In late februari-beginning of march 2012 i started my cycling adventure around Iceland. Besides, i also undertook some short hikes on my snowshoes. Somehow, after hiking i am always happy to be back on the bike again. But when hiking out, it seems to me like there is nothing like it. Which means, dragging along the whole lot on the bike. Just in case.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Game Over

What a drag, what a drag, dragging myself so heavily towards the computer to write about things already dead but not yet buried. I decided not wanting to see the polar fox after all, but it is too late, and in spite of Borges fragmentating and splattering around time in whatever direction, life remains linear as hell and events do drain down the stream before getting covered in gold or mud by memory. And that is what i am doing now, retreating, covering up. What else to do? Because as turned out after my resting period in happy anticipation, the knee didn't get better, and as a matter of fucking fact, i am back. Home sweet home, Ghent fucking Ghent. It is a soft tissue knee issue, which in my case means that i don't see nothing wrong with it and right now it doesn't hurt under normal city conditions like walking the dog, going to the Mokabon and to bars, but when i bend my knee towards a certain degree, it does hurt. And when cycling or should i say bending it 60 times per minute for a couple of hours it really, truly hurts. And then it hurts so much i have to cycle without bending the knee, and that's quite ridiculous, like a sewing machine. So "Relative Rest" is what i need (read: what the knee needs. "I" needs anything but relative rest). So you see: all good, except when i cycle. I could also just say: all bad! Is that OK? Do you believe me? Maybe i found it too cold? Yes yes yes. Was i lucky? Yes yes yes.  
Let me tell you about my hardest day in Iceland. It is kind of poetic that the hardest day was also the last day, but it wasn't the hardest BECAUSE it was the latest. It was just the hardest because that's what it was: standing on the side of the road from six thirty in the morning 'till four thirty in the evening, with a snow cloud passing every now and then, and an incessantly blowing wind, waiting for a car to pass to take me and all my impossibly bulky and totally useless stuff which is my bike and all the 35 kilos of gear. Standing at the crossroads where the whole upper North-east passes through to get  down 150 km to the first significant place, Egilsstadir. And from there, another 50 km to the ferry -how hard can it be? Especially since people from here are -so do the people from here say- very helpful if needed, in spite of being not all too communicative. Also, people here all have pick-ups, with plenty of space (just like in the States, but here it seems like they actually use their trunks to load things in!). Just standing there, trying to remain warm enough. Not the biking uphill, or sleeping in the cold, or cycling through hail and/or snow, starvation or getting lost, fear of getting alienated, falling out of the market demand, trashing my knee or whatever, but just: standing there, with a mood growing darker as all-the-time-in-the-world-in-between-helpful-people starts to mutate into the bare fact that time is a-passing and so are the few pick-ups, empty without stopping. "The ferry leaves at 20.00u" at 06u30 has a different feel than "The ferry leaves at 20.00u" at 16u30. 
I did make it to the ferry, just in time: half hour before the steam flute whistled its final whistle. This is just so boring to write. Boat leaves, wiggling, i hate it but here i am anyway, and as the sun goes under and the triangle unshaped fjords disappear forever, the twin lights of the shore making movements like slow motion hippie punks doing their Plaza Nueva dance with fire balls and sitting there in darkness on deck it really feels as like Iceland were moving on the whirling of the sea and the boat immobile in one Infinite Big Leaving!! and it is all just so sad, reviving lost love from years ago and all that riddim because that's what it is, a passionate love affair cut off right in the middle, and three days pass, i go to the sauna a couple of times, eat rye bread with cheese and in the morning refill my coffee a couple of times although that Icelandic custom is not anymore a custom on the ferry. Hating it, and then the people on the boat who are the upper lower or lower middle class on their half softboiled wannabee-cruise for cheapos with noisy children, Eastern European-style training football pants and lots of smokers on deck, not really seasick but neither enjoying the waving of the boat, sleeping in a small hut with one unilingual Polish big guy and a snoring Scandinavian (guess they call him Snorri) with a hearing machine in his ears -i am sure he turns it off at night so he doesn't hear himself, bastard!- who always gets in (turning on the lights) an hour later than i do, snoring the whole night despite of me punching him softly (too soft! Too soft!!), or pulling his sheets, and leaving an hour earlier as well (turning on the lights). Three days. Last day not wavy though. 

Once in Denmark i found out the Eurolines bus doesn't take bikes, as the woman told me at the information desk, and before i knew it, i mumbled all my misery to her, and her english not being so terrific, and me feeling even worse than her english, all she could do was giving me that empathic mother look, a little box with mints in it, and she scribbled an impossible name on a paper, of someone "who cycling all the world" when all i needed was the telephone number of the bus driver to see if he had mercy on my soul and my bike. So i went to drink the most worthless crap of coffee for 2 euro 50 cent. And sitting there feeling just like i was - worthless piece of crap-, there this skinny grey man in suit, looks at me while phoning, and just as i was to give him "the chin" ( lifting it up really quick, as to say: WHAT!) he comes to me and before i knew it, i had a bus ride to Rotterdam, for 40 euros instead of 67, with bike and everything perfectomundo. I knew it! That woman from the information desk heard from behind my rantings of misery a loud roaring "mamie, mamie!", and she came to the rescue. 
So here is this Busdriver from heaven, not only allowing me and the bike, but giving me a whole compartment under the bus for my stuff, and cracking funny dry oxford english jokes through the speakers about criminality and stinky bustoilets when announcing the next stop. His bus all dirty, cigarette butts on the floor and him smoking while driving, it made me so happy, feigning myself into being still somewhere else for a while, not being back in Europe (the western part, the welfare part, the boring part) yet. My travel neighbour an eastern bull, accidentally tearing off the ashtray because a bull that's what he is, smelling really sharp of extended non-washing and talking in '80 russian spy movie accent about work, any work, for making platform safety atomic bomb, or getting the email of Elton John and call him, work whatever work , twenty girls, want to buy telephone 15 euro?, entering japanese company with terrorist bomb jacket saying "You have 77 minute to give me job, no job, blow up company, no company: bad! Better give me job!", and after repeating it for a couple of times, toying with the possibilitiy of offering the company only 15 minutes, he decided best to give them 77 minutes after all, and getting paid, work any work, hard work! Proposed to go play music together, him on the accordeon and me on the guitar although i don't know, but as i look a nice guy, he didn't seem to find that a problem, then he fell asleep, and got off the bus in Amsterdam without saying goodbye, me missing my opportunity here since my phone broke down in Iceland. Eurolines, it really is a trip. People you meet...
So what is left to do with this month of no meanings, in between the plan-went-wrong, and the work? Planning my next trip? Mongolia, maybe some Stan-stuff, Tibet, South America, i don't know! Anything! But  somehow it doesn't feel right to make plans already, i should save that for emergencies, when work start getting at me. Smartest thing to do for now is going to Granada, try to go check out some old friends, see if they can still run fast, or blow hard, or see clearly in the far distance  like the dusted friends of Baron von  Munchhausen. See what became of them. See who is the musicians that get the chicks nowadays. Drink the coffee, eat teraza tapa. With the most incredible spring one can think of. And some live music, everywhere! Flamenco with long streched passionate screams about their dead donkey or their saturday night love gone drunk or whatever they sing about, as long as they scream loud. And Manouche Jazz as long as they keep on going. And tango from Martin, to get me quiet, peaceful and thoughtful again. That should dry out the moist. And reading a bit, Gombrovicz being my blue valentine for the moment, and  as i read "I write this diary with a bad grace. It's insincere honesty bothers me.", i cannot think of a better ending for this blog and also my Iceland adventure i so much enjoyed.   
"So farewell for now, my diary, faithful dog of my soul -but don't howl- your master is going away, but he will be back."


  1. Hey Tronco!
    What's up? cheer up!! You just need some beers at home to fix that knee! . seriously I hope you get better soon... take care! and by the way your memories rock!!

    best regards,

    Pako S

    1. No te preocupaspor el knee, ni por las cervezas,... ni por el rock! Ya tengo dos de los tres!

  2. What an end!! i hope your knee doesnt hurt any longer! Will you come back to iceland?
    what was your exactly route in the north? and please post some more photos of your trip!

  3. Hoi Tom - what a revelation. Ben zojuist, via via, op je blog beland and what a treat it is! Beetje dark & gloomy but oh so well written. khad op Facebook af en toe ns een foto van je gezien, always something crazy haha, en nu dus TomTheRoad ... kben vanachter begonnen ... ik zie ernaar uit om je verhaal van int begin te beginnen lezen. Sterkte met je knietje - komt wel goed x nat