Before we jaunted to Glasgow to eat well, generally feel puffy yet attractive and look at some amazing art we took a wee (HAR HAR) trip to Balloch from Edinburgh. The hour train ride flew by and in no time we made it to Balloch where we’d set out to explore Loch Lomand.
Here’s where we were grizzled travelers who were a bit over it. And were actually appropriately researched. We know Balloch was a tiny town, but the internets did not prepare us for how REALLY TINY a town it was. We had scheduled to have 20 hours in Balloch and for ONCE, the bed wasn’t too small, or too big, it was JUST RIGHT.
Our B&B was billed as being across the street from the train station, but for some reason it was still a bit of a SHOCK that it was in fact, through a small chain link fence and across a narrow road from the train station. It was a VERY small B&B — three rooms in a kindly couple’s house who I think were in their 50’s? The room was immaculate and Ikea chic, but like Hemnes chic, not Malm chic for all my budget-minded Ikea catalogers. The price was right at 30 pounds a person which included a really terrific breakfast but sadly for DK, no haggis.
We dropped our bags and immediately set out to find the local tourist office. It was precisely two blocks away.
We saw “the main drag” which extended exactly one block each way from the tourist office. We walked along and waved the locals, most of which were just killing time in their wheelchairs waiting for the blue light specials for dinner at the seven restaurants (which were all in the aforementioned two block strip).
The thing to do in Balloch is take a Loch Lomand (as it was pointed out to us, it’s Lah-MOND, not LOW-mond) boat cruise. We sprung for the two hour version (considering we had nothing else to do and we had already SEEN WHAT THERE WAS TO SEE in the previous 13 minutes).
It was cloudy, cold and drizzly (British weather for sure) but it was stunningly beautiful. I bet the guidebooks will hype this place more as time goes by — it’s really an afterthought of a tourist attraction.
After our river cruise we walked precisely 6 minutes to the “docks” and then walked back to the 2 block main street and gave up and had a beer.
Then we ate an early and sensible dinner (minus the sticky toffee pudding dessert) and spent the rest of the evening with headphones on watching separate netflix features because oddly, for a tiny town the internet was whip-fast and the ikea bed felt oddly like our ikea bedroom and we were just so tired from a few days of hustle and bustle. Maybe the folks in the wheelchairs knew what was up? I feel like Loch Lomand is where you go when you are taking your granny out for some fresh air before you take her to tea. Anyway, the effect was soothing. The lady of the house reminded me of a Scottish version of my tough but very elegant great Aunt and it immediately put me at ease. And we snoozed. Our. Faces. Off.
The next morning we ate our breakfast expertly cooked by the wife of the husband and wife duo and left our bags to go walk around the old Loch Lomand Castle.
Unfortunately, they were spraying the surrounding grounds with some pesticide? but you could still walk around the park. We waved at lots of dog walkers and remarked to ourselves how weird it was to be the only tourists around. Edinburgh was teaming with them — here we felt like we were the only ones passing through. We had the park largely to ourselves which was picturesque.
I felt like every Jane Austen heroine tromping through the moor, taking the air, or whatever one in a petticoat who felt so many FEELINGS (including so much vexation and being cross!) was supposed to do. Dave enjoyed the walk but was ready to go and after looking at my Mr. Darcy(stein? berg?) it was a “RIGHT- let us to Glasgow” where we were in for a few days of scotch tasting, accent deciphering, and general readiness to trade up from British weather in hopes of some Moroccan sunshine.