Iceland 2009: The East

Saturday 13th June: Brei­dalsvÝk - Dj˙pivogur (65 km)

You know you are cycling in Iceland when ... you can check into a camp site or hotel without showing any identification.

There is a refreshing informality about life in Iceland. At Dj˙pivogur, just like every place where we stayed in Iceland, we checked into the campsite without showing any identification. This is quite a contrast to campsites in mainland Europe, where you often need to show a passport or special Camping Card.

In Iceland everyone is always known by their first name, no matter how important they are. A person's 'surname' is actually a patronym that indicates whose son or daughter that person is. Thus Jˇhanna Sigur­ardˇttir, the Prime Minister of Iceland, is Jˇhanna, the daughter of Sigur­ur. Ëlafur Ragnar GrÝmsson, the President of Iceland, is Ëlafur the son of GrÝmur. The phone book lists people by their first name.


Sheep grazing on a rocky hillside south of Brei­dalsvÝk

Coast near Dj˙pivogur

Dj˙pivogur is visible accross the water but it is still 40 km by road around Berufj÷r­ur


Camping at Dj˙pivogur

Karen's diary:

It rained softly for half the night and well into the morning. At 6.30am we lay in our warm sleeping bags, wondering what to do. Should we get up and pack a wet tent in the rain, or just wait? We waited; the shop would open at 10.00am (or was it 11.00am?), we could buy more food for tomorrow (Sunday) and ride in the afternoon... or just stay here another night. Around noon we chatted with the Belgian team. They were experienced cyclists who had just spent two months cycling in Morocco, felt like a change, and came to Iceland. In fact, they had arrived in KeflavÝk the night before we had and headed off anti-clockwise. They had met the German boys and the Italian couple. As we talked the drizzle stopped and the clouds lifted a bit so we ate a quick lunch, packed up and started riding at 2.00pm.

I couldn't take many photos today because of the drizzle but the ride was very nice. The first part was along sea-cliffs full of nesting birds. The sea was amazingly calm - somewhere across that mirror-smooth water was Norway. Then we rode into and out of a small fjord called Berufj÷r­ur. Icelandic fjords are different from Norwegian fjords - they have a different geology. Here, the rock is very stratified so the valley walls come down in terraces and steps. There are plenty of waterfalls but they fall down in small drops over the rock terraces. There was a long stretch of dirt road along the fjord but it was in good condition, quite unlike yesterday's mud-bath. The water in the fjord was calm and although we had to ride out against a headwind it was much milder than we expected.

Dj˙pivogur is a small, picturesque fishing village with a stunning outlook to steep coastal mountains. From our tent we can see almost to Brei­dalsvÝk. As we sat in the warm camp kitchen, cooking and eating our dinner, the clouds were breaking up and we could see the mountains more clearly. We spent dinnertime chatting with a young French couple who are here for the hiking. Nearby is a group of German men who seem a bit domestically challenged. They have been tussling with the washing-machine for at least an hour (and cursing a lot) and for their dinner they are eating cake and drinking beer. We left the kitchen just as a big, happy group of Poles arrived - just in time to escape chaos.