Yesterday we flew from Denver to Chicago, and Chicago to Vienna uneventfully. However when we arrived in Vienna we discovered that our final flight from Vienna to Ljubljana was cancelled. We got rebooked on a later (almost 12 hours) flight and after some debate (we had been up for 24 hours at this point) ended up booking a short stay (afternoon) at the nH hotel at the Vienna airport. We got some sleep, a quick shower, were able to brush our teeth (even with no luggage) and will have a nice meal and arrive very late at our hotel in Ljubljana. (or so we hope)
Getting ready for our first VBT bike ride in Slovenia, Austria, and Northern Italy. The weather seems very unpredictable and variable. Have to pack for all eventualities!. But what else is new. Stay tuned for some great photos – although some of them may be on Face Book and not here. Depends on the wifi connections.
Today was waterfall/beach day. We had another nice breakfast at our hotel and headed south and east for the first waterfall of the day. At major parking lots they have an interesting way of making sure you pay for your parking. They record your license tag as you enter and leave and correlate it to a payment that you make with an app on your phone or at a computer terminal inside an entry building where you input the size of your vehicle, email address, and pay with a credit card or apple pay. I have used Apple pay for nearly every credit card transaction – but not at the filling stations. Any way the parking fees are all automated – I saw no humans involved at all.
The first waterfall was Seljalandsfoss and was the one we had hoped to walk behind. In the summer it would have been no problem – but the spray from the falls had made a think coat of smooth ice on the walkway towards the falls and so we decided not to walk behind them. Even with textured sole shoes I felt like I had leather soles on black ice and nearly fell a long ways from the falls. Others had come prepared and had put crampons on their shoes and were having no problem.
The parking lot had some humorous signs on the restrooms.
Nearby we drove by Gljufrabui
Further down the coast we walked to see the Skogafoss waterfall. There was a walkway nearby to a viewing area above the top of the falls. It would have been quite a climb.
We had a very nice lunch at a restaurant nearby.
After lunch we drove to the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara. Several people have been drowned by sneaker waves at this beach – so we stayed well away from the water. Most people seemed to be totally ignoring the signs about the “sneaker” waves. There was a huge sea cave nearby and we got a picture of the rock arch.
We then headed to Kirkjubaejarklauslur and the Magma Hotel for the night.
We ate dinner in town at the Systrakaffi restaurant. We had thought we might see the northern lights tonight but it was too cloudy.
The Magma Hotel is built near a glacier lake that is fed underground from a nearby clacier. Each of the cabins making up the hotel rooms is named for an active volcano and has the year of it’s last eruption. Our is the Krafla 1984 – Number 8
I finally have a new charger for my laptop and will be able to update this later tonight!
We had our second breakfast buffet at the Icelandic Hamar Hotel, checked out, and left for Reykjavik for the Kringlan Shopping center. The conditions were snowy and windy and reminded us of driving on highway 93 south of Boulder – but here the snow didn’t melt on the highway because the temperature fluctuations are so narrow. A normal high and low is 36-32 degrees F and so road traction was fine. We went to MacLand in the shopping center and purchased a new charger for my Mac Book Air (60W MagSafe 2 power adapter) and I am now updating this blog on my laptop instead of my iPad – much better!
After getting some steps walking around the shopping center we got some Coffee and a Chai Latte and headed for the Thinguellir National Park North East of Reykjavik. This is the original location where the Icelandic government met to pass laws and legislation. It is also where the American and European tectonic plates meet and shift apart annually. There has also been periodic volcanic activity historically. We toured the diorama, visited the scenic overlook and headed towards Geysir.
The Stokkur Geyser goes off every few minutes and because it was so windy the erupted water blew sideways over the sidewalk nearby. The wind was at gale force and threatened to blow people over.
Next we went to the Gullfoss waterfall – a double tiered waterfall that was blowing spray 100s of yards away and causing ice to build up on one of the nearby parking lots where we happened to park.
After Gullfoss we headed back south and towards the Frioheimer Farm restaurant near Reykholt, Iceland.
This Farm specializes in growing tomatoes year round in Greenhouses and produces nearly 20% of all the tomatoes grown in Iceland. We had some Tomato soup with gluten free bread and enjoyed it very much.
After our soup we drove to Selfoss, checked into the Hotel Selfoss and retired after a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant to rest up from our busy day.
To be added to later
Well – this is embarrassing. My MacBook Air charger bit the dust and so I am limited in what I can do on this blog. I will try to keep updating the text but there will be very few pictures until later. I am hoping I can get a replacement charger in a couple of days but time will tell. Stay tuned!
After narrowing down the destinations from 4 (Paris, Spain, Belize) to Iceland – we embarked on our first visit here with hopes to stay warm, see the northern lights, and get to know Iceland better. We took a direct flight from Denver to Reykjavik and left at 3:35pm Denver time and arrived at 5:55am Reykjavik time. Because of the 7 time zone difference between Denver and Reykjavik – we landed at 10:55pm Denver time on the same day – but it was the next day in Iceland.
After clearing customs we found our driver who drove us to the hotel Kron in Reykjavik where we checked in, unpacked, got a quick breakfast at the hotel and then walked to the “H” church for the start of our walking tour.
We joined a very international group of people for our 3 hour walking tour around Reykjavik. We learned about the history, (the tour guide was a history major at the U of R), the architecture, weather, geology, and how to stay warm. For anyone who visits we recommend it!
This was a lake near some of the government buildings:
The Iceland Coat of Arms with a Dragon, Eagle, Giant, and Bull protecting the Island
And my favorite – the statue representing all politicians:
After the tour we went to a nearby restaurant and had some delicious local food – seafood and lamb predominate;
Afterwards on our way back to our hotel we stopped by a cinnamon roll place that we spotted/smelled on our way to the start of the walk and made sure they were “ok”.
Tomorrow we head north to Borgarnes and will have a relaxing bath at the Krauma and see a hot spring and some waterfalls.
Another beautiful day for bike riding. It really makes one appreciate it after a day of rain. We met at 8:30am to get ready for the ride and left about 8:50 heading south towards Edgemont. The total distance today is 48 miles.
getting ready for the pic
It was uphill for a mile or so leaving Custer and then we finally got to go downhill again. Until today – I didn’t think there were any level sections of trail (and there weren’t for the first 2 days) but today we got some long stretches that were level or nearly level.
We went trough Pringle and saw a bicycle graveyard (or junk yard) not sure what the story is there.
While the terrain became more an more level there were still sections where water had created deep gorges with trees that we went over/around/through. We had lunch at the Minnekahta Trailhead 16 miles from Edgemont. A number of us decided we had had enough bike riding for the day/week. But 5 intrepid riders continued on to Edgemont to finish the trail
Terry wanted to take some pictures for Christmas cards:
Waiting for the shuttle to arrive!
Thanks to our SAG hosts/ picnic organizers/ and overall coordinators – Patti and Clark!
We had happy hour out on the veranda behind our hotel. Then we walked to dinner at the Frontier Grill a few blocks west. We had an unexpectedly good music entertainment while we were eating.
This is a picture of us with the artist.
Today was a wonderful day for riding bikes on the Mickelson trail. A Shuttle service picked us and our bikes up in Custer and drove us to Rochford. We got a later start than we wanted because there was a problem with one of our rental bikes.
Rick had a spontaneous flat while we were waiting, but he fixed it in record time and was ready to go before they finished fixing the bike. When they decided they couldn’t fix it they drove John back to Hill City to get a new bike and then brought him back to a trailhead just beyond where we were located.
The scenery was beautiful and highly varied. Lots of trees, valleys, hills, rocks, and flowing water. The trail went downhill for a ways and then started up again. For some reason we could make good time going down but going up seemed to slow us down more than we expected.
Rochford Trail Head
Mystic Trail Head
We had lunch at the Alpine Inn in Hill City (excellent!) and then waited at the bike shop while they fixed another flat and the brakes on another rental bike. We eventually got on the road to Custer at about 3:15pm. We knew that the 14 mile ride from Hill City to Custer was going to take a while – The map said it would be 9 miles up and 5 miles down. Again – it seemed to take forever to go the 9 miles and the last bit just zoomed by.
Rest stop on high trestle
Almost to the summit – one more mile!
Nearly to Custer!
We arrived back at the motel at 5:50pm showered/dressed and went out to eat at the Sage Creek Grille in Custer (also excellent!)
After dinner we gathered at the firepit behind our motel roasted marsh mellows and made samores.
Tomorrow we ride to Edgemont from Custer and then shuttle back to Custer. We are waiting to finalize our plans with a current weather update.
Because there will be thunderstorms in the area – we may modify the plan a bit.
More pictures soon!
We woke to rain – lots of it.
After lots of discussion we decided to shorten today’s ride by about 10 miles (except for Rick who did the whole thing). We started at a the Englewood trailhead and rode to Rochford.
There was lots of beautiful scenery along the way as well as lots of mud. The trail was good for the most part – but there were sections where the rain had soaked it til it was much softer than normal.
We had a great lunch in Rochford at the Saloon with a real double barrel stove and lots of hats on the ceiling.
Patty and Clark met us at lunch with a car and all the drivers rode back to the start with Robin then we picked up all the bikes and other riders and drove to Custer where we will be staying for the next 3 nights.
After showers and happy hour
We had dinner at the Begging Burro in Custer