‘In the middle of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere’ – that was the description of our location as we journeyed by coach from our floating home from home MS Braemar. I had been expecting spectacular scenery, tick, the usual comforts of our favourite ship, tick, and less than tropical weather, tick! However, our sail from Dover had been blessed with calm seas and a following wind so the two days spent reaching the Faroes had been a very pleasant mix of winding down after a hectic time at work, finding a quiet spot to catch up on reading – and enjoying seeing our hardworking yet ever cheerful friends among the crew.
We sailed in the capital of the Faroes, Torshavn, early in the morning and it was a delight, the little red and white houses, some of the older houses with turf roofs, and a busy harbour full of purpose and bustle. It was also really windy, my rather elegant oilcloth hat proved of no use whatsoever and was unceremoniously bundled into my rucksack -and lovely and well prepared husband provided a woolly alternative, might not look great but hey I had warm ears and my hair wasn’t whipping about like a demented medusa, what’s not to like!
We enjoyed our walk around this very small capital – it was a testimony to where it was, no room for fancy and decorative but the practical was executed in a way that rendered it full of integrity and in fact very pretty. It reminded me a bit of a 50’s children’s town toy, colourful square houses, green, green grass and people doing the everyday stuff, fisherman, dustmen, delivery vans all spic and span and purposeful, no dawdling about just getting on with it!
There were some lovely items on sale, wools and felt and glass and ceramics – not cheap but not tourist tat either and I am sure pairs of gloves and woolly hats found their way back on board! We found a warm and cosy coffee shop on the harbour. as the door opened a smell of coffee and fresh bread escaped so we found a corner, got our coffee and watched the Faroese world go by. Bread is obviously a really important staple and it looked delicious as we watched the locals tucking into rolls and jam for a mid morning snack – really good coffee too, and as many refills as you want for the cost of a cup – yeah, my kind of place.
The afternoon was spent touring on with a coach – I am not a huge fan of coach trips but when one has a day and want to see as much as possible it is best to go with the flow – and the experts! We were amazed by the isolation of some of the communities, life lived in a very different way from anything we know, totally self sufficient and pared back. Our delightful young guide was immensely amusing about his island life – comments such as ‘I haf no idea why they live here, must be near a pizzeria!!’
The rain rained and the wind blew but in a way it added to the mood of the places we visited, snug turf roofs, beds built into the walls by the fireplace for extra warmth, and the ability to make and use to its best what is at hand – skills we have lost. The church we visited had small model boats hanging from the roof, testament to parishioners who went out to fish, and didn’t come home and we went back to the ship with a great admiration for these islands and their people – and the guide did remind us that their team beat Greece at football!
Much more to tell and photos to share- been a while since the last blog, BT decided to cut us off for days and then I went on hols but back now and trying to get the photo thing sorted so they appear in nice little blocks, doh, sorry!
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