When you are absolutely fascinated about the gorgeous place that your best friend and her hubby live in, you can do much more than just being J. 😉 I decided to interview my bestie ( a newbie blogger ) and here she takes us on a virtual travelogue to go dreaming and then bag-packing anytime.
My best friend Anushree Ganguly and her husband Shubham live in Shetland Islands. A few months back they were here for vacation to be with the family in Lucknow, India. But before proceeding to their parents place, they surprised me by spending a full day with me in Delhi. I was elated. Anu and I have known each other since ages and our friendship goes back to more than fifteen years in time. From teen-age school girls to married ladies, we have been in touch irrespective of the geographical boundaries.
The day was wonderfully spent at my parents’ place where we chatted non-stop. Believe me or not our better halves made friends like they had known each other from ages. They got pally from the word ‘go’. Together we lived our lunch box memories to friends, to everyone’s Facebook statuses to our countries we live in to everything on this earth. It was a BIG DAY! We talked over breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner till I had to leave for a party and they were off to catch up the connecting train.It was an emotionally fulfilling day and more a very enriching day too.
Now, if you are wondering whats that place, I must tell you if it was not them, I wouldn’t know it too. Precisely, I wasn’t even aware of it until she shifted there, bought a house too. Her Facebook timeline decked up with beautiful pictures from there tempts me almost every day to spend a lavish holiday there some day.
Coming to the day when we met, their fascinating stories from Shetland gave me a creative high. It felt so good to hear about her neighbors who are artists, writers, gardeners, ship-men and people who thrive on creative professions. Unlike the mad rush here, she talked about walking, strolling, making pastries, close knit family and friends party and believe me she is part of it all along with a daily job. The day felt too less when it came to their lovely descriptions of Shetland. For the next few days I lived over my fascination and read about Shetland on Google. Next, I got a great idea to do a small interview with Anushree to talk about Shetland. Come, lets discover the landscape of over 100 islands from an Indian eye.
Shetland has a wealth of stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, pristine beauty and rare flora and fauna.
Location of Shetland
Anu – Middle of nowhere, in the north sea, it is the northern most part of Great Britain.
Population of Shetland
Anu – About 22000 , yes you heard that right
Tell me about your job profile
Anu – I work with the National Health Service
Shubham –Works as a Nautical Lecturer
How would you describe Shetland, a place of beauty or adventure or something else?
Anu- I shall call it a beautiful adventure, where the beauty is enchanting and adventure takes you to a whole different world, a whole different way of life!
How has life been since you shifted to Shetland?
Anu- Shetland happened by chance and li’l by choice. I have learned, Island life is simple, soulful and unique in so many ways. One thing that Shetland has taught me is to value every single day of my life as it comes and to be contended.
Tell us one habit that you picked after shifting to Shetland
Anu- Walking!! The first year in Shetland when we had no car (trust me it wasn’t as much fun as it sounds), we used to walk everywhere. I love my strolls and walks (a bit more now that we do have a car!)
I have learned, Island life is simple, soulful and unique in so many ways.
What is so beautiful about Shetland, its people or its location?
Anu – I believe people make a place. While this place is naturally gifted, without the Shetlanders, Shetland is incomplete!
To entice me to visit Shetland, what would you say about it first?
Anu – If you like peaceful wide open spaces, buzzing sea bird colonies, stunning landscapes, community experiences and flora & fauna – Shetland is your place. If geology interests you or you fancy singing seals, Shetland is a treasure trove.
If ‘aurora borealis’ or as they call northern lights is in your bucket list- Shetland is your place. Watching the meerie dancers may take you outside for several hours on cold nights, several layers of insulation and a flask of hot tea or coffee is also a very good idea. From music to culture to nature to history, from people to ponies, Shetland will surprise you!
You being an avid traveler, writer- blogger & photographer – Shetland is your paradise. You could sit at the Sumburgh head for hours writing what you love to write and watching the whales once in a while too! Need I say more?
Events that you celebrate in Shetland
Anu – Shetland celebrates some great musical events like the Folk Festival, Jazz Festival but I have heard Shetland is peaceful and quiet only until UpHelly aa!
How has your food habit changed?
Anu – So let me tell you about Honesty Boxes! There are honesty boxes kept in various junctions and streets, where local folk keep produce from their garden, like carrots, cauliflowers, tomatoes, eggs, all sorts of home-grown. You just go take what you like and put the money in the honesty box. So that’s a food habit I have picked on …
How is the work pressure?
Anu – I feel lucky because I get a lot of time for myself which is not common in city life and I don’t let any pressures take that away from me. I love my workplace and my workies, they are a great bunch.
What is that one thing for which you would never want to leave Shetland?
Anu – The friends and family that I have made here is seems indispensable. I will also miss the goodness and purity that this island offers in so many ways.
Places of Attraction in Shetland
Anu: Again, hard to name one, But I could be your virtual tourist and tell you the 5 must dos
St Ninian’s is one of the finest sand tombolos in Europe, and it is the largest active tombolo in the UK. This pristine beach is our favorite barbecue destination!
Sumburgh Head – Here the Atlantic meets the North Sea and the unique action of tides and wind encourage a wealth of wildlife of which seabirds and seals, and occasionally whales and dolphins, are first to catch the eye. The seabird colony is among the most accessible in Britain. Puffins are, arguably, its top attraction, often sitting just at your feet’s length Bonhoga Gallery, Weisdale Mill- Bonhoga means “my spirital home”.
Art lovers should hone their appetite with a visit to the Bonhoga Gallery at Weisdale Mill, the most northerly gallery in the UK. The bonus is a lovely homely cafe stunning views overlooking Kergord Burn. My favorite is the Salmon! The café serve a selection of delicious fresh food, much of which is locally produced and this includes arguably the best scones in Shetland, complimented by a tempting range of teas& coffees.
Standing 13m high, Mousa is Scotland’s most impressive and best surviving Iron Age tower or broch. I now know that brochs were built in Shetland around 400-200BC. By the way, you could see the mousa lighthouse from my living room , it’s gorgeous. The highlight is the Storm Petrel Dusk Trip on a Mousa Boat.
(Keep tuned in to her blog Zindagi- You are Rawmazing! to know more about this!)
Unst – the most northerly island in Britain, in the heart of the Viking seaways AND Hermaness National Nature Reserve lies in its northern tip. The reserve, which is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage, is home to one of Europe’s most spectacular seabird colonies, with over 40,000 pairs of Gannets and one of the largest Bonxie (Great Skua) populations in the world. Guillemots and Razorbills also nest here on the huge, vertical cliffs and this is one of the best places in the UK to get close to Puffins.
How does one spend a weekend in Shetland…
Anu – It all depends on sunshine! If the sun is out, we are out and that’s a rule!
If the sun is glittering, then we could be having a beach picnic, or be sitting in an open café having home bakes or could be enjoying a barbecue. If the weather is dull, we get even more active with our favorite family game called Tension ( you have to play it to know why its called that!) Shubham plays cricket for Shetland League so that keeps him busy and I like the company of my scrapbook, decoupage and my craft corner in ‘my’ time, occasionally with a glass of rosé!
Thanks Anushree and Shubham for this wonderful virtual trip. Hope I come and see you people soon in Shetland!