Day Trips – to go or not to go?

Caribbean, Cruising, europe, France, Ireland, italy, mexico, Scotland, Throwback Thursday, Travel, United Kingdom, United States

There are times in life where preconceived notions have to be put to the test and nothing has challenged me more than the subject of day trips (in regards to travel anyway). Well before I started venturing into the world on my own I had in my head that the best way to travel was to travel with no rules, no script, and no one telling you where and when to do things. I thought of all the school trips and family vacations I had been dragged around on and knew that there was no way I wanted to travel in a massive bus with less than knowledgeable guides trying to sell people on things. No, I wanted to explore on my own and find the best things without rules. I wanted to wander and forge my own path and take the path less taken and be amazing! All without any knowledge or experience!

In 2010 I obsessively made my own plans and scheduled in times to pee and blow my nose and shove an apple in my mouth. Read more here. Which in reality all went to shit within one week, because of nature, thank you Icelandic Volcano. The truth was that I had no idea how to plan or manage two months, let alone a week, or a day traveling because I didn’t have a clue. My trip went okay, I saw plenty of things, but I also learned where to worry and what to forget, and how to get help when I needed it.

Fast forward to 2013 and a study abroad trip opened my eyes to the value of guides in foreign countries, especially when you don’t speak the language. What I realized is that no matter how many signs or guide books or snippets I read, I was missing valuable information whenever I looked around at the world, the castle, the street, the odd carving in a wall. I missed the stories, myths, and legends that made different corners of the world remarkable. It was then that I realized that, in fact, guides are invaluable and important people when visiting a city for the first time.

Even in a day of endless information and content, guides offer insight, and an intimacy that no amount of paper and signs can ever give to an experience. Having a guide walk you around Florence will allow you to truly experience the details of the experience, versus aimlessly wandering trying to make sense of everything that is around you. Having a guide takes you to the best gelato, or the tastiest lunch in a town, and it lets you better understand the people that are hosting you in their home. Since 2013 I make sure every trip has at least one tour, but I am very selective on how and where I take these tours. Here are some of my fast tips on selecting the best tour for you and your travel companions!

  1. Start with researching and finding as many tour providers as you can that will cover what you need. This includes group and private tours, and companies like Viator, or independent companies that you find.
  2. Review all of the itineraries and inclusions, then figure out what seems like a reasonable price for the tour either for a large, small, or private tour and then decide what is friendliest for your budget.
    1. For private tours you will likely need to email guides, and explain what you want. However, they will be able to fully customize your adventure from the locations seen, the time spent in each place, and the routing taken. This is definitely worth paying extra for, if you can afford it.
  3. Read up on the vehicles being offered. This seems silly, but sometimes something will be listed that won’t actually work with your family of six, and two car seats. Read up, email with questions, and call if you have any concerns.
    1. My husband can attest to the discomfort of small Mexican vans for 5 hours of driving to Chichen Itza, I majorly failed on researching that one. My short self is now much more mindful that 6’4” doesn’t fit in cars as well as 5’2”.
  4. Read as many reviews as you can, either through TripAdvisor, Facebook, viator, etc. this will give you a better idea of what to expect and what to watch out for. Remember, most people will complain before they complement, but it’s important to check all the resources for consistency and safety.
  5. Ask your travel companions about their preferences. Sometimes they won’t care, but brain storming may mean they think of unforeseen issues, or other ideas to make the trip better.
  6. Ask an expert for advice! This is especially important if you are working with a travel agent for your trip. They will likely have direct connections to some of the best guides and experts in an area, and if they don’t they will know who to ask for help.However, experts can be other people like friends that know the region, a hotel concierge, or your credit card concierge and travel departments!
  7. Make a choice – yes you have to pick. It’s far better to pick SOMETHING and not have the best tour, but get to SEE something versus never going at all. I say this because so many people hesitate to take a tour and then they don’t ever get the experience they should have tried for. It’s scary to put trust in another company or guide, but I promise that it’s worthwhile more than staying behind.
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Memento Mori

Throwback Thursday, Travel, United Kingdom

I have a habit of seeking out odd things. By odd I mean things like mummified cats (not the Ancient Egyptian kind), Surgeon’s museums, and Operating theaters.

I like searching out the oddities in the world, the weird places that get missed by the tourist trail. Some of it’s a love for seeking out gems that no one else knows, and then it’s the dark little goth girl from high school.

Since I began exploring the world on my own I have made an effort to see the odd spots that delight my heart.

No doubt just about every castle has its own horror stories. It’s easy to forget that castles were often involved in wars, jailings, beheadings, affairs, murders… you get the idea. Needless to say, the fairytales and kid’s history lessons play down these facts.

Yet, beyond the subtly macabre I have visited some outright dark museums.

Edinburgh Surgeons’ Hall Museum

I visited the halls and spaces of this museum in 2010. I missed it in 2015 due to its renovation but from all accounts it’s still as glorious as ever and reopening this year. For more information, click here.

The museum is attached to the historic and vital University of Edinburgh’s Medical School. Not only does it celebrate almost three centuries of work and education, but also medical marvels and a collection of items for educational purposes.

My personal favorite pieces were the vast selection of body parts in formaldehyde and wax preserved pieces with vein and other details.

(C) Surgeons’ Hall Museum

Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret

This fantastic museum is hidden in the attic of St Thomas’ Church in Southwark. The location is home to years of medical institutes and knowledge such as the original site of St Thomas Hospital, which was found around 1100.

In the 19th century the attic was made into the Herd Garrett and Theatre that has been preserved until today. The theatre was in fact used for students to learn from. All of those that were operated on were women and no form of anesthesia was used due to the lack of its invention.

While the history is dark, and no doubt people suffered, it was this work and the study of medicine, that helped us get to a much better today. For that alone, it’s worth a visit. For the fact it’s one of only a few operating theatres left in the world, entices further.

The Garrett itself is a magnificent display of what prescriptions, lotions, and potions looked like in centuries past. Some of the gems I most particularly love were are their collection of “tools of the trade” and old prints on how they were used.

What are your favorite macabre locations?

The Best Lessons Have Been My Mistakes

adventure of the week, Caribbean, colorado, Colorado Events, family, Ireland, italy, love, mexico, musings, outdoors, Scotland, Throwback Thursday, Travel, United Kingdom, United States

I have been traveling internationally for 8 1/2 years. Mostly by myself. Always on a budget. And with a few struggles along the way. Some have been all my fault. Others I can blame on fellow travelers. All of them are important.

Here are 10 of the best/worst lessons to learn on the road.

  1. Carry a phone-
    A part of me hates this but it has saved my butt more times than I can count. For instance, when you forget to learn out to read bus schedules, you can call a cab.

2. Buy good maps

    I don’t know how many tines having a bad or outdated or confusing map has messed up a day, turned me around, or got me lost. So, investing in a good map is an important way to preemptively save the day.
  • 3. self care!
    • I have become sick 2 out of 3 extended trips. If I had used more hand sanitizer, brought some vitamins, and got more sleep, I would have had an easier time with everything.

    4. Pack Light/Buy light

    • I have always made this mistake on longer trips. I pack too much, and immediately regret it. The other side is buying too much. When my aunt went with me to Europe in 2015 she bought so many souvenirs that we had to mail two large boxes home AND a suitcase. Because of the weight and international shipping fees, she spent almost $800 to mail home about $3,000 worth of merchandise. The moral of the story is that it’s better to buy the few things you REALLY want, leave room in your suitcase to bring it home, and consider purchasing some items when you get home. Pro tip- many companies get GREAT shipping discounts if you buy say $100 of merchandise.
  • 5. Eat Well
    • Don’t eat expensive, eat well. Eat your veggies like mamma told you. Don’t drink too much. Make sure you drink plenty of water, and enjoy delicacies in moderation.

    6. Say no

    • Say no to people that annoy you. Say no to drunk guys in bars. Say no to pushy “tour guides”. Say no to flirtatious Italians. Say no when it seems wrong, sketchy, scary, or if your gut tells you so.

    7. Ask Questions

    • So many mistakes and mishaps could have been prevented for myself and others if I had asked more questions, asked for directions, asked for a better map or bus schedule. See 1 and 2.

    8. Bring a Towel

    • It sounds silly, but if you have read Hitchhiker’s Guide (or seen the movie) you know towels are helpful. Truth is having a good towel on the road is also helpful.

    9. Bring a Sweater

    • Weather conditions can change in most places without warning. The times I have needed a sweater I have been so grateful to have one. When I have forgot one, boy did chattering teeth regret it.

    10. Make sure you are physically ready

    • Travel can be thoroughly miserable if you are not in shape. Being tired from long walks, or just carrying luggage can make the trip a miserable time. See 4 for extra help!

    What have you learned on the road?

    I’m Your Fall “Basic Witch”

    colorado, Colorado Events, love, musings, outdoors, Throwback Thursday, Travel

    No shame in being Basic you all! I love the little things that come with fall.

    Seriously, why do we mock the things that make the world a happier place? In a sea of crappy news and unsettling politics I am damn well delving into a sea of things I love, when I can.

    That means enjoying some pumpkin pie spice flavored coffee and fuzzy pajamas. I will take my Girl Scout troop to a corn maze and I will go buy some pumpkins and carve them into some awesome designs. I will wear my black boots with skinny jeans and cute socks and all my scarves. Because these are things that make me smile. These are things that make my little life joy.

    So this season I encourage you all to just love the things that bring you joy. If you love leaves, go roll in some. If you love pumpkin patches, frolic in one. Because, who cares? The reality is that your joy and helping small community farmers will bring happiness to someone else.

    image-947

    One of the reasons that I love this stuff so much is because I grew up in the mountains where fall was such a short amount of time we barely enjoyed it before it was all gone. At 9,500 feet above sea level, the leaves change in September and by October 10th they are gone. There are no pumpkin patches or corn mazes because nothing grows that high. And the journey to such a thing was at least two hours away, a trip my parents could not afford.

    14492594_10154213465894177_5921278938190350399_n

    Yet, with all of these restrictions my mom made the most amazing treats in the fall and winter. Caramels and leaf cookies with brown sugar. Pumpkin pies you wanted to sink into and die because they were so divine. Roasts and potatoes and carrots that were perfectly savory and bone warming after cold days feeding horses and cows. There was always sweet and spicy hot chocolate and apple cider. All of it brings me a smile just thinking about it now.

    So while I dreamed of haunted carriage rides, I had the divine sweets to make up for it. So to honor the fun, and my earliest memories of golden aspens, I delve into the joys of autumn with a happy heart and a love of all things.

    I hope you do too.

    What are your favorite seasons? What do you love to do?

    My Favorite City

    History, Scotland, Throwback Thursday, Travel, United Kingdom

    A lot of people have favorites, and while I try not to discriminate, Edinburgh will always be my favorite.

    I fell in love with the city at first sight. Literally. I rolled myself out of Edinburgh Waverly Station and when I walked out I was facing Princes Street, totally unimpressed and then I turned around. And of my god I will never forget the chills I felt taking in the magnificent gothic spires and alleys that make up Old Town Edinburgh.

    I fell. Truly. Madly. Deeply. In love with the city.

    I loved waking up to the sound of tourist music and the earthy smell of centuries of rain, Moss, and people. What Victorian London loss in the Blitz, Edinburgh has retained.

    My first time in the city was one filled with new experiences, people, accents, food, art, culture, and hundreds of moments that propelled a small town girl (Pop. of Florissant, CO 100) into a completely new world.

    I tried clubs and hipster coffee shops (when hipster was hardly a thing). I shopped for woolen goods, and went clubbing. I met friends and another male love interest. I had my heart broken, and found new passions. I visited ancient relics, I drank scotch for the first time, I went to my first U.K. Castles, I even did tombstone rubbings at Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. I got my first tattoo. I absolutely absorbed every misty breathe I could of the city.

    In the last eight years I have been to more cities and have had more experiences. I added places to my scrap book like Rome, Venice and Florence, San Francisco, Orlando, and Frankfurt. Yet still, my heart craves the cobbles and Georgian basements of Edinburgh.

    I returned in January 2015 and found new treasures such as Dean’s Village, and Mary King’s Close, and my new favorite, Sandy Bells. I found more music and a local Edinburgh than early tourist season had revealed. I loved the city even more in winter’s chill, even when it cut me to the bone. This time, five years wiser (I hope), I found the city as charming and lovely as before, just with new layers. My friends now haunt real bars and appreciate some tunes, they work professional jobs, and they don’t live with their parents. We all moved on and upwards, creating some blend of lives in the cities we have landed.

    I know I’ll make it back to Edinburgh one of these days, a few more years wiser, a more aware version of myself. Yet my curious and naive mind will wander over dark closes and Scottish identity. I’ll learn new slang, and ghost stories, I’ll hear new tunes and make new friends, and once again I’ll be in love with the ancient walls around me.

    German Beer Fests and Go Carts

    europe, food, musings, Throwback Thursday, Travel

    Millions of beer lovers are headed to the annual Munich mayhem of Oktoberfest this month. Starting on the 22nd of September this year (not in October like many think) the celebration is a mass gathering of international beer snobs and party hunters. Yet, itis not the only festival worth visiting in Germany.

    While Oktoberfest has captured an international audience with its romantic imagery, Bavarian setting, and set up for the masses, it lacks some of the small-town or smaller festival charm. As the world’s largest beer festival, Oktoberfest is known the world over as the ultimate beer festival, what many tourists miss is the fun, intimacy, and excitement of other annual gems that dot the German landscape.

    In April many metropolitan areas hold a Fruhlingfest, a spring beer festival. This equally enjoyable festival offers the same fun as the September version with a fraction of the people, lines, and a more German experience.

    I found myself at a Fruhlingfest in April 2010 while visiting family friends in Stuttgart, Germany. Here it is where I made a dirndl and wore it to one of the best nights of my life. At Fruhlingfest I danced with US military kids, and local Germans. I rode go-karts on a 3-story track while buzzed and giggling insanely. I ate delicious and salty roasted almonds. I drank the best beer I’ve ever had in my life. I listened to 80s and 90s cover bands belt out radio classics. I laughed my ass off at versions of David Hasselhoff adorning rides and booths. I thought the CONDOM MAN was a gem that should be at every event involving narcotics.*

    Fruhlingfest was the iconic night out everyone dreams of in Germany at a beer fest. My point being, that exploring in the off season and with locals means you get a deeper experience in a country you visit. I avoided the chaos of 6 million people and had the time of my 19 y/o life. It meant pushing out of a comfort zone, dressing up and joining the crowd, and I will never forget the euphoria felt while driving drunk go-karts.**

    Happy Travels!

    *the condom man sold funny condoms, funny novelties, and hats that looked like the latex devices.

    **I even had a little romance with a Polizei named Mario… maybe named Mario… there was a lot of beer.

    Throw Back Thursday – Childhood Travel Lessons

    colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, new mexico, outdoors, Throwback Thursday, Travel, United States, wyoming

    Many people gain a love of travel as children. Sometimes they’re crammed into the beck of a family station wagon, or a small camper, traversing open highways to neighboring states and countries. Others fly away to an annual beach escape, all-inclusive, beach, and drinks.

    My family did things differently. As a product of low-income we did things a little less luxuriously. We crammed into a Dodge Neon, five of us. We slept in rustic cabins on our ranch or in canvas tents at a re-enactment. On occasion a worse than Motel 6 room was in the cards. This meant a shower and how to cram three kids in a twin or double bed, absolutely luxury was a queen. We ate at cheap diners and cheese and crackers as we rolled along plains lands.

    We went through Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota to icons like Devil’s Tower, Jewel Cave, Helena, and De Smet. We saw where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and a Palace made of Corn. And we have many pictures at Mount Rushmore in different outfits, an awkward ages, with relatives that have passed or friends that have moved on.

    Reenactment with my cousin Nathan, aunt Mary and baby sibling McClellan.

    These journeys taught me how important a hot plate and hot water can be. That boiled eggs are always a good snack. That learning to read in the car without motion sickness is vital to surviving 1,000 miles with two younger sisters. That you can survive 30 playthroughs of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. That dogs can wedge themselves anywhere if given enough time. And most importantly, short legs make for an easier car ride.

    All in all these things taught me to be better at travel in the big wide world. Hot plates turned into hostel kitchens. Small cars meant I can live through a long plane ride. Crappy hotel means I can survive…. crappy hotels and most hostels. I know the importance of hitting grocery stores to cut food costs. I know that picking light makes everything easier. I know that audio and physical books are life savers for endless journeys that have no service, wi-if, or charger.

    The frugality of my parents has meant I knew how to save and travel at 19, 22, 23, 24, 26, and 27. It means I know how to pinch pennies and look for deals, to read and study and to plan my journey, to know the importance of flexibility and patience.

    My cousin Nathan and I at the family ranch in Wyoming.

    While I didn’t see much of the world until an adult, I know these lessons will carry me well into my old age.

    Happy Travels!

    Orkney Islands Part II- Adventure of the Week

    adventure of the week, food, Scotland, Throwback Thursday, Travel

    Part II, Orkney Journey

    Stromness, Orkney
    May 5,
    Written May 7, 2018

    As many of you know I took a side trip to the Orkney Islands or as many people around that area call it simply Orkney. Oh and don’t call them the “Orkneys” for some reason this doesn’t settle well, or at least that’s what I’ve been told and read.

    So I was in Orkney in the seaside village of Stromness and I was taken ill by some sort of cold. Originally I had planned to go to Orkney is search of probably their most famous bird, a puffin. However, due to my lovely little cold I was in no state to rent a bicycle and peddle out to some rural cliffs to find these rare birds. Thus, I walked around the village briefly and more or less went to bed at 2, woke again at 4, got organized and packed for the next days early morning journey and then bought come groceries for the morning and decided on bed. Though that sounds dreadfully boring, I plan to go into a little detail on what I did see, smell and taste while in Orkney.

    I started the day about 11:30, I walked down the winding old stone streets along, that were almost abandoned. The city felt like this town was left behind, even to the point where one can see men with large beards and pipes and newsy hats standing by the bay. Stromness truly feels like a portal to about 100 years ago, just the feel of the people, the hostel, the town, the smells in the air aren’t modern, the streets still remain small and bumpy. Horses graze on the steep grass slope just above you; and the rest of the town is fenced in with old stone walls. It is just so calming and mind blowing at the same time with how something could hold onto its original identity for so long. Of course, it is not that the town hasn’t been exposed to anything modern, it’s just that the core of it has stayed the same.
    My first moment of realizing the distinction of the city was when I was walking the main sort of street, which is really about five different streets all linked together. Suddenly from nowhere, I see a hearse winding its way down the road, where I then realize it in fact has a coffin in it. So I stop to let it pass. Being that the streets are so narrow one can barely fit any car through it, yet alone a hearse. The coffin was simple wood and then covered in a rich and kind array of flowers. A large van followed, probably filled with close family and friends but after that I was truly surprised at the 30 to 40 people walking behind the van and hearse, all in mourning.

    All of the mourners walked behind the hearse, dressed in their black suits, all with solemn looks on their face. Of course it’s by no means weird a funeral and all that happens with it but I was truly surprised on the group walking to the cemetery. It was really like something out of a movie.

    Of course, I don’t know how Scottish Tradition works around funerals, and really how it functions outside of Colorado. Yet I had gone into the world under the impression it was very much like at home where we drove, because everything was so far spread out.

    So this rare sort of intimate sight was another conformation on how little this area has changed. It was just beautiful and tragic and heartfelt and something, though sad, I won’t likely forget. 

    After seeing the funeral procession and snapping photos of the town along the way, I made my way to the small local Museum of Stromness. So small and low on visitors I was only charged £2.50 and was told I could come back as many times as I liked in the next week.

    For being such a small museum they really had some interesting items from a local and famous shipwreck dating back to the 1700’s. As well as a more modern German fleet from the first world war. It was a fascinating to look on these items with barnacles and sea urchins still attached from their ocean graves. They also had interesting bits on whaling, fishing, arctic explorations, and trade in Canada. All of which was fascinating but I felt so ill I had to hurry to start heading back to my bed because nothing sounded better. 
    Scrimshaw on walrus tusk
    I admittedly stopped in a gift shop and bought some local honey and a wool hat. The hat was made from the wool of a rare type of sheep that lives only in that area. The hat is adorable and so warm!

    The honey, however, is simply the best I have ever had in my life. At home I’m a total honey junky, commonly eating spoonfuls daily. While I’ve been traveling, my honey eating has been few and far between, so I felt like spoiling myself and and helping my sore throat in one go. The best way to describe the honey, is the taste is the same as the smell of the entire island. That may sound unpleasant, but it’s one of the single most pleasurable tastes and sensations one can have with food.

    The smell of the island is rich, salty ocean, earthy, grassy, fields and with it’\s lack of modernization it almost smells like an antique. Not quite musty and not really mildew, not rust but just a calming and beautiful sensation. The honey, of course, seems to have captured this in the perfect means, which makes it so delightful, soft, and just a work of perfection! So thank you you little Orkney bees! 

    After my honey venture I picked up some fish and chips for a quick lunch and found myself a small stuffed toy puffin to try and satisfy my anguish at not seeing a wild one. I truly can’t win everything but I have done so much, I can’t complain! 

    The next morning I did have to get up at 4:15am to get myself ready to get on the ferry that left at 6:30am back to Scrabster. I wasn’t overly groggy either and left 30 minutes earlier than my sort of last call out the door I had planned. This time I found my way to the dock with no problem! Oh and the odd thing about being so far north is it never gets truly truly dark! It’s more a gray overshadow all “night” and then the sun eventually may peak through the clouds. It’s rather odd and charming at the same time. 

    The ferry was a nice ride back to the mainland, I joyfully watched the large beasts of islands show up out my window and take over the plain of vision. Sea birds happily diving in the water for their breakfast and the thick deep blue cold water churning around the boat peaking into small wisps of light blue as it beat upon the side. It made me realize how much I love being on the sea and in that environment. Maybe my next adventure will be buying a boat or buying a ticket on one that travels around for a time. I think that would be a grand adventure right there! 

    One of the many islands we ferried by

    HAPPY TRAVELS future and past!

    orkney2

    Orkney Islands – Adventure of the week

    adventure of the week, Scotland, Throwback Thursday, Travel

    I’m doing a bit of a throw back Thursday since the snow ruined my hiking + cat adventure at Lori State Park in Larimer County, Colorado on Saturday. No doubt, I had a great time on the weekend with friends over brunch and lunch, but it wasn’t quite the adventure I wanted to share.

    So instead of Wednesday, here is my Throw Back Thursday in the Orkney Islands about 8 years ago.

    I should start by saying that every intent for heading to these remote islands off the coast of Northern Scotland to see puffins.

    Yes puffins.

    Because they’re adorable. Check out these faces:

    Here are some of my journal entries from the time:

    May 4, 2010
    Stromness, Orkney, Scotland, United Kingdom

    Anyway about yesterday I started to feel better after being up a while and had to make a train at 10:38 a.m. to Thurso. I made the train no problem and rather enjoyed the 4 hours of scenery and rural towns I got to take in. I did find it amusing to have the birds watching so intently from their rocky perches in the sea. Almost as if them acted as if they were totally blown away by some human made contraption.

    28875_402188269176_1096067_n

    After 4 hours on the train where I read, listened to music, and watched the world go by I arrived in the sleepy little town of Thurso. Where upon arriving I had simply had enough of some of the junk I was carrying around, that I decided that I had to mail some home and this is how I met Karen.

    I was asking the lady working the booth at the station how to get to the post office, and another local popped in insisting she would give me a ride. Going with what I consider, a healthy intuition, I agreed. Karen was right, I really needed someone to show me where it was because it, was more or less hidden in the grocery store. Of course I got the average rundown of where I was from, what I had been doing? Was I homesick? Is the weather too cold for you? How cold is it in Colorado? The typical questions that I have been kindly asked over and over again with.

    Karen dropped me off and we said our goodbyes and I went into hassle with mailing something home. Now this I was rather unaware of but a package going to the states from the U.K. cannot exceed 2kg. So I was only able to mail home about half of what I wanted and will again have to mail some more stuff home today. 
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    After all t of hat I felt a coffee was in order and that’s where I met Keelie at a small bakery in Thurso. I ordered my stuff, and after a while asked which taxi service to use to get to Scrabster for the Ferry. A
    fter I had said the first thing, we struck up a great conversation on what I’d been up to. When I said Colorado she thought of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and told me she was going to go there one day and find and meet him. Then she asked about Forks, Washington in reference to Twilight and a couple other things. She actually surprising me that “South Park” wasn’t brought up. Oh and she told me when I first came into the shop she had thought I’d run away from home, another blow to me trying to at least look my age, hey I wasn’t even wearing my glasses which make me look younger! Ah well I can’t win everything.

    After the coffee I called a cab and popped up to Scrabster. I can’t remember my cab drivers name, but he was truly a great laugh from the start. First, calling me Beverly just to torment me, then talking about how much he hated the English and the French! He was just hilarious and a lot of fun to talk with for the quick ten minute drive. 

    Finally at the dock station,  there was a couple of hours wait until I left. Thus, I worked on reorganizing my schedule. About an hour before departure I got onto the ferry and settled myself next to the window inside and warm. No outdoor freeze your ass off ferry but a really nice, more luxurious type for the hour and a half trip.

    I found a TV and watched Scrubs and Friends, comforts of home which truly I was missing. I really haven’t sat down and watched TV since before I left Colorado. So in truth, it was nice to veg out on old comforting shows, and ignore the somewhat nauseating rocking of the boat. 

    I arrived in Stromness a little after 8 p.m. and was immediacy confused as to where I was due to my crappy bing map that I took a photo of on my camera. (THIS WAS WAY BEFORE SMART PHONES AND INTERNATIONAL CALLING PLANS)

    So, instead of directly making it to my hostel, I went all over until I found another map in town, explaining it all. I was honestly a bit furious at this and have now learned not to trust bing maps either, after issues with Google maps! But I got to the hostel okay and only a little wet from the sea mist, and settled in for the night. The lady that owns this Brown’s hostel is very sweet and understanding and put me in a room by myself for the dorm rate. 

    Part II this weekend 😉