Last Days in København

The ferry from the Faroe Islands dropped me off in Hirtshals, Denmark two days later where I caught the train to Copenhagen. I spent the last days of my one month trip exploring the fantastic streets of Copenhagen before I left on my 13 hour flight back to the States.

If you have the time I would also suggest taking the free three hour walking tour of the city with Sandemans which makes it super easy to meet travelers, like yourself, while showing you all the hot spots of the city.

I spent most of my time in Copenhagen on Nyhavn, the popular 17th century waterfront, where you are more than welcome to bring your own bottle of wine, people watch, and sketch till the sun goes down. 

On my ferry ride back from the Faroes, I ran into Trondur Patturson, the very man I was reading about in The Brendan Voyage! With glass-like seas and the sun shining we shared stories on the top deck of the voyages he’s accompanied Tim Sevrin on including The China Expedition, where they sailed a bamboo raft across the Pacific Ocean to test the theory of the Asian mariners reaching America some 2,000 years ago.

Along with the stories Trondur also gave me a book of his world-famous art work, an open door for visiting in the Faroes and told me of a place in Copenhagen he built(shown above). You can see what this structure looks like from the outside here, but as you can see, the inside is quite beautiful with its stain glass windows and mirror floors creates some abyss of blue. If you ever happen to be in Copenhagen I highly suggest visiting the museum of the North which includes all things Greenland, Iceland, Denmark and the Faroe Islands. If you ask the front for the key they will allow you to see Trondur’s structure(above) out back of the museum as well.

The pictures below are of the amazing Generator Hostel that I stayed in for a whopping $14/night. This place has a number of hang out rooms, library, breakfast, bar, a huge terrace and is one block away from the most popular street in Copenhagen… not to mention the price eh?

The travels have been fantastic, but now as my pockets are empty this will probably be the last blog until they are filled. Thanks for all of you who followed along as I hope you found one thing worth your time on my blog! Until next time… 

 Skál!

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Bei Bei Faroe Islands

It saddens me to say my time in the Faroe Islands is coming to an end. It’s been the most memorable trip having met so many nice Faroese locals. They’ve envied me into their home and fed me me traditional meals of whale blubber, fermented fish, dried pilot whale, musk cox and more. I’ve been so lucky to have experienced the Faroe Islands in such an authentic way and will be sure to be back for more.

Takk fyri stuttleikan!

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

 Tórshavn Harbor

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

Houses in Tórshavn

I’ve fallen completely in love with the homes here in Tórshavn.

Here are a few pictures of my favorites around town:

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru

miðvágur

Harriet, Marjun and I all made our way to the most beautiful Island I’ve seen yet, Vagar.

We went on a two hour all-seasons ride. Not kidding either. While on our ride, we encountered rain, snow, sun and the in-between. It’s weather I’ve never seen anywhere else, that’s for sure.

We had both Faroese and Icelandic ponies on our ride. We also had the pleasure of a sweet border collie to accompany us on the ride. During our ride she would run the trail to be sure everything that lay ahead be safe. She even managed to dodge falling off of a steep ledge once… a true Faroese dog indeed.

All in all it was a beautiful day. We ended the evening with Harriet’s family, enjoying a fantastic musk cox dinner from her father’s hunt in Greenland.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Gásadalur & Tindhólmur

Gásadalur or Goose Valley is thought to be named after the wild geese, which from ancient times have travelled to the valley. The legend however is that the village was named after Gæsa from Kirkjubøur who, from eating meat during Lent, lost everything and fled to the valley on Vágar.

Tindhólmur is an uninhabited islet on the southside of Sørvágsfjørður, west of Vágar. It has its name from the five peaks, which are called Ytsti(Farthest), Arni(Eagle), Lítli(Small), Breiði(Broad), and Bogdi(Bent).

Legend has it that a family once lived on Tindhólmur. One day when the father was out to sea fishing and eagle came in, snatched the child and carried it to its nest.

The mother went to rescue its child from the high nest, but was too late for the eagle had plucked one of it’s eyes out and later died from injuries. The family then moved off the island.

The story may just be a myth, but there have been facts in the past regarding the story while one of the tallest of the peaks remains named Arni… or Eagle.

Kirkjubøur

Another lovely day in the Faroe Islands. With the wind, fog, rain, snow you’ll see all four seasons in one day here. Sanna, a friend made on the ferry, and I decided to take advantage of the five minute sun and get out on a little road trip.

Kirkjubøur (Land of the Church or King’s Land) is the southernmost village on Streymoy. It is the Faroe Islands most important historical site being known as the spiritual centre of the society in the Middle Ages. Above is Saint Olav’s Church from the 12th century.

The black, red and blue house is the oldest inhabited wooden house in the world and dates back to the 11th century. If you haven’t noticed by my photos yet, the Faroe Islands don’t have trees. The legend of this wooden house was that the wood used to build it came as driftwood from Norway.

The 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Since the land is now owned by the Faroese government, the continuing generations of the Paturssons are  tenants of Kirkjubøargarður. One of them, Tróndur Patursson (born 1944), great-grandson of Jóannes, artist and adventurer, happens to be my favorite Faroese artist.

Kirkjubøargarður holds sheep, cattle and ponies.  During winter season the locals can also hunt hare. If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood, be sure to drop by for a cup of coffee and some fresh mutton from the farmers.

More Tórshavn

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

Tórshavn

It’s been exactly one week since I’ve been in the Faroe Islands. The majority of my time  has been spent in the bustling capital,  Tórshavn. The proper city has 13,000 people which is by far the biggest community in all of the Faroe Islands.

Outside of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, you’ll find there’s quite a bit to see in Tórshavn. The first I would recommend it the old parliament buildings. Vikings were the first to establish the parliament in 850 CE. With their matching bright red color and grass roofs this is something you won’t see anywhere else.

Just a small walk around the corner from these houses is my favorite outlook onto the island of Nólsoy. Sanna Nolsøe, my new Faroese friend and personal tour guide, holds the name Nolsøe which is actually the Danish name for Nólsoy. With that, she tells the story of Páll Nolsøe below:

“One of the most famous people from Nólsoy is Páll Nolsøe or Nólsoyar Páll, who was the first to build a schooner on the Faroe Islands. Before him the schooners were bought used from abroad. The schooner was built in Suðuroy(the southernmost island) on a place called Fløtan Fríða(The Beautiful Meadow). The schooner was called Royndin Fríða which means the Beautiful Experiment/Achievement. Since the Faroe Islands don’t have wood here, Nolsøe bought the wood from another ship that had collided close to the islands. He was a pioneer in sailing, was the first to perform vaccines in the Faroe Islands(against the pox), and one of the first to begin free trading between the islands and Denmark .”

Tórshavn has the uniqueness unlike any other place I’ve seen before. When you walk these streets it’s as if you’re in Peter Pan and if you walk five minutes outside of town you find yourself in J.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

One of my favorite places in all of  Tórshavn is the Tórshavn Cathedral. It’s the second oldest of the churches here in the Faroes. Established in 1788 it’s painted white, gold and has a slate roof.

And last but not least, the beer. The Faroe Islands has two breweries, Føroya Bjór & Okkara. Tórshavn actually has a large number of amazing bars and pubs. My favorite however is the Irish Pub(shown below). With cluttered windows of old antiques, friendly bar tenders and a pretty sweet menu this place has all the right makings for a pub. I almost forgot to mention that they have karaoke on the weekends… an absolute must do in the Faroe Islands!

Here’s a quick video of all the different colored houses here in Tórshavn:

Risin og Kellingin

Risin og Kellingin, otherwise known as the giant and the witch, are to basalt pillars that rise out of the ocean and soar over 300ft into the air. These rocks are one of many on my to-do list for on my visit here in the Faroe Islands so Harriet, John and I all hopped in the car and headed towards the island of Eysturoy.

On our drive we encountered many trolls, hags and oagres, but my favorite of all the islands are of course… the sheep! Actually, the meaning of Faroe Islands(Faroese: Føroyar) comes from Saint Brendan who had visited the islands around 512-530. He named two of the islands Sheep Island and Paradise Island of Birds. There are two hiding in the picture below…

These islands were settled in the 6th century by Gaelic hermits and monks from a Hiberno-Scottish mission and introduced the early Irish language. Saint Brendan, otherwise known as “the Navigator”, “the Voyager” or “the Bold” was an early Irish monastic saint. He was to have said to set sail with an ox hide boat on the Atlantic in search for the blessed land or the Garden of Eden. In that journey he came across the Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland and many more. Legend also has it that he made it to America which would make him the first European in America.

There’s many different versions of where Saint Brendan actually sailed, however, Tim Sevrin in 1976 built a replica of Brendan’s currach. He used traditional tools, Irish ash and oak, hand-lashed together with nearly two miles of leather thong, wrapped with 49 traditionally tanned ox hides, and sealed with wool grease. Between May 1976 and June 1977, Severin and his crew sailed the Brendan 4,500 miles from Ireland to Peckford Island,Newfoundland, stopping at the Hebrides and Iceland en route. He used his recreation of the journey to bring a realism to many legendary elements of the story: the Island of Sheep, the “Paradise of Birds,” pillars of crystal, mountains that hurled rocks at voyagers, and the Promised Land. You must read Sevrin’s account of the expedition via his book, The Voyage of the Brendan. I’m about three quarters through and it’s all I can do, but to put it down.

Along the drive you’ll see many different forms of wildlife on the road anywhere from swans, sheep, geese and ponies. The one in the photo above is one of the Faroese ponies. They’re much smaller, fatter and more temperamental than Icelandic ponies. However, they’re still ponies and had he of fit in my suitcase he would have made the perfect souvenir.

And finally, just minutes before dark we made it to the Giant and the Witch.

The legend of Risin og Kellingin is that they were giants from Iceland who came to the Faroe Islands. After being struck with the same beauty as I from the islands, they were determined  to drag them back to Iceland with them.

The Giant and his wife the witch reached the north-westernmost mountain of Eiðiskollur. The giant waited in the sea while the witch climbed up the mountain with a  rope to tie the islands together so that she could then put them onto the giant’s back to carry. They struggled throughout the night so much that they did not notice dawn was to break. The smallest shaft of sunlight peeking over the horizon turned them both to stone. The Giant and the Witch remain there to this day staring longingly across the Atlantic Ocean to their home, Iceland.