Happy Travel Tuesday everyone! I love when these days roll around and I can go blog hopping! (smile)
The next stop on our little Scotland mini-tour is Oban (emphasis on the O, so it sounds something like “O-ben” when you say it) and a little bit of the surrounding countryside. Oban is on the west coast of Scotland just south of Fort William, and is known as the seafood capital of Scotland (a well-deserved title I might add).
We stayed at the Columba Hotel right along the waterfront, which was a perfect location in the heart of the city. Our room faced out over the city and we had great views of McCaig’s Tower, which is all lit up at night. I have no complaints about the room, which was quite spacious, or the staff, who were all quite nice. I will say that we had troubles with the wifi (I think they only have one router for the hotel – common but slightly annoying) and the breakfast (which was included in the room cost) left a bit to be desired. It was quite obvious that they were in their “down time,” as they were short-staffed and encouraged diners to go to the adjoining pub for all other meals. The pub was okay, but not exactly quiet. My only personal complaint was the elevator. I mean I suppose I shouldn’t really complain – at least they had one – but it was one of those deals where you have to close two doors and it only fits 2 people max…Yeah, I took the stairs. We saw a ton of B&Bs in town (most of which weren’t open in November sadly), so I think I’d go that route next time if the season was right.
We spent most of our days mosey-ing about the surrounding countryside, but we did see quite a bit of Oban’s nightlife. We were even in town for their annual Christmas festival, which consists of a parade and some fun rides scattered around the area – very festive!
One of the evenings, we booked a reservation at The Seafood Temple. If you read any of the reviews on this place you’ll quickly learn just how appropriate that name really is! I myself am not a huge seafood fan. I mostly stick with shellfish, venturing into fishy territory on occasion, but given that we were in the country’s seafood capital, I thought it appropriate to give this place a try. The restaurant is tiny, seating somewhere around 20 people max in my estimation. There are two dinner services each night – one early, one later – and reservations are a necessity. The menu changes each night depending on what came in off the boats that day, so you know everything is fresh. And if there’s a place you want to indulge, this is it! There’s an excellent wine menu and the staff were super friendly and helpful. My brother got started with scallops and had the surf and turf as his main. I started with crab claws and moved on to baked sole. We finished the whole thing off with a nice warm lemon sponge (we were technically celebrating my birthday after all – smile). You guys…this was possibly the best meal of my life to date. If not the best, it’s certainly close. And it was seafood!! I was completely blown away by just how good everything was! I’ll just put it like this – worth it.
To walk off a bit of dinner we went up to McCaig’s Tower to check out the light show and to see the views. It’s an interesting monument – sort of like a replica of the Colosseum in Rome. It’s situated above the city on Battery Hill and has spectacular views. Built around 1900 by John Stuart McCaig, the monument was meant to provide work for local stonemason’s and as a lasting memorial to the McCaig family. If you walk up the hill be forewarned that it is a hike; but the views and neighborhoods make it interesting enough to be worthwhile (smile).
As I mentioned earlier, we spent quite a bit of our days exploring the surrounding countryside. There are plenty of castles, monuments, and other lovely mysteries within minutes of Oban, but I think I’ll leave those for their own posts (smile). So I’ll leave you now with some country shots to hold you til next week…
Come join the fun!!