The world looked very different when we woke up this morning: it wasn't raining
It had been so wet and cloudy when we arrived last night that we didn't really have any sense of our surroundings in Hof. It turns out there's a huge mountain behind the hotel!
Our room was in this little outbuilding, so we had a short walk to breakfast.
The breakfast buffet wasn't quite as extensive today as it had been yesterday (no pancake machine!) but it had all the usual things, so we were able to fill up before checking out and hitting the road.
We actually needed to double back on ourselves and retrace 20 miles or so of the route we had driven yesterday in order to reach our first destination. It didn't matter at all, because the weather was so much better today that it felt like a completely different journey anyway. Partway along we just had to stop by the side of the road when we caught sight of snow-capped mountains in the distance.
We hadn't been able to see any of this scenery when we were driving yesterday!
We started driving again, but soon had to pull over for a second time when we caught a view of an enormous glacier.
The views here were really stunning
Before long we arrived at our destination: the Skaftafell national park. We had to pay around £5 for parking here, but I got the feeling it was going to be good value.
The guidebook had suggested that there were some easy, sign-posted walks here, so we put our boots on and set off.
We were following a trail of around 2km towards a waterfall called Svartifoss. Although 2km doesn't sound like a lot, it was actually quite hard going because it started going uphill almost straightaway and continued going uphill for most of that distance.
We had some incredible views of the snow as we climbed, though.
We also had a good view out across the flat glacial plain that we'd been driving across on the Ring Road yesterday afternoon.
After a while we got our first glimpse of a waterfall, though not the one we were looking for.
That was Svartifoss, which we eventually got a glimpse of in the distance.
A bit more uphill before we got there!
Finally we got to a beautiful viewpoint where we could see the waterfall - yay!
The name 'Svartifoss' means 'black falls'.
It gets its name from the dark lava columns which surround it.
We were able to climb down to a viewing platform right beside the water.
The spray from the waterfall was beautiful; you could see all the colours of the rainbow reflected in it
Once we'd finished admiring the waterfall, we enjoyed a much easier walk back downhill towards the carpark.
The guidebook had also mentioned that there was an easy 3.7km round-trip walk to the foot of the Skaftafellsjökull glacier. We could see the glacier in the distance, so off we went.
This was a much easier walk on a beautifully flat path, so it wasn't long before we were getting really close.
It felt amazing to just be able to stroll up to a glacier like this!
In front of the glacier was a big gravelly beach, which we were able to walk down onto.
The beach led down to a lake...
...and there were little mini-icebergs floating in the water
The whole panorama was wonderful.
We admired the ice for a while...
...then went for a closer-up look at the glacier, before setting off back to the car park.
Our second stop of the day is a place called Fjallsárlón.
This is a small glacial lake, where the Fjallsjökull glacier reaches down to the water.
As we walked up to the lake from the car park, Tim took some photos for some American girls. They took some of us in return
Then we walked down to the lake.
There were some amazing icebergs floating in the water.
The ice breaks off the glacier before floating in the lake and ultimately flowing into a river and out to sea. Some little blocks of ice had washed ashore as well
Just another 10km along the ring road is the bigger glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón.
This is where the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier meets the sea.
It covers an area of 18 square kilometres and the ice floats in here for up to five years before it finally flows out to sea.
We were able to follow a trail along the side of the lagoon for a while.
There were some beautiful views of the glacier...
...and the further we walked, the more floating ice we could see.
I particularly liked this iceberg, which was a wonderful shade of blue
Jökulsárlón was an amazing end to what has been a truly amazing day! All that remained was for us to drive a further 50 miles or so to the town of Höfn, where we are staying overnight in a small guesthouse.
Our room here cost £130 for the night and is much more spacious than I had expected
Höfn is a small town, but it's in a really pretty location.
When we went out for a walk to get some food in the evening, we realised that we could see glaciers stretching all the way down to the sea! A brilliant end to the day