Monday, 15 February 2016

Iceland 2.33: Reynisfjara Beach

After our night in Hali, the hotel at Skaftafell was a bit of a let down.  It was pleasant enough, in its own mediocre way, but clearly existed to process tourists in bulk.  It was of pre-fabricated construction, and the block where we slept appeared to be built out out of reclaimed shipping containers.  According to the notes I made at the time, it had all the charm of a cross between an open prison and a set of public conveniences.  Not a place we'll be hurrying back to any time soon.

We had a long journey ahead of us - just shy of 400km - and the weather was uncharacteristically grey and gloomy.  We decided to break the journey just beyond Vík at the famous Reynisfjara beach with its amazing rock formations and columnar basalt caves.  The beach has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons as a Chinese tourist died after being swept out to sea, despite repeated warnings of the dangers.  The police have even gone so far as setting up a watch on the beach to stop anything similar happening again.  It was calm and benevolent on the morning we visited, however, even if the weather left a little to be desired.

Fingal's Cave, eat your heart out!  The beach itself is rather unusual in that, instead of black sand, it is made up of millions of rounded basalt pebbles.

Unsurprisingly, Reynisfjara is a popular tourist destination, and everyone there was photographing it in their own particular manner.  For the more athletic individuals, it appeared to be de rigueur to have one's portrait taken while half way up the basalt columns.

Then there were the selfie-merchants, of course, and others who insisted on taking their pictures while "on the move".

Climbing was a popular pastime at the beach, both for children and hardened professionals.

Eventually a bus-load of oriental tourists turned up, so we decided to grab a bite to eat at the excellent beach café and carry on with our journey.