A Travellerspoint blog

The best picnic of all time.

Welsh people in Scotland

sunny 10 °C

Hmm you're all lucky I'm sober enough to compile this entry... Especially given that we are currently staying 100m from a pub! Dangerous territory, particularly when the Welsh family are involved :P
We actually got up early this morning and had breakfast at Montgomery's, a great cafe with a world map on its roof and cheap bacon and eggs. Then we caught the 9am bus (at about 9.15am - which is practically on time for a Melbourne public transport service) into town, did some shopping and then did the final part of the touristy loop that we'd missed yesterday.
Met Elaine and John (our surrogate parents for the next two days) back at the Hotel of Grumpiness, and thus began the whirlwind tour of Argyll and Bute. Got up close and personal with Loch Lomond (even got to splash Simon with Loch Lomond water), went to Fyne Ales and then stopped for a deluxe picnic along the forest road. A beer, a Twix and some crisps - what more could you want? We saw a massive machine that was pulling down the trees in the plantations, stripping them and cutting them into the required lengths, and made it all look as easy as snapping a toothpick. Dad - we got a video of it, I'll have to show you when we get back.
We got to see Inverary Castle from a safe (and free) distance, and then saw the Council Castle, where Elaine works (and where Steve used to work). Along the Criman Canal and then to the Horseshoe Inn for a wee drink before dinner. Met some of the locals, and their dogs - Scruffy (aka Sergei) puts Chuck to shame in the jumping department!
Home for dinner (which was absolutely delicious, thank you so much Elaine and John) and a wee dram of whisky before bed. And no Gus, there was no coke involved...

Posted by Buccas 09:30 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Glasgow

Yeeeeeeehah!

sunny 11 °C

Good morning Glasgow! Well we jumped on the bus into the city, all ready to do the walking tour of Glasgow. But when we got there, it was no more. Cancelled. No longer existent. An ex-walking tour. If you hadn't nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up daisies. Sad face.
Oh well - wandered around for a little bit (aimlessly, I might add, since we had no tour), and found the Modern Art Gallery. If you want to hear me rant and rave, ask me what I think of modern art. Don't stand too close though... I think the limit for me, was finding a framed post it note saying 'just popped out, back in five mins' and some ridiculous explanation of how this symbolises the human condition. Really?!?
Once I'd calmed down, we jumped back on the bus for a bus tour of Glasgow. Now this said bus was a double decker, so OF COURSE we had to sit up the top. It was also an open top double decker. My face and hands have never been so cold. But I think it was worth it for the unobstructed views... That's what I'm telling myself anyway.
Simon had his new favourite food (Cullen skink) for lunch, while I had a completely uninspiring plate of nachos (aka soggy pieces of cardboard, with 1 teaspoon of salsa, 1 teaspoon of warm sour cream, and half a kilo of jalapeños). Lucky there was Strongbow to wash it all down.
Explored the botanic gardens - a lovey bit of peace and quiet in the middle of the city. And in the hothouses it was warm too - double bonus!!
Back on the bus, this time to the Kelvingrove Art Museum. Unfortunately we experienced a cranky bus lady at this point, but it was our first actual case of bad customer service in Scotland so I reckon we're not doing too badly. The Kelvingrove was in a bit of a state of disrepair - I think it is still being restored? Some interesting bits and pieces, but a bit haphazard in its presentation. But still, free entry so you can't complain.
Walked to Oran Mor for dinner (the pub Steph D used to work at!). Had a nice meal and a few quiet beverages while waiting for the music to start. Oran Mor is an old church that's been converted into a pub, and has a pretty good vibe about the place. And then the music started - country and western. Really? In Glasgow? Now? Urgh. That's our cue to get a taxi back to the hotel and go to bed!

Posted by Buccas 00:01 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Seg-sational!

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond...

semi-overcast 9 °C

Breakfast this morning crossed another item of Scottish cuisine off the list - we have now eaten square sausage (aka Lorne sausage). Not bad, not bad at all - and now I want to try Quorn sausage (the vegetarian version), as well as vegetarian haggis. What on earth could they put in that to make it both vegetarian, and haggis-like? Hmm, I wonder...
Anyway, breakfast was a very ordered affair - the woman in charge at King's House was running a very tight ship, and the waiters seemed a little less relaxed than they had been at the bar last night!
Into Glencoe, and a little stroll to the monument to the MacDonald clan who were brutally massacred by the Campbells (stealthy buggers). Took a photo for an Italian couple, and gave directions to a Maltese man. As you do. Then time for a coffee and yummy choc fudge cake at the Glencoe cafe, it's a hard life but someone's gotta do it.
Next on the agenda - an offroad Segway adventure!! Absolutely amazing, so much fun, I couldn't stop laughing. The young girl running it told us we picked it up quickly - I bet she says that to all the tourists. These things go up to 14 miles per hour, and hills and corners are fantastic fun. Except when you fall off. I had quite a spectacular crash on a corner and ended up in the muddy grass, but no serious harm done. Simon's crash was probably more impressive - but I only say 'probably' because I didn't actually see it. The guide and I got to the bottom of the big hill, and turned around to realise that Simon wasn't following us any more. I could see the Segway standing alone in the grass, but no Simon. Uh oh. Wait a minute - there he is! All good. Back on track, and we finish the course. Such a beautiful location, and so much fun. I want a Segway for Christmas!
After all that, the drive to Glasgow seemed quite tame. Meandered along Loch Lomond - big, beautiful, lakey. Managed to find our Glasgow hotel AND get the hire car back in time, winner!
Dinner at Ivy - with a name like that, it had to be a winner, didn't it Nan? Good lamb curry, and scrumptious sticky toffee pudding. Back to the hotel for more extreme sports - Monopoly Deal. Simon absolutely smashed me 3-0, taking it to 7-5 in his favour. Boo - I'll have to fix that next time...

Posted by Buccas 13:32 Archived in Scotland Comments (2)

Whiskey.

Oh deer...

sunny 0 °C

Yet another breakfast full of thankyous this morning - if we were staying here any longer, I think I'd have to do some speech therapy with this woman to improve her expressive vocabulary!
I'm feeling brave this morning (and Simon must be too!) because I drive this morning, woah. Out to the Cairngorm Mountains, and up to the top in the funicular. Yes, we could've walked but I was feeling lazy and inappropriately dressed for mountain climbing! It was a perfectly clear day, which made for spectacular views from the lookout. Something else spectacular was the temperature outside - 0.2 degrees Celsius. Brr! Cream of carrot soup soon warmed us up though, and made a pleasant change from the cream of cauliflower soup we've seen everywhere else. Back down the mountain again, and then to the Highland Folk Museum just out of Newtonmore. This was a free attraction, which was a good thing. Kind of like Pioneer Settlement Museum in Swan Hill, only not as good. Plus it was still cold - I think about 8 degrees at this stage. There was ye olde fashioned sweet shoppe, but the Jazzles weren't so nice - looked like white chocolate freckles, but didn't taste as good.
Back on the highway, this time off to Dalwhinnie Distillery. What a beautiful location for whiskey making, just at the foot of the mountains! We did a tour of the distillery with only two other people - Jodie (a man, go figure) and his 10 year old son. Ewan, the tour guide, was a little youth challenged, and enjoyed spelling out the whiskey related lingo. This was fine, but I felt that words like 'wash' just didn't need that level of attention. On to the tastings - whiskey paired with chocolates! Unfortunately I wasn't a huge fan of the chocolates, but the whiskeys were rather nice. Some were easier to take when a bit of water was added, and Gus would be proud that I didn't add coke to any of them. Definitely Simon's turn to drive again now - I've been sampling whiskeys, he's just been eating strangely flavoured chocolates.
Off to Glencoe - but of course, it wasn't quite that simple. The maps function decided to be particularly obscure in regards to the Glencoe region, and we ended up having to ask a ferryman for directions (but thankfully we asked for directions BEFORE we got on his ferry, which would've taken us in completely the wrong direction). Finally made it to Glencoe, but no sign of King's House, where we are staying. And of course we had forgotten to write down the exact address - it'll be in Glencoe, how hard is that going to be? Well thanks to the directional assistance of the local shopkeeper, not too hard at all once we are looking in the right spot, i.e. ten miles OUT of Glencoe. Was pretty relieved to find it in the end - and pretty hungry too!
We got into the spirit of the local cuisine again - venison casserole, yum! The meat was very tender, and the best thing was that it came with lots of vegies. It had been awhile since I'd seen any of those. I was also pleasantly surprised by the price - quite cheap, really, and I'd always thought that venison was deer. Get it, dear? Hahaha. I think that whiskey went to my head...
Dessert was also a traditional Scottish favourite, allegedly. Raspberries and cream, essentially, but I think they snuck some whiskey in there too.
Most intriguing component of the meal was the very English family sitting nearby. The woman actually said "jolly good" without even a hint of irony, which I found pretty impressive. Not sure if they actually were related - but there were two adults and two children present. The adults were pretty into rules and being proper - youngest boy was told off for having his chair too far out from the table, and were being lectures on what quantity of food it is appropriate to consume. The adults also had a minor argument about whether or not children should be allowed to drink coffee, which ended in the man telling the woman to 'shh'. Strange. And all the while, these prim and proper people were wearing moccasins or ugg boots. Lucky that Simon and I are perfect I suppose!!

Posted by Buccas 13:30 Archived in Scotland Comments (2)

Thank you Newtonmore!

Sauce please.

sunny

This morning started with a very thankful breakfast... The lady from the hotel must have said 'thankyou' to us at least one bazillion times in the process of serving us breakfast. And with a rising intonation, dragging out the last syllable - ask me to demonstrate it for you sometime. Bizarre.
Off to Loch Ness - but got distracted by the Golden Spurtle in Carrbridge! As all Randling fans will know, the Golden Spurtle is not a disease, rather it is the prize for the world porridge making championships. Of course! We had a little look around the town and at the farmer's market but the real spurtling didn't start until later in the day. Simon was also intrigued by the Bamboozeleum - he thought it was a bamboo themed museum, rather than a museum of bamboozlement. To be honest, I'm not actually sure which of those options would appeal to me more.
Made it to Loch Ness, and wow - what a Loch! Puts Bullen-Merri to shame... No sign of any monsters though, and we visited the information centre which effectively explained away all alleged 'sightings'. Sorry to any believers, but I think I'm sitting squarely in the sceptics' camp on this one.
Into Inverness, where we manage to find a) a bakery and b) a carpark in relatively quick succession, with only one blocked required. The girls at the bakery are downright confused when we ask for sauce to put on our pie and sausage roll, and we have to explain it in a step by step process! They are very friendly though, and I think they're coming to see us when they come to Australia for a holiday :P
Next stop - Black Isle brewery, where a wee woman gives us a tour of the brewery, and then we sample some of their wares. And what better souvenir of Scotland than a six pack of beers? Six pints, of course...
Back to Newtonmore, and Simon goes exploring on his neverending quest for a good cup of coffee, and I do some planning and scheming. We have a late dinner at the hotel so that we have a table ready for the night's entertainment. Unfortunately neither of us win £400 in the shinty raffle, boo. But we do learn about the brutal sport of shinty (kind of like rugby with weapons, I think) so that's a win. Davy Holt, local muso puts on a great show of old and new tunes. Most of the we recognise, except for Caledonia which is apparently a very popular traditional Scottish folk song, made particularly popular by its use in a beer commercial!! We get chatting (as Buccheris tend to do) to Davy, his parents, and most of the other locals. Before long, we've teed Davy up to do a gig in Camperdown and we've got his CD as a souvenir. Davy's parents are impressed that we "stayed and enjoyed the music" - but leaving was never an option for us! Fantastic night, but last orders have been taken and now we all have to go to bed.

Posted by Buccas 01:50 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 29) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 »