It remains a serious doubt that any modern royalty stayed at the Royal Hotel. I arrived through an old wooden and glass turn-style to the hotel lobby and was greeted by a receptionist who handed me a key and told me my room was on the second floor. Go through the doors, she said, down the steps, turn right and get on the lift. Then turn right after you get off, and go down the hall, through open doors, down the hallway, turn right and your room is the last room.
I followed the chosen route while pulling my burden behind me, readjusting it when it fell apart, and carrying my computer bag and camera in the other hand. Each door was closed and each door opened differently; some you pushed, some you pulled.
The tiny room had a small bed, a small TV, with small sounds that came out of it. After a call to reception, and after someone came to fix it, but declared it unfixable, I decided to take a walk. Stone after stone buildings, I came to a museum. One favorite place in the world is a museum coffee shop. Most of them have been in an experience of classic ambience. So when I opened the door expecting the same, the first person I saw was a gentleman sitting at the table. I smiled. He gave me a blank look.
Someone was slamming plates in the kitchen behind the counter. No one came to help me, so I said, “hello?” Ignored. “Hello?”
She came out, looked at me in wonderment.
“Are you closing?”
“Can I get something here?”
“What do you want?”
“A cup of coffee and a piece of that cake.”
“What kind of coffee?”
“Coffee with milk.”
I did as ordered. She brought out the cake and coffee, and went back to the kitchen to continue slamming dishes.
After viewing the museum, I walked back to the hotel room. The floors in my room were in need of heavy duty cleaning, and the kettle had old water in it and was dirty, besides.
The bed: It was like laying on a bed of rocks. Restless night, and up early in the morning.
The taxi arrived.
“Have you always lived here in this town?”
“Yes,” the taxi driver said.
“Oh, It looks like there is a lot of activity here in this port.”
“Yes, a lot of activity.”
“Wow, I see a lot of lumber there getting ready to load on a ship.”
“Yes, a lot of lumber.”
Then I was at the ferry in Scrabster. Ninety minutes later I disembarked in the Orkney Island town of Stromness.
Slate is used on streets (and fences and roof tile, as well), and with the stone buildings, with all of it wet from rain and dark due to the absence of sun, it was mysterious.
I walked on the street looking for a building number but there were none, so I stopped at a little flower/gift shop and showed them the address and name of the guesthouse owner.
“Oh, I know where that is. I’ll walk with you.” said the shop worker, a pretty teenager eager to be of help. She took both of my bags and walked all the way to the guesthouse, where Jennifer, my next hostess was waiting at the door for me. Her door had a number on it.
Tomorrow I’ll give the reason for my visit to the Orkney Islands, where I’ll be for about ten days, traveling around the twenty inhabited islands of seventy in total.
Back a bit to the bus ride from Inverness to the hotel where I stayed last night: my seat-mate kept me interested in his passion for science and humanities. Christopher is an author of two books, and is embarking on another book project regarding his thoughts on changing the environment through a consensus, not through domination.
I’m posting photos of the trip on the bus, the Royal Hotel turn-style and the building where I’m now staying.