Kirkufjara, Iceland

Our easternmost stay in Iceland was Hella, part of our strategy to explore a more limited area of the country more deeply instead of a rushed trip around the Ring Road. With only nine day, we couldn't give the entire country the attention is deserved, so we focused more on the western - southwestern sections.

After a drive down Route 1 (aka the Ring Road), we turned off on 218, a winding road 12km west of Vik which ends at the Atlantic coast. As we neared our destination, a road split off, and my first instinct was to take the steep, rough road up to the Dyrhólaey, ignoring the ominous sign hinting that without a 4x4 or tank, you would surely perish. But it didn't take long - a few hundred feet - for me to heed the sign, something my little Citroen was certainly glad I did.

It was brutally windy when we reached the gravel parking lot for Kirkufjara Beach. You'll immediately spot a little modern building which are the pay toilets, a concept that I still have trouble with, even after traveling to Europe several times. But when you gotta go…

But we walked on past and headed to the "beach". And to be clear, you can't get to the beach from here. Well, you could, but you'd need to break some rules to do so, and you would most likely be escorted out of Iceland to make room for more pliable tourists. The access point is blocked off with warning signs of impending doom if you go past the danger rope. Instead, you'll have to make do with beautiful views of the black sands and rocky coast of mainland Iceland's southernmost point.

Running between Kirkufjara and Reynisfjara to the east are the black sand beaches the area is known for. In case you're wondering, you can't walk to that beach either, as a fairly large "river" separates the two areas. The current is strong and the water is cold, neither making for an inviting swim. In the distance to the right are the Three Trolls, rocky outcropping that were three trolls that were pulling a ship into shore when they were caught in the daylight and turned to stone, because that is what happens when trolls are out in the daytime. Everybody knows that, of course.

Kirkufjara is also a nice spot to take a look at puffins. We did a puffin tour in Reykjavik, but we got a much closer at Kirkufjara as they rode the wind and hung out at their little cliff-side burrows. As they were flying around, I wondered one thing: Do they taste like chicken?

My favorite area of Kirkufjara was Arch Rock:

Sorry, wrong Arch Rock - that was from Mackinac Island: