A Travellerspoint blog

July 2013

Pierowall Goodbyes

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Another cozy kitchen where we could escape the wind and rain

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When it was too damp outside, all we did was play darts

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Goodbye, faithful stick. I don't think I can bring you on the plane.

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Goodbye, "downtown" Pierowall...

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...and your blank, utilitarian buildings

Posted by chschen 05:50 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Ordinary Life

I've given up writing about traveling altogether, see; it's just an ordinary part of life now. Set up the tent, throw everything into it, walk around for a few days, uproot, repeat. Meet some people, or not. Exchange smiles with strangers, or not. Get rained on, almost always. Squabble with Chris and walk silently for a few hours. Dream, retreat, dream again. Wonder fondly about everyone back at home. Worry that they've forgotten me. Plan everything we'll eat. Plan the next place we'll go. Shout and point at wildlife--bounding bunnies, strutting puffins, a lone hedgehog caught in our lamp, then shuffling noisily into the brush while we quiver in awe at our luck. Eat too much, grow fat. Walk too much, grow thin. A few sunny days and forget what cold feels like. A few rainy days and forget what warmth feels like. Life quieter and quieter, faded away.

Tomorrow we leave Orkney, begin a multi-day journey to Iceland.

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Puffin Watching

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On a puffin hunt, but first we stop by a castle/fort

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Maybe a few walls are missing

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But the design really lets the light in, you know?

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Inside it's a little dank, though

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Butler Chris, showing the way up to the banquet hall

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A young archer, preparing her shot

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The stonework on the stairs is pretty impressive

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Halt, stranger!

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All right, we're approaching puffin land

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They should be around here somewhere...

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Baby seabird

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And we found some puffins!

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Shh! Don't tell them I'm here.

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My puffin-watching perch

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Puffin habitat

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Having had our fill of puffins, we hike home

Posted by chschen 05:11 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Northward

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Goodbye, Stromness

* * *

This, too, shall end? I cannot help but think this transience is slowly degenerating me. Not only does nothing seem permanent, but nothing seems worth making permanent anymore, human attachments included. And so the cynicism spreads. But it hasn't the counterbalancing bitterness of youth, when such minor betrayals were first discovered and condemned. Resignation is the word of the day. Anyway, friendships (at least) need proximity to survive, and right now we are proximate to no one--but each other.

We move ever further north to colder and colder locales. At night we dash from kitchen to bathroom to tent with our noisy, shivering plaints. Then we huddle in our sleeping bags and wait for our body warmth to spread. It does, miraculously, though a certain numbness about the toes persists.

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

The Island of Hoy

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We land on Hoy and are greeted with a wall of fog

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Our favorite hiking food, yogurt

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The fog begins to clear

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There's the Old Man of Hoy (another sea stack) in the distance

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The ocean looking like slate today

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And there is our only glimpse of the Old Man of Hoy before he is swallowed by fog

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Here it comes

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I bet he usually blends in

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But on the other side of the ridge: sunshine

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Cotton grass

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Old-fashioned green roof

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Water so clear

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Waiting for the ferry, the fog is back

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All right, maybe we got a bit bored

Posted by chschen 05:21 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)