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Saturday, July 8, 2017

BACK TO EUROPE


Before we reach Europe by ferry, we have one more stop – The Faroe Islands. We arrive almost the same day, or rather in the middle of the night. We have to exit our rooms at 2am, sit around & wait until we dock at 3am before the vehicle deck is open. So, a lot of tired & cranky people are exiting the ferry. It is dark & wet, so we drive to the first empty carpark we see in Torshavn & stop for a few more hours sleep. Then time to explore. We only have 3 days & we plan to drive as many roads as possible in that time. Pity about the cold wet weather.

We head to the Info Centre. Annoyingly our GPS has no maps, and our Pocket Earth system won’t start. Back to paper maps – a useless one we picked up on the ferry. The first road I turn us down is one way only, so we turn into a carpark to turn around – guess who I see behind us: the police.  I go in to full grovel mode, & then John asks about getting a licence plate. End result: we are let off a fine, & a few hours later we find a licence plate is tucked under the windscreen wiper! Bonus!

As we head further in to town the streets narrow alarmingly, I go in to panic mode & John just keeps manouvering. Decide town is not the place for GR2 & park at the port. Legs will do just fine.  Explore town with it’s amazing Tinganes/ Old Parliament Buildings covered in turf roofs. (My new thing to photograph – turf roofs! And this country has thousands!)  This one is also the oldest in the world. Sadly, it is still raining & the wind blasts us. Finally, the info centre & just as importantly a bakery, before we head out of town. We are due back here to catch the ferry, so fingers crossed, it will be sunnier then to explore more.

This country is made up of strings of Islands interconnected with bridges & by 2 subsea tunnels. We follow the coastline, eventually heading north. Lots of waterfalls & lush emerald green hills. Everything is oozing water. Never seen so many waterfalls. All the villages are pretty, but I will only mention the stand outs, and let the pictures do the talking. The first highlight is the tiny side road out to Sakson – a group of picturesque farms buildings set on the mouth of a fjord. The second is The Islands highest waterfall, Fossa, beside the cute town of Haldarsvik with its hexagonal church. And the last for the day: the cliffside drive out to Tjornuvik (a famous surf beach – although not a wave today). It is getting late so we find a spot on the wharf at Oyrarbakki.

A grey damp start today, but it does clear, with blasts of glorious sunshine. We crossed on to our second island last night, so continue along the coast to Eidi and on to our fourth highlight – the gorgeous drive (through mist) to Gjogv. Over the top cute village, with a river meandering through the middle & an amazing gorge, with an incredibly steep boat ramp. Then on to the subsea tunnel (a very expensive 6km drive) to the next island of Bordoy. Maybe we will drive as far as we can & explore on our return trip. So, we head to our next tunnel, only to discover that we are a tad too tall. So that will be our limit in this direction. We stop & explore heaps of towns, big & small before ending the day at last night’s camp spot.  

It is our last day so we will need to get a move on, maybe even actually skip side roads. With that in mind we head directly to Vestmanna – famous for its cliffs. Not on my top sights lists! Maybe because we chose not to go on the boat trip. Then the second subsea tunnel (6.5 km) to Vagar Island where the airport is located.  We first head to the end of the road to Gassadalur where my fifth highlight is the waterfall that drops directly in to the ocean. Time to retrace our steps, stopping at our sixth highlight – the seriously cute village of Bour.  Back to Torshavn, this time via the mountain road – great views as we drop down to the city. Then out to our seventh highlight – the ruined cathedral & surrounding turf roofed buildings at Kirkjubour.

Our eighth, & final highlight is walking around the city of Torshavn in the sunshine, while GR2 waits on the wharf for the ferry.  School holidays have started & there are 100’s of cars to be loaded, even more adults & heaps of kids. Phew! Many hours later we are loaded, leaving at about 2am, a mere 3 hours late. 

I have planned to do a lot of computer work on board, but this time it is much rougher.  This doesn’t worry John, but I am not feeling so great. Even off my food – an unheard-of occurrence! Still it is only for one more day & night before we are back in Europe. We exit the ferry by 9am. Hello Denmark. 

Pia, our lovely Airbnb hostess from Nuuk, has sent us a suggested route along the east coast, so we follow this. What about the south of Norway? Well the weather there is still wet & cold, so we will be skipping it this trip.  But first a quick trip to the most northern point of Denmark where the Baltic & North Seas meet. A bit of a surprise is the crowds of tourists. A quick walk along the beach before heading south. It is great to see the sun all day. Top stop for the day is lunch right on the beach at Lokken. Gorgeous white sand & nice waves, but still too chilly to even dip our toes in. Overnight on the beach at Hanstholm.

Lots more flat countryside (not surprisingly!!) with some undulating sandhills, and many villages packed with seaside cottages. Today’s fun stops are at the fishing village of Norre Vorupor where the boats are lined up on the beach, then the historic town of Ringkobing, before finally stopping on another wharf at Esbjerg. Bonus: there is free Wifi.

Today’s stop: the totally gorgeous old town of Ribe. A lovely spot to wander around. There is even a great free RV camp on the outskirts. We meander up & down streets, climb the church tower for great views, indulge in yummy cakes & coffee, before finally heading out of town.  It is not long until we are in Germany with all its busyness.  Our first big city is Kiel. We have decided to head to the official camp spot on the side of the canal, but it is full, so instead we find a spot on the street. No one bothers us on such a wet night. Tomorrow we will start on our chores before catching up with friends.


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