Saturday, August 9, 2008

Part 1: Reykjavik to Vik

Team Mule setting off

We finally set off down the dangerously busy highway out of Reykjavik on 12pm on Tuesday after stocking up on supplies. Apart from almost being wiped out by a few cars, our first hitch was when Miles failed to unclip from his pedals correctly, doing a stationary stack at a petrol station. An hour or so after we´d hit the road, we realised that we had started heading up highway north instead of south and had to backtrack to an alternate route?

It didn't take long to realise we were in for a tough ride
This led us into a rainy mountainous path where we quickly realised we were in for some hard times. By mid afternoon we reached þingvellir, the site for the oldest parliament in the world and existing on the edge of a tectonic plate creating spectacular views. We were largely unable to enjoy the vista as our hands and feet were ice blocks. The visitor centre served as a storm shelter while we re-energized and changed into warmer clothes. The weather remained the same for the rest of the afternoon and it was an extremely long, slow, 90km ride to Selfoss service station. Deliriously we gorged 3 free coffees each, hot dogs, ice creams and other junk - we were never so happy to reach civilization.
Icelandic cuisine: The sheep's head almost tempted us

Now we were paying for our 3 months of indulgence in Central America. The warm showers at the campsite were a godsend and set us into good spirits for the next days 80km ride to Seljalandsfoss.

The route to Seljandsfoss was relatively flat but we couldn´t continue onto our final destination inland, þorsmörk as it involved crossing glacial rivers, so we took a bus with intent to return the following afternoon. The campsite supplied a lukewarm slime bath for us to bathe our sore muscles in as the showers were not working. The following day we took the morning to explore the mind boggling glacial sculpted area by foot, it was exceptional apart from unnecessarily crossing 7 freezing cold glacial rivers with no shoes on. The graphic images display the effect on Benedict´s withered stumps.

Slime bath of delight?

Glacial river crossings

We returned to Seljalandfoss by 4pm and biked on to Skogar, another exceptional waterfall which provided our campsite for the evening. This was Icelandic camping at its best.

Crazy creek chair Muel and yoda Benedict suffering from frostbite

Our last day riding with Muel led us across a treacherous mountain pass to puffin-country "Vik" where rain started plummeting down as we started ascending the biggest beast of a hill we´ve encountered. The ride down from the top made it all worthwhile resembling the Scottish highlands. We trekked up the nearby 150m cliff face to view puffin nesting from above, unfortunately we didn´t get closer than 30m from the delicious animal.

Road into Vik

Where are the puffins?

Today Muel has left the group and headed back to Reykjavik then London. We awoke this morning to find Muel´s tent poles snapped from severe winds which we must ride 70km into to our next destination! It´s now 1:15pm and we're a bit worried! Thank you to the puffin hotel for their use of laptop and fast internet connection.

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