This cute creature is called a puffin, it's quite fat with small wings. They are super funny when they fly. Colonies of puffins come to the Faroes in the summer months to breed, and afterwards leave to the ocean.
Another point of interest is the lighthouse. Three families used to take care of it. In 1970 the lighthouse became fully automated, and the area became uninhabited. The population of Mykines today is only 10 people. And hundreeds of sheep and thousands of puffins. Cars are not allowed on the island.
Mykines is accessible by helicopter and by boat. The helicoper is ridiculously cheap, but it doesn't go every day and doesn't make a round trip, so I booked a ferry and arrived to the terminal expecting something like a cruise on the Vltava river with better views. Haha. It was my first day in the Faroes and I did not know how different my understanding of a boat trip was from the Atlantic standards.
The boat goes fast. I mean it, it really goes much faster than you think. It was foggy, rainy and cold and the captain was kinda thinking he was on a race or something. The boat was leaning to one side or another, the ocean was suddenly closer than I wished it was. Also the boat was jumpting on the waves.
Looooots of cold spray and steam included. I screamed for the first thirteen times and then sort of got used to the local way of sailing. By the way, they had boxes for throwing up.
I bravely stayed outside during the whole trip, got soaked and received my daily portion of adrenalin.
The boat parks in this natural harbour. This is why the ferry gets cancelled during windy weather – the waves can crash it against the rocks. Having said this lovely piece of information, one of the local guys helped me get off the boat, and I headed to the start of the hike hoping the weather wouldn't get windy before our trip back.
Starting from the very first day at Mykines, the weather was totally kicking my ass. I strolled around the village for a while.
It had everything – green fjords, picturesque black houses with turf roofs, sheep, a lot of friendly dogs. The only thing missing was the sign 'Welcome to Silent Hill'.
I hiked up a very steep hill in a super dense fog, arrived to the top of the ridge and started walking in the direction of the lighthouse with a German lady. Needless to say, I did not see any single puffin on the way.
We were walking in white darkness with zero visibility, on slippery grass, mud and sheep poo. We heard the ocean roar on the right and on the left like a monster from behind the curtain of fog, but did not see absolutely anything. At certain point we found ourselves right at the edge of the cliff and our next step would've been down to the ocean.
We lost the path in the fog! After a minute of panic – it's allowed when you're not even in the middle of the way and the ferry back goes in a few hours, isn't it? - I realized I had data on my phone.
With the help of technology we managed to return to the path. The terrain became very steep, with a few vertical ascends and descends where we had to walk on the very edge holding on to a rope.
The lighthouse is located on a small separate island connected to Mykines with a suspension bridge. I probably spend the worst 40 minutes of my life on the path down to the bridge. Not only was it vertical, wet and slippery like the rest of the hike, but also with holes in the ground!!!
- See also: Find your Guided Day Tour to Mykines
The birds make these holes for their nests, so your only choise is either to try your luck on slippery grass, or fall into these holes. Long story short, I successfully completed the descend with a lot of swearing when getting out of one hole and immediately slipping off to the next one. No birds suffered, if anyone's is interested.
On the suspension bridge, I took a minute to enjoy the view of the powerful ocean and the rocks, had a snack and chilled. In the meanwhile all other hikers around me disappeared!
Well, even better, this place looks magnificent without crowds, I decided, and headed up to the last part of the hike. I only had to cross the small island and it seemed very easy.
After half an hour walking in fog there was no sign of the lighthouse and I felt that my feet were completely wet. I looked down and realized I was not walking on a path anymore, but in the middle of the field on something that looked like a sheep path which did not have to lead to the lighthouse at all. Got lost, again?!
At some point I decided I had enough. I was close to missing the ferry back, it was too foggy to see the lighthouse anyway and I got seriously scared of arriving to one of those steep cliffs again.
There was no point in continueing and I gave up, turned back and tried to follow my own steps to make it back to the suspension bridge. On the way back, I met other hikers who were still trying to reach the lighthouse despite the chance of missing the ferry and my pride finally won over all rational fears.
I traveled to the end of the world, survived a ferry ride in the Atlantic, hiked up and down steep hills and I had to see the bloody lighthouse as a matter of principle, not because of the view. I gathered the rest of my courage and quickly crossed the bloody island following the other hikers.
After the last steep ascend I finally felt the wind blowing away the fog. The lighthouse came out of the waves of the fog, the first Faroese mission was completed, I was dead, but so damn proud of myself.
I'm back from my trip, and I still remember the crew of the ferry that arrived to pick us up from Mykines in the evening.The ferry couldn't properly 'park' in the harbour because of the waves, and there remained a large gap between the boat and the ground.
It was +9 & windy, I was shaking in my three layers of gore-tex. Three local guys looking like vikings, wearing only traditional Faroese knit sweaters. Within 5 minutes they managed: to help everyone get off the boat, basically by throwing people, children and dogs from the boat over the gap. Everyone had to jump and they were catching them on the ground.
To unload everyone's luggage. To unload all the supplies for the local population – lots of packages and boxes that they were passing to each other from the swaying boat over the gap. We, the crowd of tourists, were watching them in silence, and as they finished, we all as one applauded them.
I spend most of my time in the office in front of two monitors and the moment when I had to jump on to the boat with their help keeps popping up in my head. I couldn't help that overwhelming feeling of incredible respect for the whole Faroese community.
There's a piece of land in this world with a population of 10 which receives supplies by boat that is onloaded an unloaded by men. So simple and so hard at the same time. Just a dozen of human beings against the power of the Atlantic. Somehow I'm less and less sure against is the right word.