I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night. I don’t know what it is- just couldn’t clear my head, with all of this virus nonsense going on. It’s not that I’m even worried. It’s essential to be safe and take care of yourself, but I feel that people are overreacting. I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The bus system doesn’t run on Sundays on the Isle of Mull. I found out about this on Saturday night, so I had to call a taxi service to give me a ride from Tobermory to the ferry at Craignure. This cost me a whopping £50! This is pretty much highway robbery, but it was either that, or hitchhike. I’m not even sure if that’s legal in Scotland.
Pretty soon, I was off the ferry and on the train, headed back down to Glasgow. I tried to sleep on the way, but that’s worse than trying to sleep on the airplane. I gave up and read from the book, Scottish Murders. Even though reading usually relaxes me, there’s something about a murder that holds my attention.
Glasgow is like a ghost town. With everyone doing their self-quarantine as the government has asked of them, I have never seen a city so dead! It was almost spooky to walk around.
Check-out time in Oban was 10:30, but they were kind enough to let me stash my bags after I’d checked out. I found some breakfast (no, I didn’t go back for another waffle, although I was tempted!) and found a place to get my haircut.
I’m impressed with this barber. He paid it so much attention to detail! He’s only had the shop open for two days, but he knows his stuff. It reminded me of the old-time Barbershops where you sit down and you’re pampered. From here on out, I should plan my Scotland trips around getting into Oban for a haircut.
I got to the ferry terminal about an hour and a half before my scheduled departure. I decided just to relax since I didn’t want to lug around this large backpack more than I have to.
The ferry ride over to Craignure was great! It’s the perfect day! The sun was out, and although it was windy on the ocean, it wasn’t so much that I had to duck inside the entire time. I put together this video of the journey.
Once you reach the ferry terminal, it’s about a 45-minute bus ride to Tobermory. I contacted my host, and she said it was okay if I decided to check in earlier because the apartment had already been cleaned and prepared for my arrival.
After settling in, I walked out to take a few pictures of the city. I planned to go and eat at the Fish Café, a great restaurant on the pier. Today was their opening day of the season, however, and so it was impossible to get a seat. Instead, I opted for takeout Chinese food.
Today has been a good day! I woke up pretty early, found some breakfast, went to the grocery store, and then had a second breakfast. I know I sound like a hobbit, so we’ll call it an early lunch.
I had a good little walk/hike since I went up to see McCaig’s Tower. I’ve been here before, but I forgot the story behind the tower.
From Wikipedia: McCaig’s Tower is a prominent tower on Battery Hill overlooking the town of Oban… It is built of Bonawe granite taken from the quarries across Airds Bay, on Loch Etive, from Muckairn, with a circumference of about 200 metres (660 ft) with two-tiers of 94 lancet arches (44 on the bottom and 50 on top).
The structure was commissioned, at a cost of £5,000 sterling by the wealthy, philanthropic banker,John Stuart McCaig.
John Stuart McCaig was his own architect. The tower was erected between 1897 and his death, aged 78 from cardiac arrest, on 29 June 1902 at John Square House in Oban.
McCaig’s intention was to provide a lasting monument to his family, and provide work for the local stonemasons during the winter months. McCaig was an admirer of Roman and Greek architecture , and had planned for an elaborate structure, based on the Colosseum in Rome. His plans allowed for a museum and art gallery with a central tower to be incorporated. Inside the central tower he planned to commission statues of himself, his siblings and their parents. His death brought an end to construction with only the outer walls completed.
This afternoon has been a little bit stressful. When I first booked this vacation, I went a little bit crazy. It started with the week in Hawaii with my family. Then after a day and a half at home, I planned this month in Scotland. Then, since enough is never enough, I booked nearly an entire month elsewhere in Europe.
As luck would have it, I had to cut off the last month, because of all the mess with the coronavirus. I had planned to go down to France, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, and even back through London before coming home. These are all places now that have been devastated by this virus, and even though I’m not particularly afraid of getting sick, nothing is open to the public right now.
No big deal, I can still have a good time in Scotland. So I had to change my return flight home from April 21 to the end of next week- not a problem.
I was set to fly on Norwegian, an airline that I’ve come to love, but come to find out-they have canceled my flight home. It looks like the flights the week before and the week after have been canceled as well. So today, I had to figure out how I am going to come home. I was forced to book another flight on a different airline, but I’m not going even to put that information out just because I don’t want to jinx myself. I guess you’re just going to have to keep checking this blog to see when and if I get home at all. Maybe I’ll just start a new life here.
The lesson here: Always try to be flexible when traveling. I’m not going to let this setback get me down, but I’m going to try my best to embrace each and every day while I’m here.￼
This morning was amazing mixture of at least three seasons. I woke up to rain, then the sun came out for a few moments, and then we actually had some hail!
When I told my host, Steve, that my next destination would be Oban, he offered to give me a ride, since he had to be in Oban anyway.
I was very grateful as this saved me from having to walk the two miles back to the train station. Did I mention the three seasons we were experiencing? Steve and his wife, Sonja, are just the best people! As we parted ways, I told him that he’d more than likely see me again. They own several rental properties, including a castle somewhere near Stirling (no, not Stirling Castle).
Oban is just as wonderful as I remember. I left my bags at the hostel, and did three of my favorite things for lunch: First, I git a proper fish & chips. “Proper”, meaning they serve it to you with vinegar, salt, and on a piece of cardboard. Other places have tried to make the experience more posh, but it’s just not the same.
Second, I walked down to The Oban Chocolate Factory and got a cup of hot chocolate. They also do waffles, so I’ll hit then up again soon.
And finally, I got a milkshake at Cuan Mor. Think “Black Tap” in New York City and the scale it down a bit. I figured I’d hit all my must-haves today and reach for something healthier tomorrow. Well, once I have my waffle, that is.
I might as well get all my favorites out of the way, so I can start eating healthy- yeah right!
After this morning’s breakfast, I should probably eat only celery sticks for the rest of my journey. I promise I don’t always eat like a pig- but this is a vacation, after all. I had to stop at Oban Chocolate Company one last time for breakfast. Plus- ice cream for breakfast! When my server brought it out, she told me that it was a good choice because the mango made it healthy.
The train ride from Oban to Glasgow was rather nice. I was supposed to get off the train part way and transfer to another one, but one of the workers told me that was a misprint on my ticket and this train would take me all the way.
I’m staying in the most awesome flat, a little farther west than I’m familiar with. I usually have stayed in the Euro Hostel here, but I’m well under my budget and so I thought I’d splurge a tiny bit.
I created this little video of a few clips from the train ride, as well as a tour of my Airbnb here in Glasgow. I hope you enjoy!
When the plane first landed in Edinburgh at the start of this adventure, I thought that I had matured and that I’d given up childish things- you see, it had become a Scotland tradition for me to dye my hair. It was never a conservative shade either. I definitely wanted something funky that makes people wonder who or what I am.
I thought I’d forego the tradition this year, however. Not only would this save me some money, but I’ve learned from the mistakes of my past and I want to be the kind of person that my mom wants me to be….
When my alarm went off at 07:00, I stood up, got ready, and left the pod. I wanted to get the first ferry back to Mull. Iona is a pretty island! I wish I had more time to explore it, not that there’s a whole lot to see and do there. But it’s sometimes a good thing to step back and just relax. This is definitely a possibility on Iona because not only was there no access to the internet, it was nearly impossible to get a cell phone signal. This is my definition of “roughing it”.
It amazes me how hard it is to slow down. I have certainly become programmed. Especially at night- the first thing I do when I lay down on the bed: Look at my phone. This isn’t even an option for me on Iona. Maybe this is a sign that I do need to reserve those times or those days where I can just turn off my phone and relax.
I’m back in Oban now, and I just got back from Nories, a local fish & chip restaurant. On Iona, I had only eaten peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches for the last two days. It sort of reminded me of college days, or when I first starting working as a flight attendant. PBJ and ramen noodles, just about every single day.
Tonight I went to the Oban Phoenix Cinema saw A Private War. Definitely not a typical “feel good” kind of movie! It is a true story about a woman whose life’s work was reporting in war-torn areas of the world. She had such a strong desire to be IN the action going on, many times risking her own life. It was a sad film, but defintiely worth seeing, in my opnion.
Getting to Tobermory is fairly simple- you board a ferry in Oban, sail west/ northwest, and about 45 minutes later you’re at Craignure, on the Isle of Mull. Side note- Craignure is near Torosay Castle and Torosay is one of the places my ancestors came from! Talk about a full circle- gives me chills just being here!
Once you land in Craignure, there is a bus that will take you the rest of the way to Tobermory. I first discovered this town last year, when I came for just a day trip [see post]. What a great little town this is! I had time to get some lunch, and then some dessert in a tea room.
I had an early dinner, while I was waiting to check in to the Airbnb. I went to a pub/restaurant called Mishnish and ordered. I sat with two guys who are here on vacation from France. I found out their names are Ferman and Teebo (I’m 97% certain those names are spelled incorrectly, but when I got their names, I didn’t ask for the correct spelling. They ate fast, because they were in a hurry to catch a ferry to some other island). They were a couple of nice guys!
I was hoping that the rainclouds were on their way out. This morning I woke up to a partly cloudy sky and thought it would be turn out to be perfect conditions to record some videos of the surrounding area. After a few minutes, however, the clouds came back in and the rain started. I don’t know if it even let up all day.
After breakfast, I went to the Oban War and Peace Museum. This was fascinating- free, of course, but they do ask you for a donation on your way out. What fascinated me the most was the old pictures of the Oban area from way back in the 1850s. I learned that there are quite a few caves aroudn the Oban area and in one of these they found the human remains of up to 20 different people. When they dated the remains, they leaned that it was from a people that lived here about 6000 years ago!
Instead of lunch, I got some treats at the Oban Chocolate Company, on the shoreline. I drank some bitter hot chocolate and had a little piece of cheesecake. I guess I need to restart my diet again tomorrow- we’ll see how long this lasts. I’m guessing it won’t be very long until I cheat again. I tell myself it’s ok since I’m on vacation, but I tell myself that the rest of the year as well.
I went to another fish restaurant for dinner. This one was a bit more expensive but had a nicer menu, and I was also paying for a more classic dining experience. Plus the servers were incredible. I don’t see that a whole lot in the U.K. because most of them think you don’t want to be bothered. Many servers over here won’t even check on you until you flag them down. I guess that’s a good thing if you want to eat in peace.
Earlier today, I had to say goodbye to Glasgow. It wasn’t too sad, however, because I’ll be back next week, at least for a few days. I’m looking forward to getting more into Glasgow, as I won’t be attending C2C every day. By the way, C2C 2020 tickets go on presale tomorrow, I do believe. Should I?
The train ride heading out of Glasgow was amazing! So beautiful and picturesque! On the way, I tried to shoot a few short videos, just so I could share the countryside. How awesome would it be to call this land “home”?
[I will upload some videos as soon as I have a faster connection]
Dinner was at a little fish restaurant. For my first course, I had some brie cheese, and the main meal was a haddock and chips. This is my second fish and chips of this vacation, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last. Dessert was banoffee pudding- it was a small portion, so I don’t feel bad.