Well, somehow I’m in Budapest. I had meant to stay in Austria, but it being the holidays means that people just come out of nowhere and book everything up; so my usual lack of planning doesn’t work so well. I’m actually quite lucky to have a place for the next few days, then everything will go back to normal and I can wander about without much concern. I had really meant to stay in Switzerland, but I ended up in northern Italy for some rock climbing and some photos, so then went to Austria. Oh ya, its pretty cold these days as well, -5c when I was walking around Vienna the other day, good fun.
The snow has finally arrived…
We traveled hundreds of feet up through the frozen darkness, only headlamps to light the way. The roof, sometimes high, sometimes low, peeled off in delicate layers, often nearly reaching the floor. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
Seconds after this picture was taken, the entire hanging section collapsed to the ground from just a gentle touch. One definately feels their mortality in a place such as this.
Boom!… Boom, Boom, Boom! rat, tat tat tat tat… As large explosions shake the earth then the rattle of machine gun fire fill the silence. Interesting background noise as I’m wandering in a dark and foggy forest on the border of a US military weapons range. It’s 9:00 at night right now, and I can still hear the explosions in the distance; sounds a bit like thunder…
Been a busy month: Scotland to England to Wales to England and now Germany again.
The days are short and cold; the nights long and dark. I’m doing my best just to keep warm…
8/23/06: 13:20 – Rackwick Bay, Hoy, Orkney, Scotland
The clouds and rain have parted, the sun is now shining brilliantly. The calm sea sits before me, gentle waves crashing over the rocks; the water as smooth as glass. A family is down on the beach to my right, the kids screaming and laughing as they play in the water; so calm, so peaceful the sea is at this very moment. The hills behind me, a mixture of light and shadow; the heather purple with flower. In the distance, towards the south, Scotland sits. A dark mass of cliffs across the sparkling sea. Before me, not 50m away, the head of a seal bobs up and down among the waves.
Here I sit, on an old and weathered rock of red sandstone. Centuries ago it was, no doubt, part of the great cliffs that surround me and the bay. But now after being worn by the crash of waves over the ages, it is now a comfortable seat, in front of the bothy, above the sea.
My memories from the past have not left me. This view a familiar one, like I never left all those years ago. The rocky shoreline to the right, which gently changes to a magnificent sandy beach of red and gold. The seal still hasn’t moved, perhaps it’s enjoying a break from an morning of fishing.
8/23/06: 16:15 – Rackwick Bay, Hoy, Orkney, Scotland
I just returned from a walk in the hills; such a day is too brilliant to be spent sitting around in the dark and smokey bothy. And since I’m not one for beach going, to the hills it was for me!
As I climbed the heather covered slope on the southern edge of the beach and gained enough height, I was presented with a view of crystal blue waters. Bright and turquoise near the shore and deep blue as they traveled out to sea. Higher and higher I climbed up the heathery slope, at some points a bit of rock climbing was also involved, until finally the cairn marking the summit was in sight. To the south, the cliffs and mountains of the Scottish mainland, with dark and ominous clouds hanging overhead, slowly approaching my position, though the sun was still shining brightly at this point in time.
I was now on the soft ridge line. Here and there, dozens of small tarns sat among the boggy land, their water black from the tannin of their peat surroundings. The terrain underfoot would change constantly as I headed along the ridge: tarns and mossy grasses, rock and dirt, heather and peat. Overhead, the great Skuas were circling cautiously, keeping a watchful eye over the movements of a trespasser in their domain. At times, in the silence of these hills, I could hear the flapping of their wings as they passed overhead. Fortunately, they seemed more interested in chasing each other rather than myself, but I still kept a watchful eye towards the sky, as dark shadows passed before the sun. From time to time I would surprise a rabbit and watch as it went hopping away. Indeed, the hills here were covered in a crisscross of small game trail, weaving this way and that in no apparent order or direction, to man.
Dark clouds soon blocked the sun and the gentle breeze turned to a chilled wind as I aimlessly wandered, roughly heading towards the summit of a peak far in the distance. But as I had little water with me, I didn’t push myself to reach it. Instead, I comforted myself with slow wanderings and the silence of my thoughts.
8/23/06: 18:30 – Rackwick Bay, Hoy, Orkney, Scotland
The Sky is calm and silent, the clouds sit low and heavy now; rain showers falling over the sea towards the south, the glow of the sun towards the west. A skua flies along the shore before me, landing on the blackened and bloated carcass of a dolphin, its life now nothing but decay. waves begin to crash on the rocks before me as a swell arrives, then silence again. The light breeze is barely able to keep the midges at bay. The air is cool and heavy, will a storm arrive soon?
St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall.
I haven’t had any chance to work on images. I just found a wireless connection at the library here in Bergen. In 2 hours I’ll be on the Ferry to Shetland (Scotland). Two days ago I hitchhiked here from Trondheim, 700+km. Two days on the road.
A few quick pics of Norway for the meantime…
Time passes so quickly… Views of Germany and Netherlands to the south, the North Sea is northwards while Islands are to the east and west. Not a bad view day in and day out. 17km beach, No cars…
New on the Blog
- New Ebook – Padjelantaleden Hiking Guide July 9, 2020
- Kungsleden South ebook update – 2nd edition – Kvikkjokk to Hemavan November 20, 2019
- Seasons On Lofoten – Summer – 2nd Edition May 9, 2019