I always considered myself a city girl at heart, but a few years ago that changed. Now what I crave more than anything else is to get off the beaten path. I don’t like to share elbow room with other tourists. I don’t ever need to see another McDonald’s again. I don’t care if I’m within cell phone range. I like isolation, quiet, a bit of danger, and most of all — The Unknown.
Isolation is what drew me to Iceland. Clearly, it looks like another planet! With only 323,000 inhabitants, there are plenty of weird and wild landscapes and sites. I only scratched the surface in my 9-day campervan road trip. Here are three reasons to get off the beaten path in Iceland…
Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck
Like a scene out of the X Files, the wreckage of a U.S. Navy plane lies virtually unmolested since 1973. The plane was forced to crash land dangerously close to the ocean on a wind-whipped black sand beach in the middle of nowhere. We drove for miles across the barely marked beach to find and photograph it.
Seljavallalaug Geothermal Swimming Pool
This mountainside pool, built in 1923, is filled with a natural hot spring and tucked into a river valley. A 20-minute hike through a trail flanked by picturesque mountains and you’ll feel like you’ve discovered a hidden gem. Emerald water fills the mossy pool, which is hottest where a pipe empties geothermal water into the rectangular structure. An ancient changing room sits next to the pool. Don’t be shy — bring a bathing suit or strip down to your tighty whities to enjoy the bucolic scene.
For lack of a better term, I call the turf-covered structures in Iceland ‘hobbit houses.’ I would be lying if I said I knew what they were for, but I’ve narrowed it down to sheep or elves. You see, Icelandic people believe in such things. Whatever the purpose of such houses, they are delightful to see peppered along the Ring Road farms. You can see me exploring one of these tiny houses built into the side of a rock wall in my latest Iceland film.