7 o'clock in the morning, I eat the breakfast served by the hostel, and then walk to the harbour waiting for the puffin tour.
There are two small islands around Reykjavik where the puffin tour will go to：Akurey (B) and Lundey (A)
I don't know very exactly about the island we will go today, but depending on the locations, Akurey is much close to Reykljavik, so I think that we are going to the Akurey island.
Very exciting. Shipping for Puffins.
Although Akurey is an island, people could not live there. That's only for the birds.
The ship goes for about thirty minutes and reach this small island. You could find some sea gulls and other birds on there.
Is there any puffin around here? As we are looking around the sea, a few puffins fly over the sea.
These puffins are very small. Maybe they are baby puffins, so my camera only could take photos like these below.
Taking photos of birds is not a easy job, because birds don't wait for your shooting.
Finally, I find a small puffin resting on the sea, but the focus is still not long enough.
Anyway, it's better than watching nothing. I feel good.
Then the ship goes back to Reykljavik harbour. The tour takes about an hour in total.
If you want to go to Lundey island, it may takes about one and half hours.
About 9:30, our tour is finished. I go back to the hostel and wait for the car rental company in the lounge until 10:00.
When I see the car they arrange for me, I am so surprised that this car is not auto transmission as I saw on the internet. Suddenly, I understand that they just arrange the car in the same class, not the transmission type.
Oh, my god. I have not driven the manual transmission car for about ten years. The only time I drive this kind of car was in the driving school. In Taiwan, everyone drives auto transmission car. Although there are still some manual transmission cars, they are not common.
I tell the staff that I'm not good at driving manual transmission car.....
Obviously, he doesn't understand what I really mean.
He says, OK, It's easy to drive.
Then I just look at this car and try to call back my memory ten years ago about the driving experience for this car.
Unfortunately, I could not drive this car very well, even the driving back is failed.
I feel nervous and don't know how to get a start. In this moment, there is a good man coming to know about my situation. He is very kindly to drive the car and let me understand the steps.
Although I try to drive as he showed to me and I could drive smoothly as last, I still feel nervous.
The kindly man notice that, so he calls to the car rental company and speak Icelandic to the staff about my problem.
Finally, the car rental company send a staff to change the car for me.
Because the only car with auto transmission is at the Keflavik airport. I wait in the lounge until 12:00, and drive away from Reykjavik as last.
I think I have to go faster to finish the Golden Circle Today.
So, this story tells that, when you rent a car online, and if you have to drive the car with auto-transmission, you have to write the e-mail to the company as well. Otherwise, European always think that everyone could drive cars with manual transmission. That is truth, most of the cars in Europe are manual transmission.
As for the traffic in Iceland, most roads are simple to understand. The signs are clear, but there is only one fault that these road signs, especially the attraction signs appear in the intersection for the road directing to the attraction.
The cars here drive very fast as compared to the driving speed in Taiwan. In Taiwan, you could only drive very fast (it means 80 to 100 km/hr) on the high way. In city area, the speed limit is under 50 km/hr.
But the road is not as good as the highway in Taiwan, there is mostly one way in one direction,and there is no traffic light except for cities like Reykjavik or Akureyri. Thus, if the car drive very fast in this kind of situation, accidents will happen in a high probability, especially in the intersections or the roads with small sand on the ground.
The only good thing for driving in Iceland is that the roads are not too many. If you get familiar with the map, and drive very carefully and slowly, it would be fine.
As for the city like Reykjavik, the roads are much complex and some roads are one-way. If you are familiar with the roads, maybe you will get lost. That is reason that I search for the recommended drivnig route on the Google Map.
By the way, I also find that I know a little about the terms about the car and driving. When the kindly man taught me how to drive, I didn't understand all of what he talk to me. It's lucky that I still have some memory about driving experience, so I could realize, and guess, what he talked about.
So, I still have to learn English very hard.
When driving about thirty minutes, I turn into the road no.36. It's the start for the Golden Circle, and there is no house or any building around here. The blue sky, wide plain with grass, mountains on the far side, make me feel that driving is a very enjoyable thing.
On the half way, I park my car in a resting area, and eat the toast and hams for lunch. There are many stone piles around the parking place. I don't know whether these piles mean something for the Icelandic, but that is a special scene for me especially the piles are great in number.
As for the Golden Circle, Golden Circle is not a place, but a travelling route with some famous attractions. There is also a Diamond Circle in the north. And the attractions of Golden Circle are：
(1) Þingvellir National Park：It is the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9Eingvellir)
(2) Geysir：It's the earlier geysir known to European, and the English word is driven from its name. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geysir)
(3) Gullfoss：I think that is a very beautiful waterfall in Iceland, because you could rainbow above gullfoss very easily. (Detail Introduction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gullfoss)
Besides these three famous atrractions, there are some attractions where I meet less tourists there：
(4) Skalholt Church：http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skalholt
(5) Kerith： that is a volcanic crater lake. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerith)
If you depart from Reykjavik and visit these attractions, then you could come back to Reykjavik from Selfoss, and finish a circle route. Because Golden Circle is an one-day trip from Reykjavik and includes nice scenes, it is very popular for the tourists, especially those who only have short stays in Iceland.
The first attraction I arrived is Þingvellir National Park. The area of Þingvellir is quite wide, and it cost about 1 to 2 hours, maybe 3 hours depending on how long you want to stay.
There are two parking places in the national park. The first place I arrived is at a high position where you could get a clear view of the ridges and may have a walk in the valley between the ridges, and the other place is at the low position where you could see a flower farm, a small waterfall and go for a distance to the church.
I spend about one hour here, but I don't go to the church for the reason that I have taken the pictures with the long focus. Then, I continue to the next attraction: Geysir。
If you search for the recommended route for driving from Þingvellir to Geysir, it would tell you to drive along the road no.36 to road no.35, then drive along road no.35 to Geysir. Although the road are good for driving comfortably, it's quite far away for driving there. Looking at the map, the proper route is drive to road no.365, then to road no.37. It would connect to road 35 directing to Geysir.
This is the first time that I experience the bumpy road in Iceland. In Chinese term, road is "馬路", and the "馬" means Horses. I think the road no.365 is a real "馬路", because it's better to ride a horse than drive the car.
Around 3 o'clock, I finally arrived the tourist center of Geysir where has a restaurant and gas machines. I go to the restaurant, and order a chips and a Coke as I take a break there. Then I walk to the Geysir region.
By the way, I never used the self-service gas machine in Taiwan before. Thus, when I see someone is filling the gas, I go to ask them about some questions in my mind.
The steps for filling the gas with a self-service machine are quite easy:
(1) Put into your credit card, then input the PIN Code. In Taiwan, you have to apply the PIN Code from the credir card company.
(2) Input the price you want, for example, 5000 ISK. (That is my first question) If the actual price is lower than the price you input, the machine will charge the actual price. If you have filled the gas at the price you input, the gas gun will stop. Therefore, it's okey to input any amount you want, and for most the small car less than 1800 c.c, 5000 ISK is a proper amount.
(3) Take up the gas gun and put it into the tank. (My second question) If your tank is full, the gun will stop.
(4) Take back your credit and the receipt. For some machines, it will return your credit after you input the price, and maybe choose the pump. In this case, you have to put into your credit again for printing the receipt.
As for the gas stations in Iceland, N1 gas station is the most common, and Okan and Olis are the second.
Before I go to Iceland, I worry about filling the gas with my credit card, and search for the information for the prepaid cards, like N1. When I get understood of these questions and fill the gas for the first time, I almost use the credit card for filling gas, and don't buy any prepaid card. Thus, credit card is really very convenient and common-used in Iceland.
According to the Wiki, the Geysir could cause spouts of up to 60 to 70 metres high, but for some man-made and natural reasons, it now erupts only three times a day. Therefore, the geysir that tourists watch now is another geysir named Strokkur. It erupts every 5 to 6 minutes everyday, and cause spouts of up to 30 metres which is stiil quite high for me.
When you watch the eruption of the Strokkur, the first thing you have to take care is not to stand too close to the geysir, and the second is to look for the wind direction. If you get too close or stand in the direction of the wind, maybe you will get a hot spring when Strokkur erupts.
After the Geysir, Gullfoss is a atrraction not far away from here. I come to Gullfoss in the late afternoon. I think this is a good time for taking pictures, because I see rainbow above the waterfall. That's very beautiful scene.
If you take a look at the photo above, you will find that there is a cliff just close to the waterfall. many tourist come there to experience How vast the Gullfoss is. In Taiwan, I never saw such beautiful and vast waterfall, especially with rainbow.
Because Gullfoss causes geart mist, if you come here in the right time, it's quite easy to see the rainbow.
Driving along road no.35 from Geysir, the route is the way for return to Reykjavik, or for the opposite direction to towns like Hella where is the place I will camp today.
Along this route, the attractions are not so popular as these I introduced above. When arrived at Skalholt Church, there is a few tourist there. Indeed, Skalholt church is not so special as other churchs in Iceland, but this place makes me in a very peaceful mood.
My last stop is Kerith Volcanic Crater. This cratoer is not very obvious so I miss it when I pass its intersection, but I still turn back to take a look at it.
Kerith is composed of red volcanic rock, and still intact because of its young age. There is a small path to the bottom of the caldera.
It take nearly about 8 hours for me to finish the Golden Circle.
Fortunately, the daytime in the summer of Iceland is quite long. I drive to the end of road no.35 and connect to the ring road (it means road no.1). When arrived at Selfoss, I take a break here, fill the gas, and buy the food in the supermarket. This is a first time that I buy lots of food for the reason that I depart late for the car problem.
In Iceland, Bonus supermarket is the cheapest and recommended by many backpackers in Taiwan, but sometimes you could find one supermarket or just a store in some places. I think it's okey to buy food in any market you find.
Finally, I arrive at the Arhus campsite in Hella before the sunset.
this campsite has a guest kitchen where provided free electromagnetic oven with outlets, and some pots. You just bring your ingredient and utensils here. For me, I think the most important service of the campsite is its outlets for charging the cellphone or camera. many campers have occupied these outlets when I arrived, so it's better to get a free charging in the early morning.
My dinner today is a fast-and-easy-cooking spaghetti. You don't have to wait for a long time to cook the spaghetti in the boiling water, and you don't have to prepare the source. This package includes all the ingredients and could be done quickly, and it's also very cheap for less than 300 ISK in average. If you put some fried mince, seafoods or vegetables, the dish would be very rich.
For campers, it's also a good choice not only for its convenient, but also save your gas a lot. I only bought a big gas-can from N1 gas station, and the gas wasn't run out of when I finished the journey.
If you buy the standard speghetti, it's recommended to cook the spaghetti in the campsite where provide free oven.
Besides, I also try a very special food as shown below:
That's not beef, or lamb, or prok. That looks like the red meat as the animals, but actually not.
The answer is...
Whale...... Oh my god
I don't buy it in purpose. I thought that is "Steak", and it indeed looks like beef steak.
Okey, since I have bought it, maybe it's a chance to try once. But I have to tell you that is not as delicious as beef or lamb. I think this is the first and last time that I buy or try the "whale steak".
By the way, it's recommend that you bring a coolbag from your country. I don't see any coolbag in the supermarket in Iceland. Although the weather is not hot most of the time, the temperature inside the car will get hot when the sun is big and you closed all the windows when you leave. In this case, the meat will get rotted.
The only good new is that there is always a supermarket in the popular places, so you don't have to worry about not finding a supermarket and buy too many food in a time.
After dinner, I walk to the river side. It's the time for watching sunset.
There is also a black cat in the campsite, but he seems to be not happy when I try to take photos of him.
I notice that this cat is white-foot. In Asia, black cat with white foot means a bad representation, a bad thing.
I set up my tent for the first time in my life. The tent I bought in Taiwan is light in weight and easy to be set up. Then, I put the sleepbag into the tent as a bed, and take my Goretex coat as the pillow. My Gooretx coat is not only good for warm-keeping, but also could be the raincoat or a pillow.
Attachment：Travellinh Route Map
B：Þingvellir National Park
F：Kerið Volcano Crater
G：Hveragerði Greenhouse (I didn't go there because of the time is not enough)