Our first day in the Faroe Islands was an eventful one. I’ve never written a blog post about one specific encounter before, but I feel like our experience with the crazy bird woman of Mykines deserves its own post.
Shortly after arriving at the airport in Vágar from Denmark, we walked to the village of Sørvágur, where we caught the ferry to Mykines. Mykines would be our first destination on our 18-day journey and what a crazy start to the journey that was! The waters of the Faroe Islands are known to be a bit wild, but we had not expected to be drenched when we finally got off the boat after 45 minutes of swaying and waves coming in over us.
When we arrived at the tiny village, which is the only village on the entire island, we went to the public toilet to dry off. Here we met an elderly American woman, who told us that she was an ornithologist and had been living in her tent on Mykines for two months, studying the birdlife on the island. First I thought that it sounded really cool, and she seemed friendly and helpful. But then a lot of weird things started happening.
She told us to meet her at the camp spot, where she chose a spot for us. We weren’t allowed to camp anywhere near her, as apparently “old women can’t sleep”. She told us that we weren’t allowed to talk, as the wind would carry our voices in her direction, and that we weren’t allowed to walk in certain places on the island – I never found out why, but maybe she wanted them to be her little secret?
It wasn’t like she owned the place, and Katrine and I had paid the owner of the camp site, a local Faroese woman, 50 DKK each to set up our tent there, so she was not within rights to tell us what to do and where to sleep, but still we agreed, as we didn’t want to make a fuss. Afterall, we would only be staying there for one night.
She told us a lot about what she was doing on the island, and then proceeded to tell us how much she hates Faroese people. I know for a fact that the Faroese people are the friendliest, most helpful and most lovable people on Earth. How someone can hate them is a mystery to me. She told us that every night, school boys would come to the camp site and vandalize her tent, which I found very hard to believe would happen in an island with only 14 residents, most of whom are elderly people.
She also told us how much she hates the country because of its “bad weather”, but then why stay? She said that she needed our wifi, which we couldn’t give to her as it’s too expensive outside of Denmark, because she hadn’t been able to leave Mykines for two months. Apparently, she can’t handle going on the ferry, and the helicopters hadn’t been flying for two months because of bad weather, which I know is a lie, as the summer of 2016 has been one of the best for decades on the Faroe Islands.
We didn’t think that she would bother us anymore after we had set up our tent, but boy were we wrong! When we came back from a hike later that day, we found out that we – by mistake – had left our tent slightly open, and someone had reached into the tent and stolen Katrine’s tuna! Afterwards, the person ate it with Katrine’s fork and just left it there for us to find! We can’t be certain that it was the bird woman who did it, but we are both pretty sure, as there was no one else around, apart from two Swedish guys, who quickly became our friends after bonding over bird-woman stories.
The following day, when I went to have a shower in the public toilet, she came in shortly after and started banging on the door, screaming at me to get out, so she could use “her” shower, and when I eventually did get out (I tried to be as fast as I could, but it was hard with her constantly nagging at me), she told me off for being inconsiderate. Anton, one of the Swedish guys, was also waiting to have a shower, and she had tried to push in front of him, but he didn’t let her as he – like me – had a ferry to catch, while she had the whole day ahead of her on the island.
That was one crazy encounter that I don’t need to have again! But it’s a funny story, that’s for sure. And we also found out later that other travellers had had the same experience as us – and some even worse! One woman had even seen the bird woman standing stiff like a statue in the same spot, staring at the puffins on Mykinesholmur, for over three hours. I wish for the bird woman to get out of the Faroe Islands to gain some sanity, which I think she has lost while staying out there on an isolated island for two months – in a tent! But meeting her was an interesting experience and it gave us a fun and slightly unbelievable story to tell.
Have you ever met an interesting person while travelling, or in your own country? The world is full of interesting and different people, and I’ve met plenty of them myself, including a naked guy on top of a mountain in Seoul, who scared the life out of me, but never anyone quite like the bird woman of Mykines. Tell me your stories below, I would love to hear them!