Travels in the North

Musings on arctic holidays

Tag Archives: Mykines

Reliving an old trip – 21st June 2005 – Graduation party with Faroese trumpet players

Today is the longest day of the year, and also marks the half way point of my three week break in the North atlantic. The week I’ve been in the Faroes has flown by, what a place.

Having given up on making it to Mykines I set today aside to check out the rest of Torshavn. I started in the Føroya Fornminnissavn (historical museum), which had lots of “how we used to live” stuff, an interesting history of the Faroese flag (the old Ram and Oyster catcher flag was replaced by a Nordic cross, designed by Faroese students in Copenhagen. The nordic cross presumably being a prerequisite for any self respecting Nordic nation) They had the old pew ends from the Magnus cathedral which I visited a few days ago. I also checked out the open air museum, there wasn’t much to it but it was interesting enough looking around a house made up in old Faroese style, and I saw the national football stadium.

Faroese National Football Stadium

Faroese National Football Stadium

I then went to Vidarlundin park, where I was struck by the huge number of trees. This may sound like an odd thing to say for a visitor to a park, but given the Northerly latitude coupled with the winds they get on the Faroese archipelago (gusts of up to 200mph are not unheard of) not many trees ever get the chance to grow. Quite a big effort has been made in the park to plant and protect the trees, but even so there were several that had almost been uprooted by the wind. In the park was an art gallery, lots of interesting Faroese art, much of it understandly heavily influenced by the landscape (fishing and religion also featured farily heavily)

I bought dinner in the supermarket in the SMS shopping centre, and headed back to the campsite where I met a couple from North Wales who were cycling round the islands.

I headed into town for a few beers in the evening and met an English guy from Queen’s Park in London. We chatted away until the pub shut at midnight, and left looking for somewhere else to drink. We randomly bumped into some people on the street who were heading to a graduation party on a beach in Southern Torshavn, so we headed down there and sat round a huge bonfire. Music seems to be a big thing in the Faroes and I met a couple of trumpet players who were studying at music colleges in the UK. After several hours round the campsite we all headed to a club, but I fell foul of the “your name’s not in the list so you’re not coming in” rule, seems it was graduates only that night. Still it was 3am and I was just about ready for bed, although it’s remarkable how much easier it is to stay up all night when it never really gets dark.

Reliving an old trip – 20th June 2005 – The Queen of Denmark and Nolsoy

For the second day in a row I slept through my alarm, missing once again I’ve missed the bus and connecting ferry to Mykines. It was blowing an absolute gale last night so I console myself that the ferry crossing (supposedly notoriously choppy) would’ve been a bit of a nightmare anyway.

I decided to go to Nolsoy instead, the island immediately East of Torshavn which supposedly makes a good day trip. There was noone around at the campsite but a note at reception said the Queen of Denmark was visiting the Faroes today – which would no doubt explain the cannon firing I’d just heard.

Niels Finsens Gota

Niels Finsens Gota – the main shopping street in Torshavn, decorated with flags for the visit of the Queen of Denmark

I walked into Torshavn, there were lots of Danish and Faroese flags flying and quite a few Faroese people in national dress. I saw the Queen walk down one of the main shopping streets, it was refreshing how little security there seemed to be.

queen of denmark visits torshavn

Terrible picture but you can just about see the Queen’s left arm (in white)

Royal Excitement over I left for the ferry to Nolsoy. The wind was still quite strong at this point, and even though the crossing was just 20 minutes I was very glad to reach dry land. I walked from Nosloy Village to the lighthouse at the southern tip of the island at Borðan, a 6km walk each way. It was an impressive lighthouse, helped by the remote setting. Unfortunately the visibility had dropped and I couldn’t even see as far as Streymoy where I’d just come from. On the walk back to Nolsoy village I stopped to sit down but was immediately set upon by large sea birds swooping down, not sure if they thought I was dead or were trying to attack – but it meant I couldn’t really take a break and had to keep walking.

The lighthouse at Borðan on Nolsoy

The lighthouse at Borðan on Nolsoy

Back in Torshavn I was shattered, had some fast food at a place called City Burger which was pretty horrible,  before heading back to the campsite for an early night.

Reliving an old trip – 19th June 2005 – Driving Vagar, Streymoy and Eysturoy

There’s something of a “morning after the night before” as I wake up at 11:30, feeling like death warmed up. Maybe it was the whale meat I ate last night…or the copious amount of beer I drank I’m not sure. Either way I’ve comfortably missed my 8am ferry, with connections carefully planned to visit Mykines, the remote island in the West of the Faroese archipelago.

I couldn’t face doing much, but did manage to turn my radio on, I must have tuned it into Radio 4 long wave last night as that’s what came on, and it was cricket commentary from a one day international in Bristol between England and Australia. A few references were made to the heat in England, a whooping 30 degrees, I still hadn’t opened the curtains but was fairly confident it was significantly less than that here. I love holidaying in the arctic 🙂

After a bit more cricket commentary and a bit more feeling sorry for myself and my hangover, I look at the ferry timetable and decide to go for the 14:45 back to Eysturoy (and then Torshavn via bus).  After packing up my stuff I bumped into Valti again (the Icelandic fisherman I’d met the night before) and he offered me a lift as he was “going for a drive”. I still felt like death, but given my lack of transport and desire to see as much of the Faroes as I could I took him up on the offer.

Eiði Faroe Islands

Taking in the view at Eiði

It was absolutely fantasic, even with my hangover. You see so much more in a car than you could on the bus and ferries. We drove around Northern Eysturoy, which has some incredibly picturesque villages including Eiði and Gjogv, the latter of which I realised I’d seen in various tourist brochures. We went for dinner in Hotel Eiði where we had a decent steak and chips and enjoyed the view down to the harbour. The service was somewhat surly, in stark contrast to the Faroese hospitality I’d enjoyed thus far.

Gjogv Faroe Islands

Gjogv

After dinner we drove across to Vagar (an island in the west where the airport is), through the recently opened (as of 2005) Streymoy-Vagar tunnel, paying 170Kr for the privilage which Valti and I agreed was a rip off. Still, I guess these tunnels don’t come cheap. On Vagar we got as far as Bour on the West coast before heading back to Streymoy, where Valti dropped me off at the campsite in Torshavn. By now it was almost midnight (and still light of course), but was windy and rainy and putting my tent up was difficult (my hangover still hadn’t completely surpassed), but finnaly getting into bed was heavenly. I slept like a log through the impending storm.

Gjogv Faroe Islands

Gjogv