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wojtekd Torshavn - A travel report by Wojciech
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Torshavn,  Faroe Islands - flag Faroe Islands
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wojtekd's travel reports

Forgoten scraps of Europe

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Torshavn travelogue picture
Situated in the heart of the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic halfway between Scotland and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are almost unknown part of Europe. Extremely beautiful landscape - that's what attracts here the tourist. The archipelago is composed of 18 hilly islands covering about 1400 sq. km. Only 47 000 live in this strange territory - the self-governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark. To get there you must fly from Copenhagen, Stockholm, Reykjavik or Britain. There is also ferry "Norröna" operated by Smyril Line. It sails between Denmark and Faroes all year around and moreover to and from, Norway, the Shetlands, and Iceland during the summer season. Ferries, tunnels and bridges link all inhabited islands. They have good roads and very efficient bus+ferry system you can rely on. They best deal for individuals is to buy unlimited travel card. It cost 600 DKK for 4 days. The price covers also timetable booklet - essential! Othervise it is 20 DKK extra. 1 USD=6.37 Danish Krones

Favourite spots:
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There are many places who offer beautiful landscapes like Mykines Island visible already from the landing plane. The Faroe Islands are built up of layers of volcanic basalt and, as a rule, are tilted with the eastern shores sloping into the sea and the western coasts rising up in soaring cliffs. Along the shores of the fjords and sounds lie the towns and villages of the Faroes, which sparkle in multi-coloured splendour against the deep-green of cultivated pastureland surrounding them. Above them rise the mountains with their green sloping fells bounded by dark stony crags. Probably the most popular and easy excursion is by small motorboat to The Vestmanna birdcliffs. There are two competing agencies - give them a call and they will pick you up...

What's really great:
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The most important historical monuments you will find in Kirkjubour - it is on the south coast of the island of Streymoy - close to the capital city. You can take a one hour walk or bus to get there. Kirkjubour is not a town as much as a collection of impressive ruins. It was the episcopal centre of the island in medieval times, and the largest and most striking of the ruins is the Magnus Cathedral, begun in the 13th century but never finished owing to the ruthless methods of fund collection employed by Bishop Erlendur and an avalanche in 1772 that destroyed its western wall of the building. Nearby is St Olav's Church, built in 1111, and dedicated to the king who had formulated Norway's Christian code during the previous century.

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Suduroy - is the southernmost island in the Faroe archipelago and is separated from the other islands by a two-hour ferry sail. This distance partly explains the uniqueness of the island - also in culture. The people of Suduroy are considered to be emotive and open and hence very friendly.
The natural beauty of Suduroy is both pastoral and tempestuous. The entire west coast consists of birdcliffs, broken only by two narrow isthmuses, one at Hvalba and the other at Vágur. Both of these isthmuses can be reached by car, which enables the traveller to easily view this most magnificent expanse of nature that can either be exceptionally idyllic or terrifying and awe-inspiring. Suduroy is green, full of light, and friendly with sheer cliffs for contrast. Travelling to the south toward Sumba, do not miss the village of Porkeri with its beautiful wooden church built in 1847. If you take the mountain road you will reach soon lookout with breathtaking panorama Beinisvord cliff.

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Accommodation and transport in the Faroes is quite expensive. I stayed in the Bladypi Guest House conveniently located in the centre of Torshavn. It is 10-minutes walk from the ferry therminal where the bus station is also located. The place is little and cosy. They charge 120 DKK for a night in the 6-bed room. There is also communal kitchen for use. Food is expensive: 1 kilo of bread cost 36 DKK. For the postcard you will pay almost 1 USD!

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I heard about hiking club. Ask at the tourist information office in Torshavn. There are great places for hiking and trekking in the Faroes' mountains. Before the road system existed, a series of cairns marked the way across country for walkers, and many of the cairns survive throughout the islands today. Due to possible mist and changeable weather as well as taking warm and waterproof clothing, hikers should carry a compass and detailed maps of the area.

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There is very little chance that you will find here any nightlife... Rules are strict. The legal drinking age in the Faroes is eighteen. Light beer may be purchased in shops and unlicensed restaurants and cafés. But stronger beer, wine and spirits may be purchased only in limited Government Monopoly stores in major towns.
On the picture you can see Torshavn harbor... The main source of income is fishing.

Torshavn travelogue picture
Outside the capital city of Torshavn and second-big Klaksvik it is hard to find the restaurant. I think I can recommend one in Tinganes area.
Torshavn itself is a little (18 000 inhabitants) and very quite place. There is picturesque harbor divided by two parts by small Tinganes Peninsula where "old town" of capital city is located. When you enter the old town and walk around among its old houses, you will find yourself in a confusion of lanes and narrow passages, steps and rocks and tiny black-tarred houses with white windows and green turf on the roofs. Looks unusual and charming.

Other recommendations:
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Take at Hvannasund a small wooden mailboat, built in the good old way and sail on a nice summer’s day on a glittering sea, surrounded by green mountains to the islands of Svinoy and Fugloy.
The old mailboats servicing the Northern Islands, faithfully going to and from in all seasons and in all kind of weather, every day. The service is even famous. To the crew this is all ordinary routine, although at other times of the year they may have to fight through rough weather. But the service is described in the guidebooks as unique in the world and certainly one of the most surprising of experiences for the visitor. Actually there are two services and two boats, both painted black and white. I took daily service from Hvannasund carrying mail, goods and people. There were only 5 of us on a boat. Unforgetable! And included in your travel card!

Published on Tuesday October 28th, 2003

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Sun, Oct 23 2005 - 05:35 AM rating by miguelmarchi

Wojciech, you are an unconventional man! You chose the most exotic destinations in your reports, where very few people have been!

Sun, May 29 2005 - 08:03 PM rating by rangutan

Super report with beautiful pictures...

Sat, Jan 08 2005 - 02:26 PM rating by davidx

A friend went this year and had similar cmments and photos. This is a really good report and I'm looking forward to reading some of your others.

Fri, Oct 31 2003 - 08:42 AM rating by marianne

Very informative, a pleasure to read. The landscape (in your pictures) reminded me of the Scottish highlands. Is the gree turf on the roofs meant as a kind of insulation? You do go to very ou-of-the-way places! Do you travel on your own or with a companion?

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