Wednesday, 18 January 2017

September 11, 2016 and our last day at Stromness

It is about time I showed you a map of the southern part of Orkney Mainland, with Stromness at the left, Kirkwall in the centre and St.Mary's, near to the location of the Italian Chapel, south of Kirkness.
 From Stromness, the ferry goes past the Island of Hoy back to Scrabster, not far from Thurso .

From my travel journal describing our final day on Orkney:

Yesterday (Sunday) we walked from our bed and breakfast to the church instead of taking a bus or taxi, as the weather was sunny and the route downhill. 

I tried getting money from a bank machine but couldn't because presumably my daily limit is so low. 

Greg got some cash.

We went to the wrong church first off, but someone from the Baptist church arrived just as we did. 

The Town Hall, now a community centre, used to be a church.
The Baptist congregation meets there on Sunday mornings.

He directed us up the hill to St. Mary the Virgin, which was tucked into the wall in what used to be the premises of the Legion (?). It was not much bigger than St. Alban's (in Souris) but better appointed,having recently been redecorated. It had a blue ceiling and blue altar hangings.

This is the outside of the church from a posting on the church's Facebook page.
The blue doors are in keeping with the colour associated with the Virgin Mary
 and abide by the colour scheme chosen for the historical section of Stromness.

This is what the little sign in the photo above says (also from the church's Facebook page).


Warm welcome: We were introduced to each of the 10 or so congregants and the priest, a retired interim from New York City. He grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Nice service: The 90-year-old organist played only the prelude and the postlude. We sang the hymns a capella. Good singing, which became a bit slower as the verses progressed.

There was a little four-year-old boy,a foster child of a couple in the congregation. This was his last day in Stromness. He was lively and dressed in a combination of Star Wars gear and a cincture lent by the priest. 

We went for cake and tea in a very small room afterwards. The village eccentric was there too in a somewhat outlandish get-up including lots of purple...He appeared to be very well-liked  and like us, was plied with lots of cake. 

The foster-parents of the little boy had two balloons and a present for their little fellow. He seemed genuinely surprised at the fuss and while unwrapping the gift, said, "O... for me? ... Oh... a buuhk? ... Oh... a Babble!" which he hugged to his chest and grinned with delight.

This is the Bible (from a picture on the church's Facebook page)

He will be going to England to live with his adoptive parents. I hope he gets to use and read his bible.

I didn't record in my journal anything about the striking stained glass windows we enjoyed in the church, so here are two images I found on their facebook page: 
This window commemorates St.Luke, symbolized by the winged ox.
Notice also  the doctor's bag and stethoscope for Luke the physician.

The sun shines through the window commemorating
St John, symbolized by an eagle.

After the service, we were walking further up the hill when Ann, one of the ladies at the church (whose husband is half-Orcadian), stopped and offered to take us on a little tour. She had an hour or so to wait for her spouse, who was off somewhere doing something else. 

First, she took us to the ferry terminal where we put our big bags into a locker - a brilliant idea.

Then Ann drove us around the town and beyond - so nice of her. She drove an electric car, which she was going to charge up after she dropped us off. There are 100 charge stations in Orkney! Ann told us it has a reputation for being very progressive in energy and experimentation.

This is the view of the town close to the mouth of the harbour.

This is overlooking the harbour closer to the downtown.

After we bid our tour guide goodbye, we walked along the extremely narrow main street : 

I thought it was a pedestrian mall until I realized - in time - that it accommodated
 two lanes of traffic. Pedestrians, look out!

Between many of the buildings on the main street, there were intriguing walkways up the hill.

And going down to the water, there were more vistas.

Here is the Stromness Hotel and the official (since 2007) flag of Orkney, showing blue for the flag of Scotland and red and yellow for the coats of arms of Scotland and Norway, thereby reflecting Orkney's connection to both countries..

Shouldn't every town square have one of these?

Now, where do those stars lead?

I was taken with the stone work and flowers.

Back from our walk,we repaired to a cafe near the ferry terminal and had a very odd lunch: potato skins with melted brie under a cascade of too much bacon. I paid 10 pounds in cash.

Back at the ferry terminal we chatted with a bicyclist who was doing his laundry. He found too late that there was no detergent, so he washed everything twice. It had taken him 11 days to cycle to the Orkneys from wherever it was that he lived.

The harbour at Stromness close to the ferry dock.

We forgot about the arrangement for our boarding passes until we handed the wrong,i.e.used, end of the ticket to the ticket taker. We were directed back to the wicket (where I had earlier asked about the wifi in the terminal) and were handed our boarding passes, which we would have picked up long before had we remembered what to do. There was not much in the way of foot traffic, so we boarded the ferry in good time in spite of the little glitch.

We had intended to eat dinner on the ferry but held off to see how rough it was going to get, as the bicyclist we had talked to had mentioned windy conditions once outside the harbour.

It did get rather rolling, so we just closed our eyes and went for the ride.

In Scrabster, another Ormlie cab was waiting for us. The driver turned out to have been the best man for the husband of the woman who ran the bed and breakfast on Princess St. where we were headed for the night. 

We were now officially back in Scotland ...

where further adventure awaited us. In my next blog, I will try to get us all the way to Nairn.

No comments:

Post a Comment