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Faroe Islands

Monday, April 21st, 2008

The Faroe Islands have got to be the most unusual place (terrain wise) that I have seen on my trip. Not only is the complete and utter lack of trees striking enough (even deserts have small shrubs, but not here) but the lack of variety of other flora is also unusual to me. The whole island is covered in a type of grass which now is brown but in the summer must turn the islands emerald. (It reminds me of a science fiction story I once read. An alien that came to Earth was amazed at the trees as it’s planet had only grass.) Outside of the capital of Torshavn (which is the largest city about 20000 in a nation of 48000 and sits in a broad plain) most of the the towns consist of 1000 people or less. It sits at the ends of fjiords or in small flat areas on the water that back up into steep hills (mountains highest point is 2894 ft). Torshavn is just now starting to develop a small suburban area as people move here from the outer villages. The villages are full of single or double story brightly colored wooden buildings. Each village also has an old wooden or stone church with an attached graveyard.  The people all speak Faroese language which is descended from Old Norse. Their alaphabet has a few extra characters like ø, æ, å which I have great trouble pronouncing along with lots of accent marks. Due to the rugged terrain, the road system that connects the islands consist of steep two lane roads and many  long tunnels. There are also ferries to islands not connected by tunnels. [read on]

Denmark The land of the Vikings

Monday, April 14th, 2008

After saying goodbye to Brian and his roomate, I took the last train of the night to Charles de Gaulle Airport. When I arrived, I had to go to all the terminals before finding out from which one I would fly. I finally learned this from a guard as the computer screens were inaccurate. Around 2:00 am I finally settled on a spot on the hard floor to try to get some sleep. The spot I picked was near some very loud Italians, but I decided to go with security (the airport was nearly deserted and I figured they would let me know if someone was rifling through my pockets while sleeping) instead of ease of sleep. I probably managed about half an hour and finally gave up around 4:30 am. At 5:00 am, the electronic ticket machines came on and I checked myself in. I then went through security and got on the plane at 7:00 am. I managed to sleep most of this flight. I landed in Copenhagen at 9:00 am and took the train into the city. After arriving at the central train station, my first action was to buy my train ticket to Thisted for April 10. As I was supposed to meet my next couchsurfing host later in the day, I next put my bags into a locker and got my first sticker shock. (Scandanavia is very expensive. So this whole blog won’t be about how expensive it is here, I will make a comment now that I often feel a bit lightheaded when walking into the shops. With the weak dollar and just the normal high prices here some things are about 3 times what I would expect to pay as opposed to double in Paris. I hope that I don’t go into a catatonic state by the time I am through with Iceland which should be 4 times more expensive. ) The locker was 30 krone (4.7 krone = 1 US dollar). To be fair the locker rental was for 24 hours (you can only open it once) but I only needed it for about 4. [read on]