Faroese interlude

26 April 2010

That last entry set me thinking about the Faroe Islands again and what a delightful place those islands are, The Faroes are a rainswept little green jewel in the middle of the North Atlantic. Everyone is pleased to see visitors and it’s probably the most friendly, welcoming place I’ve ever been to. It’s always a pleasure to visit the Faroes.
A few years ago I had to go there for the day job. It was winter and this particular trip had been partly organised for me, but as there was a weekend in there, I had asked Kjartan at the Trade Council to organise a few days outside Tórshavn. The result was Viðareiði.
I drove off the ferry at Klaksvík on a dark Friday evening with nothing but a few vague directions, having been told that I was expected. That was it. The signpost said Viðareiði 20km, in the dark, with snow starting to come down and my phone telling me that there was no signal. Oh, well.
Eventually I reached Viðareiði and could see nothing. The half dozen street lights here and there illuminated little more than a little pool of snowy ground and wind-driven snowflakes. But Hótel Viðareiði looked alarmingly deserted as I pulled up outside. It was deserted. Nobody was home.
As I was wondering whether or not to drive back to Klaksvík and try the Fishermen’s Mission, a white van pulled up and a man jumped out.
‘You’re the Englishman?’ He asked without waiting for an answer. ‘Come inside.’
Inside I was given a key, told where to find my room and he added that there would be something to eat in a few minutes.
Back in the hotel’s dining room a group of locals had gathered to drink a couple of beers and play cards for an hour, and eventually said their good-byes and left, as did the man who turned out to be the cook and manager. As he said good-bye as well, adding that he would be back in the morning, it dawned on me that I was the only guest. The hotel had been de-mothballed for a weekend for me, the journalist from England who hadn’t wanted to spend the weekend in Tórshavn.
I went to sleep that night with the wind howling in the rafters. Nothing could be seen out of the window bar the spinning snowflakes in the orb of light cast by the street lamp outside the house opposite.
But in the morning the wind had died away and the snow had stopped – and I opened the curtains to see this breathtaking view. What a place. It was worth every minute of the night before’s journey just for that early-morning view.

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