The Whaling Town of Tórshavn - 
Faroe Islands, May 2005

The Faroes is an archipelago of mountainous islands approximately half way between Scotland and Iceland. Although they are officially part of Denmark, they have their own government. After finishing a job west of Shetland, our vessel went into port in the Faroese capital Tórshavn. Fishing is the mainstay of the Faroese economy, and fishing vessels of all sizes are everywhere in the harbour.

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Everywhere there are reminders of the tradition of whaling. Jaw bones and vertebrae of large whales are prominently displayed in many gardens, often used to form features like arches. Rusting harpoons and other menacing-looking paraphernalia of the bloody business are a common sight.


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The parliament buildings sit built onto a rocky peninsula. They look like something from a fairy story with their red wooden walls and green grass roofs, and still appear cheerful even on a typically grey and cloudy Faroese day!

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We wandered through the old town marveling at the wooden architecture with its old brass fittings; our favourite was a lovely walrus-shaped door handle! Everything seemed to centre around fishing and hunting wildlife. We had planned to go out for a nice meal in a restaurant, but were not entirely taken by the idea of eating pilot whale steak or the alternative of roast breast of guillemot!

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 All photos and content © Maren Reichelt & Mick Baines