Friday, 12 July 2013

Hogwarts Express & the Crusty Bread Episode

It was drizzling when we arrived in Mallaig, the end of the West Highland Line; where you cross over by ferry to the Isle of Man, in the Scottish Highlands.

We had changed our minds, as we often did on this trip, and decided not to cross over to the Isle of Man because we were running out of time. We would take the Ferry to Ireland instead.



This meant we had to take the train back to Ft. William, then to Edinburgh and onto to London, where we would catch the rail to Wales, the land of my ancestors (or so we think). The problem, at the moment, was we had just gotten off the last train. There was no train to Ft. William until the next day. 



The train we rode to Mallaig is commonly known as the Hogwarts Express Train line. My son is a big Harry Potter fan so of course he talked me into doing it. Not that it took much. This route takes you over the Glenfinnan Viaduct as featured in the Harry Potter films when Harry and crew are transported by train to Hogwarts School from King’s Cross Station’s Platform 9 3/4. In the travel brochures, this route is described as one of the greatest train rides of the world. I would have to agree. It was awesome! 



This is the view of the viaduct from the train. Unfortunately, there was a glare from the window, but it’s still a cool view.



Most of the other places we stayed, we were able to book ahead, but there wasn’t any Wi-fi on this train so we had to find a room once we got to Mallaig. Although we had to go to plan B, the train ride was worth it and the place we did end up staying turned out to be one of our favorites. The room was quiet, no Wi-fi, but it had a reading corner with books and a kitchen stocked with coffee, tea, and shortbread.

This is the view from our room that evening. Pretty cool for a last minute option, don’t you think?



You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with crusty bread. I’m getting to that, but I had to set the stage.

So we’re in Mallaig. It’s cold and rainy, but we found a warm and comfy place to stay. Now that the basics were taken care of, it was time to eat. We surveyed the town and found a couple of pubs. We chose the one right across the street from our room because it was still drizzling and we knew we could make a run for it if necessary and not get soaked.


I didn’t write down the name of the pub so of course, I forgot, but it was a quaint little place and we liked it.

The tomato and basil soup sounded really comforting on a cold and rainy day so that’s what I ordered. My son ordered fish and chips. When she took our order, the hostess asked if we wanted crusty bread. I said sure. I thought I would take a photo and show a sample of the meal on my blog.

This is what I had in mind when she said crusty bread.


But what we got was sliced bread with crusts. Like a commercial loaf of bread from the grocery store. My son and I just laughed, quietly, after the hostess had left of course. This happened more than once actually while we were in the UK.  It just goes to show that we have a difference of opinion of what constitutes crusty bread. This little episode has become an inside joke and we laugh about it every time the subject of crusty bread comes up.

That’s okay! I thoroughly enjoyed the tomato and basil soup. It was some of the best soup I’ve had. I even ate the bread with it. We had a nice dinner and a walk afterwards, then we rested for the train ride back to Ft. William.  The next day, we got to experience the Hogwarts Express Train Ride all over again. It was the train ride of a lifetime. No crusty bread, but a pretty nice adventure indeed!

I hope you enjoyed my adventure.

The bread in the photo is White Bread with Overnight Poolish. Click on the image or click here for the directions.

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