After crossing the North Sea, and sailing into the Port of Lerwick on the Shetland Islands, we were excited to explore the area!
The landscape is so much different compared to Norway: no colorful wooden houses, but sandstone cottages. No long streets, but allies and little lanes. We saw tea salons, pubs and lots of traditional clothing shops with Shetland knitwear famous for the soft wool of their sheep, tweed fabrics and of course the well know Scottish kilts. And plenty of whiskey being sold.
When you visit a new country, it is always fun to explore the supermarket, you learn a lot about eating habits when you look at the products. In this case 20 different brands of white beans in tomato sauce, many different curries, and of course lots of biscuits, scones and muffins.
The archipelago of Shetland consists of 100 islands, but only 15 islands are inhabited. The most important island is Mainland with Lerwick being the capital with 7.000 people living here. When we started cycling around the city of Lerwick, we soon noticed there were hardly any trees: due to the continuously strong winds, not many trees grow here. The Shetlands are on the same latitude as the south tip of Greenland (60 degrees).
The Knab is a famous hill where on the cemetery lots of seamen are buried. Also Dutch seamen. They came here to fish for herring and buy woolen socks. Dutch were also fond of the Shetland ponies and actually had competitions in the 19th century to ride the ponies over the green hills of the Shetlands.
We visited the Shetland Museum and found out so many countries ruled over the Shetlands: Romans, Vikings, the Brits, Scotch. Now it’s a proud Scottish nation where the blue and white flag can be seen everywhere and people are very friendly to help you! We also visited Fair Isle, an island with 60 inhabitants and 600 sheep. Our boat was the only one in the natural harbour there and about 4 locals came to visit us. They also told us to visit Jose, a Dutch woman living in the Lighthouse on the island who really missed to speak Dutch. We cycled to the lighthouse but unfortunately she was not home. When we came back 2 seals swam in the harbour, that was a nice welcome home!