IV. Austurland and the land of ice

August 28 - September 4, 2014

The town of Egilsstaðir was the start of our journey in the Eastern part of Iceland, known as Austurland. We didn't see so much of the north part of this area, as remains of the Hurricane Cristobal that roamed over the Atlantic put a hold on the good weather and forced us to take a bus from Berunes to Höfn. But a bit of adventure was kindly welcome. We pedaled our way through the Eastfjords which are surprisingly beautiful and similar to the Westfjords. Not so many tourists and cars and a deep feeling of isolation that was emphasized by our decision to pedal at night. The shores of the foggy Atlantic on the left, the sharp edges of some of the oldest mountains in Iceland on the right and us in between. Dark all over after which sleep came with the sound of the waves at the outskirts of the small towns.

Höfn was a good test for our tent with powerful winds waking people in the middle of the night to break camp and find shelter somewhere else. Ours lasted, but the next day we decided to head out to Jökulsárlón, the famous glacial lagoon, by bus again. The headwind was making a bicycle on the road rather useless. I was becoming sad that we'll not be able to reach our 2.000 km mark cycled, but then I realised this journey isn't about goals. It's an experience that will hopefully allow us to know ourselves better and to keep alive a spark that will inspire for greater and better acts in the future, both in us and the people following this crazy ride.

Jökulsárlón is assaulted by tourists during the day, but if you decide to set up camp on its shores, the place becomes an intimate exploration in the world of ice. Icebergs are slowly making their way to become one with the ocean, birds are everywhere and seals can be spotted from time to time. Like many places in Iceland, there is a strong positive energy you feel being so close to the power of nature. Yet, as modern human beings, I feel there is also a disconnection from all that. Don't get me wrong, I love being out there, but the truth is most of us have to return to the comfort of the city sooner or later. I think by only living your life fully dependant on what nature has to offer, you get to understand it. Maybe much like our grandfathers did. But enough with the rants. I got to skinny dip in the icy waters, while Aura dressed for the occasion. We both have missing screws.

We relaxed at the edge of the Vatnajökull for two days, then we pressed on towards south. Europe's largest ice cap and the other glaciers found on the island are shaping the landscape and the weather here.

Autumn is already happening in Iceland and, as the temperatures drop a little bit, the weather seems to get somewhat more stable (a questionable remark as we realised later on) and light has a finer quality during the day.

This last photo is probably made in Suðurland, before we were pedaling into our biggest challenge yet, the F208 mountain road to Landmannalaugar. But that's another chapter to be released very soon. As I'm writing this in the middle of the night, Aurora Borealis is dancing in the sky. So I guess I can't call it a day just yet.

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