southeast iceland: hof to svínafellsjökull

Monday, August 22:  After leaving Fjallsárlón, we follow the Ring Road inland, keeping our eye out for a small town called Hof, where there is a storybook church.  We find the town nestled up against the slopes of a mountain

Hof
Hof
Hof
Hof
Hof
Hof

We easily find Hofskirkja, the wood-and-peat church built in 1884 by the carpenter Páll Pálsson, sitting in a thicket of birch and ash. It was the last turf church built in the old style on the foundations of a previous 14th-century building.

Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja

It is one of six churches still standing which are preserved as historical monuments.  The church is maintained by the National Museum but also serves as a parish church.

Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja
Hofskirkja

The little cemetery with its mounded graves and white crosses is charming, with bunches of purple flowers here and there.

cemetery at Hofskirkja
cemetery at Hofskirkja
cemetery at Hofskirkja
cemetery at Hofskirkja
cemetery at Hofskirkja
cemetery at Hofskirkja

After walking around this quiet place and using the very well-maintained WC, we’re on our way to the glacier Svínafellsjökull.  We drive down another 2.5km dirt road to a car park where there is a short but slightly treacherous hike to the glacier snout.

A memorial at the beginning of the hike tells of two German hikers, 25 and 29, who disappeared into the glacier in 2007.  The families of the two hikers erected the memorial.  Maybe one day,as the glacier retreats, someone will find the remains of these two unfortunate hikers.

Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull

According to Lonely Planet Iceland, scenes from 2014’s Interstellar were filmed here.  I saw that movie in China and guess I’ll have to see it again to see if I recognize this scene.  You can read about it here in Iceland Magazine: Reporter from CNN makes a tribute tour to Svínafellsjökull outlet glacier which was used as a set for Interstellar.

Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Mike at Svínafellsjökull
Mike at Svínafellsjökull
me with Mike at Svínafellsjökull
me with Mike at Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull
Svínafellsjökull

We leave here and head next to Vatnajökull National Park, but not before stopping to admire another outlet tongue of Svínafellsjökull.

Svínafellsjökull from a distance
Svínafellsjökull from a distance

More glacial views are to be had from the Ring Road.

view from the Ring Road
view from the Ring Road

On one side of us, looking inland, we see the offshoot glaciers of Vatnajökull; on the other side, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, is Skeiðarársandur, the largest sandur in the world.

 

3 thoughts on “southeast iceland: hof to svínafellsjökull

    1. So charming, right? The glaciers were amazing and it was fun to get fairly close to them. Many people went on guided hikes atop the glaciers, but we didn’t have time, and I would have been too nervous about it anyway!🙂

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