Vestfirðir (Westfjords) – Fire&Ice – Day 9
I knew I had a long day in front of me, so I tried to get up early. At 7:30 a.m., I entered the breakfast room – that was pretty empty. I learned that the breakfast would only start at eight o’clock. Well, I used the time to fine-tune the trip of today. It would be a roundtrip through the Westfjords, returning to the same hotel. This meant that I could leave all my luggage in the hotel. I wasn’t sure yet how big my route would be – I wanted to visit most of this area, but the basic route was already some 560 km. Clockwise or anti-clockwise? Should I add an extra loop to the west? I left without having the answers.
It was a fantastic sunny morning. While riding, I went through the options.The stop would be in Isafjörđur, the largest town in the most remote point of the trip. There, petrol stations were available (very scarce in the area) and I could have lunch there. I decided to go clockwise – for the simple reason that the gravel parts were in the southern part and I wanted to have the trickiest part behind me soon.
After some thorough thinking I concluded that doing the extra loop would be too much for today. Well, I COULD do it, but that would result in a 11 to 12 hour ride. Instead riding 560 km (of which 60 km are gravel), I would have to do 680 km (with 90 km gravel). Possible, but a bit out of the comfort zone. It turned out later that the shorter route was just right.
Soon I reached the first gravel part of some 25 km; I had entered the fjord area. The views were beautiful, especially on such a sunny morning. What a good idea to ride without the luggage, this type of dry gravel poses no problem for the XBR. I made good progress and stopped a lot to take pictures.
Finally, I reached Flókalundur and had to confirm my decision. A short check was enough; I didn’t want to do 90 km gravel today. Here, the road turned to 35 km of gravel again and went uphill to a pass where large machines were building a huge new road. In this area, huge tourist buses were absent, maybe this could change with such a wide road?
I was approaching the sightseeing highlight of today: Dynjandi, the highest waterfall in the region with a height of 100 m. Now this is what I call a waterfall! It doesn’t contain a lot of water, but flows very picturesque down the rocks. There are several smaller waterfalls below it; a small track leads up to the big waterfall. I risked some sweating to get up to the highest point and enjoyed the view from there.
The missing part to Isafjörđur was special in many ways: beautiful sights and a single track tunnel (!) with a Y junction in the middle. I’ve never seen that before.
I arrived in Isafjörđur at 1 p.m. and looked for a place to eat. It is the largest town in the region with a mere 4000 inhabitants. But it does have some shops and cafes. I looked up some suggestions in internet and went to Tjöruhúsið, recommended for its fish and shellfish. I discovered an old cottage with some tables in front. There were two dishes available: fish soup and fish stew that you served inside the rustic cottage. I had to wait a bit as they had to refill the large stockpot. The soup was…delicious! Again! Similar to the soup yesterday, very tasty with lots of cream. I could get a second plate. And some good coffee afterwards.
I entered a chat with the owner (?) who happens to own two motorbikes and 13 cars (!). I asked him about this summer and he claimed “best summer ever!….at least since 2003”. I think he could be right, later it got cloudy, but the stable high pressure over Iceland is unusual and the temperatures are extremely high (later I saw 19 deg. on my thermometer). I filled up and continued my ride along the spectacular fjords, one after the other. I noticed that I had lost my little petrol can on the gravel roads. Luckily, my fuel consumption is very low.
It was riding in the Seyđisfjörđur, when I greeted two oncoming motorbikers. Wait a minute – I know this bike! I turned around and watched up. Indeed, it was the bike of Bodo from the ferry! Henry realized only a few minutes later what had happened and turned around.What a coincidence! We had a chat about what we had experienced the last days and we parted again. It’s a small world! And Iceland is a small part of it. There was no traffic, so I could increase the pace a bit…
I filled up early, so I don’t have to worry about it tomorrow morning. I was back at a quarter past six and decided to nurse the bike a bit: the chain could need a bit of tightening. That was it. It’s a Honda.
I had dinner in the modest hotel restaurant and I still have to lay out the route for tomorrow. I fled the quite lounge when a horde of American teens turned it into a dance floor (Ja Ja Ding Dong etc…).
Unfortunately, as I had surpassed the connectivity on my mobile, I could not meet with Martin who also was in the area. We missed each other narrowly. I met Martin on the road 2011 in Zambia, when I was going South and he was going North. Did I already say it’s a small world?