June 11, 2010 by jessperriam
It was a long, lovely drive from Torshavn to Vestmanna.
I know I say it too much but the Faroese scenery is amazing.
In the Faroe Islands you never plan anything outdoorsy more than a few hours in advance. You see, in the Faroe Islands, they don’t have a weather forecast for the entire day (eg. Fine, sunny and 25 in Perth). Rather, there is a forecast for the morning, afternoon and evening. There is always, always a cloudy patch. Some days you’ll get lucky and have ‘baking sun’.
So I stumbled out of bed rather late on Wednesday morning to find out that Karolina and her sister had booked tickets to go on a boat trip around the Vestmanna cliffs.
I was pretty excited that the weather was awesome and I’d have a chance to see some puffins.
Karolina and I took the scenic route to Vestmanna so we could take some more photos of sheep and oystercatchers and green cliffs. It’s more awesome than it sounds.
We hopped on the boat at Vestmanna and the tour guide looked like your typical rugged Scandinavian man of the sea. In fact, we saw his mug on a postcard at the post office just this afternoon. He had his work cut out for him with Danish, British and Faroese on the tour. He would be repeating himself lots.
To be quite honest, he didn’t need to say much, the sheer cliffs spoke for themselves.
It’s hard to explain what it’s like out there without the visual aid of photographs(they’re coming soon, I swear!). But I’ll give it a go.
Sheep live everywhere on the Faroe Islands. Apparently the Faroe part of the country’s name means ‘sheep’. I’m not surprised. Sheep live on these cliffs, happily munching away at their grass. The tour guide would proudly say, “And this cliff is 60 metres tall and there are four sheep that live here.” I kid you not.
After leaving the fjord that Vestmanna is settled in, you round these sheer cliffs and head out into open water. The cliffs are tall, one of them is 85 metres (if I heard correctly) and locals climb them for fun. “The youngest man climbed this when he was just 15. And where do you think he was from?” Asked the guide.
“Uh…” was the repsonse from the passengers.
Apparently the people in Vestmanna are an adventurous lot.
When we got further along the cliffs, the guide brought out a black plastic bag full of helmets – we were going under the cliffs, through some caves. The cliffs have waterfalls that run straight into the ocean. Ironically, the Faroes are probably about the only place where you don’t have to pay for water. It’s not surprising, it rains so often, pools on the tops of mountains, and slowly gurgles its way back to the North Atlantic.
Out at the Vestmanna cliffs, there are birds – loads of them, squawking around. But the guide said our chances of seeing puffins were slim. But he pointed out two – I was too slow to see them. However. I think I may have seen one of two on the cliffs. Maybe. I’m not sure. Karolina has said I’ve seen them, so I have.
For all of you who heard my excited squeals of “Soup on a boat!” for endless weeks, I’m sorry to say this boat trip didn’t include delcious seafood chowder. But that’s ok, it would have taken away from the epic scenery and fresh, fresh air.
On the way back to Torshavn, Karolina and I stopped in a village to eat a snack, overlooking a bay. She was mortified that we looked like tourists, randomly sitting on grass, eating bread and drinking black coffee (like water!). And I’m sure that we did – look like tourists, that is. But I’m also sure that it was pretty much the best views I’ve ever had over lunch in my entire life.