Day 3: Iona

Iona Travel Blog

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The sheep saying goodbye to Jena as we left the hostel.
The next morning, Jena's nose woke us up well before the double-digit hours....but it was good to get an early start to the day -- out and about before anyone else was awake.  :]  (Except that on Iona, apparently everyone is awake at the crack of dawn)

It was a gorgeous sunny, clear morning though, and the air was crisp, and the wind was less intense, so we had a lovely stroll across the island heading towards town after checking out of the hostel.

As we were walking, we came across the gate and footpath to Dun I, Iona's highest point.  We'd seen the path the day before and sort of considered walking up to it, but I think at the time we decided that we were both far too out of shape to be hiking hills.  For some reason though, less than a day later, we suddenly felt energized and ambitious.
Me and Jena on Iona.
  That, and after we did some sketchy CIA-zooming photos of the hill, we thought we saw a cairn at the top, and decided we just had to go check it out.  So we climbed it.

Ultimately, Dun I turned out to be a 120-meter-high pile of mud and sheep poo, and on the way back down it I took one wrong step and ended up stuck knee-high in mud.  Seriously, it nearly suctioned my shoe off my foot too.  :/  But when we did get to the top, the views out over the island were just breathtaking.  Absolutely gorgeous.  A local sheep-dog had also followed us up the mountain, and just as we were sitting down to take it all in he came bolting up over the side of the cliff and started jumping all over us with his muddy paws.  He was sitting in my lap at one point.

Once we got back down from Dun I, I did my best to wipe off my leg and look presentable, and we continued our path into town to find some breakfast goods.
Some sheep with Dun I in the background.
  We ended up at the ever-popular Restaurant/Cafe/Diner/Pub/Bar/Lounge/Discoteque from the night before (which was now serving as a Cafe).  There was one other woman sitting at one of the tables, so we grabbed some scones and tea from the buffet and snagged a seat by another big bay window.

After grubbing up properly, we backtracked our way to the middle of the island and went into Iona Abbey.  It was really beautiful and incredible, but I don't want to bore you with all the details of the history of it and whatnot.  There's a few pics which should give you some idea of what it's like though.  Amazingly well-preserved too.  And the most amazing thing about the whole site was the complete lack of security....they literally just leave you to it to explore every nook and cranny on your own.  You can even wander into this one room which is just filled with all these 8th century high crosses and ancient relics, and all they do is put a sign on the wall that says 'please don't do rubbings of the crosses'.
Me and Jena atop Dun I
  It was pretty incredible when you consider how most places like this restrict your access to only certain areas, and would usually have things like 6th century artifacts securely behind glass.

Not that we were complaining or anything....

After properly perusing the Abbey and it's gift shop, we walked back to town and hit up the Spar for some snacks and drinks to last us (what we thought was) our 2.5 hour trip back to Oban.  Then it was a quick stop at the Post Office, which was quite literally this tiny 4'x4' shack...the 'postmaster' (???) was just sitting outside staring at the wall when we walked up.  Took her a minute to realize we actually wanted to come in and purchase stamps and like.
Crazy puppy that followed us up Dun I.
..give her business.  Heh.  And then it was a quick dash down to the ferry again, which took us back to Fionnphort on Mull.

Right, so once we got into Fionnphort, we realized our only error of the whole trip.  Of all the whacky transport and connections we'd been having to make, the ONE thing we didn't check was the coach times from Fionnphort back to Craignure on Mull.  :/  And of course, we had just missed the last one by a half-hour....which meant that we now had to wait for the next one....which was due to arrive in 3 HOURS!

Ok, let me describe Fionnphort to you: There's a ferry dock, and there's a Ferry Ticket Office, which also sells tea and sandwhiches, and there's a toilet that you can pay 20p to use.
Jena looking out from Dun I on Iona.
  And that's.it.  Oh, and there were some sheep.

So after buying a tea, taking photos of the sheep, and using the toilets, we had pretty much exhausted the options of the town, so we both settled down at a table with our school work and did research until 3.25pm.

When the coach did arrive, we boarded along with 5 other people, and the ride was equally as naseous as the first time.  I had to force myself to sleep just to keep from throwing-up during most of it.

Got to Craignure just as the ferry back to Oban was boarding, so we jumped in the queue, got on the ship, and found a table by a window to relax at.  Spent this trip indoors for a change, and it was fairly uneventful on the whole.

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The sheep saying goodbye to Jena a…
The sheep saying goodbye to Jena …
Me and Jena on Iona.
Me and Jena on Iona.
Some sheep with Dun I in the backg…
Some sheep with Dun I in the back…
Me and Jena atop Dun I
Me and Jena atop Dun I
Crazy puppy that followed us up Du…
Crazy puppy that followed us up D…
Jena looking out from Dun I on Ion…
Jena looking out from Dun I on Io…
Ruin outside Iona Abbey
Ruin outside Iona Abbey
View from the top of Dun I.  That …
View from the top of Dun I. That…
More sheep!
(Is it obvious that I…
More sheep! (Is it obvious that …
8th Century High Cross at Iona Abb…
8th Century High Cross at Iona Ab…
Inside Iona Abbey
Inside Iona Abbey
The cloisters at Iona Abbey
The cloisters at Iona Abbey
Me, measuring up with the folks fr…
Me, measuring up with the folks f…
Crumbling nunnery on Iona
Crumbling nunnery on Iona
View back to Iona as our ferry pul…
View back to Iona as our ferry pu…
Iona Abbey
Iona Abbey
Iona
photo by: WorldXplorer