Today Andreas and I had the very happy task of picking up our son Kosta at the Stornoway airport. Andreas hadn’t seen Kosta for more than two years; I saw him at Christmas, but that’s still too long ago in my book.
Kosta is working on his Ph.D. in computational physics. He was at a conference in Aix-en-Provence these past two weeks (something tells me the Festival de Theorie didn’t bear much resemblance to the HebCelt Festival). He arranged to take a little more time off from his research on plasma turbulence at sub-proton scales to meet us for a week in the western isles.
It’s Sunday, and Sundays are a special day on Lewis. Religion, governed here by the Free Church of Scotland in a few different varieties, informs island life to an extent most Americans are no longer familiar with. Sunday is reserved for rest and worship, and that means no buses, no shops, no museums, and no restaurants other than a couple of hotel cafes and an Indian takeaway. In the mystery novel Black House, set in Lewis, the author Peter May mentions that until recently the swings at the children’s playground were tied up for the Sabbath. There was an extra ferry out of Stornoway last night: most visitors don’t want to get stuck here on a Sunday.
Although there are no Sunday ferries, the airport operates with a skeleton crew to meet the one incoming flight from Edinburgh. We picked up a rental car yesterday to use today (great fun with an Ethiopian driver’s license: try explaining the difference in numbering years. Well you see it says it expires in 2007, but in Ethiopia that’s really 2015…no really…).
After picking up Bonnie Prince Kosta we set out to tour the island. Here’s what we saw: