To save time I had the rental car shuttled to the airport ahead of my arrival so I didn’t have to drive to the capital and pick it up. It’s under an hour’s drive if I recall correctly. You could take public transit or pay for a taxi but once you compare the cost, it’s worth it.
I got a yellow Skoda rapid which I learned after a couple weeks it is the only yellow car in all the Faroes and I stick out like a lightbulb everywhere I go. I would like to think there is at least one more but in my travels and chatter, it didn’t seem like it.
To give you an idea of the theft rate. The instructions I received for picking up the rental car said to go to the normal parking lot that everyone else parks in and you’ll find the yellow car. The doors are unlocked and the keys are in the glove box. When you return it, please make sure you leave it unlocked and put the keys back in the glove box. I suppose when you live on a small island, there are not a lot of places you can run away to.
Leaving the airport you’re blasted by some of the most amazing scenery and waterfalls you can imagine. I held off taking photos as from what I read online prior to arriving, it looks like this every couple minutes. I end up zipping through the long undersea tunnel that connects the island that the airport is on, Vágar, to the main island that the capital is on, Streymoy.
In an unexpected turn of events, I developed large amount of pains in the underside of my knee. It started in Copenhagen and I was hoping to simply walk it off although once I got off the flight in the Faroes, it only got worse. By the time I arrived in the capital, Tórshavn, I could barely walk or bend my leg; not exactly the best way to start off a trip that involves a bunch of moving around!
According to WebMD I believe I narrowed it down to an inflamed tendon, or cancer and probably death. I didn’t have a solution for the latter so I went with the inflammation option. I went to the stores to find something that I could piece together. In my short and limited visit, Iceland was pretty good for English, Copenhagen was a fair bit worse, and the Faroes were a lot worse - It improved later on but this was my initial impression. Unable to find any first aid supplies I eventually located someone who speaks a bit of English and I filled in the rest by drawing pictures with my hands.
Off to the pharmacy. Thankfully the chap there knew enough English we could communicate okay. So the recipe for this debauchery is as follows.
- 1 Rolling pin
- 1 Compression strap
- 1 Knee brace
- 2 Single use ice packs
- 1 Reusable ice pack
- Tigerbalm Ultra
- Box of extra strength ibuprofen
- Diclofenac 10% gel
The diclo is a prescription for an ankle injury so I’m sure that helped. I lathered my knee and thigh with it but I’m not sure if the Tigerbalm will have some kind of chemical reaction to it since you normally don’t mix topical creams. At this point it I haven’t left Tórshavn yet and the hospital was close by so it was worth a shot. I worked the Tigerbalm in and then used the rolling pin to roll the muscles in the thigh and leg. The compression strap went on the thigh and the knee brace went well, on the knee. Popped a few ibuprofen and the icepack and that was about all I could do at this point since elevation and rest was not an option.
Next stop was the phone shop. I find it very beneficial to get a local SIM card anywhere I travel. It is always considerably cheaper and you get a lot more bang for buck. For the Faroes I went with Føroya. Not quite according to plan, my phone wouldn’t pickup more than 2G on the network which is very, very, slow. They suggested a portable hotspot device although that was quite expensive and it required a wall charger and only ran on a battery once disconnected from a wall. I ended up buying a cheap android instead and ran a hot spot off of that to my phone. Worked well enough!
After swinging by a grocery store to make a few sandwiches it was off to the ferry. The M/F Smyril is the largest of the ferries that services the Faroe Islands. It sails between Tórshavn and Tvøroyri four to six times per day depending on the day of the week. Tvøroyri is one of three main villages on the island of Suðuroy which is also the most southern island. The ferry takes about two hours and it is considerably larger than the next one down in the Faroes. It boasts an impressive capacity of 975 passengers and 200 cars. It also has its own restaurant, lounging areas, and a couple different decks to explore.
I hopped on the last ferry of the day which was leaving at 18:30.
With just about everything I needed to complete done, I hopped on the last ferry of the day which was departing at 18:30.
As we sailed further away from Tórshavn, the sun started to set and blanketed the landscape in a golden yellow mist. A fishing vessels sits anchored not to far offshore from one of the islands.
Rarely having the chance to be on the ocean I wasn’t about to stay inside. I explored every deck and view there was to see off the boat. The size of the ferry did not make it immune to the power of the sea though. You could feel it list and pitch as it steadily sailed south
One realization I found eerie was taking a step back and absorbing where I was. As we skirted the east side of the Faroe Islands, you can look west at this tiny collection of islands which showed some life and just a general feeling of safety. Looking out in every other direction though I saw nothing but a dark deep ocean as far as the eye could see. No land, no ships, no planes, no traffic, no people. The feeling of being rather remote kicked in a bit. Not something you ever witness in a land locked home town!
It was hard to tell where we would be finding a port to merry up with. All of the islands that we passed appeared very unapproachable for any ship. After sailing south for almost a couple hours, we started to head west into one of the fjords, quite romantically named Trongisvágsfjørður.
As we made our way through the fjord our dock grew into view. It was basically just a parking area with a couple small buildings on the property. Once the ferry was secured to the dock the doors were opened and you were free.
Driving off of the ferry and into the darkness it was the first time since landing that I was on my own and it was simply quiet. The last 24 hours have been a flurry of driving, flying, boating, and this point I’ve made landfall on some little island almost 400km from the nearest major chunk of land.
The accommodations for that evening was at the Gistingarhúsið undir Heygnum. It took a couple weeks of back and forth to book due to not receiving a reply most of the time. Calling from Canada would be quite expensive so I predominantly stuck to email when making any bookings.
Well this evening has arrived and after driving through a couple small villages I find this guest house in the dark and sure enough, it’s all locked up and lights are off. I give Eirikur a call and he says he doesn’t have any bookings tonight. I tell him that he sure does and he says he never replied to anyone by email and never said such things. I told him I was emailing with a guy named Eirikur and ask him for his name.
He says his name is Eirikur. Well jeez, I wonder how many Eirikur are at this phone number that work here. He still says no and says there is a hotel down somewhere in the village.
While I tried looking at what I could possibly find on the internet, keeping in mind that this is a village of 1,700 people, a little pickup blasts up beside me. Turns out its Eirikur. He says he forgot as he was really busy since he owns three guesthouses in the village. Two of which were closed tonight. Sure looks like it’s a booming evening for him. He shows me around the place and his attitude was basically that he was doing me a favor in all this, not cool.
He asked that I pay him prior which was fine although I didn’t have change for one of the 100’s as I needed a 50 back. I pull out a bunch of change from my pocket and while quickly trying to decipher what I’m looking at I say I don’t think I have enough and I start putting it back in my pocket. He quickly jumps in and says he’s pretty sure I do. He progresses to hold out his purse and says to just pour the change in there.
Oldest trick in the book and red flags go *ding*. I tell him it’s alright and I’ll take my time counting it now. Turns out he only gets a few coins and the bulk of them were mine. What a guy.
We part ways and agree to meet back at the guesthouse in the morning so I can give him back his key.
As the enveloping darkness settles in, the reverberations caused by the wind sound as though a hurricane is blowing in off the water. The wind is just pounding at the house while the rain lashes against everything it touches.
I end up re-doing my fantastic bandages from earlier in the afternoon and tossed the reusable ice pack in the freezer. Finally a chance to elevate the leg a little bit!
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