Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 43: Aug 7, 2011

I awoke just after 6 am inside the tent to Flatey Island's peaceful sounds. Arctic terns called out nearby as they hovered and dove into the sea for breakfast. A few yards away, the ocean's rippling waves made gentle lapping sounds as they washed back and forth over the rocks An intermittent breeze sent a shudder through the tent, the nylon undulating and bowing around me.

Eiko, Sho, Saya and I huddled close under sleeping blankets on thin pads, sweatshirts rolled up under our heads as make-shift pillows. It was a tight fit in the three-person tent, but we had been grateful for one another's body heat in the cold night. I sat up cross-legged, pulled out my journal and wrote for a while. Saya softly snored and sucked on her fingers next to me. What a wonderful way to start the day.

After everyone was up, we hiked down a short gravel road to eat breakfast at the island's one hotel. We filled up at a buffet of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, muesli, bread, apple cake, ham, etc. We then explored the island, passing by farms, summer homes and a quaint church with an impressive mural covering the ceiling and walls. The painting was made in the 1960's in exchange for free accommodation by Baltasar Samper, a Catalan artist. He localized the image by including puffins and an image behind the altar of Christ wearing an Icelandic wool sweater while preaching to two sheep farmers. As we made our way through a field back to our tent, we passed too close to some arctic tern nests and were reprimanded by the protective parents. Saya did not like the experience and ran crying into my arms as a screaming bird swooped down within an inch of her head.

We took the afternoon ferry to Stykkisholmur, a town on the northern coast of the beautiful Snaefellsnes Peninsula. As we waited for the ferry at the dock, a tractor rolled up carrying a group of smiling kids in its scoop. "Now that's a good way to travel," Sho commented. The grandfather behind the wheel decided to have some fun and rolled to the edge of the dock so that the kids were dangling precariously over the water. They screamed in excitement, and yelled back at their chuckling grandfather not to drop them in. While Eiko and Saya dug in the dirt with sticks, Sho and I joined other kids at the seaside, hopping from rock to rock and exploring. I thought, "This is what childhood is all about."

Once the ferry arrived, we rolled our bicycles next to the line of vehicles in the broad car deck. I placed the bikes in an open spot near the front of the boat, not realizing that ocean water would splash in and soak them during the journey. Good thing we have water resistant panniers...

Once in Stykkisholmur, we visited a volcano museum, where we enjoyed a variety of volcano art and learned about the different types of rock spewed out by Iceland's many volcanoes. Sho and Saya particularly liked watching footage of some recent eruptions. We ended the afternoon at the local swimming pool and playground, where Sho and I raced one another on an obstacle course. We studder stepped through tires, swung across monkey bars, climbed up and down a rope ladder, army crawled under a long net, carried rock-filled buckets, etc. Man, he's getting fast!

Here are some pics:

Saya by the sea on Flatey Island:

Sho pretending to take a dive into the sea:

Farm house with grass roof to keep out the wind:

Part of the ceiling mural in the church on Flatey:

The best way for kids to travel:

- An Iceland Bike Adventure post


  1. You guys look amazing! safe ride for the last leg of your journey! we look forward to your slides and story!

  2. Thanks Nori! I hope you had a good summer. I'm looking forward to hearing about your Ironman.

  3. hi - i'm loving this blog - what happened to the photos? Are they available?
    I'm headed to Iceland in a couple weeks; hoping to take advantage of some of your learning.

  4. Wow, That was so much exciting. I always dreamed of doing things like this but couldn't. However I loved this Iceland Bike adventure.