Pisa wouldn’t be so popular if it wasn’t for that building with the shoddy foundation. But the building, and it’s screwy way of standing up, does in fact exist, and therefore, Pisa’s place on Italy’s tourist circuit is secure. This post isn’t about Pisa, I’m just using it as an example.
Like Pisa, some places draw you in for very specific reasons while others, usually ones that aren’t even listed in guidebooks, only make it on your itinerary because they’re on the road to something else. Sometimes, the latter is nothing more than a nondescript throwaway but other times, other times you find a gem. Ayr, Scotland is a gem.
Ayr was a means to an end, a halfway point between Glasgow and the port town of Cairnryan where we were going to catch a bright and early ferry to Belfast. Staying in Ayr was a completely random point my mouse at my Google map and pick a city kind of decision.
As it turns out, my mouse knew what it was doing. Here are my five favorite things about Ayr:
1. The pristine beach.
As one local put it, “We get a lot of the bucket and spade brigade from the cities.” For good reason, Ayr is known, regionally at least, for their beautiful beaches.
2. We were a novelty.
I’ve never in my entire life been anywhere where an American accent is a novelty except for here. Ayr may be a regional tourist hot spot, but according to the locals we met, international tourists are practically unheard of – and that made us feel pretty special. In Ayr, our accents turned head after head and so many people were curious as to why we were there.
3. Exploring High Street.
High street is the most common street name in the U.K., it’s like Main Street, but like everything else in Europe, there’s a bit more old world charm. Anyway, High Street in Ayr was pretty darn cute.
4. And exploring other streets.
Europe is old, that’s no secret. And one of the things that happens in really old places is that old buildings are repurposed and used for things other than what they were originally intended. One such place was in Ayr. We ate dinner at an old church turned restaurant.
5. Wandering around here and Ayr
Forgive the word play. Like I mentioned on Monday, our day in Ayr was one of those magical days where time slows down and allows you to do and see everything you wanted. We arrived in Ayr in the afternoon and left at the crack of dawn the next morning but it seemed like our stay was so much longer. We chatted with locals (about fire safety of course), played golf (okay, so it was of the miniature variety), wandered around, shopped, ate out and even sat through the absolute loudest game of dominoes to ever be played – but the players gave us free pizza afterwards so I guess it was worth it.
And for the one bad thing:
- There are, apparently, so many lost children in need of medical attention that they felt the need to make this sign.
Just kidding, it’s just a weird sign.
In conclusion, if you’re ever in Scotland, I suggest you take time to stop by Ayr. The town was cute, the people were nice and frankly, if for no other reason, you should go just so you can experience what it’s like to be a novelty. There are over 300 million Americans in the world and unless you travel to really, truly far-flung places, Ayr might be your only shot at feeling special.
An American… as a novelty… the concept alone is novel!