The Shetland Islands, day 2
Tue 10 Jul 2012 22:51

Igor: Lerwick is a cute little town with population of 7500, so the sightseeing (Fort Charlotte, the Commercial Street and the Esplanade) was quickly dealt with. Peter decided to spend the afternoon of the day we arrived washing clothes, Matjaz took a nap and I raided the local tourist office for some information regarding the islands.

In the evening Matjaz and me decided to drop by the boat club house and use the free internet, but to our surprise, the "bar" at the club was actually open, full, and there was a live fiddling performance going on, so we were left with no option, but to grab a pint and enjoy the music.


This morning, we rented a car and drove north. The Shetlands consist of several islands, with urbanisation decreasing proportionally with distance to the equator. The roads transform to single lanes, but all of them are paved and with only few cars around, it makes for a wonderful driving experience (discounting the Kia Picanto, which we rented). Also, driving on the left is easy - but keeping on the right side of the lane less so.

On the way north, we passed a nearly complete Viking ship replica (btw. the Shetlands have a long Viking history and have for the longest time been under norwegian influence, until a danish king, having himself gotten control over it through a truce with a norwegian king, pawned it to the Scottish, for not being able to afford the dowry for one of his daughters... and the rest is history). The ship was part of an experiment to show that Vikings made it to America before the Columbus, but since this boat only made it to the Shetlands due to technical reasons and budgetary constrainst, I'm not sure what that says about the discovery of America.

Further north, we observed an abandoned military installation, made photos of UK's northernmost point, had a beer in the northernmost pub and I experienced the wrath of angry birds, probably due to inadvertently approaching their nest. While retourning south, the sun came out and we were delighted by the breathtaking landscapes. The Shetland ponies are small and cute and the tourist brochure said that they were exported to the mainland to replace women and children working in coal mines. Poor little ponies!

All in all, a rather successful day, which wouldn't be complete without a report on todays menu: Pork filet in red wine sause a la Matjaz, with salad and rice -- yummy.

The plan for tomorrow is to get up at 5:30 (brr, that's like in 4 hours) and sail southward, destination Kirkwall, Orkneys. It's 92 miles, which we should make in 13 hours or else there will be issues with the tides (this sailing area is rather more challenging than Croatia).