Instead of 10 days in Kyiv or Tirana for my September holiday, I ended up with 3 nights in Aberlour – Speyside in Scotland.
Aye, the virus rages on…
It was a fairly random choice. I decided on midweek because accommodation is easier to get than on weekends. I decided on this part of the country because I know people here. I have driven through Aberlour and this part of Speyside countless times, always thinking I need to stop and spend time here sometime.
So, Aberlour it was. The town is tiny. Just under 1,000 people. However, it is at the heart of Speyside whisky. The Spey is one of the country’s best salmon rivers, so the fishing is a big part of the local economy too.
You find whisky distilleries around almost every corner.
You see fisherman dotted along the river at regular intervals.
I chose Dowans – a small, family hotel – to stay in. I was very happy with it. Good value, excellent room, good food and service, quiet and relaxed. Just as importantly these days, their hygiene measures were spot on.
Even the other guests managed to comply.
Partly because I knew about the excellent hygiene, I chose to eat there in the evening as well. I ate/drank in two other places while I was away. The cafe (Fresh) in the village was also right on the ball with hygiene. So was the Captain’s Table in Findhorn.
Three nights is too short, but in the circumstances it has been a godsend.
ⓒ iain taylor 2020
Albania or Ukraine? Interesting, but Speyside was probably more peaceful. One of my late brother’s catchphrases was the title of the Charlene song “I’ve never been to me”. And so to honour his memory I flew to Aberdeen – cheap inaugural fare with Lufthansa – and took a train to Keith. I visited the local distillery and raised a glass in memory of my brother. The guy at the Visitor Centre was from Norway; I was the only visitor. He explained how easy it was to fly home: “Train to Aberdeen, flight to Norway, nae bother.”
I’d never heard a Norwegian say “Nae bother”.