Invasion from the Sea

Shetland fights back against cruise ship invasion (photo Leah Arnold)

Shetland fights back against cruise ship invasion (photo Leah Arnold)

I’m writing this from the public library in Lerwick, Shetland islands, on a rainy and blustery morning, where the cruise ship has anchored off shore and small boats attached to the side of the ship (sort of like pods from the side of a space craft) brought us ashore.

I plan to update the blog during each stop, rather than pay their exorbitant internet fees onboard (almost a dollar a minute) so I can update it daily- in fact I’m going to try and not give NCL a single penny more during the cruise- we’ll see how it goes.

Last night we watched a broadway style stage production in the large onboard theatre- called Band on the Run- a musical about 1970’s music.  It was actually pretty entertaining.   Everything is sort of undefinably fake and plasticky on board though so its nice to get some fresh air and get away from the crowds– off to hike along the cliffs around Lerwick!

The Cliffs of Lerwick.... (photo courtesy Leah Arnold)

The Cliffs of Lerwick.... (photo courtesy Leah Arnold)

Cruise ships started descending on the Shetlands in greater numbers about a decade ago, and you can imagine the impact of 2000 passengers arriving in a town of only 7000 people (both the positive economic impact and potentially negative cultural impact).  Looking out into the harbour, the ship looks like an invading presence in this small maritime outpost.

The Port of Lerwick wasn't big enough for our behemoth (photo: Leah Arnold)

The Port of Lerwick wasn't big enough for our behemoth (photo: Leah Arnold)

Maritime twee (photo by Leah Arnold)

Maritime twee (photo by Leah Arnold)

Later that afternoon…

A 4000 year old "broch" in Shetland

A 4000 year old "broch" in Shetland

We walked around Lerwick and visited what’s known as a Broch- a defensive structure dating from the bronze or iron age (back to 2000 BC) It was made of stone and you could see the shelves they presumably used for storage etc.  Pretty eerie thinking about the generations that had inhabited it.

We also witnessed some more modern (and unsavory) aspects to life on the Shetlands- such as cars parking on the pavement.

Picking up bad habits from the mainland...

Picking up bad habits from the mainland...

But we were happy to see the Shetland Community Bike Project thriving in Lerwick, one of a growing number of community based bike repair centers springing up around the world.

Shetland Community Bike Project

Shetland Community Bike Project

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One response to “Invasion from the Sea

  1. So they even have pavement parking in Shetland! What’s the excuse this time? Got to leave space for the bloody longships?

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