Snaefellsnes is fun to say, try it!
Trip Start Jun 17, 2011
36Trip End Aug 26, 2011
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We are thrilled to share that thanks to a second wave of supporters, we have reached 21% of our fundraising goal for the California Climate Ride to promote bicycles as a part of the solution to attain a sustainable environment. In particular, we send our gratitude to:
Linda and Larry Weiss, muchas gracias and so great to kick off our summer with you!
Mer and Remy Fortunato, same as above and thanks for making the occasion in the first place.
Terry and Dennis Divoky, so happy we can inspire you to visit this amazing place. We'd be happy to reciprocate your support of us with firsthand travel advice upon our return.
Julia "Butterfly" Braun, you are my original travel companion, may our paths meet once again!
Ann and Dan Fagre, funny you should refer to a biking Viking as I had the same idea of starting a bike company with the same name!
Rich and Esther Schlobach, you are, simply put, just amazing!
Adam and Lauren Kohn, thank you for not only your donation, but a bike joke we'll never forget!
Rhiannon Samuell, so great to reconnect with you, congratulations with your baby on the way!
Erica Tucker, we missed your blog support while you were having an amazing adventure of your own. Thanks for contributing even though we ate puffin...
Gary and Susan Edelman, Snuffaluffagus, along with the rest of the world, thanks you for your generosity.
Bianca Nakayama, thanks in advance for a vintage postcard and thanks in the present tense for your awesome support!
If you would like to help us go beyond 1/5th of our goal, we would like that too! climateride.donordrive.com/team/caseyandmatt
And here's what we've been up to:
After the challenging yet gorgeous terrain of the Westfjords, we were more than ready for a break. We found the perfect opportunity for a day of peaceful relaxation on the tiny old-fashioned island of Flatey, in the middle of the Breidafjordur bay with supposedly too many islands to count (but estimated at 2500-3000). We took a morning ferry, spent the first part of the day exploring the village, and the second half lounging in the sun at the only restaurant. In a novice move, we arrived without food staples, so we tried to space out the intervals of ordering waffles with whipped cream and rhubarb jam to appease our growing hunger, as it was the only thing on the menu anywhere close to our price range, that and refillable coffee of course! What do Icelanders do when the thermometer breaks 70 degrees? The men go shirtless and the women take a dip in the frigid ocean, which we watched the wait staff do in between waffle serving!
The big excitement of the evening ferry carrying us further south to the Snaefellsnes peninsula was an announcement over the intercom of a shark sighting. We looked out the window just in time to see the huge dorsal fin of most likely a basking shark float by at essentially eye level, then watched disappear into the distance as our boat cruised on.
Upon disembarking in Stykkisholmur at 10pm, we continued with our poor diet of the day at the only petrol station still open. Well, their hamburger grill had already closed, so that left us with the ubiquitous Icelandic hot dog (topped with crispy fried onions, raw onions, mayo, mustard, and a mysterious "hot dog sauce") and soft serve icecream. For not ever having to buy gas, we sure do end up spending a ridiculous amount of time in gas stations, but they serve us well-- bathroom, coffee (often free!), snacks, Internet, a place to get out of the wind and a place with enough distractions to effectively procrastinate on going back into it.
The next day we finally made it to a grocery store, but not before encountering a different hot dog stand with some creative variations on the Icelandic classic. These dogs were deep-fried, with crumbled Doritos, baked beans, and a creamy garlic sauce. Now this is biker fuel!
Thus far I've mainly discussed food and I'll have to continue to do so a little longer since our first purpose in leaving town was also food-related, albeit of a less delicious nature. We detoured down a bumpy dirt road to farm along the coast known to produce the best harkarl in the country, if best can really be used as an adjective in this context. Harkarl is the rotten, putrified, or most appealingly translated as "fermented" shark meat. Infamous, but legitimately traditional, it is a must-try (once) experience. We could actually smell the farm before we arrived to it and to our advantage, the delicacy seems to taste better than it smells, or more accurately, smell worse than it tastes! We also think we deserve bonus points or some sort of special recognition for sampling a cube without the traditional shot of Brennavin (the original Icelandic schnapps) to kill the aftertaste.
The rest of that day and the next were spent circling the Snaefellsnes mountain covered in a glacier at the end of the peninsula. It can be summarized as beautiful scenery (a common theme on our journey), beautiful weather (a slightly less common theme), and good company ( we like the sentiment that many of you shared that if we can survive this bike adventure together, we can certainly handle a marriage!). Our only significant distractions from riding were an impressive lava tube cave tour led by a national park ranger and a bowl of locally renowned seafood soup in a cute cafe at the edge of some headlands remniscent of the northern California coast.
We had planned a big day to tackle the entire south side of the peninsula, but we realized these plans were thwarted when we left the shelter of our campsite and hit the road. Everytime we experience what we naively presume to be the extreme of Iceland, it steps it up a notch or two. In this case, the force and extent of the wind made the Westfjords seem stagnantly still. Being a crosswind, we had to completely stop and brace against the giant suckhole of backdraft whenever a truck or RV passed. Otherwise we just leaned into the wind and hoped not to be blown off the road in the above average gusts. We found refuge from the wind at a random campsite run by a country hotel in the middle of nowhere, but were less than thrilled to learn that the forecast called for even stronger winds the next day. Luckily though, when it came time to ride, we enjoyed a tailwind most of the way to a stopover campground on our way to the famed "Golden Circle."