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  • Asha

The Magical Islands

The Faroe Island have this overwhelmingly magnetic effect on us. We felt so attracted to come back and now that we are here, we got pulled into the magic of the local life. It swallowed us whole and we gave in willingly and started drifting with the natural flow of socialising, talking with everyone who wants to talk to us, just living the life. We have been in Tórshavn since the 4th of June [2021] and so much was happening since our arrival that my account can be inaccurate in terms of timeline, or indeed recollection of events as it feels we have been here for months at least. For that very reason I am not going to diarise what is happening.


Every day starts with a breakfast at Kaffi Husid. Invariably there are three of us - Mark and I, and Soni, the owner of a pirate ship. Well, it is not really a pirate ship, but a 124 year old original Colin Archer sailing boat. For dramatic effect, however, and to illustrate its vintage looks in the entire wooden glory, it’s best described as a vessel that could easily be owned by captain Jack Sparrow. Kaffi Hussid has on the menu Soni’s breakfast, not on the written menu. It is a word of mouth special, designed by and for Soni. We have adopted it as our favourite and go with it most of the time. The breakfast often last until 11-ish so sometimes we give into the temptation of the cake display and indulge in the sweets and more coffee. Sometimes other people join us - locals or fellow sailors, and as of recent Soni's girlfriend, Angela who flew in from New Mexico. Because the breakfast last so long Mark and I abandoned having lunch, if favour of reconvening the jolly meetings at dinner table. I think after leaving Tórshavn we’ll have to abandon eating altogether for a while to fit into our wardrobe.

Soni is a hugely intelligent, completely charming, incredibly gentle, kind and witty individual. His stories never end to amuse us. I know, if something sounds incredible, it might be so, but in the day and age of all-knowing Google, the proof is on the world wide web. It is not that we didn’t believe a word, but out of curiosity, which is known to kill the cat, we resorted to some internet research. May we be forgiven.


Soni is nearly like a local, as he has been in the Faroe Islands since the end of August 2020. For that reason he has a lot of good local knowledge and so he led the hike from Tórshavn to Kirkjubøur, a charming Faroese village near the capital city. Most of the houses there are painted black, covered with grass roofs and have red window frames. At the edge of the village are ruins of the Magnus Cathedral, which used to serve as an episcopal residence until its abolishment in 1557. It is colloquially referred to as Múrurin, which in English means “the Wall”. Not sure about the reasons for that, but the building is missing the roof and floors, and it literally consists just of walls, so perhaps that’s where the nickname comes from. Humans have this inherent inability to let go of the past so although at first the building was left to dilapidate considerably before it was decided after all that it constituted heritage and a commission set up by the Minister of Culture decided to preserve the ruins. We wondered around the stone constructions trying to figure out whether it ever had a roof, but it wasn’t entirely clear to us.


We wondered further down the coast to see ruins of a crematorium. It is but a pile of stones now, however down in the water were families of eider ducks with tiny ducklings, which look like fur balls, yet swam around and dived like pros. We were enchanted by the cute baby ducks as they stayed afloat in the surf, diving and emerging on the water surface flawlessly. What’s really interesting about the human-eider duck relations, is that humans harvest the eiderdown to make a superb quality bedding and clothes lining. The relationship is not symbiotic, but thankfully no harm comes to the ducks as the down is collected from empty nests after the ducklings leave. I am personally pleased with this approach.


Another peculiarity of this prosperous little country is a free bus service, which we availed of to return to Tórshavn that evening. Then we headed to the best Italian restaurant in town, appropriately named Toscana, and run by an Iranian man, Mohsen. Oh my, the food is exquisite! We fell in love with the spaghetti gorgonzola. For anyone not feeling adventurous enough to try the fermented local specialities, it is a great food venue, with a truly Italian atmosphere and great desserts too! Funny to mention, the spaghetti gorgonzola is Soni’s choice, which we followed as well. He clearly has a knack for setting food trends.

Faroe Islands do not have many trees. The rocky islands have certainly a lot of grasslands, which are the home to many sheep. Actually the name Føroyar derives from an old Norse word Færeyjar and literally means Sheep Islands, a name given by the Norse people that settled here during Viking age. Going back to the animals, sheep are actually in part responsible for the lack of trees as they manage to eat them before they mature and become indigestible. Another reason are strong winds, which uproot trees . However, Tórshavn has its own charming version of Sherwood Forest. It is located in the middle of the city and constitutes a wonderful natural retreat, smelling wonderfully of pine trees and providing home to many birds. Also, the national gallery is located in the midst of this so called Plantation.


We didn’t follow any guide, well, except for Soni, to explore the city yet we managed to stumble upon countless sites that kept us in awe of this place. As we await southerly winds we are going to explore other islands which we are told all have their own unique character.

Cafe in Tórshavn

Soni's pirate ship - Spenner

Sunny day in Tórshavn - ready to go on a hike

Altor moored safely in Tórshavn Harbour

Spenner and Altor of Down moored in Tórshavn Harbour

On a hike to Kirkjubøur

On a hike to Kirkjubøur

On a hike to Kirkjubøur

On a hike to Kirkjubøur - view on Koltur Island

On a hike to Kirkjubøur

On a hike to Kirkjubøur

On a hike to Kirkjubøur - view on Koltur and Hestur

On a hike to Kirkjubøur - taking footage demands effort

Approaching Kirkjubøur

The village of Kirkjubøur - black houses with grass covered roofs and red window frames.

Magnus Cathedral, which used to serve as an episcopal residence until its abolishment in 1557. It is colloquially referred to as Múrurin, which in English means “the Wall”.

The crematorium near the ruins of Magnus Cathedral

Danish school ship Georg Stage

On a walk in plantation - Tórshavn's forest park

On a walk in plantation - Tórshavn's forest park called the Plantation

On a walk in plantation - Tórshavn's forest park called the Plantation

On a walk in Tórshavn

Lighthouse in Tórshavn

View from the lighthouse in Tórshavn

The quay in Tórshavn - view from the deck of Nordlysid

On a walk in Tórshavn

On a walk in Tórshavn

On a walk in Tórshavn

We are very happy to be back in the Faroe Islands

World's only underground roundabout

This time of year it doesn't get dark in the Faroe Islands - view on Altor moored safely in Tórshavn Harbour

Faroe Islands

Old graveyard in Tórshavn

Mandala created with our friends for celebrating the Summer Solstice

Tórshavn at night

Bonfire we had with our friends for celebrating the Summer Solstice

Celebrating Summer Solstice with our friends

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