Successive slopes lead us from the cove sheltered by the slope on which the capital is located. Torshavn to the highlands between the Vagá and Kaldbak fjords.
As it ascends, the Oyggjarvegur road furrows an immense meadow that the wind shakes, to which the lateral sun reinforces the green. Three or four sharp peaks stand out above a line of shadowy ridges.
Submissive in front of dark clouds that fly over them at great speed.
Oyggjarvegur takes us into the shadows. A few kilometers further on, we can see Kaldbak again, its winding bottom, extending to the far entrance of the fjord.
Of a rare geological grandeur, the panorama from the half-slope of the Sornfelli mountain (749m) proves to be chilling.
The Valley of Mjorkaladur and the Prison of All Dreams
More than for the strategic position above the two fjords than for the scenery, Denmark installed, there, a military building complemented with a radar station also at the service of NATO. Over time, the structure lost relevance. In 2010, the keys were handed over to the city council of the Faroese capital.
By this time, Torshavn was home to the archipelago's only prison facility. The authorities noticed, however, that it was getting too much mold. Apprehensive about the health of the detainees, they decided to deactivate it. Instead, they will use the vacant building of the former ISCOMFAROES.
Over time, Faroese and even visiting foreigners became aware of the privileged location where inmates served their sentences. The establishment gained the reputation of being the prison with the best view on the face of the Earth.
We lean to the side. Even without knowing much of the blue planet, we tend to agree. We understood how special Sornfelli's unexpected pildra was, better known as Mjorkaladur, a term translatable as Vale do Fogeiro.
We don't see a single fence, watchtowers or barbed wire. In keeping with the historical and architectural tradition of the Faroe Islands, the roofs are made of turf, covered by a damp-soaked grass that gives them a Hobbitian “Garden of Delights” look.
The Territorial Swan Lake of Mjáuvotn
As soon as we did, we freed ourselves from the wonder of the place and continued on. We join another main road, the Frammi í Dal. We walk along it, in contemplative mode, when a few meters below the asphalt plane, we glimpse two lakes nearby.
The first was dotted with several white swans that the waves rocked in the wind. We are approaching the bank of the Mjáuvotn. The swans come to investigate what we want from there.
Knowing how territorial and aggressive birds are, at the first sketch of an onslaught, we dispatched some final photos and retreated.
At a glance, we reached the edge of the neighboring and much larger lake, the Leyna, whose water feeds the body of the Mjáuvotn.
We passed through Kvivik. From this village, we continue to zigzag towards the north, slowly, along the Landsvegur Stykkid road.
Our first objective for the day was Vestmanna, a town and region famous for its steep cliffs and colonies, from time to time, populous with puffins that inhabit them.
The Vestmanna Cliffs and their Missing Puffins
There follows another abrupt and winding descent to another of the deep bays of Streymoy. We entered the premises of the agency in charge of the tour, excited by the incursion that followed.
As we walk towards the boarding point, however, a joke thrown by one of the passengers of the newly arrived tour, leaves us standing behind: “get ready, you're going to see a lot! “screams the man with a yellow smile on his lips. “About ten thousand. Or more!" adds.
We all put on helmets. The boat sets sail. The houses of Vestmanna are left behind.
We head towards the Vágar fjord, passing through fish ponds, from those amphibious ponds that are increasingly abundant in the Faroe and other Nordic countries. We sailed in the company of soaked sheep of different colors that grazed on the steep banks.
We approach the mouth of the fjord and the North Atlantic. The undulation is accentuated. It forces the helmsman to sail right along the rugged cliffs of Streymoy. We passed under natural arches.
Soon, we entered a cave at the base of a huge stone needle that tore through the mist above.
As far as we know, it was in that extreme habitat that puffins congregated in large numbers. Because we are out of season, or for another reason that the agency failed to inform, puffins or other birds worthy of registration, did not even see them.
The tour had the terminology “Vestmanna Birdcliffs” and a very high price, as there is almost everything in these remote and Nordic places. However, it revealed to the passengers only and only the abrupt coastline beaten by the sea.
A rainbow-generating arctic rain soaks the return and freezes us. Finally, having disembarked, we regained our balance carried by the waves, bought hot chocolate and resumed our journey to Streymoy.
Above Fjord always with Eysturoy in sight
The impassable relief to the east forces us to go back to the shores of the swan lake that we had visited. From there, we crossed to its eastern coast, facing another neighboring island. No longer Vágar, now, Eysturoy.
From bottom to top, on the map, there are villages with names ending in vík: Hósvík, Hvalvík, Nesvík, Haldarsvík and Tjornuvík.
Vík means, in Faroese, Icelandic and Scandinavian dialects, cove. Now, the coves, sheltered from the wind and sea storms, have always proved to be the right places for life in the archipelago.
Of the various villages listed, we had saved time mainly for the last two, the northernmost ones. A few dozen kilometers later, we find ourselves at the entrance to Haldarsvík.
Haldarsvik and its Octagonal Church
We find its white church, the only octagonal church in the Faroe, built in 1856 and with one of the most peculiar altars in the archipelago and surroundings, with a Last Supper, in which the faces of the apostles are replaced by those of public figures of the nation.
We went up a staircase. From the top, we have a view of the church, the multicolored houses of the one hundred and seventy inhabitants, set against the U-shaped bottom of the cove where a voluminous waterfall fell unceremoniously.
And the harbor, partially protected by a pier covered with green grass. A couple joins us. While scanning the view, we analyze an enigmatic metallic monument.
The various names inscribed on plaques encrusted in the grass, help us to conclude that it was a memorial to the fishermen and sailors of the village lost at sea.
Taking into account the small population of Haldarsvík, they formed an impressive number of victims, which sheds light on how, throughout their history, the Faroese were always forced to venture into the ocean to survive.
And how often the treacherous North Atlantic took their lives.
At that moment, another vessel was leaving the port, first towards the fjord that separated Streymoy from Eysturoy. Then pointed north, towards the even deeper bay of Tjornuvík.
Although by land, along the Bakkavegur, we followed its course. The road leads us to a geological alley with no apparent exit.
To the deepest cove and closed off by slopes that we had seen until then, with a few houses nestled in a corner of the beach, flown over by bands of intrusive mist.
Tjornuvik and its Breathtaking Deep Cove
We admire the place as if it were the first place we saw in Faroe. When, finally, we recovered from the charm, we started the descent that led to the village.
Delivered to the slope, we noticed the presence of several sheep, so fluffy that they looked more like sheep's balls, grazing in a defiant balance on the grassy ravine. We stop the car.
We perched on the iron rail and, for the rest of the animals, we photographed them from a short distance. We are in this entertains when a resident of Tjornuvík passes us, in contained disapproval.
In the days we spent traveling around the Faroe, we were warned more than once about how much it disliked livestock farmers when outsiders bothered their animals.
Not this faroes, but another, complained about the unwanted intrusion of tourism: “It's you. And hundreds more all summer long! Do you, by any chance, have an idea of how much grass the sheep stop eating and how much weight they lose because they are always bothering them?
Because. They do not know. But we know. The damage comes out of our pocket.”
We completed what was missing from the route. Already between the houses, we looked for the beginning of a trail that led to a waterfall that we could see flowing from the entrance to the cove.
The Volcanic Shapes of the Giant and the Witch
Once the new half-slope has been conquered, we admire the A-roofed castro, prepared for the snowfall of the long winter, at that time, lost in a grassy hollow that the sea, there, smooth, at the imminence of low tide, bathed in slow motion. .
On the black sand, a couple got into full wetsuits. They prepared to bathe like the frigidity of the arctic allowed them.
We watched them walk into the shallow sea, with the children in their arms.
We see them stop to look, as if hypnotized, at two black rocks that stood out from the horizon, under the spell of the Witch and the Giant, a petrified duo at Eysturoy's feet.
This is already another island other than Streymoy. And another story.