Back To The Busy Ring Road

Goat butt on my tent in the morning!!

Startled goat crap hazard near my tent.

My first big bridge crossing in Iceland.

I lingered in the café for an hour or so, enjoying the shelter from the weather and looking around at the mixture of tourists and locals. I bought a gigantic chocolate-frosted roll that was really impressive looking, but turned out to be dry and bland – not what I expected from Icelandic baked goods at all – so I ate it slowly with sips of water. I could see the bike parked outside, through the big plate-glass windows.

An older gentleman in a polo shirt walked up to the bike and stared at it.  I thought to myself, “I know there’s almost no crime in Iceland.  Strong social bonds in this harsh environment.  But Borgarnes feels like a busy city.  There are people all over the place.  Even if I have nothing to fear from the locals, a tourist might come up and try to pick something off the bike.  What would I do then?”

I pictured myself dropping the roll, jumping up, and sprinting around through the back door of the restaurant (since it was closer to the street) and confronting the man as he tried to escape.  Would I tackle him in the parking lot?  How expensive would the item need to be for me to try and reclaim it that way?

Suppose he digs out my camera.  Including the lens attached to it, that would cost $4500 to replace.  Worth pursuing I guess, but I don’t know if I would resort to violence, even at that price. Then I remembered that the camera strap on the camera was given to me by my father, and it’s the one he wore on his camera for over 30 years, all through Baja and Alaska and Europe.  It has our last name written across it with permanent ink, in his big blocky teacher’s lettering.  Yes — I would tackle someone to get that back.

That is an item that is absolutely not replaceable.  And there it is, sitting on my bike, just inside a drawstring bag.  Someone could pull the string and take it out, in less than a minute. I began to feel alarmed, and chewed my bland roll a little faster.

The man finished admiring the bike, and turned to walk away.  Looking up, he saw me watching him through the window.  My expression was neutral — this was just a curious Icelander, and the bike always draws curious looks.  I partially rely on that to stay safe on the road.  He dropped the eye contact without acknowledging me, and walked away. Perhaps he felt a little guilty. I didn’t feel like trying to reassure him.

So if that strap is so hard to replace, why didn’t I just leave it at home? Well, traveling with it is sort of the point of having it.  Ben used it on his adventures and now I’m using it on mine.  It invokes a feeling like I’m stepping into a role, of a curious and somewhat rugged but always friendly adventurer. A role he played when he was my age. I like that feeling.

Looking for a place to stay in Borgarnes? This is it!

Tried to read a few ... It was impossible.

Know any good djoks?

This is probably quite funny. I have no idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *