Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 22: July 17, 2011

We rode 80 km (50 miles) today through an empty stretch of northeastern Iceland. We saw a few birds and sheep, but the barren landscape and minimal presence of animals were a remarkable contrast to the fertile abundance of the Eastfjords we enjoyed over the past week. Still, today's landscape was stunning in its own way: towering, mysterious mountains sprinkled with snow and laden under heavy rolling fog, vast fields of rugged yellow grass pushing up through black volcanic ash, small clusters of striking purple lupin (Sho and Saya call them Nona flowers after their grand mom), beautiful waterfalls cresting down rugged cliffs and flowing into foaming rivers that cut through winding, narrow, jagged canyons.

We cycled up and over a mountain in the first few hours of the ride, making slow progress on the long climb. I alternated between overheating from the exertion and being chilled by the steady, cool breeze. We ate lunch huddled in a low ditch by the road that partially blocked the wind. I'm sure we made a pitiful sight, but I swear we were enjoying ourselves.

After about 7 hours on the road, we made it to a guest house and enjoyed a wonderful, home cooked meal while watching the women's soccer world cup championship. What a game! With such strong ties to Japan, we cheered for both teams. It must have been cathartic for many Japanese people to see their team win, after the devastation and heartbreak from the earthquake earlier this year.

Here are some pics:

Lollipop snack break:

Landscape typical on today's ride:

Snow at the top of the mountain we cycled over:

Road from the top of the mountain:

Taking a break:

Our lunch spot:

Sho and Saya with friendly dog at guest house:

Guest house we slept in:

Sunset at 1 am:

- An Iceland Bike Adventure post

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