Holiday in Scotland – day 1
On Friday July 1st, we left early in the morning for Gothenburg City Airport. At Svinesund we crossed the border for the last time toll-free across the new bridge. We arrived at the (small!) airport with plenty of time to spare. Check-in was not going to open until 2 hours before scheduled departure, so we first spent some time outside the cafeteria where we watched the various planes take off, including a big one of the Swedish Coast Guard. Check-in went quick & easy, but my shoes had to come off at X-ray. While waiting for our plane I enjoyed 1.5 pints of Foster beer in the small 1-flight departure hall. There was 1 tiny tax free shop & a somewhat larger bar there, but… no clock at all! Nowhere! The plane arrived late, so it also departed a bit delayed, 20 minutes to be precise.The seating on board was OK, although clearly a budget version of regular airplane seats: No free meals or any other consumptions on board, but plenty for sale.
The flight went quick and uneventful.We made a smooth landing on Glasgow Prestwick Airport. Here there were clearly signs of heightened security measures, especially around a Russian plane (possibly G8-related?). After collecting our luggage we took the Stagecoach Western Express Service X77 to Buchanan bus station in Glasgow. Here I went to the office of Citylink to collect the tickets for our further journeys which I had very conveniently ordered over the Internet the day before. I also purchased 2 tickets for the next bus to Stirling. This bus took a very scenic route over very narrow roads for a while, possibly to avoid rush hour, a traffic jam or an accident? In Stirling we found our B&B pretty easily and were welcomed by the friendly proprietor.
Later that evening we walked for a long, long time through Stirling, trying find lounge bar & bistro the Birds & the Bees, supposedly an award-winning restaurant. Somewhere along the way we asked the way to a passer-by. The man turned out to be a visiting business man, but he had a map in his car and we followed him there to have a look. It turned out to be not that far from where we were, and the very friendly man offered us a ride. Turned out that it was impossible to reach the street from that side by car because of a train line, so we continued on foot, after of course thanking the gentleman kindly for his assistance. When we finally got to the restaurant we discovered the downside of trying to eat at a well-known place: no tables available! We then made a reservation for the next evening, and took a bus back into town. There we quickly found another nice-looking restaurant, and we had our evening meal at Hannibal’s instead that evening. The service was good & fast, although it did make me wonder about the minumum age for working in the restaurant business in the UK: one of the waitresses looked VERY young. Anyway… After dinner we made a short stroll through town before returning to the B&B. There we noticed that the musical sounds we’d heard coming from Stirling Castle turned out to be a sound check for a pop performance. The rest of the evening we had the window of our room open en got to enjoy the sounds of Wet Wet Wet for free!