JUST LIKE US: We met Elsa and Anita from Måløy, Norway in Lerwick. They are just like us. Two friends from childhood who decided to break up and go away together. They both study at Shetland college in Lerwick, and are enjoying themselves very much.
In many ways, Shetland is a small piece of Norway. You can even buy Norwegian brown goat`s cheese in the local stores. And nature here is wild and beautiful. The weather changes from sun and quiet to howling gales and sea spray in a matter of minutes. The people here are shaped from the place they live, and are weather hardened and strong. But they are also very friendly and hospitable, especially towards Norwegians, with whom they feel very closely connected. The people here still have many words in their dialect that descend from Norse and Norwegian. The so called Shetland buses during Second World War galvanized this bond that was first established during the Viking ages some 1,300 years ago. The oldest traces of human settlement in back more than 5,000 years, and ruins from the past are everywhere to be seen, as everything was constructed in stone.

Peat has been used for heating since forever, and the landscape is scarred by it. There isn’t a single tree to be found on the islands, not as much as a bush. In the last decades, oil has made Shetland richer than the average found in the UK. But fisheries still play a vital role here. Sheep farming is also widespread, and people grow some potatoes and vegetables for their own consumption.

SHETLAND: Left hand driving, cheap beer, nice people, many Norwegians, stunning nature. Shetland has it all. We have taken a ride through the islands and tried to experience some of the things that these islands have to offer for visitors. We shall try to bring our readers a short resume here.
Adventurous days in Shetland
LUNCHING OUTDOORS: The nature in the Shetlands is stunnig and beautiful. Stone fences, green pastures and a wild ocean dominate. Lunching outdoors, perhaps wit a cup of English tea, is pure medicine for the soul!
The roads are well kept, but narrow. Hiring a car costs from 30 pounds a day. We tried it, and driving on the left side is no problem, really! There is some traffic, but people are considerate and careful when driving. During the course of one day we managed to drive all the way from Lerwick to Eshaness to the northeast, and then to the old Viking court of Jarlshof in the south. This without breaking any speed limits, so the distances are manageable. You can also go sightseeing by bus or boat, but hiring your own car gives you full freedom to stop anywhere you want. There are many lighthouses in Shetland, and small, picturesque villages are scattered around wicks and nesses around the islands.

Lerwick is a modern town, where you can find almost everything. There are museums, cafes, shops, the Fortress Charlotte, a library and a theatre. And like most other places here, everything is constructed in stone and concrete. There is an abundance of stone fences, and most berths are also in concrete. When icy winds are howling through the streets, and the rain is falling, there is nothing like creeping into a warm and cozy little pub in the local village, listen to some local, irish-inspired folk music and have a creamy ale for around 2 pounds sterling.

Lerwick 20.10.2006
A CALLING: To us, living and working here, is a calling from the Lord, say Reidar and Astrid Vetvik at Havly cafe in Lerwick. They have lived here since 1973. Here from Fort Charlotte, with Lerwick harbour in the background.
You don’t have to sail to Shetland by yourself, there are planes and ferries going from Iceland, The Faroes, Scotland and Bergen. The airport is quite interesting, because the road goes right across it! There isn’t even a gate there, only a sign, politely telling people to stop when the signals are amber. Crime rates on Shetland are low, even though we were told that there are some problems with alcohol and drug abuse here, as in so many other places. But you don’t have to fear for having your wallet nicked.

There are more than 100 islands in the Shetland archipelago, 15 of them are inhabited. There are ferry connections everywhere, so getting about is easy. Nature is powerful and ever present. For us, the cliffs of Eshaness to the north east made the greatest impression, with its stale cliffs and the Atlantic ocean ever pounding from the west. But there are also many beaches and smooth lagoons that one can go for a swim in.

As we speak (20th of October) we are waiting for favorable winds to go to Inverness. But for us, Shetland has been a most wonderful experience, and we are definitely coming back. We most heartfelt recommend it!

STUNNINGLY WILD: The cliffs of Eshaness to the northwest are a mighty view. Here the Atlantic ocean pounds the shores constantly, and in very bad weather, the spray can reach all the way up to the grassy top.

# Shetland is a part of Great Britain, and the capital is Lerwick. Lerwick is friendship town with Måløy in Norway. Shetland has its own flag.

# There are around 22,000 people living in the 15 inhabited of 100 islands in the archipelago. 8,000 live in the capital Lerwick.

# Fisheries, oil, service industry and sheep farming are the main industries.

# There are ruins of more than 5,000 years old houses in the islands. Many of them date back to the Viking age. The dialect still contains many Norse and Norwegian words.

# Ferries go from Bergen, Aberdeen, The Orknesy and The Faroes to Shetland. IN addition there are planes, also from Bergen in the summer time.

# Bank cards are accepted in most shops, and there are ATMs everywhere. The price level on food and drinks is half of that in Norway.


MUSIC: Shetland has a very rich musical- and cultural life. Recently, the 19th Accordion- and fiddle festival was held. Linda Gytri from Nordfjord in Norway was one of the invited musicians. Here from the legendary Lounge Bar.
STONE AND CONCRETE: The houses in the Shetlands are marked by the rough climate, and the lack of forests mean that most houses are built in stone and concrete. Thus, more than 5,000 year old remnants of houses can be found in a fairly good shape, still today.
SPEEDY GONZALES: We dont know why, but this fellow had a plane parked in his yard. Either he was using it as a sheep shed, or he needed to get around very quickly.
BA-BA BLACK SHEEP: Sheep farming is extensive in the Shetlands. Just like our homeplace Roest, they are famous for their rich, juicy, special taste. This is due to the fact that they also eat seaweed, along with grass.
HONK AND GO: The airport at Shetland is something specia. The road goes straight across the airfield, and there is no gate. Only a polite sign telling people not to drive onto the airfield when the amber light is on.

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