I set my alarm for the unthinkable hour of 5AM, but we had to chase the good light. Armed with coffee in flasks and half a dozen cameras, we road tripped to the Scottish Highlands while everyone else was still in bed. It was worth the 5AM rise.
On Saturday I shot my first wedding of the year, demanding a 2 hour trek to Kames, Tighnabruaich, part of which required a ferry ride. The drive to Kames was nothing short of stunning. I can’t describe how it made me feel. It’s only taken me 20 years to appreciate the beauty of Argyll and Bute, having grown up in Dunoon from the age of 6 and leaving for the city at 17.
The couple were kind enough to book me a room in a hotel overnight, giving me the opportunity to appreciate the drive in the morning light. I had to snap a photo of the local service station. I’ve never seen a petrol station so small and I lived in Kilmun for 11 years.
I wish my camera could do the scenery justice, but it doesn’t.
There is nothing better than a road trip to the Scottish highlands. It never fails to leave me feeling grateful and inspired, I’m thankful this beauty is only a 2 hour drive from the city I call home. Today, my eyeballs couldn’t quite take it all in. I think I need more road trips in my life.
The bitter weather meant we didn’t spend much time outdoors, stopping off at Glencoe Mountain Resort for a hot chocolate, and (the muchos recommended) The Real Food Cafe for fish and chips. I also tried my first pickled egg. Sold!
Perhaps the best part of visiting this area of Scotland, though, is the lack of phone signal. I can’t check-in on Foursquare, or upload my iPhone snaps to Instagram, or live tweet my adventure. No distractions, just excited eyeballs.
When Christmas was approaching and I had family asking what gifts I wanted, I realised I have too much ‘stuff’ and would rather add to my memory bank than my DVD collection. I asked for flight money towards a weekend in Europe, though at that point I was undecided on where to go or who with.
A few months later, Shawshank and I had booked flights to Brussels and an apartment in Bruges (via Airbnb). I went to college with Shawshank and she is one of few people I can spend a lot of time with and not want to kill (I like my own space). Having spent a year backpacking around the globe, I knew Shawshank would be good company to travel with.
I don’t really know what to say about Bruges, other than my photos can’t do the beauty of this place justice. It’s a very romantic city, so it came as no surprise that people thought Shawshank and I were… together. If you like mad parties and late nights, perhaps Bruges is not the best city to visit. But for somebody like myself who enjoys early mornings and exploring with a camera, then finishing the day in a quiet pub with a bottle of red wine, Bruges is perfect. My eyeballs had a lot of eyegasms with the architecture, too.
The only downfall was our day trip to Brussels. Admittedly we hadn’t looked into what to do before we got there, preferring to blindly walk about and see what we stumbled upon. The city was a major letdown, however, and looked like a tip (with the exception of Grand Place, ho-ly wow). In fact, Brussels reminded me a lot of Glasgow, and as much as I love my city I know it’s not the nicest to look at. I wish we had visited Ghent instead.
The breakfasts are big, the beer is tasty, the waffles are a delight, and the whole city is bathed in medieval magic. Oh, and you can also check out my Instagram photos.