Best of 2016 (3) – Transport

Well, I enjoyed all kinds of transport “experiences” in 2016 (this category excludes flights).

I made many ferry journeys in Scotland, to visit the islands of Mull, Iona, Ulva, Gigha, Luing, Arran and Easdale. It’s a 2 minute “voyage” between Mull and Ulva. It’s hardly worth sitting down.

Ulva ferry

Mull is more of a mini cruise – almost an hour from Oban.

I also had ferry trips across the Firth of Clyde between Gourock/Dunoon and on Loch Fyne between Portavadie/Tarbert.

Gourock to Dunoon

Trains? Well, there were a few journeys on Virgin East Coast between Scotland and Newcastle. I also had a couple with DB between Gaimersheim and Munich Airport, plus one between Gaimersheim and Nürnberg.

Less mundane was the “branch line” journey between Ingolstadt and Regensburg on the Donautalbahn (Danube Valley Railway), operated by Agilis. We were going to visit the Christmas market in Regensburg, so the journey home was quite “jolly”.

What about road trips? The one to North Wales was memorable as I’d never visited Wales before.

Rugged Snowdonia

All those Scottish islands involved a good long drive – it’s 3 hours for me to get to Oban for the Mull ferries.

Northumberland and Durham was fun too. The A68 is a bit wild in places on the Northumberland side.

The Meissen and Dresden drive from Gaimersheim was interesting. We did 250 miles in 3 hours exactly – that’s the German autobahns for you. Innsbruck by car from Gaimersheim – that was spectacular going through the Alps.

Trams – yes, in Rīga. A 3 day pass worked very well to get me around between the apartment, the ice arena and the city centre. They still use Soviet era trams on the lines I used, but lovingly maintained.

Beating the Traffic

Crossing the Daugava by tram on a beautiful summer day is about as good as it gets with city transport.

Crossing the River

What else was there? Boat trips count, I suppose. I took two – one was out to Staffa from Mull and the other was a sealife safari from Seil.

Whale Hunting

Both were spectacular.

Decision time! After much prevarication, the award goes to the trip across the Firth of Clyde with Argyll Ferries.

Fellow Travellers

Why? I lived in Gourock for almost 3 years, saw Dunoon and the ferries every day, and never took the ferry. It was great to do it at last.

ⓒ iain taylor 2017

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