03 July 2014

Kirkwall, Day Two

I wish I could type it was another sunny morning here, but at least it isn't raining! I'll cross my fingers that it stays that way today. I discovered my weather app is useless here; last night I pulled it out to see the forecast for today, and it said that at that very moment it was raining here...and the sun was shining. 

Yesterday was quite a full day, and today should be the same. Before hopping on a bus yesterday, I went to a bakery for a second breakfast, where they had yum yums! Let me tell you about yum yums; in Dalkeith last summer, there was a bakery near the bus stop to Edinburgh, and every morning we'd go there for breakfast. They had this pastry called a yum yum, and it certainly lives up to its name. It must be a Scottish pastry, and it was a yummy surprise to find it again! I think I'd describe it as being similiar to a crueller, just not as twisted, light and fluffy inside and glazed outside. 

So the first stop of the day was the bus station, where I hopped a bus to another island, Land Holm, to visit the Italian Chapel. During World War II, there was a prisoner of war camp on this island which held Italian men. The chapel and a statue outside are the only things that remain of the POW camp. The men were given two Nissen huts, which they originally wanted to use one as a church and one as a school, but as the chapel was being constructed they decided to expand and use both. It is gorgeous and amazing what these men created out of scraps and things available to them. Everything inside was made by the men, specifically one man who was an artist, Domenico. He came back to Orkney after the war to visit the chapel. I've been to many lovely and beautiful churches in my travels, but my favorites are the simple ones, like this one. 
Next I took a bus onward to a village on another island, South Ronaldsay. Three islands are connected via what are called the Churchill Barriers. During WWII, a German submarine got through the net barriers and destroyed a ship, so they constructed permanent barriers between these islands. After the war a road was built on top. Here a view of one of the barriers:
Looking out the window from bus (which is something I'm quite good at!) there were ships that had been purposefully sunk:
These ships were sunk on purpose during World War I as a defensive measure to make it hard to navigate the waters. There are lots of other ships hidden under the water, and you can dive to see them as a tourist attraction. 

St. Margaret's Hope is a small village, and I'm sure I would've enjoyed it more had it not been intermittently raining. I grabbed a bite to eat in what must be the only cafe there, and then started wandering around. 
There was a community garden that I peeked inside; it would be a nice place to sit and read for awhile. 
Then I hopped the bus back to Mainland and Kirkwall, visiting St. Magnus Cathedral. The Orkney Islands have very strong Nordic ties, being settled and controlled by Norweigan Vikings. This cathedral was built in 1137 and dedicated to St. Olaf and St. Magnus, who are both interred here. Until the 1500s it was a part of the Trondheim diocese, even though at that time the islands were in the control of Scotland. 
Look at the front door:
A Norweigan Bible, which I was informed by my Norway expert is quite old, because the language is Old Norweigan. 
Candle lit in memory of Papa:
After visiting the cathedral, I thought seeing the Bishop's and Earl's Palaces next door, but the many little shops were calling my name so I decided to get souvenir shopping out of the way. For a small island, there are so many shops! But cruise ships dock here, and on a rainy day I'm sure every shop is full. I learned from a bus driver that three cruise ships are coming in on Saturday, with 7000 people - thank goodness I'm heading to a different island! 

I went back to the hostel for a little rest before dinner, and it was very good timing as the rain began to pour down. Once it stopped, I headed out to an Italian place for dinner. Walking back to the hostel from dinner, there was a sign posted outside a coffee shop advertising an open rehearsal of the Orkney Accordion and Fiddle Club, so I popped in. There were about 20 people, with accordions and fiddles, one flute, a piano, and a guitar. It was a fun night, the music was lively and you couldn't help tapping your foot in time. And then it was back to the hostel for bed. Now I'm off today to see the Neolithic sights of Orkney!

1 comment:

  1. So interesting, and loved the candle lit for Papa! Gorgeous door - amazing! Love and miss you, Mom and Dad