Sunday, 31 July 2011

Thursday, 28 July 2011


Only the essentials remain...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Faroe Islands Day 1: Havnin er ein lítil bygd

After turning up stupidly early at Stansted on Monday I queue up at the Atlantic Airways check-in desk to find a Faroese family,a Faroese girl of about my age (it was comforting to see her legs were as pale as mine- there aren't many people around like that),and a group of elderly English ramblers.I notice that Faroese passports have the same cover as Danish ones.I wonder how the Faroese feel about their relationship with Denmark.

At the boarding gate,an elderly Faroese lady turns up with a massive Primark quilt.I can't escape the place.I write this observation on Facebook and my colleagues all "like" it immediately.

The flight is great,it reminds me of the good old days of flying,as the cockpit door is open on more than one occasion for quite a while.Sadly I can't see inside from where I'm sitting.We get a chicken and mayonnaise triangular sandwich and a chocolate chip muffin for lunch.I read before that you get a lot of opportunities for drinks on Atlantic Airways flights,but I wasn't expecting seven.The guy on the other side of the aisle takes full advantage and has a can of lager,a (double at least) shot of whisky,and a vodka.In front of me are three members of a youth gymnastics team all wearing blue tracksuits with "Føroyar" on the back.One of the boys looks a bit like Brandur Enni from a few years back.They're all wearing medals.

Coming in to land in Vágar is nothing short of exhilirating.It's overwhelmingly green everywhere.When we land the stewardess does the "we've arrived in the Faroe Islands,local time is..." speech in English.In Faroese,she simply says "welcome home."On the ground,the guy driving the steps towards us parks about 10 metres from the plane (engines still running) and sits with his hands over his ears with a grimace on his face.I wish someone would get him some ear muffs.

Technically this is a package holiday (not been on one of those for years),so for a change,I've already got transfers to the hotel.The other two people who were meant to be sharing the taxi have somehow got lost in the crowd in baggage reclaim,and so I get to enjoy the ride all by myself.Vágar is 40 minutes from Tórshavn which is on the island of Streymoy.The drive is lovely,winding roads around lakes and fjords,sheep all over the place,and tunnels through mountains where you hardly ever see another car.We drive through Hoyvík,the suburb of Tórshavn where Teitur comes from.It's exciting to think that I'm in the country that has provided so much inspiration for him,and actually,it's one of the main reasons I wanted to come here.My friend at work didn't understand this.Yet she went to Graceland because she's a massive Elvis fan.

There are 4 sets of traffic lights in the Faroes,and I've now experienced three quarters of them.I'm staying at Hotel Tórshavn which is right in the centre of town overlooking the harbour.This is the view from my room.

Actually taken at 11pm one night.That building is the town hall.I do hope the mayor didn't see me in my pants.

I rush out to find the Tutl shop because Leadberry are playing there at 4.There are concerts at 4pm every afternoon in summer from various Faroese bands,singers,musicians.No news on who's there tomorrow but I've heard Leadberry before and they're OK.Tutl is actually literally 2 minutes from my hotel,and Tórshavn is the world's smallest capital city,but I go the wrong way and end up at SMS shopping centre.I buy some food at Miklagardur and try to ring my mum from one of the payphones.It's seemingly impossible to ring the UK from the Faroes (you can't do it from the hotel either),so I give up and go home.I go a different way and find Tutl.Leadberry have nearly finished their set.From what I hear they're actually loads better live than on CD.I imagine this is what Ruben Cossani would sound like if they sang in English.

You know those typical Scandinavian jumpers with the loud patterns? Well loads of people wear them in the Faroes,from babies to old men.My favourite one so far was worn by a guy about my age- it was grey with lines of black snowflakes and black puffins.Amazing.

Go back to the hotel and the news is on Kringvarp Føroya.The programme is called Dagur & Vika and it's not on every day because they don't have the staff.The first thing I see is that Brandur Enni lookalike from the plane and all the others.Turns out they came third at the Inter-Island Gymnastics behind the Isle of Man and Jersey.

I have a takeaway pizza for dinner from Cafe Sandwich.65 kroner for a margherita.It tastes alright.

Check emails and things at reception.They're playing All I Remember From Last Night Is You,one of my favourite songs from Teitur's latest album.Definitely the best hotel I've stayed in :)

I hardly sleep,as is customary for my first night anywhere abroad.For most of the night I'm in that funny state of half-sleeping,half-awake,which leads me to drink (without being fully aware of it) a whole 1,5 litre bottle of this before I give up and get out of bed at 5.30am.

It's a joy to see silly brand names in the Faroes that I can add to my collection.But it gave me awful acid reflux all the next day.

Miscellaneous post #15

From an interview with Charlie Connelly,author of Attention All Shipping.

Who is your ideal travelling companion?

If I’m working I much prefer travelling alone...It gives me the freedom to change plans on a whim and the freedom to go back to the hotel room at 7pm if I like and spend the evening sprawled on the bed wearing just my pants, watching the news in a language I don’t understand while eating crisps from a family-sized bag balanced on my chest.

Amen to that.

Speaking of which,I'm going to write about my Faroes trip soon.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


I'm back from the class and tranquility of Tórshavn,where women can safely leave their babies in prams outside of a shop for 5 minutes,to Gillingham where I've just seen a man piss up a tree next to my car.Without a doubt the highlight of my trip was the free,unexpected mini-gig by Jens Marni at Tutl on Tuesday.I think the title of this song is quite appropriate for the moment...

Monday, 11 July 2011

Bei bei!

Leaving for the airport in a minute.I'll be incognito until Thursday.That's the wrong word,but it sounds cool.Basically my phone doesn't work in the Faroes and I don't know if there's free internet anywhere.But anyway,I'll leave you with this song by Mark No Limits- the band that Teitur was in when he was 17.This song is a cover of an old Faroese kids' song that's been translated into other Scandinavian language and sung by the likes of Friðrik Ómar.It's called Singing the Same Song.