Mini Adventures, Magic, and one Mabsoot

Sometimes you arrive in a place that you sorta kindda like a lot.Bakkergerdi

And you don’t want to hurry through.

I had pitched my tent on the other side of the mountain the night before in the hope to catch some Northern Lights after cycling the glorious road down from Egilsstaðir. a little bit

It was weak, but still there.

This is a one way road.

one way onlyI loved the little shop on top of the hill. The smallest shop in Iceland I’m sure,

Little Shopinside you find a vending machine.

My idea was to camp a night and cycle back the next day.

But when I woke up to a glorious sunshiny day I decided to ride up and over that big hill,Still snowyto see what’s on the other side. Whats down there...?

And that changed everything.Arrival

Borgarfjörður eystri is  one of them places…

A small town, 130 inhabitants, at the end of road nr. 94.

It has a few sights, like Álfaborg,


According to the folktales it’s home of the ‘huldufólk‘ (hidden people). This folk, or ‘elves’ as you could call them is said to live in rocks and hills throughout the country.
Álfaborg is home of Borghildur, the elf queen  of Iceland.

The rock and the church

Depending on who you ask it’s all one big cliché or you better watch your step not to anger the elves.

In the town church you find the altar piece, painted in 1914 by Johannes Kjarval, one of Iceland’s most popular painters who grew up in the village.The Church He’s depicted the sermon on Álfaborg.

In 2007 a survey showed that 62% out of 1000 Icelanders don’t rule out the possibility of elves existing.

There’s an abundance of Saga’s, myths, folklore, legends or fairy tales. Whatever you want to call them.

Hidden people or not, I could’ve sworn I saw someone standing on the pass as I cycled up, only to have disappeared into thin air by the time I got there. (spooky music playing)Over the Hill

If you look around it’s easy to believe there might just be something more out here 😉


No denying it’s an interesting area.

I was cycling out of the town and back up the road when I changed my mind.

I turned around to see if there’s a way to stay around a little longer and explore the area some more.

There was.

Luck would have it I ran into Arngrímur.

He owns the Alfheimar guesthouse.

It isn’t open yet, but there’s a lot to do. And since he had to leave for town it seemed perfect to stay around a little while.

And there’s no possibility to get bored 🙂Red

(recognise this mountain on the altar piece..?)

The first evening I rode my bicycle out to the little harbour,


There were seals on the rocks,Sealsand I had heard there is a place where Puffins nest.

I got to know these funny little birds when I worked in a hostel in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland many moons ago. Pretty place

Apparently the Puffins had arrived the same day I had, fishermen had seen them out on the sea,Local dudes but at the rock there was no sign of them yet. More than enough seagulls though.Seagulls on the rocks

It surprised me how busy this dead-end road was for such a small town.Busy road ;)

But I soon discovered why. A new boat had arrived that very morning. and had to be ‘christened’ by the town folk. pretty new boatSo I joined the festivities with an aptly named brew.Viking

And got to know about half the population.

This picture I took on my first night there.Tractor Bike, Northern Light

I thought the Northern Light-season would be finished by now. It doesn’t get totally dark anymore at night, a shimmer of light stays on the horizon.

But the universe gave me one last spectacular show, just a few day later. That made my heart sing and me the happiest girl in town.


It was just after I build myself an igloo…

My Igloo

One of my little adventures.

It had seemed like spring was well and truly on its way. Spring?But one night of snow threw me back in winter. One night of snow.

I didn’t mind, this has been a fantasy of mine since I was a child. And now I finally realised it!Magic happens.

Cycling around town you feel like you’re in a fairy tale. Every house has its own character.

House in town

I particularly love the traditionally build Lindarbakki turf- cottage.


It must be the most photographed building in town…

Another happening in that first week was the performance of ‘Alice in Wonderland‘, or “Lísa í Undralandi” in Icelandic, at the local school.

I had stumbled in on one of their rehearsals on my day of arrival and since I was still in town I figured I might as well go and see the performance. It was wonderfully hilarious.

Here a short youtube-clip of the girl who played Alice/Lisa.

I have no idea what she sings, but she’s got a lovely voice.

And by now I met just about the whole town 🙂

So I decided to leave.

Not for long! Just a hike over the hill to check out the next fjord.

I’m not dragging a backpack with me, but with borrowed gear and some string I looked like a professional hiker… don’t you think?yup

There’s a little rescue hut and I decided to stay there the night. Emergency HutOnly after arriving did I realise you’re not actually allowed to stay there unless it’s an emergency. rescue hut

Ah well. It was. I didn’t bring my tent…

I love the many birds that are now showing up.

Especially those geese flying around, there’s so many now and I’ve been told their eggs are very tasty.

Nils Holgersson

They always remind me of Nils Holgersson, the little boy who’s “chief delight was to eat and sleep, and after that he liked best to make mischief

Another one of those childhood fantasies. Nils Holgersson

flying on a goose that is.

Not eating sleeping and making mischief…

That’s not a fantasy. That’s life 😉

Or making it onto Swedish money. I wouldn’t mind, but I do not see that happening any day soon.

The way to the puffin colony is easy, and as you might expect at a puffin colony, I saw puffins!

Those wonderful dorky little birds reminded me of me and my sisters, must be the expression on their face.



My next little winter-adventure was not alone.

Since Simon is on a two-week on/two-week off rotation at work he’d contacted me to see if I’d fancy some sort of ski-trip.

Sure I do! I like all sorts of trips.

So he came and picked me up, fitted me with the ski’s of his mum,

and we set off into the great big white.

It was another glorious day.

Simon assured me I would definitely fall at some stage, but I did not. Ha!

I did get hit in the face with a shovel. But that was an accident.


It happened while we were digging a snow cave. The wind might blow away a tent.


Just when we finished digging it started to snow.

The only issue now was to stay alive. It’s very easy to calculate how long two people can survive in an enclosed space:

The equation for rate of change of oxygen concentration in an enclosure without oxygen replacement (neglecting the buildup of carbon dioxide) is:

(total oxygen consumption rate) = (volume of oxygen consumed) / (total time lapsed)


nC = {Vr – nVp}{Li – Lf}/t


t = time lapsed from initial time to time of loss of consciousness (s)

Vr = volume of enclosure (m3)

Vp = volume of a person (about 0.1 m3)

Li = initial oxygen concentration (21% or 0.21)

Lf = final oxygen concentration (12% or 0.12)

n = number of people in enclosure

C = per capita rate of oxygen consumption (3.33 10-6 m3 s-1)


t = {Vr – nVp}{Li – Lf} / nC


The answer is roughly;  Not very long.

To be sure not to die we set the alarm clock every two hours to dig ourselves out.

P1090580It worked!

I live to tell the story!

Which brings me to my next most favourite word;


Yes, Iceland is indeed a nice-land.

Not the end.


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22 thoughts on “Mini Adventures, Magic, and one Mabsoot

  1. Sounds from your blog posts that you are in love with Iceland. Have you found a place where you will settle down after all these years? Or are there still too many other places to explore? 🙂

  2. Hallo Mirjam,
    Wat een geweldig mooie foto’s heb je weer gemaakt en je commentaar erbij is leuk. Ik geniet ervan en kijk er naar uit om ook een klein stukje IJsland te zien.
    Geniet en tot de volgende keer.

  3. Thanks again for sharing your great experiences. We have been on the road now for 9 months with our 4 children but I admire the way you travel. Keep going!!

  4. Hoi Mirjam, we zijn weer thuis en meteen al weer een geweldig nieuw blog. Erg leuk weer en uiteraard schitterende foto’s.
    Liefs, en we nemen gauw contact op,


  5. Beste Mirjam, ik volg je blog al een hele tijd en vind je werkelijk hartstikke stoer en knap dat je dit allemaal alleen doet. Ik fiets al 30 jaar en heb de Alp’dhuez beklommen en ik zou i.v.m. het overlijden van mijn middelste zoon 1 jaar geleden graag naar New Zealand fietsen waar we in 1999 naar toe zijn geemigreerd maar in de eerste instantie onze diploma’s niet erkend werden en daardoor geen visum kregen weer terug naar Nederland moeten keren en dat heb ik tot op de dag van vandaag heel erg gevonden. Onze lieve zoon Paul wilde ook altijd weer terug naar het land van the “long white cloud” maar is op 19 jarige leeftijd overleden. Ik zou graag naar New Zealand willen fietsen om een gedeelte van Paul daar te kunnen brengen en tegelijkertijd voor mezelf een droom willen verwezenlijken om eindelijk eens “echt ‘ vrij te kunnen zijn los van alles…….
    Je maakt overigens schitterende foto’s en het is elke keer ondanks mijn immens verdriet fijn om jouw avonturen te lezen en hopelijk kunnen we samen nog eens een tocht maken. Je bent in ieder geval mijn heldin en blijf nog lang fietsen en ons mee laten geniieten van al je avonturen.
    Dikke knuffel Dory Rooijakkers ( een Brabantse kiwi die nu na 10 jaar Friesland in de Achterhoek verblijft) Lievelde.
    Veel liefs van ons XXXXX

  6. Hoi Mirjam! Nog bedankt dat je ons naar de Puffins hebt gebracht 🙂 We hadden erg genoten van je verhalen en de gezelligheid en niet te vergeten het heerlijke eten. Wat een prachtige foto’s op je blog!!! Geniet van je hopelijk never ending fiets vakantie!
    Groetjes Luuk en Sophie

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