Thursday, June 28, 2007


So Paris is out of jail. I hope you all ignored it. Enough said on that subject.

More alert readers of this blog have noticed that I've changed the official language of this blog to Icelandic. I made the move as a nod to my new obsession: the Faroe Islands.

It started as a lark when I noticed this blog had gotten a hit from a town called Skúli somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic. A little investigation found that this town was located in the Faroe Islands, a place I had never previously heard of. (That's a big deal for me because I'm a huge map nerd.) A few weeks later, I got another hit from Torshavn, which is the capitol of the Faroe Islands.

This intrigued me, so I combed the net to try to find out more about this place. Turns out, it's a series of beautiful windswept islands about halfway between Iceland and Norway. The Faroes are a semi-independent country. They've got their own flag, their own government, and even their own language (Faroese). Denmark runs the court system and national defense.

Only 50,000 people live on these islands, which makes the two hits from that country even more impressive. That means one in every 25,000 people in the Faroe Islands have visited this site in the last two months. That would be like picking up 12,000 new American readers. Sure, dooce does that in a half hour, but this is a blog that has an appeal that's more selective.

Working on this logic (that a single Faroe Islands reader is worth 6,000 Americans), I figured I should try to up my readership on this tiny set of islands. Perhaps I could devote more of this space to Faroese current events. This is actually tougher than it may appear. Despite the global reach of the Internet, English language news from the Faroes is almost impossible to come by. I found about five newspapers online, but only two had English language editions, and the most recent update on those was last September.

Most other English language news about the Faroes amounts to recaps of soccer play from the national team. They recently lost to Scotland. As a matter of fact, Wikipedia says the Faroe Islands National Soccer Team is one of the weakest members of UEFA. Nonsense. I say Wikipedia is one of the weakest members of UEFA! How dare they say that about my newly beloved Faroes? I now officially declare myself a fan of the Faroe Islands National Soccer Team which, I should add, has absolutely no merchandise available for sale online.

The team page for the Faroes most successful domestic soccer team, Hanvar Boltfelag, is also pretty much merch free. (They actually had shirts for sale, but when I emailed to inquire, I never got a response, but they did remove the picture of the shirt.)

So the point is that I'm having a rather difficult time finding a way to drive Faroese traffic to this site, but I do have a few more tricks under my sleeve.

Perhaps I could turn his site into shrine to Eivør. She's a singer from the Faroes and will be playing a festival in Estonia this weekend. Check it out if you're in the neighborhood. (Oddly enough, she also made a brief appearance on this week's Frontline.)

Of course, the best thing to do is actually travel there and write about it. An Associated Press writer filed just such a story today, and did quite a nice job of it. I really want to check out the G! Festival. 20 bands playing in a remote North Atlantic village. Sounds like heaven. So if the Faroe Islands Tourist Board, or Faroe Islands Enterprise, or these people want to send a charming young man to cover this event, well, leave me a message.

For now, all I can really do to represent for the Faroes is my little language gimmick. The days of the week and a few other features are now written in Icelandic. Blogger doesn't offer a Faroese language option, but I understand it's derived from old Norse, as is Icelandic. So perhaps that will make this site a more comfortable place for our Faroese visitors. And the rest of you can learn interesting new things like "sendu inn authugasemd" means something like "leave a comment" in Icelandic.

And while I'm on Faroes Watch, I'll try to include some small piece of Faroe Islands trivia or news here each week. Wish me luck.



At 6:21 am, Anonymous steph said...

Hey Matt,
You should read "Far Afield" by Susanna Kaysen, it's setting is in the Faroes. There was also just a travel article about the Faroes on cnn.com...did you see that?

At 8:03 am, Blogger Platypus said...

Love it! Keep up the new obsession but don't neglect your fans who need cute baby pictures to brighten up our dull, grey, English days! :)

At 4:53 pm, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

That bay shot is lovely. Looks like I have another destination to add to my list.

At 5:11 pm, Anonymous Peidirt said...

Monika's Parents are missionaries in iceland right now.


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