Monday, July 8, 2019

Faroe Islands & Scotland! On The Road.

Photo from Unicar, the agency we rented our car from for our week in the Faroe Islands.

I 've been driving for almost 40 years and have done my fair share of driving overseas - most recently in Russia.  So I am very comfortable with having to adjust my driving style to match whatever the road or traffic conditions or driving laws are in the country that I am going to be doing a self drive road trip in.  If you really want to get a good sense of what driving in is like in any country, just search for driving videos on YouTube.  I think pretty much every traveler has posted up a video of themselves driving on a trip.  Nothing beats watching a video to get a good sense of road and traffic conditions!

For this trip, we will be renting cars in both the Faroe Islands and Scotland.  Unfortunately, it's been decades since I have driven a manual shift car and since I will be the only person driving, I rented automatic transmission cars which cost a whole lot more to rent!  Also, there are fewer automatic transmission cars for rent so book as early as you can, especially in the Faroe Islands and Scottish isles. 

When I booked the car for the Faroe Islands with a company called Unicar, my reservation confirmation came back with a recommendation to watch the driving video on their website and so I did.  It's informative and done with a bit of humor so it's also entertaining to watch.  The driving guidelines for the Faroe Islands are nothing out of the exception, even the part about how to avoid sheep, unless you are not a polite and cautious driver to begin with.  In many countries, you would only survive on the road if you're an aggressive driver by nature.  In the Faroe Islands, I will take every drive as if I am going on a slow and relaxing Sunday drive through the countryside.

Similar to the video for the Faroe Islands, Scotland has also put out its own driving guidelines which are sensible for anyone who is not intent on driving like James Bond on a high speed chase through a village nestled somewhere in the Scottish highlands.

Navigation wise, I am preparing to use Google Maps (just in case there is no navigation system in the car) as well as paper maps.  I will be offloading all the maps that I created in Google to the iPad and then attaching a Bad Elf GPS receiver to the iPad.  Even if there is no voice navigation, seeing the map on the iPad will be much easier for her than trying to do the same on the small screen of a smartphone.

I also purchased an eBook, titled, Road Trip Guide for Scotland, from a company called  It's a very stripped down guide book that just lists essential information for various tourist sites e.g., street address, visiting times, admission fees etc.  No long descriptions or background history.  For driving, what I found particularly useful about the Zig Zag guide is that it provides GPS coordinates for places of interest that are in the middle of nowhere and might not have signage to mark them.

As far as I'm concerned, both countries are geographically so small and we're there to enjoy the scenery, so there really is no need to rush to drive in a ridiculous manner to get anywhere.   I intend to just lift my food up on the accelerator, slow down and smell the heather or whatever wild flowers may be in bloom.  Of course, it could be sheep poop that I'll be smelling but that too is better than the exhaust pipe of a speeding driver zooming by me!