Vestmanna, Streymoy, Faroe Islands (Føroyar)

We sailed out form the small town of Vestmanna on Streymoy’s northwest coast of the Atlantic Ocean in a sightseeing boat to tour the coastal Vestmannabjørgini (Vestmanna Birdcliffs and Grottos), Faroe Islands

We sailed out from the small town of Vestmanna on Streymoy’s northwest coast of the Atlantic Ocean in a sightseeing boat to tour the coastal Vestmannabjørgini (Vestmanna Birdcliffs and Grottos), Faroe Islands

 

Our grandchildren traveling with us wanted to see more puffins, particularly in their nesting grounds.  So we arranged for a taxi to drive us all up 15 miles (24 kilometers) from our ship’s dock on the island of Streymoy to the small town of Vestmanna on the island’s northwest coast of the Atlantic Ocean.  There we had booked tickets on a two-hour sightseeing and cruising boat to tour the coastal Vestmannabjørgini (Vestmanna Birdcliffs and Grottos).  The boat tour took us through magnificent grottos and past North Atlantic cliffs soaring over 1,500 feet (457 meters) high.  The kids were thrilled to see thousands of guillemots, fulmars, kittewakes, and other seabirds, including a handful of the elusive puffns (whose numbers are greatly diminished over the past few decades according to news reports) nesting during the summer months amid a setting of moss-blanketed cliffs and reflecting waters.

 

Sailing out of the Vestmanna Bay, we passed many picturesque homes on the shore, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Sailing out of the Vestmanna Bay, we passed many picturesque homes on the shore, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

At the edge of Vestmanna Bay were a series of boat houses built some time ago for the local fishing boats, Vestmanna, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

At the edge of Vestmanna Bay were a series of boat houses built some time ago for the local fishing boats, Vestmanna, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

A salmon fish farm in Vestmanna Bay, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

A salmon farm in Vestmanna Bay, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

Sailing out of Vestmanna Bay, we got our first glimpse of the North Atlantic cliffs soaring over 1,500 feet (457 meters) high, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Sailing out of Vestmanna Bay, we got our first glimpse of the North Atlantic cliffs soaring over 1,500 feet (457 meters) high, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

Along the cliffs were many naturally carved entrances to caves and grottos, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Along the cliffs were many naturally carved entrances to caves and grottos, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

The view of the ocean from inside one of the many grottos we explored along the coast, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

The view of the ocean from inside one of the many grottos we explored along the coast, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

Later in the afternoon the clouds descended on the cliffs, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Later in the afternoon the clouds descended on the cliffs, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

The natural erosion of the cliffs left some very jagged peaks along the coast, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

The natural erosion of the cliffs left some very jagged peaks along the coast, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eysturoy, Faroe Islands (Føroyar)

“Risin & Kellingin” (the Giant and the Witch) are stone stacks off the island mountain of Eiðiskollur on the northwest coast of Eysturoy that are the remains of two mythical Icelanders who wanted to steal the Faroes and return them to Iceland

“Risin & Kellingin” (the Giant and the Witch) are stone stacks off the island mountain of Eiðiskollur on the northwest coast of Eysturoy that are the remains of two mythical Icelanders who wanted to steal the Faroes and return them to Iceland

 

After visiting Saksun on the main island, Streymoy of the Faroe Islands, we were driven across the bridge linking Streymoy to Eysturoy, meaning “East Island.”  The volcanic island is the second largest of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic.  “The only bridge over the North Atlantic” — it is sometimes called – the Streymin Bridge over the sound spans the narrow channel of Sundini to connect Eysturoy with the larger island of Streymoy.  On the way to our destination, the town of Gjógv. we stopped at an overlook to see the rock formations in the Atlantic Ocean known as “the Giant and the Witch” on the headlands.

 

“Once upon a time, an Icelandic chief witch sent a giant and his wife, a witch, to the Faroe Islands to steal the islands and bring them back to Iceland. Off they went in the dusk and arrived in the north-westernmost part of the Faroe Islands. They decided to tie a rope around a mountain called Eiðiskollur, and pull the Faroe Islands towards Iceland.  They struggled and worked hard to get the rope in place. Their first attempt was unsuccessful because part of the mountain split. However, they were determined and worked all night to make it work.  Like all creatures of the night, the giant and the witch knew they had to hide before the sun came up, for fear of being turned into stone. This particular night, they were so pre-occupied with their task that they failed to notice the first beams of sunlight appearing on the dark horizon. Inevitably, they were turned into stone. Ever since, the giant and the witch have stood, staring westward, longing for their home country.” — https://visitfaroeislands.com/place/risin-kellingin/

 

A farmer’s barn on the island of Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

A farmer’s barn on the island of Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

The view from the high road (near Slaettaratindur, the highest point in the Foares) of Funningsfjørdur (fjord), Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

The view from the high road (near Slaettaratindur, the highest point in the Foares) of Funningsfjørdur (fjord), Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

The small town of Gjógv, on the coast with a beautiful mountain backdrop, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

The small town of Gjógv, on the coast with a beautiful mountain backdrop, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

Note the traditional sod roof on the Hotel Gjáagaróur, Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

Note the traditional sod roof on the Hotel Gjáagaróur, Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

Whimsical figures hand made by a grandmother for her front yard for the delight of the town’s children when walking by, Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

Whimsical figures hand made by a grandmother for her front yard for the delight of the town’s children when walking by, Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

A panorama of the bay at the foot of Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

A panorama of the bay at the foot of Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

The beautiful setting on the coast of Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

The beautiful setting on the coast of Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

A bridge over a stream by homes overlooking the coastline in Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

A bridge over a stream by homes overlooking the coastline in Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

Families enjoying the local pond on a warm summer Sunday in Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

Families enjoying the local pond on a warm summer Sunday in Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

The scene upstream from the bridge in Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

The scene upstream from the bridge in Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Hike local: Saksun, Streymoy, Faroe Islands (Føroyar)

One of the most scenic towns in the Faroe Islands is the small village (population 14) of Saksun in the northwest of the most populated island, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

One of the most scenic towns in the Faroe Islands is the small village (population 14) of Saksun in the northwest of the most populated island, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

In order to see some of the natural highlights of the various islands making up the archipelago of the Faroe Islands, we hired a local car and driver.  In the time we had, we only explored the two largest islands, Streymoy (where we were docked at Kollafjørõur, about 12 miles (19 km) north of the capital city, Tórshavn, and the island to the east (connected by a modern bridge over the fjord), Eysturoy.  Note that the next adjacent islands, Vagar and Bordoy, are connected via toll roads through underwater tunnels.

 

Saksun is splendidly set in a natural circular amphitheatre high above a tidal lagoon, Streymoy, Faroe Islands; we enjoyed hiking around the village and part way up the mountain side to view a waterfall

Saksun is splendidly set in a natural circular amphitheatre high above a tidal lagoon, Streymoy, Faroe Islands; we enjoyed hiking around the village and part way up the mountain side to view a waterfall

 

“Splendidly set in a natural circular amphitheatre high above a tidal lagoon, Saksun is a wonderfully remote hillside village and is one of the most worthwhile destinations in the country.  Known for its tranquil atmosphere, the tiny village of 14 inhabitants offers amazing views of the surrounding mountains.  In the fjord, at the foot of the village, is a lagoon.   At low tide, it is possible to walk along the sandy shore of the lagoon around the headland.  The village includes a church, built in 1858, and Dúvugarðar, an active sheep farm which also functions as a museum.“ — https://visitfaroeislands.com/place/saksun/

 

Near the lagoon at Saksun is a church from the mid-1800s that was relocated to its present position after being disassembled in a nearby town and carried over the mountain and reassembled, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Near the lagoon at Saksun is a church from the mid-1800s that was relocated to its present position after being disassembled in a nearby town and carried over the mountain and reassembled, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

“Saksun lies in the bottom of what used to be an inlet of the sea, surrounded by high mountains. The inlet formed a good deep natural harbour, until a storm blocked it with sand. The old harbour become an unaccessible seawater lagoon, only accessible by small boats on high tide.“ — Wikipedia

 

The church was set up in a spectacular setting, near the lagoon under the surrounding mountain, Saksun, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

The church was set up in a spectacular setting, near the lagoon under the surrounding mountain, Saksun, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

“The church was originally built in Tjørnuvik but in 1858 it was disassembled, carried over the mountains and reassembled in Saksun.”  — Wikipedia

 

A small cemetery is at the rear of the church in Saksun, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

A small cemetery is at the rear of the church in Saksun, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

Above Saksun are great hiking trails that go up and over the mountain to neighboring towns; we hiked up to a waterfall above the village; Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Above Saksun are great hiking trails that go up and over the mountain to neighboring towns; we hiked up to a waterfall above the village; Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

Visitors are welcome at the Dúvugarður sheep farm and the trails around Saksun, but they ask for respect (Virøing in Faroese) when on the trails, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Visitors are welcome at the Dúvugarður sheep farm and the trails around Saksun, but they ask for respect (Virøing in Faroese) when on the trails, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

Two of the 700 sheep on the Dúvugarður sheep farm in Saksun, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Two of the 700 sheep on the Dúvugarður sheep farm in Saksun, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

In the center of Saksun (population 14) is a 17th century Viking farmhouse (the left, white section of the long structure in the center of the photograph) called Dúvugarður, part of the Dúvugarður sheep farm

In the center of Saksun (population 14) is a 17th century Viking farmhouse (the left, white section of the long structure in the center of the photograph) called Dúvugarður, part of the Dúvugarður sheep farm with approximately 700 ewes; note the sod roofs on the older buildings

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat local: Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (Føroyar)

Frumbiti Restaurant in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, focuses on offering the bounty that the Faroese nature has to offer -- the menu features both classic and seasonally inspired dishes from locally sourced meats, fish and vegetables

Frumbiti Restaurant in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, focuses on offering the bounty that the Faroese nature has to offer — the menu features both classic and seasonally inspired dishes from locally sourced meats, fish and vegetables

 

We had a nice introduction to some Faroese cuisine with a small family dinner at Frumbiti Restaurant in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.  The two-month old restaurant on the ground floor of a hotel in the center of the city focuses on offering “the bounty that the Faroese nature has to offer.  The menu features both classic and seasonally inspired dishes from locally sourced meats, fish and vegetables.”  Their philosophy is the same as the concepts behind so-called “California Cuisine” inaugurated by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse (restaurant) in Berkeley, California, USA, in the early 1970s.  We all enjoyed the really fresh cuisine and appreciated the introduction to Faroese dining – with our small group sharing the dishes.

 

A first course of a cold salad of local haddock, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

A first course of a cold smoked salad of local haddock, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

 

A first course of a yellow and green zucchini salad with herbs and orange slices, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

A first course of a yellow and green zucchini salad with herbs and orange slices, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

 

A first course of local salmon tartar with a delicious homemade mayonnaise topped with lemon peel and pepper, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands; this was our favorite starter

A first course of local salmon tartar with a delicious homemade mayonnaise topped with lemon zest and pepper, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands; this was our favorite starter

 

A side dish of sliced cucumber and green apple salad with fresh herbs, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

A side dish of sliced cucumber and green apple salad with fresh herbs, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

 

A side dish of pan roasted local potatoes, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands – really delicious, with a crusty skin and soft insides

A side dish of pan roasted local potatoes, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands – really delicious, with a crusty skin and soft insides

 

A main course of pan sautéed shredded local lamb with vegetables, Frumbiti Rest., Tórshavn, Faroe Islands; our favorite main, with excellent flavors and a nice contrast between the crunchy top of the lamb and the juicy shredded lamb below

A main course of pan sautéed shredded local lamb with vegetables, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands; our favorite main course, with excellent flavors and a nice contrast between the crunchy top of the lamb and the juicy shredded lamb below

 

A main course of seafood chowder with a slice of homemade bread, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands; a nice array of local fish and shellfish in an excellent broth

A main course of seafood chowder with a slice of homemade bread, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands; a nice array of local fish and shellfish in an excellent broth

 

A main course of Reydsprøka, the local fish in a delicious sauce and a garbanzo bean salad underneath, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

A main course of Reydsprøka, the local fish in a delicious sauce and a garbanzo bean salad underneath, Frumbiti Restaurant, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

 

As we walked back from the center of town to catch a ride at the ferry terminal, back to our ship in port about 12 miles (19 kilometers) north, we passed the harbor with reflections of the harbor buildings and beautiful twilight sky colors

As we walked back from the center of town to catch a ride at the ferry terminal, back to our ship in port about 12 miles (19 kilometers) north, we passed the harbor with reflections of the harbor buildings and beautiful twilight sky colors

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Kollafjørõur and Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (Føroyar)

The port town of Kollafjørõur – where we docked -- served as our port of entry to the island’s capital and largest town, Tórshavn, along with the neighboring islands

The port town of Kollafjørõur – where we docked — served as our port of entry to the islands’ capital and largest town, Tórshavn, along with the neighboring islands that were accessible by vehicle over one bridge and several toll tunnels along with boats and ferries, Faroe Islands

 

From Ireland we sailed north towards Iceland and Greenland, stopping for two and a half days in the beautiful Faroe Islands.  Our docking port was in the town of Kollafjørõur, serving as the entry to the island’s capital and largest town, Tórshavn.  The port of Kollafjørõur is at the western end of a spectacular fjord (also named Kollafjørõur) on the island of Streymoy, on the edge of the village with a population of around 800.

 

The port of Kollafjørõur is at the western end of a spectacular fjord (also named Kollafjørõur) on the island of Streymo, Faroe Islands

The port of Kollafjørõur is at the western end of a spectacular fjord (also named Kollafjørõur) on the island of Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

The Faroe Islands is a self-governing archipelago, part of the Kingdom of Denmark.  It comprises 18 rocky, volcanic islands located 320 kilometers (200 miles) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway and Iceland in the North Atlantic Ocean, connected by road tunnels, ferries, causeways and bridges.  Hikers and bird-watchers are drawn to the islands’ mountains, valleys and grassy heathland, and steep coastal cliffs that harbor thousands of seabirds.  The terrain is rugged; the climate is subpolar oceanic climate — windy, wet, cloudy, and cool.  Temperatures average above freezing throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream.  Between 1035 and 1814, the Faroes were part of the Hereditary Kingdom of Norway, which was in a personal union with Denmark from 1450.  In 1814 the Treaty of Kiel transferred Norway to the king of Sweden, on the winning side of the Napoleonic wars, whereas the king of Denmark, on the losing side, retained the Faroes, along with the two other historical Norwegian island possessions in the North Atlantic: Greenland and Iceland.  The Faroe Islands [population about 50,000 people and 80,000 sheep] have been a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. — Wikipedia

 

Note how the homes are along the shore of the fjord, not further up the mountains edging along the fjord, Kollafjørõur, Streymo, Faroe Islands

Note how the homes are along the shore of the fjord, not further up the mountains edging along the fjord, Kollafjørõur, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

A request for tourists to respect the neighborhood of old sod homes (see next photograph) near the ferry terminal in the capital city of Tórshavn (population 13,000), Streymo, Faroe Islands

A request for tourists to respect the neighborhood of old sod homes (see next photograph) near the ferry terminal in the capital city of Tórshavn (population 13,000), Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

Due to the extremely high winds (all year long), older homes in the Faroe Islands had sod roofs (locally referred to as “turf-roofed”), as the weight and vegetation were strong enough to avoid having the roof (e.g., wood, tiles, etc.) blown off

Due to the extremely high winds (all year long), older homes in the Faroe Islands had sod roofs (locally referred to as “turf-roofed”), as the weight and vegetation were strong enough to avoid having the roof (e.g., wood, tiles, etc.) blown off, Tórshavn, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

 

The harbor before sunset at Tórshavn, Streymo, Faroe Islands (#1)

The harbor before sunset at Tórshavn, Streymoy, Faroe Islands (#1)

 

“Located in the Northeast Atlantic, the Faroe Islands comprise 18 small islands, characterised by steep cliffs, tall mountains, narrow fjords – and a population of 50,000.   The Faroese language derives from Old Norse, which was spoken by the Norsemen who settled the islands 1200 years ago.  Through the centuries, the Faroese have defied the harsh nature and living conditions.  Enduring today is a nation in which the living standard is one of the highest in the world. A highly industrial economy mainly based on fisheries and aquaculture continues to flourish, while a Nordic welfare model ensures everyone the opportunity to explore his or her own potential.  Faroese maritime expertise is widely renowned and the Faroe Islands export seafood to all six continents.   Positioned strategically between Europe and North America, the Faroe Islands are only a couple of hours flight from the metropolitan centres in Northern Europe.  Upon arrival, the scenery renders visitors a ravishing natural experience in a society with advanced infrastructure and digital networks.” — www.faroeislands.fo

 

The harbor before sunset at Tórshavn, Streymo, Faroe Islands (#2)

The harbor before sunset at Tórshavn, Streymoy, Faroe Islands (#2)

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.