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Hofn,  Iceland - flag Iceland -  Austur-Skaftafellssysla
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The Definitive Guide to Iceland in 7 Days (Day 3)

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woke up on day three with a very stiff neck. I had gone to bed (in the car) at about 4am the day before as I stood up to finish reading the entire guidebook and planning the route, overnight stops and driving schedule. Also, I remember challenging the sun to see who would go to bed first. Obviously, I lost the challenge as the sun simply started to get brighter at around 3am, an hour before I dozed off. We had a hearty breakfast in the car: Kelloggs multigrain fruit bars, oatmeal cookies and coffee from the previous morning, kept surprisingly warm in my flask.


We stopped briefly at Kirkjubaejarklaustur for an early lunch and I took the opportunity to wash up a little in the restaurant, as well as charged my camera batteries. Thereafter, we passed several hours at Skaftafell National Park, hiking along the periphery of the huge Vatnajokull glacier. If you have a vehicle, you can save 45 minutes off the hike by driving further from the campsite and parking up there. At Skaftafell, we met several Icelanders who were paving a new path. Rocks were painstakingly selected from everywhere, carried to the pavement and then arranged neatly to form the foundation. We learnt that they were all volunteers proud to be a part of that project. We understood instantly why Iceland is such an organised and clean country.

Favourite spots:
Huge glacier at Skaftafell National Park
Huge glacier at Skaftafell National Park
The Lonely Planet guide had this to say about Jokulsarlon, It's not every day you see luminous blue icebergs floating in a lake right beside a national highway, but that's the scene that confronts you as you sweep around a bend in the Ring Road, slowing to approach a small suspension bridge, and Jokulsarlon (Glacial River Lagoon) suddenly materialises. What they forgot to mention was the size of those icebergs! Oh boy, those things are huge! As I jumped out of the car even before it had completely stopped, I approached the bank of the lagoon and was just in time to see - and hear - a giant iceberg breaking up. It was simply incredible seeing the submerged parts emerge from under the icy water and lift into the air, only to come spashing down with mighty force as the iceberg completely snapped. At that moment, as I fathomed the might and majesty of those floating icebergs, realising that only 1/10th of their true size was visible, I felt truly small.

What's really great:
Skaftafell National Park
Skaftafell National Park
A fisherman gave us a big piece of ice picked up from the Jokulsarlon lagoon. We both held it, tasted it and took pictures with it, both silently contented and overwhelmed by the experience. By the time we left, we had taken close to 220 photos at Jokulsarlon alone, including several of the family of arctic seals that called the lagoon their home. Further drive east along route 1 brought us to Hofn where we overnighted at the very friendly International Youth Hostel. Dinner at Kaffi Hornio was excellent, especially the lobster crepe and lamb steak.

Sights:
Jokulsarlon Glacial lake
Jokulsarlon Glacial lake
Skaftafell National Park
Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon
Hofn

Accommodations:
IYH at Hofn
IYH at Hofn
The International Youth Hostel at Hofn was very amiable and nicely priced.

Other recommendations:
Waterfalls pop up at every corner in South Eastern Iceland
Waterfalls pop up at every corner in South Eastern Iceland
South Eastern Iceland

Published on Thursday July 15th, 2004


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