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Iceland - Day 11 : Koen and Bart

I couldn't help laughing this morning while packing my tent, today was a special day. My friend Koen (from the first cycling vacation) never wanted to join again. He did have the amazingly adventurous idea to one day cycle over the Dutch 'enclosure dam', a large dam in the north of the country, but only if we travel there and back by train.

Because I was now on vacation without Bart, Koen had suggested in secret to cycle over the dam while I was away. However, Koen's girlfriend had told me anyway. Their plan was to continue until the most northern part of the Netherlands. Two years ago I had tried to cycle there with my colleague Bas, but because he gave up we had stopped 30 km before reaching our goal. For years certain people were also claiming I was the source of everything that went wrong (i.e., the adventure) during our cycling trips. Now, without my 'bad' influence, Koen and Bart had planned their trip so well that Koen was under the impression they would leave on the 22nd and only cycle one way, while Bart thought they would leave on the 15th and cycle there and back. I am happy that they are going though, so Koen can see Bart is just as stubborn as me. I suspect Bart is going to get annoyed about Koen's slow cycling and his desire to eat at restaurants and sleep in hotels. In contrast, Koen will likely get annoyed by Bart's farting, non-stop eating of chocolate, and his continuous talking about Manon.

 

I had my own adventure to endure though. Without stopping I walked the 14 km to the campsite at Nyidalur. Before getting there I needed to cross a river. I wasn't sure upto what height my shoes are waterproof, but figured this would be a good time to find out. The river was about 15 cm deep and I could just tip-toe through without getting my feet wet. I also came onto the larger gravel road. 

Nyidalur consists of just a few huts for drivers to sleep. The 'campsite' only had one tent, it wasn't really a campsite. The only difference between camping there and the rest of Iceland was that you had to pay.

central iceland

The road along the way

nyidalur
nyidalur

Nyidalur
 

After a brief stop I needed to cross a second river. This one was pretty large but there were several sandbars. It was pretty cold outside and I didn't want to get wet. After jumping from stone to stone, aided by my hiking poles, I barely managed to get across without taking my shoes off. When I looked back I noticed two hikers arriving, perhaps I will meet them later.

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The river with Nyidalur in the background
 

After 5 km I left the national park. Another car stopped to ask if I needed something, it's a good thing every does that here. I came across yet another river, but this one was so deep I needed to take my shoes off and wade through. I already felt cold by the time I had my shoes off and couldn't walk fast due to the fast current. You need to experience this to know how cold it feels. After another 1,5 hours it was time to stop. It was a real struggle to pitch my tent without it blowing away. I also tore out of my pants. This was the first time I wasn't camping near water and of course just now I didn't have much left.

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Due to the cold I had forgotten to fill my water bottle after crossing the river. Fortunately, I had been carrying a spare 0.5L since Landmannalaugar. This was the first time I needed it. For dinner I had mashed potatoes with kale. The package had been damaged exactly at the spot where the recipe mentioned the amount of water required. This resulted in me eating lukewarm mashed potatoes with solid pieces of kale. It was better than nothing.

icelandic soil

Photo of the type of soil I had been walking over for the past days

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Beautiful sky above the glacier in the distance
 

I have gotten another serious blister on my heel, I am not sure why I am only getting these the last few days, maybe because of all the volcanic sand. I also hope I can wash myself and my clothes sometime soon, but it has been relatively cold. The next campsite is slightly closer than I previously thought, about 39 kilometers. With some luck I will arrive there the day after tomorrow. Hopefully that one is a bit larger than the one at Nyiladur.

Distance walked: 25 km