Having ticked off the Golden Circle yesterday, today’s plan was to explore some of the south of the island. First up was Black Beach, a famous beach about 3 hours drive from Reykjavik. It was a long old drive and being in a tiny Kia Picanto (that really struggles doing things cars should find quite easy like changing gears and going up hills) made the journey feel much longer.
The beach was the first volcanic one I’d ever been on and it may well also be the first time I’ve ever been on a beach in a wooly hat, hoody and as many layers as I could find 🙂 It’s not a place you’re going to rock up to with a deck chair and a bucket a spade. It’s actually quite a scary looking place, the waves are angry and high and as they slap down on the black volcanic rocks a thick white foam spews out across the beach. Cliffs and caves surround the seafront and much like the rest of Iceland, the rock formations are really unusual. It almost looks like somebody has built it out of lego and over the years piece by piece more has fallen off to leave a jagged appearance.
Not far from the Black Beach is the old Sólheimasandur plane wreck. It’s a US Navy plane that crashed in 1973 due to running out of fuel. Everybody survived and it actually turned out the pilot made a mistake and hadn’t switched to the secondary fuel tank. I bet he was soon sacked!
We’ve seen some amazing pictures of this online with the Aurora Borealis above it so we’re eager to track it down. What we dint know was that the road to it was closed (perhaps for Winter?). Nevertheless we parked up and started walking down the long, dead straight black road. Looking at Google Maps we guessed it was about 2km but 30 minutes later we was still walking and the plane wasn’t even in sight.
After about 1hr we finally made it. There was a handful of other tourists there and one particularly annoying group of American girls who must have literally taken a photo with the plane from every single angle possible. When they finally left we took a look inside and I clambered into the cock pit. I don’t think it’s maintained at all as parts of it fell like I may just fall straight through. It was well worth the long walk though and a site we may never see again.
Next up along the South coast was Seljavallalaug swimming pool, the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. It’s completely free and survives on donations. We wasn’t expecting many people to be there considering it was quite late in the day but there must have been about 20 people bobbing around in the naturally heated pool. Nick was quick to get changed and jump in but having seen the murky water that was full of green bits and frogspawn I wisely gave it a miss. When Nick came out his once blue swim shorts were covered in green algae and black bits of dirt.. ewww.
Finally for the day we squeezed in the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland because there’s a platform behind. This means you can walk all the way around which is quite amazing if you don’t mind getting a little wet. With the sun coming down we had a brisk walk around and agreed it’s up there with the best waterfalls we’ve seen in the world (and we’ve seen hundreds!).
It was 8pm by the time we got back, we were cold, hungry, thirsty and tired so spent the rest of the evening tucked up on the sofa complete with candles, duvet and a film 🙂