Thursday 20 September 2012

From Iceland to Islands

Well, aren’t we just lucky?? The passage between Iceland and the lands toward the East has a reputation that could scare the living daylight out of the faint of heart, the North Atlantic waters can be as fierce as the infamous Drake Passage. But no, the skies are mild and blue, only some faint shades of clouds, the sea seems unfiltered by air or distance, the horizon being a crisp line behind a quicksilver ocean. The temperatures easily allow for a stroll or a tea on deck without twenty layers of clothing.  So the spirits are high, as is the curiosity about the lectures on board that are held in large numbers.
Since the waves are tiny-ish, nearly everybody’s condition allows to attend the presentations about sea birds, the development of the Arctic climate, Earth History, North Pole conquering, and Volcanoes, be it in German, English or Scandinavian. FRAM really lives up to its reputation as a floating university.
And the food!! Besides the regular meals there is always time for a little more, especially as a wonderful smell of waffles wafts through the decks in the afternoon. So, sitting high above the scenery, feasting on some delicacy, sipping a good Cappuccino – if this doesn’t free your mind, what does?
So let it wander, think about the marvelous place we just left, the home of Sagas, Trolls, housing the entry to the center of the Earth, being the source of enormous and cheap power as well as a peephole to Earth’s restless interior and, last but not least, an island of stunning beauty. Go through your pictures, sigh a little about the memories that lie behind you, and smile at the things that are supposed to come. The Faroe Islands are certainly one of the rarest destinations in Europe, they are simply hard to get to. Being more or less half way between Iceland and the British Isles, they are a weird mix, belonging to Denmark, but having their own currency, and the idiom rather being a sort of ancient Norwegian, supposedly the rarest European language spoken. The old ways are alive there, too, the most disputed of them the yearly mass hunt of the Pilot Whales, a violent tradition, meekly explained with the need for food. 
So, yes, a lot to think about while we are busy with our coffee upstairs. Faroers, here we come!