Maybe it’s a leap to connect this photo of the Faroe Islands with my coffee conversation today, but I don’t think so.
I met up with my friend Susan Wright (of Susan on the Soapbox fame) today at one of the two Waves coffee shops on 17th Avenue here in Calgary.
The reason I mention there’s two of them is because of the gentleman who may have been looking longingly at our comfy chairs when he asked if we were meeting a group. “No,” we said, “Are you?”, which led to a kind of gruff reply along the lines of “Oh, they’ll be here.” Well, actually, I don’t think we were challenging that idea, but as it happened, his group didn’t show up so maybe there was an address confusion problem. Coffee drinkers venturing to trendy 17th Ave, don’t let this happen to you. You have heard the cautionary tale.
Since Susan and I last talked, she’s been to Copenhagen and I’ve been to the Green Party of Canada convention, so part of our coffee talk today was about Denmark and politics, but not Danish politics.
We got to thinking about the future and the implications of today’s decisions for the our kids and the next generations.
The young people in the picture are marine biology students in the Faroe Islands, learning how to take samples on the beach and in the water. About 200 metres away, there is a farmhouse occupied by the same family for 17 generations and counting.
The Faroes, which are part of Denmark in an autonomous kind of way, lie halfway between Norway and Iceland in the north Atlantic Ocean. The islands are stunningly scenic and natural. The people live a modern European lifestyle and seem to be equally as at home in the office as they are working on the farm or fishing.
The problem the Faroese youth face is the same problem as young people elsewhere in the developed world: what opportunities are there for them? Will they have to leave home to make a living?
I hope they get to stay if they want to, but there’s no guarantee.
I would recommend a trip to the Faroe Islands to anyone who likes photography, birding, hiking, and generally wants to be comfortable but off the beaten track. The Hotel Føroyar is a modern building with traditional grass roofs and a wide-open view of the sea, the harbour, and the capital, as well as the slope in between and the distant islands. The food was top-notch.
You can get some insight into Faroese life, in English, from the Faroe Islands Podcast. The Faroes also make a good appearance in Simon Winchester’s book, Atlantic, and if you study Viking history at all, you have probably already run across them.
Of course, if you’re a Brit, you hear about the Faroes every night on the Shipping Forecast and sometimes in the football results.
They’re not for everyone but they tick all the boxes for me.