Scotland 6: Day 16

03.14.18 | Lerwick, Scotland | 17:12

Lerwick is a great little city! One that I’m happy to be visiting for a second time. I walked to the hostel, and after waiting a few minutes, a girl called Calli joined me. We sat for awhile and had a wee chat. Calli is originally from Ft. Worth, Texas, but is currently studying in Germany. She had spring break and decided to come for a visit to Scotland. We decided to walk into town together explore a little bit. We ended up being out and about for what was probably a couple hours. I tried to get an “Ussie”, which is how I describe a selfie with more than one person, but Calli has turned out to be one of those people who doesn’t like to have her picture taken. For now, until she lets down her guard, you’re going to have to take my word that she really exists.

This place is so incredibly beautiful! Next we went to a local museum which taught us all about the history of these islands. Fun fact: Did you know that the only reason that Shetland is part of the U.K. is because someone was going to marry an English princess and the king and queen had no dowery, and so they said to the groom… here, have some islands.

Next, we walked over to check out Clickimin Broch, which is the remains of what they think may have been a smaller castle/settlement. It’s old enough that they don’t really know for sure what it was. It was so fascinating to walk around, and even crawl into one of the chambers.

22:24

Dinner was at the Queen Hotel. There’s not a whole lot of restaurants in this small city, but the male was some kind of stuffed chicken with buttery mash and vegetables. It was probably the best meal I’ve had thus far on my journey. Just incredible!

Scotland 6: Day 15

03.13.18 | Aberdeen > Lerwick | 18:27

I’m sitting in the dining room of a northbound ferry. It has been seven years since my first (and only) time doing this. It’s time for Shetland!
A few days ago, my old friend Tia sent me a message telling me that her son is currently serving as a missionary in Aberdeen. When I told her that I would be in Aberdeen, she sent me his address so I could go see him… maybe check up on him? Actually, I know his parents and have no doubts that he is a great kid. I had the best idea: I was going to pretend to be interested in their message, and when they’d ask about my American accent, I was going to tell them I grew up in American but live in Scotland now. I had it all planned!

When they ask where I was from in America, I’d tell them that it was just a small town in southeastern Arizona that they’d never heard of. Hopefully, my video camera would record his reaction… I would draw on my Emmy-worthy acting skills and give them the performance of a lifetime. Sadly, when I knocked on their door, nobody answered. They weren’t home.

I decided to make this into one of my ‘<100 Steps’ posts. The rules are simple, you set out on your destination, and you have to snap a photo in 100 or fewer steps. That way, people can pretty much see what you saw without having to record a video the whole time. If I had a decent internet connection, I’d transfer all the videos and images and make one video, dubbing in music and everything. Unfortunately, all of my hostels have been not-so-good when it comes to an internet connection.

19:57

Tonight I have a shared four-person cabin. I will try to get some sleep, but I don’t know what will happen as I have at least two other roommates. They look like snorers to me.

This ferry has the world’s worst Wi-Fi. I am connected, but just barely. There will be no streaming of movies tonight. I texted my sister Melanie, and she told me that “at least you have Wi-Fi at all”- so very true. I imagine when the pioneers of old crossed the country, their Wi-Fi was also shite (and that, my dear reader, is Scottish for ‘poop’).

Scotland 4: Day 16

4.12.11 | Aberdeen > Lerwick | 06:12

Just before bed last night I was able to meet my other roommates. One’s name is
Duncan, he’s probably in his mid 50’s or so. Duncan is traveling to
some of the northern islands for work. He works in the hotel industry. The 4th roommate is a guy called Calum. Calum attends a university in Scotland (not sure
which one though) and even though he grew up around Glasgow, his
parents and sister live on Shetland now, so he goes back and forth
whenever he can. He dreams of being a swim coach in the U.S. someday.
He’s tall and skinny, just like a swimmer should be.

Thankfully, I didn’t get sick on my first cruise ever. I was a bit
worried because Terry told me that one of his friends who worked for
30+ years on ships in the South Pacific had never once got seasick
until he sailed across the North Sea. The current is quite different here,
I’m told, especially where the Atlantic touches the North Sea. Anyway-
other than lack of sleep, I’m surviving. I did get a wee bit, but
between Terry and Duncan’s loud snoring and the fact that the cabin
moved all night, I probably only got a few hours worth.

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Early Morning on the North Sea

Lerwick Hostel | 15:54

This is by far the nicest of the hostels I have stayed at so far. The
staff here is very friendly, too. I found out as I was about to leave
the ferry that my roommate Terry was staying at the same hostel.
We walked about a mile, maybe a little less, with our packs. We got
to the hostel about 45 minutes before the desk clerk showed up to check
us in. Thankfully, there was a covered area they had built onto the
side of the hostel so we could wait out of the rain. The weather in
Scotland is crazy!

The desk clerk checked us in at about 09:00 and after a quick tour of
the place, I took a two-hour nap. Making up for lack of sleep on the
ferry- it didn’t take me long to be out cold. When I woke up, I headed
into town to find someplace to eat. I had in mind an inexpensive chippy
somewhere but ended up at the first restaurant I came to. I had a
burger.

After lunch, I wandered for a bit and stopped in the local tourist
information place. I looked for things to do around Lerwick, and other
than a few things to walk around and see locally, and a pub that has
live music, I may be out of luck here. Not that nature walks aren’t
great, but sometimes it’s nice to go find a place to chat with people
at night.

The lady at the tourist place gave me a local map and explained how I
find the local cemetery so that I could take a look. It was a very
beautiful walk. On the way, it started raining for all of 10 minutes,
then cleared up. It is very, very windy in Lerwick today. My walk was
right by the water, and I had to keep my hand on my head the entire
time so that my hat wouldn’t blow off into the deep.

Word of caution: If you ever visit Shetland in April, bring a bit more than a
windbreaker jacket. You’re going to get some rain and it’s going to
be cold. This is by far the coldest wind I’ve ever felt. I had to keep moving so I wouldn’t freeze to death.

After a bit, the wind died down a little and I found a nice, grassy
spot next to the water and kicked back. If the wind had stopped, I
could have easily fallen asleep there, especially since my body was
trying to digest a big ole hamburger. I got some beautiful pictures on
my walk!

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Back to Scotland 4: Day 3 | Forward to Scotland 4: Day 17

Scotland 4: Day 15

4.11.11 | Aberdeen Starbucks | 08:46

I have officially, unofficially checked out of my Aberdeen hostel. The official part is because I have cleaned out my room, dropped off my sheets and pillowcase, left the room and turned in my key. The unofficial part is because they’re letting me leave my backpack in their storage since my ferry doesn’t leave until 1900 tonight. This means that I’ll be tooling around the city, think I’ll go get a haircut or something.

I had breakfast here at Starbucks again this morning, but I did order the oatmeal instead of just sugary junk food. In Scotland, they don’t call it oatmeal, they call it porridge! That is soooo Hansel & Gretl- I love it! Now that I’ve had my porridge, I think I’ll get a picnic basket and skip off to grandma’s house.

Northlink Ferries Waiting Area | 15:39

Soon after my update from Starbuck this morning, it started raining, and most of the day it’s been sprinkling lightly. I walked back to the hostel and hung out in the front waiting area. This is because I know I’d go out and spend more money than I needed to be spending, had I stayed in the city. I had some lunch (a cheese an onion sandwich, Strawberry Ribena and steak-flavored crisps) and tried to take a little nap. The nap never happened because some guy had the television turned up too loud. He was watching British soap operas. Hilarious and scary- but with a sexy accent, at least.

I was bound and determined to get my “beast neck” taken care of (for those who aren’t familiar, the ‘beast neck’ is when the hair on the back of your neck is getting a bit too long so you start to look like a beast). I found a place that was open and had the urge to get my hair colored again. This is just because the blonde I’d been sporting since Glasgow was a bit too yellow in my opinion. So- I asked the lady (whose name is Alix) if she could bleach my head as well. And now I look like the love child of Anderson Cooper and Ellen Degeneres. However, I don’t see the two of them “hooking up” anytime soon for any number of reasons. My hair is freakin’ hot!

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A Sexy Blonde Boy Waits for a Ferry

After my hair was done, I headed back to the dock to hang out and wait for the ferry. I still have an hour and a bit before they let me board, and about 3 hours before they push. I know an airplane pushes back from the gate, but does a ferry “pushback from the dock”? I don’t know nautical terms. Perhaps I’ll be all in-the-know by tomorrow morning, maybe not. I’ve never been on any kind of cruise… it’s exciting! I heard the onboard movie was going to be Titanic. Actually, I just made that up- that’s just how clever and hilarious I am.

18:03

They let us all board a few minutes after 17:00 and so now we wait. I’m curious to see who my roommates will be. The room I booked was the cheapest offer, so it’s no luxury accommodation. I don’t need too much room, so it’s ok. My major concern is who I’m going to have to room with. I saw a list to sign up for dinner reservations, so I did. Hope it’s a good (and cheap) meal.

There’s not too much to this ferry. They’ve got the room cabins, a couple bars, a full restaurant, a self-serve restaurant and they are boasting about their free wi-fi, but I can’t pick up the signal. I hope it will start working when we push.

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Aberdeen > Lerwick | 19:20

We pushed about 10 minutes early, so I hope there were no late-arriving passengers. I’ve been trying now for about 10 minutes to get my iPad to connect to the internet, but it won’t. Damn it all! I guess it’s not the end of the world though. I saw one kid on his phone and I asked him if his connection was working okay. He said it was. I think he’s a fat liar and if I catch him near the back deck, he’s dolphin food, cause dolphins eat humans now.

I met one of my roommates. His name is Terry and he’s probably in his mid-to-late 50’s. He’s from England but currently lives on the western side of Scotland. When he travels, he only travels to the British Isles. He told me that he can’t have the top bunk because he gets nosebleeds. So Terry and I have claimed the bottom bunks and two others will be on the top bunks. I don’t believe I’ve ever stayed in a room this small.

When I first boarded, I was feeling a bit weird, but someone told me
I’d feel better as soon as I got some food in my stomach. Dinner was
absolutely delicious! I had some mushroom caps with cheese on them
with a side salad, then the main course was Shetland lamb. Dessert was
the raspberry custardy thing that the chef calls a fold-over or
something like that. It was a great meal and the food kept me from
getting seasick.

 


Back to Scotland 4: Day 3 | Forward to Scotland 4: Day 16