Something’s fishy

 Despite the still very high wind, we decided to get out of the comfortable situation we had been in for two days at the Hafnarfjordur camp site and guest house. It wasn’t raining and the day looked like it could turn quite nice. Except for that pesky wind. Still blowing from the southeast at 40+ KM per hour. Of course, we were heading southeast to the south coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula.

It was brutal. We repeatedly got blown off our bikes and ended up walking for short stretches. As we slowly progressed down hwy. 42 toward Krusavik an odour became stronger and stronger. A fishy odour. When we crested a little hill we figured out why: rows and rows of racks with fish in various stages of desiccation. Well, not all of them really held fish but rather fish bits. Heads and tails. The smell was overwhelming. Guess the wind blows a lot there or else they wouldn’t be hanging fish to dry.

Fish drying in the wind south of Hafnarfjordur
Fish drying in the wind south of Hafnarfjordur
Fish bits
Fish bits

Once beyond the fish desiccation factory, the air quality improved dramatically. The wind, not so much. The asphalt ended and turned into gravel at the base of a small hill. We did not get very far. The wind seemed to really pick up as we ascended. It was all I could do to push my bike to the top. Walking back to help Jan, I jumped up and the wind blew me down the hill a few feet. It must have been howling at 70 KM or more.

I helped Jan get her bike to the top of the hill and the road mercifully descended and turned somewhat away from the wind direction. A bit further between the hills, there was suddenly no wind at all and then it was behind us. Sadly that tail wind didn’t last. Once the valley opened up beside Kleifarvatn (vatn is lake) the wind was more from the side and occasionally behind us.

Eventually, the road turned due east and we headed straight into the wind again but it had definitely waned. After five hours of cycling, we finally made it to Selvogur, a place where we had camped in 2010 and remembered it fondly. The camping is still free and it is still a charming spot on the south coast with fresh duck eggs in a basket in the wash house for 100 Kronur each. We took four and tossed them into our noodle soup. We also had a tin of sardines and some flat bread. A good meal, finished off with some tea and chocolate-covered biscuits eaten in the comfort of the dishwashing shed (out of the wind).

Dinner out of the wind
Dinner out of the wind

The best part of the day, besides stopping cycling in that maddening wind, was the shower we had before turning in. Oh, how glorious on so many levels. Camping in Iceland is very civilized that way. Hot water just about everywhere. It comes out of the ground and runs down the road in places.

Why we decided to put ourselves through this day, I don’t know. Probably because we were getting fed up by sitting around, even though it was very comfortable and did not cost us anything. Free wi-fi, the use of a kitchen and dining room. Nice showers and nice people. But we came to cycle and cycling we will go, even if the conditions are not perfect.

Cycling east from Selvogur
Cycling east from Selvogur

In the end, it was good we got on the road. We cycled 53 KM in just over 5 hours with a blistering average speed of 10.1 KM per hour. We normally ride that speed going up long, steep hills. But it’s good to push yourself sometimes. And pushing we did, in more ways than one.

(We slept for 11 hours. We may have been a little tired)

6 thoughts on “Something’s fishy

  1. I once read that people make bread in the hot springs in Iceland. They put the dough in any old pot with a lid and bury it for 24 hours. It has a steamed texture rather than baked, I guess. I would be very interested if you come across a place that does that.

    1. Hi Chris,

      I’ll keep my eye out and let you know. The weather is crap but we’re carrying on. Hope your knee is healing and that you’re getting back hiking.

      Enjoy the summer!

      Pv and Jan

  2. I’m pedaling along vicariously Paul and Jan: imagining even the bruises I’m getting from being blown off my bike by 70 km winds. It sounds like a sail – shortened for sure – might be of assistance. I wonder how close to the wind one could tack with an out-rigged wheel? The blog is terrific: the foundation for an interesting travel book I think. Cheers,

  3. A good story of strong winds, strong odors and two very strong minds!

    May the wind blow more mercifully with you!


  4. That first photo is fascinating. If I adjust my focal length, I see The Last Supper. Or a set of picnic tables.

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