|Sunset from Dun I|
|Abbey in the evening|
|Larger view of Abbey in Evening|
|The Nunnery on Iona|
At 1 PM, there was lunch. It was amazing to see what our cook had prepared with the chopped vegetables. The afternoons were generally free. One afternoon, I took a boat trip to the Isle of Straffa (it deserves its own post). One day, we took a long walk (maybe seven miles) around the island, stopping for contemplation and to learn about the island. While I appreciated the history, I wish the guides were a little more prepared to also discuss geology and plant-life, as much of this was foreign to me. On the day, a group of us had a very short swim in one of the bays. It was cold, colder than a summer dip in Lake Superior between the United States and Canada, or Lake Baikal in Russia (Or maybe I’m just getting older). Some afternoons I took a nap or read.
|Chapel to left is a burial ground for islanders and kings|
|North End of Iona|
At 4 PM, we’d gather for tea. If it was rainy, as it often was, we’d take our tea by the hearth in the dining room, where we’d dry out and enjoy a “biscuit” (cookie for Americans) and some tea or coffee. At six was dinner, followed by evening prayers in the chapel. These services were special as the sun coming in from behind gave a warm light to the chapel (I posted a photo of the inside of the chapel a few weeks ago). Some nights were free, others there were events such as dancing in the town hall. On the last evening, there was a talent show, with stories and songs from various parts of the world where we’d all come. A couple of evenings, I’d take a walk down to one of the hotels or the bar for internet access and a drink of some of Scotland’s finest. Afterwards, I’d walk, often up to the top of Dun I, the high point on the island (about 330 feet above sea level). As it was late June, the sun was setting around 10:30 PM and it never really turned totally dark. Several evenings, I sat on Dun I till nearly midnight and had no problem making it down in the twilight without a flashlight (or torch, as the British call it). One night, it got dark enough and there was enough break in the clouds that I was able to see two stars. It was after midnight!
|Twilight, looking north|
|That's me on the South End of Iona|
It was a delightful and restful week.
|South end of Iona (notice golf course in sheep's pasture)|