Thursday, September 17, 2009

I survived yesterday's challenge, driving a stick shift on the left side of the road. And the stick was located on my left side, not right. And I was sitting on the left side. And the traffic was coming right at me.

We spent the next-to-last day in Orkney dashing all over, from the Kirbuster Crofter Museum (a 19th Century black house, so called for the smoke from the peat fires that blackened the walls inside), the Brough of Birsay (Pictish and Norse ruins on a small island accessible only when the tide is out in a tiny 4 hour window), Skaill House (a country house, upper class, 19th Century), and Maeshowe (a Neolithic burial tomb complete with Viking graffiti).

At the Kirbuster Museum, we spotted this mystery bird. A duck? Your guess is as good as mine. We couldn't find it in bird books OR in any nature exhibit of birds. Suggestions?

I cannot get the Brough of Birsay out of my mind for the sweeping views of the coast (once we crossed over the small tidal beach). This picture is from the very top of the island, near the lighthouse, looking back at the coast. The other side of this tiny island fronts on the Atlantic Ocean with wild waves and steep cliffs. On the quiet side of the island, people built a stone community, later a church, and later still, we come, tourists, but still under the spell of sea, island, and sky.

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