A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled!

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A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled!

Post by Global Administrator »

I have been most fortunate to have travelled to over 150 countries around the globe on holiday, but never before to the FAROE ISLANDS, and late May headed there. :mrgreen:

For years in the early 1980s I took out 2 facing pages in the local stamp magazines as “The Faroes King” selling all the stamp issues from there - some then were quite pricey. Superb engraved Slania stamp issues etc.

Always wanted to visit, so late May we flew to Melbourne for a few hours in airport, and then 4 hours to Perth WA, and more hours in airport, before heading off on the long 11 hour flight to Abu Dhabi, in the new Boeing “Dreamliner” 787.

More hours there, and then a “short” 8½ hour hop to Dublin, Ireland in another A330. Finally a hotel bed after literally 36 hours in planes and airports! “Long Day” - 18,400 Kms or 11,500 miles!

Then next morning flew to OSLO Norway on SAS for a day, where a couple of stampboards members met us at airport Hotel, and gave us a wonderful city tour and dinner - photos here - https://www.tinyurl.com/GlenOslo
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L to R, overlooking Oslo - Ottar (OttoSaa) Margo, Glen and stamp dealer Geir.

Then flew to Copenhagen Denmark, and then flew SAS to The Faroes in the Northern Atlantic for a week or so. A brand new SAS service - until now only one carrier flew here from anywhere - the Faroes Government owned airline, Atlantic Airways.

A tiny place - there are only 4 barely passable hotels there, and we got the very last room, as booked late as always! I’ve seen Puffins in Iceland and Greenland, but the Faroes is the best spot it seems. Totally horrifying costs for everything here, but that’s small islands for ya. :lol:

The population of the entire country is under 50,000, and capital city Torshavn has only 20,000 or so - the world smallest capital city.

The Faroes is NOT as many feel "just a part of Denmark". They have their own language, not understood by any of the Scandic countries. When you arrive by plane, you can buy Duty Free on the plane, and at the airport.

Residents here have their own Faroes passports, are NOT part of EU as Denmark is, and have an ever increasing GNP. Their own car number plates, their own banknotes that go up to 1000 Krona ($A400) that are not official legal tender in Denmark and vice-versa etc, and their own airline.

It is (so far) a totally unspoiled destination for any tourist. No huge tour buses full of Chinese, as occurs on near every other spot on this planet these days. :roll: :roll: :roll:

Beautiful scenery, and oddly not a single tree in the entire country, other than in a few home gardens. Strange to see. Entire vistas for miles in every direction, with not a tree to be seen!

MANY members here collect Faroe Islands Stamps, and will maybe enjoy some photos from there. :mrgreen:

Glen
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The Faroes only airport is weirdly an HOUR away from Torshavn. ($100 cab ride - welcome to the Faroes!) Built by the British when occupying it in WW2, it is totally desolate as you can see.

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Grass or Turf roofs are exceedingly common here - the photo here is opposite our hotel in downtown Torshavn.

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The only prison on the island is not far outside Torshavn. All with turf covered roofs and no fences, as where can one escape to in the desolate countryside? The BEST prison view on earth - right out to sea. And on Faroes you need to fly or sail to get away from the country, and an escape would see both alerted.

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by MargoZ »

Faroes are so photogenic its hard to keep some restraint with the camera but here are shots which capture the flavour a little I hope:
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These are some of the few trees to be found on the islands.


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Boat trip to Vestmann bird cliffs - 1000s of puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots, fulmars, arctic terns etc


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Tinganes is the historic location of the Faroese government. The parliament met there in Viking times in 825. It is one of the oldest parliamentary meeting places in the world and there are still government offices there.

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Torshavn, Faroes capital city with 20,000 residents. National flower in the foreground.
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by AMark »

Great photos guys! :)

Please keep them coming. :)
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by MargoZ »

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Torshavn city lighthouse ... just for Kevin Hedley :-)

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Faroese flag flies everywhere


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More Vestmann bird cliffs ... very hard to get a shot of the birds :-(


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Ubiquitous sheep .... about 80,000 of them and, incidentally, the islands are named for them - In Danish, the name Færøerne may reflect an Old Norse word fær (sheep).


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Speaking of Black Sheep .... the local Faroes Brewed beer - $A20 a glass!

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Brummie »

It looks so beautiful there, makes me want to visit. What are the temperatures like, it looks nippy?

I'm wondering who moves the rooves and how?

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by KevinHedley »

MargoZ wrote:Image
Torshavn city lighthouse ... just for Kevin Hedley :-)
Thank you kindly.

Now, I don't wish to appear greedy but ... there are more than twenty lighthouses in the Faroes. I wait with great anticipation.

I would prefer birds but at least the lighthouses don't move :evil:
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by MargoZ »

OK Kevin ...you asked for it!

The pied oystercatcher is the national bird of the Faroes.
Here is my picture of one:
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Here is Glens:
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by KevinHedley »

:D :D :D
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by aethelwulf »

I 'do' Postcrossing, and have gotten in the habit now of sending my postcards (pre-stamped) to a 3rd country for mailing. I do 10 or so at a time, pop them in an envelope with a note to the postmaster, and send them to be mailed from somewhere small, to make the cards 'more 'interesting'.

Faroes stamps are quite easy to acquire from eBay etc, at a fair percent off face value. Mind, it's 17-19kr to mail a card there, which is a couple Euro or more. One Postcrossing member in Germany described the postage rates as being 'quite dear'.

I discovered that the English version of the website for Posta, the post office of Foroyar, does not list the addresses of the post office locations there--but the Faroese version does, which makes for some interesting clicking around, trying to find the info I want.
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by GYDAM »

Glen - Thanks for sharing .... brilliant photos. Would be a terrific place to visit.

One of my collecting passions has been the engravings of Czeslaw Slania - he engraved 100 designs for The Faroes from 1975 to 2003. Beautiful work, especially when view thru a magnifying glass.

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Night Watchman »

Many thanks for the photos :!:
Have a great time.
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Global Administrator »

aethelwulf wrote:
I discovered that the English version of the website for Posta, the post office of Foroyar, does not list the addresses of the post office locations there--but the Faroese version does, which makes for some interesting clicking around, trying to find the info I want.
We needed to find a PO in the capital city Torshavn yesterday, to mail a few cards to members who had asked for them.

Oddly the PO is a mile or 2 out of downtown right up on a hill, and REALLY takes some finding. A 15-20 minute walk for us. We were told it was the only one in town.

Weird location for a tiny place. Seems to be in process of being expanded with lots of construction up there.

Clerk had a line of folks, but happily found us some current stamp in his little brown book. He was too busy to go get the hand cancel, but assured us they would be done.

Oddly there is a large dedicated Philatelic Office in same building - but no staffer in here! Lighthouse stamp and FDC albums etc, and stockbooks and accessories etc, and issues going back a few years. NONE of the recent 50K ($A10) Codskin stamps that we had decided to put on the cards.

We walked about in that totally empty room and could have stolen a ton of stuff it looked like, as it was packed fully of stock. But we have been in lots of small towns here, and not a PO to be seen that had a town cancel. Just the blue POSTA mailboxes.
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The countryside mail boxes are easy to spot however!

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Brummie »

Now that's what you call a post box. :shock:

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by DK »

Global Administrator wrote:Image
The countryside mail boxes are easy to spot however!
The Faroe Islands version of the Tardus !! :lol:

Cool photos you two ...keep 'em coming

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by briggia »

Great photos guys - thanks very much for sharing

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by David Smitham »

Re the post box: obviously made for oversized mail!

Q1 How much does such mail cost?
Q2 how often is the mail box cleared? Twice daily?

Well done you two for travelling to such an obscure place, perhaps marginally warmer than in New Zealand, at present from the looks of things!!

Where to next? Guayaquil?

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Global Administrator »

David Smitham wrote:
Where to next? Guayaquil?

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Heck no .. a VERY dangerous place these days! Been there twice en-route to the Galapagos Islands. We did however meet up with a stampboarder Novato when in Equador - caught up with him for drinks in Quito a few years ago. (Oddly, he collector only UK Machin heads!) Not sure if there are any other members there?
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by warm »

Great to see the pics. Looks very picturesque - BUT that is in good weather - it could be bleak.

That beer looked impressive. Is there a local brew as well?

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Global Administrator »

warm wrote: Is there a local brew as well?
Tony, not sure how fluent you are in Scandic languages but Föroya Bjór translates as Beer Of The Faroes .. brewed here since 1888. 5.8% alcohol for the basic brew - Americans probably pass out like flies when drinking this, after years of their 'Burd Lite, Curs Lite' etc dishwater. :lol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%B6roya_Bj%C3%B3r
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Global Administrator »

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Faroes for 70 years has printed its own banknotes. Danish Krona are technically not valid in Faroes and vice-versa. Faroes have their own flag, car registration plates etc.

https://www.nationalbanken.dk/en/banknotes_and_coins/Faroeislands/Pages/Default.aspx

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The oldest continuously occupied wooden house on earth - by one family to boot - I think it was about 1000 years with various additions.


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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by satsuma »

That thousand kronor note looks mighty like the words say eight thousand kronor.

How is "eitt" pronounced?

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Cill Dara »

Global Administrator wrote:
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It must be difficult to mow the roofs........do they use ride-on mowers to cut the grass? :D

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Global Administrator »

We asked a guide what happens with the roofs, and he said they pop a sheep, or better still a goat up there for a day or so.

The natural terrain they graze on is often near vertical, so a mere 45 degree roof slope is paradise for them!

The roofs are mini forests, in these shots I took of roofs in various places -
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by DJCMH »

Does Posta Føroya have a postal museum to visit in Tórshavn? Given the islands' unique philatelic history I can imagine it would have some very interesting exhibits.
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by viktorphila »

Thank you for the pictures. Your duck is a female eider duck.

Eider duck down is commonly used for bed covers.

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by OldDuffer1 »

viktorphila wrote:Thank you for the pictures. Your duck is a female eider duck.

Eider duck down is commonly used for bed covers.

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We also get them off the coast of Scotland and they go "oow" as if they've just heard a rather doubtful story!

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Post by Global Administrator »

The vast expanses of no trees really remains in my memory. And all these little villages of 50 or 100 people spread all over the place!

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by warm »

Global Administrator wrote:
warm wrote: Is there a local brew as well?
Tony, not sure how fluent you are in Scandic languages but Föroya Bjór translates as Beer Of The Faroes .. brewed here since 1888. 5.8% alcohol for the basic brew - Americans probably pass out like flies when drinking this, after years of their 'Burd Lite, Curs Lite' etc dishwater. :lol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%B6roya_Bj%C3%B3r
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Actually the $20 may not be too bad !? when you consider the small plastic cup for $6-7 at the football, etc

It really looks nice there, Great pics.

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by mindpsyche »

Looks like an amazing place to visit, thanks to the great photos!

I lived in Switzerland for 3 years and have seen some small towns with only a few 100 people and these photos reminded me of the same excepting for that there are no Trees here!

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Post by Global Administrator »

mindpsyche wrote:
I lived in Switzerland for 3 years and have seen some small towns with only a few 100 people and these photos reminded me of the same excepting for that there are no Trees here!
Yes some of the little towns have only 20 residents.

This one is now totally deserted/abandoned, and the seabirds have taken over nesting on the banks as can be seen. :lol: :lol:
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by mindpsyche »

Nice. :mrgreen:

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by mobbor »

If I remember correctly, which is doubtful, the complete absence of trees means that the mean temperature in the warmest month is less than 50degrees F.
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Allanswood »

Freezing winds or firewood?
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Post by Global Administrator »

Allanswood wrote:Freezing winds?
You Scots should talk! Been in the Scottish Highlands for a couple of days and non stop pelting cold rain. So much for Scottish "Summers". :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

The Faores temperature varies little all year, and there is almost no snow there due to being in the middle of the Gulf Stream we were told. Weather was great - there!

I told them I'd mail them a pack of 10,000 Eucalyptus Globulus "Tasmanian Blue Gum" seeds, and in 5 years that place would look like an evergreen Norway! That is THE fastest growing tree on earth, and copes with cold, salt and altitude with ease.

I've seen them growing wild all over the windswept super cold Andes Altiplano region in Peru and Bolivia at 10,000 feet, and the Himalayas where no other tree survives, and also in the heat of coastal Africa, and you name it in between.

Faroes has tons of water and that is the Euc's main downside in Africa - it sucks up lots of water.
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by MargoZ »

Officially the wind but I still lean towards firewood.
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Faeroe_Islands

Its one of those places where you wonder whether the wether can weather the weather
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Global Administrator »

KevinHedley wrote:I would prefer birds but at least the lighthouses don't move [/size] :evil:
Oddly we saw Puffins very close up today at the most Northern speck of the UK, at Dunnett Head, a few miles down from John O Groats. My tiny point and shoot camera did not justice to them sadly!

Lighthouses at both points of course - Dancanby Head claims to be the "most NORTH EAST"! :mrgreen:
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One second later this guy flew off. Their wings are TINY. Like building a 747 and welding on the wings of a Cessna. To see the other 1000s of sea birds all gliding around superbly here, and these Puffins flapping like mad just to stay in the air is pretty funny!
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Brummie »

Great puffin photos, they are so cute, they look dopey don't they. :lol:

I only got as far as Stirling in Scotland, it was full summer and so cold we turned back south. Those Scots are made of sterner stuff, no wonder they have settled in most countries around the world, piece of cake after Scotland. :lol:

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Post by KevinHedley »

:D
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Post by MargoZ »

Maybe fittingly, the last of the Faroes pictures taken at the old Torshavn Cemetery ..... possibly the most beautiful cemetery in the world?

So peaceful, lush and green...the pictures don't do it justice.
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by briggia »

Looks like a very tranquil place.

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Global Administrator »

briggia wrote:Looks like a very tranquil place.

briggia
And so far ...... safe. :)

The Faroes is one of those places when folks do not lock their doors. It is like a small country town - everyone knows each other.

There is no way out, except for 1 or 2 planes a day and the Ferry, so nowhere for any thief to run. :mrgreen:

I asked the Hotel if they had a room safe and the desk lady just smiled and said 'theft is no issue here'. :)

We drove all over the place for a week to many islands and never one saw a cop, patrolling the streets or highway patrol etc.

HEAVILY religious. Near everything is closed on Sunday that w ehave FIRST hand experience of! Easter week and Xmas week even all the hotels close we were told.

We travel somewhere unusual overseas each Xmas and New Year. Have done for 45 years.

I asked him if hotels are heavily booked over Xmas/New Year and he laughed, and said they are closed for that week due to Xmas holiday and praying etc. :)

There are only 3 or 4 real hotels in the whole country, and their room rates are somewhat higher than the Waldorf Astoria in New York. :lol: :lol:

Their winter is oddly very temperate (Greenland is SOUTH of the Faroes!) due to the Gulf Stream - the Faroes gets almost no snow all year we were told by each person we asked.

New Year's Eve sounds like a hoot there .. a guide told us it is Medieval - zero control over fireworks, which are legal, and the place goes nuts with highly dangerous fireworks stuff at homes etc.

Glen
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Steven Zirinsky »

Glen:

Always nice to see someone chasing the small places. I didnt know about the green roofs. Very smart really. Great insulation. I wonder how much stronger the roofs are than the standard.

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Current Faroe Islands postmarks

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Steven Zirinsky »

At one point in time, I was acquiring a lot of local commercial mail from the Faroes.

Some towns were clearly more prevalent - I would say 80% of mail came from Torshavn.

In my attempt to create a rarity factor, I asked the government for a list of towns/villages and their populations.

They were happy to oblige .... this list is current as of 1996.
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List of Post Offices in the Faroe Islands

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Uppercanadian »

Absolutely super pictures Glen. Thanks so much. It does look to be a place that tests one's constitution at times. I confess to having a touch of romantic obsession with the Vikings so the Faroes and Iceland are particularly fascinating to me.

Thanks again!!
All the best,
Brad Fallon - maltonmanor at hotmail dot com

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Global Administrator »

Uppercanadian wrote: I confess to having a touch of romantic obsession with the Vikings so the Faroes and Iceland are particularly fascinating to me.

Thanks again!!
Brad .. you really should visit! There are Viking sites all over the place .. old house foundations etc.

This tiny little remote town Tjørnuvík we found one day (that is not even on Stephen Zirinsky's list as far as I can see?) had a Viking burial ground they found in fairly recent times. The plaque outside it was badly weathered, but this pic below is the best I could so. No PO in this tiny town but a Blue POSTA mailbox, badly bird crap spattered as you can see. Town population 64! - - ->

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tj%C3%B8rnuv%C3%ADk

One brave soul was surfing there in THE thickest wet suit I have seen! Someone else was drying their bed sheets on the beach. :)

VERY few sandy beaches anywhere on the Faroes and this was one of them.
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Margo in the "main street" of this tiny village, with lovely old rock house with turf roof

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by DennyTex »

Very lovely... you both are world travelers! Thank You for sharing the beautiful photos. :)

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Princestamps »

Yes very interesting place. It has a climate similar to places like Campbell Island and Auckland Islands. Average summer temperatures are high of 15 and low of 8, but winter average is high of 5 and low of -1 (Americans do the math, we use celsius).

Trees do not grow there more due to wind than the climate. Trees can be found in parts of Siberia with winter temperatures of -65c. Seedlings would be blown over in the fierce winds and that is why the only trees are in sheltered garden areas. But yes you need at least one month with an average temperature of 10 for a tree to grow. Faeroes scrape in with 2. Even Alaska and the Siberian taiga have summer months with averages of 15.

Whereas Campbell Island has an average summer temperature of 8 and winter temp of 4 (Like the Faeroes, see girt islands have temperatures moderated). There is one tree there, a pine planted in 1895 by a scientist, it has grown to 6m over the past 120 years!

Iceland also has trees and it's summers are even colder (14, 5 in Reykjavik) but there are sheltered trees and a few groves in sheltered southern valleys.

Faeroes are interesting too, as Irish monks arrived there around 600AD and most modern Faeroese will have some ancient Irish DNA. There are also only about 20 major surnames, mostly ending in sson. Many Faeroese can trace their ancestors back to Saga days and it is one of the few places Whaling is allowed.
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by MargoZ »

Interesting that you mention the Irish and Viking origins.

We were told that recent genetic research has revealed that male descent is about 90% Scandinavian but that female descent is about 80% Scottish/Irish.

I was a bit sceptical about this but did a bit of checking and apparently it correct. The explanation was the Vikings predilection for kidnapping Celtic women.
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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by Uppercanadian »

MargoZ wrote:Interesting that you mention the Irish and Viking origins.

We were told that recent genetic research has revealed that male descent is about 90% Scandinavian but that female descent is about 80% Scottish/Irish.

I was a bit sceptical about this but did a bit of checking and apparently it correct. The explanation was the Vikings predilection for kidnapping Celtic women.
Well I do hope the Faroese men have stopped this practice!!

Considering the time we are speaking of, say the 9th to 11th century, the Vikings had a pretty good attitude towards women; in fact, I would argue it was better than some current cultures and societies. Although a wife was considered the property of her husband, women were respected and had a great deal of freedom.

I do not think it completely unrealistic to surmise that many of those Celtic women back in the mid-Medieval period, actually left willingly with their Viking overlords/husbands in order to escape the brooding oversight of their Celtic men-folk. Women from Scandinavia generally did not travel, raid, or trade with their husbands.

Anyway, I am still loving the pictures. I hope you can post more. The country-side is so lovely!!
All the best,
Brad Fallon - maltonmanor at hotmail dot com

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Re: A visit to The Faroe Islands - the road *LESS* travelled

Post by MargoZ »

I'll leave it for the brooding Celtic menfolk to defend themselves :lol:
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This does remind me of the assurances of everyone we met in Mongolia a couple of years ago that people just couldn't wait to be conquered by Genghis Khan.
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