We spent day 11 cruising. All the usual activities were available, one of which was an interesting talk on the Faroes. I knew very little about these islands and found the talk so interesting that I booked up for an extra tour.

We arrived in Torshavn at 7am and, as we were only there for a half day, we left for our tour of the traditional villages at 7.30am.

We travelled through the city and up onto the ridge above the city. Torshavn is one of the smallest capital cities in the world. It has a fascinating history from a Viking settlement to a thriving modern city. It has been ruled by Norway and Denmark over the centuries and then in WW2 was occupied by the British army, (as our guide pointed out it was a very amicable occupation and many friendships and relationships were forged.)

Torshavn from the ridge top

After the war the Faroese voted on devolution from Denmark and are now almost self governing. They still have foreign policy decided by Denmark and use Danish coinage though they have their own bank notes.

We drove above Nordradalur and admired the view of the island of Koltur. In between telling us about the various scenic delights the guide told us more myths and legends. This cruise has abounded with tales of “the Little People”. Could this be because it was not only Vikings who came to these islands but the Celtic monks!

After seeing the hand hewn salmon ladders leading to Lake Leynar, we arrived at the house and workshops of a very talented wood carver. It was quite amazing to see him turn ordinary thich logs into beautiful goods as fine as porcelain. 

Fruit bowls and lampshades etc.

A short drive west  and we reached Kvikvik. There we saw the remains of an ancient Viking farmhouse and once again admired the fjord behind it.

Excavated remains of Viking farmhouse

At Kollafjordur there was a delightful old grass roofed church.

Church at Kollafjordur

Inside, once again, it was beautiful in its simplicity.

Rood screen. All the symbols have a meaning

From the organ balcony!

All churches in the Faroes have a boat “sailing” towards the altar. The chandeliers are not brass, as may have been guessed, but wood carved by a local man and gilded.

We drove back to Torshaven and then had a city tour, where we saw the school and the hospital founded by Celtic nuns, the residence of the Danish Representative, the town hall and finally ended at the harbour.

Part of the harbour

We returned to Athena at midday and sailed at 12.30pm.

I felt that I had learned so  much about the Faroes, the way of life, the history, the legends and the magnificent scenery, not as dramatic as Iceland but beautiful in a different way. We had even experienced many types of weather in the short time we were there from warm sun in the harbour, to snow at Kollafjordur, light rain at Leynar and more sun further on! Once again we had been received with warmth and friendship and I would love to go back and see more.

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