Saturday, July 21, 2012

The road not taken

After breakfast this morning (fried egg, bacon, corn flakes, yogurt, and a grilled tomato) I sat in the lobby trying to figure out what to do today. As I was sitting there a visually impaired woman sat down next to me. A few minutes later I cleared up where I was going and asked the woman at the reception desk about transportation. The visually impaired woman, Ann, said she was going to get the bus as well.

We set off for the bus stop at the end of the road and spoke for quite a while. I was really inspired by her. She is originally from England, but now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. She came to the Shetland Islands on July 12th and has been traveling on her own. She speaks with such precision that you would swear she was from here or she could actually see everything. Just watching her though, I have no idea how she finds her way around. She says she has an adventurous spirit and she refuses to let not being able to see stop her.

We parted ways when I got off the bus to see the Croft House Museum. Here I saw a renovated croft(farm)with a house, a byre (barn), and a water mill. I spoke with the custodian (that's what they call the person who works there) for a while and got to learn a little more about Shetland. After that I took a bus to the Quendale Mill. At both places the bus let me off a half mile or so down the road and I had to walk there. Neither time could I see the location.

At the Quendale Mill, I spoke with Alistair for a while about the mill. Most of the time I was there I was worrying about how I would get back to the hotel. The bus driver said he wouldn't be back at that stop until 5:45 p.m. (it was currently 1:15 p.m. He said I could probably take a path along the beach.

When I was done exploring the mill, Alistair also told me I could walk along Quendale beach, through the town of Toab, and down the main road past the Sumburgh airport, and to the hotel. Well, as I set off on this journey to the hotel, I had to climb over a fence, walk past a herd of lounging sheep and cows that gave me the stink eye and stood up when I walked by (there was no fence between us), I walked along a beach, climbed another fence, went up a hill, through the town of Toab, over the airport runway and down a main road until the hotel was in sight. I think it took about two hours and I believe I walked 4 or 5 miles in all. That's not counting what I walked to get to the two museums.



It was quite and adventure and if I wasn't so worried about getting attacked by a cow, ambiguous weather, wind, airplanes, and getting lost, I would have enjoyed myself a little more. Being that I haven't eaten for ten hours, I have definitely worked up an appetite for dinner.

Tomorrow I travel by bus to the capital city called Lerwick and then to Scalloway to the North Atlantic Fisheries College where my Centre for Nordic Studies: Viking culture class will start on Monday. Three people have already told me about rain for tomorrow. Hopefully it's not too bad.

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