Thursday, 21 May 2015

The islands of sheep

Better known as the Faroe Islands, this archipelago consisting of 18 major islands was our last stop on our way to Iceland. Located about halfway between Norway and Iceland, the islands are named after the Old Norse word of Færøerne wich means “sheep”.
A name that is still more than appropriate today as the first thing many of us noticed while driving out of town for the excursion, was the number of sheep and lambs that walk on (almost) every corner of the road! A very nice sight but quite dangerous at times. They also graze on tops of very high and steep cliffs which is a very impressive sight as well. One of our excursions took us to the other side of the main island by bus, to the village of Vestmanna. The bus trip to get there was very nice with stunning views over the fjords and mountains of which many tops were still covered with snow. Once at our destination, we boarded a little boat that took us along the cliff shores North of Vestmanna which was an incredible experience that amazed everybody including staff. Our captain sailed right between cliffs and we were surprised by his sailing skills as we got very very close to the walls. This also allowed us to spot nestling guillemots and the world famous puffins! They were sitting on the cliffs, flying over us and floating on the water! The landscapes we saw along the way were very Jurassic Park – like. Bright green cliffs rising from the water and surrounded by picturesque fog. Everybody had a smile from ear to ear once we got back on the bus to Torshavn. Definitely an excursion  to remember for a lifetime.
Our guided tour of Torshavn allowed guests to discover the city that is the capital of these islands and that has most of the architectural and historical highlights. The tour also included a visit of the southern village of Kirkjubøur which is the country's most important historical site with the ruins of the Magnus Cathedral.
We also had the architecture an wollen design excursion that took guests on a guided walk through the old town of Torshavn. Then they went to a shop where they were introduced to the traditional handicraft techniques of the wool and of course had the opportunity to buy something. Our afternoon consisted of a few lectures to enhance our knowledge about Vikings and volcanoes and the Hardanger embroidery group worked on their project again with our Expedition Leader. We are again heading for open sea on the way to Iceland.