冰島 鑽石沙灘 Diamond Beach

鑽石沙灘其實是杰古沙龍冰川 (Jökulsárlón) 的延伸. 當這堆被沖刷下來的冰山被海浪推到岸邊, , 就在海灘上形成一堆大大小小的冰塊, 陽光一照閃閃發光, 看起來就像一些巨大的鑽石在沙灘上…

海邊照樣飄著細雨, 光線有點不足, 相片照不出海天一色的美景

我覺得最有趣的是看著一波一波的海浪如和將冰塊推到沙灘上…

在沙灘上幾對男女擺好POSE請旁人拍照, 男生拿著冰塊當鑽石假裝送給女生, 但冰塊畢竟是冰塊, 拿來拿去就破了, 所以還是要真的鑽石才能一顆就破產恆久遠😂

P.S. 我後來發現原來要蹲下往地平線拍去才能拍到沙灘上綿綿不絕的冰塊, 這麼簡單的道理我居然當時沒想到! (Shame! *ding*)

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冰島 杰古沙龍冰川湖 Jökulsárlón

杰古沙龍冰川湖 (Jökulsárlón) 位於冰島的南方偏東,  是冰島最大的冰川湖, 應該沒有人到冰島不到此一遊的吧? 當天到達時還飄著小雨, 但整個冰川靜到如時間都結凍了… 連我呼吸都不敢太大聲, 哈哈 😁

淺藍色的冰川讓整個畫面幾乎讓人以為這是個不存在的世界…也因為這種超現實的景象讓好幾部電影都用這做背景

冰島人最引以為豪的就是他們的水, 冰川的水的確是很清透, 有個女生甚至拿起冰塊來啃然後跟我說很新鮮…雖然冰本身是從冰原沖刷下來的, 但冰川是海水流進來的, 當我發現冰川裡有兩隻海豹在快樂的游泳, 我覺得我還是別這樣做了…

照片中的黑點就是其中一隻快樂的海豹, 看起來並不怕人 (人家心理搞不好在想: 喔耶! 又有人類來給我看了😎)

遠方的一塊金字塔型的冰山甚至有藍黑相間的大理石紋

原本想說停留一個小時很充足, 但我出神的看著這幾乎是夢裡才會出現的美景, 望著兩隻海豹悠閒地划水, 時間還是一下就過了…

看著這些照片, 我打這篇文的時候還不知不覺輕手輕腳, 好似還怕叫醒了這一片靜謐的藍色幻夢…

P.S. 海豹好可愛, 可惜我相機不夠好, 拍不到那麼遠, 是時候換相機了嗎? (喂!)

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冰島 海鸚鵡 Puffin

海鸚鵡英文叫做Puffin, 冰島語是Lundi, 是一種長相有點像企鵝但臉又有點像鸚鵡的鳥. 其實這種鳥並不是只有在冰島有, 聽說加拿大也有, 但冰島這種我覺得長的最可愛

當我計畫八月底要來冰島時, 有在冰島的旅遊網站上訂了看海鸚鵡的行程, 但到了出發前幾天被告知取消…原來海鸚鵡在八月底時會飛去過冬. 沒有人真的知道冰島的海鸚鵡會飛去哪裡, 因為海鸚鵡大部分的時間是生活在海上, 只有在夏天會到冰島的岩洞築巢下蛋, 然後在冬天(九月中)快來時就飛走了…

但我在黑沙灘時看到了滿滿一堆海鸚鵡在岩武石山壁上, 拍了照片告訴我的導遊, 他跟我說:如果在這時候還有那麼多海鸚鵡, 那代表冰島的氣候有變化了, 這對冰島不是好事…

後來我們到了黑沙灘的另一端, 導遊告訴我往燈塔的方向爬上去, 約兩公里的路或許可以在近距離看到海鸚鵡… 果真在還沒到燈塔的路上就看到一群6隻在發呆, 很可愛 😄

看到了海鸚鵡我也懶得再往上爬了, 要下來時才發現從山崖上看下去的黑沙灘跟附近的沿岸是這樣的!

當時還在飄雨, 海上的霧氣濃厚

不過看到了海鸚鵡也不枉費我走了兩個多公里路…

海鸚鵡也是冰島特有的珍奇料理, 但是在一般的餐廳不常看到. 我只有在雷克雅未克的一家餐廳菜單上看到…

在冰島除了到處可看到的海鸚鵡絨毛娃娃, 也可看到以海鸚鵡作主題的藝術品

P.S. 隔天腿很痠…

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冰島 黑沙灘 Reynisfjara (Black Sand Beach)

黑沙灘原名是叫做Reynisfjara, 位於冰島南方靠近一個叫Vic的小鎮, 黑沙是火山岩變成的, 所以那個沙比較像大小不等的石礫. 其實冰島大部分的沙灘都是黑色的, 至於為什麼這個特別叫做”黑沙灘”, 說實話我也不知道…

當天的氣候很差, 飄雨就算了, 風還很大. 黑沙灘浪很大, 而且在幾個小浪後面就會來個大浪. 告示牌上寫得很清楚要各位不要太靠近海邊… 一不小心就只能七天後再回家了

遊客永遠不會讀告示牌的還是有人為了照相而越來越靠近海邊, 然後在被一個大浪嚇到跑回來

遠遠的在海上有兩根石柱, 冰島的古老傳說是兩個Troll在晚上去偷了船想拉上岸, 可是天亮了被陽光照到就變石頭了, 但我因為也不知道真正的Troll長什麼樣, 所以看不出這兩塊石頭像什麼

這海灘上最有趣的是那個玄武岩跟中間的大洞, 洞裡只有遊客沒什麼東西. 玄武岩長那樣一根一根的柱子也是岩漿造成的. 岩石上很多人爬上去照相, 之前就看過很多人的BLOG有拍過, 但可以爬上去的也就那幾階, 因為每一階可是都很高的…

當我被告知看海鸚鵡的季節已經結束了還有點失望, 但到了黑沙灘被告知說在玄武岩的另一面有一堆… 還真的勒! 一大群在跳崖!! 因為不同於海鷗用很長的翅膀直接滑翔, 海鸚鵡要飛之前要跳跳跳跳到懸崖邊, 然後揮動翅膀飛起來. 不過在八月底九月初海鸚鵡應該要飛到別處去過冬了… 又是全球天氣的轉變讓他們這時還留在黑沙灘? (川普: 全球暖化是假新聞!)

P.S.1, 海鸚鵡很可愛, 可是他們都在很高的懸崖上, 很難拍照, 然後因為下雨還要拍照, 我的相機進水了, 是時候換台相機了嗎?

P.S.2, 多帶件衣服換是對的, 我不但被雨淋濕了, 一陣風吹來還真夠冷的…

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令人驚豔的冰島

以前冰島總是讓我感覺是個遠到另個星球的國家, 因為我對它並不熟悉. 但冰島在近年來變成個熱門的旅遊景點, 不但多部電影在那裏拍攝, 它的自然景觀幾乎涵蓋地球上可以發現的所有地理現象.

冰島的面積約10萬多平方公里, 人口約33萬, (養的馬約10萬, 養來騎好玩用)大部分的人口集中在全球最北方的首都–雷克雅未克(Reykjavik). 國土約只有16%可以使用, 因為中間的部分多是冰原

幾乎變成雷克雅未克地標的大教堂(Hallgrímskirkja), 高73公尺, 是路得教派(Lutheranism)的教堂, 很壯觀, 我個人覺得晚上的燈光讓它看起來更雄偉比白天好看 ,也會少些無所事事的遊客擋在你鏡頭前…(喂!)

這是雷克雅未克的劇院叫Harpa, 很多會議也在此舉行

Harpa有一面的牆很特殊, 是強化玻璃組成的蜂窩型

Harpa晚上還有特殊的燈光效果

冰島的旅遊其實比想像中簡單很多, 旅遊業發展非常成熟. 像說我就用這個網站Guide to Iceland 先訂了我到那邊的行程, 訂了行程後會安排個人跟你確定並回答你的所有問題, 非常簡單. 如果你自己要多加幾天, 也可以告知要改回去機場或來到冰島的時間. 這樣他們可以另外幫你改機場接送的車, 甚至你想要拿它們的行程來稍為客製化自己的行程, 他們也可以替你安排. 想到當地再去訂行程也是沒問題的–雷克雅未克在舊城區處處都有可以訂行程的觀光服務.

這是雷克雅未克的市政廳, 裡面有很多免費的冰島觀光小手冊跟地圖

那邊的官方語言當然是冰島話, 但講英文在冰島是完全沒問題的, 幾乎所有的告示也有英文.

這個在海邊的不鏽鋼材質藝術品叫做The Sun Voyager (冰島語 Sólfar) 以維京人的船為靈感

冰島應該是我從美國到歐洲最近的國家了. 這幾年來美國人超愛去冰島玩, 所以光是從舊金山直飛冰島八小時, 每天都有廉價航空WOW. 雖然WOW是廉價航空, 但座位不小也不難坐, 當然就是沒電影(他可以租你iPad看電影) 沒附餐(所以你自己帶你愛吃的上飛機吧! 不過我看那個飛機上餐點的價錢也還好) 然後托運行李要自己付費, 登機箱大小的手提行李也要付費 (但私人的小包, 像手提包或背包是免費的) 整體品質跟價錢我覺得比美國爛巴巴的聯合航空好太多了…

WOW 的飛機是紫紅色的

看來它也有經營自行車出租, 就像台灣的UBike…然後是紫紅色的

這次呢, 我只有要去冰島南部, 所以就計畫了金圈(Golden Circle)跟南岸之旅, 還有當然要去仰慕已久的藍湖(Blue Lagoon)泡溫泉 💗

另外有趣的是, 冰島可是農作物很多的國家!! 他們的農產品在溫室都可以種, 香蕉奇異果番茄蔬菜都可以種得出來!!! 還是歐洲種最多香蕉的國家~雖然法國跟義大利說他們才是, 可是冰島吐槽說法國跟義大利的香蕉都不是種在自己國土上. 冰島人在自己的土地上自給自足–冰淇淋自己養牛做, 咖啡豆自己種, 巧克力自己研發, 優格自己生產, 海產自己捕, 牛羊自己養, 還有聰明的冰島馬, 實在太厲害了 😇😇😇

要買日用品或食物可以去有個粉紅豬標誌的Bónus. 開到晚上六七點

另外有一家叫做1011, 開24小時的, 就像台灣7-11的一樣, 也到處都是, 不過我覺得東西比較貴些

雷克雅未克的舊城區有一堆書店, 有些還附有咖啡廳, 但我發現其實都是同一家連鎖店, 開到晚上10點半

冰島人對自己的水非常驕傲, 因為他們的水是公認全世界最好最純的水, 所以在那邊買瓶裝水會被笑很呆. 冷熱水的來源不同–冷水來自泉水, 沒有加氯, 可以生喝. 熱水是地熱水, 有種淡淡的硫磺味就不要喝了, 但拿來洗澡對身體很好.

P.S.1, 冰島為什麼叫冰島–聽導遊說有個故事是維京人到冰島後覺得這裡太棒了, 一片綠地所以故意叫它做冰島, 讓其他人不會來, 然後叫滿是冰的島格陵蘭島(Greenland, 綠色的島)讓討厭的人去那裏

P.S.2, 冰島做過全國DNA的分析–發現約有75%的男人是挪威人, 70%的女人卻是愛爾蘭人

P.S.3, 冰島人真的長什麼樣我也搞不清楚–因為那邊外來的觀光客太多了, 連餐廳或店裡也很多別的國家來打工的年輕人. 我大概只能確定兩個冰島人–就是我去金圈跟南岸之旅的導遊. 至於他們長什麼樣…就是很一般的西方人, 也沒特別高大, 不過誰說冰島人就一定要很高大

P.S.4, 冰島的綠地很多但是樹很少, 因為大部分的時間陽光並不充裕 (所以冰島人從出生就喝一種魚肝油來補充維他命D) 但冰島的歷史上卻是有紀載冰島以前有段時間是很多樹的, 最可能的是樹都被維京人砍來造船了. 現在冰島有努力種樹, 可是因為缺乏陽光所以長得很慢, 又加上他們養羊很多, 樹苗容易被吃掉…

P.S.5, 公車的App做得很好記得下載來用

P.S.6, 冰島網路超快的, 在冰島或WOW或Icelandic Air上買張SIM卡在那邊打電話上網很好用, 到處也都有Wifi, 然後可以不停打卡上傳照片來跟親朋好友炫耀分享

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Refreshing summer in Hokkaido–back to Sapporo (避暑就去北海道–回到札幌)

After coming back from Otaru (小樽), I still got about half day and the next morning in Sapporo(札幌) before I concluded this trip.

In my opinion, Sapporo seemed like every big city in Japan but just less crowded. As usual, there were department stores, electronic stores, all kinds of stores near the train station. I stayed in the same hotel as the first night in Sapporo, ANA Hotel Sapporo, which was less than 10 minutes walk from the train station. ANA Hotel is a very common business-type of hotel chain all over Japan. It’s decent with fair service and quality, which I had no complain about after staying in several of them in Japan.

I decided to take the subway to Odori Park(大通公園) to walk around. Odori Park is situated in the heart of Sapporo, where it often holds different ceremonies and celebrations for seasonal occasions. P1060581 P1060579 P1060577 P1060575There were indeed some activities going on in the park, with a corner clustered with several large tents and crowds. Apparently it was a beer party!

There were also several carts selling BBQ corns. Summer is the harvest season for corns, along with melons (cantaloupes), potatoes, and asparagus in Hokkaido.

Many people have read Japanese comics (manga) and are familiar with Japanese’ creativity and imagination. In Japan, it’s not hard to see that some creatures are personified in very cute illustrations. Here’s the corn illustration I saw all over Sapporo this time: P1060583Odori Park is also a place for people to relax after a day’s work. I saw several people apparently just got out from the offices and decided to sit around enjoying the breeze.

I walked further away from Odori Park and arrived in “Anuki Koji” (狸小路). It’s a very long shopping street that crosses several blocks, constituted by restaurants, drugstores, entertainment shops, and some hotels. P1060589 P1060586 P1060585 P1060584

For people who have been to Japan several times, it’s not difficult to find out that many Japanese people are enthusiastic player of UFO Catcher. I’m certainly not addicted to it since I’m always not the winner. 😛 You will be surprised what the prizes are sometimes–besides stuff toys being the usual prizes, this time I saw plums, cookies, socks, and the one I really couldn’t anticipated the most, was it dry meat… or dry sausage?? And I did see some people spending quite a few money to catch these giant…dry meat? Sausages?? DSC_0671

The next morning, I took the subway to Nakajima Park (中島公園). It was much serener and greener than Odori Park. There was a big lake and numerous trees that I would stroll around longer if I had more time. It reminded me of New York’s Center Park.
P1060591P1060592 P1060593 There were many hydrangeas blooming in the park. Hydrangea is my favorite flower because of its violet and blue shades that don’t seem as common in flowers. P1060597Isn’t that green plus violet and blue combination just nice? 😀
P1060598

Watanabe Junichi’s (渡边淳一) little museum of literature is next to Nakajima Park. It’s constructed by the famed architecture–Ando Tadao (安藤忠雄). It contains a small library and displays Watanabe Junichi’s works. I’ve read several of Watanabe Junichi’s works; I can’t say I favor every of them since some of them were overly sad. However, I still enjoyed his works as he always has observed human characteristics carefully and described them vividly in his stories. P1060595

Sapporo is also popular for its beer. What’s the best way to conclude your trip in Sapporo? A visit to Sapporo’s beer museum and factory was what I did. 😀P1060601 P1060602 P1060624P1060625

This little model explained how beers were prepared, processed, and shipped. What caught my eyes the most was how cute these figurines were! P1060617 P1060618 P1060619 P1060620 P1060621 P1060622 P1060623

Finally I’ve arrived in the tasting area. The museum was free, but the tasting wasn’t. However, the charge for tasting was pretty fair. A glass of beer was 200 Japanese yen, or a set of 3 different kinds was 500 Japanese yen. There were also soft drinks for 100 Japanese yen each glass. You’d also get some free snacks to go with your drink. Kanpai! 😀 P1060630

So this concluded my trip to Hokkaido. I must say that Hokkaido is great for summer as the temperature is just fine and the weather can’t be even nicer. Shinchitose (新千歲) airport contains many shops and you really can spend hours stocking up what you’ve forgotten to buy in Hokkaido or to further fulfill your shopping desire. 🙂

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Refreshing summer in Hokkaido–Otaru (避暑就去北海道–小樽)

Otaru (小樽) is a port city on the coast of Sea of Japan; its development started as a major financial and trade district in Hokkaido. However, after Sapporo has been flourished, the prominent industries in Otaru have become art crafts including glass works and music boxes. It also has become one of the favorite places for tourists due to its Victorian-style lamps adorned streets, ancient buildings, and picturesque canal.

I arrived in Otaru from Kushiro (釧路) at almost 5 o’clock. After checking into my hotel, I decided to take a walk to the street. I was very surprised that there were so less people on the streets, and the stores seemed to start closing. The streets full of old-fashioned buildings emitted a very nostalgic and exotic atmosphere, especially the store-clustered area stood out like a backdrop for a beautiful early 20-century movie. However, the people-less streets also showed an unspeakable solitude. I then realized that most business closed at 6 o’clock at night, so I had to come back the next morning to explore more! P1060457 P1060458 P1060465 P1060466 P1060476 P1060477P1060470 P1060472 P1060473P1060480

There’s a dome shaped roof on my hotel, Hotel Nord, that’s open for customers to enjoy some refreshments and the gorgeous aerial views of Otaru. P1060500 P1060501 P1060502 P1060503 P1060506

After taking some photos from the hotel’s dome roof, I took a walk toward a shopping streets. Most of the shops, whoever, were not opened yet, but it was fun to look around what these shops were before heading toward the canal and the most prosperous town center in Otaru. P1060509P1060511P1060516Lily of the Valley, known as “すずらん” in Japanese, is a specialty in Hokkaido. This street lamp is cleverly designed in the shape of lily of the valley. I thought it’s absolutely adorable. 
P1060513When I finally reached the town center, I found that indeed the lively sceneries made a huge contrast of the loneliness in the previous day (or previous late afternoon, I should say…).

Kitakaro (北菓楼) carries both Japanese and western-style desserts. Its celebrated cake is called “Fairy’s Forest”(妖精の森), which is a Baumkuchen (layered cake). In my opinion, it tastes kind of like a stiffer version of honey cake… 
P1060551
This is the very famous glass studio in Otaru. There are several stores that carry various genres of glass work collections. P1060552LeTAO is also a popular dessert store here. The presentation of different types of chocolates was certainly beautiful.  P1060554 I thought I was in a stage set for an old movie. 😀P1060555 P1060556 P1060558 P1060560 P1060562 P1060564 There are several “Silver Bell” (銀の鐘) cafes in Otaru, conveniently named “Silver Bell First,” “Silver Bell Second,” “Silver Bell Third,” and “Silver Bell Fourth.” Silver Bell Fourth also provides a “floating ice hall” for customers to enjoy the very freezing experience! The special perk for customers is that you can choose the cup for your coffee to take it home! They even supply the sink for you to wash your cup and some paper boxes for it and the saucer that comes with it, if any. This is such a brilliant way to get your special Otaru souvenir that will always remind you the lovely time you’ve experienced in Otaru!P1060528

I opted Silve Bell Second, majorly because it showed a very interesting creature called “Clione,” commonly known as “Angel Fish” or “Floating Ice Angel.”P1060521 P1060527

These creatures came from Sea of Okhotsk with the floating ice; they’re very tiny with the bigger ones for about 3 cm long. It’s difficult to capture them in the photos because they kept flapping their tiny transparent fins shaped like wings, and apparently they could swim pretty fast too! I did film some videos of them swam in the tank with better quality though, but WordPress does not allow me to upload any videos. 😦

This is my cup! 🙂P1060523

Of course I took it home! 😀P1060678

Here I had to get my wallet ready–this lovely shop was determined to take my money away! Besides numerous glass studios, another famous Otaru original product is the elaborately decorated music box. P1060529

This store, called Otaru Orgel (小樽 オルゴール堂), does not exactly sell orgels. Instead, it sells a vast selection of music boxes, and everybody is bound to find something for his or her taste! The standing clock in front of the store is a steam clock built by a Canadian horologist, Raymond Saunders. DSC_0662P1060533 P1060534 P1060535 P1060538P1060540 P1060541 P1060543P1060545 P1060546 P1060547 P1060548

So did I bring back anything? I tried to stay calm while screaming at everything I saw here, and finally decided to take this little guy home. 🙂 P1060688

Even the postal office in Otaru is unique with a touch of ancient charm. P1060549

Kitaichi glass studio (北一硝子館) and Taishou glass studio(大正硝子館) are two largest glass studios in Otaru, both having several branch stores scattered in town center. Taishou makes delicate cute little figurines, such as animals, vegetables, fruits, etc for customers to arrange them to for decoration. Kitaichi’s works focus on more practical use, including various types of wine glasses, saucers, plates.

I got myself a small glass vase from Kitaichi. Though it’s quite small, it cost me 1200 Japanese yen. P1060692

After a heavy shopping and light lunch, I headed back toward my hotel. This canal has appeared in numerous photos. If there’s only one photo you can take in Otaru, this is the one! Not only just the photos, the stamps, the illustrations, everything that associates to Otaru can this image emerge. P1060565

I personally didn’t get too much hype about it, but sure I agreed that it was enchanting enough to have many people taking this photo again and again…though they pretty much look identical, heh…. 😛P1060567 P1060570I realized that there was annual “Tide festival”(潮まつり) coming up at the end of July. However, when I went to Otaru Plaza that serves as a tourist’s information center, I then saw many blue wind chimes hanging there. I simply thought they’re quite charming with a unique blue hue. The price was fair, 1500 Japanese yen each so I got one. Then I read the description on the panel, saying this particular wind chime was the winner of this year’s “Tide Wind Chime” (潮風鈴) designed and handmade by studio J-45’s glass master–馬場雅己. There were only 300 limited wind chimes made. That time I didn’t know who 馬場雅己 was until I searched him online later and found his works were exhibited in Taiwan early this year! Of course, this wind chime has been immigrated to my house safely, and its unique blue hue seems to cool down the hot summer in Taiwan. 🙂 P1060674I departed for Sapporo at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon… after 2 long train rides in previous 2 days in a row, I was glad that it only took 30 minutes from Otaru to Sapporo…

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