Day two on the Faroes, and after a great nights sleep at the Torshavn campsite I headed into town. My feet still ached, and concious of still having a lot of walking ahead I decided to take the bus rather than walk over the mountains to Kirkjubøur, the historic village on the other side of Streymoy which was my destination for the day.
I had an hour and a half to kill before the bus left, so I walked up to the main shopping mall in the Faroes, the SMS shopping centre. Dubbed the “SOS” centre by locals, it’s much like shopping centres in small towns the world over – disappointing. But it does have a decent enough supermarket so I stocked up on bread ham and cheese (ever being the budget traveller)
SMS Centre, Torshavn
The bus to Kirkjubøur was more of a coach than a local bus service, very impressive really. And only 20Kr for the ride, and with just 4 passengers on the bus I wonder how much the government have to subsidise the service. Kirkjubøur is a small but nonetheless impressive village, the main draw of the Magnus Cathedral was unfortunately covered in scaffolding, part of a project to dry out the walls (a difficult task given the Faroes climate) as the first part of a major restoration. There are controversial plans to add a roof to the cathedral (edit: as of 2005 when I first wrote this – anyone know if this happened or is happening?) It’s an amazing building, was very struck by the very thick walls and it’s done well to (at least mostly) survive against the Faroese weather all these years.
I also saw Roykstovan, which is apparently the oldest inhabited log building in Europe – quite a claim. There was also a modern church.
My feet were feeling alright so I decided to walk the three or four miles back to Torshavn. Back in town I walked past the Vesturkirkja church, unfortunately closed, an the museum of natural history. There was some interesting material about the geology of the islands, though it was all a bit dry, and none of the potentially more interesting stuff about the animals on the island was in English. Still, at only 20Kr entry I wasn’t too disappointed.
It’s been a pretty good day weather wise, and I was able to check the forecast using the free internet at the national library and it looks like this will continue. My first soaked night in Shetland still lingers in the memory though and I’ve a feeling I’ll experience some proper Faroese weather before too long.
I’d had enough sightseeing for the day so heading to Cafe Natur for a beer, had a Faroese dark beer which was pretty good. Then I went to Cleopatras Bar, described by my guidebook as “a good place for a midweek drink” but at 8 o’clock on such a midweek night I was the only one in there. Perhaps I need to get out of my English (early) drinking habits and adopt a more continental attitude.