3 November 2016

Islay Trip: day two: The Lochside Hotel

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Driving back to the hotel was a pleasure. The nature on Islay is absolutely stunning. Every other turn you are treated with a new kind of landscape. Along the coast are cliffs, sand beaches, stone/beaches. Up the hill are seemingly endless peat fields. The town of Port Ellen is a cute fisherman's Port. There is a boulevard you can stroll along. Past Port Ellen on the very strait road to Bowmore you can have a feel for peat. Peat, peat and more peat.

Ones in Bowmore we parked at the pier. Ok ok, it's a smallish pier, but pier sounds better than "rather long wall you can dock you boat at and walk on". Out of the car, collect our stuff and walk 40 meters to the hotel. We were greeted by the lady who had helped us getting our car out of the ditch. Had a good laugh. Dropped our stuff in our room and went down to the bar. Forget the bar, we were hungry. We sat down at a table and ordered a pint.

The glass it comes in confirms its a pint. I like the word pint. Pint is one of those measures of volume you have no clue about as a Dutchman unless you order it. So seeing a pint for what it is is fun. Just like a "dram" is a measure of volume. I also like the word pint because Merry, the Hobbit from Lord of the Rings, orders one at the inn of the prancing pony.

Eilidh brough us the menu. We told her about our day and how we ended up in a ditch. We had a good laugh. Time to look at the menu. Many things on the menu looked good. We needed meat.

I had the sirloin steak. Medium rare. With union rings. It went down very well indeed.

It was time to have coffee. We were introduced to Annie. She and Keith were working the bar that night. Somehow we went from "wow, you re tall", to showing the number in a passport, discussing how good the Dutch passport looks, to Annie getting her passport, to looking at all the stamps in her passport, to talking about her intended trip to Mexico, to talking about how Keith is going to Amsterdam, etc, etc.

This is when we met Roger. With Roger we discussed live, Brexit, medieval European history of Germany, why he was a mason, how he broke his back. We looked at the x rays, let him do bending of his back which he couldn't.

What did Roger do for work we asked. He is a charter plane pilot. Did he know Lelystad. (Where we live) Yes he did, he was even able to tell us the colour of our train station. We had to get the local Islay beer that he was drinking. No discussing it, it was obligatory! Good beer! He spend the next 30 mins finding out how much a flight would cost from lelystad to Islay, while at the same time talking to us. Explaining a drinking game, that we ended up doing. Something with guessing how many coins you hold behind your back and adding all the numbers. The aim was to get the looser, or winner, to pay the tab. We got 3 classic laddies. Roger was still finding out the cost of he flight.

So I showed roger the "band of gold" trick you can do with the 50% abv classic laddie. I added a very small amount of water to my glass, let the oils come out of alcohol solution, and made the band of gold appear. Right up till that point roger was looking at me if I was bonkers, but at least slightly nuts. When the band of gold appeared he was like "wow, I have never ever seen that before!!". I was a whizzard!

Roger took a moment to find out the cost for the charter flight. He gave us his card. When you are visiting Islay as a group we would indeed consider a charter next time. The cost is really not that bad. Save a hell of a lot of time too.

A guy come to the bar looking all Scottish in new tweeds. He was a Swedish guy. He had spend "some money" at the wool mill that day. He was send to the bar to get beers. He ended up talking to us instead and drinking a beer with us. He forgot getting the beers for the group. Great guy.

This is when we sorta bumped into Mia, the Swedish tour guide, from Sweden, that was touring Swedish people around Islay. Mia was apparently somewhat of a celebrity on Islay. She is a red head. We started talking and soon found out who was wearing the pants in this bar. Mia was! Mia turned out to be Keith's mom. Right. Sure. Go visit her site on http://skottlandsresor.se/

Mia had come to the bar to get drinks for the Swedish people, because the guy in tweets was taking to long. Now that she was engaged with Roger she needed to be reminded of that task as well. So she ordered beer.

The night went on with these kinds of frivolous meetings and conversations. At the end of the night Roger, Mia, my fiend and me spend a half hour outside having a dram. The good man Keith was kind enough to donate a laddie. Go Keith. We discussed the full moon, we discussed how Mia was doing her own tours at Bruichladdich. She was apparently the number one source of organised visitors. What were we going to do tomorrow she asked. We would visit a bird viewing place, Bruichladdich and the wool mill. Mia "asked" us to say hi to the owner. I say "asked" but I really mean "ordered" ;) I replied "yes mother". We laughed.

It was time for bed. We had had an excellent night!

Just before going on to the next blog I would like to mention the excellent charity started by Ben Bowers for a children's heart surgery Hospital. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adramaday

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