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Long Way Home - Faroe Islands and return via Denmark

The trip around the Faroe Islands is the follow-up to our Iceland trip.

The flag of Faroe Islands

Day 13. 24/06

We left Iceland late and the ferry did not make up for all the time lost, so we set foot on land two hours later, at 5 AM. For us, it is even better because we could sleep longer and have more energy to discover new unknown areas. This will be a long day. So far, we have not been able to set off so early, especially since we were going to sleep late. We start to explore the Faroe Islands straight away. They are tiny in comparison to Iceland, so we have plenty of time for it. We unhurriedly visit the sleepy and foggy capital – Thorshavn. Its name derives from the Danish language and means the port of Thor – a Norse god of thunders and lightning. The old town still resembles old buildings – tiny and colourful houses in the Scandinavian style with roofs covered with grass.

Thorshavn

The harbour in Thorshavn

Thorshavn at dawn

On the bench in Thorshavn

After a short familiarising with the town inhabited by 12 000 Faroese people, we set off for the ride with the intention of reaching all the viewpoints marked on the map. To get to the first one, we get off the main road to the narrow path winding up to the top of the hill with sharp bends. The view from here is astonishing! Mountains surround us and their sharp peaks break through a thick fog that has not yet dispersed. Over the next break, with the morning coffee, the fog reveals the valley’s true colours which have not yet been discovered. We are not surprised by the sea view. The islands are so tiny that their roads run all the time along the coast.

One of the view point

Break for a morning, warming coffee

We also head to Vestmanna, where is a chance to meet a puffin. It did not work in Iceland, so maybe luck will smile to us here… It turns out that we only can go on a cruise ship in search of birds. Ewelina and Dominik choose this option, and the rest goes to Sørvágsvatn to see water on two levels. The freshwater lake ends with a 40-degree angle waterfall that flows into the salty Atlantic Ocean. The trip takes us about 3 hours, which is a nice change for the constant sitting on a motorcycle. In the meantime, Ewelina & Dominik join us, we fill up the food supplies in the Bonus shop and go to the next viewpoint, where the landscape stretches out to the ocean and another mountain rises straight from the ocean. Here we have time for dinner. The sun warms up a lot and after a quarter of an hour we all get intense colours. The break is prolonged and one and a half hours later we move on. We cross the interesting and winding road reaching the lagoon with black sand. The width of the route is only enough for one car, but we do not pass anyone except the sheep that block us. We are not surprised since the entire island is inhabited by only 50 000 Islanders and 70 000 sheep.

The view at another side of the cliff

A waterfall flowing from river to ocean

The scenery over the lunch break

Roads on the Faroe Islands lead along the coasts

In the evening we arrive at the Eiði campsite, which is located on the site of an old football pitch. It is worth mentioning that Faroese people are good players and almost every village has a full-size football pitch enabling locals to train. The campsite is packed solid with … natives! We find out that despite the short distances, the Islanders are happy to drive campers for the weekend to meet others and spend time outdoors. They are friends, everyone is close to each other and very hospitable. One of the legends says that once Vikings sailed from Denmark to settle Iceland. During the journey, some people got seasickness, so they were blown up on the way – to the Faroe Islands. Thus “Faroese people are sick at sea.”

They welcome us to their group encouraging us to sing songs in their language. Playing guitar creates a great atmosphere! The owners of the campsite confide they started the business a year ago as part of the therapy after the sudden death of their 19-year-old daughter. They do it really well! We are keeping fingers crossed to keep it up because it is worth to spend time with these people. Martin personally prepares for us a Jacuzzi bath by filling it with water and adding wood to the fireplace under the bathtub. This is how the water temperature is maintained. Interesting solution and a great impression of spending time in hot water while the wind blows around and the clouds dim the surroundings. The forecast shows the weather is going to be less spoiling tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I do not stay with Ewa for a long time in the jacuzzi, because about five minutes later the children who have booked and paid for the bath gently chase us out. 😉 Martin asks them to wait a moment for the “ladies” to come out. Later we realized that we had only one hour for us if we entered at a specific time. Well, our loss, it is time for children. We quickly jump out of the water and move to our warm sleeping bags to fall into a restless sleep, interrupted by the whistle of wind.

 

Day 14. 25/06

Today, total relaxation. We get up with Łukasz at normal time and plan a three-day tour around Denmark, while the rest of the team gains strength and sleeps. In the afternoon, when everyone is in good shape, we set off on a trip and ride through several beautiful mountain routes. We also visit a 400-year-old village of Gjogv, inhabited by 30 residents. The village, located at the very north of the Eysturoy island, sparkles with intense colours of the elevation of the houses placed at a random distance from each other. Among them, somewhere in the centre, the church turquoise tower stands higher than the rest. Through the middle of it, a stream winds its way lazily to finally get into the ocean straight from the razor-sharp cliffs.

Gjogv

400-year-old village Gjogv

The evening at the campsite is even more interesting than yesterday! The most famous singer of the Faroe Islands gives concerts, and his singing and playing the guitar remind me of a Polish band called “Stare Dobre Malzenstwo” (Old Good Marriage). For this event, children prepared green muffins, baked cakes, and women cooked traditional soup, which we taste. A delicious broth with dumplings cooked with mutton. In addition, Martin arranges for us a barbecue, on which we can prepare sausages bought earlier. We enjoy it sipping a beer and we do not need anything more!

Cupcakes made by children

After some time of feasting, a resident of the islands joins us and tells us stories about the local life, climate, way of life and beliefs. She also treats us with a local delicacy – a dried whale! Chunks resemble crisps but have a rubbery texture, dark brown colour, bitter-sour taste, and the smell… well, is not very nice. Some of us chew, chew and can not chew it, while others eat it without a problem. We learn that the meat of whales is so contaminated that especially young women should not eat it. Our new friend admits that unfortunately they also contribute to the pollution of water through the growing industry. We grab a chance to talk about the controversial topic of killing whales. We want to know more and also the subjective opinions of local people. The woman explains that the inhabitants do not kill whales, but it is the whales that come to them and sacrifice themselves. She quickly adds that everyone in the village gets the same chunk of meat, which is meticulously recorded in the protocol. They never kill more than they need. She strongly emphasizes that islanders must eat meat because they do not have vegetables and fruit at all. It hit us that she is not trying to justify, but she strongly believes in what she just said. Each country has its traditions or rituals that require rationalization. The conversation with the islander is very interesting and enriching.

The windy and cold evening is coming to the end, and we fall asleep really fast.

Day 15. 26/06

This is our last day on the charming islands. We wake up just like the day before. Łukasz and I meet a Polish couple from Gdynia who spend a two-week holiday hiking in the Faroe Islands. It is interesting that someone chose this direction not by coincidence. I suppose we would not stop over here if it was not for a great discount for motorcyclists. The couple tells us about the westernmost Mykines island, which is a Puffin nature reserve. The number of living birds is huge! People do not even realize that walking on the marked path, they may step on the burrows and sometimes the animals in them! It is a pity that we find out about this place so late and we will not be able to visit it. It is a trip for the whole day, because the boat goes there only once a day, leaves people in the reserve for a few hours and then returns. Therefore, it is not possible to decide how much time you want to spend there. Next time we will succeed.

Before everyone is ready to leave campsite, Łukasz and I explore the area by walking along the cliffs. After a while, the 2 lonely 75-meter rocks Risin and Kellingin emerge straight from the water – giants which, according to legend, long time ago tried to pull the Faroe Islands to Iceland but they suffered defeat and turned into rocks.

After our return from the walk, the rest of the team is up and we spend the rainy time playing. In the afternoon the weather improves, so we go to see the waterfall that one of locals told us about. Its picture was on the cover of National Geographic magazine being considered the most beautiful and the wildest place. We reach it all wet (rain did not spare us) and unfortunately, we cannot see anything because of heavy rainfall, low clouds and thick fog. So we can say that this ride was for… wet ride. 😉

From there, having little to do in this weather and saving a lot of time, we head towards the harbour. We reach it much earlier than we should. We get on the ferry late in the evening, so we go to bed right away.

 

Day16. 27/06

We sail the whole day. We become drowsy from rocking. Somehow I can not imagine a two-week holiday on a cruise ship. Time passes as before on the ferry – we play, sleep, eat, talk, write, plan a further trip. In the evening, the atmosphere changes completely. It is unique due to today’s match between Iceland and England in the European Championship. The vast majority of people who travel with us are Faroes who, of course, support their neighbours. I really like the Icelanders’ approach to the game – relaxed, detached from each other. In addition, 10% of Icelandic fans came to the match, so unlike the English, they had huge support. And probably that is why Iceland won. The English ignored the not very significant opponent in the international arena and… they got really surprised! After the match, there is a huge uproar and great joy on the ship! 🙂 Emotions infect everyone, even those who did not care in the beginning. What a party!

Some go to sleep early, others stay awake until 1:00.

 

Day 17. 28/06

Denmark is ahead of us! This time we leave the ferry in Hirtshals very fast. Before everyone goes their separate ways, we spend time in a cafe having breakfast and coffee. Half an hour later, we say goodbye to the team, and head with Łukasz to the northernmost Skagen Grenen cape. Here the waves of the two seas, the North and the Baltic, move almost perpendicularly and clash with each other. An unusual spectacle absorbs our attention and we enjoy the moment while admiring the energetic fight of the element. Although Denmark is a rather unpopular destination for holidays, we meet a lot of tourists at the cape.

Where the North Sea meets the Baltic Sea

The weather is beautiful so we stop at the Råbjerg Mile – the largest dunes in northern Europe. Sand is moving at a speed of 18 m/year. It is not difficult to calculate to realize that in about 100 years the main road in the nearby city will be buried under the sand.

Relax

Moving dunes

We go further along the east coast towards the south of the country enjoying the rural and idyllic landscapes of Denmark. The lowland area is covered by fields, farms and villages. It would seem that the coastline is uninterrupted, but it turns out that ferry crossings, that add charm to the ride, are inevitable.

Before sunset, we reach the Mols Bjerge National Park, that we want to explore the next day. We stop in a “picnic” bay with prepared benches and surrounded by trees. Behind them, at the mown field of hay, we pitch a tent. The motorcycle cannot get through the bushes, so we leave it between the tree branches and mask it with leaves. 😉 After organisational activities, we proceed to more pleasant things. We prepare chicken legs on a disposable instant barbeque and enjoy a feast. At the end of the day, with a full stomach and after the fight with surrounding ants, we jump into the tent, “lock” the entrance and go to bed.

 

Day18. 29/06

In the early morning, we hear the drone of lawn mowers in the area. We jump out of a tent, fearing that our Yamaha will change colour to green. It turns out that some people are working on the other side of the street. Torn out of sleep we eat breakfast, pack bags and continue the journey. It is good that we managed to fold down a tent in a drizzle because a moment later it is raining cats and dogs. We are hit few times by a cloudburst. Enjoying nature in a national park in such weather is not the most pleasant thing so we change our plans. Weather forecasts throughout Europe do not seem to get better at all, as there is no place to run away from this downpour. We decide to go further, closer to Brussels to stop there and visit it the next day. In theory, the weather should be better.

We arrive at a campsite in Germany late in the evening, at the last minute before reception closes. Phew, we managed to avoid calling and talking on the phone with body language, haha! The only thing that surprises us is an extra fee for hot water in the shower.

 

Day 19. 30/06

Today we want to visit the capital of Belgium and spend a few hours walking around the centre. We plan to drink a cup of coffee on the roof of the Museum of Instruments, to see its architecture and style, and to feel its atmosphere and vibe.

When we get to Brussels, it is already the afternoon. We get ourselves in huge traffic that cools down our enthusiasm. Finally, we manage to get through and to find a place to park. It is muggy, but so far drizzle does not affect us. As we parked in the city centre, we need to take helmets and everything we wear with us. Visiting the city this way is a bit uncomfortable but it does not matter. We tour around the centre, but after two hours we have enough. Unfortunately, we do not hit on an idea of finding accommodation in the area and visiting the city without the unnecessary weight of motorcycle clothes. Instead, we decide to head our way and we get stuck in a bigger than before traffic. The road leads through tunnels in the centre of the city from where we can not escape. It is also hard to squeeze between cars, as we are wider than the space between them. All we can do is follow other road users at a snail’s pace. We slowly lose patience and get frustrated.

When we finally manage to get out of it, we push all the way to Calais, where we want to cross the English Channel from. We have our ferry booked on the next day, but we hope that we will be able to leave earlier. Unfortunately, the price for changing the reservation is huge (much higher than we paid for the tickets in both directions), so we decide to pitch a tent nearby and wait for our time.

Sunset in Calais

 

Day 20. 01/07

The day greets us with cold and gloomy clouds that throw out excess water. We spend it lazily eating a late breakfast at a cafe in Auchan supermarket. Getting there takes us a long time because the woman who explained to us the route from the campsite probably assumed that we drive, not walk. Our time in a cafe shop we spend not only on eating but also drying our clothes. And on the way back we get wet again. We get crazy and go for dinner at McDonald’s. 😉 After that, we head straight to a harbour, check-in and we get back to Dover at the time.

Unlike the rest of Europe, the sun welcomes us in England. It is just above the horizon and makes the ride difficult because the low sun always dazzle and even sun visor does not help. In addition, the sun’s rays reflect off the wet tarmac leaving us blind as bats. A moment later huge, low hanging cloud appears in front of us. Oh, it will be wet. And indeed we ride into a nightmare storm as if someone was pouring water out of buckets. Although it stays with us for about 60 kilometres, luckily it is the only one, which is a good result considering that it rains all over England. The reward for passing through this wild element is a beautiful rainbow. Its intensity is emphasized by the black background of a stormy cloud. The most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. I do not have any photos of it, but this view will definitely remain in my memory.

We reach Bicester around 10 PM. When I enter the house, I find the living room too big. I think that after three weeks of sleeping in a small tent and travelling at great distances between majestic mountains my perception of space has changed.

 

6000 kilometres are behind us. but we keep new experiences, new adventures and memories in our hearts.

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