Boy do I love a good ferry, especially if it has the comfortable overnight option for long distances, or can cut off time when transiting.
I stayed at the same hostel for the few days I was in Belfast and the morning after I dropped the rental car off at Dublin Airport, I was up well before the rooster, zipping in an uber on empty streets in pitch darkness to the ferry terminal. The Stena line is where it is at! Really great service, really nice facilities.
The cost for my one way ticket from Belfast, UK to Cairnryan, UK (Scotland) was about 35 quid. with a 5 quid service fee. Converting pounds to dollars today would be about $44.50. For not that much more money you can even get things like a private room with shower and bed, spa services during transit, bottle service, etc. This transit was at max around 3.5 hours (give or take a few minutes because I don’t exactly remember) so the extras weren’t necessary, but on longer trips that could be really helpful.
I left so early that you couldn’t really see anything out the window so I found a quiet place to read and take quick naps. I just love the ease of the ferry systems. Everyone marches right on in single file lines, they board all the cars and trucks quickly and efficiently, and when you arrive you walk right off and there you are, luggage and all (although sometimes they do make you check your luggage like a plane if you have big bags). When I arrived at the station in Cairnryan I could tell how small it was right away and walked outside to search for a bus to Glasgow. The beauty of UK travel is that you don’t have a language barrier so I found it quick enough.
I told the man that I didn’t have a ticket yet and asked him where to get it, but he told me to get on and never mentioned again so I sat down and enjoyed the ride to Glasgow with all the locals.
I was on my way to meet an old friend. Someone I originally met at a TBEX travel blogging conference in Athens, Greece. She is originally from Glasgow and was currently running her own cake business called Snuggle Muffin at the mall. I was very excited to see her. The last time we had met since TBEX was in Prague for New Years in 2016. Jules is the best. When I rang her and said I was stopping through Glasgow and that I would love to get dinner, she immediately said, “Nonsense. You have to come stay with me!” And so of course I couldn’t refuse.
When I arrived, she was still working but the bus terminal is right in downtown Glasgow so I found an old favorite, Pret A Manger and studied some of the pre Indonesian classes on my iPad while I waited for her. We all know how that turned out at this point, so let’s just blaze right through that. She came along shortly and picked me up! We drove back to her flat just outside the city and that night we had time to catch up, met a friend at a farmers market, tried all sorts of foods, and just enjoyed the evening. It was so nice and relaxing. It almost felt like I was just down the road from my house and not out traveling.
Her house was an easy walk from the bus station so in the mornings she would go into work and I would walk to the bus and catch a ride into the city to wander around. Although it feels like unicorns really do follow me around, I wasn’t so lucky as to have a sunny day everyday and so I got caught in an on again off again rain pour through the city.
While stopping in for a Bailey’s and coffee (I know, not a proper Irish coffee because.. whiskey but still good in my opinion!) I ran into a really nice girl who was studying in Glasgow from China. We got to chatting and to help me out she wrote out a list of all the things I could do around the city in a couple of hours. It is so amazing how nice everyone is. Truly! She was collecting data for a project and using an electronic marker to count people walking by and took time out of her day to write me a list!
The rain was putting just a slight damper on the day and eventually I just gave up and dipped into a hair salon and decided to get a new haircut with bangs. They had champagne at the ready so how can you say no? The guy who cut my hair was a hair genius and he made me feel great.
As you know by now, I love good street art, and these were 2 of my favorites in Glasgow!
Afterwards I headed back outside the city to meet Jules for dinner. We decided to just order in, watch movies, and lounge around on the couch in the rainy weather. It was glorious.
After 2 full days in Glasgow I bid farewell to the city and Jules and headed North to Oban from the bus terminal. Back out to the Scottish countryside and so excited to see what beauties lie in wait.
Catch the next post for information on the Isle of Staffa, Mule, and Iona, and of course whiskey is involved, how could it not be in we are in Oban?!
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.