Saturday, August 20, 2016

Iceland Summer 2016

For my 46th birthday this year in March, Jonell got tickets for her and I to go to Iceland this July. As things played out, Jake and Jens went along with us as well. I got very interested in going to Iceland after seeing the incredible scenery from increase travel in recent years. There were also some very cool mountain biking shots that looked absolutely stunning. Also, our friend Steve is now living in Iceland with his partner Hekla and has been bugging us for years to come over and visit. It was hard to narrow down select photos and capture the scenic beauty which was almost overwhelming.
We spent the first few days in the capital city of Reykjavik taking in the sights, sounds and smells.
And enjoying the world's best hot dogs!!
Ready to head out for a point to point mountain bike ride with Jake.
Incredible lamb dinner at our host family. The food was incredible. There is very little processing and handling with all the meats already organic, grass fed etc. There isn't labeling or special notice for it. It just is.
One of the most noticeable things was light 24 hours a day. It was hard to go to bed when it was still light as we felt like we were going to miss something. Than it would start getting brighter around 2:30am. Never really adjusted. We would be up til 2am, maybe not up until 8 or 9 keeping on track with US time.
One of the many beautiful waterfalls.
Jonell obeying the rules near the hot springs.
Staying in front of the weather on the point to point ride.
Natural flow trail!

Group hike up to Esja Mountain.
Jonell taking in the scene.
Halfway point.
At the top! Incredible weather for Iceland, no winds and temps around 60.

Getting a drink on the way down.

Old time groomer on the way to the WestFjords.
After Reykjavik, we made our way to Steve's town, taking the back roads more or less, enjoying some incredible scenery and beautiful views.
Side stop at the Dynjandi waterfall.

Midnight driving under a sun that never sets! Some sections of the road were single lane and exhilarating.
Incredible scene at the waterfall.
Rare moment of calm in the fjords?
Arrived to Steve's around 2am. Isofjord. This time of year the moment when the sun is pretty much neutral and getting ready to rise again.
We only planned to ride when we were in Iceland, never more than a couple hours at a time. About a month before Steve said there was a race near his town the time we were there. It was 150th anniversary of Isofjord and the national cycling organization decided to designate the national marathon championships for this race which was called Vesturgaten in a village called Thingery. A 43 mile loop climbing up to a mountain pass, back down than around a finger dividing two fjords.
Rollout start.
It was hard to know what the weather was going to be like when we climbed up and were a bit overdressed. Had to stop and take a layer off.  I talked Jake into doing the race and we agreed to take it more like a ride. I've never taken photos during a race but the scenery was too incredible not to during this ride.
Couple switchbacks to go before the top.

Up at that top. It was hard to only stop for 10 seconds. Fjords in front, fjord behind and snow fields.
Riding back along the coast. Not efficient to stop on a downhill but could't pass up this scene without taking it in for a moment.
After the race they had a food tent and walked in and they were making fresh waffles with all the fixings including fruit, whipped cream and Nutella.
Iceland's National Champion. Had a chance to visit with him for a bit. First Icelander to compete in a World Cup earlier this summer. Quite a story having been hit by a car last November, prognosis wasn't good but full recovery and doing quite well.
After the race we went to a local cafe which was one of just a few businesses in the village. That didn't mean the food wasn't outstanding. Fresh fish soup, bread and more waffles and eat in a bus.

Back at Isofjord that evening. I was expecting wind during our visit. I guess we lucked out with some of the nicest weather of the year.
Street dance that evening under the lights. The sun that never sets lights. The last band was done at midnight and seemed odd when it was still light. Photo above taken around 11:30 pm.


Local bakery goodness.

Fishing supporting the economy in Isofjord. Number two port in Iceland.
Trip up to Bolungarvik. Clear day like today you can see into Greenland.
Beauty even in the harshest conditions.
On the edge of Bolungarvik cliff.
Back down visiting the secret forbidden beach.
Bolungarvik harbor. Another calm moment.
Next morning we rode back up there. Around a 2500ft climb. Descending.

Before leaving we checked out the Nordic Center just outside Isofjord. 

Singletrack riding near another waterfall.

Look out Steve! Steve was great host, filling us in on facts and fiction of Iceland. Thanks for the hospitality Steve.
When you look out the window at 2:25am. Hard to go to bed when you love nature and don't want to miss the sunset, or sunrise.
More tasty fresh fish soup.
Last ride near the Blåfjell area.
Rocks galore.
Harpa cultural center in Reykjavik.

100's of thousands of drying fish heads near Blåfjell.
PB at Blåfjell alpine ski area.
Espresso machine at Palmé's house.
Final good bye at Palmés. Thanks for your hospitality!