Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scotland Day 2 - Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Mallaig, Isle of Skye

One tip - do not try and hail a cab at 9.30am Sunday to get to a car rental place on the outskirts of Glasgow.   Book in advance! Or, do what A and I did, which is walk for a while, then ask a bus driver if his bus was going in that direction, then get on the bus to realise they only take change and that you don't have enough money, then rely on the goodheartedness of said bus driver to take you to a bus stop only two blocks away from your destination, completely for free. After that adventure, it was a huge relief to settle into our incredibly luxurious rental car (an Audi A6, which should make you car nuts jealous).

It's summer!

Once we were all piled into the car with our luggage, we headed north, stopping at Loch Lomond for a very rainy and foggy view (or rather, huddling inside the visitor's centre, watching a video of what Loch Lomond would look like on a beautiful day).

Let's get a tan!

Another stop at Glencoe was similarly obscured by rain, but we did supplement it with a chocolate muffin at the cafe. As we drove on, I realised that the rain was making our progress slower than expected, so a planned stop at Glenfinnan turned into a 10 second stop for me to take a terrible picture of the viaduct (otherwise known as the Harry Potter bridge), and then poor A had to get us to Mallaig while the rest of the passengers counted down the miles and minutes, as we had a ferry to catch. But we got to Mallaig in the nick of time and enjoyed a smooth ferry ride (including a sighting of dolphins) over to Armadale. A short drive later, we were in Broadford, where Fernlea B&B is located. John and Iris are wonderful hosts and recommended the Claymore (on the main road through Broadford, Isle Of Skye IV49 9AQ) for dinner as it is one of the few places in Broadford open on Sunday.

"Little balls of seafood." - Waitress describing squat lobsters

We had a couple of bowls of seafood chowder to start, which were incredibly creamy and dense with smoked haddock and mackerel. Pictured above is squat lobster, which apparently is a delicacy particular to the Isle of Skye. Thankfully I was forewarned not to expect an actual lobster - the little chunks of squat lobster are more like crayfish, though sweeter and more succulent. They came drenched in garlic butter, and I loved them, though they're certainly not an every day dish - the richness got to be a bit much by the end of the dish. A and his mom had mussels, and once my parents tasted them they decided that they actually do like mussels (though there still remains a question about whether mussels in the United States are as good, since my parents claim not to like the ones they've had in the US). My mom's fish and chips were enormous (by the way, fish and chips should ALWAYS be enormous, in my opinion), and after we finished our meals, we barely had room for anything else, but we couldn't turn down the chance to introduce my parents to sticky toffee pudding. It was a decent rendition but I wasn't a fan of the surprise addition of nuts, and to no one's surprise my parents found it too sweet (though that is more about their palate than the dessert itself).

More in the next post about the spectacularly large kippers that John serves for breakfast at Fernlea. If you want to read about Day 1, go here.

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