Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The road not taken

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."     (Robert Frost)

 It’s a sunny, fine morning again and time to cycle back to the main road and on to a friend’s summerhouse where I’ll be spending the next two nights. There’s a bit of a breeze, but it will be at my back so I’m not worried about it at all today. Plus I have all the time in the world. I’m a bit sad to leave this beautiful place. I could easily spend the whole summer here, maybe make myself useful somehow. There are still plenty of things I would like to do here – like hike to the tip of the glacier – but it’s always nice to leave things undone so I can look forward to returning.   

One thing is for certain: I will be back, and it will be on my bike! Those of you who know me a bit better know that although the bike ride here was definitely hard, and up there with one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, there have been oh so many of those “hardest” moments in my life! The first probably being my grueling 5-hour black belt test when I was 15. Not to mention numerous hikes through Iceland’s rugged highlands alone carrying ungodly loads of stuff. These adventures make me feel alive and at the same time remind me of my very tiny place in nature. I will continue to seek out such adventures, as awful and wonderful as they might be.

But alas, I am not getting younger and my body is aching and even these little things are quite big to me. I am so grateful that I am still able to do the things I love, even though my body has forced me many times to adapt. Bad feet made me quit the martial arts, a bad back made me give up heavy backpacking, and now I have my beloved bike, Roadrunner. And where there's a will, there’s a way and I will always find a way to be active outdoors. Even if I have to start Ísafjörður‘s first wheelchair basketball team.

Well, I’m on the road by 11am and it’s absolutely beautiful. I stop often for pictures and breaks, especially around Kaldalón again, which is definitely the highlight. After that I make good time until I reach Steinshús – a small exhibition on Icelandic poet Steinn Steinarr. There’s a café too and while all the other guests are out on the deck enjoying the sun, I am very content with being out of the blazing heat for a while. I enjoy a bottomless cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate cake with banana topping and heaps of whipped cream (because I need the calories, claims the lady serving it) and enjoy the praise and glory that everyone heaps on me for being a girl alone on a bike all the way out here in the middle of nowhere. I even get a cookie fresh out of the oven for my further travels. 
The next stop is a hotpot for a quick dip, and although I’ve heard rumors it’s cold, I can definitely say it’s just fine. In fact, someone comes to check on the water while I’m there. What an awesome feeling to stand there buck naked and air dry in the arctic sun. Afterwards I check out the church (Nauteyrarkirkja), which is quite pretty from the outside but locked.  

And after a few more kilometers of dry and dusty gravel, I cross the main road and head into Langidalur, where I easily find my friend’s summerhouse. I call her for quick instructions on how to turn on the water and electricity, although I can’t seem to get the toilet to work properly. Not a problem, I simply shut off the water and use the great outdoors. I enjoy the evening sitting on the deck in the sun out of the wind, cooking dinner on my gas stove. After a short walk, I pop open the tiny bottle of red wine that I carried all the way from Dalbær. I am so very grateful for this roof over my head tonight after my long journey. Takk!