Thursday, 14 July 2016

Coming Home

Coming Home 14.07

I am used to ferries of this size being full, this is the equivalent size to a channel ferry but it is empty. 15 minutes before we depart, I walk into the main restaurant and bar area...

One occupant. My purchases today demanded a full repack so I drank my beer and scurried to the port. My pack now seems strangely smaller than before. I have a separate zipper compartment at the base, useful for storing dirty shoes, waterproofs, things that either might need to be accessed quickly or not at all. I unzipped the compartment and now have one long pack, not ideal for finding belongings easily but necessary from here on. My treasured purchases just won't fit anywhere else.

My ferry for today, is the larger of the two you can see, on the left, with two vehicle loading bays. The smaller ferry immediately in front is my ferry to Nolsoy in four days time. 

My day has been productive. The beer has now helped me forget the traumas I have had over timings, getting lost,  going in the wrong direction on the bus, discovering that my planned circular bus journey would take me too long to return in time, so having to jump off, debit and master cards not being accepted and being unable to find a building I had noted as a landmark. All par for the course then.

There are more of us here now, five minutes to departure and I can count ten passengers other than myself. Now at sea I have thirteen companions on this level. It's an enormous ferry!! Beside us on the water, a team of rowers have just gone past in the opposite direction, too close for comfort but perhaps hoping to get extra training experience in the swell.

So have you noticed the foreground in my photo yet? Totally inappropriate timing but I am now the proud owner of three faroese number plates for my garden wall. Asking at the tourist office for antique shops and discovering there are none, NONE, in the smallest capital city in the world, led to discussions around whether I might be able to acquire half a licence plate as they are chopped when surrendered. Very happy with this compromise I agreed and a phone call later I was offered a complete one. Who would have thought I could buy them from the faroese equivalent of DVLA! Buying on the black market in Cuba may have been more fun but this was equally interesting and they have come with certification that I am allowed to take them out of the country! 

My purchase was not without difficulties, their machines would not accept either my debit cards or my credit card, a MasterCard. Understanding the difficulty was beyond me but having travelled to the outskirts of the city and agreed my purchase, I went, as directed, to find an ATM to pay cash. Panic ensued that I would be short of time for my ferry but typically once back at the harbour I still had ninety minutes to spare. The smallest capital city in the world and they won't accept my plastic.

My big concern for today, that I haven't mentioned hitherto, is that I have only a chatty email confirming my booking for the next four nights. There is no on line booking system or need to pay deposits. I have a telephone number but have been reluctant to phone for confirmation of bed, hoping that the very act of my arrival, two hours from the nearest other island and not accessible this evening by boat, will result in a sleeping spot somewhere. As the shipping forecast predicted, the seas are calm and visibility good. In two hours time, I will be on the island that prides itself on being more friendly and welcoming than the rest of the Faroes. Neglected, too far too the south, the poor relation, sounds right up my street.

It is, perhaps, the unequivocal view that the islands and islanders are so magnificent that makes me not really take to them. The western isles of Scotland hold no such pretension but I find both the islands and the people equally beautiful and much more agreeable.

I love the swell of the oceon. I remember being surprised to find myself sea sick just a few hours into my stint of working a month at sea, on a prawn boat in Australia. The first evening, misjudging the placement of a plate of very ripe, cut, watermelon, resulted in me crawling on hands and knees to pick up disintegrating red slush whilst trying not to add to it. The following morning, cooking full english for the guys, saw me alternately heave up in the sink and tend to their fried eggs. I would never under estimate the effect of life on the ocean but I acclimatised. These days, I find it hard to be back on land after a voyage, my body continues to sway for several days.

We have passed Sandoy and I can feel us turning. Tomorrow I think I just want to do nothing, to walk a little, talk a little, read a little and sleep, pleased to be away. I will, of course, first have to find my accomodation. Neither google maps nor iPad's mapping system seem to recognise the Faroes in terms of searching addresses, so it will be down to asking. I don't even know how to pronounce Tvøroyri let alone Gustingarhúsio í Midbrekkuni. Researching on the net, it seems I might not find a bus but have to walk the 5k into Tvøroyri, strange that, when it says that busses coincide with ferry times. I ring the guest houses from the ferry but the number in the Bradtt guide is wrong. I write the address on the back of my hand.

Oh my goodness I think I've found home! 

A bus awaits and I show the driver my hand. We drive around the head of the fjord to the small town on the other side, that I've been watching as we drew in. He indicates 500m, blue building on the left. A friendly bus driver! 

The blue building turns out to be the hotel but I find a bright, wooden building with a sign that says Guest house, immediately beyond it, short way up the hillside from the harbour.  There is no one home. Sparrows chirp in the yard, I see beautifully tended gardens with antirrhinums and other flowers and a leafy outside space to sit and eat. I try doors and find my way in. It is a clean and light hostel, with welcoming kitchen, living space and dining room, well equipped, a comfy couch and chairs to curl up on, I think I may not want to leave. the fridge is empty, it seems I may be alone, but I feel settled here already, and I've not even seen my room. I've opened windows and a fresh breeze blows through. I've been to the supermarket and bought milk, cheese, broccoli and an orange. 

I was worried four nights might be too much here but it feels a friendly little town. Live music comes through the windows and want to walk out to explore but am exhausted. Heidi dashes in, says she is working, pleased I found my way in, shows me my room, asks if I'm ok and then dashes off again. 

My room is a good sized twin, all white, lkea looking, with bedside lights, mirror, desk and chair, drawers, towels, shelf and wardrobe. Luxury compared to the cramped room i have just left in Midvagur with nowhere to put clothes or sit and barely a person width between beds, or the previous mattress on the floor in empty room. For the first time since being away I have drawers and can unpack, four nights will suit me well.