Oban: Beautiful scenery – shame about the food!
We were looking forward to our 2 night break in Oban, organised via a Groupon voucher. The weather was amazing and we set off full of high hopes. On first arrival we were happy with the hotel despite the fact the young lady on reception expected me to pay when I had already paid in advance. We had a room on the fifth floor, small but clean and with a bath. We had a view to the harbour and thought it would be fine. Because the evening meal was included in the deal we did not eat too much in the day – a bit of a mistake. Starters were okay – tomato soup for me and garlic mushrooms for my other half, Tom. There was only one vegetarian main course, deep fried brie with salad. This was not acceptable for either of us so the helpful waitress went away and came back and said there was a spinach ricotta tortellini but nothing else. I pointed out they had a mushroom and mozzarella burger on the bar menu but apparently this was not available so we had no choice but the pasta. When it came it was drowned in a really awful sweet tomato sauce and neither of us could manage more than a few bites. Dessert was better – ice cream or apple and sultana crumble – though Tom said the latter was cold. That night the hotel was so hot we had to have both windows open and there was constant traffic noise throughout the night. The ferry kicked off with revving up and announcements at 5.30am. Even with the windows closed it was not much quieter. It must be a nightmare in summer – this hotel seriously needs air conditioning and triple glazing. Breakfast next day was adequate but needless to say no veggie alternatives to the bacon, sausage and black pudding offered to the meat eaters so we were definitely short changed. We decided to come back a day early even though I had paid for the room. I did put comments to this effect on the feedback form but have had no response so far. Oban itself is very attractive but not a great deal of vegetarian food because it is very fish-orientated. It did have a very good Wetherspoons, though, and it is always possible to get things there. There were also several Italian and a couple of Chinese restaurants so for a few days it would be adequate, but not exciting. What was worth the effort was the superb train journey. For 3 hours we passed amazing scenery, the Firth of Clyde, various lochs, snow capped mountains and woodlands. We also saw deer, buzzards and other wildlife. If you pack a good picnic as we did then it makes for a very enjoyable trip. The line from Fort William to Mallaig is much celebrated but in my view this trip from Glasgow to Oban is far superior. Next stop – Northumberland for a week in May!
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