A Travellerspoint blog

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Ice Ice Baby

Our last week in the wonderful Iceland was dominated by the huge glaciers along the south. First came the two smaller glaciers: Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull. The latter we were able to ride up close to after a bumpy ride, this got us very excited as we could literally touch the thing. However, as we continued east along the main road 1, the might of the huge Vatnajokull soon became apparent. This beast is the largest glacier outside of the poles and covers an area three times the size of Luxembourg! Yes, it's that great big white blob on the map of Iceland. We camped in the Vatnajokull national park, just a short trek away from the foot of the ice-mount. The lakes below the glaciers were equally impressive as chunks of ice floated around, some drifting out to sea. I'll let the pictures do the talking...

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Unlike the rest of the rest of the country, the southern part of Iceland has relatively little to explore on 2 wheels. We did stop off to admire the sights and their stories including rock formations, more waterfalls (they literally are everywhere), canyons, pseudo-craters and lava-formed basalt columns.

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We then spent some time relaxing in Neskaupstadur. It was beautiful weather so we just enjoyed this wonderful fjord with hikes, braais and beers above the waterfall behind our campsite. For the final night we headed back to Seydisfjordur to complete our 360' tour of Iceland. It was time to say goodbye as the next morning our ferry was to take us to our next destination: The Faroe Islands.

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Posted by The Minion 13:36 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Ferocious Faroes

all seasons in one day 13 °C
View Motorcycle Adventure to the Arctic circle and beyond on XJR1300's travel map.

Arrived at 3am Friday morning in the pouring rain and darkness, first time I have seen night in over three weeks. We setup tent at the campsite in Torshavn, which is closed for renovations. We are soaked but it clears briefly in the morning. We head out on route 50 towards Vagar, another island connected by a 7km long tunnel. I pull in the clutch on the Moto Guzzi and my right hand twists the grip to full throttle... we go momentarily deaf as the engine red lines and the noise reverberates through the tunnel. Just for shits and giggles! We dodge some hardy looking sheep and admire the many waterfalls cascading down the luminous green, near vertical slopes. The wind is pretty damn strong and then it starts to rain, after five minutes it is sunny again. We drive through the tiny villages with the traditional grass roofed houses and savour the views of the jagged cliffs and razor sharp islands, all hanging beneath the grey blue sky. The clouds blow over again and it looks threatening. We ride through one more tunnel to the tiny village of Gasadalur on the western side of Vagar. The postman must be happy about the tunnel that was completed in 2006 as previously he had to climb over mountain to deliver mail, you can still see the path today. There is a waterfall and old winch down the cliff that was used to haul supplies brought by boat before the tunnel.
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Next we headed back along the same route, but I followed a sign to Trollkonufingur, which sounded cool even though we didn't know what to expect! The road winded upwards changing from smooth tar to rough tar, then to two strips of tar with a grass patch in the middle. I picked a strip and followed it over the potholes to the end. We got off the bike, looked at the ominous clouds and headed off through a gated field with some leary looking rams in it. At the end of the path we had a great view of what I am guessing is maybe translated to the trolls finger? I was able to snap one photo before we were blitzed by a thunder storm. Screeching winds blowing the huge rain drops horizontally into our faces. Instant numbness and wetness. I was actually stinging. The weather here doesn't mess around. I was impressed. Although it was not fun putting on dry bike gloves and helmet on wet body parts. Visor keeps misting up and helmet has a funny smell now, haha
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We then road to Vestmanna via route 40 to seek shelter but there was none until we found the tourist info centre that had a restaurant as well. We had a coffee and then headed to the bleak looking campsite that was just a gravel parking lot...but the facilities are new and there is a good shower and small indoor area to shelter in, plus free WiFi. Nice
This morning we plan to ride out to see the rest of the Streymoy and Eysruroy islands and hopefully the NE islands as well.

Posted by XJR1300 02:10 Archived in Faroe Islands Tagged ca ferry motorbike Comments (0)

Last day in Faroe islands

Trying to stay dry in Torshavn

rain 12 °C
View Motorcycle Adventure to the Arctic circle and beyond on XJR1300's travel map.

On Saturday we headed off north towards Gjogv, then onto the island of Bordoy and the town of Klaksvik. We had some delicious cake and a cup of coffee there. We also browsed some local handmade goods produced from the local sheep wool. I managed to get myself a sweet woollen hat for half the price they cost further towards the south. The fjords and mountains get more dramatic the further north you go, with the sides getting steeper and higher. There is one cliff that is 750 metres high. The views were great, even with the clouds and occasional rain. In the late afternoon we took a ride back towards Torshavn after stopping at one of the very few liquor stores... that only sold beer. WTF!? We then stayed at the free camp site and spent our money on two large steaks and a disposable BBQ. We pitched our tent and then sat on the rocks of the beach and had a mini feast while watching the bad weather drift in. This didn't stop the locals who where having their annual music festival, they partied until around four in the mourning in the pouring rain... they must have had access to the hard liquor!
Today, Sunday has been non stop rain and 99 percent of the shops are closed so not much to do except drink bottomless coffee and watch the rain, at least we are warm and dry for now. Our ferry leaves at half eleven tonight, then on Tuesday morning we arrive at Hirthals northern Denmark. Then head to Norway on another ferry. We have a few options but will play it by beer. We need to get a new fork seal on the motoguzzi as it is leaking oil over the disc brakes, not good. The rear tire we got in Iceland has squared itself off pretty badly after maybe 2000 km, need to get a new front tire soon so might as well replace both and do fluid changes before we get to Russia and beyond. We are looking forward to our small cabin on the Norrona, this one will have a window. Guess the sea will be rough with the stormy weather so will have to secure the bike well. Hopefully there are some photos below and more should follow. We have had fun here but are looking forward to getting to the mainland again.
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Posted by XJR1300 10:49 Archived in Faroe Islands Tagged motorcycle Comments (0)

Waiting for parts

overcast 19 °C

After a partially rough ferry crossing (waves up to 5 meters high!), we made it back to Hirtshals in Denmark. The original plan had been to catch a ferry to Norway the same day. But as one the front fork seals had been leaking for a while we decided a repair in Denmark would be easier and cheaper than in Norway. Greg found some Guzzis mechanics online and started calling. Unfortunately the response wasn't great: the part would have to be ordered from Italy, which would take at least a week (urgency is a relatively unknown concept in Italy)!

The dealer we opted for was halfway down the country, in a town called Horsens. Although unable to source the required part, they seem very competent and have allowed us to source the product from the UK which is quicker and cheaper for us. Let's hope the postal service doesn't cock up! If all goes to schedule we should be back on the road Monday or Tuesday.

The bike will get a full service, which we were planning to do halfway anyway so we probably would have encountered a similar issue further north if it wasn't for the fork seal. Luckily Horsens is a quaint town with a nice lake-side campsite, lots of greenery, and enough to keep us entertained for a few days. We've made friends with two of the local ducks!

Today we visited the very interesting F├Žngslet prison museum, housed in the old state prison which operated from the middle 1800's up until 2006. Metallica and other bands have played concerts here, which must have been super cool.

The weather is supposed to be very good the next few days so well probably head to the beach, explore the lake by boat and maybe rent a bicycle for a day. Fingers crossed the Guzzi is up and running sooner rather than later so we can continue our trip through Norway.

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Posted by The Minion 07:58 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

A week later...we are still in Horsens, Denmark

...still better than sitting at a desk

sunny 25 °C

So our parts arrived Friday afternoon, but the workshop is closed weekends, so we took the Guzzi in Today. Getting new fork seal put on and a service, plus two new tyres. Should hopefully be done sometime on Wednesday...
In the meantime we went to the Industry museum, which was interactive and very entertaining, and we both highly recommend it. We could have spent the entire day there. It also had the club house for the Nimbus MC club there and we took a tour of the old Danish bikes and saw some that had been round the world and the problems they encountered were a bit worse than ours, broken frame held together by a belt anyone!?
Then for the weekend we hired some bicycles as walking everywhere takes hours. It was good to be on two wheels again, haha. So we explored the further reaches of Horsens and discovered it is actually quite beautiful and diverse, especially if you can find the hidden gems. We cycled north to a small beach on the fjord, where I had a swim, the water not being that cold, I was surprised. Although its best to look out for jellyfish, as there are hundreds.I made sure I had a full bladder as urine is the best to take away the stinging if you get stung! Luckily I came out unscathed. The houses out here are big, modern and awesome all with huge green immaculate gardens and sea views. The people are friendly and many times have offered directions etc...makes a difference to being asked for spare change. The forest grows right down to the waters edge and the water is crystal clear. The weather has been hot, around 25 degrees, so the cool shade of the trees was welcome. We found a dodgy looking rope swing in one of the trees growing out over the sea and promptly gave it a go... and almost came a cropper.
Next we headed back and south around the bay, again nice, quiet cycle path, uncrowded and scenic, just the way we like it. We explored some sand banks and gazed out to the many islands, next we stopped at BollerSlot an old sort of castle, with wonderful gardens, filled with ponds and exquisite flowers, we took some photos and played around with the camera settings. There is an oak tree there that they reckon is over a thousand years old and has a circumference of eight metres. There was also a free campsite here with primitive cabin type shelter, basically a roof with grass on it and three sides, but decent shelter. We then cycled back to our campsite and had a braai. Next day we found a cycle map that showed you could do a circular route around the fjord by catching the bicycle ferry from the island Alro which is connected to the mainland by a dam. It didn't look that far on the map...65km later we had finished the route knackered. It took most of the day, but was worth it and we made the bicycle ferry with twenty minutes to spare otherwise it would have been a four hour cycle back instead of an hour and a half. We then made some chicken on the braai and ice cold beer.
So today we feel yesterday's cycle and are taking it easy, just watched Star trek, into darkness in 3D. I think I might become a trekkie, it was that good and well worth the 8.2 on imdb.com. now we are sitting at our favourite shop in Horsens, the Bilka, it has free internet and cheap cafe and big tesco type shop, plus toilet and if you are really lucky you can get a table near a plug socket and charge up your phone and tablet, hobo style... just wonder if the other people who sit here for hours are doing the same thing? The park by the station is good for wasting some time as well.
I think there is another museum and a swimming pool still to explore, maybe tomorrow....

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Posted by XJR1300 07:56 Archived in Denmark Tagged horsens Comments (2)

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