Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Fàilte gu Alba: the road to Glaschu

So, after our amazing days and anniversary on Skye, it was time to leave for our last destination - Glasgow (Glaschu).  Frankly, I didn't expect much from that drive.  We had seen stunning landscapes day after day, so we had had our fill of natural beauty, and I was also more interested in simply getting to Glasgow and experience the city.

Of course, there are the things one plans, and then the things that actually happen.

After leaving Skye, we took the A87 road southeastwards and, just before getting to the A82, we came across this majestic water mirror - Loch Garry (Loch Garraidh).  Whoa!   The water, the skies, the clouds, stones and old logs, they all conspired to create these images you see here.   I sure wanted to get to Glasgow with enough time to do stuff there, but it was really hard to tear ourselves away from this place!   How - HOW! - can places like these exist?   I had a series of some 12 photos, at least, and I went to great pains to just select a few for you, because I loved them all so!

Our next stop - and yet another stop for which I had few expectations beyond it being a place to stop and eat something - was Glencoe (A’ Chàrnaich), in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands.  As you can see from the photos, the place is all but unremarkable!  What's more, after doing a small search, I found out that Glencoe has been featured in many films, including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as the home of Hagrid, and the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall.  But even if nobody had ever mentioned this place before, the amazing mountains around and the impossibly green fields and the brightly coloured tiny flowers made it a most worthwhile stop.  

And since we stoped, we popped by this very quaint café aptly called Glencoe Café.  I loved the super friendly and attentive service, and they even had soy milk!  And in that frame of mind, sitting down, enjoying my coffee and looking out the window, I felt very peaceful, and very grateful.  We had been moving a lot in previous days, and busied ourselves with seeing, and doing, and exploring. This was a very welcome moment of just appreciating things in stillness, sipping coffee, looking out the window.

Alas, we had a place to reach.  So after that quiet stop we pressed on.   And, naturally, awesome sights kept making us stop over and over again.   This stretch between Glencoe and Loch Lomond (in The Trossachs National Park) was, as you can see, a continuation of the endless beauty of the Scottish Highlands.  And, by the way, I love them single-lane roads!  The most relaxed driving ever!

Finally, we reached the end of the Highlands, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (Pàirc Nàiseanta Loch Laomainn agus nan Tròsaichean).  Not unpretty, Loch Lomond, but in my humble opinion, everything else we had seen was much more beautiful.  But definitely not unpretty, though I admit I took this photo more as a document of our passing by the lake than because I was taken by it. Also, the roads had become bigger and more transited, which contrasted sharply with the calm and solitude we had experienced so far. 

Mid-afternoon we reached our goal - Glasgow!  But - oh how predictable - that fantastic city deserves a post - or two? - of its own. 

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