My shiny little online spot to help y'all keep track of me while I galavant around London.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


So, as you may or may not be aware, Orkney is a collection of islands -- and archipeligo, if you will -- off the northern coast of Scotland. Because of it's water-logged geography, we had two options to travel there, flying or ferrying. We chose the latter because we're cheap. The least expensive route took us from Aberdeen to Kirkwall, the largest city in Orkney with some 7,000 inhabitants, via ferry in about 6 hours. There are other, shorter ferry routes, but they required us to get further north in Scotland, to Inverness or Thurso or John o Groats -- which cost more.

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Right. We had sleeper seats for both trips, but weren't very tired at 5pm when the boat set off. Instead, we started the trip at the back of the boat, watching Aberdeen pass and eventually disappear as we got further into the North Sea.

It quickly got dark and windy -- which didn't stop us from going top deck to see if we could get blown overboard (sadly, didn't happen).

That all left us with about 5 and a half hours to kill. Right. So we wandered the ferry, checking out the facilities. It had two bars, a fancy restaurant and a cafeteria, as well as rooms of video games and VLTs. There was a shop (or course) and a movie theatre showing three films, as well as little sitting areas with televisions.

Guess where we started? After a quick trip through the shop, it was off to the bar. Because when you feel slightly seasick, the best thing to do is drink beer. After a few bottles of Orkney's finest brew, we had dinner... and at this point, with four or so hours to go, I started to get antsy.

We sat in one of the bars drinking and reading for a bit. I was trudging through the Orkneyinga Saga, a tale of the Earls of Orkney written about 1200. Apropriate reading, but hard to focus on when one's excited and bored at the same time. Eventually, the ferry starts rumbling in a way that suggests we're about to arrive (leading to my stomach rumbling in excitement -- or maybe that was the food?) and we pass Kirkwall, the small city's lights twinkling and reflecting in the water, and finally park at the pier, where we're the only passengers to catch the bus into town -- save one dude, who talked about his post-divorce child custody case with the driver the whole trip... Either way, we were walking up the street to our hostel by 1130pm, rather needing to get some sleep.

. . .

The trip back departed Kirkwall at 11pm. We got on a bit early, so Emily could claim a seat near a socket to recharge her phone. Me, I found my sleeper seat, got as comfy as possible... and woke up at 6:30am the next day as we neared Aberdeen. Not a bad way to travel, I've gotta say...
More pictures of Aberdeen and the ferry are here.

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