Sunday, July 26, 2015

Óshlíðarvegur to Bolungarvík

At least once a year I bike all the way to Bolungarvík along the old road, Óshlíðarvegur. This old road hugging the coastline along steep cliffs has been closed to traffic since the tunnel through the mountain was completed. This road is extremely dangerous due to falling rocks, as well as mudslides and avalanches. It has claimed several lives, with the most disastrous year being 1951 when a rockslide hit a bus full of young athletes travelling to a soccer match. 

Although now closed for cars, this old road is now used for recreation. It’s a great place to ride a bike, and I have also seen joggers and inline skaters here as well. The road is still dangerous and it’s a wise idea to watch your head when travelling down it. Falling boulders are chopping away at the road bit by bit, as the road disintegrates into the sea. One day it will no longer be passable. Vegetation has claimed the road with lupines prevailing. The sheer cliffs are multi colored and thousands of squawking birds nest there. 

I bike down this road often, but not usually not all the way to the next village. Today I’m going all the way. Just before town, the arctic terns are nesting by the hundreds and I’m grateful I have a helmet on as they swoop down to attack. I turn off towards the golf course and deep into the valley Syðridalur. I’ve never been down this way and want to have a look at the lake. There’s a lot of hustle and bustle, people in their summer houses enjoying the sun, a man out on his very loud quad. I go as far as the road conditions allow me on my bike, then find a spot in the grass for a nap.   

Afterwards I head into town. I explore the area around the avalanche walls. You can climb on top of them for a nice view over the town. Then I stop at Einarshúsið for coffee and cake. I chat with two Icelandic ladies from Ísafjörður who seem very keen on hearing my life story, seeing as I am a neighbor. The trip back is uneventful, it’s a beautiful ride and I’ve had sun all the way. A perfect day!