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
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.
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.
The little cemetery with its mounded graves and white crosses is charming, with bunches of purple flowers here and there.
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.
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.
We leave here and head next to Vatnajökull National Park, but not before stopping to admire another outlet tongue of Svínafellsjökull.
More glacial views are to be had 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.