Mimi Chen

Fjord Journeys day two: What do you think our horses are doing now?

Our first full day in Torshavn includes horseback riding and ocean kayaking. After a continental breakfast of yogurt, smoked salmon, lamb sausage, pastries, copious amounts of coffee and more, we gather downstairs to walk to the barn near the hotel where our Icelandic horses await us. Icelandic horses are known for their smaller stature, and outsized personalities. They are adorable, and we are assigned various horses. I feel bad that I can’t remember my horse’s name. I think there were some vowels and a T or an R in his name. Maybe the Faroese version of Roger?

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Icelandic horses waiting for us in the barn. Photo credit: Evan Tremblay

With our helmets on, and some practice walks around the ring in the barn, heels down, pointer and pinky finger outside the rein, the horsewoman leads us outdoors as the dogs look on. Linda attempts to talk with her horse in German, but figures that its grasp of German might not be the best. Ayano speaks encouragingly to her horse in Japanese alternating between saying “yukuri” (slowly), “kawaii” (cute, adorable), and “kowaii” (scary).

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Stu and his horse. Photo credit: Mimi Chen

Some of our horses are less enthusiastic about the morning’s activity, but all of them have their distinct personalities. A few minutes on the hills, we start going faster, and I fear I may roll off before I grab onto the saddle. Ahead of me, Ayano is told that her horse is falling asleep, and to hold her reins higher. My horse also seems to think the pacing is too fast, and trail behind so that the horsewoman leading up the end, rides up to give me a switch to remind the horse that we have a destination.

Jessica’s horse wants to slow down, but the woman pulling up the end tells her she needs to speed her horse up. Jessica is sympathetic with her horse just wanting to hang out, “I know guy, but the others want to keep going.”

Eventually, we make it to a horse rest stop where our horses get to snack on the grass, and gossip about us. Once they know we are returning, our horses noticeably pick up the pace. Back at the barn, we say thank you and good-bye to the horses. Our horse caretaker wish us a nice trip, and tells us that the weather should hold up for kayaking. She has been monitoring the weather as she is planning on painting her house (she accomplished this the same day). From the looks of her white dog with blue paint streaks, he probably counted himself one of those many Faroese artists.

Back at Hotel Føroyar, we are served a gourmet salmon lunch finished with chocolate chip cookies, tea or coffee. Bill misses out because he’s catching up on work, and makes Jessica promise that if there are future cookies, she’ll save him some.

Another van ride takes us to the water for sea kayaking. Getting suited up for kayaking is a more extended, and elaborate affair than selecting a right size helmet for horseback riding. We get into black and red wetsuits, help each other zip up so that we won’t be exposed to the water, and put on the shoes. Evan’s special, and gets a yellow suit. One-by-one we are helped into the kayaks, and our guides take us out into the expansive, glittery water surrounded by more moss green mountains and picturesque villages. Evan yells out, “Fjordians in a Fjord!”. We go through little caves, and then have to maneuver ourselves around, much less gracefully than our guides. To get herself through the over two-hour water activity, Jessica sings Disney songs to herself. This was our most physically taxing event, but I think one of my favorites for being on the water, and so close to nature.

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Coming out of the cave. Photo credit: Stuart Barnett

On our drive back to the hotel, exhausted and having encountered no sharks, Evan throws out the question, “What do you think our horses are doing now?” Some of us had become very attached to our four legged pals earlier this morning. For the rest of the trip, Evan will periodically ask us what we think Trugall, his horse, is doing. Wanting to let Evan down easy, we tell him that Trugall is probably not thinking about him, but Evan is confident Trugall’s feelings are mutual.

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Ayano and Mimi walking to town. Photo credit: Arne Schütze

 

See what we got up to on day one here.

Cover photo credit: Stuart Barnett

 

Mimi Chen

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