Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Scotland highlights, part 1: Glasgow to Oban

I'm back in Portland after a wonderfully relaxing vacation in Scotland. I've pared down my photos as much as I can…this will be post 1 of 4 about my trip. Bear with me. 

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My mom and I flew into Glasgow and spent three days exploring the city and recovering from our our jet lag. A guide book might call Glasgow "up and coming" or "transitioning." I'll call it awkward. The city was like one big shopping mall spread out in the lower floors of the city's Victorian buildings. Most things were only open from 9 to 5, which made for a lot of bustle in the middle of the day. Glasgow lacks the grandeur of many European cities, but it has its charms if you look a little closer.

My favorite part of Glasgow was the huge necropolis ("city of the dead"). I'm always interested in how different cultures treat their dead, and this sprawling cemetery was fascinating. Plus, the weather was perfect for walking.  


This is one of the many ornately carved gravestones that we found throughout Scotland.


My second favorite thing (a very close second) was tea at the Willow Tea Room, an Art Nouveau building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904. The tea service included smoked salmon, cucumber, and egg sandwiches (bottom tier in the photo), scones and shortbread with cream and jam (middle tier), and ginormous meringues stuck together with cream and served with fresh fruit (top tier). We were very stuffed, and very happy. 


Things got more exciting on day 4, when we rented a car and headed north along Loch Lomond. 

Driving on the left wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, but I never quite got used to it. The signage was hard to get used to, too. We got a little lost between the rental car lot and the freeway, but once we were pointed in the right direction it was smooth sailing. 


We stopped for lunch in the picturesque village of Luss, on Loch Lomond. 


We passed a lot of rugged hills… 

…and a nearly infinite number of sheep. The lambs were a little camera-shy. 

We stopped for the night in Oban, a beautiful harbor town in the Southern Highlands. This was the view from our room at the Invercloy Guest House (which I highly recommend). 


Looking back up from the city center, you can see our guest house just to the left of the smokestack. The big Roman-looking structure is called McCraig's tower. 

And here's a view of Oban Bay near sunset. 

From here we headed north toward the Isle of Skye, but that will have to wait for the next post…



3 comments:

  1. this is really cool

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  2. Thanks, Brandon. That reminds me -- I never posted the rest of the photos from that trip. Maybe I'll do that soon.

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  3. Really lovely photos, looked like you had a great time.

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