Cold, Windblown, and Soaking Wet! Welcome to Torshavn!

Torshavn Travel Blog

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Typical houses in Torshavn. How do you mow the grass?

The bus let us our at the ferry terminal. This is a working harbor so, some of it isn't so pretty. but, some of it is. I was greeted with the penninsula view that I had seen in my research, wow! I thought to myself "I can't believe that I'm here!" I was looking at the pictures in the guide only yesterday and today the picture is in front of me. Find it, wish it, do it. This should be my motto. It is how I live my life.

Ok, so back to the story. I got out my map and tried to orient myself. It rain and wind weren't helping me. With each raindrop on my injet printed map, I was loosing sections of the city to ink runoff. I walked in the general direction that I determined from the map, uphill. I'm trying not to get distracted by the quaint buildings as they will be there when my luggage is safely in my room.

Torshavn Cathedral built in 1788
I was having difficulty keeping my focus but, after walking up and down many hills and backtracking once or twice ( my ususal way of finding things), I saw the sign HOSTEL.FO. This is the group from which I chose my accomodation. The "compound" where I staid, Bladypi, has a dorm buildng a guesthouse and a separate apartment. As I walked up the attendant came and opened the door for me.

He was very friendly and even gave me a room with ensuite bath for the same price as a room without, awesome! The prices in The faroes are Scanindavian expensive so, I was thrilled to be getting more for my money. He showed me to my room which was actually a twin room that was quite spacious. I had a large window witha view of town and even could see the Danish monument up on the hill.

My that is bright!

I unpacked and placed things for easy use, which is strange for me. I usually am not in the same room/hotel for a whole week (not counting Copenhagen).  This would be nice, unpack and pack only once!

I pulled out my guide and map of the city. As I look out the weather is miserable but, I am not going to melt so, I decide the best thing to do is go to the turist info center, which was very close. I did keep stoping to take pictures of cute little houses with turf roofs. I would figure out later that there is a very high percentage of homes like this, here. The Danish built city hall is across the street from the info center. It's a really heavy style in comparison to the typical Faroese structures.

At the TIC, I asked for a city map and then for some suggestions as from my research, I had many possibilities but, wanted a local to help me filter what was special and what was extra special.

Man, birds, and nature sculpture
Well, I think that I just got the wrong person. It was a young guy, nice but, had no real opinion or enthusiasm. How do you get this job with that mentality...I don't know. So, I decided to just take the afternoon and walk the city. It was going to be rainy and windy no matter what. I would just not get to close to large bodies of water. That's one piece of advise that the info guy gave me. The wind was gusting to over 45mph and any rocky or grassy area near the harbor or ocean would be dangerous. Did I listen, more on that later!

So from there I followed a little path with low stone wall which lead me to a view of a square with a monument of a sailor and birds, that I would come back to later. I continued on and immediately saw the colorful little row of buildings with the red metal roofs from some of the pics online.

House in old town - Tinganes peninsula
Across the street is Havnar Kirkja, Torshavn's cathedral. That term has to be used loosely. The building has its own unique charm but is no cathedral. I walked around it's grounds and enjoyed some of the views from this spot on a hill. I could see across the way a man, working on a roof, in the brightest orange jumper that I've ever seen. It's probably important when it's really rainy, foggy, or snowy as to help him stand out.....and he did.

I walked back down the hill and toward the harbor, to the monument / sculpture. It's a man looking out at the sea being blown by the wind with two birds flying overhead. I'm not much for sculpture but, it was moving and well done.

New home with turf roof.

I continued down to the harbor and walked along the waterfront seeing the different kinds of boats. Some of them were painted the brightest of colors. I guess, again, it helps in the inclement weather.

I walked up the hill behind that end of the harbor to the edge of Undir Ryggi, which is the old town. It's an enjoyable confusion of winding, twisting lanes. It is filled with homes with black-tarred walls and white framed windows and grass on the roof. There also seems to be a preference for red. Many of the houses, especially on the Tinganes promintory (the hills penninsula that breaks the harbor into two sections) are the old city administrative offices and most are still in use. You can walk amongst them, which is a must. You're in another place and time.

Rope used to create letters on the side of a building
It feels like a village, which it was. I'm a bit ahead of myself, actually. I got carried away. Some of the pics of this area apart of tomorrow....sorry! I passed through the edge of this area and was struck by this awesome black house with red trim and red windows and read door and red fence! The red house in front it was a bit haggered. Across the way was newly built house that, surprise, had a turf roof as well. I was shocked by this but I would see more of them as the journy went on. I guess the reasons from using them hundreds of years ago still apply, insulation.

The continuation of this path took me behind the cathedral where I was at an even higher place to see mroe of Torshavn. I could see this massive cone shapped roof....investigate later.

I decide to walk back to the harbor and try to get around to the outer penninsula which gives the best views of both harbors sections and the Tinganes penninsula with it's postcard view.

Cute little boat in the marina. Such a tiny boat name Viking.....too cute!
On the way I passed some interesting signage with letters made of rope but characters that I didn't know, interesting anyway.

Making my way along this side of the harbor, near where the bus let us out, there are more more boats and a view of the colorful waterfont buldings. Lots of red, white, and blue. I couldn't help but take a pic of a little boat, so cute, named Viking. I don't think any Vikings made their way here in something so small. It was picture worthy.

Even though the wind picked up ....really hard.....I continued on. I had made it to where I was even with the end of the Tinganes Penninsula and got a nice picture of the Foroyar flag proudly waving in the wind.

Now, I hadn't told you yet but, I was having a terrible time (as you might expect) with taking pictures in the rain.

Fort Skansin with lighthouse on top. The fort was constructed in 1580.
I had to keep drying the lens with every picture. I was running out of dry shirt as the lens cleaning cloth was soaked by now. It was an effort in patience, getting shots in the brief seconds between gusts or just having to take only pictures that I could with the wind at my back. Some pics were working out.....some were not!

So, as I continue, I can see a lighthouse. I love lighthouses and this one was set atop the Fort Skansin at the seaward end of Havnargota. It once marked the entrance to the harbor. The small fortress was built in 1580 to protect trading as seaborne attack from across the North Atlantic were increasing.

The fortress makes for a dramatic base for the lighthouse to rest. It has commanding views of both Torshavn, Nolsoy Island and to the far left Esturoy Island.

View of Tinganes peninsula and surrounding Torshavn in background. View is from Fort Skansin.
There are four brass cannons from the time of Danish trade monopoly and a World War II cannon as well.

I tried to take a little video from here. The view was dramatic as well as the waves and wind. I was almost blown over by a powerful gust while taking it. I was standing on top of the outer wall....not a good idea as I was fully exposed to the raging winds.

Surving this, I to climb down the opposite side of the fort and walk in that direction. I could see a obelisk type monument on a hill and would try getting there, next. On the way I crossed a little park with statues of a man carrying a load of something in a basket on his back and a woman behind him who looks to have a rope around her shoulders ???

More of the quaint Foroyar houses as I wind my way up the hill.

Brian with Torshavn in background
I could finally see, between two houses, a little bridge leading up to the top of the hill and the monument on top. The house to one side had a beautiful black cat sitting in the window.....just watching me.

The monument, Kongamini (The King's Monument), is a bassalt obelisk erected in 1882 to commerate the visit of Danish King Christian IX. He had visited eight years before. The spot offers arresting views of the Foroyar capitol and the mountains beyond. There were several sheep grazing on the hill around the monument. They were quite vocal and so I did my impression of a sheep, and they seem to understand as they all came to the fence around the monument. There horns were in a really tight wind.....very interesting. Also, they had strange eyes......

Sheep at Kongaminni (The King's Monument)(1856)
.some of them had eyes that bugged out! They were friendly but, soon lost interest. I think they thought I was bringing food....sorry guys.

Ok, so back down the hill and in the direction of the great cone roof thing. Colorful buildings abound as I walk through this part of the city, too.

I make my way through an area needing urban renewal. No pics were taken here, must preserve the image. I passed an open field where I could see the back of my guesthouse. I stopped to take a picture and a little grey kitten bounded across the grass in my direction. It was being very vocal with its rrah, rrah, rrah, rrah! I think it was demanding food.....I moved on as I didn't have any kitty treats.

I found a old cemetary with many wiry trees. Trees are something you don't see in this country.

A view of the Capitol of Foroyar from the King's Monument.
The wind destroys them. But, there are a few and these looked to be quite old. There were many interesting carvings on many of the headstones and a bit of fern growing, interesting.

Only a couple of block down, I found the copper "cone" roofed Vesturkirkja. It's actually a pyramid just from Tinganes and east it looks cone shaped. It was built in 1975 amongst much controversy. There are some really old building on the property next to it that make for a striking contrast in style and age.

Just down the way from the kirkja, out across a field, I could hear the sound of running water. It was coming from a stream that most likely from a waterfall source.....there seems to be no rivers, just waterfalls.

There was an unusual geometric mirrored ball with turf roof (a home?) with many older structures around and below.

View of Old cemetary
Some were even built into the hill. There a black sheep grazing away infront. What an odd picture this was!!!

I walked down the hill on the opposite side of the church, passing the cemetary on it's lower side. I went in, briefly, to look at some of the headstones closer. One had a ancient Foroyar fishing boat on it.

I stopped at a grocery and picked up some salad ingredients, bread, cheese, milk fuit, and some canned veggies. The total being 20 euro (30 dollars) was steep as I didn't buy much of anything! I knew eating would be expensive here and was trying to economize....trying!

I took the groceries back to the guesthouse and had a little break from the weather. It really wears you down!!! I took the time to look at some of my pics and much to my dismay, I had some with water on them and some that were blurry.

Vesturkirkja with old wooden house and even older stone house.
I knew some would be this way. Taking pics in the rain can confuse the camera sometimes.

So, I decided to revisit a few of these spots and retake some pics. The rain had stopped, for now, and I didn't want to waste any daylight, more light "graylight".  I went back to the city hall and then looking at the time, the cathedral should be open. Churches and museums are only open for a few hours a day and at the stranges times. This church was only open from 16:00 to 18:00.

The plain exterior hides the colorful interior. The pews are yellow and orange in high contrast. The walls wood slatted and painted cream but with a high contrast trim, as well. The ceiling was blue with stars painted on it. There was a grid pattern painted in the same cream as the walls.

Creek, house, and goat at the end of Johannesar Paturssona Gota, near Vesturkirkja
There was a student being taught piano as I studied the details. In between the chandeliers were 3 model sailing ships hanging from the ceiling. One was impossible to get a picture of....gggrrrr! The view back at the organ and upper balcony was quite the drama. There was alot of color and contrast going on. Upon leaving I spotted a cross staked in th ground that I hadn't seen previously, and the tared buildings behind made for a great picture.

I returned to the really cool black tar - turfed house with the red trimming everything and retook some shots as those were a mess from the rain.

It was getting dark now and I was tired. On my way back I walked along the harbor for a view of night falling and the city lighting up.

And last, I happened upon a house that I had read about that was special.

One of the ships hanging from the ceiling inside the Torshavn Cathedral
Its woodwork was of Norwegian design and was heavily detailed. It was built in 1902 and saddly to say, is in need of some tlc. It's still a beautiful and standout among the typical Foroyar designs.

Almost dark, I retired to the room. I had a nice salad and delicous bread and local cheese for dinner. I worked on the pics and blog until I was cross-eyed. I called and talked to Rob and discussed his day. I then game my mother a surprise with a call. I shared the day's interests and then called it a night. I was really tired and in need of rest. What will I do tomorrow, I'll decide based on the weather....or not.

I had a wonderful day of discovery. It was trying at times but, an adventure. I had discovered a little place with big presence. What will tomorrow bring.

House near harbour with Norwegian detailing
Whatever it is.....it will be great.

Chokk says:
Looks like you covered every inch!
Posted on: Nov 01, 2009
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Typical houses in Torshavn. How do…
Typical houses in Torshavn. How d…
Torshavn Cathedral built in 1788
Torshavn Cathedral built in 1788
My that is bright!
My that is bright!
Man, birds, and nature sculpture
Man, birds, and nature sculpture
House in old town - Tinganes penin…
House in old town - Tinganes peni…
New home with turf roof.
New home with turf roof.
Rope used to create letters on the…
Rope used to create letters on th…
Cute little boat in the marina. Su…
Cute little boat in the marina. S…
Fort Skansin with lighthouse on to…
Fort Skansin with lighthouse on t…
View of Tinganes peninsula and sur…
View of Tinganes peninsula and su…
Brian with Torshavn in background
Brian with Torshavn in background
Sheep at Kongaminni (The Kings Mo…
Sheep at Kongaminni (The King's M…
A view of the Capitol of Foroyar …
View of Old cemetary
View of Old cemetary
Vesturkirkja with old wooden house…
Vesturkirkja with old wooden hous…
Creek, house, and goat at the end …
Creek, house, and goat at the end…
One of the ships hanging from the …
One of the ships hanging from the…
House near harbour with Norwegian …
House near harbour with Norwegian…
Square at the east side of harbour…
Square at the east side of harbou…
Byradid (town hall), which today h…
Byradid (town hall), which today …
Torshavn Cathedral
Torshavn Cathedral
Colorful row of houses across from…
Colorful row of houses across fro…
garden area in front of Cathedral
garden area in front of Cathedral
This house has an easy roof to mow…
This house has an easy roof to mo…
Buildings along the marina front.
Buildings along the marina front.
Buildings at the harbour with the …
Buildings at the harbour with the…
Now thats bright! I bet you can s…
Now that's bright! I bet you can …
Tar painted turf buildings behind …
Tar painted turf buildings behind…
Nice view of city and Vesturkirkja…
Nice view of city and Vesturkirkj…
The two major religious buildings …
The two major religious buildings…
Homes in old town on the Tinganes …
Homes in old town on the Tinganes…
Road up through Undir Ryggi
Road up through Undir Ryggi
Old and new construction near the …
Old and new construction near the…
East harbour and waterfront
East harbour and waterfront
The end of Tinganes peninsula, hom…
The end of Tinganes peninsula, ho…
Fort Skansin - approach near the b…
Fort Skansin - approach near the …
Water-side of Fort Skansin
Water-side of Fort Skansin
Bus / Ferry terminal and the city …
Bus / Ferry terminal and the city…
View from atop Fort Skansin lookin…
View from atop Fort Skansin looki…
More views of Torshavn from Fort S…
More views of Torshavn from Fort …
buildings of Fort Skansin
buildings of Fort Skansin
Cannons from late 16th - early 17t…
Cannons from late 16th - early 17…
Gun from World War II
Gun from World War II
Buildings on Fort Skansin and city…
Buildings on Fort Skansin and cit…
Kings Monument with Torshavn in ba…
Kings Monument with Torshavn in b…
Bright house!!!
Bright house!!!
Bright house - close up
Bright house - close up
cute kitten near Vesturkirkja and …
cute kitten near Vesturkirkja and…
The cemetary contains 38 British c…
The cemetary contains 38 British …
The cemetary is one of the few spo…
The cemetary is one of the few sp…
Vesturkirkja
Vesturkirkja
Tiny stone house near
Tiny stone house near
Back side of Vesturkirkja
Back side of Vesturkirkja
Sculpture behind Vesturkirkja
Sculpture behind Vesturkirkja
Front side (so very different) of …
Front side (so very different) of…
Definition of quaint
Definition of quaint
Cemetary with tortured trees and w…
Cemetary with tortured trees and …
Gravestone with Faroese boat and f…
Gravestone with Faroese boat and …
Path through cemetary
Path through cemetary
Maintaining the cemetary
Maintaining the cemetary
Torshavn Cathedral
Torshavn Cathedral
balcony and ceiling of Torshavn Ca…
balcony and ceiling of Torshavn C…
Altar of Torshavn Cathedral
Altar of Torshavn Cathedral
Religious art in Torshavn Cathedral
Religious art in Torshavn Cathedral
Interior of Cathedral
Interior of Cathedral
Detailing in Torshavn Cathedral
Detailing in Torshavn Cathedral
2nd ship hanging form ceiling hang…
2nd ship hanging form ceiling han…
Iron cross and old stone wall with…
Iron cross and old stone wall wit…
House behind the rock - interestin…
House behind the rock - interesti…
Torshavn Cathedral and home next t…
Torshavn Cathedral and home next …
Marina full of boats
Marina full of boats
View of port and right side of bay
View of port and right side of bay
House in Torshavn near guesthouse.…
House in Torshavn near guesthouse…
Interesting design element on gard…
Interesting design element on gar…
Torshavn Hotels & Accommodations review
Close to everything and truely in the heart of Torshavn
This guesthouse is truely in a great spot in Torshavn. It's close to what you want to see in town and close to transport to take you where you want to… read entire review
Torshavn
photo by: davidx