Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Off to Þingeyri for more biking bliss

“Solitude is dangerous. It’s addicting. Once you see how peaceful it is, you won’t want to deal with people.”

I best find solitude when I’m outdoors. Somewhere beyond civilization with only the sounds of nature to keep me company. And it’s so addictive that I crave it. Often. I’m not a hermit and I like people, but only in small doses. Solitude is what brings me back to earth, gets me reconnected to myself. My true happiness is in the voice of nature and it is in these moments alone outdoors that I find my fulfillment. These summer weeks in Iceland spent biking, hiking and camping alone are vital to my sanity. And the weather never matters, because the warmth comes from the happiness inside as I thoroughly enjoy what I do.  

So the dismal weather lately hasn’t gotten me down and the next few days are supposed to be nicer. I put all my faith in the forecast and pack up my bike for another tour. I’m the only person on the bus so I have a nice chat with the lady driver. She drops me off at the Þingeyri gas station (the gas station from the movie “Nói albinói”). I love this little village only an hour away from home, and I come here often to swim, hike and relax since it’s on the public bus route. But today I take a different bus that allows me to transport my bike. It’s not cheap, but definitely worth having my roadrunner along since the mountain bike trails here are good. In fact there’s an annual bike race this weekend through the valleys and over a mountain pass, that this year is still full of snow. But I’m not interested in competition and I will enjoy a bit of more leisurely biking in the days before the race kicks off. 

Þingeyri metropolitan airport
Anyway, I’m in town real early, too early to check into the guesthouse, so I cruise around a bit. Finally I end up at Simbahöllin for a waffle and coffee. I was hoping for something a bit healthier for breakfast but alas all they have are sweets. I check into the guesthouse and get my old room – the one I get every time I stay here and the one I had a few years ago when I had to abort a hike because my tent broke (see entry from August 1, 2011). I will tell you all a story about that in one of my next posts. But for now, I will stop reminiscing and get on with the day!

I head out of town for a spin and as I am cruising along the road that hugs the coastline, overlooking the ocean with the beautiful purple lupines everywhere, and nothing but birds to accompany me, I feel it –I grin and that certain warmth spreads inside me. It’s freezing cold and the skies are grey and it even begins to rain. I take shelter under the overhang of a fish-drying hut near some sheep trying to do the same. I look out at the ocean, cold and wet, and nibble on a sandwich. I can’t think of a better way to spend my summer holidays.

The rain stops and I bike into Kirkjubólsdalur valley. First I inspect the tiny airport that’s rarely used, and then look at the farm where I caught the trail on that fateful trip a few years ago. This time I bike past the farm to the jeep trail. It’s mostly grassy with some rocks, and it’s such a fun trail. Brings back fond memories of my first dirt bike as a child – the pink girl’s bike that I promptly painted black and red and practiced wheelies on. I cross a small river but right on the other side is a larger one, and there’s no way to get across it with dry feet. Time to call it a day. I sit in the grass and enjoy the view, looking at every detail with my binoculars. 

Black pearls
On the way back I try to bike a circuit behind Sandafell mountain near the abandoned farm Bakki, but there’s no way to cross the river. I have to go all the way back I came. Back in town, the sun comes out as I make dinner. I take an evening walk on the beach and inspect the black pearl seaweed. I watch the rolling waves for the longest time. Then I head to the pool for an evening swim, and back to Simbahöllin for a beer.