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Old 12-28-2011, 05:47 AM   #91
Loutre
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and you've got another one hooked =) Now I know that if I want to ride there I need a new cam :o)
keep on feeding me with pics and storys
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:41 AM   #92
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Great job on the report & beautiful photos. Thanks for taking the time!
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:57 AM   #93
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...amazing, just amazing! Thanks so much for taking us along on this wonderful trip...

Someday....
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:49 PM   #94
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Day 18

Exchanging stories continued the next morning and it took till noon before we left. We had decided to have a look at the peninsula in the west. Road 54 lead us through an almost flat area between the sea on the left and the mountains / volcanoes on the right. Not many curves.


Camping in Borganes

Some of the volcanoes looked as if it might be possible to get to their top and when we saw a side road heading directly to one of them, we took the chance. The ground next to the volcano was very soft volcanic gravel and seemed fun to ride on. We could see that first vegetation had started to grow, covering the ground with moss.
Riding off-road is usually forbidden on Iceland, since the vegetation is growing only very slowly due to the cold climate. If we had taken the bikes off the road, our tracks might have been left visible on the moss for years. So we stopped and walked on. This meant that Benni and Maddin changed to their walking boots. I had found that the old boots I had brought were not much more comfortable than my riding boots, so I had nothing else to do than to get out of my jacket and pick up the camera.

Climbing up the side was easy, the ground was not too steep and soft enough to allow for good grip. But it was a long way up.


Maddin climbing up the volcano

I knew that if I climbed up to the top I would have problems with my ankles for the next two weeks due to an old sports injury. Since looking up the sides of our volcano showed no sign of a possible crater on its top I decided to turn around and try the soft moss as a bed.

Of course the inevitable result was that Benni and Maddin were making fun of me when they came back from the top where they had found a small crater. Well, sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. At least the moss had been extremely comfortable.


Benni on top (photo: Maddin)

The closer we got to the end of the peninsula the closer the sea and the mountains got together. It was time for another break, so when we saw a large gorge in the cliff to our right we stopped.



A small creek was coming out and an even smaller footpath led in. After a few meters the path vanished and we had to literally climb up the water.
After almost three weeks of riding, Benni's head and helmet had grown together, so it was getting more and more difficult convincing him to take it off. Talk about helmet hair ...



The western end of the peninsula is marked by a huge volcano which can be seen from Reykjavik in good weather (so I've been told). It's perfect, snow covered cone shape had inspired many poets and writers. This is the place where Professor Lidenbrock and his friends followed the descriptions of Arne Saknussemm and climbed down a volcano to reach the center of the earth. The Snaefellsjokuell. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a picture when we were far enough to actually see its shape.



Looking up the side of the Snaefellsjokuell


Coming to the end of the peninsula (photo: Benni)

We found a track leading up the volcano from the northwest. It led us through lava fields where you could already see many holes and tunnels under the lava without even stopping.



Further up the mountain, the track split up and we decided to take the one which seemed most promising to bring us further up. It became quickly more technical.

When I got to a riverbed crossing the track, the others were a few minutes behind me as they may have stopped for photos. I got off my bike and started to remove some of the bigger stones to create a way through.
Benni arrived and looked at it.
- 'Well, this is the end, is it?'
It still looked dangerous with the steep bank on the far side, so I answered in my best Indiana Jones impersonation:
- 'Ah, let's give it a try. You go first!'

He did, and in the second he opened up the throttle to get up the bank, his rear wheel slipped of a bigger rock and he went down.


Mercifully Maddin helped to raise the bike, while I took care of the documentation

A few hundred meters ahead the track stopped at the edge of a glacier. Without guidance there was no way to get any further, so we had to turn around.

We went to the west coast to see if there was any chance to camp and watch the sunset, but it was all rocks and lava. So we turned back to a camp ground we'd seen earlier the day.




Icelandic camper. The real geeks had also raised the trailer ...

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Old 12-29-2011, 01:35 AM   #95
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Phenomenal job! Subscribed and looking forward to more.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:44 AM   #96
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enjoying the crap out of this thread! Great job!
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:38 AM   #97
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Day 19

While I'm not fond of trying fermented shark, there is one Icelandic specialty which I ate almost daily: Skyr. It is yogurt-like, usually flavored with e.g. berries or vanilla. Add some cereals and you have a great breakfast.


Skyr

Another typical thing for Iceland are the public swimming pools. Wherever there are more than 5 houses within eyeshot, one of them will be a public bath, and pretty cheap, too.
As the camp ground didn't have any showers, we wanted to find the local bath. Unfortunately, it was closed when we got there. What we did find where a couple of horses, so we could shot some photos for the ladies at home ...





With yesterday's Jules Verne story in mind we wanted to go down into the earth today, and our guide book knew just the right place. We had to get back to Borganes and then head northeast towards Reykholt. A bit further on we found the Fljotstunga farm, where we could take a tour underneath the nearby lava fields at Hallmundarhraun.
The Vidgelmir cave is technically a lava tube, created when the hot lava river flowing down a slope melted into the ground, while it hardened at the top. When the lava flow ceased, a tube was left underneath that lava roof with a length of 1.5 kilometers.
To protect the environment it is only accessible by guided tours, and that's what we did. They only offered the short tour this day which was a pity, but that was better than nothing.


Within the lava cave


Taking photos is difficult, so here's one I took in the lava tubes underneath Mt. St. Helens last year.

If you ever get the change to do a trip through lava tubes, do it. The Ape Caves at Mt. St. Helens were 1.5 miles long and unlit. Other than some other tourists we met from time to time, there was only us and our lantern. (No motorcycles allowed inside, I might have to add.)

All this took a while, so there was just enough time left to find the camp site at Husafell. This camp is its own little town, including a gas station. For us, it was strange to find ourselves between hundreds of caravans, but on the bright side it gave us the chance to do some laundry ...
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:30 AM   #98
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Most excellant report

Great pics, great story, Thank You I'm surprized there are so few trees. I guess lava rock and tree roots are not the best of friends
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:38 AM   #99
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Thanks for the great report MP! Makes me want to go back SOOOOOO bad!

Did you guys notice the Carribean of the north? The color of the sand up around Breidavik is golden, it gives that water a beautiful blue I have only seen in Bonaire.

Can't wait too see more.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:14 AM   #100
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Thanks everybody for the compliments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blues bob View Post
Great pics, great story, Thank You I'm surprized there are so few trees. I guess lava rock and tree roots are not the best of friends
It seems there had been quite many trees on Iceland when the first settlers came, but they had been exploited extensively. The cold climate also limits the grow rates and heights of new forests, but there are some woods in the south.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mud View Post
Did you guys notice the Carribean of the north? The color of the sand up around Breidavik is golden, it gives that water a beautiful blue I have only seen in Bonaire.
No, where exactly is that? We have only been at the coast from time to time ... to be honest, though I grew up on the coast the water here was definitely too cold for me to take a swim.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:27 AM   #101
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Thanks for linking to my site, Pip. Do I know you? You have a lot of very nice pictures

This year in June, I have been in Iceland for the third time - I love this island! The next trip planning ...

Greatings,
Biki

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Old 12-29-2011, 04:27 PM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pip_muenster View Post
It seems there had been quite many trees on Iceland when the first settlers came, but they had been exploited extensively.

Interesting. I read that this was also true for Scotland and Ireland. Deep forest gave way to grass.

Fantastic Iceland stories and pictures!
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:08 PM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pip_muenster View Post
Thanks everybody for the compliments.



It seems there had been quite many trees on Iceland when the first settlers came, but they had been exploited extensively. The cold climate also limits the grow rates and heights of new forests, but there are some woods in the south.
All the trees were gone after the first 100 years.

Quote:
No, where exactly is that? We have only been at the coast from time to time ... to be honest, though I grew up on the coast the water here was definitely too cold for me to take a swim.


It is the southern part of the west fjords, on the way to the Latrabjarg cliffs.

I may LOOK like the carribean, but it is COLD!!!!!

Here is an idea of what it looks like.


Kortabok map #11
Left side of the left page.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:59 PM   #104
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Wow, this is great. Thanks!
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:43 AM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mud View Post
It is the southern part of the west fjords, on the way to the Latrabjarg cliffs.

I may LOOK like the carribean, but it is COLD!!!!!

Here is an idea of what it looks like.
[...]
Kortabok map #11
Left side of the left page.
I remember stopping there at the huge beach, but didn't notice the beautiful color of the water.
There were some people camping at the western end - what a nice place, if the water would be a bit warmer ...
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