Arrival and a few facts

Torshavn Travel Blog

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We flew from Manchester to Copenhagen with Scandinavian Air Service and changed to Atlantic Airways, the Faeroes' own airline to Vagar (the name of both the airport and the island - not to be confused with Vagur, a town on Su ðuroy.)

What's that thing between the two 'u's? That can be the first fact. Its lower case of the letter eth, a consonant with no distinct sound in the Faroese language - so that the word just seems to contain a long u. The language is apparently related closely to Icelandic. For a very long time it was banned by the Danes and only continued to exist in oral form. Then in the later part of the 19th century it was legalised and a written language was devised on entymological principles, whatever that means.

What did it have to do with the Danes anyway?
Rapid history

When Norway ceded the Orkney and Shetland islands to Scotland, the Faroes or Færoes remained with Norway. Later Norway came uner the Danish crown. In the Napoleonic  wars Britain occupied the islands to counter Napoleon's blockade. Denmarkk entered the war on the French side. Sweden then joined on the other side. As a result Denmark had to cede Norway to Sweden but not the Faroes, which remained as a Danish possession. They were occupied by Britain again in the second world war, when Germany invaded Denmark, but reverted to Denmark. Now they form a completely self-governing province of Denmark. This seems to give some independence in foreign affairs since they form an Associated Member of the Nordic Council in their own right and belong to the West Nordic Council, of which Denmark is not a member. They also have a free trade agreement with Iceland.

Rapid geography
By and large Anglo-Saxons are pretty ignorant about the Faroes - even about their whereabouts. Imagine a point about equi-distant from Iceland, the north of mainland Scotland and the Bergen area of Norway and you are possibly somewhere in the Faroes.  The pricipal islands are Streymoy, Eysturoy, Vagar and Sudhuroy (copying an eth seems to make all subsequent letters bigger so I am using dh) and a group of north-eastern islands consisting of Bordhoy, Kalsoy, Kunoy, Vidhoy, Fugloy and Svinoy. Smaller inhabited islands are Sandoy,  Skuvoy, Nolsoy and Mykines. Islands with few or no inhabitants are the Dimuns, Hestur and Kultur.

External communications are by air with Atlantic Airways with flights to Denmark, Iceland, Norway and the UK or by sea with the same countries - now only Shetland in the UK using the Smyril Line, like Atlantic Airways under Faroes ownership and control.

As far as internal communications are concerned, Streymoy and Eysturoy are connected by the so-called Bridge over the Atlantic. The two islands are so close that this is one of the most underwhelming sights in the Faroes. Vagar is connected with Streymoy and Bordhoy to Eysturoy by undersea tunnels. Bordoy is connected to Kunoy and Vidhoy by causeways. Sudhuroy and Nolsoy are connected to Streymoy by ferry from Torshavn, Sandoy and Hestur from the west coast. There is a ferry from Hvannasund to Fugloy and Svinoy, very dependent on the often ferocious moods of the Atlantic. Skuvoy is connected to the south of Sandoy by ferry and there is a foot ferry from Vagar to Mykines. Koltur and the Dimuns depend on helicopters.
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photo by: davidx