Thursday was one of two full days we had available in Faroe Islands. I’d annoyingly forgotten to book a helicopter/ferry early enough to take us to the island of Mykines where you can see puffins but that means more time to explore the other more accessible islands.
We set out with a list of places to see—actually, I think I had the list and had vaguely mentioned some of the things on it to Glen but let’s just say he had full involvement and vetting, shall we?
The sky was a bit grey when we set out, heading northwest to Saksun, a small farming village with a church beside water in a valley. (Faroe Islands is mostly farming villages with a church beside water in a valley but this one was very pretty in the brochure.)
After a while the road leading to the village became one way and cut through a lot of farm land and in between picturesque hills. As we got closer the sky started to clear (though the wind stayed cold) and soon after the sun stayed out for the rest of the day. It was an exceptionally beautiful day (even the locals couldn’t believe the sunshine) and was perfect for seeing as much as possible.
Saksun had a few very old grass covered farm buildings and an impressive waterfall. I climbed close to the top, put my hand in the cold water, took some photos and then came back down to collect Glen and off we went.
We took one of the scenic ‘buttercup’ routes down half of the island of Streymor then cut up the west side of Eysturoy up to Eidi and passed Slættaratindur, the tallest peak on the islands. The guidebook said that on the longest day of the year (i.e. today) it’s a tradition to climb to the top, watch the sunset, then stay and watch the sunrise. I wasn’t quite sure whether that was something they tell the tourists to do as a prank. It would have been damn cold. We contemplated the idea but…no.
Down along more winding roads, pointing out and oohing over more stunning scenery and waterfalls and sheep until we stopped for lunch in Klaksvik. We’d been driving for a while then, and not had much luck in finding suitable places to stop for a bite but Jacqsons in Klaksvik was great for us.
We drove through more tunnels that went both under the sea and then through mountains, aiming for the town of Kunoy on the island of Kunoy. By this stage the tunnels were no longer two-way but one-way with pull-over stops every hundred metres or so. The tunnels were also very dark and made me think of the tunnel leading into the Batcave. It was hair-raising going through, especially when a car came from the opposite direction. Not to mention that the tunnels aren’t ‘finished’ in that the walls are still uneven rock so it looks a little like a natural cave.
Kunoy was another pretty and small village. Rather than hike to the top (or almost the top) we took the car up the narrow dirt track and took our pictures from up there before heading back down and driving to Vildareidi on Vidoy, the northernmost spot we could get to.
Despite all the sunshine, we didn’t do much walking, and the islands are a wonderful place for hiking when the weather is right. It would have been nice, if we had the time, to pick one hike and do that, to go to some off-the-path places but we were definitely treated to a lot of beauty on our drive.
Glen drove us home—about an hour and a half—while I napped in the passenger seat. We got home about 4 or so, lounged around, and then it was time to get ready for our taxi to Koks.
Being silly at Kunoy
Dinner at Koks
Koks is a Michelin star restaurant serving Faroese inspired cuisine. I’d booked it months ago. A taxi picked us up before 6 and gave us a bit of a toured drive from Torshavn to the restaurant, stopped at a viewpoint along the way, and then passing the prison (it used to be a NATO base). Crime is low in the Faroe Islands, with serious crimes (of more than one years’ sentence being sent to Denmark) pretty low. Mostly drunk driving, domestic violence and pub fights.
He also told us about a nearby viewpoint (where the radars are positioned), told me the name of the national bird (oyster catcher, which we’d been seeing around the place) and that they’d had a drought not long ago with all the grass brown and dead. But after a week of rain everything was green. It was amazing. You’d just assume it was green all the time with the waterfalls running constantly.
He dropped us beside a chatelet, a traditional wooden larder that the Faroese use to dry lamb, fish etc and store excess food. We were joined with two other couples—both from America—and shown inside where we saw fermented lamb legs and dried fish hanging up. We were seated in the next ‘room’ and given some snacks and something to drink, all of us sharing a sort of gallows humour about what was to come next. One half of one of the couples was going for vegetarian; the woman on the other couple promptly asked if she could switch too. Glen and I were beginning to be a bit worried.
We were then driven to the main house/restaurant, hurtling along by the shores of a lake brimming with fish. We were shown to our tables and then began a 17-course dinner with seven matching wines. Despite our initial trepidation, there were only a few dishes on the menu that really raised eyebrows.
The first was the raw scallop which was exceptionally fresh and delicious, but the shell was covered in still living barnacles. The off-putting thing about this was watching them, well, gasp for air was the way I’d describe it.
The other dish, which I didn’t have but Glen did, was the fermented lamb leg. I don’t like lamb anyway and I don’t think Glen’s much of a fan. That was the only one he didn’t eat all of.
Apart from those ones however the meal was creative, very filling and flavoursome. We liked the langoustines the most—again, fresh as but cooked to perfection and so moorish. There was also a constant stream of staff coming and going, taking away plates and bringing out new cutlery.
We finished in the lounge (though after moving into there I would have preferred to stay at our table as that room was warmer). We had some sweets and tea/coffee, then paid the bill and ordered the taxi.
We finished up about 10:30pm, the sun just beginning to dip below the hills (though still up in the sky). In fact, we’d been seated by the window for dinner so had to keep moving my seat to avoid getting blinded, and were amazed that the sun was still out so late.
The jeep drove us back by the edges of the lake to our waiting taxi and the 30-minute ride back to Torshavn. I was well and truly ready for bed (and a little in pain from an overstuffed stomach). It was definitely an experience and one I’m glad we did.
We didn’t drive out to the mountain to watch the sunset. I went to bed. Even so I struggled to fall asleep and got up multiple times during the ‘night’ so felt like I probably got a good impression of this land of the midnight sun.