Dream trip Day 92 Plane, bus, hello Edinburgh, hello UK…

Travel day yet again! Couting all the flights, this would make lucky 7:

DFW to London

Bordeaux to Lisbon

Porto to Madrid

Barcelona to Brussels

Brussels to Barcelona

Barcelona to Budapest

I flew easyJet, Ryanair whatever was cheapest, really. I knew having a backpack and a satchel, both qualified for carry on. So no surprise fees as long as you remember to eat  and fill up your water bottle before boarding.

I mainly used skyscanner.com a site that shows you the daily flight costs for any route out of any airport by month. I had the luxury of waiting for the cheapest week or day for a flight to my destination.

I’d also check flights on hipmunk.com where you can select flights based on agony, or a combination of transfers,  flight time, layovers etc.

Edinburgh came up really cheap from Warsaw. I think the flight was really just had a layover in Edinburgh en route to London.

I’d also taken into account hostel check out time this trip so I wouldn’t walk around aimlessly for a couple hours.

I had time to pack up and hit up the corner coffee shop one last time. Free wi-fi, too. Had to update my family so they’d know where I was, so I dropped them an email with pics.

This was my last chance for moderately priced food as well so I picked up a sandwich and apple for the trip.

I opened my Uber app and had a car take me to the airport. It was accessible via public transportation. 2 buses and at least an hour, mainly waiting on the transfer bus to the airport.

Only 20 min via car so why not go out in style?

The Warsaw airport was a bit confusing, it had a lot of gates, over 50, but for some reason the block to my flight wasn’t along the main walking route.

My routine is to walk as far as I can throughout the terminal before boarding, in an effort to tire myself out a bit as well as explore airports.

It was down to about 15 min before my board time before I realized I may not find my gate in time.

One more pass and there it was, down a hall and some steps, to the basement, were 10 other terminals for smaller flights, I guess. Not sure why they did it different, but I was happy to see it was going to be a pretty empty flight.

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I selected an empty row and was rewarded by a guy who sat along the aisle, no one in the middle. Score!

No close inspections on my entry date. Nor when I landed in Scotland. I correctly stated I was ultimately en route to Dublin, but I had to see Scotland, since it was along the way and all.

The passport girl smiled, “You’ll luv it here. Welcome to Scotland!” She stamped my passport and waved me through.  I was the UK’s problem now.

Luckily I still had some £ in my bag so I was able to afford the bus from airport to my hostel.

It was raining here too! Confounded rain, always following me!

I understood people here! English and with great accents, too.

Our bus turned and stopped, people got in, people go off. No matter if I remembered the name of my stop, I compulsively checked my map app to once again verify. Like, 10x while the bus was rolling.

My stop was doubly easier as it was also the final stop so I don’t know why I was so concerned about missing it.

Bonus: my hostel was maybe 2 blocks from the bus stop, something I didn’t plan for but due to sprinkling rain, I was quite happy about.

It was cold, actually cold here, even with my long sleeve shirt and raincoat on. I was going to have to do some shopping.

I was warmly greeted by the hostel receptionist who had dreads wrapped up like a crown on her head.

No one in my room but I do see bags. I’d see them later.

My hostel was next to a pub so I decided that was best option to end the evening. I am not sure why travel, flying makes you so tired, but it does.

A couple pints, light conversation with a few people asking for another pub. At least I understood them though I couldn’t help.

Hearing different languages does mess with your mind a bit. It takes some time to adjust but then you start picking out a word or phrases soon.

It’s strange, I don’t know any languages well, but hearing a couple words, context, tenor of the conversation I was able to figure out the gist of what people were talking about in each country.

Conversation is the same wherever you go: weather, girl problems, funny story, what’s up with our government?

I finished my pint just as the rain began the fall harder. Night rain is the best rain and best way to fall asleep.

 

Beer: Edinburgh Gold

Song: Mogwai   Travel is Dangerous

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Dream Trip Day 35   Porto to Madrid by plane

Our flight was at 9, so we had to wake up early, after the biggest party night of the year in Porto, too! Rough going.

As we walked onto the train, we saw many people just arriving after a night of partying down by the river. It’s 730am.

On the metro we encountered two guys, still very drunk, still bopping people on the head even though both activities are way over.

One continues to bop a girl trying to sleep across from them. First couple times she laughs, then flashes the death glare and she moves seats.

No issues at airport, just standard bullshit of arriving early just to wait for a delayed plane with no compensation from airlines.

It’s a short hour and half flight, which we sleep the whole way.

Arrive to Madrid Bajas airport and I flash back to my first euro trip years ago when I got lost trying to find the way out.

This time like a champ I lead us through a couple transfers to the Sol stop.

It’s hot hot, like 90 when we get out. No ocean breeze to cool us down.

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Si and Jeremy stop in to cell store to get SIM cards for Espana.

I text our Airbnb host to let him know we are near. He responds in Spanish that he doesn’t speak English. Damn.

We walk down a Main Street for a bit until we reach the area of our apt.

I call our host and see him waving across the street. We have arrived.

He walks us upstairs to our room, taking in Spanish. I get most of what he is saying.

He manages to say in English, ‘Do you drink? Alcohol?’

We all say yes, si.

He opens the fridge and pulls out a large bottle of a locally made wine spritzer. Tastes like red wine and Sprite.

‘Salud,’ he says after pouring us each a large glass. ‘Is local favorite sabor, toma!’

We set up in a small room, next to ours is another couple renting, out host is in a third room.

You know this guy is banking, renting out two rooms all the time. He is never there, we don’t seem him for the rest of our time in the city.

We are hungry so we walk the area, Si decides ramen, it’s 90 so why not hot soup ?

A new ramen spot just opened so we pop in.

I am totally ruined on ramen having eaten at Ten Ramen in Dallas, run by a Japanese guy to Japan standards. Ate there about every other week.

I select the kids or taster portion of ramen.

Jeremy tries to convey he is vegetarian but she thinks he is vegan, 100% vegetarian? This has egg, is ok?

He gives me his chicken goyza dumplings which comes with his meal.

Sure enough, broth, noodles are not very good and I’m happy I only have a small bowl but with the dumplings I’m satiated.

We walk down street in front of our apt, which is also a main thoroughfare, towards the royal palace.

We walk around the palatial estate, most of which is behind a metal fence.


I notice that on one side there should be a good view of the city.

Haha area is under construction and its boarded up, but they have cut a small section at eye level that merely shows you another small section leading up to concrete wall that does have a view.

You have view of an area with a city view but no actual view. Fuck you Madrid, why can’t we see your city ?! Oh right, all about € as you can get a view if you pay for palace tour.

It’s hot so we walk back to apt and locate bar near Mercado.

I had forgotten they serve crisps, chips with beer. I also forgot how the waiters virtually ignore you should you want something else or chip refill.

I search for activities and find bullfighting arena. No one is interested especially when I reveal it’s 40€ a ticket.

Si says, ‘maybe if we get free bull tacos. I want to eat the loser.’

A quick search reveals they donate bull meat to orphanages.

In Mexico I read they sell cheap bull tacos after a match.

We attempt to navigate the open Mercado, but it is way too packed. Shoulder to shoulder the whole way through.

Interesting market, fresh seafood, baked goods, paella, and ham are all out on display.

I locate the church of Madrid, oldest one in town so we walk over.

It’s oldest, not most beautiful, ornate etc. just a reasonable house of worship for a change.

Back to the royal plaza for a beer, it is pretty expensive so we get one and done.

Hungry now and it seems everyone wants a table outside, plus they eat late, after 9.

We passed by a local rally of some sort, I see rainbow flags so presume it’s gay rights rally. Man speaking uses bullhorn so it seems much more old style protest.

We are near the Mercado and find an outside seat with a light breeze and good people watching.

My first encounter with Jeremy’s soon to be dinner staple, potatoes bravas and grilled peppers.

I try a pepper and while it smells spicy, it isn’t, a bit salty and resembles okra taste.

Bravas is sauce on potatoes and other Spanish items, creamy with mild to medium heat red pepper sauce.

These would be his go to items to eat for the next week as Spain is home to ham or seafood and he doesn’t eat either.

We meander around as we think we located a cool punk bar but it doesn’t look open and website reads it’s a late night bar only open after 11.

There is some sort of live music, dance going on near that we hear pretty clearly a few blocks away so we check it out for a moment.

Lots of floral colors and big dresses on the ladies as they twirl.

Band plays semi mariachi style but different with accordion and no horns.

We watch awhile then back to the punk bar, still looks closed so I give the door a push, ah yet another door and we are in.

Small place with long bar to one side, a few people standing at mirror wall across from the bar making it hard to navigate ordering a beer and walking to a table as you have to block the way when ordering a beer behind those hanging in front of the bar.

I get three drafts, looks like Estrella and somehow manage to not drop or spill them.

What’s strange about the bottleneck at the bar is the place opens up with tables, DJ booth and later we realize another separate room.

Beer is cheap, music is good, not too crowded.

Behind us is TV showing a live Queen DVD. The whole night they alternate between live DVDs and videos, only 80’s music, all styles.

The DJ keeps checking on us as we seem to be the only ones listening. Thumbs up!

Jeremy comes back from the bar but without beers. The bartendress arrives with a tray of beer and three small shots. Guess they like us here.

It’s late and been a long day so back to the apt.

My Airbnb selections suck, only 2 beds so I stake out a small spot and use the ample heavy bedding as a bed on the floor.

Why we had large winter blankets when it was super hot I don’t know but they made a nice, comfy bed.

Beer: Estrella Galacia
Song: Queen Mustapha