Thursday 7.8.2014 0km
We won't be riding the bikes today which I must say I don't mind at all. The constant vibrations of yesterday's riding has taken its toll on my arms and shoulders to the point I can hardly raise my arms.
After breakfast we head for the bus stop. Even though it seems pretty obvious were at the right stop I ask a local and get reassured, yes it's definitely the right stop but the wrong direction.
My navigation skills truly are second to none!
After a short bus ride we head straight for the most famous of all Reykvavik landmarks, Halgrimmskirkja church.
It's truly a spectacular piece of architecture but the plain sanded concrete interior is a stark contrast to the avant-garde exterior.
We took the elevator up in the church tower to admire the view and admiring it definitely was.
Next stop on the must-see list according to my trusty Lonely Planet guide (I love these guides, I get one for every place I visit) was Reykjavik 871+/-2.
It's the site of the first human habitat in Iceland and bears its name simply by the dating with the margin of error being +/- 2 years.
Of course just a pile of rocks and dirt wouldnt be all that interesting so they have built a sort of timeline around the whole thing moving forward from the first settlement.
After that it was time for lunch so we went down to a fish & chip restaurant down at the old harbor and had stonefish with chips. The perks of not riding was of course that we could wash it all down with the local brew.
Now for a truly bizarre experience, The Icelandic Phallological Museum. Yes you've guessed it, it's a penis-museum.
It featured all things penile and a variety of organs from animals as small as a mouse up to the blue whale.
It was a very strange place but it definitely had an entertainment value.
On our way back to the city center we find ourselves at a tourist information centre and there we see an advertisement for a show called How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes which was on for the same night, in just a couple of hours no less.
Said and done, we walk down to the Harpa concert hall and buy the tickets.
The building is a tourist attraction in itself, if the design of the Halgrimmskirkja is avant-garde then Harpas design is like walking in one of Salvador Dalis dreams.
Had the design been any weirder I would have gotten lost walking up the stairs.
The stairs in question lead up to the sky bar where we spend the rest of the time before the show starts drinking beer.
The shows "purpose" is to teach you how to become Icelandic in 14 simple lessons and is so filled with stereotypes and prejudices that it's completely hysterical. I loved it.
To summarize I learned that in order to become Icelandic you need to always know best, be rude and never express any emotion whatsoever (except on Saturdays when you always get completely wasted).
Pretty much like being Swedish except for the part where you need to love raw sheep's testicles in sour milk.
That's just absurd, we Swedes only eat normal stuff like surströmming (rotten herring) and blodpalt (dumplings filled with blood).
After the show we grabbed a couple of burgers and headed back to the hotel.
871 +/- 2 Settlement exhibition
Monument for lost seamen at the old harbour
With the fishing industry being more than ¼ of Iceland's GDP then God help you if you're looking for cod in all the wrong places.
"I love my penis, I do, I love it. If I could kiss it I would. It's not like I haven't tried" - Barney Stinson, How I met your mother
Harpa concert hall and How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes
Friday 8.8.2014 130km Total:3079km
Today we are going to ride to the Blue Lagoon.
I know, I know. It's a tourist trap of astronomical proportions but it still felt like something you should do if you're on Iceland.
On the way we stopped by the Seltun geothermal fields and climbed up a ridiculously steep climb to the top.
The MX-boots offer good protection but these boots are definitely not made for walking, I almost thought I was going to have a heart attack.
Clambering just the last few steps to the top it's just like the heavens have been lying in wait for the two stupid Swedes who dares to defy nature and hits us with a torrential rainshower.
If nothing else it definitely made the vertical descent more interesting.
Soaked in sweat, drenched by rain and smelling of fart we climb on the bikes and ride on.
I was expecting a lot of tourists at the blue lagoon but boy, there where loads of them. We got a lot of interested looks by "cooking" our lunch in the parking lot before entering.
We were greeted by an enormous queue and a cute Icelandic stewardess who explained that the lagoon was "full" and they would only let people in as others left. In the meantime we would be offered complementary tea and coffee and the expected wait time was 45 minutes.
No problem for me, just keep the black elixir of life flowing and I'll wait forever and a day.
The prices on Iceland on everything related to tourism are increasing at an alarming rate, the prices in the lonely planet guide which is just a year old are already off by about 15%. Seems the tourist traps can't even update their own homepages at the pace the prices are being jacked up since we checked it before we left and it stated an entrance fee of €35 when in fact it was €40 (with an additional €5 to rent a towel for the day).
So driving through rain to get there just to stand in line for 45 minutes and then pay an extortionate entrance fee was totally worth it.
All the aches and pains from rattling around on the F-road just completely disappeared the minute I got in the warm water, I soon found a nice pillow-sized rock to lean my head against and with all the minerals in the water you float like a cork.
I don't think it's possible to be more relaxed and still have a pulse.
And I got to hand it to them, charging €40 to take a dip in what is in fact efflux water from the Svartsengi power plant might very well be the best business concept in the world.
Time to get back on the bikes, we are curious about the old Keflavik Nato-base so instead of heading back towards Rekjavik we detour to Keflavik.
I don't really know what we expected but after a couple of laps where we see nothing but bad asphalt and rundown buildings we quickly decide we've had enough of it and head back to the hotel.
We get changed and head for Reykjavik to get a bite to eat, the proprietor of the hotel had recommended a fish restaurant where they apart from a nice buffet also serve the Icelandic "delicacy" Hakarl along with the famous Icelandic Brennivin, aka black death which we of course where eager to try.
After an earlier "mishap" in Vietnam I had made a promise to myself to cancel all food and beverage orders that gets a hysterical laughter from the waiter and even though the response wasn't quite so dramatic this time around the facial expression definitely showed we were making a pretty big mistake, but hey, you only live once!
Now for those unfamiliar with this culinary phenomenon Hakarl is shark meat that at the time of capture contains so high levels of ammonia that it is poisonous to humans, the Icelanders get around this by leaving the meat to ferment for several month which brings the ammonia level down enough to make it edible, and by edible I really mean non-poisonous.
The fact that we were pretty much starving (as usual) probably made it better but in any case I wouldn't say that the taste was the worst of it, the smell was like being slapped in the face.
It smelled something like a hobo's woolen sock drenched in urine and to avoid a gagging reflex you really better hold your breath while putting it in your mouth.
The Brennivin was great though, it was like traditional Swedish schnapps and really took the worst sting out of the sharkmeat.
It was Friday after all so we decided to get some liquid dessert and ended up at an Irish pub with a cover band playing such traditional Irish gems as Lady Gaga's Pokerface.
I'm sure the pints of Guinness and shots of whisky had nothing to do with the fact that the band seemed to gradually improve both in repertoire and talent throughout the evening.
I'm sure the beer also had nothing to do with the fact we almost missed the last bus because I decided with minutes to spare that my life depends on whether I got a kebab right that moment or not.
I do get my life-saving kebab and we do catch the last bus with several seconds to spare.
Riding to the blue lagoon
Seltun geothermal fields
The street signs showed we were at the right place but there wasn't much else to show for this being an old Air base.
Saturday 9.8.2014 0km
My head hurts and I feel like shit. In others words exactly both as expected and deserved.
At breakfast the proprietor tells us that today is Icelands gay pride parade in Reykjavik and if we want to see it we should get in to town by 2PM.
We thought, sure, why not? And went to catch a bus. The gay pride thing certainly explains all the rainbow-flags we'd seen all around Reykjavik this weekend.
However, we weren't exactly the only ones going in to town today so after missing one bus filled to the brim, the next time around we did a run up and by both tactics and brute force managed to squeeze ourselves in.
We got in town in time for lunch and grabbed some Indian food. I thought my mouth was on fire while Bear who has killed of his last taste bud a long time ago thought it was bland.
The pride parade was as expected pretty hysterical with the grand finale being some kind of schlager-icon dressed in feathers riding a swan with two minions in disco-ball outfits.
But I guess it's all in a gay's work.
We peel of from the spectacle and head for the last of our planned tourist-stops in Reykjavik, the Viking maritime museum.
Interesting exhibition even though it was focused mainly on the fishing industry and featured very little of any Viking related seamanship.
We get an early night and head back for the hotel to do some trip planning for the way back towards Seydisfjordur.
Looking for hotel rooms it's pretty obvious that the majority of tourists are focused around the south part of Iceland.
Rooms are hard to come by at all and with prices for a standard room going for up to €900 (no I did not an extra zero) there's little hope of finding any cheap accommodation.
I do eventually find a room at hotel Katla in Hofdabrekka for about €150 a night so that will be our destination for tomorrow.
Reykjavik gay pride parade
Until today we where oblivious to the gay pride thing but it certainly provided the explanation for stuff like this
Viking maritime museum