Day 18. Friday 31 May.
No sun, no rain! Cloudy and very cold but dry, so an outdoor picnic lunch happened at one of the ‘sleeper’ villages – but was not fisk and kips.
With the changes to the economic base, so many old settlements have become ‘sleepers’…people closing up their houses, often inherited, and moving to the larger centre of Torshavn, or if they stay in the village, they become commuters. Familiar story? Several particularly spectacular villages have the tourist buses roll in, and a coffee house (also selling beer) and WC are the important public facilities; can’t have one without the other!
We took the Buttercup routes; so-named for them being more picturesque than the normal roads (if that’s possible) and wound up and down the mountains and around and around the coastline.
Bucolic is a word that comes to mind, with green, green and more green, sheep, sheep, more sheep, geese, geese…D wonders if the Buttercup routes are some sort of subtle Faroese joke on tourists, as they definitely need the driver to maintain total concentration all the time. They are mostly single lane, sometimes in poor condition for stretches, and require the constant use of passing laybys.
Fortunately, observation of the protocols was excellent, although it was interesting that, unlike in Australia, acknowledging the driver who gave way with a wave was not universal – sometimes not even a sideways glance, let alone slowing down!
D was adamant there’d be no single lane tunnels today (or ever again) and all was well, but just to make sure we’d had our ‘tunnel fix’, we took a (retrospectively) mis-chosen turn and, but with a smart about turn, had the bonus of a tunnel view in alternate directions. The mapmakers get it wrong again!
Only one village we visited was without a church – most of which were of s similar simple design – a small town on the east side of Esturoy Island. D did note that one of the houses had some nude statues in a window, but we’re not sure if there’s any sort of causative link (and sorry, we didn’t stop to take a photo). At Saksun (pop.14), where the church occupied a splendid spot between a lake and the sea, fishing was allowed at both, but not on a Sunday between 1100 and 1400 (church service time) perhaps to ensure attendance. D reckons that fisherpersons are religious – the whole activity is an expression of blind faith! We wondered how many folk would be disturbed if fishing was allowed.
AT Congo on the NSW South Coast (one of our favourite spots) Kerry, the manager of the camping ground in the Eurobodalla National Park, is a fanatic bird protector – particularly of the endangered Oyster Catchers. Here the Pied version is abundant – this guy/gal was very protective of an area in the cemetery – we assume his/her nest.
Reflections at the end of our Faroes visit: an impressive, proud, tiny, resilient, nationalistic society, surviving with flexibility in a fragile economic space. Nice people, who drive too fast (in the opinion of elderly tourists).