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Golden Circle

by Mario
Day 0/1
One of the post on the blog is called “dreams come true”. It was created in September, shortly after buying the tickets to Iceland. At that time the trip was so distant for us that we would not have thought that we could report it so quickly. Well, it happened! After 9h in Polish Bus and waiting at the airport in Berlin (we met a family who invited us to their home in Akureyri in the north), we landed in Keflavik. We were welcomed by Marcin, owner of a car rental company – IcePol, with a piece of paper in his hand. Without any extra fees we got a child seat for Marianna. At that moment we have started our new friendship with Honda Accord and we would be getting to know each other over the next two weeks. We drove to Reykjavik, located c.a. 50km from the airport. Around 2 a.m. we knocked at the Hugrun’s house door, who is a friend of our colleague (Kasia Zwolak, the author of the blog Girl on bike). Hugrun, thank you for your forbearance and your hospitality! :-).
The next day Mania began quite early, ‘cos at 7 a.m. We spent the morning hours with Hugrun’s family. We were ready to leave around 10. An obligatory stop – a shopping mall to buy  an Iclandic SIM card. Equiped with a new number and Internet access, we hit to the south, to the Reykianes peninsula. Our goal was to reach the bridge connecting two tectonic plates. Island owes its unique character to its unique position on the map, i.e. at the crossroads of two continents .Let’s come back to the bridge (photo below). Having had some experience with Iceland attractions, this bridge is not worth a special attention.
The initial observations: a) everything is clearly marked – roads, points of interest, b) GPS is useless, buy the map instead, c) pronunciation of the names of places is a real challenge, d) Mania does not like the child seat :-).
Driving along the beautiful south coast (what a view! We wanted  to stop every kilometer!) we arrived to Selfoss, just only to get to the National Park Thingvellir. This is the place where in 930 democracy was born. The people of Iceland founded the world’s first parliament Althingi and this was where they met intermittently until 1834. Then, the government decided to move the Parliament to Reykjavik. Here, for  the first time we found out what Hugrun meant  saying that the worse thing in Iceland is the wind. Frightfully cold, gusty, it can effectively discourage sightseeing, but not us :-). Mania was bundled up and dressed in layers, and so were we. We walked the entire 3 km route around the parliament.
It’s amazing how divers  the Iceland landscape is. On one side you can see a huge wall of high rocks, on the other Þingvallatn crystal blue lake and meadows, snow-capped peaks in the distance. By the way in this lake you can dive for only 300€ per person :-). Due to the price we did not even think of taking our licenses, even though it was still tempting to dive between these two tectonic plates.
Thingvellir was the first stop on the so-called Golden Circle. This circle is from a “must see” category if you do not have much time in Iceland. You should especially go to Geysir and Gulfoss – two iconic places on the Iceland map. We were very curious especially of the first one, because in Chile we had an opportunity to watch some geysers and we wanted to see the progenitor of the name geyser. Geysir itself is no longer active, but in a small field of geysirs Strokkur geyser stands out among others (Eng: “bubble”). Every 7-8 minutes it throws hot water to a height of about 20 meters. Both me and Caroline had similar feelings, i.e. Icelandic Geysir is impressive, but the geysers field in Chile is much better. Something what we have not seen in Chile or elsewhere but what we have seen in Iceland was Gulfoss. Tricascade waterfall on the river Hvita, with the escalated view by the 70 m ravine sets the bar high in terms of waterfalls. Of course strong wind accompanied us, and that effectively stopped us from enjoying the view of Gulofss for too long.
Gulfoss was the last attraction of the day, but the day was not over yet, because we had to find a place to sleep. We decided to reach the village of Hella and camping Arhus. No one at this time of year, with such a low temperature outside decides to set up a tent. We also came to the conclusion that this day was so intense that we need a warm bed. Besides, we were worried about how Mania would manage with negative temperature at night. Fortunately for us, the campsite offers also cottages. The bartender-receptionist took pity on us and astronomical amount of 12,000 ISK ~ 80 euros went down to 7,500 ISK ~ 50 euros per night. We flopped quickly in warm beds, despite the “day light”.
In May, on Iceland it gets dark around 11 p.m. so you have more time for sightseeing. To our surprise, Mania had no problems with staying awake to such a late hour, and on the other hand, with falling asleep. In the first situation naps in the car seemed to be very helpful, and in the second one – a number of adventures throughout a day.

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