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Friday, September 30, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Bschlabs to Trubbach

We were stumped. One plan we had was to descend the Arlberg pass on the East side, loop around Landeck and ride up Silvretta. But the construction equipment made it quite clear: the road was closed. We were going to have to head West, whether we wanted to or not.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Hotel Grubl to Bschlabs

"Hm.. I think we went the wrong way." "Really?" "Yup. Looking at the map, it doesn't look like this goes anywhere."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Winklern to Hotel Grubl

"You rode down this on a tandem?" asked Arturo, after he rolled to a stop. "Yeah. In 2010." "You're nuts. I'm far more impressed by the descent than the climb. With the climb if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get there. But that descent? Yeesh!" "There was no point where you were in any danger whatsoever." "Yeah, but it was fast!"

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Niederolang to Winklern

We were riding as hard as we could. "5 minutes left!" I told Arturo. Down below us, the valley was silent. In 5 minutes, the road below us would open up and we would hear the sound of motorcycles and cars racing up the single-lane, one way road.

Monday, September 26, 2016

PSA: Android External Storage Adoption is not what you think it is

I got a little fed-up of managing app storage on my Moto G3. My storage use was perpetually at around 1GB free, which is not a big deal, but the OS would constantly remind me to clean up. I noticed that Marshmallow allowed you to "adopt" a microSD card as internal storage. That seemed like it would be the ultimate solution, right?

Wrong. It turns out that even after "adopting" a microSD card as internal storage, there are still several issues:
  • Not all apps could be moved to the SD card, so you'll end up managing storage manually anyway!
  • Google Play Movies refuses to download video (yes, purchased videos) into the now adopted "internal storage." So you end up losing functionality!
  • The conversion slows down all apps, not just the apps that move to the SD card. I have no idea why this is, but my guess is that swap, etc gets moved to the SD card. (I was using a UHS-1 card, so my card wasn't the bottleneck, though conceivably, microSD card readers in relatively cheap Android phones might simply not be that fast!)
There's really no point to adopted storage as Google has implemented it. What is annoying is that each app manages SD cards differently, so you end up with a mish-mash of different approaches in each app.

I really wonder if the Google PMs who run Android actually use Android phones, or whether they all use iPhones and only carry an Android phone only for appearances sake.

Friday, September 23, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Alba to Niederolang

"I don't believe it!" I cried. But there it was: the sign clearly indicated "Furkelpass", despite the lack of climbing chevrons on our map. I looked up the pass elevation: 1789m, so about 800m of climbing. We'd already climbed 2 passes and fought a nasty headwind all the way to this point. "I'm OK with riding to Bruneck." said Arturo. I stared at the map. Two nasty tunnels were on the flat route to Bruneck. I couldn't bring myself to consider it. "We don't need a rest day," I said. "Getting to the hotel too early would just leave us with nothing to do. Let's climb."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Brez to Alba

I'd been riding in the dark for 20 minutes. I still couldn't see the end of the tunnel. The air was dark, musty, and even the smallest car sounded like a giant truck. I cursed myself for picking the route, but we were committed. Then I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. My elation lasted all of 2 minutes when I saw that 50m past the end of the tunnel was the start of another tunnel!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Bormio to Brez

The morning looked gorgeous, with fresh snow all around outside the hotel window. It was gorgeous and I had slept well. I was motivated to ride! Our first order of business was to lubricate the chains on our bikes, which had rusted overnight. I used up all my lube, and asked the hotel owner (a cyclist himself) if he had any to spare, he said, "No, but if you go down to the mechanic 3 houses down he'll help you." Sure enough, the car mechanic had a whole spray can of lubricant which he generously let us use, and I even sprayed some into my syringe of oil to recharge it.
Gavia has always been a gorgeous climb, but with fresh snow around us it was nothing short of spectacular. I made it up to Santa Catarina at speed, and had time to stop in a grocery store to buy chocolate and bananas, and ate some bananas before Arturo and Pengtoh showed up. I handed them chocolate and said I'd wait for them at the top.

They were both similarly motivated, however, and caught me as the climb came out of the treeline. This was all good, as the spectacular scenery around us gave us nothing but beautiful pictures. Most cyclists were based out of Bormio, since Bormio had multiple loops you could do in the area. Many would just do one climb a day. Despite that, they were all carrying backpacks approximately the size of our saddlebags! Granted, most of them looked like they were filled with lightweight down jackets rather than touring gear, but I can't imagine wanting to carry something on my back when I can have the bike carry it!
Surprisingly enough, the low clouds had lifted and the sun had come out by the time we reached the summit. I showed Pengtoh the poster of Jobst Brandt climbing the Gavia in the 1960s when it was an unpaved road at Rifugio Bonetta, and then we proceeded to descend.
This was my first time riding down the Gavia in excellent weather and dry roads, and I found myself stopping at various corners to capture action shots of my companions bombing down the pass. In many places the pass hits 16% grade making some of the experience more like sky-diving than like cycling. At the bottom, we ate at the same pizza stand that we ate in 2014, and then proceeded to bypass Ponte de Legno to climb Passo Tonale.

Passo Tonale is an easy climb, with nice views of the valley behind us. It's only at the top that the ugly character of the pass is revealed: the place is a ski resort that spares no effort to look pretty.
Once on the top of Tonale pass, there's really only one direction to go: down. I could see storm clouds in front of us, and so told Arturo and Pengtoh to look for the bike path entrance on the left in Piano. The descent is fast with a smooth road, almost no braking needed. But once past a few galleries I noticed that rain drops had gone from being wet to being painful, which meant that I'd encountered some hail. Rather than stop and wait I pressed on, hoping that I could punch through any rain and come out on the other side into better weather.

Italian drivers are misery on roads like SS42. Like their American counter-parts, they don't give you much room to pass, and seem to delight in passing you with as few inches of distance between their fender and your handlebars as possible. Statistically, they're no worse than American drivers, but that's no comfort whatsoever when you've been used to a week of cycling with Swiss drivers, and the 25th driver who buzzes you is even more annoying than than the 15th.
Fortunately, just as I was getting fed up, I saw the road sign for Piano and pulled over to the left side of the road to wait for the others. They were just as relieved to find the bike path as I did, though upon descending to th e bike path I realized that it actually started earlier, in the village of Mezzana, which I should have a look at in the future.

We zipped along at a good clip along the bike path, but by the time we got to Tozzaga, Pengtoh looked a little ragged. "I'd like to stop and find a hotel." Arturo didn't look any better, but he was game for more. "Well, I'd like to make it to Fondo." "I hate Fondo," said Arturo. "Why?" "Last time we stayed there the food was no good and the lodging was nothing special. I don't know why you like that place." I thought about it. "Hm.. you're right. We'll look for a place that's better, then. Let's stop for ice cream next place we see."

We made it back onto the main road, and road past the Lago di Santa Giustina, part of the apple-growing district in Italy, with the smell of Apple blossoms everywhere, and signs telling you (in Italian) which Apples were being grown. It wasn't until we got to Cagno that we found a hotel with a Veranda and had Gelato. "This is great!" declared Pengtoh, "Now I'm ready to go to Fondo!"
We pulled out our smart phones and looked for places with great food. The one place that stood out was Locanda Alpina in Brez. It wasn't cheap, but the reviews were great, and I was asking my friends to do more than 100km with 2 major passes that day, so off we went. The ride took longer than I expected, since Cagno was basically at the bottom of the hill, but we arrived there just at about the same time the owner of the hotel showed up.

He showed us the place and gave us locally grown apples, which were delicious. The dinner was indeed excellent. We started making plans. "I think I should just take the train to Innsbruck tomorrow from Bolzano," said Pengtoh. "Do you really need 2 days in Innsbruck?" "Wait, what day is today?" "Today is Thursday the 14th." "Oh. I thought for some reason that today was Friday the 15th. In that case, I can ride to Canazei with you folks tomorrow, and head over Passo Sella to Ponte Gardena on Saturday to catch the train to Innsbruck." It's a sure sign that you're having a good vacation when you start forgetting which day it is!

Since the next day was Friday, we knew it was prudent to pre-book lodging. We booked Hotel Aurora in Alba. Saturday was more of a problem. The plan was to head over to Cortina D'Ampezzo, but that place was expensive! I looked at the map and realized that my goal was to actually head over Staller pass into Austria, and there was a more direct way to do it which would enable us to ride with Pengtoh over Sella pass. So we ended up booking Hotel Scherer in Niederolang. I hate booking places two days in advanced because you never know what could happen in 2 days, but I figured that with the decent weather forecast and by being a little bit more conservative with the distances we should easily be able to make both hotels.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Schluderns to Bormio

My mouth was trembling, my body was shivering, and behind a glass door, I knew there was warmth. But cruelly, the sign on the door said, "Open at 2:00pm." It was only 5 minutes away, but it was going to be a long wait.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: The Just City

I got The Just City as a giveaway as part of the promotion for Jo Walton's The Philosopher Kings, which is the next book of the trilogy. If you've read Among Others, I think you'll have a feel for what Jo Walton likes, and what she doesn't do.

Walton doesn't do action. Don't expect action sequences or blockbuster style events. What Walton does great is dialogue, discussion, and references to great works.In this case, that great work is Plato's The Republic. I've never read the book, but you don't need to to enjoy "The Just City."

The premise of the book is that two gods, Apollo and Athena have decided to run an experiment to see whether The Republic could actually have worked as a utopia. To do so, they found a site (I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that it's Atlantis) and seeded it with philosophers from all across time, who are then tasked with building The Republic with a new generation of 10-year olds who are brought over and severed from their previous lives.

Walton does a great job of dealing with all the typical objections. For instance, if a group consisting of no one other than philosophers were to try to bring up civilization, how would anyone eat? Or have buildings? Or do anything even close to subsist?

Then we get the protagonists who are very human characters trying to make something out of Plato's book work. All the politics and of course, there're always people who want The Republic to fail.

In any case, the book is full of dialogue (what do you expect?), exploration of theory vs practicality, and what it means to be a philosopher King. It's major flaw is that the ending is abrupt and doesn't really make a lot of sense --- Walton doesn't really prepare the groundwork for the denouement that she provides, and it rings a bit false.

While it's nowhere near the level of the Hugo winning Among Others, I still found myself reading this book with joy, and so recommend it. I'm not sure I'd bother picking up the sequel because of my unhappiness with the denouement, but maybe that will fade with time.

Friday, September 16, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Gasthaus Berninahaus to Schluderns

My breathing was labored, my vision tunneled down to the skinny tire on the wheel of the bike in front of me. To add insult to injury, the woman riding the bike in front of me was hardly making any effort. She was chatting with her companion who was next to her casually. At one point, she sat up, fished some gloves out of her jersey pockets, and put them on, all without slowing down. Finally, the gallery ended and the two women slowed and turned around. "Thanks for the pull!" was all I managed to gasp before they disappeared. I looked down at my cyclometer. "Darn it, we're still going to miss the 12:30!"

Thursday, September 15, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Campodolcino to Gasthaus Berninahaus

We had made it to Volg in Silvaplana. The supermarket did not close for lunch, and there was a fountain right behind it, making it an ideal lunch spot. There were even restrooms and shade, though at 1800m, the weather was cool enough that we did not really need it. "So, Arturo, what do you think: Bernina pass or ride all the way to Zernez and Ofenpass?"

He looked at me and said, "Piaw, if you're asking me now, Conrad's Mountain Lodge looks like a great alternative." He pointed at the hotel across the street.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Grono to Campodolcino

One of the greatest pleasures when touring with folks new to cycle touring is to watch them grow and develop as cyclists during the trip. The changes are not minor. This was only the 4th day of cycle touring, and Pengtoh had already gotten so comfortable on the bike that he was now able to shoot with his phone camera while riding.

In the morning, Kathy showed up well before 6:30am to prepare breakfast: toast, juice, honey and jam from local farms, and of course, plenty of coffee. She then offered to drive us to the local market which was opened. Since it was a Sunday, there was a good chance that other grocery stores we'd otherwise encounter on the way up the mountain would be closed, we accepted and bought a picnic lunch: meat, cheese and bread. Chocolate wouldn't do as it would most likely melt given the heat we'd experienced.
The first 20km out of Grono towards San Bernardino pass were almost flat. In the cool morning air, we could make good time, but I was more ambitious than that. We initiated a paceline and started training Pengtoh to keep and maintain the paceline. Since we were touring cyclists, we went at a fairly leisurely pace, around 22kph or so, with 1-2 minutes at the front each. I was still stronger than the others, so I pulled for a little longer. It was Pengtoh's introduction to pacelining, as most of his riding in Singapore was by himself.
Past Mesocco where a ruined castle could be seen, the road turned upwards and we broke the paceline. Arturo was still suffering from the dehydration from the day before, and as the day warmed the effects got more pronounced. Pengtoh, however, had strengthened over the past few days and was able to stay with me through much of the climb. Just after the Pian San Giacomo, where I stayed in the 2010 tour, we found a water fountain outside the house and refilled. I'd given some water previously to Arturo, but he was empty by the time we got to the refill. The day was shaping up to be quite warm.
Past the village of San Bernardino itself, the switchbacks began and the air cooled considerably. The clouds built up convincingly, telling us that the forecast for thunderstorms in the afternoon was likely accurate. Pengtoh stayed with me for much of the climb, stopping and dropping back only for photos. "Still think this is harder than the army?" "No. See, if you're not the last one, the pressure's off and it doesn't feel so bad." He'd gotten very strong, and had learned the use of the cleats to pull back on the pedals. "I'm getting sore muscles in places where I didn't know I had muscles. That tells me that I'm using different muscles and recruiting more muscles into getting power to the pedals. I'm also slowing down the cadence because I noticed that Arturo pedals slower, and it seems to make the climbs easier."
By the time we'd hit the pass summit, the cloudiness had increased and the temperature had dropped to the point where we had to put on jackets and leg warmers. We ate a hurried lunch in the shelter of a little knoll, and started the descent quickly.

The San Bernardino descent is a uniquely unsatisfying descent after the first few kilometers. What happens is that you get a series of hairpin turns which were too short to gain any descent speed, and with sufficient traffic that you always had to keep a lookout for the slow car/motorbike in front of you.

At the bottom of the pass we had warm sunny weather again, and took off all our cool weather gear to ride further down into the town of Splurgen, where we refilled our water bottles and bought and ate a few snacks at the local supermarket, which was conveniently situated right before the pass.
The bottom of Splurgen was a steady 8% grade with hairpin turns every so often. After what, we entered a flattish valley with a tailwind that granted us a fast pace. There was steady traffic, being a weekend day, with Italians returning from Switzerland or Swiss visiting Italy. The final climb was a series of hairpins spaced about 100m apart.
Some idiot truck driver towing a trailer managed to get himself stuck on one of the hairpins, causing a traffic jam, but that was no problem for a bicycle to traverse --- I got past the traffic jam with no difficulty, as did Pengtoh, but Arturo apparently got yelled at. The summit featured Swiss and Italian flags. When Arturo and Pengtoh arrived there, I said: "Hey, I booked us the sport hotel at Pontresina we stayed at last time." He laughed and said, "You go ahead and ride there. There was no way you had enough time to make a reservation." Indeed, the cooler weather had allowed Arturo to recover most of his strength, along with his sense of humor.
We looked on for hotels. It was a Sunday, and I would have been fine playing it by ear. However, I also didn't want to ride all the way into Chiavenna because that was at a low elevation and likely to be too hot to sleep. We settled on a decently priced hotel, Ca de Val in Campodolcino. The descent there was exciting, going through tunnels dripping with water inside, sharp hairpin turn galleries, and views of mountain lakes interspersed with ugly ramshackle buildings that looked hastily put up. But it was too exciting to stop for pictures, so I didn't bother.

When we got to Campodolcino, we had a Google maps fail that fortunately we were able to overcome and found the hotel. Arturo went in to check, and indeed, it was well appointed, and as usual, we were sent to the top floor. They didn't have a half pension for late reservations, so we walked a few hundred meters to another restaurant to have a meal.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Hotel Tiefenbach to Grono

Sweat poured down my face, off my chin, and onto my Garmin Edge in huge drops. They would evaporate and leave white stains all over the GPS unit, but as soon as one evaporated another would come down to take its place. At last, I saw the object of my desire: "A water fountain! And it's even under shade!" I cried. We stopped and I put my head under the faucet and rinsed my salt-stained face. I looked at the temperature on my Garmin Edge. 39C. 102F. I was cooked. I looked at the faces of my companions. They didn't look any better.

Monday, September 12, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Rosenlaui to Hotel Tiefenbach

"See? That wasn't too bad, right?" We were in the top floor room at Hotel Tiefenbach, with 3 separate beds. "I was going to kill you! I don't remember the army being this hard." said Pengtoh, flopped over onto the bed. "Also, you lied to me about how much climbing we'd be doing. You said 2000' but it's actually 2000m!" "Really? That's unlike me to mix up the units like that." Indeed, when I went home and looked at our e-mail exchange, I really had mixed up the units! No wonder the amount of climbing on the first few days seemed surprising to him.

I smiled. "Tomorrow's going to be easier. Guaranteed."

Friday, September 09, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Grosee Scheidegg Loop

It was 11:45am. Google's search results indicated that the Riem Bike shop was only 3km away, but also that it closed at noon! "We need to make this!" I said to Pengtoh, and pedaled hard. It was our 3rd bike shop of the day and we were getting desperate to find someone, anyone, who sold low gears compatible with his bike.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Luzern to Lammi Restaurant

My phone buzzed. It was a message from Pengtoh. "And my legs aren't cooperating Kind of cramping". It was nearly 2:00pm, and I'd been waiting for a while. At his last known location, at 1538m, he had 400m of elevation gain left and was walking rather than riding. With a leg cramp, there was little question of him making it. I was going to have to ask him to take the bus.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Frankfurt to Luzern

I stood in front of the youth hostel, frustrated and desperate. My watch read 12:30am on July 6th. I'd called both Pengtoh and Arturo. Neither had answered. I didn't even know the layout of the hostel or which room they were in, so even the idea of throwing a rock at their window wasn't feasible. My cell phone was nearly drained, and Arturo had already told me that he'd exhausted all the hotel options in the area before settling on the youth hostel.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Review: HDM QTube In-line CPAP Muffler

My biggest issue with the HDM Z1 CPAP machine is that it's loud and noisy. If you don't have a humidifier (HME) attached to it, sound vibrates all the way down the tube and conducts through your skin into your ears, making sleep pretty much impossible unless you ride all day. (Granted, that's my usual use case when traveling with the Z1!) Even with the HME, however, it's still not that quiet, so when I saw (and someone on my blog comments recommended) that the Qtube In-line CPAP Muffler was available, I tried it.

One problem that I'd hoped the Qtube solved was that the HME is a consumable item. The HME should be replaced every 7 days. In practice, I've found that every 10 days is OK. Unfortunately, the Qtube is not maintenance free. The internal foam baffling needs to be replaced every 2 weeks. That means even if it did outperform the HME as a noise muffler, you'd still have to carry replacement foam baffling on a 3 week tour.

Unfortunately, the Qtube does not outperform the basic HME. I tried it in 3 configurations: Qtube alone, Qtube inline with HME with HME connected to the machine, and Qtube inline with HME with the Qtube connected to the machine. None of these configuration changes made any difference in sound, though with the Qtube inline with the HME I noticed a significant latency in the back-off whenever I breathed out.

Worse, the Qtube is heavy! You could carry 2 HME for less weight than the Qtube, which meant that for a 3 week tour of the alps, I did exactly that and left the Qtube behind.

All in all, disappointing, and I won't recommend it. Use the weight budget on carrying the HME instead.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Thoughts on Iceland

I'm at the point of my life where travel to a new location frequently has me thinking, "Why am I here? What does this offer that my favorite places in the world don't?" Most frequently the answer is unsatisfying. For instance, traveling by RV in the summer to Yellowstone & the Tetons feels like one traffic jam after another. Last year's trip to Desolation Sound was pretty, but left me with no desire to repeat the trip.

Iceland, however, has proven to be gorgeous. It's pretty, very different from the Alps, but offers the strong and dedicated hiker the potential for many challenging walks that would leave you not just breathless from the effort, but also from the scenery.

The challenges to getting the most out of a trip there, however, rests on two things;
  1. The weather is frequently uncooperative. If you get low clouds with rain or fog, you'll see nothing. Seeing nothing sucks when you hike. The presence of multiple waterfalls (such as Skogafoss) does help, as frequently even if you get no scenery you can at least see a waterfall and feel it. Hence, most hikes in Iceland have a destination that's a waterfall, or include a waterfall en route.
  2. The ability to get into relatively rugged terrain. That leaves out many families with young children. Even with a baby backpack, there was little chance I was going to rappel down a chain link into a ravine to hike behind a waterfall. Because the terrain is challenging, don't expect to be able to travel faster than the stated times on the hiking map or brochure provided by the villages.
In hind-sight, what would I recommend for the dedicated hiker who has enough time to overcome (1) and is mobile enough to deal with (2)?
  • Get out of Reykjavik as quickly as you can. The Golden Circle is worth one day. The rest of it (Blue Lagoon, etc) can be viewed essentially one big huge tourist trap. Mt. Esja is nice, but not worth staying for.
  • Spend extra time in Eglistadir & Seydisfjordur. You need sufficient time so you can out wait poor weather and still get your hikes in. A week would be sufficient.
  • You probably want to arrange transportation if you plan to do any of the one-way hikes. This is a conundrum, since the rest of the time, having your own vehicle is a big help. That suggests that you want to place your one-way hikes at the start or end of the trip, so you're not stuck returning a rental car in the middle of the trip only to have to pick it up again.
  • Speaking of rental cars: Iceland is one of the few places where an AWD vehicle is not over-kill. There are many trailheads that require off-road driving to get to. Even the main ring road has plenty of dirt roads, though if you're planning to stick to the ring road you don't need AWD. The cost is significantly higher, and it might be that the few times you do need to access an off-road trail head it's cheaper to hire a taxi for the day than to put up with AWD the rest of the time.
  • Bring warm clothing and plenty of rain gear. Enough said.
All in all, Iceland seems like a great stopover on the way to Europe, both to ditch the jet-lag and to see the gorgeous country, and if you're a strong/avid hiker, I can recommend it highly.

What would I do different on this trip?
  • Plan the Westman Islands visit better. Pre-book the ferry for the car, spend one night there.
  • Spend less time in the Reykjavik area. 3 days was plenty, there was no need to spend 2 nights at the end there.
  • More time in Seydisfjordur and Eglistadir. See above.
  • Skip Dettifoss. The long off-road drive was a pain and it wasn't that great.
  • See the Westfjiords.
Well, I guess that means I have good reason to go back to Iceland, unlike many other destinations I've visited over the years.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Iceland 2016: Reykjavik

We took a quick walk in the morning, but didn't get very far. Then went downtown to visit a couple of museums and see the lake in the middle of town. Bowen wanted to visit the local swimming pool, which turned out to have a cool water slide but Bowen only went on it once.

In the evening, we started packing seriously for the next day's flight, and did laundry, expecting the next day to be fairly hectic.

Our last day in Iceland started with a walk near the Grotta Island Lighthouses. The lighthouses themselves were closed because Arctic Terns were visiting. Those birds fly between the Arctic and Antarctic, all the reason not to disturb them.

Then we went to the airport, where I unloaded everyone, returned the big van, got a small rental car, and then took everyone out to lunch. After lunch, it was time for everyone except me to return home to San Francisco, while I took the small rental car over to pick up my bike box and drive around. We had neglected the area near Hafnir, so I took the time to visit those places.

The lighthouse at Gardar was interesting, as was the bridge between the continental plates which turned out to be near the Blue Lagoon. I then took a swim at the local swimming pool and then slept at a cheap hotel which turned out to be closer to a hostel than a hotel, though with very friendly owners.
On my last morning in Iceland, I woke up at 4:00am, had a quick breakfast, and checked my bike into the flight to Frankfurt. Keeping my fingers crossed, I boarded the plane and hoped that my bicycle would arrive with me on the other side.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Iceland 2016: Borgarnes

It was clearly going to be a rainy day today, so we decided on two museums. The first was a shark museum in Bjarnarhofn. This was actually quite disappointing. First, fermented shark doesn't actually taste very good. Secondly, the primary exhibit is a video showing the preparation for fermentation. We chalked it up as being a tourist trap over-hyped by a gullible guide-book author and moved on.

At Borgarnes, we went to the settlement center, which was actually a museum/restaurant. In the bottom exhibit was an audio guide to the Icelandic Saga of Egils, while the top exhibit is an audio guide to the story of Icelandic settlement. The presentation was excellent, and it's a great way to spend a rainy day. The restaurant was reasonably good as well, though expensive as always.
From there, it was a short visit to the two lighthouses at Akranes before turning up at our AirBnB in Reykjavik, our last AirBnB in Iceland. We arrived just around dinner time and took a walk along the coast.