This real first day of the trip – and not the arriving day which in my mind is always a half, non productive day – took some time and compromises. We had a deadline: Before 5 pm pick up the tickets in Oban for the early bird tour the day after. Again, I am a bit frustrated by the lack of time in this vacation. Note to myself: never listen to my kids again. One week is waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy too short for anything serious. So, here we are with the deadline. As I don’t know how difficult or easy it will be to find, nor the time that we need to even get to Oban, we need some buffer. Ok. Then of all the things between Edinburgh and Oban what we could have done, what will it be? Some more Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, the Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel, nice hikes at Loch Lomond, Inveraray Castle… Only the last survived the cut.
While working our way to Inveraray it became painfully clear that that stupid GPS in our rental car – which was an upgrade by the way – was useless. Who on earth makes a GPS that only shows some roads on a black background, without even mentioning nearby villages, street names etc. Am I spoiled with my BMW navigation system back home? Am I back in the 80’s playing Atari???? In this area it is quite important to see the lakes and how the roads run. I do not drive a hoovercraft. One hour detour.
At Inveraray Castle, I had selected the “gentle” stroll up to the watchtower as an activity for the day. Standing there at the castle and looking up to the watch tower, it being the first day, already one hour delayed in our schedule, none of us was eager to go onto that hill climb. After our week of traveling and hike up to the Old Man Storr in Isle of Skye, this watch tower hike looks like a piece of cake in hindsight.
Instead, we went for the tour, where we were greeted by a nice Scottish gentleman. The kids got a quiz to keep them busy and entertained throughout the tour. We didn’t yet hold the paper straight in our hands or my dear companion and good friend Greet teamed up with my daughter and made it into a real competition against my son and me. I had bigger plans with my son, I needed him to figure in the pictures I was planning to take. I knew that this castle was one of the most abundantly decorated ones. It was very well maintained and clearly there has been a lot of wealth with a passion for French stuff. The logistics on getting some pieces from France into this remote place back in these days… I was really eager to see the china room. A round shaped room in one of the towers on the front end with built-in closets. The ultimate spot for a nice panoramic/ 360 degree picture. Yes, I am lucky, no one around and my son willing to pose. This makes me happy. Very happy. It used to be a library. Must have been cool as well with all the books…
With yesterday’s urging need for a sugar shot still fresh in mind, we stopped at the tea-room in the castle. They make the cakes themselves and are very generous with the portions as well. The noise was quite high in the sitting room, as if it was built to hear a mouse running around. It became also apparent here that we were not the only ones from Flanders here. We’d better watch out what we are saying.
We strolled through the gardens around the castle. Nice. They really put a lot of effort and money into maintaining this property. My son was looking at a sign with disappointment on his face: do not step on the grass. As a soccer player, this was something he could not comprehend, what is the use of that grass then?
By skipping so much throughout this day, obviously we made it in time to Oban.
Check out more pictures in my album: