Torshavn, Faroe Islands
September 7, 2007
Torshavn is the capital of the Faroe Islands with 16,000 inhabitants. The town lies on Streymoy the largest of the islands. The name Torshavn means "Thor's Harbor." Thor was the ancient Norse god of thunder. The hammer which Thor is supposed to have used to create thunder is the symbol of the town.
The Faroe Islands lie halfway between Iceland and Scotland. There are 18 islands in the archipelago covering 550 square miles. The islands are quite vulnerable regarding weather. Winter storms can be harsh and it can rain for long periods. However, it does not get very cold in the winter. The average temperature in January is 37 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius).
The islands were first settled by Irish monks in the 7th century and they have been habited ever since. Today the Faroe Islands are a self governing region of Denmark. About 46,000 people live in the Islands and the population is quite spread around the islands. Therefore, tunnels, ferries and helicopters play a vital role in transport.
The language is Faroese. It is similar to Icelandic and some Norwegian dialects. The fishing industry is very important for the islands as most of the income is derived from fish products.
Sheep grazing has always been important in the Faroes and the land is managed to prevent over grazing. Farming is limited as few crops will ripen in the cool summer temperatures. Potatoes, introduced in the 1800's, are the most prevalent crop.
Interestingly, fossils found in coal seams include large trees and vegetation one would expect in a tropical rainforest. So we know that the latitude and climate were once much different than today. Some Faroese supplement their diet with seabirds and their eggs, which are traditional foods dating back to early times.
We decided to take a walk around the town to get a feel of what it was like. The stainless steel sculpture reminded us of the statue that used to be in downtown Saginaw.
After walking for a while we decided to go up the street in the left photo. We found a shopping center.
We love to go into supermarkets and shopping center to get a feel of what is the same and what is different to our own experiences. As you look at the pricing keep in mind that the currency in Torshavn is the Danish Krona. One U.S. dollar is equal to 6 Dkr.
Price of Wienerschnitzel -- $8.00.
We leave the shopping center and continue our walk back to the dock.
As we wait for the shuttle to take us to the ship the fog begins to slide into the harbor.
Boats, boats and more boats.
As we sail away we encounter a ferry bring passengers to the town.
It was surprising to see how quickly the fog covered our view.
As we approach the sea we can see the storm clouds that are now covering Torshavn.
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