It tooks 27 hours from our door to my mate, Glitch’s door, but it was well worth.
Our “day” started with an alarm going off at 530am. Gah. Having only gone to sleep somewhere between 1 and 2am, this seemed early, but I was immediately excited to be awake and on the way to Europe. I packed our things into Joey’s car as Chad did some last minute cleaning (sorry if it is still a little bit untidy in there, Doreen!). Joey tried to get me to start the car before she got out of the blankets on our comfy couch, but I foresaw me messing that up (I don’t drive standard, and I don’t think that learning in the pitch black by myself is a good place to learn) so she had to suffer the cold. Sorry, Joey, and thanks again for getting us to Nanaimo on time.
We stopped for gas and some early morning grub, ensuring that we had time to swing by and get Joey a coffee before hitting the ferry terminal. Many hugs and I love yous followed as we unloaded our bags and sent Joey onto the rest of her day. Purchasing our tickets from the machine, we had enough time to sit and watch the day go from very dark grey to light grey before the announcement came on to lead us onto the ship.
Aboard, I snagged a spot next to an outlet, and charged my camera and computer. Chad got in a couple hours of programing work while I checked Facebook, played Majong, read, and eventually had a nap on the floor. Chad needed a bathroom break, so I watched our stuff from the floor, half tucked under the seat, and using my backpack as a pillow. The ladies a few rows away were discussing different actors who had played James Bond. They eventually came to a point in the conversation, one asking the other, “who was the other fellow that played James Bond?”
“Timothy Dalton,” I replied, still hidden under our seats and out of their sight. They said thanks, even though they were very confused as to where the answer had come from.
After the ferry, we hopped a bus to downtown Vancouver (the busdriver was nice enough to wait while I fought with the ATM, as neither of us had thought to bring cash/change), then switched to the Skytrain to YVR. After checking in and going through security, Chad got more work done, I caught up on more Facebook.
The flight was just over 9 hours in length. I was delighted that “Mrs. Doubtfire” was included in the on-flight entertainment. I also watched “Dark Shadows,” a couple episodes of “The Food Revolution,” and the NPH/Joss Wheden episode of “Glee” (“Dream On”). With was broken up with reading a little of “A Feast for Crows,” bothering Chad, making faces at the small child across the aisle, napping and eating the airline food. Dinner was fine, breakfast was disappointing – hard cinamon bun and yogurt (to which I am allergic, so Chad got that).
This means I was kind of hungry when we landed in Gatwick. My stomach was also sort of rolling because I was worried I would get a stereotypically grumping border officer who wouldn’t enjoy the fact that I plan on galivanting around Europe (including their beloved UK) for 6 months. I booked my tickets exactly within the limits, and will make sure to spend no more than 90 days on the mainland, just so I don’t get in trouble.
My officer was awesome, very nice and friendly. He asked how long I would be in the UK (to which I replied up to 6 months between UK and the mainland) and since I have already booked our next city in Portugal, he was satisfied. I got a “can stay for 6 months” stamp and was off to find Chad (who used a different line, because he has a Swiss passport – lucky bugger) at the luggage area.
We couldn’t check into our next flight for a few hours (because the earliest flight to Edinburgh that was cheap and gave us enough time between flights in case of border crossing issues was at 2:30pm, and we landed at 7am), so we wandered to the correct terminal, grabbing some free SIM cards on the way, and made a snack of some items from Marks and Spencers. I later had an Irn Bru, becasue we were both tired and feeling sluggish as all hell. I even had to go for a walk, since the 9 hour flight we had already taken had made me stiff.
After going through checking in and going through security, Chad and I caught a short nap on a bench, him wrapped around his carry on and me drapping a protective hand over mine. I even had the passports tucked under me and near Chad, just in case. I’m glad we happened to wake up shortly before they put our gate up on the board, though, as I noticed afterward that I had set my phone alarm to AM instead of PM. That could have been a disaster.
After watching one woman almost get kicked off the flight before we even boarded, we slunk onto the plane. I definitely slept for nearly the enture flight, waking up just before touchdown. I held Chad’s hand and woke him up as the wheels hit pavement. “We are in Scotland!”
Another 30 minute bus ride dropped us off amid the tram construction at the west end of Princes’ Street. I walked Chad down the main drag to give him a beautiful sight of the castle before easily locating Glitch’s new apartment. He buzzed us in, and after a coupld flights of stairs, it felt like I was home.
Glitch and Rachel offered us tea and we watched a very old episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? By 6pm, we were both ready for a nap. That nap turned into us waking up at 2am, reading for a couple hours and then sleeping again, so we wouldn’t have a completely messed up sleeping pattern. We got up at 8am, and started our first real day in Edinburgh…