Nordic Obsession Tour – Part 6

The last day of our tour was a full one.  We first went to Kirkjubøur, which was the church and cultural center of the Faroes during the middle ages.  The small white parish church has been an active church since about 1100.  The majestic stone cathedral, built in the 1200’s now has a protective roof to prevent more deterioration. The old log smoke-house and museum contains many interesting artifacts from Faroese history.

After lunch we drove north on Streymoy along the sound facing Eysturoy.  Our first stop was at the octagonal church in Haldorsvík, where we met with Stanley Samuelsen for a short private concert, first in the church and then in his grandfather’s home nearby.  We had time for conversation, music, and coffee.

Our special farewell dinner was at Koks restaurant on the hill overlooking Tórshavn.  Two of us ordered the wine menu with the dinner, pairing a wine with each course of the meal – a total of seven wines.  Fortunately, I had a friend nearby who finished off each glass for me.  This restaurant was recently reviewed in one of the American gourmet magazines.  I read the review on facebook.

The next morning I returned to Fuglafjørður, Jon went to the airport, and the other 3 went to Gøta for the G! Festival.




Nordic Obsession Tour – Part 5

On Sunday, four of us went to church – an Anglican, a Presbyterian, a Mormon, and a Charismatic – in a Lutheran church in Old Town Tórshavn.  The guest preacher was Uni Næs, my former priest in Fuglafjørður. During the afternoon we were joined by Arni Zachariassen and Jákup á Lakjuni for a discussion about religion, politics, and everything else.  Símun and Kári, my relatives, let us use their living room for our discussion, and then then provided cakes, tea, and coffee afterward.  Immediately following the refreshments, our tour returned to the hotel to have dinner and discussion with Birgir Kruse.

The next morning we caught the early ferry to Suðuroy, a two hour boat trip, passing several islands on our way south.  We were met in Tvøroyri by Mortan Holm, our tour guide for the day (in our now cosily crowded car).  We visited every town on Suðuroy, though I am not sure which town is which.

Our evening ended with a private concert with Elin Heinesen and her daughter in Elin’s home in Tórshavn.  Beautiful.

Nordic Obsession Tour – Part 4

Our tour took us to my town of Fuglafjørður, where my neighbor Oddur served as tour guide, and then he joined us for lunch at my house.  Sorry, I was so busy I forgot to take pictures.  From Fuglafjørður we headed to the northern islands, going through two long, dark,one-lane tunnels.  I was glad someone else was driving this year.  We had a late dinner back in Tórshavn, since the restaurant in Klaksvík was closed.

The next day we met up with Tollakur, who was our tour guide on the island of Vágar.  We stopped for a late lunch at the airport, where we saw the stained glass birds by Tróndur Patursen, back home from their trip to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  We viewed some of the boat races in Miðvágar, and I saw the boat from Fuglafjørður win its race.  In the evening, we were the only guests for a concert with Marius Ziska and Heðin Davidsen at the home of Elin Heinesen.  It was a full day.

Nordic Obsession Tour – Part 3

Our Nordic Obsession Tour was small enough to travel around the islands by car, with 5 (or sometimes 6) of us in a 7-seater car that comfortably held 4, with room for backpacks and jackets in the back.

Our next scenic destination was a boat ride to the Vestmanna Bird Cliffs along the north western coast of Streymoy.  These cliffs are full of waterfalls, sea stacks, and sea caves and arches.  Unfortunately, they are no longer filled with birds, apparently due to warmer waters that don’t support the sea creatures that serve as food for the birds.  Before our boat ride, we took a scenic detour to the little village of Kvívík and saw some Viking-era excavations at the edge of the bay.

Our day ended with a concert in the home of Elin Heinesen, a great venue for a small band.

Nordic Obsession Tour – Part 2

Wednesday was filled with sunshine.  I even got sunburned.  After a walking/talking tour of Tórshavn, the five of us headed north to visit three scenic villages.  Our first stop was Saksun, with its old village of stone houses with sod roofs, with towering cliffs and a waterfall above.  With little rain for the past month, the waterfall wasn’t much more than a trickle, but still beautiful.

Next we crossed to the island of Eysturoy, going north to Eiði.  In the middle of the World Cup matches, it seemed appropriate to visit the soccer field here right on the edge of the north Atlantic.  We also took photos of the steep headlands with the notable rock formations, the giant and the witch.

We drove over high mountain passes to the village of Gjógv (meaning gorge), where we stopped at the hotel for dinner, Faroese dancing lessons, and music by Guðrið Hansdóttir.  The fog was coming in when we finished at the hotel, but for much of our drive through Eysturoy we were in the mountains above the fog.

Nordic Obsession Tour, Part 1

I have just returned home (to Fuglafjørður) from a week long tour of the Faroe Islands, led by Matthew Workman, an American journalist who is obsessed with the Faroe Islands.  It was a small group, with just 5 of us, including Matthew; and we stayed in Hotel Tórshavn for the week.  I enjoyed travelling with people who were seeing the Faroes for the first time.  They couldn’t find enough words to say how beautiful these islands are.  Matthew had connections with many fascinating people, so we had many knowledgable tour guides and several private concerts, giving us Faroese experiences not available to the run-of-the-mill tourist.

Our first day started with a walking tour of Tórshavn with two peerless guides – Birgir Kruse and Magni Arge.  We didn’t walk very far, but we spent three hours talking and hearing endless stories.

This tour brought back memories of my first trip to the Faroe Islands in 1997.  On the last night of that visit, I stayed awake most of the night writing a poem about the Faroes.  I didn’t want to ever forget my first impressions.

Færöerne, my father’s land,

almost lost in northern seas,

beyond oceans and continents,

islands mysterious and ancient.

Fuglefjord, a word in foreign script,

faded ink on yellowed paper,

crumbling with age.

Reminders of another life, another time,

another world, never quite forgotten.

Faroe,  Clouds part, revealing hills and bays,

jagged peaks and valleys,

steep cliffs, shadows fading into mists,

sound of birds and sea.

Soft grass, each hill a different green,

ever changed in sun and rain and wind.

Faroe,  The past and present meet

to make a bridge across the years and oceans.

My father’s family is my own,

and I am welcomed as a long lost child.

Føroyar, country of my father’s birth.

Føroyar, islands where my heart belongs.

                                                           9 July 1997

Sheep Shearing

It was a rainy day for sheep shearing – the first real rain since I arrived two weeks ago.  Beginning early in the morning the families with sheep on this mountain start the job of bringing some 250 sheep down to the sheep fold.  The next  step is having coffee, tea, and pancakes with jam.  Then all of the new lambs are given a dose of medicine and vitamins and are put into a separate  pen.  When this is done, then the lambs are released to go back up the mountain.  Then the sheep-shearing begins, truly a family and community event.


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