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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European Vacation Day 1 Dallas to London

I’ve always wanted to go to Europe and see all the historic places you read about and see in history books. I also frankly needed to reassure myself that I can travel and go to far distant lands by myself with only a new Iphone and the internet to guide me. Everything I had on my back in a normal sized backpack. The strategy was stealth, nimble, able to change plans or adapt to whatever situation I might find myself in. I guess I could have made all sorts of plans, booked hotels, schedule events, but I think I just needed to not have to be anywhere for awhile. Sometimes showing up at a set time, a routine gets to me so this will help alleviate that itch.

Sunday morning I started pacing as I woke up fairly early. Not much else to do but wait for my ride. My friend Jeremy works in the international gate at DFW so I have to trust him to know how long it will take to get me to the airport on time. He ended up timing it perfectly; I breezed through security and made the gate with 20 min to spare. I was in the gate waiting long enough to make a call to forward all my calls to voicemail while I was away. Texts were supposed to be stopped, but of course they came through anyway, extra charge as I was out of country.

I’m always amazed at what little you get for such a hefty plane ticket. It’s a long flight, too, so where’s my $ going? I tell you, they should stop in flight service, no food or drinks because that just makes you have to pee, which means you walk over the person next to you or bump someone on the way to the toilet. I guess airline jokes just write themselves, it is pretty bad but worth it. I did encounter the angry flyer at the search part. He had a minor point; it wasn’t set up well so anyone could come at any direction. They had a special line just for premium and special needs flyers which were promptly ignored by a couple who thought it was just another line. He huffed and gruffed, called out some TSA person that it was wasting his time and people were just standing around. I passed him and smiled as he was pulled aside and given a no doubt through search.

Its incidents like that that make me think about active in certain situations. Admittedly this guy had several valid points but they all didn’t matter in this instance. You see only certain times is it ok to express an opinion otherwise it will cost you. In this case he was searched, completely uncalled for he didn’t look like a threat but because he spoke up and brought attention to himself, he called out the TSA, the people in charge of that situation. You don’t do that because you don’t really control things. In just a few moments that situation could easily turn criminal. Who knows if they can make up charges but they could detain you long enough to miss your flight. Sometimes it’s not worth calling out that you are right and the situation may be silly. You have to adapt and pick your battles, yes, pick your battles.

I found my seat in the middle of the plane, coach seat, only a bit of a recline. I didn’t think I would be able to sleep basically seated for eight hours but I did. Thinking of the upcoming week and all the places I would go, the things I would do, lulled me to sleep.