Iceland: Black Sand Beaches

icelands-black-sand-beaches

Tuesday, we woke up a little later than originally planned because of campervan drunkenness. One of the challenges of Iceland in winter is limited daytime hours, so we had planned to be up and driving to the D3 plane crash while it was still dark, so that way we could arrive at the actual site right when the sun was coming up.

Well, instead we woke up when the sun came out at almost 11am. What was previously us and maybe one other party at our campsite at Skógafoss had turned into another tourist site along Route 1. We quickly changed, got everything packed up, and headed out.

People used to be able to drive right up to the plane crash once upon a time, but the surrounding land was too damaged from cars, so now you must park and “hike” to the plane. I say “hike” because it was a completely flat, one-hour trail to get out there. It was not difficult at all, and actually really refreshing. You have mountains to one side of you and the ocean in front, and the combo of the fresh mountain air and salty sea air just is so damn invigorating.

Seeing the plane crash over rolling hills of black sand beaches is unreal. So many of these photos with the plane I just can’t even believe are real. As we said numerous times on our trip, it was like we were on another planet. Alex, Jonny, and Angie stayed at the plane crash site and took lots of photos, but I heard the ocean and just couldn’t resist it, so Stephanie and I wandered down to the actual beach. I don’t think I’ve ever been completely alone on a beach before — let alone a black sand beach, in Iceland, at 2pm but with the sun just peeking over the horizon so you’d think it was 6 or 7 in the evening. I almost (almost!) cried from the beauty of it. It was definitely one of those moments where I was like, holy shit, I’m in freaking ICLEAND!

Click through for photos!

Continue reading Iceland: Black Sand Beaches

Advertisements

#Maddie2017Challenge: Week 3

I’m behind on this post, because the actual act of traveling can be exhausting! This past week was one of the most amazing weeks of my life. I’ll do a more detailed write-up for my Iceland adventures, but when I left off last Monday, we had done the “Golden Circle” tourist route through Thingvellir National Park, Geysir, and Gullfoss before settling into our campsite at Skógafoss for the night.

The next day, we went to the navy D3 plane crash out in Sólheimasandur. It was kind of a walk, but luckily it was flat and easy. We explored the place, and Stephanie and I wandered out to a black sand beach. Once we were done, we went to the small town of Vik to grab some lunch/dinner, and checked out Reynisfjara, another black sand beach with tons of interesting rock formations. Our campsite for Tuesday night was out in another national park called Vatnajökull, right next to mountains and a glacier.

The next morning was quite possibly the best day of our trip. We woke up early to drive to Jökulsárlón and went on an ice cave tour. We then hung around the glacier lagoon, and walked across (well technically underneath) the bridge and got to yet another black sand beach — this one had chunks of ice from the glacier strewn about, and was the most unreal site. Well, everything in Iceland was honestly unreal. We drove back to our original campsite at Skógafoss for the night.

Our final day in Iceland, we hiked up Skógafoss (yes, that’s right, UP a waterfall), and then went another waterfall called Seljalandfoss. Normally in the summer you are able to walk behind Seljalandfoss, but it was incredibly icy and dangerous while we were there. We drove into Reykjavík and went to the top of Hallgrímskirkja, which afforded amazing views of the tiny, most northerly capital of the world. We went to an amazing dinner at Ostabúðin (literally the best of my ENTIRE life, still dreaming of the cheese plate and Arctic char), and then hit up a couple bars for our final night.

Click through to view some photos from this week!

Continue reading #Maddie2017Challenge: Week 3