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On the ferry from Iceland: “I want you to travel with respect”

On the ferry from Iceland: “I want you to travel with respect”

For those who travel by plane, it’s easy to forget just how big the world really is. Direct flights from Stockholm to Reykjavik take just three hours. The land and sea route, by car or train and then ferry, takes three days.

– My friend didn’t think she had time, so she flew in and we met in Reykjavik, says Marco Delbosco from Italy.

More fun this way

For him, Iceland has long been a dream destination. Now the couple has spent a few weeks on the island, hiking and taking the bus to volcanoes, waterfalls, and famous hot springs. Marco takes the ferry back on his own, and since he’s passing through the Faroe Islands, he disembarks at Tórshavn and spends a few days exploring that archipelago as well.

– I’m retired now, so I have time.

– The environment is one aspect, Marco explains why he doesn’t fly.

– – But traveling this way is more fun. You are facing much more than that. I think it is more environmentally friendly, although, to be honest, I did not go into the calculations, says the Italian.

Like an old bus

Hold on to the railing as we leave the sheltered Icelandic fjord and rough waves in the Atlantic begin to pull the MS Norröna in tow. Back home, north of Verona in Italy, Marco made the decision to ditch the car 20 years ago.

I didn’t want to be her slave. It’s the first thing people worry about: “Where can I park my car?”

Since then, Marco Dalbosco has been taking public transportation around Europe during the holidays. Including many ferries to the Canary Islands, among others. He is very impressed with the spacious and relatively modern ship that connects Iceland and the Faroe Islands with the European mainland.

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– Riding a ferry around the Mediterranean can be like riding an old bus.

phrase trick

The environmental and climatic aspect of sea travel elicits mixed opinions and results. Many accounts show that fast ferries, for example between mainland Sweden and Gotland, use so much fuel that flying is visibly greener.

But the ability to travel slowly pays off in terms of ecology. Hedin, a sailor on Norröna, tells us that the ferry has a trick that is hard for aviation to adopt.

Yesterday we left an hour early. We usually do, when everyone is booked on board, we drive – and then being able to maintain a lower speed in transit saves a lot of fuel.

from China

As a regular tourist, the best thing to do is be aware, says Denise, who doesn’t want her last name published. She says that during her trip she spoke to many Icelanders about the dilemma of all beautiful destinations: the trade-offs between attracting visitors to postcard-perfect environments and protecting fragile nature.

—just asking the question of how sustainable tourism can cause some to bounce back, she says, telling of a loop at Myvatn, a volcanic lake in northern Iceland that draws large crowds of tourists.

– They pay well for coffee and souvenirs. Then they buy clothes that are described as “designed in Iceland”. Made in China, Denise says as she throws her arms around the sofa on the observation deck at MS Norröna Laterna Magica.

– I raised the dilemma with some of the tourism workers in Myvatn. I asked kindly, but one woman was offended, turned on her heels and left.

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allow themselves

Denise, who is from the US but lives in Switzerland, laughs and looks so happy anyway.

Just making people think is a step on the way.

– I think the important thing is to try to travel with respect for both people and nature.

Ryder Mason from Western Canada isn’t too concerned. As a student, he rarely travels to the extent that he believes he can treat himself to whatever the budget allows. To Denise’s horror, Ryder tells her that he ate shark, whale, and vulnerable species of puffin while living in Iceland.

– The selection was the surprise – wow, very good!

clarification

He often takes the ferry because it’s a nice and fun way to get between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, which he also wants to see before his trip to Canada.

– I think about the climate. But if you try something once, what does it matter?

Dennis does not agree with this reasoning at all.

However, they can agree that it’s worth the effort to travel slowly, when you can. Despite all the gorgeous volcanoes, raging waterfalls, and breathtaking valleys they experienced in Iceland, Dennis describes the two and a half days on the MS Noronha as one of the highlights of the trip.

– I love being in the sea, she exclaims, watching with twinkling eyes as the walls of Seydisfjörður mountain slowly disappear into the evening mist.

Examples of European ferry routes, with the journey between Denmark and Iceland being one of the longest. Photo: Johan Hallnäs/TT

Marco Dalbosco, Italian backpacker, at the inn in Egilsstadir before returning home from Iceland.

Marco Dalbosco, Italian backpacker, at the inn in Egilsstadir before returning home from Iceland. Photo: Henrik Samuelsson/TT

The ferry stop between Iceland and the European mainland for a few hours stops in the Faroese' idyllic capital, Torshavn.

The ferry stop between Iceland and the European mainland for a few hours stops in the Faroese’ idyllic capital, Tórshavn. Photo: Henrik Samuelsson/TT

Ryder Mason, Canadian student.

Ryder Mason, Canadian student. Photo: Henrik Samuelsson/TT

Dennis, 66, in Sydsfjordur, before taking the ferry to Denmark.

Dennis, 66, in Sydsfjordur, before taking the ferry to Denmark. Photo: Henrik Samuelsson/TT

The MS Norröna ferry is en route through Icelandic Seydisfjördur.  The trip to Denmark takes two and a half days.

The MS Norröna ferry is en route through Icelandic Seydisfjördur. The trip to Denmark takes two and a half days. Photo: Henrik Samuelsson/TT

The dramatic nature of Iceland attracts many.  Here the tourist sits on the edge of a cliff in the Studlagil lava valley.

The dramatic nature of Iceland attracts many. Here the tourist sits on the edge of a cliff in the Studlagil lava valley. Photo: Henrik Samuelsson/TT

It is unclear who first came to these isolated islands in the North Atlantic, but it may have been monks and hermits from what is now Ireland. Just over 1,000 years ago, they were driven away by the Vikings, who created the foundation for the societies and culture that exist in the Faroe Islands and Iceland to this day.

Today, approximately 50,000 and 350,000 people live in the Faroe Islands and Iceland, respectively. They belong to the Nordic countries but not to the European Union, although the Faroe Islands are part of Denmark in terms of foreign policy.

Reykjavík and Tórshavn are two of the world’s northernmost capitals, which are about the same altitude as Umeå and Sundsvall, respectively. But thanks to the warm currents, the climate is mild – it’s rarely really hot, but at least in the Faroe Islands it’s not too cold in winter either.

Fishing is central to the economy, but tourism is growing in importance. The dramatic and exotic nature attracts visitors from all over the world.