Let us continue on our Mexico detour begun yesterday with our ambitious bus trip into the Scottish countryside! As part of of dragging our family & friends over to Glasgow for our wedding, we wanted to make sure they saw a sufficient smattering of the things that make Scotland so amazing. Obviously that list could get pretty long, but we pared it down to lochs, whiskey, and castles. In a truly fingers-crossed moment that Tuesday morning one year ago, John & I both heaved a sigh of relief as the bus we’d hired blindly from the US rolled up in front of our hotel right on time. We had a tight agenda planned & no time to waste!!
First it was off to lovely Loch Lomond for an hour-long boat cruise on the Astina. We were there early enough to secure basically the whole front of the boat’s open upper deck for ourselves, and we proceeded to bask in the sunlight while circling around the loch. (Check out the song immortalizing this Bonnie Loch here on YouTube.)
Next stop: Glengoyne, Scotland’s “Most Beautiful Distillery”! Clearly no trip to Scotland would be complete without a whisky tour!! We took advantage of the beautiful scenery and ate our bagged lunch on the grounds around the distillery buildings. Cheers to Seb’s Cafe in Glasgow for packing us AMAZING mediterranean lunches to go, with freshly-baked bread & tasty spinach/feta pastries. Sooo tasty.
After our lunch break, we headed in to meet the Glengoyne folks & kick things off with a whisky tasting! (Well, at least everyone who had fully recovered from the night before…) This was followed by a brief tour of the whisky-making process, where we were amused several times at the lack of overly-anal safety precautions that one might expect in the US (i.e. go ahead & touch the 500-degree copper cauldron if you’re stupid; be our guest!). Eventually we dragged everyone out of the overly-alluring gift shop…
And the final stop on our bus tour: the imposing Stirling Castle, located about an hour north of Glasgow in Stirling. As per the website, “It towers over some of the most important battlefields of Scotland’s past including Stirling Bridge, the site of William Wallace’s victory over the English in 1297, and Bannockburn where Robert the Bruce defeated the same foe in the summer of 1314.” Quite a storied past!! I think good times were had by all wandering around the amazing stone buildings & taking photos of each other looking quite majestic.
The bus tour turned out to be a wild success, with all our visits running smoothly & offering much more relaxation than driving a rented car on the wrong side of the road! We returned to Glasgow for dinner in Merchant Square, a fun pseudo-courtyard that once held Glasgow’s Fruit Market and now is home to a number of bars & restaurants. A few ambitious folks finished up the night at Blackfriars, an excellent pub offering numerous beers on tap + cask ales as well as live music. More to follow soon! (And thanks to Marcia/Larry/Heidi/Scott for some of the above pics!)