I went on many short trips – some of them were work related, some were youth exchanges, and sometimes I was just a tourist. I travelled in small and larger groups as well as by myself. For a long time, the hunger for a larger expedition grew in me – I needed a challenge, and to put myself under demanding conditions.
In 2015, I went to Iceland for a few days to celebrate my birthday (it was winter, as I was born in November). I had great time – I saw the northern lights, the Golden Circle, the wonderful Black Sand Beach in Vik, and on my birthday I climbed up a huge, closed volcano – Eldborg – where I pronounced my birthday wish – that I would like to come back and see all of Iceland.
I did not expect, however, that my wish would come true as soon as the next summer.
Recalling the infinity of roads between waterfalls, glaciers and the ocean, I felt that this will be my first big adventure – cycling around Iceland! Despite the fact that I had no professional preparation or equipment – basically I did not get on a bike for more than two years – I was determined to go through with it. I didn't see issues, I saw adventure.
Very quickly, the most important component of this challenge turned out to be the attitude. From the very beginning I had to deal with the famous Icelandic wind, black clouds gathered overhead, and on the third day one of my pedals fell off. Still, I did not turn back, and thanks to the help of an Icelandic farmer, shortly I was able to continue my journey.
I saw places which looked like they were from fairytales – the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, the Skaftafell National Park with the biggest icelandic Vatnajökull glacier and the phenomenal waterfall – Svartifoss.
Then I drove through the eastern fjords – Höfn, Djúpivogur – to the place that marked the beginning of the most difficult part of my trip – crossing the Öxi pass. It was both the hardest moment due to the height of the driveways, the fog and the weather, but also the coolest one, which I will remember as a highlight of the whole expedition.
Then I went north – I „ran away” from the flies at Lake Mývatn, admired the phenomenal Goðafoss waterfall and made the beautiful downhill descent near Akureyri overlooking the Arctic Ocean.
Akureyri amazed me – situated above the bay itself, full of narrow steep streets and interesting street art, unofficial capitol of northern Iceland.
The next challenge was to defeat the Öxnadalur pass, after which I was about to return to Reykjavik, but then a Polish couple – who read about my trip in the internet – invited me to visit them in Patreksfjörður, on the western fjords. I was so fortunate to see some of these wild areas and go on a trip to wonderful cliffs of Látrabjarg.
From the fjords I crossed the bay by ferry to the Peninsula of Snæfellsnes – often called Iceland in a nutshell. Amazing place full of great views and beautiful places. My Favourite – Snæfellsjökull – a 700,000-year-old stratovolcano with a glacier covering its summit.
I returned to the Reykjavik the same way I started – in the wind and rain. Daily news from my expedition were published by Iceland News Polska (my posts were read a few thousand or so times), so many people followed my route online, supported me, provided tips, offered hospitality or meals. Who would have thought that in the land of these beautiful, yet desolate plains I would meet so many nice people?
Undoubtedly, it was the most wonderful first expedition I could have ever experienced.
After my return to Poland I decided to share my experience of this wonderful journey and to encourage people to follow my „wheel steps”, in the form of a book – Ring Road: Around Iceland on a bicycle. Photos, reviews and articles from this book and expedition have been published in travel and cycling magazines such as BikeBoard, National Geographic Traveler, Explore the World, BikeTour. I had my first author meetings, and there was also a photo exhibition at the Echo Gallery in Kielce.
Travel photos were also used by the KANDS bicycle brand that supported my project by supplying me with a trekking bike.