Too Many Airports

As usual, my trip to the Faroes was too short, and I was scheduled to fly home to San Francisco on April 22 and 23. Just a day or two before I left, I received word that my brother-in-law in Dallas had died, so I booked a flight to Dallas for the 24th.

On Sunday, the weather in Fuglafjørður was sunny and clear. When we came out of the tunnel from Streymoy to Vágar, we were in heavy fog, which got thicker and thicker as we got closer to the airport. The flight was scheduled to leave at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. we walked over to the airport hotel for a free meal, provided by the airline. About the time we were walking back to the airport at 8 p.m., our plane was able to land. The fog had lifted just a little, but it was enough. I was grateful to have a friend and neighbor on the same flight, and he translated the important anouncements for me, such as a free meal and our revised departure time. He also carried my suitcase.

I got to my hotel in Copenhagen at about 1:30 a.m., and spent just a few hours in bed before I had to get up and go back to the airport. I flew to Heathrow Airport in London, and then I had a long 10-11 hour flight to San Francisco. I took a shuttle home, going the long way around with other passengers during rush hour traffic. I rummaged through my 3 suitcases to pack a fourth suitcase to take to Dallas. Again, I had just a few hours in bed before I had to get up and drive to yet another airport in Oakland. At least there wasn’t any rush hour traffic, because I left home before anyone else was even out of bed. Fortunately, we arrived in Dallas on time, and I was able to pick up my rental car and get to the funeral 30 minutes early.

Wednesday, I didn’t go to any airports. I guess that was my birthday present. On Thursday, I got up at 4 a.m. to take my older sister to the Love Field airport for her flight back to Georgia. Then I had a few hours to rest before I flew back home.

I think I will avoid airports for a few months now. When I woke up Tuesday morning, I told myself, “Jenny, get up, you have to go to the airport – you have to go to the airport.” Then I thought for a few minutes, “What airport am I going to? It isn’t the Faroes, because I already did that. It isn’t Copenhagen – I did that. Oh yes, I’m home in my own bed. I’m going to Dallas, so it must be the Oakland Airport.”

Gásadalur in the Fog

On the way to the airport, I wanted to visit the small village of Gásadalur on the island of Vágar near the airport. The village sits in a high valley with high mountains on three sides and steep cliffs on the other. The tunnel to the village opened just a short time ago. Before that, the only way into the village was to climb a trail over the mountain.

A Cold Spring Day

Driving along the road in town, I spotted these icicles, formed from the dripping rain water. The mountain tops around the bay have snow on them again.

Tomorrow I will leave the Faroe Islands and return to my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. The month here has passed quickly.

Stone Walls

Most of the stone walls in Fuglafjørður have been created by the same man. He is currently working on making a path along the creek near where it enters the Fuglafjørður beach. He drove me to the other side of the town to see a project he completed recently. He created a plaza, walkway, and walled garden area from what used to be a steep corner lot.

A Different Kind of Hobby

Ingimund invited me to come see his hobby – feeding sheep. In the winter, the sheep are brought down from the high mountains to the fields near the town. This time of year there isn’t enough grass on the hillsides for the sheep, and they are fed hay and wheat supplements enriched with vitamins and minerals. Last summer the hay crop was very poor, so they also fed the sheep some hay imported from Iceland. Half of the sheep belong to Ingimund’s sister’s family. Whoever is not away at sea is the one who needs to take care of the sheep. Usually someone is home. This is a hobby that leads to a lot of good exercise and a lot of good meals. Some of these sheep make their home on the other side of the mountain. I’m glad I wasn’t invited to climb over to the other side of the mountain to feed the sheep.

Confirmation

The Gøta church had its confirmation service this past Sunday. I spent most of the day with the family of one of the girls who was confirmed, first at the family dinner for 50 people at her aunt’s house, then at the open house in her home. Here are a few family pictures.

Spring Flowers

Some days it is spring, and some days it is winter. Here are some spring flowers from a day when it was spring. People take good care of their gardens here, and this time of year new flowers are starting to bloom in gardens all around the town. The hills are still mostly brown, and at the moment there is snow on the peaks of the mountains across the bay from me.

Two of the sheep that have been living in my sheephouse are on their way back up to the mountain.

Easter Week

Easter week is a busy time for the Faroese churches. On Palm Sunday, many churches had confirmation, when 14 year olds confirm their faith. This is a big event, and most families have a party or open house for most of the day. One parent mentioned to me that they had 170 guests for their son’s confirmation. On Tuesday in Fuglafjørður, we had a music recital with readings from the Bible. There were two services on Maundi Thursday, one in the morning with a lay reader, and one in the evening with the priest. On Good Friday (which is called Long Friday) there was just one service. On Easter Sunday we had a service, and another on Easter Monday (called the second Easter Day).

In America, Easter Sunday is the day that nearly everyone goes to church. The people who go to church only once a year, will attend on Easter Sunday. My church in Berkeley adds an extra service to the schedule to make room for everyone – three services in the morning and one in the evening. In the Faroes, the Easter congregation seemed to be just the regular faithful. In the Faroes, Christmas Eve is the day when everyone goes to church, and the Fuglafjørður church sets out folding chairs and has people standing all around the church.

The schools here are closed for a week plus one day for Easter, and everything seems to be closed from Thursday through Monday. In California, schools are closed for a week, some for the week before Easter and some for the week after Easter, but they call it Spring Break, so it doesn’t sound like a religious holiday. Businesses are closed only on Easter Sunday, though most restaurants are open so families can go out to eat.

On Saturday, I was considering driving to Tórshavn to visit relatives, but the weather forecast said there would be snow and freezing weather. I didn’t want to drive that far in bad weather, so I stayed home and took pictures of the snow, instead. By Sunday morning, the snow was almost gone, since it rained during the night and the weather was warmer. It is still a novelty to me to live in a place where it snows.

I Knew It Wouldn’t Last

We had more than a week of warm sunny weather, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. We had a day of windy weather, which seemed to bring some clouds with it, and now we have some snow, coming just halfway down the mountains. It is a good day for sitting inside and working at the computer, rather than walking around the town to take pictures. I think the mountains here are always beautiful, whether they are snowy, dry and brown, green with grass, or covered in wildflowers. Here is the snowy version.

A Walk in the Wind

A few days ago I, when the weather was warm and sunny, I decided to walk around to the opposite side of the bay and take a few close-up photos of the ships, the harbor, and the factories that I can see from my windows. I took two only pictures before the battery in my camera died, while my spare battery was safely in my purse in my house about a mile a way. I finished my walk without taking pictures.

The next day (with both batteries) I walked back around the bay to take pictures. The sun was still shining, but there was a strong cold wind from the north west that whipped up waves in the bay, and occasional water-spouts would chase each other across the bay and out into the sound. Sometimes I would just wait for the gust of wind to pass before I could take another step. Walking around the harbor felt a little like climbing a steep hill, always walking into the wind.

Enough complaining. Here are some pictures from my walk around the harbor, with very little description, because I don’t know anything at all about the ships or the factories there.