Finally, after three years of discussing moving away together, the day finally dawned. We were undoubtedly excited but this was overcast by the bags under our eyes for our 6AM flight to Reykjavik, our first stop before Canada. We carefully marked out an itinerary prior to leaving and stuck to it fairly religiously, although we changed a couple of things here and there and had a contingency day to allow for any delays along the way.
The 6AM flight, although painful at the time, was the ideal way to set us up for a full first day camper vanning around the golden circle. We picked up our van from the Reykjavik bus terminal after using the flybus, which cost 2500 IKR.
There is an extreme amount of trust involved with Icelandic transactions, where we had arranged to collect our camper without meeting the respective owner & were collecting the keys from a locker, prior to payment. Wouldn’t get that in England! We used Reykjavik Viking Campers, which were the cheapest yet not so different to the mainstream options such as Kuki or GoCampers. The only downside for us, no curtains & no cool vinyls! 😦
After getting settled into the Ford Transit, we headed into Reykjavik to pick up some supplies for the week from the discount supermarket, Bonus. Highlights include baked beans for IKR69 & Icelands infamous Skyr for IKR350. If you’re in Iceland, it’s a travellers dream, with an Icelandic markup in price!
The Golden Circle route was expected to take 6-10 hours and is easily accessible either by hiring a car or selecting a guided tour. We hit the open road, got the iPod playlist on full blast and sped off. I’m not sure if Icelandic’s like Wham! but they will certainly hate them after 2 Brit’s karaoke’d “I’m your man” around the Ring Road!
Reykjavik holds 3/4 of Iceland’s 400,000 population and as soon as you leave the city, the sparse population is obvious. Individual houses litter the plains of volcanic green and “towns” can consist of 100 people for it to be considered a larger town!
The first stop on the route is Pingvellir National Park. A 500IKR parking charge is applied whilst you wonder around the hub for tectonic activity. This is in fact the place where you can dive between the tectonic plates of North America & Europe, in Silfra. We spent about 90 minutes wandering around, feeling the full effects of Icelandic’s barbaric weather! There’s a lovely waterfall here, Iceland’s oldest parliamentary building and ducks, to name a few things!
Onwards we roamed & as Wham! became the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, we settled in to an hour drive to the Geysers at Haukadalur. Geysers are formed by water boiling with the resulting pressure forcing a superheated column of steam and water to the surface through the geyser’s internal plumbing. The formation of geysers specifically requires the combination of three geologic conditions that are usually found in volcanic terrain. The geothermal activity is where you get the first sense of the infamous Icelandic “eggy” smell, although it’s far more tolerable than in the North! There are a few geysers to observe here but the big momma as we’ve carefully called her tends to explode her might every 10 minutes. For the die hard selfie goers, this is a great arm workout holding your camera up for that long! For us more impatient people, there tends to be a second burst from the geyser so you can video the back end of it! We ended up spending 45 minutes here.
The geysers were impressive. Having never seen activity like it before, we were intrigued as to what else Iceland had to offer us. We headed off to Gullfoss, which is down the road from the Geysers and a short drive. This is where we caught the backlash of the 150km/h winds from the week before. If you don’t believe us, check out the pictures! Gullfoss was our first touristic waterfall and we were instantly attracted to the sheer force of nature. There’s a great viewing platform here and plenty of photo opportunity. We spent a sturdy hour here, most of which was spent shivering!
The Golden Circle concludes with the Keri Crater Lake & although we didn’t view it, there’s a 400IKR entrance fee.
That was our first day done. It felt like it had lasted days! We were still yet to find camp but managed to find Camping Selfoss close to the crater lake. It was arguably the best campsite we had through the week due to the amenities it had. Free hot showers, a kitchen and a good social atmosphere, all for 1500IKR. We were planning on heading to bed after such a long, tiring day but the friendly nature of our friends across the pond took advantage of us with their delectable cheese board and conversation. We ended up drinking and eating till 12 before cacooning into our sleeping bags for the first time. Wow we were shattered!!
More pictures to come, these are just off the digi!