Many Who Travel…

…,especially those who plan on being away for a longer period of time, have sometimes thought of freighting personal items to their point of destination. Often between countries, postal services are the only alternative available and not entirely to a satisfactory result and that appeals to a tight budget.

When we started to plan our sabbatical to Shetland, we considered sending a few “boxes” ahead of time. This idea was largely to ease the costs of gasoline required for the trip as well as thinking in an environmentally way. But, having intensely searched internet and a dozen or so phone calls to shipping and freighting companies in Sweden, the trouble and search became too negative and we had to make compromises. Streamline01The Swedish excuses for this were that shipping companies didn’t know where Shetland was, they never ship things for private people only businesses (which wasn’t a problem) or they would charge colossal amounts for insurance on less than 1 cubic meter; thus giving a we-don’t-wanna-give-you-service response.

Now, when returning to Sweden and the remote rural area of the sub-arctic, we again decided to try to ship a few boxes using a local Shetland shipping and freighting company. To our wonder and amazement, we stumbled upon one of the world’s most sincere, capable, knowledgeable and service-minded professional shipper this side of the world… Streamline Shipping of Lerwick!

Streamline03

Our first “trial” box with Streamline got to its destination in a week’s time…door-to-door service. Today, I sent two more personal item boxes and was met with the same service enthusiasm as the first i.e. handshakes, nothing impossible, first name friendliness, yes-sirs and…”come back and we’ll treat ya t’ some ice cream”!

Streamline02

With my question of ever needing to freight things from the sub-arctic to Shetland in the future, there were absolutely no problems. Mike Davies, the manager of Streamline in Shetland, only needed a post number, names & addresses and Streamline would take care of the rest! It was just to contact them. I got personal help with paperwork from Ms. McDonald, office administrator, and she even followed me to the warehouse, rolled my boxes away and gave me a handshake and the invitation of ice cream.

Streamline04Streamline works with other similar companies, has a large park of trucks and a container ship and centers its business with Scotland and the U.K. But, I’m confident they can deliver anything from here to yonder.

The next time we need that all important we-care-about-you service with shipping requests, I won’t even consider Swedish shippers with the attitude I was met with. Streamline is now at the top of my list and I’ll recommend Streamline Shipping in Shetland any day!

PS
– This is not a paid advert but comments from a satisfied customer
PSS– Jeppe is almost loaded, the flat almost clean and we’re off soon.

Hemåt.

Vår långa resa börjar närma sig sitt slut. På torsdagkväll kör vi ombord på Northlinks färja för den första etappen på vår långa resa hem.

Det är inte utan att jag tycker det ska bli trevligt med skog igen även om jag önskar att att litet hav med tillhörande strand kunde finnas i den.  Jag har blivit  “havstagen” med andra ord.  Att bo vid havet och uppleva havets egna liv har varit en upplevelse och jag kommer att sakna det.

Vi har träffat  fantastiska människor som också lämnar sina spår. Här kan två åldre damer nämnas som båda föddes i Kina, levde där under delar av sin barndom. Hamnade därefter i Nya Zealand och Australien, kom så småningom till England och till sist Shetland.  Tänk vilka liv!

Naturligtvis kommer vi också att sakna våra nya vänner men två av dom har faktiskt redan beställt biljetter för att besöka oss under marknaden. Det ser vi fram emot.

Ha det bra tills vi kommit hem och kan rapportera lite från vår något kringelikrokiga hemresa.

1 Year & 1 Month…

…after we first arrived in Shetland, our sabbatical has come to an end and it is time to return to Sweden. With mixed feelings and heavy hearts, we will be filling up Jeppe with our personal things, clean the flat, say our goodbyes and do last minute tasks the next few days. Our blog will be temporarily ignored as we will be busy with returning.

For the most part, we will be on ferries during our return. More fun to be in bunks, relaxing, than fighting traffic on freeways and roads. Safer and environmentally friendly, too

After a year we’ve discovered many things. Some things on Shetland we’ve spoken about as “a Victorian way of doing things” or “Victorian thinking”. With other things, we’ve learned some positive ideas that we will carry with us. In the broader view, Shetland’s culture is exciting, the ocean has become addictive, great friends have been made (and will be missed) and we haven’t become tired of or bored with Shetland after 1 year & 1 month.

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As one of our friends once said, “you’ve gotten some roots”. I can only agree and, as we pack our bags, we have the words “We’ll Be Back” in our heads. Somehow, I think Shetland will be a bigger part of our lives in the future…only, we just don’t know when.

PS– Laplandica’s blog will return, as we will report on the trip back to Sweden and other thoughts and experiences we’ve had on the way. Right now, we’re on the move…

Cruise Ships to Shetland…

…have become more abundant these last few years and are a meaningful source of income for Lerwick. Today, one of the behemoth-styled cruise ships came into Lerwick port, or rather anchored itself in the middle of Bressey Sound, because it was too large to dock anywhere else. As we drove into town this morning, the smoke-stack on this monster was higher than the houses on Hillhead, the highest hill of central Lerwick.

CruiseShipLerwick01Photo: Cruise ship arrives in Lerwick

I’m completely convinced that this method of touring has become popular and passenger rolls have increased with each sailing. For Shetland, and especially the small town merchants of Shetland’s largest city, they provide a full till of cash that is dumped by passengers anxious to buy native wares and services. If I’m not too wrong, this season will have brought in close to 50 cruise ships of various sizes and are very important for Shetland’s commerce. This particular cruise ship, the Costa Magica, had about 2000 passengers, or about 25% of the population of Lerwick.

CruiseShipWelcoming02Photo: Each passenger is welcomed to Shetland with traditional music and a warm handshake

One intriguing event that caught my eye, as I parked Jeppe on Victoria Pier parking lot, was how Shetland welcomed these passengers onshore and to Shetland. Since the ship was so large, a series of smaller boats worked in shuttle, transporting passengers between the main vessel and Albert Wharf. As the came onshore, Shetland had arranged for local musicians to play traditional music and a local personality to shake everyone’s hand and personally welcome them to Shetland. Great PR, isn’t it?

Seaways vs Airways
Due to recent air carrier price increases, loss of creature comforts on flights, intense and almost “paranoiac” complications with check-ins and security at airports and the ever-present “what-goes-up-could-come-down-unwantingly” sensation on monster airplanes, I personally feel that it would be positive to observe an increase in ocean travel.

CruiseShipLerwick02Photo: The ferry to Bressey is drawfed by the size of a modern and impersonal “monster” cruise ship

But, does everyone really want to pay for 4 story shopping malls, outdoor swimming pools, activity leaders, casino machines, unknown stand-up comedians and entertainers, elevators to huge restaurants and having to hold a small map in hand so as not to get lost on board? Does one really enjoy a 6-9 hour marathon run to see popular points of interest in a world famous city? Why not simple cruises that give more time to explore foreign ports and harbors in exciting new countries and less time wasting on the ship?

Is it the destination or the journey to it, that’s fun? Consider a smaller cruise ship with adequate and quality cabin arrangements, a library of excitingly good reads, intimate eating arrangements allowing passengers to discover each other, chess boards, water-color tutoring and hours of just relaxing in fold-up chairs watching the sea pass by and using binoculars to count the aquatic bird life during the day. One can easily imagine themselves being an Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, as these two hang over the railing, sharing a cigarette, a small scotch and talking about “love” on a moonlit ocean evening?

I would definitely be one of many that would choose a cruise with that theme, wouldn’t you?

SwedishYachtLerwick01Photo: An alternative method of ocean cruising from Sweden

Some Sundays…

…I take time to walk around Lerwick. I’ve done this occasionally during winter and have a routine of going by houses and gardens that I find interesting. I do my “round” and keep track on other people’s gardens and flowers.

I have never really been interested in gardening before. Lawn maintenance, yes! Garden flowers and plants, no! A portion of the latter explanation could be determined because of living in the sub-arctic for so long. Seven months of white winter and three months of green winter. The other two months are useless for growing.

LerwickFlower

But, I have been thoroughly intrigued with the skills, abilities and determination that Shetlanders put into their gardens and I have immensely appreciated being a consumer of these visual delights, that can be found all over.

Some gardens are super. Some gardens could be better. I just want to take my hat off to everyone that has a little patch of flowers near their house. Please see the new picture gallery under Images called: Lerwick Garden Work. While viewing, consider the efforts and variety of personalities behind the images.

For myself, I really get enthused by what I see and could seriously get into gardening someday. You, too, can perhaps become inspired?

Shetland Shorts-

A year has gone by and what observations can be made?

peatwork01 A. Whether working with birch firewood or heating with peat, you can always see signs of those who know what they are doing!

shetlandlairds01 B. Apparently, EU politicians really take themselves seriously and think they are one of the gang!

crispsproblems01 C. While the U.K. struggles to decrease their carbon footprint, crisp manufacturers continue with traditional packaging? (Photo: small bags of crisps inside a larger package)

shetlandyachts01 D. In bad weather, fishing boats hug Victoria Pier for shelter. In great weather, yachts hug Victoria Pier.

Conclusion- Shetland has given many thoughts this last year!