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davidx Vidareidi - A travel report by David
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Vidareidi,  Faroe Islands - flag Faroe Islands
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davidx's travel reports

Færoes - part 3 – Eysturoy, Norðoyggjar and Vágar

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My final section – and a final comment. I’m so glad we had the chance to go, owing to our friend’s generosity. Others might research the cost of hostels or camping and of going by ship and taking a lot of food.

Newest tunnel mouth, Gasadalur
Newest tunnel mouth, Gasadalur
There are two undersea tunnels and it is only on these that a toll is payable [from Vagar to Streymoy, the one the bus used, and from Estremoy to Bordoy] The toll is only payable in one direction; return is free. To us the interesting and unusual feature is the method of payment. There are no toll-booths; tickets can be purchased at any petrol station on the islands, any time up to three days after travel. Apparently the numbers of all vehicles are registered on a computer and checked against the submissions from the garages. Anybody who has not paid will then be pursued. I should be interested to know if anybody else has encountered anything of this kind elsewhere. Long tunnels under mountain ranges are found frequently. The importance of these to the inhabitants would be hard to overestimate.
In my reports on Madeira, I expressed regret that highly scenic old roads had been allowed to become impassable; here the mountain road from Torshavn towards the Eysturoy bridge remains sound but in most cases there was no previous land passage. There is one each on Streymoy and Eysturoy but they are most important in the Norðoyggjar, where there are two on Bordoy, one on Kulsoy and two on Kalsoy. Most recently there is the one mentioned below on Vágar.
The ones on Streymoy and Eysturoy allow vehicles to meet anywhere. The others give right of way to vehicles going in one direction. There are frequent passing places marked with a large M, large enough to accommodate a bus if necessary. As you would expect, the local inhabitants are expert at estimating meeting times and distances between Ms.

Favourite spots:
The north of Eysturoy is said to be more scenic than the south. Having only seen the north, I’m sure that must be true. Eiði, mentioned in an earlier report, is a fine village, a little larger than some and with a museum although we didn’t see this one. The weather was very variable and we wanted to cross the mountain road to Gjokv with good visibility and we succeeded on the journey there, rather by the skin of our teeth. At one point there is a free telescope to look [from almost the opposite angle as seen from Tjornúvik] to the stacks of Risin and Kellingin – awe inspiring. This mountain road was my overall favourite – against stiff competition. Gjogv means cleft and the reason for the name was obvious – look at the photo. The café was both open and iresistible. Again the cliffs were well puffinated [my own word!] I think the boat trips from here to the stacks must be pretty wondrous.

What's really great:
In Elduvik
In Elduvik
After the trip described above we went to two other seaside villages at the end of roads, Elduvik and Oyndarfjørdur, the second being one of the few places new to Judith. Elduvik is another delightful village in a bay with outstanding views towards the Northern Islands. However the drive to it is part of the appeal – hanging valley[s] after hanging valley[s]. I presume it’s because these volcanic islands are geologically fairly new that there are no lakes in these valleys like Scotland’s coire lochs [comments from geologists welcome].
I found Oyndarfjørdur recommended because of rocking stones in the sea. I suppose they are geologically significant but they are somewhat underwhelming visually. However views over the Northern Islands with intriguing cloud more than make up.

Next to Streymoy, where Torshavn acts as a magnet, Vágar is the island seen by most people, if only because it contains the airport. This is only used by the Færoes own air line, Atlantic Airways, who lay on special flights in addition to their normal ones for special occasions, like, during our visit, the visit of the Manchester City football team to play Torshavn.
However Vágar has far more than planes to offer. On the road before the airport you pass one end of the largest inland stretch of water on the islands, said to be excellent for bird watching; its outflow claims to be the world’s shortest river as it plunges all but instantly down a vertical cliff to the sea. [cont. below]

Norðoyggjar is the name given collectively to the 6 islands in the north-east part of the Færoes. Klaksvik, on Bordsoy, might be regarded as the capital of the group and possibly as the ‘fishing capital’ of the Færoes. It is the second town in population but well behind Torshavn.
Bordoy is certainly the link between the Norðoyggjar and the islands of Streymoy, Eysturoy and Vágar. It’s connected with Eysturoy by undersea tunnel completed this century, prior to which there was a ferry from Leirvik in Eysturoy to Klaksvik. Bordoy is connected to Kunoy and Vidoy, two more of the Norðoyggjar, by causeways and to Kalsoy by ferry from Klaksvik to Syðradalur. The remaining islands of Fugloy and Svinoy are reached by ferry from Hvannasund in Vidoy, the timetable being subject to the moods of the Atlantic. I wasn’t in the islands long enough for this trip but see Wojteks fine report on Torshavn. [This also has information on Suduroy, hours south of Torshavn, which I didn’t reach.]

Above Viðareiði
Above Viðareiði
The island of Vidoy is reached from Klaksvik by two tunnels under most of Bordoy and then a causeway, but there is a particularly picturesque bay at Arnafjørdur between the two tunnels. The causeway leads to Hvannasund and the road then goes north to Viðareiði, the farthest point from Torshavn without resort to a ferry. This is a really fascinating village. There is no access to the far north of the island, except to energetic walkers, as there is a mountainous peninsula between there and Viðareiði. You can look up into a sort of cirque, the top of which marks the start of the ridge walk to the end of the peninsula. Here Judith’s brother was walking and had to undergo a prolonged attack from a greater black-backed gull.

North  side
North side
However, Viðareiði straddles the west and east sides of the island - and what a contrast! Even on a relatively windless day, the small bay on the east side, overlooking Fugloy and Svinoy, was a wild place where boats had to be kept well up from the ocean. The crossing to those two islands looked formidable. The main part of the village, including its church is on the west overlooking the northern tips of Kunoy and Kalsoy, beyond another Vidoy peninsula. This church has some fine silver, including a plate presented by the UK Government for the care of some sailors rescued from a wreck there in 1847. At this side the Atlantic is like a placid lake!

Bon appetit
Bon appetit
I only went into three places outside of Torshavn. Two were in Viðareiði, one being the Hotel Norð, where the dinner being prepared for a coach party had a fine smell – we only had coffee. I can’t say the dead puffins exhibited in the foyer were quite our scene but as they are regarded as a Færoes delicacy - - -. We desperately needed a toilet and the coffee was excellent – and not too dear.
The other place was Matstovan hjá Elisabeth, a restaurant, after quite a bit of walking. I was more tired than Pam and Judith and went to this restaurant on my own – again only for coffee, a toilet and a comfortable seat. They brought me a large jug of coffee for the same price [per person] as at the hotel so I really could have all I wanted.
The third place was a café in Gdogv whose name I forgot but the waffles we had with our coffee were well worth the rather high price - and you won't find another one.

Other recommendations:
Stacks from Vágar
Stacks from Vágar
[Vágar cont.]
Beyond the airport is the idyllic village of Bour from which there are really majestic views over the tiny but exquisitely shaped island of Tindholmur and some awesome stacks. Only during the last four years the Færoes newest tunnel has extended the road to Gasadalur; looking back to the tunnel mouth, it is hard to imagine the previous crossing of the mountains by the post deliverer. It is easy to walk to puffinated cliffs beyond the village and the views seaward are better for Mykines and, given the different angle, they add much to the visual concept of Tindholmur.

On each of Kunoy and Kalsoy we only had one ritual tread, Kunoy by the causeway when we were waiting for the ferry form Klaksvik to Kalsoy and Kalsoy itself from the ferry. Both these islands consist in the main of one long mountain chain each. There is a bus route right up Kalsoy through its two tunnels and the view from the far north is said by some to be the best in the Færoes. WOW!!

Published on Wednesday July 30th, 2008

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Tue, Aug 05 2008 - 08:45 PM rating by mtlorensen

Thanks for sharing such interesting information and photographs!

Sun, Aug 03 2008 - 05:07 AM rating by krisek

Aren't trilogies fun to write? Nicely done, David.

Sat, Aug 02 2008 - 04:38 AM rating by rangutan

A great triology about these rather off-side islands and a wonderful destination tip for those who don't like crowds.

Fri, Aug 01 2008 - 10:22 AM rating by terje

How did you enjoy landing at Vagar airport? There is supposted to be a tough windshear at 1000 ft above the runway...

Fri, Aug 01 2008 - 04:21 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Wonderful, wonderful, all three Feroe reports. Milluions thanks!

Wed, Jul 30 2008 - 03:01 PM rating by eirekay

David, the pictures are so marvelous on all three reports! This is a wonderful collection! What a pleasure to read!

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