Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Faroe Islands: Exotic, clean, captivating destination in the North Atlantic

Abundant, attractive sheep are a constant presence on the Faroe Islands, which also boasts exotic bird life.


QUIET, VERDANT ISLANDS BETWEEN NORWEGIAN AND NORTH SEAS ATTRACTS ADVENTURERS, HIKERS, BIRD LOVERS






STORY BY CHRISTENE MEYERS
Keller rests above a river after a muddy but beautiful hike above Klaksvik.
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER

THE FAROE ISLANDS has an exotic appeal -- "far away from 'civilization' are we," our guide told us during a day-long venture.
We stopped on a recent trans-Atlantic crossing, and were delighted by the guide's wit and erudition, and his country's mountains, valleys and grassy cliffs. Then, even better, we beheld a lush variety of  birds and sheep -- a delightful bonus.
On a day-long hike out of Klaksvik, we slogged through a bog in search of  a stunning view from the mountain top.
AT LAST it came and we were rewarded.  It was a steep and challenging hike -- wet and muddy part of the way, but with splendid bounty for our persistence.
Klaksvik is becoming known as a  picturesque cruise port,
 between the Norwegian Sea and North Sea..
Cookie braved the wet to hike several miles above Klaksvik, Faroe Islands.
The  Faroe islands (although "islands" is usually plural, it's a collective, singular noun, our guide confirmed) is an archipelago between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Norway and Iceland, 320 kilometers or 200 miles north-northwest of Great Britain.
My grandfather Gustav's Norsemen forebears settled the islands around 800, bringing the Old Norse language that evolved into today's Faroese. To my ears, Faroese sounds similar to Icelandic, with the lyrical lilt of Norwegian-- singing to this Norsky-Irish hybrid.
ACCORDING TO Icelandic sagas, one of the best known men in the island was the brave and dashing Trondur i Gotu, a descendant of Scandinavian chiefs who settled in Dublin, Ireland. TrĂ³ndur took on the Norwegian monarchy and the Norwegian church, fighting bravely to claim the islands. The area is small -- only 1,400 square kilometers, or 540 square miles. Its popular is only is dwindling -- only 48,700.
Salmon are raised in these netted tanks near the cruise port.
"We're struggling to entice our young people to stay here," our guide told us. "Once they cross the waters to Copenhagen or Oslo, they go to university, meet people, taste city life, marry, and don't come back."
WE FOUND the people of Klaksvik open and welcoming, articulate and witty in an understated way, much like my Norwegian cousins.  Of course there's a connection:  We learned from our guide that 1035 and 1814, the Faroe Islands were part of the Kingdom of Norway.  The 1814 Treaty of Kiel granted Denmark control over the islands, along with two other Norwegian regions: Greenland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands has been a self-governing country of the Danish Realm since 1948. 
Puffins abound, above top, and hikers find 
a  bird's  eye view from the mountain top.
THE FAROESE control domestic matters; Denmark handles military defense, police, justice, currency and foreign affairs. As a self-governing archipelago, the Faroe Islands is represented in the Nordic Council, part of the Danish delegation.
18 rocky, volcanic islands make up the Faroe Islands, scattered between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean and -- 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.

Who's been sleeping in my bed?  A bear visits our home through the screen,
smashed the glass and wreaked havoc within.  Wee share the true
but unlikely story with our readers in the next post.
                           *  *  *  *  *  
NEXT UP: You'll "bearly" believe our story.
We were away from our rural Montana place a couple days, winding up the Rockies portion of our book tour for "Lilian's Last Dance."  During our absence, we had an uninvited guest.  A bear broke into High Chaparral, avoided tripping the alarm system and did considerable damage to the place.  Broken pottery, shattered glasses, shards of the window through which he entered, were only part of the casualties. He tore strips of trim off the custom-made doors, scratched window frames, gouged hell  out of the counter tops and cupboards, and paused for a snack: a cube of butter.  He spared the refrigerator, thank the gods, because it is full of delectable items that would surely be caviar to a bear: meats, cheeses, pasta, eggs, veggies and fruit and, of course, more butter.  Find out more late Tuesday, when we post the Wednesday blog:  The Bear Facts.  Remember to explore, learn and live, and check out whereiscookie Wednesdays.

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2 comments:

  1. Armchair to Action TravelerOctober 16, 2015 at 11:25 AM

    I have long wanted to visit the Faroe Islands and now I am excited to book a trip. Such a wild, pristine place, perhaps one of few left on our planet. I'm on line now looking for the right itinerary.
    Enjoyed prose and pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fun piece. Didn't know about these exotic sounding places.

    ReplyDelete