Mimi Chen

Fjord Journeys day one: Did you know?

Every year a team of Fjordians who have been with Fjord for a number of years, visit one of Earth’s most spectacular and awe-inspiring sights – a real fjord.

The first of this year’s Fjord Journeys was to the Faroe Islands, which are an archipelago between Norway and Iceland, and north-northwest of Great Britain. According to our thorough research, sixteen of the eighteen islands are inhabited with a population of 48,700 in 2015. The Faroe Islands translates as the islands of sheep, and it is coincidentally the Chinese zodiac year of the ram. This is the story of what happened on our first day exploring the Faroe Islands.

Early Thursday afternoon, Roope Roine, our guide on the journey, collects eight of us at Vagar airport (Ayano from Madrid has already arrived), the only airport in the Faroe Islands, and drive 47 kilometers (29 mi) to the capital of Torshavn on the island of Stremoy.

To orient us, Roope has arranged for native Faroese Jogvan Thomsen to take us through the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands, Tinganes, the harbor, and Tórshavn old town with traditional sod roofs.


Fjordians in Tórshavn. Photo credit: Arne Schütze

About the Faroe Islands

  • Faroese are descendants of Vikings while the people of Greenland and Iceland were founded by Viking outlaws
  • The Faroe Islands has the most artists per capita. Perhaps, the sometimes harsh environmental conditions, and uncertainty of the sea contributes to the creative machinery
  • Wives used to knit husband sweaters with distinct patterns to recognize men on fishing boats when they returned. This developed into tradition of family patterns similar to Scottish quilts
  • They also have the most Nobel laureates and men lost at sea, per capita
  • Children start saving at a young age for the silver buttons, and belt buckles that are part of the traditional Faroese national dress
  • The Faroese chain dance is danced to traditional ballads, and snakes within each other. There is usually a dance captain, and ballads can range from 70-80 verses to 300-400 verses
  • All trees are imported
  • The Faroese starling is bigger and lives twice as long
  • The fort on the port of Tinganes was built in 1580 to defend against pirates
  • The Faroese are very good sailors, 40% of Maersk captains are Faroese
  • The rowing championships use a smaller modern version of the Viking long boat that will seat 8 people
  • The larger Faroese rowing boats, which are more similar to traditional Viking long boats, can seat 20 people and uses a sail and oars

Jessica is concerned about the ocean kayaking activity tomorrow, so we ask about sharks. The answer seems to be that there are sharks, but none that we would have to worry about.

Linda and Ayano exchange greetings with some local cats when we’re in Torshavn old town. When we walk by the sushi restaurant, Ekita, our tour guide notes that a few businessmen from the South of France flew in to eat there especially. Stu asks if we can eat at Ekita, but our dinner plans have already been made.


A traditional sod roof house. Photo credit: Stuart Barnett

About our tour, Bill says, “Words can’t describe what I learned today. I learned the new definition of storytelling.” I’ll leave that to the reader to guess what Bill means.

The view from our hotel

The view from our hotel. Photo credit: Stuart Barnett

You can read the introduction to this year’s Fjord Journeys by Fjord founder Olof Schybergson here, and view more images from day one in the gallery below.


Viking boat. Photo credit: Evan Tremblay

Read what we got up to on day two here.

Cover photo credit: Stuart Barnett

Mimi Chen

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