“Do I have a fetish for fire and volcanoes?” Throughout my years on this planet, I have often asked myself this question. You might think this is a bit of an odd question to ask, and quite frankly, you’d be right. But I am really beginning to think I do have some kind of fetish for fire, or at least volcanoes.
Why would I think that? Well, there are a couple of reasons, such as:
1. I always inadvertently end up setting fire to things. It’s almost like my whole being is designed to set fire to food, paper, candles, homes, you name it. In fact, I very nearly set fire to our rented house during the first week of moving here! Now, before you start worrying, I’m not some crazy arsonist or pyrotechnic. I’m just clumsy. But this could be nature’s way of saying: “Justine: you are one crazy mad ass fire fetisher!” or some such nonsense.
2. When travelling, volcanoes and fire attract me. The thought of seeing a volcano up close, some volcanic ash on the ground or a glowing fiery mass of a volcano in the distance is enough to get me super excited and dancing about like some crazy mad ass fire nymph.
Right, just looking at this bulleted list for a second, I’m instantly thinking: a) I’m a crazy mad ass, and b) maybe I really do have a fire or volcano fetish of some such description. And you know what? Being a strong-willed, fabulous woman (or so I like to think); I’m going to embrace this, and discuss all of the cool, steamy and fiery volcanoes I’ve seen throughout the world.
Kīlauea Iki Crater, Volcano National Park, The Big Island, Hawaii
Whilst exploring the Volcano National Park on The Big Island of Hawaii, it was only fitting that we walk through an active volcanic crater. How many other people can truly say they’ve done that in a lifetime?
Kīlauea Iki Crater is incredible in size. I really can’t describe just how big it is. What I will say though is that walking at a normal pace for an hour didn’t even get us to the middle of the crater! But it was a super cool place to find ourselves wandering through.
Throughout the crater are large cracks in the rock, through which steam pours itself out into the atmosphere. This is the “active” part – that steam is genuinely coming from lava underneath the ground! What I found most extraordinary though, were the flowers growing in those steamy cracks. Tall bushes full of fiery red and pure white flowers were erupting from the cracks all around us, proving that nature will always find a way to survive even in tough conditions.
If you also fancy hiking through an active crater, then this guide is pretty good for detailing how to get there and where to walk.
Kīlauea Volcano, The Big Island of Hawaii
After exploring the crater, it was time to see a volcano in all of its fiery splendour. This particular volcano is very popular in Hawaii as it often shows a lava glow display in the dark. From a distance, you can just see the blood orange red lava, with the smoky mist dancing overhead. This is perfect to see from the Visitor Centre itself.
And if you’re blessed with fantastic eyesight and/or an awesome camera, then zooming in on the lava will show just how much it is dancing within the ground! You may even be lucky enough to spot a few spurts of lava jetting out like fireflies in the night sky.
Porto Moniz, Madeira
When lava cools, volcanic rock is formed. In fact, the islands of Hawaii are actually just great big masses of volcanic rock meshed together to form islands! And they’re not the only islands to have been made thanks to volcanoes.
The island of Madeira, nestled sweetly near to the North Western side of Africa, is another island made from volcanic rock. And one of the best places to see this is in Porto Moniz, along the Northern side of the island.
From here, you can bathe and swim in volcanic rock pools. These are perfect formations made from the uneven spreading of the volcanic rock, which are filled with fresh sea water. These pools are very popular with locals and tourists alike, and only cost a couple of Euros to dip your feet or swim in.
And in fairness, even just a walk around the town of Porto Moniz itself will show you yet more formations carved from volcanic rock, such as these caves you can walk through and explore.
Sólheimasandur Black Sand Beach, Iceland
Iceland is one of the most famous places with which to see black sand beaches, also known as volcanic ash beaches. Because that’s all that the black sand is really – just glorified volcanic ash. Most travellers head to the beaches in Vik, where you can also spot rock formations similar to Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, but there is another black sand beach that should be on your must-see list in Iceland as well.
Sólheimasandur beach is a vast black sand beach, and is such an incredible landscape to marvel at. From the black waves that the sand has created on the ground, to the stormy seas behind you, to the snow-topped mountains in the distance, this beach will have you spellbound. But these aren’t the only things to see here.
This beach is also home to a plane crash from the 1970s, which has surprisingly become a bit of a tourist trap now. Personally, we had no idea the plane was here – we thought we were just here to marvel at black sand, so it was a pretty cool surprise. You are free to photograph the plane as well as explore inside it – how’s that for a fun, free day out?
My fiancee never knew this about me – the fact that I have a bit of a fetish for volcanoes and fire. But what I find incredible is that this black sand beach was where he decided to propose to me. Let’s ignore the emblem of the plane crash for a minute, and instead focus on the beautiful poetry of the moment. Here is a woman who loves fire and volcanoes, with the man of her dreams asking her to marry him, standing upon black sand made from volcanoes. You couldn’t make this stuff up!
So, I ask you: where else can I fulfil my fire and volcano fetishes? And do you have any fetishes of your own like this? Let me know in the comments…
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