Day 26: Aberdeen
The day had an odd start. We were trying to leave our B&B in Inverbervie. We’d had a nice stay: a comfortable room, friendly hosts, a good breakfast. All was well, until I went to the room to get our luggage while Roy did some work on the bikes. I closed our room door and the latch broke. The door would not open! Fortunately, the room was on the ground floor. I could see Roy through the bathroom window and told him I was locked in. He alerted the hosts, who came and tried to open the door without luck. Wanting to get on the road, I climbed through the bathroom window, after first handing Roy all our luggage through the window. Roy climbed in, with a screw driver in hand, and pryed the lock open. A good thing, because our host wouldn’t have been able to easily climb in. The folks running the B&B were very apologetic; we thought the whole situation was funny and certainly a first for both of us!
Soon after, we were on the road to Aberdeen. For morning coffee we stopped in Stonehaven, a pretty, historic town on the coast and, as it turned out, the official home of that brilliant Scottish invention, the deep-fried Mars bar! You never know what bit of Scottish folklore you might encounter on your travels. However, it being Sunday morning, the place was closed, so we didn’t have the opportunity to try this Scottish delicacy.
Aberdeen is a big city with little charm. It’s the oil centre of Scotland and you are reminded of this in the harbour, in the centre of town, full of boats that service oil rigs. We had found a funky hotel in the centre, but on Sunday afternoon, there was’t much going on in town, or at least not on the sctreets. We went for a walk, but the traffic was busy and the street scene not very nice. As in other big cities, shopping centres are where the action is. For the second time this trip we had dinner at a chain restaurant in a mall. We’ll spend one more day in Aberdeen on our way back, as we’ll fly from Aberdeen to Bergen, Norway.
Day 27: Maud
Trying to break up the journey in stages, we had picked Maud as place to spend the night. We knew the town was small, but not quite how small. It turned out our B&B was about a mile and a half out of town. So off we went. Upon arrival we asked about dinner options. Ah, a bit of a problem, because the one pub in town is closed on Mondays. The other option was a place in a nearby town, Mintlaw, about 13 km away. Not a problem if you’re travelling by car, but when you’ve cycled all day, the last thing you want to do is cycle another 26 km for dinner. What to do? I considered cycling to the store in town and picking up some sandwiches, when the landlady suggested they call their neighbor, who is a part-time taxi driver, and could probably drive us to Mintlaw and back for a reasonable price. So that’s what we did. It was our first time in a car in about 5 weeks; and it certainly felt odd to take a taxi to dinner while on a cycling trip. But you do what you’ve gotta do.
Day 28 Buckie
Nice day of riding; sun, little wind nice terrain. We started with a big hill but things settled down after that. It’s hit and miss with the towns you see when touring: some are lovely, others offer very little. For our morning coffee we stopped in Turiff, about 20 km into our day. A bit early, but the town was there with a nice looking little cafe. For lunch we weren’t so lucky. We ended up in a pub and although some pubs are charming, many are not; this one wasn’t. Nevertheless, after a sandwich and a drink, we were ready to carry on again. Buckie was a disappointmet, a working town with no charm, but we found a good Indian meal.
Day 29 Nairn
To prove that you never know what to expect from a town, Nairn, only 70km from our last stop, is lovely. A small town with a park and beach, blue sky and sunshine. We’re in a small B&B with a friendly landlady who made us a cup of tea with a plate of sweets when we arrived. That’s a first. After our shower we went for walk to the beach. It’s been a sunny day and I even dipped by toes in the North Sea–felt I had to do that at least once while in Scotland. Surprisingly, the water wasn’t as cold as I expected!