In Laugur, after a short ride on a very bumpy road, I found what has so far been my favorite campground in Iceland. It was un-crowded, surrounded by trees, giving a rare sense of privacy, and the grass where I pitched my tent had been recently mowed. “You’ve come to the right place,” said the teen who greeted me, and indeed I had. Perhaps I am biased here by the sun, which, still at 11 PM, shone bright in the sky. It was the first time I’d seen that sun for days. I fell asleep to the call of terns, the river flowing nearby.
In the morning, I rode to the local pool, and soaked in the heated thermal tub. While Laugur was on Route 1, it felt off the beaten track. I was the only tourist. Two elderly women spoke to each other in Icelandic and I closed my eyes and eavesdropped on a conversation I didn’t understand.
It was a ten mile ride to the falls at Goðafoss, and I walked on the trail that ran along the river, the water aqua green and flowing fast. It was here that, in the year 1000, Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði, the county chieftain and law speaker of Iceland, cast his statues of Nordic gods into these falls, and declared Iceland a Christian country. The falls themselves fall roughly 39 feet and are 100 feet wide.
I lingered, as I tend to do, and didn’t leave the falls until evening. No matter. It doesn’t get dark and you can pretty much ride all night. I pedaled 15 miles into the wind, and then 4 miles up a very steep climb. Three weeks ago, that climb would have discouraged me. But I knew what was on the other side-downhill, and because the road turned south, the wind behind me. I got to he top and let out a whoop, and then sang my way down down down, the ocean now in front of me, and I rode, Akuyeri in view, and then across the bridge over Eyjafjörður, the longest fjord in Iceland, and into Akuyeri. It was just after 11 PM.
I have spent the day here in town. When Joan and I came here before, Akuyeri was our favorite town, and I still feel the same. Perhaps it is the coffee shop/bookstore on the corner, which Has a wonderful selection of contemporary Icelandic authors in translation, along with other books about the country.
Today is Sunday, June 11. In five days, Joan will leave Fairbanks to meet me in Reykjavik. Soon my journey here will be complete.