My brother makes fun of my choice of travel destinations. “You always pick these desolate places,” he says, “like Iceland or Patagonia or the dark side of the Moon.” He, on the other hand, vacations in Fiji or Tahiti or Kauai. I’d like to think it’s because he’s lived inland for most of his life; and—because he works so hard constructing beautiful homes—that beaches have a certain appeal for him.
In the meantime, I have discovered a new European destination that looks incredibly desolate: The Faroe Islands (Føroyar in Faroese), located midway between Norway and Iceland. A semi-independent archipelago, the Faroes is partly controlled by Denmark, especially as regards its economy and security. Some 50,000 people.
Like Iceland, the Faroes were originally inhabited by Irish monks, but then their rent was raised by Viking invaders. Right offhand, I would say that this archipelago is the most isolated part of the European continent. My interest was piqued by a BBC photo essay featuring postmasters of some particularly remote locales. I took one look and said to myself: I think that’ll be next—after my upcoming Guatemalan adventure.
The only thing I might not like about the Faroes is the diet of their inhabitants: pilot whales, puffins, and various odd bits from the sea. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I’d probably love the stuff.