A Last Ferry Ride

Yesterday I made one last trip on the ferry from Leirvík to Klaksvík. On Saturday, April 29, a new tunnel will be opened that will link these two towns and link the island of Borðoy with Eysturoy. Klaksvík is the second largest city in the Faroe Islands, with a population of about 5,000 people.

The entrance is at the south-eastern end of Leirvík, and the tunnel goes under the sound between Eysturoy and Borðoy, then under the Háfjall peak on Borðoy, and comes up in the south-western part of Klaksvík. This tunnel will link three of the Northern Islands (Borðoy, Kunoy, and Viðoy) with three of the most populous islands (Eysturoy, Streymoy, and Vágar). There are already causeways from Borðoy to Kunoy and to Viðoy, a bridge from Eysturoy to Streymoy, and a tunnel from Streymoy to Vágar. There will be a big celebration in Klaksvík on Saturday, then the tunnel is scheduled to open at 4:30 p.m.

As a tourist and visitor, I will miss the beautiful views from the Klaksvík ferry. However, I’m sure that the people who commute between Klaksvík and Tórshavn won’t be sorry at all to replace the leisurely ferry ride with a high-speed highway under the water.

Children’s Hats

Our choir sang for the Leirvík Flag Day celebration. It was a cold, windy, rainy, stormy, snowy (etc.) day, and everyone was dressed in warm, waterproof clothes. I couldn´t help but notice the wide variety of hats, especially children’s hats. Here are a few samples of warm Faroese hats.

Seksti

Today is my birthday, and Faroese flags are flying all around the town! Incidentally, it is also Flag Day, commemorating the creation of the first Faroese flag. This is the first time I have had my birthday on a holiday.

In Faroese, there are two words for “sixty” –

trýss is pronounced sort of like treush

seksti is pronounced sexty.

I think I prefer to say that I am seksti.

Easter Cruise

On Easter Sunday, I sailed with the new Smyril 2 ferry on a cruise around the Faroe Islands. The cruise was sold out, with about 800 people on board. The reason they scheduled the cruise for Easter Sunday is that the ferries don’t run on that day. The Smyril 2, is a new ferry, only about 6 months old.

We left from Tórshavn, sailed around the southern end of Streymoy , then north between Vágar and Streymoy, and along the cliffs to the northern end of Streymoy. The northwestern sides of the islands are nearly all sheer cliffs, and these cliffs are filled with nesting birds during the summer months.

Next we headed east, along the northern cliffs of Streymoy, Eysturoy, and Kalsoy. I was hoping that we would continue around the northern islands, since I have never seen them from the sea. Instead we returned in the Kalsoy Fjord, between Kalsoy and Kunoy, and on south between Borðoy and Eysturoy, back to Tórshavn. The weather was misty, foggy, and rainy in the Kalsoy Fjord, and I didn’t take many pictures there.

Most of the people got off the ferry in Tórshavn, but I continued with the second half of the cruise to Suðuroy. We sailed on the west side of Sandoy and Skúgvoy, with views of the Dímuns in the distance. Then we continued along the western cliffs of Suðuroy, all the way around the southern end of the island, and back along the eastern shore to Tvøroyri. It was dark by the time we got to the tip of Suðuroy, so I didn’t get any photos of the eastern side of the island.

I had rented a room on the ferry, and spent the night on board in Tvøroyri. In the morning, the ferry made its normal morning trip to Tórshavn. We continued north along the western sides of Suðuroy, Lítla Dímun, Stóra Dímun, and Sandoy, finally returning to Tórshavn. By the time I had finished my morning coffee, we had sailed past all of Suðuroy, so I didn’t get any photos of the western side of Suðuroy. My excuse is that it was still pretty dark. My camera and I both needed a rest. I got some photos of the Dímuns, and then sat in a comfortable, reclining chair and looked out the window at the passing scenery. The next thing I knew, we were in Tórshavn. That was a fast return trip.

Since I had missed church on Easter Sunday, I drove straight back to Fuglafjørður in plenty of time for the 11:00 service on Easter Monday.

Several people asked if we had good weather on the cruise. As you can see from the photos, we had every possible kind of weather, except hot sun. We had blue sky, clouds, sun , rain, fog, snow, wind, and calm.

Okay, I am finished with these ramblings, and all of my pictures have been loaded, so enjoy your tour around the spectacular Faroe Islands. You don’t even need to get wet and cold.

Easter Season in the Faroes

Easter is a very important holiday for the church in the Faroe Islands, and there are many special services during the season of Lent that precedes it.

The Fuglafjørður church had a service every Wednesday evening, and for these services, we had a guest priest from another parish, while our priest was off visiting another church. Since there are more churches than priests, half of the churches had their Lenten services on Thursday evenings. I assume that the priests reused their sermon from Wednesday in the Thursday service at a different church.

In our church, students from the school participated in each service, usually providing some special music. On one evening, the service featured art work by the students – small oil paintings of the cross. One of the church members is an artist and a school teacher, and he worked with the students on the paintings. During the service each student read a scripture verse about the cross. After each of the Wednesday services, we had coffee and refreshments, and nearly every week an artist from the church would show some of his work and give a talk about it. I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you what they said. My Faroese isn’t good enough yet.

Nearly everything is closed down on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday. About the only exception is that there were soccer (football) games on Thursday and Monday. On Thursday, I had lunch with a family that was pretty evenly divided between rooting for Gøta and for Tórshavn.

The church had services for Easter on Sunday and on Monday. Many of the attached photos are from the Monday service.

On Easter Sunday, I actually didn’t go to church. The ferries don’t run on Easter Sunday, and the new Smyril 2 ferry that goes between Tórshavn and Suðuroy (the southern island) used the opportunity to take a cruise around all of the Faroe Islands. I opted for the tour and then church on Easter Monday. I took 175 photos on the tour, so give me a little time, and I will show you the best ones.

Is It Spring Yet?

The calendar says that April is spring. We have had a couple of weeks of mostly snow – snow at night that covers the town and then melts half-way up the hillsides during the day. One day when the snow had stopped and the roads were clear, I walked into town and took a few pictures along the way. By the time I headed home, it was snowing again. I like the way the melting snow outlines all of the fields, the gullies, and the rocky ledges on the mountainsides.

Evening School

I have been studying the Faroese language in the Fuglafjørður Evening School. We have a three hour class every Monday night from October through early May. Only three of us have attended the entire course, but quite a few others have come for part of the time. The class is taught in English, but I am the only one in the class for whom English is the primary language.

I have been quite surprised at the number of different countries represented in the class. We have had students from several countries in Africa – from Namibia, Ghana, and Kenya. One student is from the Philippines, one from a small island in the Caribbean, one is from Japan, one was from Thailand, two were from Russia, and I am from the USA.

For some reason, we are all working hard to learn a language that is spoken by very few people. Somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 people speak Faroese; and they have had a written language for only 150 years.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.