Iceland & Faroe Islands

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Faroe Islands: Kirkjubøur

Last but not least! About 20 minutes outside Torshavn, we found the ancient village of Kirkjubøur housing not much more than three famous buildings. In the Middle Ages, Kirkjubøur was the religious center of the islands, and it houses St. Olav's church, the oldest church from the Middle Ages where people still worship weekly. The church was open, still, silent. The Magnus Cathedral was built (although never completed) around 1300. Only small renovations have been done recently. And lastly, the…

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Faroe Islands: Borðoy and Viðoy islands

We set off on our last full day in the Faroes to reach the most north-easterly point we could, passing from Streymoy to Eysturoy through Klaksvik on Borðoy, and finally onto the farthest island we could reach by car, Viðoy. (Excuse all the specific names, but the short story is that we drove through a lot of islands!). Here they are! As we moved from island to island, the points and mountains of other islands passed and it was mesmerizing to follow on the map figuring out which peak was which…

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Faroe Islands: Kalsoy and Kunoy Islands

From the far north, we drove back down and onto Kunoy island. The roads were thin and straight along the cliffs, but provided stellar views of our next destination, the island of Kalsoy which runs almost parallel to Kunoy. Our last stop of the day was one we had planned for weeks and were building up courage for: a hike to the Kallur lighthouse on the peak of Kalsoy. The most common and striking photos of the Faroes are often taken on this hike, including the Faroe Islands Tourism Board site's…

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Faroe Islands: Torshavn

The capital of the Faroe Islands is absolutely the most enchanting place we have ever been. Torshavn (translated Thor's town) was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century and is still the largest city in the country, with a bustling population of 17,000 ;). The streets were oddly shaped, deadended abruptly, and far steeper than the norm for cars; basically, ancient. Built into a hill, the primary colored walls with green roofs looked like a fairy town. Tinganes is a peninsula at the end of the…

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Faroe Islands: Gjógv, Eiði, and Tjørnuvík

From Saksun, we drove on to the island to the east, Eysturoy, and wandered through the village of Eiði (car wandered, that is. It was misty and windy so I enjoyed the panorama from inside), and then we were on to one of the most scenic stops on the trip, Gjógv. We ate lunch at the Gjáargarður Guesthouse, watching the mist dampen everything. And after lunch, when the rain was steadier, Walker pulled on his hood to snap these. I waited in the car (a theme on the Faroes) and watched the most…

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Faroe Islands: Gásadalur and Saksun

The New York Times just listed the Faroe Islands as the Next Scandinavian destination, and although I'm a little sad the secret is getting out, it is also a very well-deserved accolade. The Faroe Islands have been on our travel wish list for years and were the definition of magical at every turn---completely untouched and tourist-free. We can't rave enough about these insanely beautiful islands and I'm so excited to share photos at last! The Faroes are a collection of 18 remote islands that sit…

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Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon

I'm unwinding the photo reel a little here to bring you back to our first few days in Iceland. We were in and out of the capital of Iceland 4 times, so I thought I'd consolidate all the amazement into one post. Before we even got to Reykjavik the first day, we were welcomed at 8am with tingling cold air (compared to the 90s we'd left bouncing off the glass walls in New York). We drove about 40 minutes through plains filled with gangly, sharp, black lava for miles in all directions, and arrived…

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Syðri-Rot, Hvolsvöllur

Nothing but the sound of wind and the fast clouds at night for days. We were lucky to find four open nights in a house I'd found on AirBnb years ago and dreamed of staying in since. When we arrived late at night, we drove miles down a clodded dirt road near the town of Hvolsvöllur, and then opened the gate to our private, several-miles-long driveway to our wee house, Syðri-Rot. I thought I'd write a short post about this place because it was at the heart of our trip and a destination in…

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Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands), Iceland

It was a perfect happenstance that our our solitary and windblown cottage was right near our 5th day of Icelandic adventures. I had originally planned a trip into the highlands of Iceland in the famed watercolor painted hills of Landmannalaugar, but it was impassable without an SUV, so we settled on a calmer day in the Westman Islands ("Vestmannaeyjar" in Icelandic). The ferry terminal was probably only a mile as the puffin flies from our cottage, but took about 20 minutes to reach by car…

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Skaftafell Glacier

This post is continued from the previous post of our journey into Vatnajökull--which our glacier guide told us was pronounced like "fat yoghurt" in Icelandic. Once we had our crampons on, only a thin layer of dirt coated the ice, and the prongs of our crampons started to dig into the glacier. Fannar explained how these dirt cones form when the dirt moves down the glacier into a pit and hardens, and then the ice around it melts off. The glacier had several different bands where the ice shape…