There is much to love about the Orkney Islands, aside from the changing colors of the ocean and the sky, the green grass, sheep, cows and friendly people. The Islands believe in fair trade purchasing, windmill energy, and have good recycling habits.
I got to the place where I’ll stay for two nights from the generosity of visiting campers on the grounds of the hostel where I stayed last night.
David Scott, his son Hamish and their friend William McCormack were outside in the morning when I was outside waiting to head up to the B&B I had reserved for two nights.
I was waiting for the lady who runs the hostel, and who said she would find out from the B&B if they could pick me up. I waited until 11 a.m., and was too hungry to wait any longer. So I put the three men in charge of my bags and trundled up to the hotel where I ate dinner last night. The restaurant wasn’t opened, so back I walked, hungry.
David loaned me his phone and I called the first lady who obviously hadn’t even tried to find anything out for me, so I left the key on the table. David agreed to take me to the Old Manse B&B. He stopped someone on the way who knew exactly where it was. Sheila, a retired mail delivery woman graciously accepted me, and showed my my beautiful room that overlooks the harbor.
Then I walked on the road to a restaurant called the Half Yok Cafe’. The spelling is correct. The explanation is given for that spelling, is that it is a Westray term for a workman’s ‘piece’ of his time to eat and drink when he stops for a break. I opted for a panini with cheese and a chutney, passing up a ‘tattie’ which is a potato.
The people who own the cozy restaurant also take folks on mini-island tours, so I signed up for a one-half day tour tomorrow which includes lunch.
A word of advice for senior travelers: it isn’t necessary to see everything, but to pick a few places that you would enjoy. Just walking around a new place affords a lot of ways to fill your senses: the smell of the ocean, food smells from kitchens, the sites of animals in yards or in fields, birds who flock together in the sky – deciding who should lead and who will follow – and inside stores. It’s fun to see merchandise you’re not familiar with, the ingredients that go into the item and how it is packaged and where it was produced.
After I did all of the above, including a walk around a grassy cemetery with old and new tombstones and a remnant of a very old stone church, I met the three campers, on the road looking for the Half Yok Cafe, so I gave them the directions.