About Dams, Lambs, Rams and … Summer?


I have decided to stay in Borgarfjordur Eystri for a while.Borgarfjordur Eystri

Or actually, in Iceland a little longer than originally planned.

Here my neighbours include elves,

Elf Houses

sheep,Sheep puffins,Puffin and hidden people.

 

But I still get out and ride my bike when I feel so inclined.

Like a little trip to Lake Myvatn, apparently that means ‘midge lake’. It’s famous for the different species of duck. I guess I’m lucky to be here before midge-season… this time.

It’s a peculiar area with pools of boiling mud,

Boiling Mudangry steaming vents,Steaming Ventand bizar rock formations.Bizar rock formationsThis is where the Yule lads live.  13 brothers who come out of their caves before Christmas and give presents or rotten potatoes to kids, depending on their behaviour that year.

Might sounds a bit like Santa Claus. But the story is slightly more grim.

They are the sons of two Ogres, Grýla and Leppalúði and were used to scare children into behaving.

In 1746 a public decree was issued to prohibit parents to frighten their children with the yule lads!

I didn’t see them. And anyway, I’m not afraid 😉

I pitched my tent near a wonderful hot water cave and had a dip in the scorching water.

Grjótagjá

Grjótagjá it’s called. And apparently scenes of Game of Thrones are filmed here.

I’ve never seen that show, but it is a good place for a bath. If you don’t mind 46 degrees.

I didn’t last too long, but it was a wonderful way to get warm before crawling into my tent.

if you look closely you can still see a hint of the Northern lights there. Even though at this stage the night doesn’t get totally dark anymore.

The one tree

I pitched my tree under the one tree I found in Iceland. In the background you can see steam coming up. It’s from the Diatomite plant.

super awesome blue

The water really is this colour!

Here diatomaceous earth, a fossilised mineral found on the bottom of Lake Myvatn, is harvested. It has a high silica content and is used as a filtration aid.

To me however it was ‘A magical blue Lake’.

And looking in the other direction I spotted a funny looking cloud.

Cloud

Lenticular Cloud

But that’s not what it’s called. It’s actually: Altocumulus lenticularis duplicates. (or lenticular cloud)

I break my tongue trying to pronounce that, although it’s not as complicated as Icelandic…

One of the least useful languages to learn with only just over 300.000 people speaking it in the world!

Still I’m giving it a try. Since I’ve thrown my plans around and will now be staying here untill September (at least)

The lenticular cloud was hovering above Hverfjall, A volcano where you can hike around the crater,

on top off Hverfjall

I’d discovered the day before…

Volcanic Bike rideAll I needed to do was to make my way over Möðrudalsöræfind.Waterfall

A high plateau where the road was closed for three weeks last month. It was impassable due to snow and wind. Rather inconvenient for everybody going around Iceland as the ring road takes you right through this area.road

It’s open now, but I did discover it would be hard to find a place to camp as there was just miles of open space full of snow and wind.

So I rode on.

I came down the mountains that evening at 22.30 and found a Tepee!

My Tepee

Not what I would expect to see in Iceland.

But after last months experience of sleeping in my Igloo I had to stay here.Inside

There was no one around so I made myself at home. It was very comfortable.

The next day happened to be sunny! glorious! with little wind.

In fact it was the first day in Iceland I could wear my hat, without having to worry it get blown back to Australia.

A Hat Day!

And I rode along passing little old churches,

Little old Viking-church

horses,Horse

and sheep enjoying the outdoors.

I camped on a farm where the 14 year old daughter, who spoke perfect English, showed me around.

14 year old daughter

It didn’t take long to ride back to Bakkargerði,

The number of sheep (about 450.000) far outnumber the amount of people in Iceland.

400 of those sheep are looked after by farmer Ásgeir

Farmer Ásgeir

Farmer Ásgeir

A wonderful Jolly gentleman who also happens to be father of Arngrimur. (who owns Alfheimar guesthouse)

All 400 sheep are pregnant.

Pregnant Sheep

and in preparation for the lambs there are a few jobs he could use a hand with.

Renewing floors

Renewing floors

Feeding Sheep

Feeding Sheep

I always enjoy  spending time on farms, Tractorand this is the first time I spend more than 3 days on a sheep farm.

Eye

There’s sheep where ever you look.

Sheep on the wall

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 4.50.26 PM

Even the farmers star sign is Aries.  🙂

It delighted me to find out that they’re not just numbers, every single sheep has a name that’s written down in the book.

Not just a number

This is Stór:

Meet Stór

Just when everything was ready lambs started popping out left right and centre.

This is one of the first ones out, still about 760 to go…One of the first

Lucky by this time Aldis, the farmer’s daughter, had arrived from Reykjavik.

The lambs have to be cared for 24/7 so there is enough to do.

Mainly I took pictures.

I have hundreds, can’t help it.

They are just too cute!

These are (probably) the only ones I post. I don’t want to be lamb-spamming…

After taking so many sheep foto’s the sheepdog decided it was time to get in the picture too….

photo bomb

photo bomb

One morning, the 9th of May, a little lamb was born. Jacob

I named him Jacob. He is a special as at exactly the same time a little boy was born in the Netherlands with the same name.

My sisters third son!

Páll (8) likes the sheep and the feeling seems to be mutual.Pall Likes the sheep tooIt’s nice to see them going outside after a long winter in the shed.Heading outSheep outside

Not long and they will head over the hills where they stay all summer.

Usually I’d stay the mornings at the farm and then ride my bike back to the guesthouse.

I slowly saw the change from winter to summer,

Sunny days it doesn’t actually go that slow as Iceland only has two seasons.Iceland

So  April 24th was officially the first day of summer, and a national holiday at that, I saw people jumping in the sea and walking around in t-shirts and shorts. Suddenly everybody is outside and even the weather fooled me into thinking it was warm…

Summer?It wasn’t really.

Just a few days later a fresh layer of snow covered the paddocks and closed the road.

But the days are getting longer real fast! It doesn’t get dark at all anymore.

Which makes my torch pretty useless.

Puffin Rock

It also makes for the same jokes everyday;

“Quick, let’s go check out the Puffins before it gets dark! ”

It explains why there isn’t much need for daylight savings.

And makes me wonder what time the birds go to sleep.BirdNow the summer is on its way there’s more people coming to visit the fjord.

It’s nice to have some company as most of the time I’m by myself.Visitors :)

The main attraction here is the Puffins.Building nestPuffin

They are really hilarious. After spending the whole winter on the North Atlantic ocean fishing they come here to build nest and find a partner.

Puffin in the dog houseThan lay their one egg. Raise their “Puffling” (Yes, That’s what a baby-Puffin is called!)

And fly back out to sea. I can Fly!

But they could use a little practise on their flying, and particularly their landing isn’t always as smooth as you might expect from a bird.Whoopsee

It doesn’t come as a surprise to find out they are also called “The clowns of the sea”Clown indeed

They’re probably the most un-elegant birds I’ve encountered,  Mud

They do seem rather romantic.Puffin Romance

These are probably not the last puffin-pictures you see.The Port

In the middle of town there is a fish factory.

Fish and sheep is the main ingredient of an Icelandic diet. But not just roast lamb or fried fish.Fish heads

Here are fish heads drying.

But one afternoon as I set down for lunch at the farm this horrendous stench came from the kitchen.

It reminded me of the sheep shed, but a lot worse. Ammoniac.

For some reason, a perfectly good fish is laid down to rot for a few weeks and in the process ammonia comes free. This product is then boiled and eaten. I kind of understood the rotten shark, the sour ram-testicles and the sheephead.

But why any one would put a fork-full of ammonia in their mouth I really do not understand. I did try. And my suspicion was quickly confirmed. It’s not my thing.

[vimeo 96172665]

But lucky there is other things to eat and other things to do as well!

This area of Iceland is famous for its suburb hiking. At the moment there’s still a bit of snow but that didn’t stop Nadine, my new German friend, and me for going out having a look.pretty place

We didn’t get too far, Nadinebut it seems very promising for the summer.

A track

Little hut on the hill

So today, the 23rd of May, is when I was supposed to fly to Canada.

But, as things never work out as planned, I arrived in the Netherlands yesterday. A two week holiday 🙂

I’m excited about exploring some more of Iceland over summer and then.. We’ll see.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

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23 thoughts on “About Dams, Lambs, Rams and … Summer?

  1. Leuk dat je weer even hier bent 🙂 ! En ook weer een mooi blog met geweldige foto’s. Het filmpje is wel erg grappig.

  2. Hi
    What camera and lens are you using now as Pix have improved to Professional photos since Oz. They were great in Oz but are now magnificent.

    What post processing is done to them?
    Thanks Graham Oz

  3. He hoi,

    Wat een mooie en super impressie van je tijd aldaar. Geniet er van !!! Wij zijn zojuist Iraq uit gereden en genieten opnieuw van een stuk van turkije. Heerlijk warm weer hier 🙂

    Liefs,

    Isa & Youri

    http://www.ithaka.im

    [image: Inline image 1] Iedereen in de wereld moet toch tenminste één dag voldoende kunnen eten!

    Koop een bundle of Joy in onze online shop .

  4. I think you are very brave, riding by yourself. The photos you post are magnificent. Lucky you, this is how a person should live.
    I am a 60 yr young cyclist in Charlotte, NC. I am a custom couture dressmaker specializing in wedding gowns. Right now is the busiest time of the year.
    I envy your freedom.
    Please keep up your posts. They give me hope to do the same. Thank you!

  5. Your trip reports are fantastic giving excellent insights into the possibilities for cycling in these places .
    I went cycling in Iceland last year and I am returning in 2 weeks time for my second visit to continue where I left off , I will keep an eye out for you on the road !
    I am looking forward to your next post
    Regards
    Ian

  6. Sorry to hear you postponed Canada. Would have looked forward to meeting you in Barrie Ontario had you come our way. We have read entire blog an been especially enjoying your Iceland reflections. Looks like a neat country.

  7. I’m coming over with my son on June 20th. Maybe we will cross paths or we can get together while I am there. We will be on bicycles too.

  8. theres a job going at a certain wee place in derry just now for the summer… if you are looking for a job, cashola , nostalgia… will pay yr flights.. could be the last summer in great james street…steve… (dont do facebook, i never look at it)

  9. The pictures and your text are so wonderful! I also worked on a sheep farm in iceland this spring and I really can understand and feel what your posts are about. I met a Shottish guy in Iceland who told me I would have to take a look at your blog – he was completly right 🙂 Thank you and blesses … bless bless

  10. Hi Mirjam, Gerry and I are safely back home in OZ after our magnificent three week holiday in the Netherlands. It was great that you could fly home from Iceland and be there with us in your parent’s home.It was so good to catch up with you again after our chance meeting in Derry in 2007 and then your time with us in WA in 2010 along with your Mum and Dad.
    The grannies will never get the opportunity to visit Iceland like you but your photos tell it like it is so we will travel with your camera in the comfort of home and enjoy your brilliant photos.
    Haven’t caught up with Granny Isabel yet but will do so at the end of next week after she come home from a siblings reunion.
    A million thanks to you, your Mum and Dad, grandparents and sisters for showing us a fabulous time in Apeldoorn. It was once in a life time opportunity and experience that we will enjoy for ever.
    Cheers, Granny Shirley

  11. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you! I have wanted to visit Greenland since seeing it from the sky on a flight to England. It really took my breath away. Thanks for sharing. What beautiful photos.

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