This trip, while it ended up being one of the greatest weeks I’ve had in a very long time, did not start off with a smooth ride.
I had work during Sunday, and since we needed to get to the airport Sunday night to be on time for the flight on Monday morning, I felt a bit pressed for time. I got off work around 9 pm, and just basically hurried home to change clothes and grab my bag. I had to change though, because there was no way I was going to sit at an airport all day, and then the actual travelling time, in the same clothes I had just worked 12 hours in a kitchen wearing… Really, I would have loved to take a shower before leaving as well, but had to be realistic. There just wasn’t time for that. The train we had to catch left at 10.30 pm after all.
We did manage to catch the train and got to the airport alright, and then commenced what I’d like to call ‘The Great Wait’… Sitting at an airport all night is not really my idea of fun. And for some reason I was utterly unable to sleep, so by the end of the Wait I was bored out of my mind and basically sleep-walking.
Then when the time came to finally check in, it looked like there was a possibility that we would need to wait ANOTHER two hours. Well, we had a choice whether to accept or not and at that point two hours wouldn’t really make much of a difference, but still… The thing was that the flight was over-booked and if everyone who booked showed up, the plane would basically be short two seats. Apparently this happens from time to time, and since we were travelling as a pair they asked if we would be willing to be re-scheduled on another flight if this happened. The alternative flight would be going directly to Aberdeen instead of stopping off in Amsterdam, and would not make us miss our booked train, so we agreed. We even got compensated for it, only for agreeing. That was a bit of a surprise, because I had understood it as we were getting compensated if we had to use the alternative flight only, but apparently we got it either way. Which was rather neat all things considering.
We ended up going on the flight we had originally booked, so we were off to Amsterdam before getting to our final destination. Now, I LOVE flying, I have ever since the first time I was on a plane. Especially take-offs. There is something that just makes me feel really good when the plane leaves the ground and start rising into the air. I have no idea what it is, but I love it. There is also something incredibly amusing about listening to Cabin Pressure while actually flying.
That amazing moment when twelve tons of metal leaves the earth… and no one knows why.
– Arthur Shappey on take-offs (Cabin Pressure Ep 1 – Abu Dhabi)
The first thing that struck me when we reached Amsterdam was how amazingly huge Schiphol Airport is. I mean, the D-section of gates alone had over 60 gates… Do you really need that many? It was a rather impressive building though. Part of it felt more like a Mall than an airport.
The flight from Amsterdam to Aberdeen (Dyce) was spent reading and dozing off and when we got there we needed to find our way to the train-station for the last leg of our journey. This proved much easier than we had planned in time for, since there were buses going there fairly regularly. I don’t think I could ever get used to the way some bus-drivers drive to be honest. He drove as if he had stolen the bus, and me being squeamish about buses in the first place because they make me ill, this was not a ride I enjoyed. Fortunately it was over fairly quick, with the downside that we had a two hour wait for the train that we had booked tickets for (we figured we might need that time to safely find our way to the train-station…) It wasn’t too bad though. We found a small food-place right next to the station which served some decent chips and had a very chatty and nice man behind the counter. We stood chatting with him for quite a while, filling up some of the waiting time.
When we finally got on the train, I fell asleep over the table fairly quickly. At that point I had been awake for a bit over 36 hours (unless you count dozing for a few minutes at a time on the plane… I don’t) and when I sat down in the seat for that final part of the journey all the tension and energy just seeped out of me and I couldn’t have stayed awake if I tried.
When we (finally) arrived in Inverness I was slightly more rested and felt rather good, though I was craving a shower pretty badly. We managed to find the Guesthouse that we were to be staying in without any major mishaps (apart from the fact that D’s suitcase lost one of its wheels on the way there…) and checked in. I really liked that place right off the bat. The staff were nice and friendly and the room was fairly comfortable. There were a few things that I reacted to, but nothing much that would impact us in any way. The only thing that continued to bug me during our stay was the shower… There was little to no water-pressure which made it a pain to actually get clean. Not to mention washing your hair, it took ages. It also took a really long time for the water to get anywhere close to warm, which I found to be an issue since I like my showers hot. That was the only major issue though, because we could always make up for the crappy wi-fi with going to the railway-station where the connection was top-notch. We didn’t really need wi-fi much anyway apart from accessing our bank-accounts.
We rested in our room for a bit after getting there, taking a shower and napping for a bit, before getting out to explore the city. After finding somewhere to have dinner (and I still haven’t figured out what that strange cider-beer hybrid I was drinking was), we walked up to Inverness Castle by the worst path that we could find (of course, we didn’t find the easier path until later) and I never wanted to even look at stairs again after that.
After looking around the castle for a bit we just… continued walking. We still say that we didn’t get lost, but that is mainly because we didn’t have a goal in mind. If someone asked us to show where we had been walking, we wouldn’t be able to tell, because we have no idea where we ended up. But we weren’t lost!
Anyway, we somehow made it back to familiar territory (as in a place where we would actually find our way back to the Guesthouse) and did a little shopping on the way back. And during this bit of shopping we found the things that would be our goal for the end of the week. We didn’t want to buy them on the first day, because they were rather expensive, but we kept them in mind without fail.
And that was pretty much it for our first day of vacation. It was the start of a lovely week, and though it was a long and tiring trip it was definitely worth it!
Stay tuned for the next part of my report; Hunting the Loch Ness Monster