Iceland - Day 15 : A cup of coffee
Today I left just after the French. The landscape kept on getting nicer and greener. After 10 km I caught up with them while they were taking a break. When they got going again I decided to stop a little bit longer, because I wanted to walk by myself for a while.
Later I got a beautiful view over the Hofsa valley, which I followed for a long while. First I needed to descent a few hundred meters while being careful not to hurt my knees. At the bottom a car with an Icelandic family stopped. They chatted a bit and the wife seemed worried about me and kept inquiring if I was doing OK. It turned out to be the sister of the lady at the campsite, who had told her about me and my bleeding lips. The man asked what I thought of hiking in Iceland and I said it was sometimes tough but also very pretty and I certainly didn't regret going.
A bit later I caught up with Matthew and Thibaut and we continued together. It also started to rain. Between us we carried 3 different maps which all indicated a different distance to Varmahlid and also all disagreed with the scarce traffic signs we passed.
Walking went well and after a while I got ahead of Thibaut and Matthew. A lady in an off-road truck stopped to ask if I wanted coffee. As it was raining I said yes. Only when they stopped I realized they were from the Netherlands. When the French arrived the woman asked how I liked my coffee. As I had never drank coffee before I just said something. I didn't really like it but according to Matthew it was very good coffee. We also got some gingerbread while the husband explained he had designed their truck himself. It was a support car for the Dakar rally.
We continued walking and talked about France and the Netherlands. Thibaut had developed the same type of rash as I had, but his wasn't itchy. We also talked about food for 1,5 hours straight. We hoped there would be a McDonalds in Reykjavik. At one moment we passed a gritter, it was Juli after all. The driver told us it was not for snow but only to fortify the muddy road.
Matthew was finishing his PhD in sociology and told me that he and his fellow students had a theory that all women who ride horses are ugly. Just then a group of horse riders passed by, so we stopped to check them out.
Ready to take important scientific measurements
We talked about French models and all the wives of the previous French president. Apparently they were all pretty. Matthew also told me that there exists an important subgroup in sociology that studies French cycling girls in the summer in Paris. As Bart and I had cycled there a few years ago, I was able to contribute to this research area. Apparently Matthew's wife had been making jokes about their hike, saying it was going to be like the movie Brokeback mountain. I made sure not to ask if it was. Just after 18:00 I wanted to stop, but they wanted to keep going since it was their last day. We said goodbye and exchanged email address. I had walked 34 km that day, which was a new record for this trip.
Along the way
Tibaut and Matthew
Because I walked far the past two days it was 'only' 26 more kilometers to Varmahlid, which I planned to walk the following day. That would still be only day 16 out of my 26 in Iceland. At that moment I wouldn't have mind returning home a little sooner, but I also knew I would probably regret that after getting some rest. There were a couple nice organized bus excursions going farther east, but those were all pretty expensive and would still only fill one day. Therefore I planned to take a rest day in Varmahlid and then walk south over a different road for 4 days before taking a bus to Reykjavik. I also had some ideas for what to do there, but if I had learned anything during this trip it was not to plan too far ahead.
Distance walked: 34 km