INSTRUCTIONS: FOR THE MOST MAGNIFICENT AND BREATHTAKING TRAVEL EXPERIENCE OF YOUR LIFE –
1. BOOK A FLIGHT TO THE FAROE ISLANDS.
2. BOOK A RENTAL CAR.
3. BOOK A HOTEL.
4. DRIVE AROUND LIKE A PERSON POSSESSED, TAKING HUNDREDS OF PHOTOS PER DAY OF WATERFALLS, BAYS, LOW CLOUDS, THE ATLANTIC OCEAN, SOUNDS, ISLANDS, SHEEP, TURF-COVERED HOUSES………
Q: Which place is greener than Ireland, since it gets so many days of rain? A: The Faroe Islands. We have a new answer to the often-asked question: What is your favorite place on earth, having done so much traveling? The answer is, and probably always will be – the Faroe Islands.
We have never been in a place like this. It is hard to ever turn off the camera, as traveling down a highway or any small road is just filled with scenes that you must photograph! There are waterfalls every 50 feet or so while driving on the major thoroughfares. There are glimpses of bays, surrounded by mountains, and some with islands, and some islands with rings of clouds around them. But 30 minutes later, when driving back past the same scenes (because lots of small roads are dead-ends), there will be no clouds, and then the scene needs to be photographed all over again! It is wild, it is undeveloped, it is all pretty much left as it has always been, with little change and stunning nature everywhere. We have never seen anything like it.
The Faroe Islands likely got its name from ancient words for “sheep” and “islands” – Islands of the Sheep. (The Faroe Islands’ Coat of Arms consists of a blue shield with a white ram!) The sheep are ubiquitous, to be sure. They have the run of the roads and hillsides and shoulders and beaches. We even saw a Highland Cow blocking the road for a while! The Faroe Islands archipelago is an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark. Situated in the North Atlantic, the Faroes are just about midway between Norway and Iceland. The population is 54,000 people, and a quarter of that number live in Torshavn, the capital city. Many of the villages we visited have 50 residents or fewer. There are a total of 18 islands, 17 of which are inhabited. They are well-connected by a series of tunnels, bridges, roads, and ferries, so it is very easy to drive among them. Some of the tunnels and some of the roads charge tolls, but they charge automatically to our rental car, so we have no idea how much our gallivanting will cost us. But we would say that it doesn’t matter – it is all so breathtaking and mesmerizing, that any amount we are paying is so worth it. We have run into small, one-lane roads that are built with occasional “pull-outs.” Whichever car is closest to the pull-out veers into it until the other car passes. If neither car is near one, a car will back up to the previous pull-out to allow the other car passage. It works fine.
As you will see in our photographs, many of the building have turf growing on them. They have been building that way for 1,000 years and still do it. Even our modern multistory hotel has turf on the roof. We read that it provides insulation and helps absorb the copious precipitation, helping to keep the soil around buildings from becoming waterlogged by runoff. It also looks quaint as heck.
It has been in the 50s, Fahrenheit, for our entire summer stay so far…but that is the typical temperature for this time of year. Many people are out with hats, gloves, boots, and coats, but we are more moderate. Jan wears an all-weather coat and Mike wears his usual short-sleeved shirts and shorts. He gets a few glances, but nobody says anything, of course. More to come – these photos are only from our first day!
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