Riding Day 8 - Today was the day! The famous Landmannalaugar was our goal to reach for lunch time! Fantastic off-road riding in a landscape looking like another planet with challenging water crossings all day long! The natural hot pot and a snack bought in an old bus haven't been the only reward after lots of work on the bikes. No the riding itself in this incredible and colourful mountains was the best reward you could get! Have a look at our pictures to see the riders performing art on motorcycles in Iceland!
After we turned off the Ring Road we hit the gravel road leading us further and further into the highlands. Stephan was leading the group and riding up front.
We crossed lava fields, passed by small rivers and the gravel road turned into a small and curvy single track.
Then we hit our first river crossing. We always waited until everybody was there and then we did it one by one. Adam is already half way through.
Glen also haven't had any problems crossing the river.
Richard on his way. Of course everybody took plenty of pictures of the spectacular crossings.
The landscpae is either from another planet or art. Pictures aren't any good to describe this rough but beautiful part of the world.
Here we followed the river leading us through a narrow gorge with lot's of left over snow.
Oliver riding his Triumph Tiger across the river.
Lots of ice and snow was all along our way. This road just opened 3 weeks ago because there was a long and hard winter in Iceland.
Christopher and his daughter on the passenger seat just made it look easy to cross the rivers.
Cyrill did a great job as well. And we had lots of river crossings!
The colours were really intense! The riding was too!
Oliver on his way out of the river. Nobody remembered how many rivers we actually crossed.
If a crossing was too deep or to tough to manage the tour guides of course took care and rode the bikes through. Stephan with safety-sun-glasses on the Explorer. In the background you can see Walter taking the chance of a scenic walk.
Michael also helped once in a while to bring the bikes safely to the other side. In proper safety-flip-flops of course!
Rainer and Caro in one of the deeper rivers we crossed.
In the beginning of the trip Walter wanted to have ONE picture of ONE river crossing to show to his friends. Now he has something like 20 or more! Well done!
Once in a while the rivers turned into amazing lakes laying still in the middle of the mountains.
The last stretch to Landmannalaugar - quite picturesque!
After hours of tough riding we finally reached Landmannalaugar! Look at all those colours!
We bought some lunch in old busses who were turned into a soup kitchen and a shop.
Lunch time in the middle of nowhere!
After the long ride we jumpe into the natural hot spring where the hot water comes down the mountains. Time to relax and enjoy.
On the way further north to our hotel in Fludir we had plenty of time to stop along the road and take some more pictures.
A lava stream coming down the mountains into a lake.
The lava field we had to cross to get to Landmannalaugar. Sharp and rough! Luckily there was a gravel road going through.
Riding Day 7 - Today was all about glaciers! A little cloudy in the morning it turned out incredible again. We stopped by the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon for an amphibian boat trip to get closer to the ice. The ice is more than 1000 years old and after it breaks of the glacier into the lake it can drift around up to 7 years until it breaks and melts into small enough peaces to float into the ocean! Luckily we took some crystal clear ice with us to the hotel. Why that? You'll find the answer in the pictures!
Oliver, Cyrill, Richard, Adam and Glen in front of the Jökulsárlón. Looks like they were waiting for something.
That's it! The amphibian boat which took us out on the glacier lagoon.
The ice get's some cool looks while turning around and breaking constantly!
Our boat guide told us some interesting facts about the glacier lagoon and also had some 1.000 year old ice ready to taste right on the boat.
After everybody on the boat had a little piece to try we took the chance and got the big rest. Caro was responsible to take care of it until we arrived to the hotel.
Look at the colour! The bright blue means that the ice just rolled around and turned upside down. It only stays blue like this for a couple of hours. Then the oxygen in the air turns it white.
Another boat just cruising by as we were on our way back.
Of course we didn't forget about our group picture in front of the glacier lagoon!
Where the lagoon leads into the ocean ice is carried ashore because of the tides. So you find art like this just laying around on the black beach!
Another stop at another glacier coming down the mountain. They all belong to the Vatnajökull glacier. This glacier alone covers 8% of Iceland! It's the biggest glacier in Europe!
Richard, the tour guide Michael and Glen having a good time!
The landscape in Iceland is incredible! Walter could be doing some advertising with his picture.
Riding Day 6 - Today we did a relaxing ride through the 'forest area' of Iceland around the lake Lagarfljót. We continued on some gravel roads and soon we got back on the Ring Road 1 but in this part of the island the main road turns into a gravel road too. The 'Öxi' mountain road is a short cut over the mountains. An impressive ride with lots of turns, up and down - on gravel of course. We stopped for lunch in Djúpivogur and rode some very scenic sweepers along the coast reaching the hotel for the night in Höfn.
Richard and Adam cruising around the lake.
This is the main road around the island. Pretty good gravel sections in the eastern part.
The Öxi mountain road is a short cut over the mountains instead of going around on the coastline. Cool road and challenging riding. Especially with the fog layer above us.
Look at this gravel road winding down the mountain and all the cool bikes riding on it!
Tour guide Stephan on his Triumoh Tiger 800 XCx right in front of the waterfall coming down next to the Öxi mountain road.
The road along the coast going south. Again we had pretty good weather!
Of course we stopped to take some pictures of the amazing scenery along the sea.
Long sweepers right in between the mountains on the right and steep cliffs down to the sea on the left.
We fitted a Edelweiss sticker on the road sign too!
Cyrill on a gravel road heading for the peninsula 'Stokksnes'. In the background you can already spot a glacier.
Behind the mountains we found a viking village. Not a real one though but a filming location. Unfortunately another big company was filming a viking movie at the same time they set up this location so they decided not to film it. Now it just waits there in front of the mountains.
This view awaited us when we arrived to the hotel in Höfn. The sky was clear and we could see all the glaciers coming down the mountains. Some say that this is the prettiest view you can get in Iceland.
Riding Day 5 - This day started with a nice gravel road to warm up for the day because it was quite cold. Today we got the real Icelandic weather and the sun was hiding behind clouds for most of the day. We were lucky with the rain though and only got wet for about 10 minutes. We explored the sights around Mývatn and continued to Egilsstadir in the east of the island. Have a look at our photos!
The pseudo craters at the south of lake Mývatn aren't of vulcanic origin. The lava was flowing into swamp lands and the boiling water turned into steam building up high pressure and exploding through the lava cover leaving those crater looking hills behind.
Afterwards just further east we arrived to the Throne of the Christmas trolls! This place is right in the middle of a huge lava field.
The Dimmuborgir area consist of a massive, collapsed lava tube formed by a lava lake flowing in from a large eruption. Several of the chambers and pillar bases are large enough to house humans, giving rise to the term "castles".
Happy group happy tour guide!
After a really good lunch we climbed a hill to look down on the Mývatn lake and some geothermal hot springs.
On the other side of the hill we found sulfur steam coming out of the ground and rising up into the air. Also a lot of small mud pots were around and bubbling like boiling water.
This scenery was perfect for a picture!
In the afternoon we stopped by the Dettifoss. It is the most powerful waterfall in Europe and the water drops 45m! Walter from Austria, Cyrill and Oliver from Switzerland were impressed by the sheer power of water.
Once in a while the sun came out and left a huge rainbow in the spray of Dettifoss.
We had another warm up coffee and some waffels before riding the last stretch to the hotel.
The ride afterwards was dedicated to gravel roads. The ones nobody takes. Nobody.
In the middle of nowhere we found a huge wall of rocks. The rocks were pushed down the hill from a huge glacier but the glacier disappered and now this straight wall of rocks is left in the middle of the highlands. Nature always amazes with it's creations!
On Iceland you can find water everywhere. Glaciers, snow, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs, steam! And everything looks incredible!
Riding Day 4 - The 4th day was our rest day but because resting is boring everybody was in for a ride up to Húsavík. This town is well known for it's good location to do whale watching. And that's what we did. Unfortunately we only have one shot of a whale. Anyway we have lots of other good pictures so have a look!
We got up quite early to start our whale watching tour in Húsavík. We parked the bikes right at the harbour and went to our boat.
Everybody got the latest trend in fashion! What a good looking group posing in the front of "Fanny"!
Of course we were not the only boat leaving the harbour to look for some whales.
Also we took a loop by the Puffin island located north of Húsavík to see those cute little birds.
As you can see the weather was incredible one more time and the Puffins were all over. Sitting on the cliffs on the island, swimming in the very calm sea and flying around.
Huge groups of them were just sitting in the water and drifting along with the waves.
When the boat came too close to the Puffins they were either running away on the water or just diving down. They are really good at diving and can go down to 60m under water.
This little guy unfortunately tried to 'run' away right in front of our boat. And didn't change direction. So he was probably running for his life and this boat with crazy neon-glowing humans was just coming closer. It took him a bit to be smart and just turn left.
Richard, Glen and Adam in the front of the boat.
The weather was just perfect, the sky was blue and the sea was calm.
We had contact to the other ships out there but nobody has seen a whale so far.
While waiting we even got cookies and hot chocolate or coffee. Everybody had a good time looking for whales, chatting or just having a nap during our cruise.
Unfortunately this is nature and wild life. You cannot call the whales or see one for sure even if the chances are quite high in this bay. So we were going back and still didn't see one so far.
Back in town we had lunch and spread out to explore the city and it's surroundings. Some went into the highly recommended whale museum, some went for a ride up the hill to a natural hot pot or to a view point even further up the mountains. And some went to the Exploration Museum were you get informations about the NASA crew training in Iceland.
The people at the museum told us that the crew and staff of NASA just have been revisiting Iceland and this little museum two weeks ago. They took footprints of the astronauts to exhibit in the museum soon. We got a first look of them in the basement!
Check it out: http://www.explorationmuseum.com/2015/07/astronauts-revisit-training-area-and-explore-a-new-lava-flow/
On our way back from Húsavík to Akureyri we stoped by Godafoss. Walter is looking good and having fun!
Back in Akureyri the weather was ... how to say ... unlike anybody expected it to be in Iceland. We got some serious sun burns, right Adam?
Yep sometimes being a tour guide isn't that bad!
Maybe you thought we didn't see any whales that day. Sorry but this snap shot should proof you wrong. It was huge! And awesome! And everybody saw it! The whale did a tripple pirouette just for us!
No it's not photoshopped! Why would you think that?
It's made with paint...
Riding Day 3 - After a long day yesterday today was rather short and relaxing. We planned two stops at museums, a lunch stop and arriving to our next overnight town Akureyri in the early afternoon. Nobody though expected that kind of amazing weather. So we took our time especially at the lunch stop and enjoyed the sunshine! Let's see the impressions of today.
After leaving Sauðárkrókur our first stop was the Emigration Museum in Hofsós. In the 18th century many Icelanders left the country because of the harsh weather and started a new life mostly in Canada.
Hofsós is one of the oldest trading ports in northern Iceland dating back to the 16th century. The exhibition is in Pakkhús, the warehouse on the left which was built in 1777, during the time of the trading monopoly. It's one of the oldest remaining buildings in Iceland!
The riding afterwards along the coastline had a lot of sweepers and we could already see some blue sky out on the sea.
We had some one lane tunnels. Don't worry - there are passing spaces every 50m so nobody has to turn around or back up.
Shortly before we reached our lunch stop in Siglufjörður the clouds nearly disappered.
We parked the bikes at the harbour right in the middle of the town.
The 'Herring Era Museum' gave us quite a good impression how hard the life must have been when the 'gold rush' of Herring fishing was right here.
Check out: http://www.sild.is/en/visit/about-the-museum/museums-history/
After we spent some time getting into Icelandic history the sunshine was all over!
The food was delicious and the sun rose the temperatures so we spent quite some time relaxing in this beautiful location.
Enough of relaxing. It was time for a ride! So we left going south along the coastline.
The following pictures were really taken in Iceland. I promise!
Just a little cabin on the side of the road along the coastal road. Just a little cabin in red that makes this view on the sea inlet so spectacular!
In the background you can see our overnight town Akureyri. And in the front ... well ... a pretty cool bike on gravel roads ... in Iceland ... while the sun is shining!
Glen, Adam and Richard on the road down from a viewpoint above Akureyri. Those guys can't get enough riding!
This picture was taken by Adam on a dead end view point road in Siglufjörður. Just look at it!
If you book your trip to Iceland right now please don't forget that there isn't any good weather or sunshine guaranty! Unfortunately ...
Riding Day 2 - Today it was all about the gravel road 35 leading us from the south in Selfoss way up north to Sauðárkrókur. Luckily this road goas by two major sights well known as parts of the famous 'Golden Circle'. So we stopped by befor hitting the gravel. The weather was absolutely stunning and not a single rain drop fell down on our helmets. Look at the pictures and find out more!
Our first stop in the morning was at the world famous 'Geysir' and his little brother 'Strokkur'. The eponym for all other geysers on this planet didn't spout but Strokkur was quite active and showing us his hot water fountains.
It just looks like a hot pot like anywhere else on Iceland. But because there is a chamber underneath the surface countaining air pressure is constantly adding up.
Until the pressure is too high and the boiling hot water shoots up in the air up to 60 feet high. Sometimes even up to 120 feet!
Just a few kilometers along the road there is the golden waterfall 'Gullfoss'. Up to 120m³ of water are falling down each second over two cascades with a 90° angle. The first step is 11m high, the second 21. Then the stream continues in a 2,5 km long gorge with up to 70m high cliffs. Impressive what nature creates over time!
Then it was about time to get some gravel underneath our tires!
We even had some water crossings on our long highland route. Everybody did very well and we all had lots of fun!
Of course we didn't forget to take a group picture for you.
Our lunch stop was right in the middle of 'no mans land'. Hveravellir is a vulcano underneath the glacier and so there a hot springs in a pretty cool location.
This place is quite remote. The next paved road is more than an hour away so we could only get some basic lunch. I'm pretty sure though that because of this unique weather everybody had a fantastic time eating and resting on the terrace in the middle of nowhere!
Located in western highlands of Iceland Hveravellir Nature Reserve is one of the last great wilderness areas of Europe. The area is accessible via the Kjölur highland route that passes between the glaciers Langjökull and Hofsjökull and connects north and south Iceland.
Extending up to the foothills of Langjökull glacier Hveravellir is a geothermal hotspot with smoking fumaroles and bubbling water holes. It is a special experience to have a look around!
Christopher and his daughter were having a closer look to the hot water sources.
Of course like anywhere else in Iceland if there is a hot spring there is hot pot as well.
On our way further north we reached a really cool viewpoint overlooking the whole area we were riding through for hours.
The Triumph Tiger's of Glen and Richard were quite well located for a picture. Don't you think so?
In the afternoon when we reached the Ring Road 1 again we stopped by the Víðimýra church to have a look at this typical icelandic building of the 19th century.
Just a little bit down the road there is a statue of 'Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir'. You don't know her? She was - at the time around the year 1000 - the woman who traveled the furthest and probably the woman who gave birth to the first child of European origin on the American continent in 1004.
The statue is located in Glaumbær where we also had our afternoon coffee stop.
This farmhouse represents the typical building methods used in Iceland for centuries and now houses an exhibition focusing on rural life in 18th to 19th century Iceland.
After we stopped by at our hotel we rode even further to a natural hot pot right along the coastline and enjoyed a bath. What a day!
Riding Day 1 - We finished our first ride through the rough and sharp lavafields around the Reykjanes peninsula. The weather was absolutely perfect and we enjoyed our day very much. Check out the new pictures!
Our first stop was at the very west of the peninsula to have a look at the 'bridge between two continents'.
Right here the two tectonic plates are drifting apart - 2 cm every year - and created a trench through the lava fields.
Here you can see the plates and where we were.
Of course we left our marks! Don't worry - we just walked a heart for all the motorcyclists out there into the black sand.
Richard meanwhile created a little pile of stones. The bridge across the trench is right behind him.
It's quite amazing to walk from the Eurasian plate - the largest on earth - over to the North American plate - the 6th largest - in just seconds.
Adam in front of the high cliff of the North American side of the trench.
Just a little later we hit our first gravel road!
Finally it has begun! Edelweiss is back on Iceland and doing a complete loop around the island and all it's favorite sights. Waterfalls, fjords, coastlines, lavafields, gravelroads and glaciers of course! To start a tour like this first of all it's necessary to bring a couple of multipurpose motorcycles to this remote place in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The Triumph Tigers 800 & 1200 XC are be perfect to cover both curvy coastline roads and tough gravel roads through the highlands. So we sent Michael with the new Edelweiss Pick-Up truck and the trailer full of bikes on the journey from Mieming, Austria to Denmark, onto the ferry, crossing over to the Faeroe Islands and further to Iceland. Stay tuned and check out our pictures on this blog to get a glance of the magnificent spots this volcanic island has to offer!
The ferry is leaving Denmark for a two-day cruise to Iceland.
Half way the ferry stopped at the Faeroe Islands with quite a nice view onto Tórshavn.
Cruising right through the middle of the islands with amazing weather.
Arriving to the coastline of Iceland with lots of fog. Imagine how the first vikings must have felt sailing up to this scenery after days on thier ship...
Welcome to Iceland! Where the main road contains gravel sections like this!
Look at this! The Fjallsárlón Glacier is looking down on us. Now the bikes definitely don't belong on the trailer anymore ...
So we lined them up in front of the hotel right at the harbour in the middle of Reykjavík. The group already took them over and tomorrow is our first riding day!
There was a huge trail of steam rising up in between the lava fields. So we figured it out.
It's the Gunnuhver - the biggest mud pot on Iceland. The tmperatures below the surface are up to 300° C hot!
First group picture right in front of the mud pot.
From left to right: Rainer, Adam, Caro, Richard, Walter, Glen, Stephan, Christopher and his daughter, Cyrill and Oliver
After our little off-road detour we stopped for our lunch break. What place could be better on the Reykjanes peninsula than the famous 'Blue Lagoon'?
The food was just amazing! The 'lava restaurant' is carved into the lava fields. So you don't see the buildings of the Blue Lagoon from the outside parking lot.
Then two guides took over and showed us around in the Blue Lagoon facilities. In the background you can spot the Blue Lagoon Clinic and geothermal power plant.
They showed us the healthy combination of thermal water, moss and bacteria which is very good for your skin. They also had a lot of funny elve stories to tell.
Unfortunately no place for a swim for us... The Blue Lagoon was fully booked with waiting times up to 6 hours...
Chemistry lesson: What makes the slush so good for your skin?
At the end of our little tour we got a 'Blue Lagoon non-alcoholic-motorycle-rider-drink'. Rainer was quite happy about the non-alcoholic part.
We enjoyed the drink and the view onto the swimming area of the Blue Lagoon.
On the afternoon we headed back inland on some awesome sweepers up and down throug the countryside.
Of course we didn't miss the gravel roads!
If you know where to go you can find some really cool roads without any traffic at all!
Now we have already arrived to our hotel north of Selfoss.
Stay tuned for tomorrows long off-road day!