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.
I love the isle of Mull- and the town of Tobermory is such a great little spot. It feels like you’re on the edge of the world. You’re secluded from everything, but you’re with the community at the same time. This is one of the places that I would consider moving to one day.
Today I had a lovely walk. I walked to the lighthouse that is about a mile and a half from the town. It’s a fantastic trail because it’s easy to hike, and it’s wide enough to where you could safely run if you felt the need.
When I got to the lighthouse, I explored around the shore for probably about 40 minutes. I then decided it was a little bit too cold, as I forgot to grab my hat and scarf back at the house. It was 41°, but with the windchill, to me, it felt like it was below freezing.
When I got back to the town, it was just about lunchtime. I decided to walk around and see if any of the restaurants were open in the wake of this coronavirus business. I tried to get a meal at a hotel restaurant that I’ve eaten at in the past. This is a restaurant that generally lets anyone dine- they even display their menu outside to draw in hungry people. I walked in and asked the lady at the front desk if the restaurant was serving lunch. this is how the conversation went…
Me: Hi- are you guys serving lunch in the restaurant?
Lady: Unfortunately, we are not open to the public today.
Me: Oh? Is this because of the coronavirus?
Me: So if I was staying here, then I could get some lunch?
Lady: That’s correct.
Me: So, the fact that I’m staying here would mean I’m less likely to have the coronavirus?
Me: Ok, well I tried, have a good day.
As luck would have it, the co-op was open, so I grabbed some groceries and went back to the house to cook.
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.
My Airbnb is huge! I didn’t realize when I was booking it that it actually sleeps 6+ people! That’s just on this end of the house too. The familly owns the other side of the house- but they keep the door between the residence and the Airbnb locked- so it’s like I have my own place. Wanna know the coolest part of this house? It has a washer/dryer combo… as in- it’s ONE machine that washes and dries your clothes! My mind is blown! Get with the times, United States of America! I plan on using it tonight!
When I woke this morning, it looked like it was going to be a sunny day. By the time I walked down the hill into the town, I had to duck into a restaurant to get out of the rain. Since I was there, I ordered some breakfast in order to wait out the storm. Soon, the sun crept out from the clouds and it looked like the rain was done.
I walked up to Argyle Street and explored some more of the town. I wasn’t walking long before I saw some thick clouds rolling in, and so I made my way back to the Airbnb. As I was almost there, it started to hail. My plans changed and I decided to wait it out.
I stayed at the house for the rest of the morning- the weather today is so funny! Mother Nature isn’t committing to rain or sunshine. It’ll be sunny for about 20 minutes, then it will hale/rain for about 10-15 minutes. Then the sun will come out again, and it feels like a perfect spring day. After about two hours of trying to nap, I decided that it was time to go for a walk, rain or shine.
I checked my AllTrails app to look for a place to hike, and found one that was about three miles round-trip. I thought this would be perfect. I stoped by the Tobermory Handmade Chocolate Company for a quick hot chocolate, then I was off to find the Tobermory Lighthouse.
On my way back into town, I stopped by a war memorial. There were a few last names I recognized from my own Scottish ancestory, but I’m not sure if there is a connection or not. Someday, I’d love to figure it all out! It would be great to find a distant relative over here!
Before I left town, I got a message from the owner of tomorrow’s Airbnb. So- months ago, when I was learning about Iona, I was intrigued. Iona, which is a small island off the coast of Mull, is considered by many, to be sacred ground. I was so excited that I found a place to stay, that I didn’t go in to read all the details of what I was getting myself in to.
The message from the owner reminded me to bring all my own provisions because the “pod” I’m staying in is more-or-less camping. That’s right- I’m staying tonight in a less-than-desirable lodging. The reason I have brought my own provisions is that the only store on the island doesn’t open for the season until March 26th. Let the lesson be learned: Read the fine print before you purchase your Airbnb.
For this reason, I went to the Co-Op (the local grocery store) in town and got some groceries. Since I don’t think I’ll have any kind of refrigerator, for the next two days I’ll be living off the following items: bread, peanut butter, Nutella, cookies, chips, Coca-Cola, and two liters of water. This is either going to be really cool, or really, really not cool.
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!
Today I’m thankful that breakfast is included in the price of my hostel. It’s not that it’s a particularly lovely breakfast, but this trip could quickly become way too expensive. I travel best when I eat a big breakfast, a small lunch (or just get something in my stomach), and a medium-sized dinner, although many people give me too much food at the night time.
I could save money by buying my own groceries, but in most of these places I’m visiting, I’m only here for a couple of days, and I really don’t want to walk around with groceries in tow- that’s just more to carry. It’s the little things that help, like the cold cereal that my hostel is providing.
I made my way again to the ferry terminal and purchased a round trip to Craignure on Mull. When purchasing a round trip here in Scotland, they call this purchasing ‘a return.’ In the states, the return is just the second half of the journey. If you ask for a round trip ticket, they know what you mean, but they may look at you funny.
I bought my ticket this morning without doing any kind of research because I was in the mood to be surprised. I figured if I googled anything about Mull, that would be cheating. The one thing that someone told me was that I would want to get on the bus to Tobermory.
Once I left the ferry, the bus to Tobermory was right in front of the terminal. It was easy, and I, once again, snagged the front seat to shoot some video of the landscape along the way. This was a double-decker bus, and every other passenger walked up to the top level. So the bottom tier was just the bus driver and me. We had a great chat on the ride.
Tobermory is a lovely little town. Now I’ve found another place that I have to come back and visit in the future! My list of “must-see” destinations in Scotland is continuously getting longer and longer! I asked the bus driver (I should have got his name) where I should bring lunch, and he directed me to the Fish Cafe on the opposite side of the bay. The food was incredible!
I wandered to an old church at the waterfront. When I entered, a woman was reading her bible in the front row. I didn’t want to distract her, but she started the conversation. She told me that she felt the need to study today since it happened to be “Good Friday.” I had totally forgotten that it was! We had a great chat, all about my travels and her life while living in Tobermory.
We were deep in conversation, and suddenly, her husband comes in with their two dogs on leashes (I had never seen a dog in a church up to this point). He announced to his wife, “Sorry for the interruption, but the time is right now!” He told me that he was referring to the very moment Jesus died on the cross- she smiled and nodded. They said that the savior was pinned to the cross at noon and stayed alive for three hours before he died. This I didn’t remember, or maybe I didn’t know. I guess I need to study the bible again.
I walked through the town, up the hill, and discovered the cemetery. Mull is one of my ancestors’ places, so I hoped to find the surname McLucas since that is my family name from this island. I know they left in the mid to last the 1700s, however, and the oldest stone I could find was dated 1810.
Oban, Scotland | 19:18
One exciting thing that was pointed out today by the lady that I spoke to within the church- not only were those who left the Scottish isles looking for religious and other freedoms, but they were actually being driven out by the English. The crown decided that they could make better use of the land by using it for sheep grazing rather than letting people live their lives. These people, and possibly my own ancestors, were slowly being pressured out by the monarchy. I wonder why the monarchy didn’t just give these families some sheep to raise for the crown.
The ride back to Oban was nice. Since it had grown overcast and the wind was getting worse, I decided to stay inside the ferry rather than go back on top as I had on the ride out to Mull. It was much too cold to be outside.