Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Faroe Islands - Sublime Beauty

I read about the Faroe Islands about 15 years ago and they have been on my bucket list ever since. Owned by Denmark and positioned in the North Atlantic Ocean between Norway and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are jaw droppingly beautiful and quaint. I have been planning to write about them for a long time but a few days ago I stumbled across a slide show of pictures and they inspired me to get going on a feature.

Tinganes in Tórshavn


Where they are on the planet
540 sq mi with a population of almost 50,000 people [photo: Mark Wilkinson]
The Faroe Islands are an island group consisting of 18 major islands and it has no major lakes or rivers. There are 1,117 kilometres (694 mi) of coastline.

The islands are rugged and rocky with some low peaks; the coasts are mostly cliffs. The highest point is Slættaratindur, 882 metres (2,894 ft) above sea level.

Klaksvík looking north into the Haraldssund fjord. [photo: Vincent van Zeijst]
photo: Mark Wilkinson
photo: Mark Wilkinson
photo: Mark Wilkinson
photo: Mark Wilkinson
photo: Mark Wilkinson
photo: Mark Wilkinson
Traditional Faroese food is mainly based on meat, seafood and potatoes and uses few fresh vegetables. Mutton is the basis of many meals. Since the friendly British occupation (WWII), the Faroese have been fond of British food, in particular fish and chips and British-style chocolate such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, which is found in many of the island's shops.

Whaling is a critical part of the culture. Pilot whales are herded by boats into a harbour or fjord and beached on the shore where waiting fishermen kill and bleed the harvest. It's a little shocking to us but they depend on the meat, blubber and the rest of the whale for their living. The harvest had come under fire from activists as being cruel but activist growing up in the west and who have eaten their food from packages bought at the grocery store have much more delicate sensibilities than the rest of the world who actually have to hunt and fish for their meals.


Before you get all horrified, remember that pilot whales are the whales that voluntarily beach themselves in entire herds, for no apparent reason, all over the world where they die needlessly on beaches because few cultures appreciate their commercial value. In these countries, Canada included, beached pilot whales are buried in mass graves with no part of their body being utilized in any way. In the Faroes, these whales are a valuable part of their lives and culture.



There is a certain 'wow' factor about scenic photos from the Faroes as is evidenced by the fact that most of the images I used here originate from free wallpaper sites. The Faroes are lush and green because they get about 260 rainy days a year. They have very moderate temperatures with it only getting to about 39F int he winter and about 60F in the summer. Sounds like my kind of place. Except for the diet and language I'd fit in really well here. And the whale hunt, but that is an optional participation thing, fortunately. 

Hvalba, Faroe Islands [photo: Erik Christensen]

Baby elephant rock Vestmanna Cliffs [photo: Mark Wilkinson]



If you've done any internet surfing you've seen this iconic photo.
Now you know - Faroe Islands.



natural harbour - Gjogv [photo: Mark Wilkinson]
Torshavn Harbour [photo: Mark Wilkinson]
Tinganes peninsula, Torshavn [photo: Mark Wilkinson]
Tinganes peninsula, Torshavn [photo: Mark Wilkinson]
[photo: Mark Wilkinson]
Waterfall wall

9th century Viking graves in the foreground in Kvivik [photo: Mark Wilkinson]




The Faroe Islands are gorgeous and the images here only scratch the surface of what you can find online. Erik Christensen is a Dane living in the Faroes and If you want to see more photos check out his Wiki commons page here

Wiki article on the Faroe Islands here

1 comment:

Meissa TwentyOneTwelve said...

"The Faroes are lush and green because they get about 260 rainy days a year. They have very moderate temperatures with it only getting to about 39F int he winter and about 60F in the summer."

Sounds like where I live.