Climbing Stairs

In Fuglafjørður, there isn’t much need for stair-master exercise equipment, when there are so many stairs to climb, wherever you want to go. After admiring a long flight of stairs leading up the hillside from my street, I started looking around at some of the flights of stairs in town. I should stop complaining that my house in America has 22 steps up to the front door. It would be a pretty average house in Fuglafjørður. I have climbed a lot of these stairways, but not the worst ones.

Birds, Flowers, and Fog

Since Fuglafjørður means “Bird Bay,” I decided to take pictures of some of the birds I saw around Fuglafjørður this week. I am not sure what they all are, but most of them are pretty noisy.

I also enjoy the many wildflowers in the fields. Wherever you walk, you can see wildflowers. They last all summer, because the weather doesn’t get warm enough to make them wilt.

Since I showed you some pictures of sunny days in Fuglafjørður, it is only fair that I also show you some foggy days. Sometimes the fog is actually quite beautiful.

Making Hay

Some people took advantage of the good weather this past week to make hay while the sun shines. All around the edge of the town are small, individual fields. Many people use small gas-driven mowers to cut the grass, but occasionally you see someone using a scythe. On a sunny day, the grass dries quickly, and it is important to get the hay under cover before the rain comes. Many of the small sheds that you see around the town are used to store hay to feed the sheep during the winter.

Summer

Summer finally arrived – about a month late. It only lasted two or three days, and today we are back to clouds and rain. However it was beautiful while it lasted. Here are a few pictures of a sunny Faroes summer days.

Shearing Sheep

Last night Bjørghild phoned me to say that today they would go up the mountain to get the sheep. There are over 200 sheep grazing over several mountains, and it is the families who own these sheep who go up the mountain to bring the sheep down. It took them all morning and part of the afternoon to bring the sheep down from the mountains and into the sheep fold. Then the all lambs were dosed with medicine, and the sheep were sheared. There were ten or twelve platforms with restraints to hold the sheep while they were being sheared. This was a family activity, with people of all ages helping. This time, at least I had sturdy boots and waterproof pants and jacket. I still seem to smell faintly of sheep.

Sailing on Norðlýsið

This past week I attended a jazz concert in a sea cave on the island of Hestur, going on the sailing ship Norðlýsið (which means “Northern Lights”). The ship was crowded, mostly with tourists from Denmark. I have to remind myself that I am actually a tourist, myself, even though my name and phone number are still in the phone book. The sea was very calm, and the weather was quite pleasant – maybe not by California standards, but by Faroese standards it was a lovely day.

The two sailing ships anchored outside the entrance to the cave, and we all climbed into the small boats to go into the cave. It was quite a large cave, but too dark to get a good picture. Therefore, I took some blurry photos, but we can call them impressionist art, instead of bad pictures. The cave made a wonderfully resonant performance hall.

After the concert, we sailed near some dramatic cliffs that were filled with noisy, nesting birds. Mid-July the cliffs are still crowded with nests and young birds.

On the way back to Tórshavn, the wind came up, and we seemed to be fighting against the current. I was glad I brought so many layers of clothing. We were an hour late getting back, but my cousin Ninna had a warm dinner for me when I arrived.

Unusual Scenery

I spent a couple of days in and around Tórshavn and saw a few unusual and strange sights, and then a few common sights from an unusual perspective. One of the days included a boat trip to Hestur on the Norðlýsið sailing ship – but more about that at another time. Here are a few scenes that caught my eye from the neighborhoods around Tórshavn.

Clouds

Rather than waiting for the sun to shine, I have decided to enjoy the clouds. Many days the sky is just grey – sometimes light grey, sometimes dark grey, and sometimes changing from dark to light and back again. However, other times the clouds are really quite beautiful. Here are some clouds from the past few days from all around the Faroe Islands.

By the Bay

I finally went on one of my favorite walks along the edge of the Fuglafjørður bay, and took some of my favorite pictures again. I am embarassed to admit that I have let the rain keep me inside, though the Faroese don’t usually let the rain stop them. We have had a lot of weather during the two weeks I have been here, and so far this year, the Faroe Islands haven’t had much spring or summer weather. However, the last couple of days have been very pleasant, and we even had some sunshine. There is a lot of discussion about the weather, but we can’t do anything about it.

Varmakelda, the Warm Springs Festival

Varmakelda, the Warm Springs Festival, takes over the whole town of Fuglafjørður for several days. There are concerts, art exhibitions, dances, a carnival, and food and drink.

First on the schedule was the opening of an exhibition by several of Fuglafjørður’s leading artists, with the art for sale. Next was a concert at the Culture House, and the building was crowded. Niels was releasing a CD of music that came out on a cassette tape several years ago. Niels and Gunnleif collaborated on the music, with Gunnleif writing the words and Niels the music. The old cassette tape must have been a favorite, because the audience knew the music well, and sang along on some of the numbers.

The weekend activities included a carnival for the children set up on the parking lot behind the Culture House. I didn’t spend a lot of time there, but the children all emerged with cotton candy, popcorn, stuffed animals, and helium balloons in the shape of exotic animals.

Saturday morning everyone was invited to breakfast in the Culture House. Then in the afternoons and evenings on Saturday and Sunday, the Culture House was changed to a music café, with many local musicians taking their turn at providing entertainment. One of the crowd favorites was a young woman with Down’s syndrome, who sang from the children’s Sunday School song book. On Friday and Saturday, the midnight dance for the teenagers ended at 4 a.m.

The Fuglafjørður brass band gave two short concerts, one inside the Culture House during the pouring rain on Saturday and the other out on the plaza on Sunday, when there were only a few sprinkles of rain. Sunday afternoon the Tórshavn Chamber Choir gave a concert at the church, which included selections of Icelandic, French, Latin, English and Faroese music. Sunday night ended with another concert with four different groups of musicians, followed by awarding lottery prizes. I didn’t win anything, but that is probably because I didn’t buy a lottery ticket.

Monday morning, Fuglafjørður was back to life as usual.