In September 2010, I attended a conference in Oban, Scotland. I travelled via Glasgow where I met up with my good friend Sergey and his wife Luda from Ukraine.
I see Sergey every year at this event and we have become great friends over the years. It has become a tradition that we exchange bottles at this meeting. He has become fond of Canadian Rye and I love the Ukrainian Vodka that he brings for me.
We took the train from Glasgow to Oban and found our way to our B&B overlooking the bay.
Oban is a beautiful seaside town and we took advantage of its location with seafood at most meals.
Those that know me well know that whenever possible, I seek out Real Ale. Before arriving in Scotland, I had used CAMRA UK’s iPhone version of the Good Beer Guide to check out the local watering holes. The Tartan Tavern was highly recommended and we were not disappointed. It became our pub.
The food was decent and the beer was local and pulled fresh from the cask. From their first taste, Sergey and Luda were hooked on Real Ale.
No trip to Oban would be complete without a stop, tour and some shopping at their distillery. The tour went through the process from start to finish, grain to whisky. 6 months later, I am still enjoying the smooth taste of the 14.
After the conference was over, I took the train back through Glasgow to Edinburgh. I had planned my return home to have a brief stop over to see the sights.
I arrived in the late afternoon and caught a cab to my B&B about 3km south of Central Edinburgh.
With my Good Beer Guide in hand, I headed back toward the city centre. At about the half way mark, I found The Auld Hoose. Once again, good pub food (bangers and mash with an onion and ale gravy) and cask ales. I tried several, but the Hobgoblin was my favourite. Refreshed, I continued my walk into town, getting my bearings for my full day as a tourist.
The weather was dry and mild…better than I had expected and I took advantage to get some obligatory scarf shopping and photo snapping done.
Next day I had an early start and visited the castle and grounds before the throngs of tourists arrived. The tour (free with admission) was quite good and gave a good grounding in the history that I missed while not paying attention in High School. I walked the length of the Royal Mile (downhill) and on the advise of some travel sites, took an underground tour of Mary King’s Close. It gave a wonderful insight into how Edinburgh was before the Royal Mile was full of Tartan shops and Starbucks.
Edinburgh is one of those places that I’ll re-visit.