Andreas Sommer is RISER AMBASSADOR and shares his motorcycle experiences with you on the RISER Journal. Follow him on the RISER App, check out his routes and stay up to date on his latest tips!
I’ll put down my tent and drive to the gas station. For breakfast, I have a cup of coffee and a croissant. Afterward, I drive on in complete relaxation. After a few kilometers, a sign points me away from the main road to the bishop’s seat of Holar i Hjaltadal. The church lies in a wide secluded valley and is surrounded by an agricultural school and some houses with grass roofs. On the way back I find another few meters of dirt road, the last one for today – because I still have enough of yesterday 🙈.
I drive along the coast and first reach the old “herring capital” Siglurfjödur. Years ago a large fishing fleet was stationed here and numerous factories processed the catches. The hard day yesterday is still in my bones and I am happy to reach Dalvik and the campsite on time.
I start the day relaxed, visit a church and then drive to Akureiri. Here I take a longer break and take a look at the city. What a lovely town – on every red traffic light a heart shines.
The town itself is small. At the harbor there are some whale ships waiting for whale watchers, there is a small pedestrian zone with souvenir shops, restaurants and clothes shops – that’s it!
Ich fahre noch zum Einkaufen und dann geht es am Flughafen vorbei weiter der Küste entlang. Den maut-pflichtigen Tunnel lasse ich aus und folge weiter der Landstrasse. An der Nebenstrasse dampft ein heisser Fluss. Bald folge ich wieder der Ringstrasse zum Myvatn. Auf dem Weg ist der Godafoss, einer der wasserreichsten Fälle Islands. Das Wetter ist eher trüb, es regnet zwar nicht, aber es ist ungemütlich. Dennoch mache ich am Fluß eine Pause und bestaune den Wasserfall.
I drive to the supermarket to do some shopping. I pass the airport and continue along the coast. I skip the toll tunnel and follow another road. At the side road, a hot river steams. Soon I follow the ring road to Myvatn again. On the way, I pass the Godafoss, one of the most water-rich falls of Iceland. The weather is rather cloudy, it does not rain, but it is uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I take a break at the river and admire the waterfall.
A little further I reach the Myvatn. The lake is a huge bird sanctuary and at the southern end is a unique crater landscape. I drive on to Reykjalith and set up my tent. Since the credit card reader does not work on the campsite, I have to withdraw money from the ATM for the first time on my trip. So far I could pay for everything with the card.
I drive around the lake and admire the beautiful landscape once again. Then I head north into the mountains. Shortly after the village there is a power station that uses the hot springs and a swimming pool with warm outdoor pools. Everywhere, the hot water steams and at the lake, a sign warns against bathing, as otherwise one is boiled by the outflowing hot water.
Above the mountain is a thermal active landscape. There is steam and bubbling water everywhere. Hot mud springs and smokers fascinate many tourists. It stinks of sulfur. The paths must not be left as there is a danger of breaking into the unsafe ground and falling into the hot water.
On the other side of the road, a sign points me to the Kraftla area. It is a few kilometers away in the mountains. Here hot water is pumped and converted into electricity. A prankster has installed a washbasin and a shower with warm water on the roadside.
The next destinations are the waterfalls Sellfoss and Dettifoss. The two sights are located about 30 kilometers from the ring-road on a well-paved side road. They are only a few hundred meters apart. From the parking lot, the way leads to the river in about 20 minutes. The landscape is desertlike, hardly green and the only thing that stands out are the two cataracts. The Selfoss falls over the whole width into the valley, the Dettifoss disappears in a deep trench that is hardly visible.
After my tour, I drive back to the ring road and then to the coast to Husavik.
I’m passing by Asbyrgi National Park. The flat valley is bordered by high cliffs and one of the few places on the island that is forested. I walk through the forest, look at the flora and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Shortly afterward, at a gas station, I grab some food and drive on. I cross the river Jökulsa a Fjöllum. Further up this river are the two waterfalls I visited the day before. I cross it at the upper end of its delta. The large plateau is full of watercourses. Narrow paths lead to isolated farms.
I’m following the coast north. Once again it goes over rough natural roads. I am in the northernmost part of Iceland. A few kilometers outside in the Atlantic is the Arctic Circle. It is a lonely area, there are some farms along the way, I hardly meet any people anymore. In Köpasker the gas station is well hidden and I only find it thanks to the navigation system.
It drags on on the endless paths. Finally, I reach Rauhfahrhövn. In front of the village on a hill lies the “Arctic Circle”, a stone circle as a landmark. Another small settlement on the edge of the world. A harbor, a gas station, a camping site, some houses, a fish factory, and a pretty little lighthouse.
I’ll make myself comfortable and enjoy the sun. The weather is supposed to get worse the next day, rain, fog and cold are the forecast.
In fact, the weather gets worse already at night and as I leave I see fog and clouds moving over the mountains. Without sunshine, the country seems unfriendly and it is cold. I follow the coast to Vopnafjördur. It is a national holiday and the village is empty. No shop is open, the gas station is not where the GPS shows it. I stop one of the rare drivers and ask for the gas station. During a break, I enjoy a late breakfast and relax a bit. The weather is uncomfortable but it is not far to my next destination.
At some point, I’ll get my strength up and tackle the last 100 kilometers. The further inland I get, the lower the clouds hang. The landscape becomes desert-like again, only sparse green and grey-brown mountains. Finally, the road sign leads to the natural road to Modraludur. After a short time, I reach the lonely homestead. It is the highest farm in Iceland. Right next to the restaurant is the campground, where I settle down. For dinner, I have a thick Icelandic soup. It is good to be at the warmth.
Due to the uncomfortable weather, I decide to finish my trip around Iceland today. The way to the ferry port leads back through the plateau and then through a long, water-rich valley to Egistadir. I refuel one last time, spend my last crowns and take a break before crossing the pass to the fjord.
At the pass, a few snowflakes are drizzling out of the fog. I am glad that the road remains snow-free, in contrast to the last overpass. Finally, I reach the valley and the village.
I drive to the campground and meet Andreas again, whom I had already met on the ferry. I set up my tent next to his folding tent trailer. He is on his way with Harley, sidecar and trailer. He also shortened his trip because of the weather.
19th of June Seydisfjördur
Until the ferry leaves, we stay in the village, do some sightseeing, look at all the boutiques and souvenir shops and stay with lots of beer on the square. Little by little more motorcyclists join us and the time passes in no time.
20th of June Seydisfjördur
Early in the morning we pack up and load our luggage onto the motorcycles. At 10.30 o’clock the ferry is supposed to leave. At eight o’clock the passengers gather on the parking lot to embark. When we arrived we were about 8 motorbike travelers, now we are more than 20 who are on their way home. So we are exchanging many contacts and decide to meet for a beer on the ferry in the Skybar.
It will be a big, cheerful and mixed round of bikers from all over Europe. We tell about our experiences and plans. I agree with Hans that we want to spend the break on the Faroe Islands together. But that’s the next story.
This is the last part of Ambassador Andreas’ trip to Iceland. On his way back he made a stop in the Faroe Islands. But more about that in another blogpost. If you like his trips, follow him on RISER and stay up-to-date 😉.