In the towns and villages in the Faroe Islands, the houses all seem to be one of a kind. In Tórshavn, there are some housing developments with look-alike houses, but that phenomenon hasn’t reached Fuglafjørður. Here are some of the houses I passed on a Saturday afternoon walk around the town. Most of these houses are quite different from what you see in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I come from.
We have had clear blue skies for two days, with a promise of more to come. All day today the roads and hillsides were covered with frost, even though we haven’t had rain for two days. I walked very carefully when I went into town. When the wind is still, I can see everything reflected in the bay ouside my window.
I promise that next time I will write about something besides the weather, but it was so beautiful today, I couldn’t resist. It has been at least two months since I had a picture of my house in the sun.
This morning I saw the amazing sight of sunshine shining in my windows. I just stood and looked out the window for a few minutes. Before I could get my shoes on to go out and take a picture, the sun had moved back behind the mountain. It has been nearly two months since the sun shone on my house. I didn’t know how much I appreciated the sun until I didn’t see it for so long.
I am repeatedly surprised by how changeable the weather is here. Last night when I left for my night school language class just before 7 p.m., I had to scrape snow off of the windows of my car, though the roads were still clear. I was afraid I might need to drive home at night in the snow, which I haven’t done yet. When I came out of class at 10 p.m., the skies were clear, with a full moon and stars, all reflecting off of the snowy mountains and the Fuglafjørður bay. It was beautiful. By the time I went to bed (1:30 a.m.) everything was covered with snow. In just a few minutes time the weather can change from clear sky to clouds so thick I can’t see across the bay.
A few days ago I was surprised to see a large flock of birds over the water outside my window. Someone with a fishing boat had cleaned a boatload of fish and then tossed the guts into the bay. That soon became dinner for all of the birds in the neighborhood.
The sweater picture is at the request of my daughter, who is my knitting teacher. It looks as though I will be able to wear my new sweater this winter.
Yesterday morning I looked out of my window and saw blue sky and sun shining on the snowy mountain tops across the bay from my house. That didn’t last long, and within a couple of hours time we had sun, rain, snow, and then more sun and rain. With high mountains on three sides, I can only see the weather that is directly overhead, and sometimes that changes rapidly.
Today the weather is a little more predictable. So far there is just rain and wind. I find it fascinating how the wind can whip up the bay waters to a misty cloud that blows through the bay, though it is hard to get a picture of the mist and wind. Today the wind is coming from the south, and I can stand in my basement doorway and watch the weather blow by, without getting myself wet.
We had heavy rain last night and this morning, filling all of the creeks with rushing water, and the hillsides have water running in all of the gullies. I think that the road that goes from my house to the main part of town must have dozens of little creeks that go through pipes under the road, and I know that there is a creek on each side of my house going under the road. There also seems to be part of a creek that goes through my basement when it rains, but it goes right out the drain and into the bay.
Every time I walk to town, I pass dozens of sheds and boat houses along the water below the road. Many of these buildings have two or three levels, and they say a lot about living in the Faroe Islands. Many of them have a boat house with a small boat inside. The sheds are used for storing hay to feed the sheep during the winter when the grass on the hillsides is gone. The sheds are also used to dry sheep meat and fish. The walls of the sheds have thin slats of wood, and the cold wind blows through the sheds to dry the meat. It takes about 4 months to dry a leg of lamb, and skerpikjøt is served for nearly all Faroese celebrations and seems to be everyone’s favorite.
Most homes have a shed next to the house (called a hjallur) where people dry meat and fish and keep food cold there during the winter. I took pictures of the sheds along the waterfront where I walk nearly every day. Usually there is a wide sandy beach at the edge of town, but the tide was high today, so there wasn’t much sand. I started walking along the beach to take pictures of the boat houses, but I nearly got my feet wet in the waves, so I went back up to the road.