Lifestyle Travel 01 Aug 2016 The land of fire and ...

The land of fire and ice

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | GRIFFITH DAVID
Published Aug 1, 2016, 12:23 am IST
Updated Aug 1, 2016, 4:21 am IST
Purring engines traversed the length and breadth of this breathtaking Viking land.
This one felt truly special. We would see powerful waterfalls, soaring mountains, majestic glaciers and black sandy beaches on one day while sailing the Arctic Ocean.
 This one felt truly special. We would see powerful waterfalls, soaring mountains, majestic glaciers and black sandy beaches on one day while sailing the Arctic Ocean.

Every year, during the month of July, my friends and I get on cruise control on our motorcycles in a different country. We are a band of brothers from across the world including India, New Zealand, Australia, America, Ireland and England.

Over the past five years, we have watched each other’s backs and ridden across Ladakh, Vietnam, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Turkey. The freedom of the road, the sense of camaraderie and the sheer joy of discovering a new country compels us to don our riding gear year after year, and leave our hectic lives and dear ones behind.

 

This year, after much debate and discussion, our group chose to venture far north right up to the Arctic — to Iceland! This sparsely populated island situated between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean is volcanically and geologically active which makes for a unique and incredibly diverse terrain characterised by lava fields, snowcapped mountains, hot springs, glaciers and black sandy beaches.

There were 10 of us on this ride, and we rode BMW 800 CC motorcycles around Iceland’s famous ring road for seven glorious days. We were ably led by Hjortur, our winsome, pipe-smoking guide who was the quintessential strong and silent type. In a road trip crisis, this is the kind of guy you want watching your back.

 

Not a day on the road felt the same, and we were awed, exhilarated, blessed and thankful for the opportunity to experience this incredible and diverse country.

This one felt truly special. We would see powerful waterfalls, soaring mountains, majestic glaciers and black sandy beaches on one day while sailing the Arctic Ocean watching humpbacked whales the next; riding through miles of rolling green meadows under bright blue skies or under freezing rains through volcanic ash dusted misty mountains the next. Just as one was literally numbed by the beauty around, another sight would assail the senses, leaving you stunned in silence.

 

The Icelanders are a warm people and we were treated to fine Icelandic hospitality throughout the ride. The local trout, salmon and Arctic char were fresh, delicious for those who enjoyed seafood while Icelandic lamb stew and reindeer meat were a treat for meat lovers. Even the vegetarians in our group were happily fed throughout the trip with a medley of summer berries, local fresh cheeses, herb salads and other local produce.

One of the highlights of being in Iceland at this time was the pleasure of being able to follow this tiny nation’s soccer fortunes as they made a fairy tale progress in the Euro Cup.

 

We followed the team truly as if they were our own, and it reinforced my belief that the more one travels and comes in contact with people from around the world, the more we relate to one another and open up our minds to each other.

As I flew out of Reykjavik, I looked up at the sun beating down and wished that the sun would never set on this spectacular and shining example of a country. Takk Fyrir (thanks) Iceland for teaching me much on this ride.

This tiny nation has set an example for the rest of the world on how to create a sustainable ecosystem that preserves its pristine beauty while attaining a high standard of living that provides quality education, healthcare, harmony and prosperity for all of its citizens.

 

— The writer, a avid biker, runs a chain of Mexican restaurants in Bengaluru.

...




ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
-->