If today had a theme it would be "Waterfalls". Lots of waterfalls. First up was Seljalandsfoss (the 'ja' pronounced like a soft 'yuh'), a well known tourist stop where you can walk behind the massive wall of cascading water and get soaked in the mist.
After that was a short drive up the road to Gljufrafoss. It was raining pretty hard and quite windy so we decided to cook lunch and coffee inside an old little barn while we waited for the weather to improve. Gljufrafoss didn't look like much from a distance, with most of the water falling and hiding behind a rock face. Upon getting closer, we spotted a climbing route up the face which yielded a stunning view of the full waterfall splashing into a hidden area below. We climbed back down and entered the lower area through a narrow fissure in the rocks, walking to where the water crashed down from above.
On the road again we passed a good view of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull that was responsible for the recent massive eruptions in 2010 that affected air travel in Europe and elsewhere with the ash cloud. Our next stop was something we had been looking forward to for a while, Seljavallalaug. In a valley several miles off the main road is a geothermal outdoor pool built in 1923. The hike back took about 20 minutes, through unbelievably scenery, surrounded by a valley with over a dozen small waterfalls all traveling downwards to join a small river.
Another waterfall? Yep, why not! Skogafoss. It was getting pretty late at night (hard to tell without the sun setting) so we decided to go ahead and hike up 527 steps to view the top of the waterfall (felt like a LOT of steps). The rain was still coming down, but a bit slower at this point which made this waterfall a bit more enjoyable. The view from the bottom was obviously stunning, but I actually preferred the view mid-way up!
Our final stop for the day was something we had been looking forward to for a long time. We were headed to find the famous crashed DC-3 plane on the black beach at Solheimasandur. The plane was a US Navy aircraft that ran out of fuel crash landed on the beach in 1973. The crew survived but the plane was abandoned and still sits alone on a desolate stretch of the southern coast. Getting to the plane involves finding the turnoff and then walking about 4km to the beach. We arrived fairly late in the day, and began the trek with our photo gear in tow. The walk itself was a unique experience as the path is dead-level and straight into the horizon across a black desert that seems more like an alien planet than Earth. After about an hour we finally arrived. It was such a surreal moment after seeing the plane in so many photos to now be right next to it. After taking plenty of photos, we decided to come back early the next morning to create a certain image I had dreamed about for a long, long time. With that decided, we began the long trek back to the car.
I desperately needed a shower, but the only hiccup was that we forgot to trade in our US dollars for some Icelandic Kronur before hitting the road...therefore leaving me campground-shower-coinless. Ben went into the campground and hustled me three hundred Kronur (about 3 US dollars) from some very kind campers. Although the shower was broken and only the hot water worked (OUCH), I was able to get a 5 minute very-hot-shower. So refreshing!