Black volcanic beach, crash landed planes and a waterfall

Yesterday’s plan involved a 2.5 hour drive to see the remains of the American Airforce plane that crash landed on the black sand beach at Solheimasandur in 1973. This was top of Matt’s wish list and took us out along the south coast, past lava fields, sulphur pools and the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. This volcano brought European flights to a halt when it last erupted in 2010, much to the amusement of locals – they weren’t particularly affected by the dust because it all blew south!

Back to the DC10, it crashed when the pilot switched to wrong fuel tank, everyone on board survived and Iceland gained an unusual tourist attraction. It was a 40 minute walk across a very grey, barren landscape to the plane and it was quite an eerie sight when we finally found it.

The first stop, on our route back, was the Skogafoss waterfall. It was spectacular but, more importantly, it came with a visitor centre with a cafe attached. It was after 3pm and lunch was most welcome although we seem to be living on fries at the moment.

The waterfall was impressive and the challenging walk up 527 steps to the top was well worth the effort.


As we headed back to Reykjavik, we encountered the strong smell of sulphur, saw lots of steam rising from the side of the road and decided to investigate. Matt reluctantly left the car, complaining loudly about the smell but was then off exploring. There is something rather compelling about holes in the ground that spit hot mud at you, definitely something you don’t see at home.


Our last stop was dinner at the Bike Cave in south Reykjavik. It was recommend as the best place for a budget meal. Our meal could not be classed as healthy but it was certainly budget, by Icelandic standards, and was accompanied by a live jazz pianist in a very quirky bike repair shop.

The day ended with another trip to try and see the Northern Lights. We’d settled down for the evening when Matt suddenly announced there was a strong chance of seeing them, we may need to take his internet access away! Back to the car we went. At least this time we were only chasing a clear sky in Reykjavik. We went down to the thermal beach at Nautholsvik where we got carried away until we realised we were looking at laser beams. Then we drove out to the Grotta lighthouse where we waited patiently for half an hour or so before giving up in despair.