|View at Vágar, Faroe Islands|
As it turns out, my grandmother was right and the librarian was wrong -- the Faroes do exist, halfway between Iceland and the Shetlands.
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My sisters and I didn't get there until we were adults, but what a magnificent place, every bit as magical as our grandmother's stories would have us think -- if you think cloud-cloaked green mountains surging out of the sea are mystical and magical, which I do, and you don't mind lots of fog, rain, and cool weather, which I don't. We have an amazing family, too, which I wish we could have known more of over the years of feeling alone and rootless.
|Lookout over an Inlet full of fog - taken from |
the old NATO base at Sornfelli
|Harbour at Gjógv|
I could go on and on with lots more pictures just of beautiful standing rocks, long vistas, and hidden harbours. But I can resist. Barely.
The Faroes were originally settled by Vikings. You can see their influence in the beautiful wooden fishing boats still in use today, reminiscent of the Viking longboats.
|In Tvøroyri, my grandfather's hometown|
|Site of a Viking longhouse|
|Kirkjubøur - a great website of this old village|
The Faroes are easy to get to via Iceland, UK, Denmark, and Norway. You can get tourist information here and here. Everybody under about 50 speaks English perfectly, and lots of people over 50 do, too. They'll also speak any Scandinavian language and likely a few others as well. So don't worry if your Faroese is rusty.
There's lots of info online about this amazing place, but here's the Wikipedia article and an interesting CIA run-down on the nation.
|KOLTUR - My grandmother's family was originally from Koltur, which is now like|
a museum island, with no families living there anymore. Her grandparents
moved to Skopun, where my grandmother was born (to Sakaris-Marianna).
|Shed on Koltur|
|Same shed, looking out|
The traditional industries of the Faroes are based on sheep and fish -- the sheep connection making them also of interest for me, as a handspinner. I think my grandmother would find it kind of hilarious that I've taken up spinning in the New World, when this would have played such an integral part of her livelihood in the Old. I like to think of this, at any rate.
|Faroese sheep are beautiful and EVERYWHERE in the islands. |
There are more sheep than people living in the Faroes.