scotland 2015 part iii | oban

This the third post in a series about my recent trip to Scotland. You can also read my previous posts: Part I: Edinburgh  //  Part II: Glasgow.

The last time we visited Scotland, we had planned to make it to Oban but due to some transportation woes, got stranded in a much less exciting town and missed this destination. We were so excited about finally having a do-over and visiting this Scottish holiday hotspot. The main things that drew us to Oban were the Oban Distillery, the fact that the town is known as the seafood capital of Scotland, and that—with its busy ferry terminal—it is the perfect jumping-off spot for many destinations in the Hebridean Islands.

We drove to Oban from Glasgow, stopping along the way at Doune Castle. We drove the western shore of Loch Lomond, which I had always wanted to see after singing the eponymous song ad nauseum at vocal recitals as a child and teen. It was an easy and gorgeous drive, though the shockingly narrow "highway" roads and sharp turns caused me more than a little anxiety, even as a passenger!

The first thing we did after checking into our B&B was book a tour of the distillery, then headed to the ferry terminal seafood shack for some fresh oysters. I could have eaten 100, they were so perfect. The Oban distillery tour was a great introduction to whisky making. We loved learning about the process, and sampling a dram (accompanied by some crystallized ginger) at the end was the definite highlight.

On the morning of our second day in Oban, we woke up early to drive to Fort William's train station to catch the Jacobite Steam Train. This excursion was my most eagerly anticipated moment of the trip, as the Jabobite and its route on the historic West Highland railway are both featured in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts Express. My inner child/geek was overjoyed, and Brian patiently accompanied me through it all.

Sitting on the train, sipping a hot cup of tea and looking out at the breathtaking views was just heavenly. I wish this was my daily commute.

The train stops twice along the route. Once in Glenfinnan, and again in Mallaig for a lunch break, a tiny town in northwestern Scotland with not too much on the go, but it was pretty nonetheless. We got takeaway fish and chips which we ate sitting crosslegged on the ground because the entire town ran out of seating for all the number of passengers on the train. That's how twee it is!

Back to Oban, we explored the town, had more oysters and a beautiful seafood dinner at Cuan Mor, then Brian humoured me and came to watch Magic Mike XXL in the town's wee theatre with only one other audience member. Awkward and eerily silent in the theatre, yes, but a thoroughly campy and enjoyable movie-going experience. Going to the movies on vacation is one of our favourite things to do, especially on a cold and rainy night, so it was great.

The next morning, we'd be catching the ferry for our first island adventure to the Isle of Mull. More on that in my next post.