It was an hour or so since we last stopped.
We’d been cruising alongside wild, yet sheltered coast, on an agonisingly perfect stretch of road. Incredible rock formations jutted out of the flat ocean, corduroy ripples on the surface the only indication that sea breezes have no obstruction for hundreds of miles in any direction. The precipitous island rock faces on one side were contrasted by grassy skate ramps on the other. I was lost in the view, vaguely aware of the chatter around me as we rode on in our tight group of four.
The call went up; it was a familiar one that was repeated frequently on our short visit.
Brakes on and time to find a convenient rock, with an appropriately epic view. It was fairly likely that Toby would have all the brewing kit in his bombproof army surplus-style panniers. His bike carried most of our stuff – all the food, both tents, and every spare. Or at least you’d have thought so if you listened to him. He didn’t like to complain, you understand. To be fair, “Tobes” did have a huge plastic Thor’s hammer though; thank you Faroese supermarket randomness. Anyway, back to the brew. Unpack. Try to remember if mug is in the left or right front pannier. Towards the end of the week we had a system; mug and toilet roll were always stashed front left. The “Brews and Poos” pannier as it became. Anyway… spark the stove into life and observe time slowing down as the gas roars. Crack open a packet of Scandinavian biscuits while the water rolls to a boil.
I’m not sure why, but our conversations changed pace when we stopped. It’s not like we were heads down and racing when we were pedalling, but the simple act of stepping off our bikes gave us time to breathe and absorb where we were. However, if I have one memory of the most beautiful place I have ever been, it was not of the views or the landscape. It was of the laughter – aching, painful laughter. Giggles long after the joke has been told. Eye-contact induced hysterics. The kind of jokes that only seem to get funnier on each repeated telling.