Part 5

Day 8

Mild evening deceived me … how could I think that it won’t be windy here is beyond me ;)

During my morning ukulele session by the road, I meet very friendly German couple in their cute orange VW bus. They run around me in circles asking where is my car and why I’m standing here with nothing but ukulele… I just keep playing and smile, snap a photo, they leave laughing…

I start cycling and immediately I’m stunned by the change of scenery.

It is almost like, while I was sleeping, sneeky Iceland secretly shifted from highly featured ash and lava fields to desolate sandy flatlands…

It is kind of warm but I keep all my clothes on, as if I’m waiting for sth to happen this morning…Soon enough I realize that following yellow posts marking the trail isn’t the quickest way to Askja and since I’m pushing the bike through the sand most of the time I might be just as well pushing it straight to the point.

So I target Askja volcano and start walking…After two hours I don’t seem to get any closer, I constantly look back to check if my line is straight. It takes me about 5 hours of pushing to reach the mountain. I stop by the hut, unload the bike and, feeling weightless, I literally fly 10km uphill to see the volcanic lake on the top.. Main prehistoric caldera is huge at 50km² and the lake that fills most of it – Oskjuvatn is 220m deep. The small caldera – Viti, filled with hot turquoise water was formed more recently in 1875.

First explorers of the lake vanished without a trace in 1907. Later the whole area became proving ground for Apollo lunar mission. They discovered weird red, gargoyle like lava formation you can see below…

I cycle back down to the hut and go to see the warden to ask about conditions in Kverkfjoll which is my next destination. She asks me about my name so I’m introducing myself and than weird thing happens… she looks at the map on the wall and asks – Where is Alan?

I feel confused and surprised, I check my pockets and scan my bike like I could have lost sth in the desert. Then I look at the red pin on the map, there is yellow note hanging of it. Slowly my tired brain is starting to put facts together… Two days ago Alan and myself talked to the warden in Nyidylur hut, we left our names and information about the route we are taking. It looks like wardens communicate and really are tracking our progress here. I explain why we split and that Alan should get here 1 day later. She scribbles on the yellow paper.

I get a bag of chocolate muesli and a fresh orange … wardens here are very nice :)

It’s getting dark and I have some more cycling to do.

Road is very good and goes mostly downhill so I do 25km before pitching a tent somewhere in the far background of the image above.

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