While writing this post, with candles and Christmas music in the background, our Shetland summer seems so far away, so surreal, that I have to remind myself, that I actually really was there...
For the time we were in Shetland we stayed in Lerwick, the honest, unpolished, lovable capital of the Shetland Islands. It can, at the beginning, seem edgy and gruff and with a grey sky, drizzling rain and all those grey houses, it's not, ahm, jovial, at first sight. There's too much wind to grow (m)any trees or make it easy for flowers to bloom. It's a city between two Seas, both powerful, feisty giants. That is what it's made of, and that is what shapes it, I think. But only at first sight. It's a place that will never leave your heart, if it entered it once.
Also because of the people. Despite of being a small island, a place very remote and with a rough climate, the people are welcoming, open-minded, communicative and just so lovable... you can stroll through the streets, you will be greeted like a local, invited to tea or driven when there's no bus coming or there just is no bus, or you can sit beside someone who is playing the violin alone in the harbour and just listen... Sometimes we were so astonished about the friendliness and helpfulness of the people there, that we noticed how unused we are of that. Of this friendliness that is not attached to any conditions... the sceptic big-city-self.
I tried to take something of all this with me, to keep it in my heart and let it not be washed away by Berlin's full underground, it's roaring cars, running people, loud buzzing. To sometimes pause for a moment and remember.
With every kilometre our bus approached Aberdeen I grew more excited. I have never been to the sea before and was constantly checking the sky for stormy winds or thick clouds.
Yes, I'm a coward.
But when we left the harbour of Aberdeen on a late afternoon, you couldn't have wished for a finer weather. The sea was almost waveless, the sun was shining and the clouds only came together to pour a bit of rain, just enough to make a rainbow. When it got late, we headed for the ship's bar and had some wine, while watching the sun set over the calm sea. It sounds sappy, but my first evening on the sea was a picture-book journey.
It takes about 15 hours to get from Aberdeen to Shetland. A slow journey that lets you feel the amount of space between this little island and the island of Great Britain, which feels like a supercontinent in comparison.
I will never forget this first view of Shetland - a lighthouse and some dark green brown banks under a green grey sky, as if echoing the colours of the sea.
Welcome to Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands!
... to be continued...
We spend our evening in Edinburgh by strolling through the city and making as much detours as possible on our way back to the station. Since it was the Fringe festival, the city was full of music, everywhere you could stop and listen to someone singing or playing. There was a very special atmosphere in the air, almost magical.
Just before we caught our bus back to Glasgow, as if the city wanted to say Goodbye, there were fireworks.
A wonderful completion of our day.
Edinburgh, you old heartbreaker!
And then we set off on a journey across the North Sea to a much more northern point - the actual destination of our travels: Shetland!