Today I am feeling as if I’m spoiled rotten. As I explained in the last post, the hostel I stayed in last time I was here in Pitlochry didn’t allow me to book it. On further investigation, I see it may no longer exist. I’m hoping they’ll have some less expensive options here in the future. But this IS a nice bed and breakfast that I’ve settled into. It was so nice this morning when I was woken up by chirping birds and not snoring roommates!
When I was in town earlier, I did manage to find the hidden hostel. I was looking in the wrong place. Still, I don’t think they were available for me to stay there. So many hostels like to rent out their rooms more long-term during the off-season. In Scotland, I’m learning that this time ends at about Easter.
After breakfast, I went for a long and awesome walk! Pitlochry is located very close to Loch Faskally, a beautiful loch that has a hydro-electric dam and fish ladder. It was such a breath of fresh air (literally) to be out there! I took my time and spent what felt like about 3 hours walking through the dam and around the loch.
I really enjoyed two out of three of my hostel mates last night. One was the guy I already talked about, the Ukrainian who lives in Greece, the second one is a guy who joined us just yesterday. He’s from Germany but is staying and working in York at the moment. Both of these guys are in great shape. I’m almost inspired… almost. I’m in better shape than I used to be, but I still have a lot of work to do.
The third hostel mate was a girl from Taiwan. She more or less kept to herself. I tried to strike up a conversation, and even though I could tell she spoke good English, she just wasn’t having it for some reason. I would blame America but she wouldn’t really talk to the Ukrainian or the German either. I love it when it’s not personal.
I’m now on my way to my next stop, which is Pitlochry. I love this little town! This will be my second visit here. The first time I visited was simply because I’d remember seeing it from the train, heading north to Inverness. I wondered what it was all about… when I did finally stay in Pitlochry, I discovered that like most places in Scotland, it was great!
The hostel I stayed in last time I was in Pitlochry is either full or not open for the tourist season just yet. Since I couldn’t find any accommodation when I was booking, I had to use AirBnB and had to fork out some extra money. The good news is that it’s already paid for- so they aren’t going to charge my card. So many of the places I stay only take 5% down and the rest when you arrive. I don’t appreciate this because it’s so much nicer to pay for everything in advance.
03.17.16 | Pitlochry B&B | 07:18
Pitlochry is as lovely as I remember. It is a dinky little village but so much beauty all around! I look forward to the next two days! For dinner, I walked around town, looking for something promising. Since it was just before 17:00, so many restaurants weren’t open yet. I hadn’t had anything for lunch, so by this point, I was searching hard. I finally found a pub/restaurant that seemed to have great food, even if the service was horrible.
I ordered a steak pie. I’m looking forward to having a REAL steak pie, that is baked in a crust. So far, however, it’s only been steak pies that are in the pot, and they lay some puff pastry over top. That’s cheating. The last real steak pie I had was in 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. Still, this one was a tasty fake- steak pie!
Good afternoon! I left Pitlochry this morning and now I’m back to Edinburgh. Sadly, this is my 2nd to last stop before having to fly home. This time I’m at a new hostel… well, I stayed here 3 or 4 years ago, or whenever Scotland 3 happened. It was a good hostel and so I thought I’d stay here again. In the day I come back to Scotland, I’ll surely spend more time staying in and exploring Pitlochry. I’m very impressed by that town.
My train ride was a good one, uneventful with a train change in Perth. Nothing worth reporting, really. The gal sitting across from me didn’t wanna talk- so I closed my eyes and got about 15 minutes or so of sleep. I read my book for most of the other time.
I got a message today from my friend Neil, who I met on Shetland a few stops ago and he says he wants to plan a road trip in the US sometime in 2012. That would be crazy awesome! I hope we can work something out. I have a few great road trip plans.
This afternoon I met a guy from Korea. He’s staying in my room at the hostel here. His name starts with a ‘J’ and sounds something like ‘Chin Huak”. I don’t dare try to spell it though. I already am destroying it each time I try to say it. He’s currently a student here in the United Kingdom and he happened to have 10 days off of his classes, so he took a little trip up here in the north. He tells me that all his friends here can’t say his name right, so they just call him “Bro”. I thought that was funny.
Chin and I hung out tonight a while and walked around Edinburgh. This was his first day here, and it was fun to give him some advice on where to go and what to see while he’s here. The hostel here seems to be full tonight, or at least our room is. This is quite a change from my experience in Pitlochry. I didn’t have to share a space with anyone while I was there.
Today has been great! I woke up after trying my best to sleep in for a bit. I got a shower and headed out to try and find a barber or salon. I found a really cool looking place to get a haircut, called Sweeny Tod. A beautiful name for a barbershop, huh? The coolest thing is that it is right next to a butcher shop. I’m not even kidding- I had to take a picture. The only problem was that today was a bank holiday- yesterday was Easter Sunday. I may have to get my haircut when I get back to Edinburgh.
I walked around the town for a bit and found breakfast. At the hostel, they offered cereal and toast and stuff for about 2 pounds, but I wanted something warm. I found an excellent little bistro/restaurant and had a traditional Scottish breakfast (minus the black pudding, of course). I headed back to the hostel for a few minutes and decided to head back out and see if I could find that haircut somewhere.
Low and behold, Sweeny Tod was open! I went inside and he was just finishing up with some guy’s cut- I was soon in the chair. The guy working there told me that his name was Will Robertson. I had initially planned on having Will just shave my head. My beautiful fake blonde hair had been growing out, and I was starting to get the brown roots with the blonde top, and I wasn’t a fan. Will told me that he thought it looked cool and that he wanted to turn it into a mohawk. “What the hell!” I let him do what he’d planned to do. He shaved up the sides with no guard, and to me, it looks like a cross between a military cut and a mohawk. I think it looks pretty cool!
When he was done with my haircut, I noticed a newspaper clipping of something having to do with the popular U.K. show “The X Factor”. We started talking about music and I told him how I liked to sing. Next thing I know, he whips out his guitar and starts playing me all these songs that he’d written. I thought they were good, a couple of them I thought were great and I could picture someone singing them on the radio. We sat there for about a half-hour while he gave me my own private concert. It was so cool! People were walking by the barbershop and they could hear the music so they’d sit in front and listen for a bit. They’d look in at us like we were some exhibit or something. It was quite funny. Will’s band is called “Stone Angels”- I’ll have to look them up when I get back home.
Next, I went for a walk. Just outside Pitlochry, there’s a beautiful little loch called Loch Faskally. I followed a trail around it- it turned out to be a beautiful spring day and it was so refreshing to be out in nature for a bit. This has quickly become one of my favorite stops in Scotland. Such a quaint little town, about 2500 people according to the 2001 census. So green and lovely, too. If I get to come back to Scotland again, I’ll definitely come here again!
After my hike around the loch, I stopped to get some ice cream on my way back to the hostel. It’s been nice to sit and relax for a little bit. After this rest, I plan on heading back out to get dinner somewhere. I just watched the Disney movie Tangled. It was pretty good!
Dinner was at a restaurant called McKay’s. I had a half chicken with mashed potatoes. Okay, chicken is great, but when they leave all the veins and ugly parts in the bird, it’s a bit less appetizing. I did an excellent job working around all those parts, though. It was pretty good.
I hate to leave this place so soon but am back on the train again tomorrow. I wish I had the time and the money to stay longer. After all, when the agent at Glasgow airport stamped my passport, he did tell me that I can stay up to six months. That would be sweet! I feel like it’s almost time to head home and get back to work.
I’m hungry. I hope that they have the trolley service on this train because even though I woke up early and ate some cereal at the hostel, it didn’t take. I’ve never been to Pitlochry, I’m excited to see another new place. I remember the very first time I took the train up to Inverness from Edinburgh, years ago, seeing the sign for Pitlochry and wondering what was there- I guess I’m about to find out. The only bad news is that I’ll be stuck on this train for the next six hours. That’s almost a coast to coast flight in the US. I need food.
Pitlochry, Scotland | 22:22
I left the train with these directions to find the hostel: “Go to the town center and you’ll find the hostel.” I was a bit worried that Pitlochry was going to be like a dinky little village where there’d be nothing to see or do. I wandered for about 5 minutes from the train station, found what I thought may be the town center and sure enough. There was the hostel.
I met a few people staying at the hostel. There’s a guy who lives further south in Scotland. He’s here looking for work at the moment. One of the girls who works at the front desk is here because she fell in love. She met this guy when she was about 18 years old and he was actually married at that time (scandal?!). They happened to have the same group of friends and she got to know this couple. Years later, his wife left him and this receptionist realized that they’d grown to love each other like family. So after a time, it became more than that. Now they’re a couple.
There are a couple girls here from Poland and I’ve met four people from Austria here. This is quite a nice hostel. One of my favorite that I’ve stayed in up to this point.