As I said, I’m done. Not done enjoying my travels, but I’m done trying to prove anything. I’ve left the light suffering of outdoor living for the comfort of the city and have moved into a cozy apartment in Tórshavn for a couple days. Tomorrow, I’ll meet with a friend of a friend, but tonight is for being alone and enjoying some sustainably raised Faroese salmon with roast vegetables. I’ve been missing this meal. Thanks for the recipe, Mom!
(I’m not sure how to share this “photosphere”, but if you can actually scroll around in a 360° view, this is the best I’ve been able to capture the view.)
I forgot something yesterday. I had another item on my to do list for this adventure: hitchhiking. And I had great success. I cought five rides that took me out to the western end of the islands and back. Except for getting back from the almost uninhabited west coast of Vágar, it took less than ten minutes to get picked up. The first driver, Johannes, was on his way to work in Tórshavn. He has worked for Maersk for 23 years both on the sea and as an engineer for their oil drilling division. We may have opposing industries, but we had a great conversation. The second gentleman spoke only enough English to figure out where I wanted to go and even drove 4km past his destination to drop me closer to the trailhead. On the way back, it took my walking abouy 45 minutes back past the small town of Bøer, where I had been dropped off, to flag down a young man, Samuel, who was on his way to Tórshavn for some errands. We had a great talk about rowing on the fjords since I could sympathize with similarly choppy water on the Severn. The next car was a couple on their way back from a day in Tórshavn. Bodur (something like that) is a fisherman who works mainly between Greenland and Iceland, so he works two months away and has two months off at home. His wife, Bekka (sp?), cares for their three kids while he’s away, but he makes up for it when he returns! The last leg back to Klaksvik was with a couple of elderly gentleman who spoke almost no English but were having a lively conversation the entire time. Faroese is a really charming language. It sounds a lot like the Gotlandic dialect of Swedish but completely incomprehensible to me.
The hike in the middle was short but yet another walk into a foreign world. The island off the coast, Mykines, looked like a scene out of Jurassic Park. The view of the hamlet on the far side of the ridge is in no way captured by the photo. It just can’t reflect the scale. I deleted half the pictures I took because they were so disappointing.
I shamelessly admit that I’m done. I’ve seen what I came to see. I’ve gone where I wanted to go. Experienced more than I could have expected. This adventure is rapidly coming to a close, and I would be perfectly happy spending the rest of it lounging around in cafes. Indeed, that’s where I am now. I scaled a ridge this morning, but it was a battle just to get myself moving. I’m glad I did it though. This place continues to blow my mind. Even after seeing it with my own eyes, I find it hard to believe that this is a real place. When I reached the top of the ridge along the trail that connects Klaksvik and Árnafjørdur, it literally felt like walking into another world.
But now I’m back at sea level and perfectly content with my cup of tea, comfy chair, and internet connection. I’ve budgeted a nice cushion for emergency hostel stays that was to be used if I couldn’t find a host or if the weather drove me inside. Now that I only have 5 more nights when I need to figure out my lodging situation, I’ll take my reward for disciplined budgeting. We’ll see where I end up.
Stunning. Breathtaking. Staggering. Majestic. Awesome.
Since I learned those words, I did not truly understand what they meant. Now, I do.
A thousand feet above the small town of Klaksvik, the second largest town of the Faroe Islands, I carefully shuffled down onto a precipice of frozen grass and rock. On all sides rose the steep, snow-capped faces of the fjord walls. The channel of water, the lifeblood of this island nation, bringer of food and spirit, cut through the walls to the southeast. Along this corridor of the gods streaked the first rays of the creeping sun, igniting the tips of the clouds above the distant sea before ending their cosmic journey across vast space in a radiant ricochet against the jagged peaks. The luminous scatter bathed the morning in a salmon glow, warming the frigid winter air and revealing the melodic and unhurried motions of the town below. My eyes stretched left to right futilely gasping to drink in the whole of the epic scene. They reached, like an infant toward his mother’s face, to the distant slopes, as the shadow receded one microscopic boulder at a time down toward the still waters of the fjord. So focused, so enraptured, so irreverent was I that I entirely forgot to breathe. My body became nothing; my mind became all. Resting there, high above, like a god gazing over his creation, I reveled in the glory of this morning. But I am not a god. I am but a man, small and insignificant, powerless and pitiless, impotent to comprehend to the magnificence of the universe. In my feebleness, I saw only my futility amidst the brilliance of mother nature, and all I could do was submit in praise of her majesty. My sight rippled with unclarity as tears came to my eyes; helpless was I against this awesome beauty.