A Travellerspoint blog

June 2019

Greetings from the Somewhere on the Way to Aberdeen!

Scotland Slowly Is Just About Done


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We’ve had a lovely day around the area of Peterhead. We explored the ruins of Slain’s Castle this morning and then walked along the coastal/cliff path to a nature preserve, along the way encountering the very large rock with a millions birds, followed by the not quite so large rock with only about a half million birds.

We also saw lots of rocks. But, no sheep poop!

We are now packing up and getting ready for the farewell dinner, then more packing. In the morning, we will be transported to Aberdeen Train Station, where Joseph and I will get our ride to where we are staying for the first two nights of our walk along the Spey River.

As soon as we are able to establish a connection to the outside world, we’ll update. For now . . .

Slainte!

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Posted by ReisAdventures 08:38 Comments (1)

Scotland Slowly 2019, Day 9: Fair Isle

It's the Last Full Day. Alas


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The Ocean Endeavor is in the process of docking at a place called Peterhead, and we are awaiting instructions for the day and for the disembarkation process for tomorrow. It’s the last full day of our Scotland Slowly trip. I can hardly believe it.

We spent yesterday morning in Mousa, exploring the Mousa Broch, in rather misty conditions. But, still lovely.

Our surprise afternoon destination turned out to be Fair Isle. You know, of sweater and various other woolens fame. Since this was not on the original agenda, the Fair Isle people really pulled off a remarkable feat, in setting up a little fair in their community center (which is also the island school), staffing the small museum, and providing rides around the island for those who have significant mobility issues.

Joe and I rented bikes once again. It was a great way to explore the island. No surprise, but the island was covered in sheep, and in what comes out of sheep. There were also a lot of birds, for the crazed bird people who are part of this adventure.

We enjoyed our visit to the small museum on the island, including a nice chat with the woman who was staffing the museum.

Last evening, we had another delightful dinner with Jonathan and his mother, Sandra. After dinner, we attended the on-ship auction and then we joined Jonathan and his bottle of whisky, to help him empty that bottle and to allow additional time for Joe and Jonathan to reminisce about Harvard Government department faculty.

We stayed up much too late. We are moving a bit slowly this morning.

I’ll post a few photos below.

But, now it’s time to figure out what’s going on today, which will include a visit to Slains Castle, a castle ruin not far from Peterhead, and a couple of other sites. And, then we will prepare to leave the ship tomorrow. We dread the prospect of packing.

Slainte!

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Posted by ReisAdventures 01:50 Comments (0)

Scotland Slowly 2019, Day ???

Orkney


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Greetings from the Shetland Islands!

It’s 10:30 am local time and Joe and I just returned from our first hike of the day on Mousa, where we learned about the Mousa Broch, Scotland’s most impressive Iron Age tower. Mousa is a small island with a lot of birds and sheep. I’ll admit that I’ve grown a bit weary of the crazed bird enthusiasts, especially at such an early hour (the Wake Up Call was at a very uncivilized 0600!), and dodging sheep poop, which is everywhere:
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It’s been a very busy couple of days and we await word on what we are doing this afternoon and tomorrow, since Mousa was scheduled to be tomorrow’s stop. Today’s stops, Foula and Papa Stour (also part of the Shetland Islands) were scrapped because of wind and sea conditions.

We’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather. Today, the water is decidedly more active, and there was a bit of mist when we began our hike around 7:15, but it looks like another lovely day in Scotland.

The time we spent in and around Orkney yesterday was beautiful, once the early fog lifted. We visited another stone circle and the town of Stromness. We had free time in Kirkwall in the afternoon. Joe and I visited St. Magnus Cathedral and then wondered around the town, visiting the Highland Park shop, the local history museum, a café and a gin distillery:
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Last night, we had a lovely dinner with two people we’ve been spending a bit of time with while on this cruise, a man named Jonathan who is traveling with his mother. We discovered that Jonathan is Harvard class of 1988 and a government major, so knew quite of few of the faculty that Joe knew. His mother is Radcliffe class of 1957 or 58 (I can’t remember). Jonathan, Joe and I spent some post-dinner time in the Meridian club enjoying a bottle of whisky that Jonathan had picked up in Kirkwall. Thanks, Jonathan!

Slainte!

Here are a few photos from our visit to Orkney yesterday:
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Posted by ReisAdventures 02:49 Comments (0)

Scotland Slowly 2019, Day 7, Part 2

An Afternoon Around Stornoway: I Put My Hands Upon the Tallest Stone . . .


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Scotland Slowly 2019, Day 7, Part 2
An Afternoon Near Stornoway

After lunch, we boarded a bus to explore three important historical sites—the Standing Stones at Callenish, a small village of restored Blackhouses, and the Dun Charlabhaigh.

There are lots of standing stones in the British Isles, but the Callenish Standing Stones are the ones that serve as the inspiration for the Standing Stones of Outlander. The site is quite dramatic and, as you might expect, crawling with tourists. I took a few photos and then marched up to that imposing stone in the center and put my hands on it.
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Nothing. Nothing happened. I was transported nowhere. I’m still here.

So, we wandered a bit more around the stones. Then, we got back on the bus to travel to the Blackhouses, one of the forms of housing used near the coast (up until the 1970s). We saw a Harris Tweed loom in use and the traditional Scottish house heating system (bricks of peat). We were also treated to a short, but live, performance of a Gaelic sailing song:
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After the blackhouses, we traveled to Dun Charlabhaigh, an ancient stone tower likely used for fortification and/or storage:
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And, then back to the ship for dinner. Tomorrow: Orkney!

Posted by ReisAdventures 22:21 Comments (0)

Scotland Slowly 2019, Day 7, Part 1

A Morning in Stornoway (plus, The Evening of Haggis and Explorers)


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Scotland Slowly 2019, Day 7
A Morning in Stornoway (plus, The Evening of Haggis and Explorers)

We’ll begin with last evening. It began just as the evening briefing ended (where we learned all of the details for the following day). Our trusty, kilted friend, David, offered the “Ode to the Haggis” by Robert Burns. And, then it was off to the dining room to enjoy that beloved culinary delight of Scotland: Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. Very tasty.
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After dinner, it was time for the Dress As Your Favorite Explorer Party. The party was, unfortunately, not well attended. We are not sure if it’s just that we are on a cruise with a lot of not fun people, or if the ocean swell inspired otherwise fun people to take to their beds. But, Joe and I went. Joseph dressed up as Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek. I dressed as Dora the Explorer, which I thought would make a great costume. It turned out that one of the staff members also dressed up as Dora. His beard, though, made him a less convincing Dora, in my humble opinion.
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STORNOWAY
We woke up tied to the pier in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis. No Zodiacs today. Joseph and I were especially excited to visit Stornoway, as we had learned a great deal about Stornoway through the series of novels called “The Lewis Trilogy” by Peter Mays. We highly recommend these, especially in audio format. Stornoway is also the home of the Lewis Chessmen.

Joe and I were in the group that had free time this morning. We rented bikes from the ship and went out to explore the town. We discovered that Stornoway is a busy place early in the morning, so I was basically terrified since there was no bike lanes and the roads are narrow.

We found the Nicholson Institute, which is featured in the Lewis books. And, then we cycled away from the town center, and found the Iolaire Memorial, also featured in one of the Lewis books.

We biked back to town and then over by the golf course, before heading into the center of town in search of coffee and a snack (and free wifi). After fortifying ourselves with delicious blueberry scones and coffee (and checking for messages), we started poking around in some of the little shops of Stornoway, including the Harris Tweed shop (Harris Tweed is actually from the Isle of Lewis, the northern part of this island; Harris is the name of the southern part of the island).

Then, back to the ship for lunch.
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Posted by ReisAdventures 13:01 Tagged scotland lewis slowly stornoway trilogy Comments (1)

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