Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 35: July 30, 2011

We cycled an easy 40 km today along the west fjords coast from Broddanes to Holmavik, enjoying gorgeous blue skies and inspiring ocean views. We encountered more arctic terns, often in groups of ten or more, calling out opinionated throaty squawks at us as they hovered and dove and swooped overhead. Saya picked up on my adoration of these magnificent birds and stated, "When I was three, I loved Lamby (her stuffed animal), but now I love horses and arctic terns."

We ate lunch at a roadside picnic table and looked forward to grocery shopping in Holmavik. The last time we had a chance to buy food was fives meals prior, and our supplies were running thin.

As we neared Holmavik, we passed by a group of seals lounging offshore and took time to appreciate the calm creatures. One slipped into the water and kept an eye on us with just his head above water, but the others were unconcerned by our presence and kept napping.

Once in town, we secured a room at a hostel and visited the Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft. When the manager there learned about our charity tide, he generously let us tour the museum for free. The displays were quirky and bizarre, reflecting the superstition and lore of early settlers in Iceland. We all found it fascinating. Afterward, I spoke with the kind manager, who has lived in the area for decades. He acknowledged the downsides of superstition, but said that belief in creatures people cannot see has served to protect some of the wilderness in Iceland. The government has even changed the planned route of some roads based on concerns from locals who said the route passed over areas inhabited by magical beings. Still, he said, one of the key reasons that Iceland remains such a wild and beautiful country is it's small population. "Add 800,000 people here, and you'll see the place trashed just like so many other parts of the planet."

I asked him about garbage we saw along the shore, mixed in with bleached driftwood, something we had not seen in the east fjords. He explained that the trash comes from trawlers dumping waste overboard while out at sea. "It's actually better now than it used to be." And he said that the sea level in this particular fjord has risen markedly over the past 25 years. He speculated that it was the result of melting glaciers and lamented the disregard for the environment that has become so pervasive in our modern, materialistic societies.

We ended the day at the local pool, Sho, Saya and Arisa horsing around in the large pool, while Eiko and I lounged in a hot tub hoping to rejuvenate our weary legs for tomorrow's ride.

Here are some pics:

Arctic tern hovering overhead:

In local myth, these two stones are trolls who got caught in the sunlight and turned to stone:

Saya exploring:

Our lunch spot:


Driftwood and trash:

With the kind manager who let us in to the museum for free:

Sho reanimating the dead:

Belly flops hurt less when you're four:

Walking in Holmavik:

- An Iceland Bike Adventure post

1 comment:

  1. Hi Charles: I don't know if it is true in the Western Fiords but when we were north of Húsavík, our guide told that a major source of wood in the past in treeless Iceland was lumber that floated in from Russian logging operations. It is still used. A lot of the fenceposts you see along the road are made from this kind of wood.