Fri 6 Sep - Aberfoyle, Scotland

Going east, to probably our last place in Scotland before we exit south...

We woke up to a fantastic morning in Oban. The temperature was around 10 degrees with clear blue skies. There had been some rain again overnight so the air was clean and crispy.

Hans was out by 7am to get our car which we had to park some 5 minutes walk away from the hostel and then to pick up our washing from utilizing the hostel's overnight service. All good.

We had our breakfast without seeing anybody around, packed up and by 9am we were on our way. First stop is Aldi to get more fresh groceries as we have an apartment for the next 3 nights in Aberfoyle. This being Scotland, Aldi sells some "localised" merchandise such as axes and sledge hammers and gum boots...

We filled up our car's petrol tank at the nearby Tesco and it broke our hearts thinking what it cost. To fill up our Astra, with a litre price of £1.38, costs £60 and with current exchange rate of 58p for an A$, that is around A$100.

In the US, you pay the same "number", BUT for a gallon instead of a litre of petrol... where a gallon is approximately 4 litres... and in U$ of course. So they pay $US1.38 per gallon (or about $US35 cents per litre). For our $1AUD, which is now around U$0.91, it was cheap to travel by car in America earlier this year as the $US currency was on par with the A$. We knew it would be more in the UK but the difference is incredible - in $US terms we are paying 600% more!

And the Americans were constantly complaining about high gasoline prices...

Our first stop for the day is Fort William for hiking boots hunting. As you may recall, Hans hiking boots "died" a couple of days ago and "Hans the Hiker" without functional hiking boots is obviously unimaginable.

When Di was in Fort William a week or so ago, she noticed the many outdoor shops there including several with liquidations and sales. We popped into Field and Trek... Yep, it looked like there was something for everybody on offer there...

Hans tried on 3 different pairs of hiking boots, with plenty of advice and encouragement from Di, and then settled on a pair of Scarpa Cyclone Boot, waterproof and very comfortable with what looked like a great grip (the ones on the bench beside Hans). Not cheap but with the hiking Hans does there was no point in skimping. The shop assistant said he had Scarpa boots himself when he was an outdoor tour leader for 3 years and he loved them. Good recommendation. Let's see how they turn out in the real world.

We decided to give coffee in Fort William a miss and continued instead south on A82 to find a roadside spot where we could stop and test our new thermos which we had filled with hot water before we left Oban. We found a small parking lot next to a small harbour which looked inviting and did an impromptu tea and biscuits break on the concrete with water views. Verdict on thermos; still holding warm water, enough to make a cuppa, but not boiling hot water after 3 hours. It will do.

Further into our journey we stopped at a "proper" picnic area for lunch. Given that we had just stayed in a hostel where we could cook and that we will have an apartment for the next few days, we had plenty of provisions in the car for a made up lunch. Tuna, salami, cheese, bread, crackers... All good and we had the place to ourselves. We can't tell you where it was, we did not know. Next to a loch...

Around 3pm, we arrived in the little town of Aberfoyle. Our apartment is bang in the centre of town and our windows are number 3 and 4 top floor from left in the picture below. The town's information centre is across the road and the Co-operative grocery stop a block or so away on our side of the street. Not a lot of action though as you can see.

That's right... There is also a Christmas shoppe a few doors down here.

And while it looked pretty nice from the street, once you look for the entrance at the back, hmmm... a bit more rundown. Yep, same building as the one above. Our kitchen is 3rd window, top floor from the right.

We drove our car up the little laneway and unloaded. Parking is free less than a block away so no problem.

The inside of the apartment was pleasant enough. The owner had spent some money on a new bathroom and renovations throughout, but it looked like he had done most if not all of the work himself, not all to a professional finish. Sky channel was provided in the apartment but no card to execute those extra services. Heaters were available, both wall fixed and floor standing, but none seemed to work. So good but some gaps...

Di unpacked our stuff and went into "her" kitchen while Hans took a short wander around the "city centre" of Aberfoyle to check it out. No wifi in the apartment but free wifi in the pub diagonally across from it.

A few pics around our 1 bedroom unit. The living room...

The bedroom. Oops, there was somebody there already...(Di enjoying the luxury of reading a real book in bed).

View from the kitchen, overlooking... ehh, garbage bins. And yes, the rain had started again...

But the best part of the apartment of course is the kitchen. Di was cooking up a storm again ("stormcooking" as we call it); fajitas with Mexican rice, and some wine to accompany. Yummy!

Lazy evening followed as the predicted rain continued. We watched a few episodes of "Big Bang Theory" (can't get enough of that show, very funny) on TV, Di went to read some more and Hans watched a bit of football, England vs Moldova for World Cup qualifying, with a predictable outcome of 4 - 0 to England.

Rain was coming down all through the night. Good night.

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