After a day of driving filled with natural wonders, I couldn’t wait to finally reach remote Skaftafell National Park. Europe’s largest and perhaps grandest national park is a hiker’s delight filled with awe-inspiring glacial tongues, waterfalls, twisted birch trees, verdant grass, and the crème de la crème, the aquamarine Vatnajökull at it’s glory.
As you get further along in the drive, there is nothing but glaciers and the haunting dead, black sand deltas known as sandars juxtaposed against the brilliant green-covered hills and plains. It is quite a sight to see! Life against death could never be so sensationally beautiful.
We pull into our lonely hotel, Hotel Skaftafell (the ONLY hotel for hours) close to dinner time. The undistinguished hotel has 63 small, clean rooms. There is nothing luxurious about this place. However, unless you want to camp, it is the only option.
Here is a photo of Hotel Skaftafell which in my opinion looks a little more like a military base than a hotel.
A glimpse of the hotel from above. Note there is nothing in the horizon except the sandars, the brownish, gray or sometimes black sand deltas.
Looking the other direction outside of our hotel room is a lovely view of what awaits….
As you walk a bit further behind the hotel, you are suddenly and surprisingly encountered by Svinafellsjokull, another gigantic glacier lurking off the immense ice cap:
Looking back again on the hotel, you can see and feel the remoteness of the place. Lost in Iceland, is anybody out there?
After a fine dinner (nothing fancy, but wholesome good food and of course at a price, given our remoteness), we head out again for a short hike beyond the hotel. For some reason, I love this picture of my dad walking off into the distance. It is mysterious, magical and intimidating all at the same time. Also, it is about 10:30 pm….and it is still light!
And this is what we find…..
The sun slowly dips behind the clouds and it is almost bedtime. We have a big day ahead of us of hiking and exploring this unbelievable land. I can hardly wait!
Goodnight glacier…we will see you tomorrow!
Stay tuned….next post will show the outrageously spectacular photos of our day hike in Skaftafell National Park. A hike of a lifetime!