Trains are your friends, well, at least they are in Europe. While on my laptop in Glasgow I started feeling FOMO (fear of missing out) creep in as I scrolled through all of the “best things to do” in and around the city. I thought to myself, how silly was I to spend my whole Scottish adventure in one city when there are so many places in this region to explore?! Well, Dear Reader, it turns out that I didn’t have to fret for long because TRAINS 🙂
While in Glasgow my boyfriend and I took advantage of the UK’s extensive train system to travel to two other Scottish locations – Edinburgh and Oban. Edinburgh, the Scottish capital is located 45min to 1 hour east of Glasgow by train. There are two main rail stations in Glasgow – Central Station and Queen St. station. Depending on from which station you depart you could be on the fast 45-min train or the hour-long journey to Edinburgh. The train is very easy to use. One can simply purchase tickets from a laptop and pick them up at a vending machine at the train station. There’s never really a need to purchase train tickets far in advance, in fact, you can simply select a departure time and you will be issued either an “on” or “off” peak ticket depending on whether you choose to travel during the rush hours. If your plans shift and you find yourself on an “on” peak train with your “off” peak ticket you can simply pay the difference once you are on board. If you do not need to check-in any baggage or make any adjustments to your journey before arriving at the station you need only arrive 15 to 20 mins in advance of your scheduled departure.
I must say that my trip to Edinburgh was absolutely wonderful, so instead of describing it here, I promise to dedicate a post to this wondrous destination soon.
Our other excursion was to Oban. Oban is a resort town located in Scotland’s West Highlands. About three hours away from Glasgow by train, Oban is nestled on a bay of the same name. Oban is very touristy and is known for its Gaelic culture, ruins, castles, and aquatic wildlife. The train ride from Glasgow to Oban was absolutely incredible.
“Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands, Oh where have you been? They have slain the Earl o’Moray and layd him on the green”. — The Bonnie Earl o’Moray
These lyrics that I have reproduced above are from a traditional Scotlish 17th century ballad. I’ve known these words for years, but they popped into my head when I looked out of the train window from Glasgow to Oban. Glasgow lies in the Scottish Lowlands and Oban in the Highlands. Crossing the Low-High divide offers the unsuspecting traveler magnificent views of the sparkling waters, jutting hills, and green forests. At times, I could have guessed I was in sunny, Southern Europe and other times in the dense and woody Pacific Northwest. The views are stunning. Have you heard of Loch Lomond? There’s an old Scottish song about that one too. Please Google it, all of my iphone pics of this wonder are severely inadequate. I was on the wrong side of the train to properly capture the loch.
Sometimes I am guilty of making my vacation my final destination. Sometimes, Dear Reader, to stay in one place for a few days is exactly what we desire and need during our time off. However, if you find yourself to be a little bit restless like me… just keep moving! Choo choo!