Iceland Day One [Arrival, Hveragerdi campsite, Kerid, Faxi, Geysir]
We travelled to Iceland with Finnair from Singapore, transiting in Helsinki. The reason we chose Finnair at that time was because of the competitive price and we got one full day to explore Helsinki during our flight back home, and we thought, why not?
Upon arrival in Keflavik Airport, we opted for the money changer right away. I would say the best place to get Icelandic Krona is from the local airport. I noticed Krona is not very accessible anywhere else other than in Iceland. We stopped over at Helsinki, Finland and the money changer in the airport did not have Krona, let alone Malaysia which is further away. However, in Iceland you can pay literally everything with your credit card, even for toilet fees! So I would say it is fine to not have Krona but it is better to be safe than sorry, it would still be a better idea to have some loose cash in hand. However, having a credit card with pin number is essential in Iceland as there are places that does not have an operator, for example, the petrol station, or payment for toilets occasionally.
We then approached to the designated bus station (Reykjavik Excursions) to be taken to Campeasy to collect our camper van. I won't go into details on this as you will be given a clear instruction and information on how to board this bus when you book your camper van with Campeasy. To know more about our camper experience, click here.
Upon collecting our camper van, we went to the nearest Bonus supermarket to do our grocery-shopping. Bonus is the leading supermarket chain in Iceland, with products from various countries that they offer. I particularly love browsing the various meat and cuts they have in the meat chilled room. They have big chilled rooms for vegetables and dairy products as well. All items and products were written in Icelandic so you got to play guessing or simply ask the friendly staff for help. We nearly mistook something else as butter, haha!
After loading our groceries, we figured we needed a shower (we had a total of 21 hours flight!). As we were going towards the direction of the Golden Circle, we came to a town called Hveragerdi. There was a campsite in the town and it was ISK500 for the shower per person. To be honest, I was pretty sceptical at first as I haven't used a campsite/shared bathroom before during my past travels. To my surprise, the shower was clean and comfortable, and the campsite owner was a very friendly lady.
By the time we settled ourselves, it was closed to late afternoon and we then headed to our first destination in the Golden Circle which was Kerid. Google map came in very handy as we used it to find our destinations around Iceland. All you got to do is to key in the name of the attraction and the map will bring you to the parking area. However, there are minor exceptions when the map gets a little cheeky on certain places. I will explain further on those places later on as we go.
Kerid is a volcanic crater lake, with a neon blue lake sitting in a volcano surrounded by rare red volcanic rock. A small entrance fee is charged from tourists at Kerid, which isn't the norm in Iceland when you enter popular attractions. While it is beautiful, to be very honest here, maybe I am not into crater, Kerid did not wow me and if you are pressing for time, in my personal opinion, you are not losing out by skipping this attraction.
Next, we went to Faxi waterfall. It is known as one of the hidden gems near to the Golden Circle apart from Bruarfoss waterfall. Taxi, also known as Vatnsleysufoss, is not as large as Gullfoss or Godafoss but it is beautiful and dynamic. Right beside the waterfall, you can find some cool salmon ladder, a very pretty view.
Next, was the famous Geysir. Despite the strong sulphur smell, it is a favourite stop along the Golden Circle, with tourists around the world coming to witness the eruption of the lively Stroker which spouts water 30 meters (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. There were also boiling mud pits around which could easily cooked an egg. Unfortunately we did not manage to get a good picture as it was getting dark and drizzling when we got there. Afterwards, we did a bit of hiking up the hill behind strokkur, and came to a beautiful greenery landscape view.
It was almost pitch dark by the time we got back to our car. As we were still not familiar with campsites in Iceland then, we decided to drive towards Gullfoss and spend the night there.It was later that we found out camping is not allowed at Gullfoss so I would suggest you to camp somewhere nearby if Gullfoss is your next destination the following day. SKJOL campsite would be a good idea.
That's all for my Day One in Iceland! Do drop me a message in the comment below should you have any question, and I will get back to you ASAP. Otherwise, stay tuned for my Day Two post!
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