it rough and camp roadside, setting up our tents in the rain and keeping some blood in our lifeless limbs by grooving to Basement Jaxx.

Dancing cookery styles

There was always room in the panniers for 1 of these each

A break from the bikes led us up Grabrok crater, delivering spectacular views of the surrounding area

By this stage, even Cocobolo was showing signs of fatigue
We were happy not to be on the old road from Reykjavik to Akureyri.

The tourist information in Borgarnes informed us a storm was approaching, so we soldiered on 35kms more to the nearest barn accommodation... Our bodies were extremely weak and it took 3 hrs! Luckily as always the dramatic weather provided a spectacular show to entertain us along the way.

Our prayers were answered when we were treated to a well equipped comfortable barn which we shared with an arctic fox. Cocobolo managed to tame the wild fox, allowing Tris to discuss his views on Icelandic wilderness over a cup of chai.

The following day, Tris whipped up garbage bag couture to ride out the storm

Moments after stepping outside it was clear that it was impossible to complete our intended to route to Reykjavik. Instead we opted for plan B, braving the elements, riding with the 80 km an hour winds to Akranes, all effort was focused on remaining upright. Windy squalls made it impossible to control our bikes, especially when massive semi-trailers hurtled past, creating intense wind suctions. Benedict and his llama were thrown over a metal safety barrier as the final destination came into sight. Luckily no serious injuries were sustained except for sore guts from excessive laughing.

It took Miles a while to recover from the wild ride. Shamefully we relied on the Reykjavik public transport system for the remaining 50km of our journey.

Back where we started in one piece. What an incredible last day, once again the wrath of Icelandic weather didn't destroy the mighty Mules!

Thank you to all everyone who has supported and helped us through this amazing and challenging mission. You generous donations have amounted to an impressive total thus far, well done! We hope you have found entertainment in our stupidity and we are more than happy to provide information about Iceland if you need it.

Please stay tuned for our final blog entry detailing the results of our festy
food challenge!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Part 3: Eglistaðir to Husavik

After completing our previous blog entry we thought we were in for a leisurely ride 25km ride to Seyðisfjorður for a relaxing weekend. Little did we realise it was on the other end of a 700m high mountain, the largest climb of our whole trip. We were punished and laughed at for our ignorance.

Pumping the pedals halfway up

Halfway down the steep descent

Upon arrival we immediately set off night kayaking in the was exquisite

We timed our arrival with an annual town festival and got our first taste of Icelandic partying

Seyðisfjorður is a pretty cool town, later in the night we climbed up to a massive Hollywood style neon sign.

The next day we set off to Myvatn, but the distance was too far to cover in a day. So we got our first taste of camping in the wilderness, on luxurious moss next to a river. The weather was splendid, taking us back to our long lost Mexican beach days. Our love of moss was incorporated into our washing up ritual, its abrasiveness yielding sparkling results!

On the journey the landscape transformed into a surreal barren moonscape, reminiscent of northwest Australia. It appears our two great lands have much in common.
We decided to pop in to give the kooky Icelandic songstress a visit along the way. We discovered that Bjork means a birch wood tree.

We arrived at lake Myvatn and were treated to a spectacular day exploring the bizarre volcanic landscape unique to Iceland.

Miles' secret shame

Strange black fingers emerging from the shallow turquoise waters

For use in Bikefriday's next advertising campaign

Pseudo craters were scattered around the south of the lake

Spike from Degrassi Jr. High?

Miles inhales the surrounds?

Rock crab sightings are rare in the area

Sulphurous steam vents invited us with their warmth but turned our stomachs

We sampled the local delicacy: smoked lamb on geyser bread

Fearsome warriors?
Cocobolo toasts his Mexican buns

Shortly after Myvatn, we connected with Mule number 4, our old friend Tristan. His hasty preparation list included twister, juggling balls and a less than adequate bicycle whose handlebars were held together by string, Tristan displays his pain after his first day of riding.

Dettifoss the largest waterfall in Iceland frightened us with it's muddy glacial torrents

Benedict gets acquainted with his inner geologist, examining the interesting formations of Hljoðaklettar. A vortex to another universe?

We camped in the horseshoe shaped Asbyrgi canyon, which the early Norse settlers believed was formed when Odin's normally airbourne horse touched down on earth.

The next town we visited, Husavik, was well known for its enormous collection of penises in the phallalogical museum. Benedict was unable to contain his excitement while pitching his tent.

Humbled by the museum's largest specimen, a sperm whale's member

Miles got a bit too close for comfort.

Elephant wood

Next on our culinary hit list was the adorable puffin, whose succulent smoked flesh was very tasty.

Tristan showed an alarming interest in bizarre local cuisine... which would be satisfied later :)