Out and about in the country… Dunblane and its surprises! :)

Those who know hubby and me know that October and November were tough months… ok, now hubby is well on his way to full recovery, exercising faithfully as often as he can and generally in good nick, but still, the end of November was a good time to take a couple of days off and visit the country! So, last Friday we headed to Dunblane, having booked a room at the Hydro Hotel. It is a small place, Dunblane… but the countryside where it is is so lovely–the river Allan flows across the town and the Cathedral, well, is really amazing!
The Hydro treated us well enough… I enjoyed the pool in the morning and Hubby used the gym a couple of times… but mostly we were walking around the town, reading papers and not doing very much!
On Friday night we treated ourselves to a very good Chinese dinner: China Gourmet looks really quiet in its sit-in area… but is really busy as takeaway, looking by all accounts like a local favourite. I enjoyed vegan spring rolls and lettuce wraps filled with vegetables, stir fried in soy sauce, and boiled rice. Hubby felt the need for a warming chicken and veg soup… followed by a very tasty curry. With good service and very reasonable prices, who can go wrong?
Saturday night, instead, I must say, was less successful… I had booked a table at the Riverside, whose website boasted an extensive vegetarian menu whose courses to my mind could be easily veganised… it turned out, sadly, not to be the case. The chef was simply unable to do so and I ended up with salad and bread… which was more expensive and less tasty than the one I had at lunchtime in another local favourite, Cafe’ Continental! In fairness the manageress knocked off our starters and drinks from the bill by way of apology and with hindsight I should have probably let them know that I was vegan on the ‘phone… however, when at least a couple of the veggie options do not show cheese or dairy as part of their description, I wonder whether it would have been possible to modify their delivery to vegan standards… In the end of the day I had no particular problem asking this in other establishments (firstly Timberyard, which given their love for meat and game would have been forgiven for not being particularly flexible, and instead deliver every time even without notice!)… let’s hope that the kitchen staff at Riverside gain in flexibility and creativity… On the upside, hubby enjoyed his sea bass… however, despite having offered and accepted the parsnip soup he ended up with something looking and tasting like mushroom soup–not a big problem, as he likes both, but still… I wish they had updated their boards and informed the staff!
Dunblane was a lovely find… a word is truly deserved for a couple of pubs we visited, the Village Inn and the Tappit Hen–the latter is a CAMRA Scotland establishment and the choice of ales was really good. The Village Inn is also pleasant and quiet–seems to have a strong following among the locals, which tells visitors all they need to know about how nice it is!
So on the whole, despite our dinner adventure on Saturday, we enjoyed our stay… who knows where we’ll go next year for another break? Meantime, we’re starting getting ready for Christmas: this Saturday my charity group will host our annual Christmas party and thereafter (on Tuesday 9 Dec) the EGP community will get together for mulled wine and mince pies and some good music at Hendersons’!
Before that though–tomorrow, Locanda dei Gusti, here we come: the Geeks will be out in town! 🙂 more later!

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