Sunday, August 9, 2009

Did We Wait Too Late To Book?

Well, the short answer is no and yes. I've said it here before that I think one of the primary differences between Americans and Brits is that we are a bit more fly by the seat of our pants to the point of being reckless, while the Brits are cautious. Part of this cautiousness is booking vacations way far in advance. Never have I seen such a glut of travel insurance offers and companies like I see here. You just don't see that in the U.S. So as we decided to get in a quick vacation while A was on school break and H was not yet working, we found it difficult to find a place to stay in Scotland a week before we were to leave. But this year it is not just cautiousness that made it difficult. Two other things affected the accomodation availability.

1. Because of the economy, people are staying closer to home.

2. Because of the strength of the euro against the pound, continental Europeans are flocking to the UK at higher numbers.

A colleague at work who is from Glasgow and knows the western part of Scotland pretty well was helping point me in the right direction. He suggested Oban as a good base because it is touristy so we were bound to find a place to stay. The Oban website has a link to late availability for various hotels, rentals, and B&Bs and we found a place we could rent for the week. I was pretty nervous about it. The pictures made it look a bit scary but we decided to take the plunge. If it was horrible, that was just more reason to spend very little time there. I braced myself for the worst.

We followed the owner up to the cottage which was in a quiet residential part of Oban up above the village and was pleasantly surprised. H is convinced it was somebody's grandmother's house now turned into a rental and I have to agree. The wall colors were totally bizarre but the place was very clean, comfortable, and very well-equipped. The attached pic shows just one of the room's wall colors which was pepto bismol pink. Of course A thought we might die because there was no internet and only four channels on the television.

So accomodation was successful, but there were TONS of people in our town and alot of the ferries to visit the islands right off the coast were booked solid so our options were more limited. Our only goal really was to see beautiful scenery and that box was checked on the drive from Glasgow up to Oban as we travelled along the Lochs.

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