Sunday, June 10, 2012

Exploring The Faroe Islands

Map picture

Departing the Shetland Islands on June 7th, we headed northwest towards our next destination, the Faroe Islands.

The Vikings established their parliament on these islands in 850CE, and made the village of Torshavn its capital, where it has remained so ever since. The name “Torshavn” actually means Thor’s Harbor. Today the Faroe Islands are a self-governing entity of Denmark, and Danish is the official language along with the island’s own Faroese Language. English is widely spoken however.

Our ship docked in the harbor at Torshavn, and we had a four hour tour in the afternoon around the city and its surroundings. Torshavn, Faroe IslandsThe day was overcast, with the temperature hovering around 45F, however, as is common in this part of the world, the winds were strong and constant at 30 to 40mph, which to us made it seem very, very cold, but to the locals it was just a normal day. Our bus tour started with a brief drive around the city, and then we went into the countryside, eventually ending up at the small village of Kirkjubour. Kirkjubour, Faroe IslandsThis was once the residence of the Bishop of the Faroes, and today is home to the oldest structures in the Faroes, as well as being home to one of the oldest churches in the world (according to our guide anyway). Kirkjubour, Faroe IslandsHe seemed to think that everything in the Faroes was “the oldest” if you get my drift. Afterwards, we returned to town and saw Fort Skansin which was first built in 1580, and was last used during World War II as headquarters for the British Royal Navy Command.

Departing late in the evening, we had a slow sail to one of the 18 islands in the Faroe Archipelago, Mykines. Mykines, Faroe IslandsThe population of the island has steadily declined, until today there are only 11 permanent residents. The island is home to a large collection of sea birds. Two different hikes were offered, one lasting four hours out to the lighthouse at the end of the island, and the other into the small remains of the village. Each of the walks was described as moderate to difficult and being narrow and steep. So we wisely selected the third option which was a 90 minute Zodiac ride around the cliffs and seashore. It was a beautiful, but very cold ride. Everyone was glad to be back onboard at the end of the day, as we set off towards Iceland.

Today we are enroute, and thus have a “day at sea.” Lisa and I are both well and enjoying ourselves greatly.


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