I bought new boots, comfortable ones. Then I discovered that if you wear a pair of boots for thirty hours or so, they’re not THAT comfortable.
Last December, when the Covid vaccine was released, we made travel plans for a trip to the Faroe Islands.
The Faroes is a group of eighteen islands roughly the same size as Big Stone County, where I live. They rise out of the mid North Atlantic, halfway between Norway and Iceland.
Why go there? I’ve never been. Is any other reason needed?
I do have other reasons…I’m doing research for another book, and I always like to give people the illusion that I know what I’m talking about.
But first we had to get there. I admit, when the vaccine was released in December, I thought we were looking at the light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn’t believe, still can’t believe, the situation we’re in now.
It was a great time to plan a trip. Flights were cheap, hotels and other lodging were begging for business, even the places that were sick of tourists were thinking a few visitors might give a bump to the economy. There were lots of good reasons to travel and one big reason it might not be a good idea. But we took the chance and lined everything up, and then waited for our turn to get a shot. I was never positive we’d be able to go, but in the end, it worked out. However, I gotta tell you, it was a lot of bother. Tests, affidavits, masks, and confusion. To get from Minnesota to the Faroes is about eight hours of actual flying time, but we live a four-hour drive from the airport. Add to that the need to show up three hours early for each flight at each of three different airports in three different countries, and then be tested for covid in all of them. All together, we logged about thirty hours of stress before I could take off my boots and admire the view.
Worth it, though.
Totally worth it.
I’m a truly fortunate man. Aside from the big miracles of finding the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, three great children, and five miraculous grandchildren, I’ve visited quite a few places, including filing stories from six continents. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as striking as the Faroe Islands. I mean, Norway, New Zealand, Lake Superior, the Rocky Mountains…they’re all contenders, but this is a tiny place, and they cram a lot of beautiful into it.
Traveling west to east, it takes about two hours to drive across the entire country. We crossed five islands, driving on good roads on the edge of cliffs, through mountains in old, dimly lit one-way tunnels and at least twice UNDER the ocean in new, brightly lit tunnels, including one with an undersea roundabout.
Even with my customary flatlander’s terror of any driving that involves turning the steering wheel, I was swept away by the beauty. Waterfalls cascaded off cliffs, tiny towns clung to mountain sides, water, rocks, and green, green grass created a symphony for the eyes, and through it all, sheep wandered hither and yon, glancing up occasionally to watch our tiny rental car hurtle past.
We easily found Klaksvik - not much of a challenge, because it’s the second largest city in the Faroes, with nearly 5,000 people. We found our rental house on only the second try, and our host gave me a guided tour of where to get handmade fish and chips to finish out a day when we couldn’t remember our last meal.
Then I took off my boots.
Copyright 2021 Brent Olson