Just a Hop to Hofn

Hofn Travel Blog

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Jokulsarlon signpost

After a bit of a disappointing breakfast at the Fosshotel Skaftafell, we packed up our stuff and made for reception to pay the 500ISK for 1 hour's worth of wifi (which was a total insult given that the room was the smallest, most basic room ever for over 23,000ISK (about $200CDN!). PLUS, we had to pay for the coffee and tea the night before too. Vampyres, they be! We loaded up the SSB and headed out onto The Ring southeast toward the glacier lagoon of Jokulsarlon and then onto the Eastfjords. It was a brilliant blue sky overhead and not quite as windy as the 2 previous days, which was a bit of a relief to both of us. We were coping with the cold and wind, but a bit of a spring reprieve would have been welcome.

The Ring continues

Again, the views of mountains and glaciers were stupifyingly dramatic and beautiful around every turn. It was getting to the point that I wasn't going to take more pictures of them because there were just too many opportunities for it. There were marked "scenic rest stops" at regular intervals along The Ring and we'd stop at 1 in 10, maybe. I'd smoke and take a few pics and Mrs Wags just snap shots and wait for me to finish smoking. After about 45 minutes into the drive, we rolled across Jokulsarlon: The great iceberg lagoon on our left. It was striking! we parked and got out into the more-than fresh wind (again). We took all kinds of pics. At one point as I was crouching along the water's edge I heard a rustling on the water and looked up to see a large slab of ice slowly turning over to expose a brilliant blue underside of glistening solid, maybe hundreds of years-old ice! Amazing.

Rock star horsie
Ducks were splashing around in the water and a sea otter popped his head up and swam around a while. There weren't a whole bunch of people around given the cold temperature again. It was just above freezing, but you know that wind...

The "cafe" on site was a joke and was like a portable, structure with cheap trinkets and basic info about the lagoon. We hung out for maybe an hour and then piled back into the rental and continued our drive eastward. We were getting used to seeing herds of sheep near the road, but now we were coming across Icelandic horses too! They were different than horses we have in North America; these were shorter, more stout and had longer, fuller manes of hair. We saw a group of them near the road at a rest area so we stopped and go out to get closer.

Hofn

"Hi horsies!" Mrs Wags called out to them and we crossed the road to get better aquainted. One was close to the fence and looked like he wanted us to pet him. He had a grat face and he looked like an 80's rock-star with that crazy hair! Even though he wasn't much taller than me, he was still BIG and solid and I've heard stories of some horses being mean. Sure, maybe I was being a sissy by not petting him, but I remember a friend of mine being bitten by a horse when we were teenagers and I didn't want to have to see a doctor because I did something that I could have so easily avoided. (Go on...Call me a "sissy".) In any case, Mrs Wags and I both shared this thought, so we just hung out with them for a few minutes and then moved on. Bye horsies!

As with the day before, we'd drive thru patches of open, rugged pastures with sheer, crumbling cliffs on our left and open plains toward the ocean on our right, and then stretches of seeming rocky wasteland with strong winds and obscuring dust blowing across the road.

Hofn harbour monument
The whole trip thus far had been one of rugged, inhospitable natural beauty like no where else I'd been before. One of the BEST parts was that there were almost no other cars on the road! We'd go thru stretches of 30 minutes plus without even seeing another car, let alone have one interfere with us. That's beautiful in itself!

After a couple of hours on the road, we reached Hofn on the coast. It was a small harbour-town with a gas station at the entry point and bunch of boring, rectangular buildings and houses. One thing we'd noticed in our time on the island so far: The Icelanders' architecture was all about function instead of "flash". The houses all kind of looked the same, the buildings were all blocky and smallish and the churches all looked exactly the same as each other.

Hofn harbour
(Sorry Icelanders but it's true.) There was a happy looking, lobster-type cartoon character welcoming visitors on a sign and the town's water tower that was amusing, so we digitally captured him. We drove down the the harbour and went to a scenic lookout point with some kind of statue and then headed the short distance back into the small commercial area for some lunch. We picked a log-cabin looking restaurant called Kaffi Hornid (that didn't look like an army barracks for a change) and grabbed some grub. As usual, a burger and fries was pretty much the most affordable thing on the menu at around 1,900ISK and Mrs Wags, still strictly following her "Paleo Diet" had a chicken breast for around the same price. Over $30 for a basic lunch for 2 in Canada is steep to be certain but it seemed to be the norm here.

We pulled out of town, lighter in the wallet but fuller in the belly, made our way the kilometre or two back to The Ring and continued east towards the Eastfjords. We still hadn't seen any puffins, elves or trolls but were hoping that we would stumble upon them at one point. After all, we still had a week to go and had only covered about a quarter of the distance around our great circle of the land that Lief built. Did I mention that it was still cold and windy...?

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Jokulsarlon signpost
Jokulsarlon signpost
The Ring continues
The Ring continues
Rock star horsie
Rock star horsie
Hofn
Hofn
Hofn harbour monument
Hofn harbour monument
Hofn harbour
Hofn harbour
Crazy lobster
Crazy lobster
Hofn
Hofn
Hofn Olis gas station
Hofn Olis gas station
Oh mommy...its almost above free…
"Oh mommy...it's almost above fre…
Leaving Hofn
Leaving Hofn
The Ring near Skaftafell
The Ring near Skaftafell
Rest stop
Rest stop
Another mountain and glacier
Another mountain and glacier
Bridge over the iceberg exit to th…
Bridge over the iceberg exit to t…
Horsie: Pet me!
Wags: I dont thi…
Horsie: Pet me! Wags: I don't th…
Hofn Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Log Cabin Dining
This log cabin-looking restaurant is located on the main drag of Hofn on the way to the harbour. The menu is typical Icelandic: Hamburgers, chicken… read entire review
Hofn
photo by: Vikram