Mimi Chen

Fjord Journeys day four: A Sunday walk

On day four we go hill walking. During our walk, our tour guide tells us a few more facts about the Faroe Islands:

• 40% of the population live in Torshavn, 18,000 in the city, and 22,000 in municipality

• Over a century ago only 10% lived in the capital

• There is a 2030 goal to have 100% power sourced from wind and sea turbines

• The Faroe Islands has over 18 tunnels, and two are subsea

• Some of the islands are connected by bridges and 85% of them can be reached by car

• For access to the remote islands,  a subsidized helicopter service is running as well as ferries in the summertime

• We pass by the former NATO military camp that has been turned into a prison. The crime rate in the Faroe Islands is incredibly low, and prisoners are transferred to Copenhagen for longer sentences. This prison has the nicest view

• There are more sheep than people in the Faroe islands, more precisely 70,000 sheep

• They import sheep meat from Iceland, South America, and New Zealand.

• The Faroese sheep is the most expensive because of the limited sheep supply

• They export 80,000 tons of salmon all over world

• In World War II, the Faroe Islands lost 230 men at sea, which equate to 1% of the population, because fishermen were attacked by German U Boats

Hill walking is not as easy as it sounds. The terrain and climate varies widely throughout our “walk,” and sometimes the rocky ground and fog reminds me of zombie movies. My idea of walking is more flat than vertical, and my ankles do not bend lower than 90 degree angles. Before we started out, Roope and our guide talked so casually about today’s “walk,” that the rest of us guess that local Faroese are much more skilled than us at this “hill walking.”

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Hiking. Photo credit: Stuart Barnett

When we reach the top for the day, we pause for a break. Roope asks us if we’d like to warm up in a tent. He warns, “It will be so cozy that you won’t want to get out.” The orange glowiness of the tent was very cheerful, and Roope offers us hot cocoa, which made me curious of what other magical items Roope had brought with him.

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The team at the top. Photo credit: Evan Tremblay

A few times, our guide and Roope stops to tell us about the cairns, the birds, or the plants. Roope tells us that the flowers and nature adapts to the terrain. They grow small to be able to hide from the wind, or in clusters to group together for warmth. The flowers make Ayano reflect on being a part of a community, and supporting one another. On the ascent, the mist and fog makes it difficult to see, but the sun must have burned off some of the fog, because we’re able to enjoy some beautiful views.

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Cairns. Photo credit: Stuart Barnett

Up and down, we walk through a number of streams, so those of us who didn’t have waterproof shoes were worse off. Bill observed that hiking on the last day meant that all our things would be wet when we packed them to return home. Roope countered if we had hiked earlier, all of our things would have been wet for the time of the trip. Can’t argue with that.

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Village view. Photo Credit: Stuart Barnett

Over our last dinner at the hotel, Roope shares some final thoughts on our group dynamic, and our Fjord Journey. Even as we enjoy our artfully arranged steak and potatoes, Bill and Evan are plotting about pizza. Afterwards in the hotel lounge, Evan and Bill orders pizza for the group to share. Jessica and Ayano make sure to document this long awaited event.

Mimi Chen

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