Balloch

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Before I tell you anything about my adventures I just need to say this- I truly love Scotland, it’s a beautiful place full of wonders. Yes, the weather may not be the most favourable but bracing it through the rain and wind is worth the views, trust me. Two late Christmas presents were brought to us by January; a trip to Balloch with the family and another with Lukasz, Dom’s brother.

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On the 21st of January Mum, Frank, Ewa and I packed ourselves into our car and drove off to Balloch to stay in the lovely Innkeeper’s Lodge Loch Lomond. The 18th century pub is located on the banks of the River Levin where it empties into Loch Lomond. It’s located literally across the road from the local train station and a 15 minute walk from the Sea Life Loch Lomond Aquarium.

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Room prices vary, however if you’re a planning a trip with your family (4 people per room) prices range between £39-£52 if booked in advance. I asked in the reception the best way to book; if it was through booking.com or the website and I was told that there are many deals offered on the website and it can prove more practical to book directly through it; they also offer a deal, £5 off your next stay. A continental breakfast is included in the price of each room so you’ll know you won’t have to spend extra for at least one meal. The prices offered in the dinning part of the pub/hotel were very much affordable and the food was truly heavenly. I can’t recommend this place enough. I didn’t take many pictures inside so I will include some from their website and booking.com so that all you lovely people can have a look for yourself.

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Our trip was really special to me as we haven’t been on one just us for quite a while. I like my wee gang, we are all so different but when we have a chance to spend more time together it’s always great; we laugh, chat and sometimes even just watch TV and snack.

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8When Frank was a little boy (he still is and will be forever…) he used to come to my room in the middle of the night because he had a bad dream or just wanted a cuddle. I remember it so well because I loved it. I loved the fact that he felt safe with me and needed me at his most vulnerable. He hasn’t done that in some many years and I never realised how much I’ve missed it until Balloch. We were sharing a sofa bed and I woke up with our legs tangled together and him hugging into me. It was such a sweet, priceless moment that I smiled to myself and happily drifted back to sleep.

We got really unlucky with the weather as it was raining most of the first day, but the second we finally got some sunshine Ewa could finally happily walk into every single puddle she could.

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A few days later we had a ‘surprise’ visitor and I say SURPRISE as it was part of Dom’s Christmas present of which he wasn’t supposed to find out about until the night Lukasz was due here. This didn’t go as planned and Dom knew he was coming but it was no less exciting. We went to get him at the airport and it felt so surreal to see him here, it’s such a different world.

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The day Lukasz arrived I started my next semester at uni and I was worried we wouldn’t be able to go on many trips but because we had to plan our time so carefully we managed to do and see a bit together. On his first day we ventured off to Balloch again as Dom couldn’t remember it very well and Lukasz has never been before. We had a great day, walking around, chatting and being silly. It was amazing to see Dom light up and so eager to show someone where his new life is now. Maybe he doesn’t hate it so much after all……here is hoping.

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Balloch is a small town in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, at the foot of Loch Lomond. It’s a charming little place with a beautiful park. The town has a number of hotels, inns and pubs, and there are cruises from Balloch up Loch Lomond, and other services, including to nearby locations like Luss, and the Renfrew Ferry service. The largest number of boats cruising on Loch Lomond leave from Balloch. It contains Balloch Country Park and Balloch Castle, and is at the southern end of the first Scottish national park, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. There is a Sea Life Centre located in the town. There is a tourist information located near the train station, right across the street, there is a lovely woman working there who will be more than happy to answer any of your questions. She kindly told me that if you buy tickets to the Sea Life Centre at the office you can buy them for almost 50% the price as you would buying them there. It’s wort noting if you’re travelling on a budget and want to squeeze as much as possible into your plan.

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The next time we had a chance to board the train together we decided to go to Glasgow and the West End- my favourite of all. Kelvingrove Park, Botanic Gardens, Glasgow Uni…we tried to see much as possible before my lecture and going back to the city centre.

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It was amazing to have a something from Dom’s world here and to mix it with a bit of ours here now. Everyone absolutely fell in love with Lukasz and he was lucky enough to meet almost all of our family as it was Ewa’s second birthday!

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The day after Lukasz left us for freezing but less windy Poland, Fil arrived. Fil on the other hand is my brother haha, we swapped one for the other. Dom and Fil knew each other beforehand as we all share mutual friends etc, but this time they clicked even more. It was so funny to see them cracking maths, game and chemistry jokes and knowledge. I love those two guys very much and it’s always a treat to have Fil here. I never realise how much I miss him; whenever he visits it’s as if he never really left. I had a lot less time to spend ihuDSC_6545with Fil but we did get a chance to go to Edinburgh with Mum and Dom to have some ‘secret’ sushi. We even managed to catch some sun when there and see Ewa and her Mum who was over for a visit.

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The past month has been all about our guests and it was so amazing to have everyone over. Ewa even managed to get here just before Ewa’s birthday and we had a full day to chill together as if she never left. This is what I love so much about my Mum; she created this amazing space to which people like to come back to and she makes everyone feel welcome. Once you’re welcomed into the family, you stay in it forever really. I hope that one day I will create a warm and loving space in my own home just like my Mum.

 

Love,

Joanna

 

 

 

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