So if you read our last post, you know that we are besotted with the Faroe Islands. Within 10 minutes of starting our drive to Torshavn from the airport, we were saying that this was where Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones should have been filmed. It is beautiful and wild and feels ancient because it is so untouched and natural.
Torshavn, where we have been staying, is on the island of Streymoy, and on one day trip we traveled to the northernmost point of the island along with a village to its south. The views along the way were heavenly, too. This truly is a place where the journey matters just as much as the destination. We have been taking photos out of our moving car every inch of the way.
Our first destination was Tjornuvik at the northern end. The road there was mostly one lane, with pull-outs when a car approached from the other direction. However, we had gradually driven up a mountain to get there, and there was a final wide horseshoe bend that reached out over….nothingness. Past travelers said it was hair-raising when driving that bend, only to have a car approach from the opposite direction: WHO was going to drive in reverse, around the bend on a cliff? But they have solved the problem. As you approach the horseshoe bend, there is now a traffic light with a countdown clock, so that one side waits while the other goes. Our light was red, and our countdown wait time was at 4 minutes, 41 seconds. So we turned off the engine to wait for the green light, grateful that we wouldn’t have to back up!!!
Arriving in Tjornuvik, we inadvertently drove right past a sign that said “Residents only beyond this point,” which is to preserve their quality of life. There was even a parking lot just before this sign, but we missed all of it. The village sits at the end of a bay that is known for…..surfing! The waves here do crazy things sometimes, and then everyone is out on a surfboard, in the freezing water and biting wind. On the day we visited, though, it was pretty quiet and looked uninhabited. There was a picnic table with a sign, “Coffee and Waffles,” but not on this day – everything was closed up tight – no chance for a cup of coffee. We wandered around the turf-covered houses, along the beach, and then we discovered the “no cars allowed” sign, where there was a delightful stream. It was a very quiet place!
Next on our itinerary was the village of Saksun (we presume it is an alternate spelling of Saxon). Population: 11. That is not a typo; there are eleven people who live in this wonderland. There is a feeling of remoteness and beauty that is hard to shake off. The lagoon fills with ocean water twice a day. On one side is a turf-covered church. On the other is a small red house and…a waterfall, in the “Land of 10,000 Waterfalls.” Oh, and we should mention also – in every description we give of the Faroe Islands, there are always, always – sheep! They are everywhere. Anyway – the story that is interesting in Saksun concerns Johan Jogvansson, whose red house we highlighted in the last photo below. He has the quintessentially perfect view of the lagoon, but got tired of tourists tramping through his yard and disturbing his peace. He finally decided to do something, and installed a turnstile with a credit card reader to charge people to get to the beach across his property. It costs $11 US, and if you skip over and don’t pay, the fine is $145 US. He is famous for a sign in the parking lot in 2018: “This is not Disneyland. Tourists, go home.” We wisely avoided the area of his home, took our photos, and left. With only 11 residents, there obviously are no coffee shops or restaurants!
As you will see, though, the beauty of this wild and wonderful place grows on you. We asked the people at the reception desk if they become used to it all. Of course, they said yes, but added – It is when we travel somewhere else, then come back, when we are struck by how beautiful it all is. Even though we haven’t yet left, we are looking forward to our return.
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