Iceland 🇮🇸 Day 5 of 18
🗓: 24 Aug | 🌍: Akureyri to Borgarvirki
Day 5: Exploring 264 km of the northern regions.
We slept in until about 8:30. I guess we were pretty tired from our highland journey or perhaps we are adjusting to an Icelander’s schedule. We decided to stop by the BONUS grocery store before leaving town but once we got there we realized it doesn’t open until 11AM?! We waited and did some trip planning in the parking lot. Buying groceries here is definitely the way to go if your trying to make your travel budget last; it was $30 USD for enough food to make 3-4 meals. You could easily spend that for one meal of eating out here.
After groceries we left Akureyri, followed the 82 to Ólafsfjörður then took the 76 through the beautiful fishing town of Siglufjörður.
Roadside memorial to outlaw Eyvindur Jonsson
The route along the 82 and 76 featured three tunnels that were quite cool to ride through. One tunnel was only one lane and quite long (9 km) but traffic was light and we passed through easily enough.
No horses! What about our mules?
Inside one section of tunnel we stopped and turned off the headlights to experience total darkness!
Many Icelanders enjoy tales of trolls and other mythical folklore. I hope we have enough Krona for the troll toll!
The south entrance to Siglufjörður featured these brightly colored homes. I gotta wonder what happens when someone else moves in and wants to change the color of their home?
The Herring Era Museum
The Herring Era Museum was a nice place to walk around and snap some photographs. I loved how the town of Siglufjörður seemed to embrace the use of primary colors.
I enjoy just keeping my eyes open to cool stuff. This artist used 2x4s and other pieces of wood to make some really cool sculptures.
In Siglufjörður we also came across a couple from Michigan who noticed our Florida plates and the USA flags on the side of our panniers. They were quite impressed that we were on our own bikes so far away form the US.
It was a beautiful day with minimal traffic as we left Siglufjörður via the 76 to Hofsós. This was one of my favorite places of the day because of Grafarkirkja – the oldest church in Iceland. We ended up being the only ones there allowing us to fly the drone around a bit and get some great video and shots.
This 17th century church is the oldest church in Iceland. It was pretty incredible having this beautiful region of Iceland all to ourselves during the 30-minutes we explored and flew the drone.
Near the Chruch is the small coastal town of Hofsós where we intended to enjoy another hot springs…
…but it was crowded with bodies. Sharing an overcrowded hot pool while touching naked strangers is not my idea of a good time. Let’s fo get some lunch!
The Sólvik restaurant was a great place to eat outside and enjoy the view of the bay and warm sun.
While we waited we caught up on life using the free WiFi. The rock was a unique way to provide the WiFi code.
We ordered the Nachos – Islandic style with melted cheese and a side of sour cream.
Continuing along the Coast towards Borgarvirki
Shortly after returning to the main road we came across three groups of at least 20-30 bicycle riders. I imagine bicycling around Iceland would be quite the adventure!
After reaching Borgarvirki we explored the Basalt cliffs, flew the drone, and determined that this would be a great place to camp for the night. It was quite, protected by the wind, and had a great view of the fjords below.
Our camp spot for the night. Not too shabby, don’t you agree?
Tomorrow we’ll explore the West Fjords. I sure hope the weather holds out. It’s been pretty amazing so far!
Iceland 🇮🇸 Day 6 of 18
🗓: 25 Aug | 🌍: Borgarvirki to remote Western Fjords
Map of Day 6: 294 km from Borgarvirki to a mountain hut in the West Fjords.
We got an early start today helped by an incredible sunrise. The sunrises and sunsets last quite a long time when you are this far north. After packing up our tent and checking over the mules, we were leaving the road from Borgarvirki by 8AM; early by our standards.
Hvitserkur are the remains of a troll that rose from the ocean but was later turned to stone. The area is fun to explore at low tide where you can walk in the tunnels of this natural structure and sift your hands through the fine black volcanic sand that covers the beach area.
We continued along the coast via the 71 and came across the Geitafell restaurant. It was almost lunch so we thought “why not?”
A restaurant with it’s own defense tower has to be good, right?
We so glad we stopped here! The seafood soup and dessert cake was delicious. A real unexpected treat.
We continued along the 71 and did a little off-reading on a dirt road section.
Before long we turned onto the 68, the gateway to the Western Fjords. Travel is slow but beautiful as we winded along the two, and sometimes one-lane, roads. There are also a few tunnels that were fun to ride through.
Along the way we stopped regularly to take in yet another interesting view.
Who needs guard-rails when you have jagged volcanic rocks and arctic waters to break your fall?
We continues winding along until we reached…
…the Drangsnes Hot Pots which offered yet another opportunity to chill in the thermal waters while enjoying the incredible views of Iceland.
The weather was getting worse so we did our best to make progress but it became challenging once the fog got thick and the rain intensified. We also estimated that it would be well beyond dark before we reached the next town. Perhaps, we should look for some wild camping in the area? Chantil opened her paper map to see if anything was nearby…
…where she discovered what looked to be a traveler hut. I was not enthusiastic about it being available since it was a Friday and would most likely be occupied already. Fortunately, we were blessed; just off the main road we came across…
…this travelers hut that offered refuge from the storm.
We parked the mules and walked up to see if it was occupied. It looked a little rough since the paint was weathered and the front door could use some work…
…but it was dry, had a place to sleep, and had a logbook which we signed with this hand-drawn picture of us and our mules.
Tomorrow we’ll explore more of the Western Fjords and hope that the weather is not as bad as it’s forecasted with lots of rain…
Next Blog Post
Iceland – Bridge Between Continents – Part 2 of 3 will continue our counter-clockwise journey around Iceland. Highlights include Snaefellsjoekull National Park, the capital city of of Reykjavik, and our first motorcycle breakdown.
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