Reliving the Faroe Islands

Well, this has certainly been an eventful summer. Unfortunately, due to this eventfulness, my attention has been taken away from photography and, by extension, blogging. I have a ton of photos to post-process and posts to conjure regarding my recent trips to Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Antwerp and Groningen (among other cities). Going further back in time, I still have photographs of Tbilisi, Helsinki, Budapest and Berlin on my hard drive awaiting post-processing!

I can’t promise when I’ll write about these cities, but it’s quite clear that I’ve got a bit of a backlog to clear. For now, though, instead of writing about a hitherto unmentioned trip, I shall take the easy/convenient option and feature a few more photos about the Faroe Islands.

Three years ago, I made my very first posts about the Faroe Islands. (You’ll find them here and here.) In fact I was writing those posts while still there, something I don’t usually do because I leave my laptop at home while travelling. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a place where the nature has a rawness of beauty like Iceland or the Faroe Islands. Not long ago I browsed through the images I made in the Faroes and decided that it was time to edit the rest of my collection.

Here they are. These photographs were made on the island of Sandoy, and more specifically on the part of the island where the town of Skopun was. (That’s because I stayed in Skopun during my time in the Faroe Islands, and for the record it’s really more of a village than a town.) Also, Sandoy literally means ‘sand island’ because there’s a tiny sliver of it that contains sand dunes. The rest of the island is quite rocky as you’ll soon see.

Skopun is located on the northern coast of Sandoy and has a harbour. At the harbour is a ferry service connecting the island’s inhabitants to the island of Streymoy. Now, Streymoy means the ‘island of currents’, and if you remember your German or Dutch (or any other Germanic language) and look closely, you’ll see that the Streym- part of Streymoy looks similar to Strom (German), stroom (Dutch) and stream (English). (In this context, for the English stream, think of the jet stream as an example and not a mini-river.)

That’s enough Germanic linguistics for one week. Let’s move on, shall we?

Village of Skopun on left of image with hill on the right and the Atlantic in the foreground.

Being a collection of houses where everyone knows everyone, Skopun – and probably the rest of the Faroes – is safe enough that people don’t usually lock their doors or cars. It’s one of the very few places in the world where people can wilfully leave things unlocked and know that their belongings will be there the next morning. Try that in Amsterdam and the outcome will be wholly different.

Village of Skopun from an elevated view, with islands in the background.
Skopun as viewed from a different angle and from an elevation

While it’s much easier to drive around Sandoy, taking a walk through the areas surrounding Skopun is also worth the effort. It’s quiet, calming and, in my case, foggy. Walking outside Skopun means walking uphill, since the town is surrounded by hilly areas. During this walk, though, I saw a landscape dotted by small huts and sheep in their enclosures.

A hut on the hilly surface of Sandoy, in foggy weather.

Faroese sheep are like Icelandic sheep in that the locals will swear by their wool and claim that it has properties that aren’t found in regular sheep reared elsewhere. This isn’t a sarcastic statement and I believe what they say, seeing as these sheep spend their days in hilly or mountainous (in the case of Icelandic sheep) terrain and have to put up with the ever-changing weather that’s a staple of life in the middle of the North Atlantic.

A group of Faroese sheep at a trough, with one looking at the camera.
Faroese sheep

The sheep also really like to stare at strangers, which I find amusing and a little adorable. While walking around Sandoy I tried to get the sheep to stare at me before making photos of them. Usually grazing animals don’t bother too much about strangers, so when one manages to catch a specimen’s attention it’s a noteworthy occasion.

As I kept walking I soon found myself greeted by a bit of an unexpected sight: the municipal cemetery. Ordinarily I wouldn’t enter a cemetery since it isn’t something to behold or talk about in a blog, but this one was an exception. I mean, look at the view! I wouldn’t mind being buried in a place with that kind of view – it’s one with, shall we say, character.

Cemetery on the side of a hill on Sandoy facing the Atlantic.
Skopun’s cemetery

Making my way to the far side of the cemetery and walking further, I stared out at the slope of a hill. Usually, the sides of hills that I see either lead to more land or to some flowing body of water. In this case the hillside led to the Atlantic Ocean. The water was exceptionally calm that evening and so it was quite soothing to watch the little waves lap up against the rocky shore.

Oh, by the way, other than the first photograph showing the town of Skopun, all the others were made at least after 20:30 in the evening. That they look like they were made in the day is a testament to how far up north the Faroe Islands lie.

Side of a hill leading to the coast of Sandoy, with the Atlantic on the left.
Side of a hill leading straight to the North Atlantic

I hope you’ve enjoyed this entry! The next one will still be set in the Faroes and, in fact, on Sandoy. I’m doing this to figure out what I should write about next and also to clear my backlog of previous destinations. Until next time!

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