Orkney

For many years now, I have wanted to visit Iceland. I had a few reasons for this. Some time ago a friend and I thought about and started to plan an unsupported trip across Iceland in the winter. My friend had tried before (15-18 years ago) but not succeeded.  Since then Iceland was forefront in my mind as a possible adventure destination.

This year in October my husband and I will be celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary and sometime at the beginning of December we are going to have a baby, choices for our holidays are limited. Well not so much limited as we could’ve gone on lazy beach holidays (no offence to the people who love lots of sunshine) or we could’ve had a European city break, or just walk for a week on Yorkshire moors or or or…lot’s of or’s. Well my bump is not going to stop me attempting some kind of crazy epic adventure.

At first we were planning to visit Denmark and Norway. Denmark and Norway are two lovely places worth visiting but having already been there I wanted something new. With some delays based around my passport we managed to lose some good deals on the trip to Norway. Oh my goodness we were very disappointed and angry with the situation. The last pre-baby epic adventure was just about to end up in our usual Scotland or Lake District jaunt.

At the beginning of August just before going to work I googled a few holiday ideas, maybe just maybe I will find something similar to the Norwegian trip. And guess what, I did. I shouted Luke please have a look at this cruise liner. This ship is sailing to Iceland via Kirkwall, Heimaey and Lerwick. Dream holidays!!!! As I can’t carry a heavy backpack right now a cruise would be ideal. On the cruise we will be sleeping at night while the ship is sailing then during the day we can explore different parts of the amazing landscape.

We only had one day to pack and on the 4th of August our ship sailed off to Iceland. By looking at the weather forecast predicting +11 temperature and the possibility of wind chills. It was difficult to pack. There was a heat wave in England and we knew that shorts and T-shirts would probably not be good enough. But it would still be too warm for winter clothes. So we packed our lightweight soft shells and mid weight fleeces (but t-shirts and shirts just in case, optimistic 🙂 ).

Now a little bit about our boat. Originally built in Russia it served as an icebreaker. Marco Polo (former name Pushkin) feels very unique. It’s like back in US back in US back in USSR(thank you Beatles)! The ship has been bought and used by different companies around the world but it has kept a Russian feeling all the same. Even most of the cruise workers were Ukrainian. This was a solid ship and it filled me with confidence.

Our first port of call was Kirkwall capital of the Orkney Islands. What a great place on earth! I am visiting Highlands of Scotland most likely 10-12 times a year but I have never been that far north. The Orkney Islands lie off the northern tip of Scotland, where the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. The Orkney’s are rich in history and natural beauty, most of the locals originally came from Scotland and Scandinavia. The Islands presented with smooth contours around the hills, shaped by the ancient movements of the Scandinavian ice sheets more than 10,000 years ago. We visited the Stone Circle of Brodgar, a prehistoric site (with lots of speculations on their original use) and the Italian Chapel (unique Chapel built by the Italian POW’s), walked across some rugged and forbidding terrain and been amazed by the views of the spectacular Old Red Sandstone coastal cliffs and surrounding area.

That’s it for today, next time Reyjavik and The Golden Circle, Iceland.

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