I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ye'll take the high road, and I'll take the low road

I left Edinburgh for Loch Lomond this morning. The good weather had vanished and it was pouring. The cab driver who took me to the train station said he thought those three days were it for summer. I told him I was going to Loch Lomond and he roared with laughter. "The weather's even worse there!" Then he shrugged. "At least when it rains, there's no midges."

The actual getting to Loch Lomond was a little challenging. I'd checked the transportation options before I left New York, and I knew that Balloch was as far as I could go by train, and that I probably had to change trains in Glasgow. I bought a ticket to Balloch from one of the machines, then asked the customer service people which train I should take.

That was quite the head-scratcher. Three different people considered the question, and the consensus was that I should just take the train right over there to Glasgow and ask again when I got there. "The lads in Glasgow will know where you go," one man told me. "This train goes to Queen Street Station and you'll need to go to the Central Station but it's just across the street. Then ask them which is the train to Balloch."

So an hour or so later I got off in Glasgow and found that the Central Station was not exactly "across the street." It was a ten-minute bus ride, but the bus came quickly and was free and I figured this gave me a chance to see a little of the Murder Capital of Europe.

And the lads at the Central Station were indeed able to help me -- they told me to go outside and take the free bus back to Queen Street Station.

The Scots sound so charming when they're giving you bad information that it's impossible to get irritated. Besides, if I hadn't made the unnecessary detour to Central Station I wouldn't have seen this lovely facade. Or these interesting windows across the street.

So finally I was on the local train to Balloch, and after thirty or forty stops (only a mild exaggeration) I was there!

Which appeared to be, at first glance, nowhere. A platform, an empty ticket office, and a few houses. I knew there was a Loch Lomond visitor's center, and water taxis to Luss, and buses, but there were no signs indicating where they might be. And I didn't feel like dragging my luggage around looking for them.

Fortunately a taxi appeared and the very nice driver promptly agreed to take me the last ten miles to my hotel. At least, I'm assuming he was nice because he appeared when I needed him and he took me where I wanted to go. But though he chatted most of the way, I only understood maybe one word in ten he said.

So after all that, could the very expensive room with the deck overlooking the loch possibly be worth it?

Yes. Definitely yes.

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