When I was 19 and had been living in London for a year, I decided to apply for a job in Port Appin on the west coast of Scotland. There were two jobs available doing waitressing and housekeeping in a small hotel, so my housemate Renchia and I both applied. We got the jobs and a week later we were driving the 9 hour journey to our new adventure! The job in Port Appin was beautiful but remote. It was a bit of a shock after living in London. We had no wifi or phone signal and relied on public transport. We were 19 and wanted a little bit more excitement, so almost as soon as we'd arrived, we hitchhiked into Oban and asked if there were any jobs at a bar called Mondo's. Amazingly they took us on and gave us a room in the flat upstairs. I worked there for the summer and then moved back to England. Renchia met a guy and stayed longer. I went back to visit a couple of times but hadn't been back for over 13 years until Chris and I visited as part of our recent tour of Scotland.
In the week Renchia and I worked at the Pierhouse Hotel we had ogled the seafood platters. We were poor (we lived on spaghetti everyday for a month!) so there was no way we could afford one but always said we'd go back one day. Obviously this was Chris and my first stop! The platter was amazing... we had it with a glass of champagne as the first of many engagement celebrations :-)
The accommodation in Oban was quite expensive, so we'd booked to camp for a couple of days. The weather forecast was heavy rain, so at the last minute we chickened out and booked into a private room in a hostel in an old church. Good thing we did as the days were beautiful and sunny, but both evenings poured with heavy rain for hours! On our first night we met my old friend Stan for a drink and he took us up to see McCaig's Tower (which I never visited the first time as I was too busy going out getting drunk!). Even in the pouring rain the views were amazing! We did a tour of the Oban whisky distillery and caught a ferry to the Isle of Mull to visit the colourful Tobermory for the day. We drank in lovely little pubs. We ate more seafood than you can imagine. There were little huts by the harbour selling all sorts of amazing seafood. Even standard fish and chip shops sell interesting stuff like scallops, hake, langoustines, mussels, sole, squid etc. I had a huge fresh seafood soup sitting at a plastic table at the back of a chip shop one night, it was brilliant.
It was strange to be back after so long, seeing old faces and places. But it was equally beautiful and exciting. It was interesting to think back on how much has changed in that time, how much I've changed...