“Either get on the bus for a 10-minute ride back to the hotel, or take a 1-hour trek around the glacier to the hotel”.

That was the choice our guide gave to us after the visit to Svínafellsjökull. Needless to say, the vast majority of us chose the latter – how could any of us give up a chance to get closer to the glacier!

Trekking across a Lunar Landscape

What was promised to be a 1-hour journey became much more than that.  Under the setting winter sun, our group trekked across a rugged landscape to get back to our lodgings at the Fosshotel Skaftafell.  At times, the journey got a little too tough for me because of the uneven ground and the uphill climb – that is why we cannot fail to emphasise the importance of a pair of good trekking boots.

My pair of Timberland must have saved me from a lot of potential ankle twists!

Much of the time, it felt like we had been transported to another world out of Earth.  On the right side of our trail was a barren landscape made up of volcanic ashes and rocks – an image that looked suspiciously like what the moon would look like in my mind.

Our trek included some very scenic (and precarious) moments on top of steep hills!

Tommy and I were consistently the last in our group, held back because of my fear of heights, and our need to constantly stop to take some snap shots of this unique landscape. Our 60-year old local guide still displayed an impressive amount of fitness and energy, trekking far ahead of even the fastest in our group. And did I mention that she said this was an easy trek?!! Goes to show how healthy a lifestyle the Icelanders lead!

At times, we came across scenic views of the distant mountains.

At other times, we came across small pools of frozen water on the ground. The child in us had great fun in stoning it.  As the stone broke through the frozen surface, it sent a great cracking sounding resonating around the barren valley.

This great frozen lake refused to crack even under the heaviest stones we threw at it.  The stones just glided smoothly across the frozen surface and we had great fun seeing whose stone could glide furthest!

Up close and personal with a Glacier

With the lunar landscape on our right, the majestic glacier lay on our left.

This was the closest we got to a glacier.  It’s much better than what we experienced at Mendahall Glacier during our Alaska trip 2 years ago.

We could have easily climbed onto the glacier and walked on it if we wished!

Leaving the great lake and the glacier behind as we continued on our journey to the Fosshotel Skaftafell which is still nowhere in sight.

The sun had almost set by the time we arrived back at the Fosshotel Skaftafell.

For the first time since arriving at the Fosshotel Skaftafell the night before, we took note of our surroundings and realised that the place we viewed the Northern Lights was on a small hill! Furthermore, the glacier was right at our backyard just a few minutes walk away!  If we were ever to come back to Iceland for a free and easy trip, the Fosshotel Skaftafell will definitely be first on our list of must-stay places for its great potential for independent exploration.

Join us next as we visit the Grabrok Volcano Crater.

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