Fall is in the Air

My photos look a little out of focus today. Kind of psychedelic. Or is it just me? The sky is an odd color. A rainy, dark day. But color starting as the trees adjust to winter.

I actually got a story published this week. No money but think of the fame! The notoriety!

Today is also gloomy and rainy. But that’s okay. We need rain. Rain is good. Winter is coming.

I read today that scientists think mammals will die out in 250 million years. All the land masses will collide, the sun will get brighter, and carbon dioxide will rise. We will suffocate and melt. I wonder if we will really last that long. Will we morph into something else? Will another species thrive on the new atmosphere? Will we build bio-domes like our science fiction writers predict? It is hard to imagine what 250 million years looks like. The dinosaurs roamed the earth for 165 million years and then all blew up about 65 million years ago. Mammals showed up about 225 million years ago. So we are almost half way through our time here. On the other hand the earth itself is 4.5 billion years old. We are but blips in time. It’s like democracy in Russia. A nanosecond. Apparently Earth has another 4 billion years to go. Don’t think I’ll be around to see it.

I’m reading Isabel Allende’s memoirs and in it she mentions the filming of The House of Spirits. I never knew it was made into a movie so I watched it last night. It was star studded, Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas, Winona Ryder, and a million other people. Of Love and Shadows is another one of her books that was made into a movie. I haven’t read that one but looks interesting.

I read that people who are optimistic and have positive thoughts on aging tend to live longer. I’m feeling positive I am aging.

A friend just found out he is going to Burundi for work. The poorest nation in the world. The most unhappy nation in the world. I first heard about Burundi during the Hutu-Tutsi genocide of the 1990’s. So I have been trying to find positive things about it. It is in the African Great Lakes region bordering on Lake Tanganyika. This is what I found.

They make pretty sisal baskets.

They have pretty birds.

Image: Michael Gwyther-Jones

Nice landscape.

Image: Dave Proffer

Drums are important.

Lake Tanganyika is big. It has hippos.

See, positive, positive, positive.

Argentina 2 of 4

As we flew into Ushuaia airport I could tell the pilot was having to do some maneuvering swooping down in-between the mountains and dealing with the heavy winds. A province of Argentina, Tierra del Fuego is an island that sits at the southernmost tip of South America. Ushuaia, its capital, is on the Beagle Channel about half-way between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, 620 miles from Antarctica. The meeting of the two oceans along with the mountainous terrain creates a strange weather pattern. It was usually very windy and could rain, be sunny, be stormy, windy raining, all within the same hour. It never rained for long and usually not very heavily. We could be out walking in the rain and never feel wet.

Once we hit the ground, I started to cry. It had taken me more than 30 years to get there but I was finally there. It was an amazing feeling. And the beauty of it did not disappoint, it was even more beautiful than I had imagined. The light and color was like nothing I had seen before. The area was dominated by snow covered mountains all around. Before arriving I had been worried that the excursions I had reserved would be cancelled because the weather forecast called for rain every day. I soon realized, rain meant nothing in Ushuaia. Life went on no matter what the weather was. One of our tour guides said the only people carrying umbrellas in Ushuaia were tourists. Because of the winds, umbrellas were useless.

Prison with heater in middle of block

We visited the prison museum our first day in Ushuaia. It was a good introduction to the island as it included anecdotes about the prisoners, some of the escapees, the history of the area, and even had a small art museum.

In 1902, the Argentine government formed a penal colony on Tierra del Fuego just outside of the small village of Ushuaia. At the time there were only about 40 houses on the island. The worst repeat offenders were sent to serve out their time, sometimes for life, building a prison and infrastructure to go with it. At one point they had more than 600 convicts living there. The cells were meant to be for one person but they would often have to double up.

The only heat was a wood stove in the middle of the building. It was cold. The prisoners built a small railroad going into the forest to help them haul wood back to their buildings once they had chopped down trees. Now it is a popular ride for the tourists. The prison closed in 1947 for humanitarian reasons and a Naval base was installed in 1950.

By then the area had grown and since there were no land animals to speak of, the government decided it would be a good idea to import some beavers from Canada. They could farm them for their pelt and create an industry. The problem was the climate in Tierra del Fuego was very different from Canada. It was not cold enough and the beavers did not grow the extra fur needed to make them profitable. The Argentines gave up and let the beavers go. They multiplied and created major problems to the point where today there are about 100,000 beavers with no predators. The beavers have cut down trees and built dams all over the place. Some of the forest in the area has been completely stripped. The government now has a plan to cull the animals over the next 10 years by bringing in specialized hunters.

Ushuaia is now a small city of about 70,000 people. The Navy base is still there, along with a small electronics industry, but tourism is the largest money maker. All the ships going to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia. People go to camp, hike, fish, ski, and enjoy nature. We ran into a bird watcher with the biggest camera lens I had ever seen.

I had arranged for several day trips while we were there. The first one was in a 4-wheel drive jeep. We piled in along with two other women, our 76-year-old driver, and an English speaking guide who had been there a month. The driver laughed when he heard that, he had lived in the area for nine years. They were both from Brazil. The guide was earning a little money before starting a trip from Ushuaia to Alaska on the Pan American Highway. His girlfriend was a chef and they were going to blog about their trip and the food they encountered on the way. I wonder if they ever left Ushuaia.

Lago Escondido

Our jeep took us over the Garibaldi pass to the north of Ushuaia. We stopped just over the pass to take a look at Lago Escondido. It was named Hidden Lake because sometimes the clouds come down and cover it completely and you wouldn’t even know it was there. We made our way down the other side of the mountain and took a dirt road off the main highway just past Rio Milna. Along the way we came across a police car that stopped and they had a chat with our driver. A car up ahead had gone off the road head first into a ravine and was stuck there. The driver was not hurt, unbelievably, but as we passed, there were several rescue workers looking puzzled as to how to extract the car.

Not far from there we tuned off the dirt road onto an old logging trail that was more of a path than a road. We were going deep into the forest. We saw beaver dams and damage, but also undamaged pristine areas. The air was crisp and clean and the nature was raw and beautiful.

Because of the terrain it took us about an hour to reach Lake Fagnano which I am guessing was less than 5 miles away. The lake is one of the largest in the world. It is about 60 miles long and nobody knows how deep it is. It is a glacial lake and sits in a basin on the Magallanes-Fagnano Fault. We stopped for coffee and pastries on the shore of the lake. Along the lake, there was no road. We drove along the shore of the lake and often in the lake and then back up looping to the dirt road we started from.

Back onto Route 3, aka the Pan American Highway, we retraced our steps over the Garibaldi Pass and turned off toward the Valley of the Wolves. This was mainly a winter recreation area where they offered dog sledding, ATV and UTV rides. In summer people hiked down to the Emerald Lagoon. We were there for lunch. Inside a round hut, that looked kind of like a yurt with grass growing on its roof, was a cozy room with tables surrounding a wood fire heater. At the back was another small room where meat and vegetables were being grilled on a wood fire. It smelled amazing. We had wine, bread and a delicious parilla (grill) Argentine meal.

The driver dropped us in town at the end of the trip and we wandered around the main street looking at the shops. We bought stamps at the post office and were pretty surprised when we found out it cost 4 dollars to send a postcard to the USA. I hope people will actually get them some day. A friend of mine works for Hard Rock Café so we always have to stop in when we see one. Ushuaia had one. Since we live in Minnesota we were happy to see one of Prince’s outfits on display in the Hard Rock at the end of the world. After drinking a lot of wine in Buenos Aires we shifted gear a bit in Ushuaia and tried some of the beers. They were actually pretty good and we found Patagonia, Cape Horn, Otro Mundo and Quilmes to all be drinkable. Patagonia was one of our favorites and readily available.

Next: The Penguins

Argentina 1 of 4

Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires

I went to Argentina in 2017. In a few months I will return so I wanted to refresh my memory of the area. I wrote this series at the time but on another blog. Enjoy.

In 1984, I went to Spain. I boarded a train in Granada headed for Seville. My ticket had a seat number on it but I could not find the seat in the car I was assigned to. Confused, I asked a guy who was standing in the aisle. It turned out he was as confused as I was and could not find his seat either. After a fairly long conversation in Spanish, he asked me where I was from. It turned out he was a school teacher from Oregon. We decided to pick any seat and got to talking about places we had been and places we would like to go. I mentioned I wanted to see more of South America including Machu Picchu. He had been there and highly recommended it but he also suggested I read the Old Patagonian Express by Paul Thereaux. It was about a trip from Boston to Tierra del Fuego mostly by train. His description of the southernmost tip of the world had a big impression on me. It sounded beautiful and other worldly and almost eerie. A special place. I decided I had to go there. Thirty-three years later, I finally fulfilled my dream. My son and I took the long trek from St Paul, Minnesota to Miami to Buenos Aires, Argentina on an overnight flight landing at 6 a.m. The taxi ride into town through the suburbs, the tall run-down apartment buildings, the knocked out windows, was underwhelming.

We stayed at the Palo Santo Hotel in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood. It billed itself as the only completely “green” hotel in Buenos Aires. I have to say it was very nice. It was a small boutique hotel with a great staff. Breakfast was included and we enjoyed the “media lunas” (small sweet croissants), media lunas filled with dulce de leche, beef empanadas, eggs, and homemade bread. We had a small balcony off our room with plants growing all around it and a waterfall outside in the courtyard and an inside waterfall that came on at 6 pm every day. There was a small shallow pool on the roof for those who wanted a dip or to sunbathe. It was hot. In the 80’s and 90’s F. most of the time we were in Buenos Aires. After a long nap, we went out and bought beer and sat on our patio. We picked out an Italian restaurant for dinner. That was enough work for the first day.

Casa Rosada – or pink house – is the seat of the Argentine national government and houses the president’s office

The next day was Sunday, Christmas Eve. I had read that there was an open-air artists market along an old cobblestone street in the San Telmo neighborhood. We headed over to the Plaza de Mayo to see the big pink National Palace and the Cathedral. The market started down a street off the plaza. Vendors lined both sides of the street and we walked down the middle. We walked for blocks and blocks and saw all kinds of items for sale. Jewelry, leather goods, clothing, ceramics. We were afraid it would be really kitschy and touristy but it wasn’t. It was really pretty awesome. I bought a cool pair of earrings. The artist adapted the earrings on the spot when I asked for silver wires. Everybody was friendly. They tried to communicate with everybody. We heard English, French, and Portuguese along the way. Some communicated by pointing and gesturing. Luckily I speak Spanish so we had little trouble.

We headed back to the plaza in order to catch the subway (known locally as Subte). On the way, we stopped in the Metropolitan Cathedral. This was where Pope Francis who is currently the Pope, performed mass before moving to the Vatican. It was nice and cool inside and a good place to rest out of the heat. The Cathedral was the seventh church built on the same site. The first chapel was built in 1593. The current building was started in 1752 and took almost 100 years to complete. The mausoleum of San Martin and the Unknown Soldier was in an alcove to the right of the nave. General San Martin led the army that liberated Argentina, Chile, and Peru from the Spanish in the early 1800’s. The sarcophagus is surrounded by three female figures representing Argentina, Chile, and Peru. Two grenadiers stand guard at the entrance.

There were several beggars out in front of the church. I watched one of them pull out a dirty bandage and wrap up a perfectly fine looking foot. We saw a lot of homeless people living on sidewalks and in alcoves around the city. The interesting thing was many of them seemed to have pretty good mattresses to sleep on. Some of them had elaborate setups. We ran into a group in a park who had put together a contraption so they could grill some food. Apparently, there are about 15,000 homeless in Buenos Aires.

The Subte was easy to figure out and inexpensive. Some of the trains were even air-conditioned. Each station had its own unique art on the walls. Trains ran pretty regularly even though it was the holidays. The only problem was we often had to walk a ways from the station to reach our final destination. Some days we walked 8 or 9 miles. My Fitbit was buzzing away.

Our next stop was the MALBA art museum (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires – It is a big modern building designed by three young Argentine architects in 1998. The artists featured came from all over Latin America and the day we were there, a special exhibit on Mexican artists was in place including Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera among others. The art was fabulous.

That night we had booked a special dinner for Christmas Eve at the UCO Restaurant in Palermo. It was within walking distance from our hotel. Nothing opens before 8 pm for dinner so we had a reservation for 8:30. It was a six-course dinner with wine pairing. All the wines came from the Uco Valley of Mendoza, Argentina.

The first course was a charcuterie of pork shoulder with apple chutney, veal tongue with chimichurri, pork terrine with homemade mustard, pate with sliced almonds, pork fillet cured in herbs, pastrami with cucumber pickles and Patagonian trout smoked in Quebracho wood with fennel salad. It was paired with an Alma 4 Pinot Rose.

Next came the octopus pieces with aioli in a micro-salad. The wine was Zuccardi Q Chardonnay. This followed by a paella style rice with organic vegetables and emulsions paired with Emma Zuccardi Bonarda. The main course was Patagonian lamb shoulder cooked for 18 hours with morels, peas, and vegetables paired with Jose Zuccardi Malbec. My son had never seen morels before and didn’t know what they were at first. He did enjoy eating them, though.

We had a pre-dessert cleansing of watermelon granita and then peach with ginger, honey and cinnamon ice cream and hazelnut paired with Soleria by Malamado followed by some small petit fours. The evening ended with Zuccardi Blanc de Blancs champagne.

Needless to say, we were stuffed.

We came out of the restaurant about midnight and there was a family across the street setting off fireworks. Fireworks were going off all over the city in celebration of Christmas. We ended up staying up until about 2 a.m. enjoying the sounds and sights.

After spending two nights in a very hot room I finally figured out what the problem with the air conditioning was. I needed to actually turn it on. After that, we were very cool and comfortable. We got sunburned the first day of walking all over the city and made sure we had our sunscreen from then on. The sun was very hot and it hovered in the 80’s and 90’s the whole time we were there. If you were in the shade and there was a breeze, it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t very humid.

Christmas day was a quiet one with not much open. We decided to go to the cemetery. The Ricoleta Cemetery is on 14 acres and has over 6400 statues, sarcophagi, coffins, and crypts. It became the first public cemetery in 1822 and the layout was designed by Prospero Catelin, a Frenchman who also designed the Metropolitan Cathedral.

The graveyard was restricted to wealthy families with power. One plot could cost up to $8 million. The mausoleums were about 650 square feet with several floors going down into the ground. We found several abandoned graves where families could not afford the taxes and upkeep anymore. Eva Peron was buried in a heavily fortified crypt over 16 feet underground. You won’t find Jorge Luis Borges there, he was buried in Geneva, Switzerland.

It was another day of walking in the heat. We saw the National library – a huge neoclassical building. We walked through parks, saw monuments, ate French fries and shopped at the “Disco” grocery store.

Before I left the US, I had purchased tickets to see the Nutcracker at the Colon Theater. I have seen the Nutcracker many times, performed in different ways from ultra-modern to classical Russian. I went because I wanted to experience the theater. It is said to have some if the best acoustics in the world and is an opera house ranked on a par with La Scala in Milan, the Paris Opera House and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The current building opened in 1908 and has welcomed famous performers from around the world. They did a full restoration of the building in 2010.

We were impressed with the beauty of the theater, with its chandeliers and stained glass ceilings. The main hall is a horseshoe shape with box seats going up three floors. The orchestra pit holds 120 musicians. We had a box seat about halfway down one side of the room. We only had a partial view of the stage but we could hear the orchestra perfectly. There were four other people in the box and one small child. It was very hot and crowded. The performance was good but seemed geared more to children and was nothing out of the ordinary. We left at intermission just because we were so uncomfortable.

There was a restaurant in the same neighborhood that we wanted to try so we headed over there. It was about 9:30 or 10:00 pm when we got there and the place was completely packed. We managed to get a table right away but after that people were waiting inside and outside. They weren’t tourists, either. They seemed to all know each other. We didn’t really know what we were doing but we decided to share the half tenderloin and a side of mashed potatoes. The steak we got was about 12 ounces and cooked to perfection. It practically melted in your mouth. It came with an excellent chimichurri sauce and the potatoes were nice and creamy. Chimichurri always accompanies the grilled meat and can include parsley, oregano, garlic, onion, red pepper, vinegar, olive oil. It can be a green sauce or a red sauce. Many of the restaurants had their own secret recipe. If you are ever in Argentina be sure to go to Parrilla Pena (

The following day we headed for another airport. This time we were going to the southernmost tip of South America, my ultimate goal, Tierra del Fuego.

Jet Lagged

I’ve been back a few days now and am slowly getting over jet lag. Starting to feel human again. Trying to adjust back to regular life. Reflecting on all I saw and did.

There were lots of things I liked about my Arctic Cruise and there were some I didn’t. I realized I am not really a cruise person. I kind of knew that already but thought a small ship would be more of an adventure and less of a “cruise”. I was right about that. It was an expedition. You never knew what was going to happen next. You never knew what the schedule would be, would we land, would we go someplace else, would the sun ever come out… The sea was rough and unforgiving. I spent a couple of days confined to my cabin.

This was taken from my second story window

Once I started on my seasickness pills I stayed on them. It saved me. As we went farther north, things calmed down a bit. Even though we had 24 hrs of sun once we passed the Arctic Circle, it was cloudy and kind of gloomy.

We kept going farther north in order to find more ice. We were looking for polar bears and they usually hunt for seal on the ice. Once we crossed 80 degrees north we had to head south again. We did find some cool ice, though. A lot of it was blue.

Svalbard was not what I expected. I thought it would be more flat. It was almost all mountains and fjords. It was difficult to hike around on land because not only was it steep, it was covered in about two feet of snow. This was the closest I got to a wild animal.

Reindeer with their white winter coats on

We were the only people we ever saw. It was empty and cold and kind of eerie. But beautiful and magical. The vistas were definitely awe inspiring. And when the sun finally did come out, it was beyond belief.

So, what didn’t I like? I didn’t care for the Zodiacs. Those rubber motor boats with 8-10 people on them zipping around the icy waters. They were tricky to get in and out of and they went so fast, I had to hold on for dear life. I was sure I was going to fall out of the thing. I thought I was the only one, but once I mentioned it, people acknowledged they would not ride with certain drivers, or they felt uncomfortable as well. However, most people, it seemed to me, were loving every minute. They had been on these tours before and planned to go on the another as soon as possible. Many had been to the Antarctic.

It probably didn’t help that I had just been through the third snowiest winter of Minnesota history. I was kind of sick of cold and snow. So maybe not the best idea to go when I did but this particular organization only does this trip once a year and I wanted to see the Shetlands and the Faroes as well. It was my only option.

So I didn’t like the Zodiacs, much. I didn’t really like being in a confined space looking at water all the time. It was two weeks. The first week was fabulous but it got kind of the same after that. We spent five days wandering around the fjords of Svalbard. Two would have done it for me. Now that I have been to the Arctic, I don’t really see a need to go again. Although I may have to go to Canada to see a polar bear.

But I’m glad I went. I loved the Faroe Islands. I loved the gorgeous views of the snowy shores and mountains and glaciers of Svalbard. I loved being in the middle of nowhere out of touch with civilization. No news, no idea even what day it was. The food was good. The company was generally good. I read two books. I learned a lot about birds, and sea mammals, and ice. And now I have been to the southernmost city in the world and the northernmost city in the world.

Here is a parting shot of Svalbard.

Back on Land

The night before we docked in Longyearbyen, Norway, we all toasted the Captain and crew and thanked them all for a wonderful trip. Earlier in the day I watched about twenty people take the polar plunge. They all survived.

Night or day the views were the same.

Once we docked in Longyearbyen, Norway we boarded a bus that took us to the airport. On the way we passed the entrance to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

I had an uneventful overnight in Helsinki and it was on to London the next day. I opted for a slower pace and stayed in Windsor for my last few days abroad. The castle wasn’t open on the days I was there but I managed to see a few sights. It really is a lovely town. With Eton right next door.

Windsor Castle was originally built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Eton College was founded in 1440 by Henry VI. You will need $56,000 per year to send your teenage boy there. No girls, please.

Svalbard, Norway

From Jan Mayen we headed north and spent another two days at sea before pulling into Bergerbukta at the southern tip of Svalbard. We took a Zodiac cruise and saw a seal lounging on the ice. The next four days were spent traveling the coast and fjords of the island.

We spent some time enjoying the view of the Fourteenth of July glacier.

We hiked over deep snow in Ny London to an old deserted mining town. They thought they had found a fabulous deposit of beautiful marble and set up shop with about 70 people. When their first shipment arrived in the UK they opened boxes only to find rubble. Because of the climate there were tiny cracks in the marble and so it had disintegrated during transport.

We passed by an old blubber gathering and whaling station. We stopped at an old unsuccessful site where they were looking for gold deposits.

There were sightings of walrus, seals, Orkas, beluga whales, reindeer, lots of glaciers and tons of birds, but no polar bears.

At one point we were headed to the northern edge of Svalbard and came across some beautiful blue ice. On the fourth day we reached 80 degrees North. We were closer to the North Pole than to the Arctic Circle. Six hundred nautical miles to the North Pole and 807 nautical miles to the Arctic Circle.

The weather was cloudy, snowy, foggy, and a bit mysterious until the last day when the sun finally came out.

Jan Mayen

The ocean is vast

Leaving Funningur, the captain announced rough water ahead. We needed to make sure everything was secured so it wouldn’t move around. I took my pill but not soon enough. I went to bed at six and my pill kicked in about an hour later but it was so rough, I didn’t want to try to walk around. I just stayed in bed until 6 am. From then on it was fairly calm.

From Faroe Islands we went directly north with Iceland to our left. After two days of sailing we arrived at Jan Mayen. During those two days we had lectures on whales, seals, Vikings, birds, as well as nature documentaries about the area.

During our whale lecture an announcement over the loud speaker directed us all to head on deck as Orkas had been spotted. We all rushed out and saw about six Orkas swimming around. Then we went back to our whale lecture. It was kind of magical.

Later that day we crossed the Arctic Circle. We all had a glass of champagne and a short celebration.

We arrived in Jan Mayen in the afternoon. We had hoped to land and take a walk but conditions were such that it was not possible. We were in the middle of nowhere. Jan Mayen was discovered by a Dutch whaler, Jan Jacobsz May, in 1614. It is basically a 7470 ft. high glacier-covered volcano that last erupted in 1985. The volcano is called Beerenberg and is the world’s northernmost sub-aerial active volcano (as opposed to under water or under ground). The island is 34 miles long. In the past it was a major whaling area but is currently a Norwegian military base and weather station.

We sailed all along the coast with lots of photo opportunities.

Unfortunately clouds were covering the summit but otherwise it could not have been a nicer day.

Faroe Islands

Sailing from Fair Isle, Shetlands to the Faroe Islands we came across some nasty weather. People who have been working on ships for 15 years were sick for the first time. I was very sick. It was a very unpleasant night. But by the time we arrived in Torshavn things had calmed down and I was feeling okay. I did contact the doctor, however, and got some pills to carry me through our next leg of the trip.

Torshavn is the capital of the Faroe Islands. Faroe means sheep so they are the sheep islands. We took a walking tour of the old town down by the harbor, Tinganes.

The village of Kirkjubour is an important historic site with a church dating back to the 12th century and an old farmhouse from the 11th century. There is very little wood on this island as well so they relied on shipwrecks and driftwood to build and furnish the farm house.

From October to May the sheep stay in town and in the warmer weather from May to October the sheep go up to the hills to feed. There are about 80,000 sheep and about 50,000 people on the islands.

The next day we sailed to Funningur.

Funningur is the oldest village on the islands. Irish monks arrived in about 625AD. The Norse (Vikings) arrived around 800. Today the Islands belong to Denmark. During WWII Denmark was occupied by Germany and the Faroes were occupied by Britain. So the Faroes had to have their own flag on their ships in order to distinguish them from the Danes.

Funningur is a village of about 40 people on Eystory Island. We took the zodiacs from ship to shore and the whole village came out to show us around, provide some history, feed us fish soup and pancakes, and in the afternoon we all danced traditional dances and sang hymns in the church. Plus they made a promotional film about it all since they are hoping to attract more tourists. Quite a day!

On our way north…

Fair Isle, Shetlands


Fair Isle from the ship.

Arrived at Fair Isle in the morning. A lot of rocking and rolling on the boat overnight. Big swells. Up at 6:45, breakfast at 7 am and then to the zodiacs at 8:15. When it was my turn to board the zodiac there was a huge swell and I ended up to my knees in water. The attempt was aborted and I had to go back and wait for the next boat. I managed to get to land but had to wait for a dry pair of boots.

Since I had such a traumatic experience and had a late start waiting for dry boots, everybody was taking care of me and I ended up in a car that took me to the museum. For most people it was an hour walk. So I had a bit different experience but it was very interesting nonetheless. The woman driving was originally from the Netherlands but lived in England for many years and moved to Fair Isle about 16 years ago.

The museum was in a one room stone building and run by a Fair Isle native who said her family moved to the island in the 1600’s. Since there is no wood on the island much of the furniture was made from or was actually recycled from shipwrecks. There have been a lot of shipwrecks over the past 200 years.

The island has about 70 inhabitants and is known for its knitted woolen sweaters and hats. Sheep were everywhere. It also has a large puffin colony. From the museum we went to the town hall where knitters and artists had displayed their items for sale.

The landscape was stunning.

My Morning Walk

Alyth, Scotland

Enjoyed my time in Alyth. Stayed at the Tigh na Leigh guesthouse on Airlie street. Nice hosts, clean, excellent food. They serve breakfast every day and dinner three nights a week. I ate dinner one night at the Lands of Loyal hotel situated above town on Loyal hill. Nice views of the valley and good food.

It was a beautiful day so had a nice walk along the Den of Alyth.

I stopped at a cafe in town for a sandwich at lunchtime. It was the meeting point for the local ladies who lunch group. All with their walkers in tow.

In the center of town there is a small museum only open in the afternoon. The caretaker was very knowledgeable and interested in helping people with any questions they had about the history of the area. He spent some time with me working on genealogy questions.