Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Scotland Without Golf, Part I

Blogging is easy when we stay in one place for awhile, or have downtime, like we did during our 2014 month in Bali, or recently in Japan.  This trip, being only two weeks long, with a fun wedding thrown into the mix, makes it hard to find the time and go into detail about each area.

So, to recap--Shanti and Alan's wedding last Saturday was one of the highlights and most fun days of our 60+ years so far.  As I said in a Facebook post on the train to Glasgow,  it was a small civil wedding with just the parents, sister Skyler, and Uncle Steve, followed by a fun pub dinner for 20.  We can now see why weddings the world over are such a joyous occasion. 
Newly weds leaving Islington Town hall.
@Sophia Dinh

There were 20 of us from 11 countries, some coming from as far as Australia and Singapore. Alan and Shanti just seem so right for each other, and we enjoyed their visiting with their very interesting friends, sharp denizens of the world. And Alan’s parents from Australia are our new best friends. Life is more than good.

Uncle Steve, me, Kathy, Skyler, Alan, and Babette
@Sophia Dihn

And Scotland is more than good.  In fact, it's great!  And so are its friendly people, if we could only halfway understand their thick accents.

The transportation museum, with a tall ship in
the reflection.  It had trolleys, cars, steam
engines, bicycles, a models of nearly every
modern ship manufactured in Glasgow.
The eclectic Kelvingrove Museum.  The purpose
of this visit was to see furniture designed by
Charles Macintosh.

We spent a full day and a half in Glasgow, a mighty industrial city, that went into decay in the 70s and 80s, and has come roaring back today, but with a lot of economic and ethnic diversity.  We walked over eight miles, touring the fun and fascinating Transportation Museum, their eclectic national museum, the tenement museum (similar to the one we toured in New York), and the Willow Tea Room, designed by Charles Mackintosh, the Scottish version of Frank Lloyd Wright.

One of many beautiful design
features within the Willow Tea
Room in Glasgow

Then on to the Culzean Castle, the best preserved castle in Scotland, and quite over the top.  
The Culzean Castle, south of Glasgow
Getting there in our Peugeot rental car was an adventure with driving on the left hand side of the narrow roads and countless roundabouts.  The only thing that would have made it more exciting and stressful would be a stick shift.  I'm happy to report that Kathy survived, we are still married, and no guard rails, stone walls, cars, pedestrians, trucks, or people were harmed in the process.  

From there to Loch Lomand.  Finding accommodations in this high tourist season was a struggle, but thanks to AirBnB and Kathy's travel agent and navigation skills, we finally found something, and were damn glad Scotland has good beer, whiskey, and gin.

Today, we hiked partly up a mountain over the loch, then headed 89 miles north on torturous roads with high traffic through stunning scenery.  (See comments from the above paragraph).  Part of our route paralleled the railroad route made famous by the Harry Potter movies.

Traffic through the Highlands
Tomorrow, we take a ferry to the Isle of Skye for two nights.

Typical roadside view of the Highlands

Kathy's window shot while my eyes were
glued to the road.  No need for coffee!
The village of Luss, where we had a lunch
of delightful smoked wild Atlantic salmon.


  1. Great trip! Those dam round-abouts. Especially when driving on the left side of the road.

  2. Are you golfing at the president's club? Are you visiting the border country--Hadrian's Wall, etc.? Something this Arthurian scholar has always wanted to do! Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure.