Tuesday, 5 July 2016

July 5 Tuesday

Return of the wind, walking round Dyrhoelaey island, biking to Vik, drive up to mountain hut.

The wind returned and it was another day of tough riding. We stopped in a small village with a church and gravestones. Kjarten talked to an elderly local with grave bearded face. He reminisced about a wedding he attended there which had been interrupted by an earthquake. The constant change in geology and new threats are ever-present here.

We went to Dyrhoelay Island, a huge rocky outcrop with a lighthouse. There we saw a few birds and we saw a couple of puffins in the distance. The island was more notable for its interesting rock formations than bird life. The sand was black and the line between the sea and the beach looked like a Rothko painting.

We then had a brisk ride up a couple of mountains with a beautiful green landscape opening up with sunlight on newly made hay bales. The road led up to a high green glen with steep slopes and rocks on either side. We biked down into Vik, a small seaside town.

We had picnic lunch on the beach in Vik, browsed the shops there. I popped into the supermarket and bought nibbles, Jamie Oliver goods are sold here, Tyrels crisps in the better supermarkets here. One can only buy liquor at a separate government liquor stores here and I visited one to buy beer for the evening, not a great selection. There were about 3 different types of beer on sale. There was a range of wine and lots of spirits to buy. The beers cost about €6 in cafes and €4 in the store.

We had a long drive up into the mountains, initially across old flood plain that had been devastated by floods. Then up into the mountains. We stayed at a small mountain hut with a huge dormitory. We unpacked our stuff and I choose a bunk as far away from the window as possible to reduce the night-time light. We all pitched into the cooking and quickly created barbecue, with peppers, potatoes, onions and meat. Joan made G&Ts and it felt like a party. After supper we walked up the mountain behind the hut. Here was another waterfall, this time falling down into a chasm. We could also see lakes in the distance. Down in the campsite I watched an Icelandic group of women in traditional knitwear, which is very flattering with the round neckline play a game that looked like boules with wood sticks.

Slept quite well in the hut even though I woke up at 1, 3 and 6.

Good things: the ride down into Vik, seeing the town, the black beach that looked like a Rothko

Bad things: the wind having returned

Surprising: small narrow road up into the mountain.

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