We started to travel on our motorbikes in Europe. From our home country The Netherlands we crossed all over Europe. We made trips to the Alps, Pyreneen, Scandinavia, East Europe. Our most adventurous trip in Europe was to Iceland in 1992. We had to cross dozens of rivers, passed desolated black lava pistes and climbed vulcano's. It's a really impressive country. Iceland the land of fire and water got us.
Riding on the moon...
As soon as we get out of the plane I know why they call this Iceland. It's snowing, cold and there is a hard wind blowing. "The weather can change quick in Iceland", says the sterwardess. She's right because 15 minutes later the sun is shining. We get the bikes out of the harbour and hit the road number 1. This is the only paved road in Iceland, 1400 km long and goes around the island.
We leave the road number 1 and drive over good gravel roads to the West Fjords. From the 444-meter high Latrabjarg cliff we have a nice view. The puffins are funny little birds with a beautiful coloured bill. They are not shy and we can reach the birds at a distance of two metres to take some photos.
From Akureyri we are going to the inland of Iceland. The inland routes are only in summer open for a few months. There is no other traffic, no grass, no trees, no nothing. Only black volcanic sand and little yellow poles that mark the route. We get the idea that we are riving on the moon....
After a whole day off-road riding we stop at a campsite at Myvatn. "You are on the right side of the lake", says the man from the campsite. "Why?" The man explains that Myvatn means MosquitoLake and that there are billions of mosquitoes. Because of the wind, which is now blowing over the lake from West side to the East side, the mosquitoes are at the East side of Myvatn.
The next morning we make a round tour along the lake and at the East side hundreds of mosquitoes are smashed dead against my helmet. Lucky for me I had my mouth shut......
The canyon at Jokulsargljufur National Park is comperable to the Grand Canyon in the U.S.A. Less big but not less beautiful. The black track into the park is made of vulcanic rock with sharp edges and is very rough. We ride very carefully to avoid flat tires. At the river we park our bikes and walk along the three big waterfalls, Selfoss, Hafragilfoss and Dettifoss. The 44-meter high Dettifoss is the most impressive.
Today it is sunny and 14 degrees C, so good weather for Iceland. At the start of the Askja inland route we see warning signs. River crossings and 4 wheel drive only! "4 wheel drive only?" We only have two wheels!!! So lets go... The soft black sand is difficult to ride and slowly we go forward. We have to cross some rivers but they give no problems. After a while we reach the campsite near Askja. Well, campsite, there is only black sand and a little shithouse. Water we have to take out of the river. But in Iceland water from the rivers is still drinkable without purification. Askja is a big crater with a diameter of 20 km. After an eruption in 1875 a part of the bottom of the crater became on a lower level. In this part there evolved a lake called Oskjuvatn. At that time another crater arised called Viti, meaning hell. If this is hell, hell isn't a bad place to be. It's rough, pure, amazing and indescribable beautiful.
25 river crossings
Late in the afternoon the wind is getting stronger. We are riding on the Kjolur highland route. This is a fair gravel track and not so difficult to drive. But the wind makes it difficult today. At certain moments we were almost blown from the track. It is impossible to continue to drive and than we
see an emergency cabin. These cabins are spread around Iceland for emergency shelter. We park the bikes behind the cabin and go inside. We make some coffee and dinner and wait untill the storm get passed. After two hours it is still storming and we decide to spend the night in the cabin.
The next morning the sky looks grey but that's normal here. On the highland route to Landmannalaugar we have to cross 25 rivers. Some of the rivers are no problem but other rivers are pretty deep. The current of one river is so strong that Harald walk aside Udo's motorbike to give some support and avoiding flooding away. When we reach the bank there is another river waiting for us. This one is almost one meter deep and that is too much for our bikes. We walk down the river and hundred metres downstream we find a good, less deep, spot to cross.
At the last river to Landmannalaugar a man in swim suit is standing in the river and is washing his car. We are shivering from the cold on our suzuki's and think that the guy must be crazy. At the moment that I cross the river I feel that the water is warm. A hot spring nearby mixes with the cold water from the river and give a perfect temperature. Some moments later we take a warm bath in the river too....
Geysir is with his 18 metres in diameter the biggest geyser in the world. All the other geysers are named after Geysir. It is a pity that Geysir is not working any more. The smaller Strokkur geyser is blowing every ten minutes thousands of litres warm water 15 metres high into the sky. When a bus loaded with Japanese tourists see our suzuki's , they are running to us. We are the tourist attraction instead of Geysir. We have to stand behind our bikes so they can take their photo's. Funny japanese....!!!!!!!
On our last day we go the Blue Lagoon. The water of this geothemal swiming pool is ofcourse blue and has healing minerals. The water temperature is between 37 and 41 degrees C. It is nice to relax in the warm water after 4 cold weeks on the bike. After 2 hours Harald goes out of the water. Just one minute later he has a black out and fall down. "Shit, what is happening to me". This was scary. A few minutes later I feel normal again but pass out again. Another few minutes later it's over and I am sitting in the dressing room. Ten minutes later I hear a big bang in the shower. I know that must be Udo and go for a look. I see Udo laying on the floor with 6 Japanese men around him (didn't we met these Japanese before?????). I say that it will be all right after a while. An employee of the Blue Lagoon explains to us that the body is taking the warmer temperature of the water. If the body is cooling down quick you get a black out and pass out. "That can be scary", he says. "This happens to a lot of tourists, welcome to Iceland".
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