Tuesday October 20th, 2015
I woke up feeling much better than the morning prior. Breakfast was being served in the hotel, and it was quite an elaborate spread. The main export in the Faroes is seafood, especially salmon, so I tried several different kinds of fish and meat. After finishing my meal, I walked outside and there were several fish hanging up to dry out, a traditional Scandic method.
I drove down to the harbour and walked up a walled portion of the old town. Everything was covered in bright green grass. This area was actually an old fort called Skansin built in 1580 to ward off pirate attacks. The top of the fort is a good place to look across the harbour, or across the water to the outlying islands. I enjoyed strolling along the edges of the wall, since the sun was coming out between the clouds. Afterwards, I walked back to the coffee shop, which also is attached to a store that sells handmade Faroese items. When I was finished there, I drove back to the hostel to be picked up by Jøgvan and Bjørt. We were going to drive to some places of historical significance, and this ended up being my favorite part of my time here. First, we headed to Kirkjubøur, home to several ancient structures and has ties dating as far back as the Viking ages. the ruins of the Magnus Cathedral, built in 1300, stand close to the shore, with the St Olavs Church nearby. The church was founded in the 12th century and is the oldest church in the Faroe Islands. It is also still in use! If those ancient structures weren’t enough, right next to them is Kirkjubøargarður, the oldest still inhabited house in the world. It was built in the 11th century, and also serves as a museum with several relics on display. Anyone wanting to see just how the Faroese lived in the ancient times should visit the home, it is the equivalent to visiting the colonial era Jamestown in the USA.
After leaving Kirkjubøur, we drove north across the island of Streymoy, and through the Saksun valley. The valley itself is unique in that its one of the few places you can drive through in the country and not see the water, and that on one side of the valley the weather can be different than the other side, even though both are visible from one another. At the end of the valley is the village of Saksun, which was one of the most scenic places I have ever been to. Just the combination of the landscape, the shifting clouds, and the old church located just on the edge of a hill combined for quite an incredible view. There is a small waterfall that trickles down on one side of the valley, which opens up into a saltwater lagoon that long ago became shut off from the ocean except during high tides. The church itself was actually built in a nearby town on the other side of the ridge, disassembled, and then marched piece by piece to Saksun, where it stands today.
Our trip back to Tórshavn was filled with lots of information about the sights along the way, and the Faroes in general. This is truly a remarkable country and I intend to pick up as much literature as I can find about the islands. When we made it back to the hostel, Bjørt introduced us to one of her friends that works there (I think she knows everyone in the capital somehow haha) and we had coffee and hung out for a bit. Later that night, I had fish dinner cooked by Bjørt at her townhome that she shares with her 89 year old grandmother, who is one of the sweetest people I have met and still very sharp. Another fact, the Faroe Islands has the longest life expectancy in the world! After having dinner and talking for a few hours, it was time for me to head back to my hostel and rest up for my last day in the Faroes. I really hope I get to see my friends again soon, once again during my travels I have found that its the people I meet abroad that I end up having a great connection with.