From October to the end of April you will not come here, because the ferry is starting to run from May. It arrives to Mykines twice a day, but only when the ocean is flat like a mirror. This year it happened only a few times. Tourists have to reckon with the fact that they can get stuck in this tiny piece of land in the middle of the Atlantic. Are you taking a risk?
We have dreamed about Mykines (in Faroese this name is pronounced “mytshines”) since we even started thinking about traveling to the Faroe Islands. For a simple reason. Most tourist folders have a photograph of this island on the cover. The sheep nibble over the flat, lush, green, grassy cliffs. In the background, spectacular steep walls falling straight into the ocean.
In addition, it is a puffin paradise, and the birds are now laying eggs in the local meadows. Just in case we booked ferry tickets for the first morning of our trip. The risk was considerable, because the only sure thing in the weather in the Faroe Islands is its unpredictability. And on the previous day, the evening ferry – the one who takes back tourists brought in the morning – could not get to the island because of the high waves. Most of the cruises were canceled in May this year. Well, whoever does not risk, he does not drink champagne.
We made a decision and at ten o’clock we boarded a small boat, which after an hour entered the microscopic harbour carved in the rock, sheltered from the wrath of the ocean with only two concrete breakwaters.
The only town on the island is ten minutes of climbing to the top of the cliff away. Mykines is the westernmost island of the archipelago and has an area of ten square kilometers. Outside the tourist season, only 10 people live here, but the village has a total of 40 houses, because over half a century ago has almost 200 people inhabitants – mainly fishermen and employees serving a lighthouse important for shipping.
Today, in the age of satellite navigation, now it is only a tourist attraction. At the end of the 19th century, a school and a church were erected in the village of Mykines. In front of the church is today a guesthouse for tourists who are stuck on the island because of bad weather. We hope that the aura will be kind to us. We set off for a two-kilometer walk to the lighthouse.
The road leads on the outskirts of the village across a wide green meadow. We are climbing up to the edge of the cliff. The closer we are to the top, the more puffs around us arise. These small, amusing birds, which resemble the crossing of a penguin with a parrot, have big bellies and small wings with which they must flutter desperately to get a little into the air. But they are born swimmers . They dive without a problem up to 60 meters and emerge from the depths with fish in beautiful, colorful beaks.
At the top of the cliff we show the proof of admission fee to pass to the interior of the island. Because for the opportunity to see the biggest attractions you have to pay 100 DKK. And then we go, passing a monument of sailors who have gone missing at sea.
We have a kilometer to the walk through the island. Then we have to cross a metal bridge over the ocean and another kilometer through the island of Mykineshólmur. The route is not easy – it leads steeply once, up and down, and if we are at the top and we are walking flat, one careless step is enough to fall off a narrow path at the top of a hundred meters cliff.
We moved slowly not only because of the beautiful views, or the tired little feet of our son. The most dangerous was, that despite the beautiful weather, several times suddenly fog covered the entire island. In the lack of visibility you absolutely must not wander in search of the road, because one careless step is enough and you can slide off the cliff into the icy ocean. In such a situation, we had to sit where we stood, to wait for the wind to blow the cloud a bit. In the pictures you can not see it, because after a dozen or so minutes of waiting the clouds were moving over the ocean, and the beautiful sun was shining on us again.
The most wonderful place for our child was a steep meadow, just before the metal bridge connecting Mykines with Mykineshólmur. Thousands of puffin pairs nests there. The whole wall is riddled with burrows, in which birds now sit eggs. Tourists are circling around with cameras, probably seriously disturbing the puffins. But at least they do not catch and eat them, as the Farers used to do until recently.
It seemed to us that 6 hours (between the morning and evening ferry) was too much time. But the walk around Mykines is so spectacular, so full of emotions, observation of puffins or seals in the canyon under the bridge, that there is barely enough time to sit back in the town in the only cafe on the island. Wili eats ice cream (19 DKK), which we promised him as a reward in moments of weakness, when he no longer had the strength to go. And I have a famous local fish soup (80 DKK), though served on quite nasty plastic.
The ferry is late for half an hour, but – fighting with the waves – it managed to come to a small port. We can come back, richer in great experiences.