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Photos from our trip to Faroe Islands with Grimsis

To see the photos, click at the index to the left.

Thursday 10th of July
We had to go up at 3 a.m. and we had booked a taxi so we were at the bus station at 4 a.m.

Four other in the group also departed from Boras. It was quite warm even so early. The bus went through Bollebygd, Gothenburg and Varberg, It was sunny and light so I found it difficult to catch up with my little sleep. We arrived at Copenhagen airport around 9 a.m. and made a quick check in to Atlantic Airways.

The islands are situated halfway between Norway and Iceland and when we landed 2.5 hours later it was sunny but chilly. A big tourist bus met us. It had a great panorama window so I took quite a few pictures as the weather was perfect. The landscape is very hilly and we passed through many villages. Except for Torshavn you can’t really call any of the other places for towns. Totally the islands have slightly less than 50000 inhabitants and 17000 live in and around the main town. Just outside the airport we saw a watch tower as a remnant from the World War II, as the presence of the allies during the war was heavy.

We made a stop just outside Torshavn to visit their historical museum, which is very fine. There are some Viking findings, but mostly medieval. Among the Viking findings are toy horses, combs and pearls. As there are no excavated tombs from the period, there were less typical findings. Of course the fishing industry through the ages was presented. In the cellar are the ends of church benches from Kirkjuböur and a really nice horn.

We continued towards Hotel Streym where we checked in. It seemed to be partially under construction. Workers just quickly finished one of the single rooms, when a woman in our group had to wait. It had small but functionally good rooms. Our view was directly towards a cliff about a meter from the window. If we looked up we could see a kind of parapet from the war. All of the rooms had a more or less funny text outside the door. Ours had the text “Room 208 has been awaiting your arrival with excitement”. Another one was “Room 204 is still a single, but dreams about becoming a double”. We slept for an hour and then we spent some time with Anna-Lena and Lasse before most in the group went to hotel Hafnia for a fish and shellfish buffet. Nice with a lot of choices but expensive. Christina, who is very fond of shellfish, was more disappointed than me. Afterwards we were asked to bring the desserts to another room, which in practice meant that they didn’t have enough time between the table bookings. Probably they had a lot of extra bookings, as a Nordic song and dance festival took place in Torshavn during this week.

Christina and I went walking around Torshavn in the nice weather. The harbour had some activity and some people seemed to be training for a rowboat race. We even stumbled upon the older parts where most of the roofs had turfs. It was nice to get into bed early.

 

Friday 11th of July
We had a great breakfast before we left at 8 with a smaller bus, there were some drizzling and slightly cloudy. Still there was very little water coming down the mountains, We went Northwards and passed several small villages mostly with a tiny fishing harbour and a small church. We often saw salmon cultivation in the water, sheep were either walking on the roads or on the steep hillsides. The houses are very colourful.

The first stop was at Northskala beside the only bridge on the islands. We bought something to drink in a shop. We continued north on the island Eysturoy up to Eithi to look at the cliff formation The Giant and the Woman (“Risin og Kellingin”), as well as the highest peak of the islands called Slaettaratindur, which is 882 metres above the sea. We continued on serpentine roads to the village of Gjogv. We were served coffee and waffles. Afterwards we went to see the old natural harbour which is like a deep crevice. Still it was said that there might be water all the way up during heavy storms. I tried to enter the tiny little village church but it was locked.

The bus went up and down again but now on the Eastern side of Eysturoy and through a tunnel to Klaksvik on Borthoy island where we visited the fish market. There were possible to see several different fish species although the market was closed for the day. In any case the fish auction is held through phone nowadays.

We also visited the church of Christian (Danish king), which was big with two stores of balconies. It was built in memory of the 132 persons who sacrificed their life during WW II to supply Great Britain with food.

There was more drizzle when we continued Northwards through two very narrow tunnels over to Vithoy. It was easy to pass as we had priority and we arrived at Vithareithi, which is one the most Northern villages. There it is a small restaurant where we were served puffin birds for lunch. They have a very special taste which reminded of fish, but the sweet taste made me also think of liver which I like. We had a rhubarb pie as desert.

After lunch we went to the local church and a man who lived nearby told us some stories about a mean old priest, which had inspired to the book called "Barbara"

We went back to Klaksvik, but it was chaotic to get through the first longer tunnel this time and we even met a lorry. The cars had to pass the bus on the left side as the ceiling wasn’t high enough for the bus at the meeting places. In Klaksvik we visited the old Weaving school founded by Aina Cederblom. She was an adventurous Swedish lady who came to the islands during the thirties. It had a big signification for the development of work for the women on the islands. Actually her intention was to continue in her own boat over to America.

When returned, the bus made a short stop in Leirvik so we could see some Viking long houses, at the site called Toftanes. On the main island Streymoy we took the longer way over the mountains instead of the tunnel. We were lucky to have quite a lot of sun, especially when we stopped to see the view over Kollafjorthur.

Back in Torshavn several planned to go and see a singing and dancing performance at the "Nordic house". Ourselves together with Lasse and Anna-Lena went to a shop and together bought some sandwiches and went back to our room. It was quite late when they departed, but the other in the group still seemed to be away.

Saturday 12th of July
After breakfast we departed at 8 a.m. Today it was Mogen's daughter Laila who drove. Again we went Northwards directly to Klaksvik. It was slightly warmer today.

At arrival we went to a coffee shop where we got many local pastries to the coffee. It was hard to resist tasting all of them. Afterwards we went to Kunoy island. There we passed through yet another tunnel. We stopped in the tiny village of Kunoy for a walk a bit up on a mountain path to get a closer look the nature as well as some of the 70000 sheep. Nearby there is a tiny forest planted. This is a popular picnic place. In the village we also visited an old simple water mill.

We went back to Klaksvik and had a lunch at the Sailor’s Home restaurant. It was a buffet finished by apple pie. Afterwards we went to Leirvik where we had a longer photo stop at the excavation place of Toftanes.

We continued to Suthrugöta where we stopped at the wool shop Töting. They had a nice art exhibition and Christina bought a beautiful orange plaid. I also had time for a short visit at the sand beach.

The last stop of the day was in Götugjovj. There was a local festival and they had just uncovered a statue of Trondur of Götu, which is one of the local heroes in the Faroinga Saga. It was a stone with a map of the islands and with the hero standing sideways at the place of this village, where it was said that he was born according to the Saga. There were several locals in National clothes. We visited some old restored buildings. It was difficult to visit the small church with turf roof as there first was a wedding and then a baptising. An elder man and a young boy were up in the minor clock tower ringing the bell.

We went back to the hotel and made some shopping for the evening and ate sandwiches with Lasse and Anna-Lena. We were quite tired when we went back to our room.

Sunday 13th of July
We had a later start at 8:30 today. We went Westwards in the drizzling, which started to be  a slight rain when we arrived to Kvivik, where there is another digging of a Viking long house. The interest seemed to be very low in the rain and over half of the other in the group remained in the bus, when we went out to look at it. This was the place where they had found the toy horses from this period, which now are at the museum.

Then we continued to small town Vestmanna, where we entered two chartered boats. We went into the smaller one and went out along the high Western cliffs. The weather became slightly better with just some drizzling now and then. Even the sun passed through the clouds tiny moments. It was fascinating seeing the sheep climbing on the rocks looking for the tiny grass patches. There were of course several birds like different kinds of seagulls and puffins. We also went into some caves with the boat and the formations are amazing. It was difficult to drink the offered coffee, as the waves were moving. Christina avoided sea sickness with the cure of dried ginger she had ate for a few days. On the way home we passed some houses, which used to be a refuge during the World War II. The islands and especially the boats were heavily bombed, as the Faroe Islands supplied food to the British people.

When we returned to Vestmanna it had started to rain heavily. We entered a kind of kiosk, where we were served a delicious fish soup. Then we went to the church of Kollafjörthur, which our driver Mogens called the drive-in church, as one of his former car-driving pupils had driven through the church during a race and even if the car was totally crashed, the guy only got a broken finger. This was a typical wooden church with grass roof.

Then we went to the art museum in Torshavn. This was probably the most depressing art museum I’ve ever seen. The only uplifting picture was one with seagulls in costumes. It was made by a young artist called Edward Fuglö from Klaksvik. The worst were made by another local called Mikines, but he also seemed to be the most well-known local artist. He had made paintings named “before the funeral” and another one called “after the funeral”. This says everthing about his paintings. We saw again an example of their love for statues, which were at the side or in this case even upside down.

The last stop for the day was at the old church at Kirkjuböur. This is the oldest church, which is from the 13th century. The gable ends of the benches from the museum came from this church during the 19th century, when they tried to renew the church. Now they’ve tried to restore it in its older style. There is also an old found bishop’s staff in a showcase. There has also been an attempt to build a newer church. The oldest and biggest farm is also beside the church.

We went back to Torshavn and made a coffee break at the Nordic House and we could enjoy 3 other strange but interesting paintings by Edward Fuglö. They were slightly surrealistic, but interesting. When we had come back to the hotel, we went out eating with Lasse and Anna-Lena on a restaurant. You could imagine that the restaurant tradition in the islands is but a decade old or so, but it was quite ok. Back at the hotel we packed and tried to get to bed early as we had to get up early.

Monday 14th of July
We had set our alarm clock on 4:30 a.m., but it seemed as the goods wagons already started to run at 4 a.m. as some of our neighbours seemed to be a hurry. When we came down to breakfast, we realised why they were in a hurry, as the pyramid of bread had diminished to a single one to be shared by 4 persons.

The bus departed at 5:20 a.m. and we arrived to the airport at Vagar an hour later in good time for the flight departure. The weather was nice and clear, so I got a couple of good pictures over the islands. We arrived in Copenhagen around 10:30 a.m. and the bus awaited us for the return. We had a lunch stop and then only stopped to drop off people. Finally we arrived in the sunny Borås and we were home around 5 p.m. after quite a long day.

Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson
Christina Arrindell

 

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Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson