Iceland is full of beautiful vistas and wild geography, but sometimes it’s the little things that can surprise you the most.
One such place is the Hnjótur Folk Museum, located in Orlygshofn, a short valley that ends in a lagoon on the southern side of the bay of Patreksfjord.
This private museum was started by a local farmer and has become so popular that it is actually listed on various tourist websites.
It is also known as the Egill Olafsson Museum in honor of its founder. Exhibits include items that show the history of fishing, farming, and everyday life.
Olafsson decided that he wanted to create a museum dedicated to the local history of the area and his family.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Olafsson convinced local people to give him things that they planned to throw away and he amassed quite a few items.
Once he had a sizeable collection, he managed to convince local officials to build him a museum to house it all, and that became the Hnjótur Folk Museum.
However, there is one particular attraction that has drawn photographers of abandoned places, and that is a rusting airplane that sits outside the museum. Visitors report that it’s the first thing you see as you approach.
The plane is a US Navy Douglas C-117D, a version of the Douglas DC-47 Skytrain or “Dakota” plane which was used extensively by the Allies in the Second World War.
The DC-47 was modeled on the Douglas Dc-3, which was a civilian aircraft.
After the war, these planes were modified to be used commercially. In 1949, further modifications increased passenger capacity from 30 to 38 people. During the Vietnam War, some C-117D aircraft were converted to carry out reconnaissance duties.
This particular example of a C-117D was decommissioned at the airfield in Keflavik. The plane was donated to the Folk Museum in 2004 when the Keflavik airfield was closed.
All parts of the airplane are present at the museum, but unfortunately the plane is in a bit of a sorry state since the wings, engines, props, and tail not actually attached to the main body of the aircraft.
Despite that, the interior of the plane is in much better condition than the other abandoned aircraft in Iceland which has become a tourist attraction, namely the DC-3 which crashed on Sólheimasandur beach.
Tourists who get inside the aircraft at Hnjótur can examine the dials and sit in the cockpit, affording them a brief glimpse of what it was like to pilot one of these machines. The plane has other visitors too, as evidenced by the odd birds’ nests to be found dotted around.
Although Olafsson passed away in 1999, the museum continues to function, offering a cafeteria and a tourist information center. It also incorporates a display about the British trawler Dhoon which got stranded at Latrabjarg in 1947 and needed rescuing.
One travel website for Iceland claims that the museum “is among the most interesting in the country” and adds that a visit to it can also be combined with a trip to “the sheer cliffs of the westernmost point of Europe” which offer amazing bird watching opportunities.
Alexey Marakhovets is a traveler and photographer with a dream to visit every country around the world. So far, he has already visited 40 countries.
Alexey runs his own blog about the information he collects during his trips, adding impressive photos that he’s taken. You should definitely check his LiveJournal account via this link. Also, he has got an amazing Instagram account. Enjoy!