Our 16-day Scottish vacation was "bookended" by Edinburgh at the start, and Glasgow at the end. And four different towns in the Highlands in between. We spent a lot of time planning the trip, which really paid off.

Edinburgh -- three nights.

Ullapool -- two nights. The northern-most place we stayed in the Highlands.

Shieldaig -- two nights. The Glen Torridon area.

Isle of Skye -- three nights.

Glencoe -- three nights.

Glasgow -- three nights.

If we had it to do over (with the same number of days), we'd probably spend one more day in Shieldaig and one less in Glasgow. But other than that possible tweak, our plans worked out quite well.

Many of my Scotland photos -- and others -- are also on my photography site,

Sunday, September 1, 2013


We flew from the US to Glasgow via Reykjavik on Iceland Air, leaving the evening of August 31 and arriving at 10:40 in the morning on Sunday, September 1. Then, a bus from the airport to the Glasgow train station, and then a train to Edinburgh. We arrived late afternoon at our Edinburgh guest house -- 94DR -- and were warmly welcomed by Paul, who gave us good things-to-do suggestions for the rest of the day. 94DR has a well-deserved 5-star rating on Trip Advisor -- we concur!

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Here's an 80-second exposure of Priestfield Church, just across the street from our guest house -- processed a bit for an extra moody feel.

Priestfield Church, Edinburgh - long exposure

John, our other host at 94DR, got us reservations for dinner at Blonde, just a short walk up the street. Fantastic food and gracious service -- a good recommendation! (The reviews on Trip Advisor concur.)

Sunday was the final night of the Edinburgh Festival -- with one event: fireworks over Edinburgh accompanied by orchestra. Paul's suggestion was that rather than heading into the crowds, we instead headed away, and up to a vantage point (along the Radical Road) over the city from Sailsbury Crags in Holyrood Park. Salisbury Crags is to the right center of this map (in the green area -- Holyrood Park). And the fireworks were launched from the grounds of Edinburgh Castle, on the hill just north of the "W Port" street label.

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What a great view! And Elizabeth had the radio in her iPod set to hear the BBC broadcast of the live concert that was synchronized with the fireworks.

Fireworks over Edinburgh -- the 2013 Edinburgh Festival

Monday, September 2, 2013


Paul, of our guest house, is an amazing chef, and skillfully prepared fantastic breakfasts for us, served in a pleasant sun room. A great way to start the day (today, and next two days of our stay in Edinburgh).

After breakfast we walked through King's Park, to the Queen's Gallery, at the foot of the "Royal Mile," the main thoroughfare through the Old Town in Edinburgh. On display was an absolutely amazing exhibit of and about da Vinci's anatomical drawings, based on autopsies -- as well as his astounding genius. He was at least 400 years ahead of anyone else in teasing out and drawing the structure of our bodies -- including, for example, the complex networks of tendons in our hands and feet. Really astounding to see his work.

We wandered up the hill, along the Royal Mile, and stopped into the World's End pub for a tasty pint and lunch.

And then a few photos of St. Giles' Cathedral. (I describe a bit more about the image below here, on my photography website.) This one is a 40-second exposure.

St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh - 40-second exposure

Dinner at the Magnum "gastropub," recommended by our otherwise reliable Scotland the Best guidebook. The food and ale was fine, but nothing to get excited about.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Another delicious breakfast by Paul. Then John, our other host at 94DR, gave us some good suggestions on things to do, based on some rather vague ideas we expressed.

Then, off on foot to New Town, where we stopped off to see Colin Homes' gallery -- one of my favorite photographers! It was nice to meet him, and to see some of his beautiful prints in person (vs. the Web images). A treat!

We then walked through the Stockbridge area to the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh. What a beautiful place! (And on a gorgeous day!) I think my favorite section was the alpines, with many varieties of hardy, compact, and often colorful plants.

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On the walk to the garden, I took these two iPhone photos.

Edinburgh cat & flowers

Stockbridge gate, Edinburgh

Then we walked back to the Water of Leith (a river), which we had crossed on the way to the garden, to follow along a path along the river. This was the site of several generations of old mills (dating back to the 1700s), the foundations of which are still visible here and there.

Then, a visit to nearby Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. A free bus back into the Old Town, and then a city bus out to the Leith area of Edinburgh, a somewhat industrial port area along the Firth of Forth (the estuary which Edinburgh abuts). Our destination was the upscale Restaurant Martin Wishert. Excellent food, and a very pleasant evening.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Edinburgh to Ullapool

After yet another delicious breakfast by Paul, we were off to our first Highlands destination -- Ullapool. 210 miles from Edinburgh, and a 4-hour drive (according to Google Maps). This was to be the longest drive of our vacation, taking a good bit of the day, but not so much that we couldn't stop along the way to see some sights.

We walked from our guest house to the train station to pick up our rental car, then drove back to our guest house to pick up our bags, and then we were off. The car was good and comfortable -- an Astra Sports Tourer (diesel). Although the steering wheel was on the wrong side! (JK!) (We got our car through -- highly recommended and a good value.)

I had also picked up a UK SIM card for my iPhone 4s, which meant access to the can't-live-without-'em Google and Google Maps. And I also had the Maps with Me app, which I had pre-loaded with a very detailed off-line map of Scotland, which meant we had maps (and GPS) even when there was no cell signal. And even when we did have a signal, I didn't have to eat up my SIM card's value downloading data for Google Maps. Very helpful -- and highly recommended!

Here's Ullapool, our destination.

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Our first stop was short detour off the main road to North Queensferry, just past the highway bridge (the A90), for a view of the spectacular Forth Bridge (the right-hand bridge in this view).

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This railway bridge over the Firth of Forth (the large estuary to the north of Edinburgh) was constructed in the 1880s, and is a marvel of design. Here's a 90-second exposure image of the bridge.

Forth Bridge, Scotland - long exposure

Back in the car, and north to our next stop, the Balnuaran of Clava, three close-together Bronze Age (about 4000 years old) burial cairns, just a bit east of Inverness. This Website describes the celestial alignments captured in the cairns' layout -- amazing!

Our next stop was the Falls of Rogie -- about 20 miles west of Inverness on the road to Ullapool.

Rogie Falls, Scotland

Rogie Falls, Scotland

We checked in to our B&B, the Riverview B&B in Ullapool, with a warm welcome by Nadine. Then dinner and ales at the Arch Inn. Good food!

Thursday, September 5, 2013


A delicious breakfast by Nadine -- a very good way to start off the day!

Our first Highlands destination of Ullapool was inspired by a description of the "Wee Roads & Mighty Mountains" in the Lonely Planet Scotland travel guide: "... this drive takes in some of the lesser-known roads and the most majestic of Highland scenery." Everything else we read confirmed this as a worthwhile inspiration!

The first leg of the suggested drive -- our activity today -- is a one-day loop to the north of Ullapool, along the coast to Lochinver, and then clockwise, back inland and returning to Ullapool. What a beautiful drive!

Here's a view of Loch Bad a’ Ghaill.

Loch Bad a’ Ghaill, Scotland

Then a stop at the beach on Achnahaird Bay -- at low tide, which was good timing! A beautiful expanse of beach

The beach on Achnahaird Bay, Scotland

The beach on Achnahaird Bay, Scotland

We took a short "detour" off the loop to the small town of Achiltibuie, and a delicious lunch of fresh langoustines (and, of course, ale) at the bar at the Summer Isles Hotel -- with a view out to the Summer Isles. Delicious!

We stopped for a short hike in the Culag Community Woodland Trust, Little Assynt Estate, up to the Gob Ard viewpoint. Then a stop at the Ardvreck Castle ruins, which is on a bit of land that juts out into Loch Assynt.

Ardvreck Castle ruins, Loch Ardvreck, Scotland

Another tasty dinner at the Arch Inn in Ullapool.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ullapool to Shieldaig (Torridon)

Time for the next adventure -- off to the small town of Shieldaig in the Torridon area of Scotland. More inspiration from Lonely Plant Scotland: "The road southwest from Kinlochewe [which we took] passes through Glen Torridon, amid some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain. Carved by ice from massive layers of the ancient sandstone that takes its name from the region, the mountains here are steep, shapely and imposing, whether flirting with autumn mists, draped in dazzling winter snows, or reflected in the calm blue waters of Loch Torridon on a summer day." Inspiring!

Here's Shieldaig, where we stayed at the Aurora B&B -- very comfortable, and in a beautiful setting!

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Part of our plan for the trip was to have relatively short drives between the places we were staying. (This was true for all of our drives except for the first, from Edinburgh to Ullapool.) Our drive today was only 73 miles, giving us plenty of time to explore.

Our first stop was the Falls of Measach – an amazing waterfall in Corrieshalloch Gorge. With a bridge high above the falls that is rated for only 6 people. Amazing geology!

Then on to Inverewe Garden. Our timing was good; we arrived right when a guided tour of the gardens was starting. A fascinating

Plants in Inverewe Garden, Scotland

A view of Inverewe Garden, Scotland

Tree, in Inverewe Garden, Scotland

Our drive took us along the south shore of Loch Maree, where I tool this two-minute exposure.

Loch Maree, Scotland - long exposure

Once in Shieldaig, we received a warm welcome to the Aurora B&B by Ann. Then a short walk to the Shieldaig Bar and Coastal Kitchen -- good food.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Shieldaig (Torridon)

A delicious breakfast by Ann.

The previous evening Ann had given us quite a few suggestions for walks and hikes in the area -- and wow, there's a lot to choose from in this spectacular area!!

One hike, in particular, appealed to us: driving through Torridon and then to the north side of Upper Loch Torridon, for a hike up into the mountains along a stream called Abhainn Coire MhicNòbaill.  It was raining (good Scottish weather...) so we suited up in our full rain gear, then crossed a small bridge over the stream and parked in a lot just past (west of) the stream.  Then, up the trail. So beautiful! First through pines, then a deciduous forest, with ferns on the ground, and the gentle sounds of the beautiful stream -- with many cascades --along the trail. Here's a photo where another stream – Allt Toll a’ Mhadaidh – flows in from the north.

Abhainn Coire MhicNòbaill, Torridon, Scotland

Beautiful!! An online map showing the area is here.

Back to the B&B to change out of our rather wet raingear, and to get ready for walk directly from the B&B, to the tip of the peninsula that divides Loch Torridon from Upper Loch Torridon. When we left, it was sunny -- which led me to the false conclusion that it would stay sunny. So I was wearing a light jacket, but not really a waterproof jacket. Once we were at the tip of the peninsula, a downpour! And even a bolt of lightning! I didn't take many photos, but here's an iPhone shot of sheep passing the time under some trees.

Shieldaig sheep, Scotland

After drying off, another dinner at the Shieldaig Coastal Bar and Kitchen.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Shieldaig (Torridon) to the Isle of Skye

Our initial thought for yesterday was a drive to Applecross via Applecross Pass along Bealach na Ba Road -- a dramatic drive leading to the small coastal village of Applecross. However, there was a big bike race, closing the road to cars. Thanks to Ann's suggestions, we had a fantastic day anyway, but today was our day for the drive to Applecross. Here's a nice description of the drive here. Spectacular drive! (And a narrow "single track" road!)

And here's a photo of Applecross River flowing into Applecross Bay.

Applecross River flowing into Applecross Bay

The loop drive to Applecross was a "detour," so back we went to the road from Shieldaig to the Isle of Skye. We had read that the town of Plockton -- not too far from Skye, but along a very narrow road that parallels the main road. A picturesque little town, well worth the side trip.

A iPhone photo from Plockton.

Plockton Harbor, Scotland

And here's the Isle of Skye, our "home" for the next two days.

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Our B&B, the Cruinn Bheinn Bed and Breakfast, is located about 6 miles beyond (north of) the main town on Skye of Portree (here). As it was getting late in the afternoon, rather than checking in we stopped in Portree and had a delicious seafood dinner at the Sea Breezes Restaurant. With friendly conversations with others enjoying the town as well.

Then on to our B&B, and a warm welcome by Peter. Our room was a new suite Peter and Marina had set up -- very comfortable!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Isle of Skye

A delicious breakfast by Marina. (Delicious breakfasts were definitely a theme for us on this trip!)

Our first adventure of the day was a trip to the Quiraing, which is a spectacular and popular place. A short hike leads to a rather alien and wonderful landscape. Here's a 60-second exposure that blurs the clouds a bit on this blustery and beautiful day.

The Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland - a long exposure

The Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland - black & white

And a 15-second exposure

The Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland - a long exposure

A quick stop at Mealt Falls, which is here. iPhone snap.

Mealt Waterfall, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Then on to our disappointing hike to the Old Man of Storr. Up a steep hill, through a barren " forest," of ruts and tree stumps. All the trees were recently cut down – the first step in a long-term project to replace the (former) forest with native species. Which will be beautiful in 20 years, but “ugly” is not an overstatement for its current condition. Also it was getting late in the day, and the light was not good, with the cliffs and “Old Man” in shadow.  (I’ve seen gorgeous recent photos of the Old Man, but they’re certainly morning shots, and they're from higher up than we hiked.) Here's a "snapshot" view taken during a brief break in the clouds, with the "Old Man" (a spire) about 1/3 of the way over from the right side of the image.

Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Dinner in Portree, in the bistro restaurant at the Bosville Hotel. The waitress was a bit surly, but the seafood curry we both had was delicious.

After dinner we headed north for sunset views. I didn't find any spectacular vantage points or photo compositions, but watching the changing light while driving along the coast was a treat. This image was taken from the bend in the road, here.

Sunset, Isle of Skye, Scotland

And sunset, taken here.

Isle of Skye sunset

Isle of Skye Sunset

Back to Uig (about 7 miles north of -- and on the way to -- our B&B), and a stop for a pint (and cider for Elizabeth) at the Ferry Inn.

Unfortunately, there was road work on the way back home, so we waited for about 45 minutes for the crew to allow us through. Finally, then back to the B&B – a bit later than we had planned!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Isle of Skye

Today was the day for our 1:30 pm reservation at The Three Chimneys. (John, one of our hosts at 94DR in Edinburgh, encouraged us to eat here -- it's a wonderful restaurant! -- and had made the reservation for us.) So our plan was to head off in that direction, poking around along the way.

South from our B&B along the A87, and a right turn on to the A850, which crosses over the River Snizort. We stopped briefly at the grounds of the peculiar and definitely “faded grace” Skeabost Country House -- a white hotel nestled up against the river (off a not-maintained side road from the A87). One of the reviews on Trip Advisor says it's a "wee bit tired," which I think is a polite understatement!

Our morning destination was the Coral Beaches, which are here. It was misting/raining, but still a treat, by the time we made it to the “coral” beach (actually dried and sun-bleached algae), the rains had stopped.

Three iPhone shots.

Coral Beach in the distance, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Coral Beach, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Coral Beach, Isle of Skye, Scotland

And an iPhone close-up of black rocks on the beach.

Rocks at Coral Beach, Isle of Skye, Scotland

A short drive to The Three Chimneys for an amazing lunch! A big thanks (again!) to John of 94DR in Edinburgh for the recommendation and making the reservation for us. Here's a lunch menu (which changes frequently), but it gives an idea of the interesting combinations of ingredients (perfectly prepared!) that we enjoyed.

After lunch, we thought we would head south, hoping for what we knew was the unlikely chance that the clouds would lift for a view of the Cullen Mountains. The other thing we had considered was a tour of the Talisker distillery -- a great thing to do on a misty Scottish-weather-kind-of-day! But, alas, the day's tours were booked. Anyway, southward we went.

Here's a view to the southwest, from about here.

As we were driving along, I spotted a side road heading towards the water and took it. It might well have just led to private driveways, but my instincts were good this time. Parking at the end of the road, a trail out to this peninsula (across a sheep field), just past the small settlement of Ullnish.

Two of my favorite photos from Scotland, both capturing (I think) nice moods. Both long exposures (which I like!) -- 140 seconds and 75 seconds, respectively. Looking back to the northeast, with the vantage point of the above photo in the far background.

And a telephoto view of cliffs at the southern end of Wiay

Even though the clouds were thick, we headed south, perhaps to see the Fairy Pools, which I had read about.  So off we went!  The drive to the pools was dramatic, up and up a windy road!  Then, eventually, down, ultimately to the parking lot for the pools.  Which was midge heaven!!  But very dramatic and “big” mountain scenery (at least the bottoms of the mountains, that is; the middles and tops were in the thick clouds).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Isle of Skye to Glencoe

Time to leave our spacious suite -- and hosts Marina and Peter -- on Skye. On our way south across the island, we were treated to some dramatic views, with the clouds rolling over and around the mountains.  

Clouds, Isle of Skye, Scotland

We also stopped at Sligachan, with a picturesque bridge and stream (and a few photos, of course).

Falls at Sligachan, Isle of Skye, Scotland

After crossing the Skye Bridge, and making it past Loch Duich (not far from Skye), we turned back to the west on the “Old Military Road” to Glenelg. Very narrow!  Stopped briefly at Glenelg, but then pressed on to our goal, the Glenelg Brochs. Amazing iron-age dwellings! Definitely a worthwhile detour.

Two iPhone photos.

Glenelg Broch, Scotland

Glenelg Broch, Scotland

And an iPhone close-up of a fern in the rocks.

Fern in rocks

On our way to Glencoe, we took a detour to find the Chia-aig Falls and Witches’ Pool. It took some doing, but we finally found them, here.  (Also here.) Some of the trail was closed, but we did get a look at the falls, and the pool at their base, into which suspected witches were – “legend has it” – dunked.

A bit of the falls just above the pool.

Chia-aig Falls, Scotland

Then off to our destination Glencoe.

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We checked into the Strath Lodge, warmly welcomed by Ann. A perfect place to stay! Located off the main road, along the "old Glencoe road," so it was peaceful and quiet. Then off for a casual dinner at the nearby Clachaig Inn. And interesting conversations with a family of vacationing "locals" (from Aberdeenshire).

Thursday, September 12, 2013


After a delicious breakfast -- prepared by Dan and served by Ann -- we headed up the glen to a spot I was very interested in photographing: a small falls, a small tree, and Buachaille Etive Mòr -- a pyramidal peak -- in the background. This is a much photographed location! I did end up taking quite a few photos, but they aren't particularly good, so no posting them here. I did, however, get some nice photos when I returned to this same spot on Saturday the 14th.

Then back down the glen (towards Glencoe) to our next adventure -- a hike up to the Lost Valley (or Hidden Valley), which was a fantastic, wonderful, and amazing hike! We parked here, then followed the trail down to a bridge crossing the River Coe, and then up a narrow gorge perpendicular to the main glen. It was misty, and moody, which I think added to the hike's beauty.

An iPhone photo, processed in camera with Snapseed.

Lost Valley trail, Glencoe, Scotland

And two taken with my DSLR.

Lost Valley trail, Glencoe, Scotland

Lost Valley trail, Glencoe, Scotland

Several iPhone photos.

Lost Valley trail, Glencoe, Scotland

Looking back from the Lost Valley trail to the main glen, with the clouds rolling in. All processed in camera with Snapseed.

Lost Valley trail, Glencoe, Scotland

Lost Valley, Glencoe, Scotland

Lost Valley trail, Glencoe, Scotland

Cresting the lip of the Lost Valley, here was our view. Moody and misty, but not much to see, so back we went, picking our way carefully along the somewhat slippery trail. Another iPhone photo.

A misty view into the Lost Valley, Glencoe, Scotland

Back to our B&B in Glencoe, and then we headed out to Lochleven Seafood Café, an unusual little place – located here. Plain interior, and good – Spanish-influenced – seafood dishes, made from no-doubt very fresh ingredients.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Our first adventure of the day was a short hike to “the study”; rock outcroppings in the main glen with a dramatic view to the west – including of the iconic Three Sisters. This view in Bing Maps shows the roof of a little hut tucked into the side of the rock outcropping where we stopped for the view.

Glencoe and the "Three Sisters," Scotland

Glencoe and the "Three Sisters," Scotland

Back to Glencoe, with a stop for lunch in the Glencoe Café, a pleasant little lunch spot with tasty soup and sandwiches.

Then off to Glen Nevis! Up along the southeast shore of Loch Linnhe on the A82 to Fort William, and then up into the Glen along Belford Road along the Water of Nevis (the river through the glen). A stop at the visitor center (which had a frightening and depressing display – with first-person recollections – about the Clearances. We took the road all the way to the end, parked, and headed up a beautiful trail, which led into a narrowing canyon the dramatic cascades of the Water of Nevis below. iPhone photo.

The trail along the Water of Nevis, Ben Nevis, Scotland

And another iPhone photo, but this one processed in-camera with Snapseed.

The trail along the Water of Nevis, Ben Nevis, Scotland

The trail opens up to a wide and flat valley – right here, where I took this photo on the way back down.

The Water of Nevis, Scotland

We walked a way along the north side of the valley, to a spot along the rocky streambed with a view of Steall Falls.

Steall Falls, Glen Nevis, Scotland

Looking back, downstream. iPhone photos.

Glen Nevis, Scotland

Glen Nevis, Scotland

We decided to try getting dinner in Fort William. The first challenge was finding parking! Which we solved when Elizabeth spotted a large municipal lot by the Loch. First stop was the Grog & Gruel for a pint (delicious Joker IPA for Steve). But they had a long wait for dinner (which we suspected was probably not-all-that-exciting bar food), so we went, instead, to Sugar & Spice, a casual, bring-your-own-drinks Thai restaurant down the street from the pub. Really good!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Glencoe to Glasgow

Up early for another shot at Buachaille Etive Mòr (where I had taken uninspiring photos two days prior). Wow, did the morning light ever oblige! The colors changed quickly from pre-dawn gray, to the colors in my photo, and then just as quickly to brighter -- but less colorful -- sunlight. I actually desaturated the colors in this image, which looked unnaturally vibrant in the straight-out-of-the-camera image. What an amazing scene to witness!

Buachaille Etive Mòr, Glencoe, Scotland

Then back to the B&B for breakfast, and final packing up. We took Ann’s suggestion and stopped for a view of Castle Stalker on Loch Linnhe. (Sighting along a somewhat mysterious rail line leading out to the island, mostly under water -- which you can't see through the reflections in this image.)

Castle Stalker on Loch Linnhe, Scotland

Our next stop was Kilchurn Castle – a bit of a walk out on a grassy plain on Loch Awe. It’s a ruin, but with interior stairs constructed so you could walk up and to various viewpoints within the structure, and looking out over the surrounding area. A good place to visit!

Kilchurn Castle, Scotland

Kilchurn Castle, Scotland

Into the town of Oban – with impossibly narrow streets, getting us up to the McCaig’s Tower, a “folly” overlooking the steep-hilled town and Oban Bay.

Oban, Scotland

Back in the car, and eventually to the A82 along the western shores of Loch Lomond – probably the scariest road of our trip: narrow, with tour busses zooming north just inches away, and a stone wall to the left – again, seemingly just inches away from my left rear-view mirror. 

Next, a stop at the architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh's masterful Hill House in Helensburgh (not too far from Glasgow) -- constructed between 1902 and 1904, and open for visits.

Here's an iPhone photo, processed on the iPhone with Snapseed, for an old postcard look.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Hill House

Then back on the road and into Glasgow, the final destination of our trip.

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On the way into Glasgow, we stopped for dinner at the small Scotland the Best-recommended bar in the elegant Hotel du Vin.  (Most folks in the bar were having drinks only, but the bar also serves food from their bistro menu, which was great! Tasty food!) Here's an iPhone shot of the hotel's exterior.

Hotel du Vin, Glasgow, at twilight

Then to our B&B, Alamo Guest House.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Dropped off our car and caught a cab to the Mackintosh-designed Glasgow School of Art.  We signed up for a tour, which was fantastic! Led by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable recent grad.  A real treat! 

Front door to the Mackintosh-designed Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland

Then caught a cab to the Riverside Museum – the new Zaha Hadid-designed home of the collection formerly in the now closed Transport Museum.  Nice lunch in their café. And a tour of the Tall Ship, docked next to the museum (which is right on the River Clyde). 

Here's an iPhone detail from the museum, processed in-camera with Snapseed

Train detail, from the Riverside Museum, Glasgow, Scotland

It was blowing hard – and raining a bit -- when the museum closed, but we decided to walk to one of the “real ale pubs” recommended in Scotland the Best, Tennent’s Bar. A game was going on, but we found a spot in a small room away from the bar. Not quite the pub experience we were hoping for, but the beer was tasty.

Then, a walk to Mother India’s Café for dinner, with this quick snap of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum along the way, processed in-camera with Snapseed for an old-postcard look.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

We waited maybe 20 minutes to get in to Mother India's (it’s popular), but once we got in…  wow, what amazing food! Small plates, so we ordered a bunch of different things, and everything was delicious. The individual flavors were a bit more distinct that we’re used to for Indian food -- a very nice dinner!

Monday, September 16, 2013


We got off the bus near the Glasgow Central train station, which was along the Rick Steves walking tour (in this guidebook), which we took. He points out (among other things) little architectural details of interest that one would otherwise certainly not notice. One of our stops (which Rick Steve said was skipable) was the Glasgow City Chambers. We had missed a tour just a bit earlier, and could only explore the ground floor, but still, it was a treat!  Such opulence and splendor, representing Glasgow’s (former) industrial glory. Alabaster and marble details, all over! Here's an iPhone photo processed in-camera with Snapseed.

Glasgow City Chambers, Glasgow, Scotland

Then a fairly quick tour through the Gallery of Modern Art.

Then, off to “The Lighthouse,” a building with a Mackintosh-designed tower, and a very slick exhibit of Mackintosh’s work. Nice view from the tower, which had been retro-fitted with a modern steel and wood spiral staircase.

We had read good things about the Burrell Collection, which is a few miles southwest of downtown Glasgow. We figured out the bust routes, and off we went! The museum was designed in the 1970s, and is interesting architecture, but is evidently suffering from quite a few leaks (quite a few buckets and tarps placed around, and some exhibit rooms with the art moved out to protect it from the leaks…).

We had mediocre food at the museum café (not up to the standards at the Riverside museum from yesterday, certainly!). There was some interesting art in the collection, for sure, but overall it was rather underwhelming.

Back on a bus to see the Glasgow Cathedral.  We got in in just enough time before closing to tour around a bit, but were kicked out of the crypts (which closed “early” to begin the larger it's-time-to-go-home clearing-out process…). 

Here's a long exposure photo of the exterior. (The front of the cathedral was in scaffolding...)

Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow, Scotland

We had decided to try out a Scotland-the-Best-recommended pizza restaurant (near our hotel), Firebird, for dinner. My iPhone's Glasgow bus app had some usefulness, but it wasn’t particularly good for figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B. We thought we had figured it out, but after waiting at a bus stop for a few minutes and trying to figure out the posted schedule, we decided that we were mistaken.  Off on foot.  But the walk to the pizza restaurant was to be a long one, so I managed to call a cab, which took us right there, of course. The pizza was fine, but not great, by any means. We should have gone back to Mother India -- the woderful restaurant from the previous evening!

We stopped on our way back to the hotel at the Islay Inn, which was a comfortable pub, fairly empty other than a few likely “locals” at the bar (and a smattering of other patrons). A nice place to stop. (Looks like a great place for live music, but none for us this evening.) Then a short walk back to the hotel.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Glasgow to home (USA)

We had an afternoon flight home, which gave us just a little time before we had to catch a cab to the bus station (and then, a bus to the airport). So we walked to the nearby Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. (An exterior "old postcard" shot is above.) I had packed my tripod, but took this photo by resting my camera on an interior railing.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, interior

Cab, then bus, then plane to Reykjavik. A short layover, and then home to the States. A wonderful vacation!