Monday, 1 October 2007

Destination Scotland

Blast from past!
After my recent trip to Scotland of east, I just could not help but go back in time and remember one of the most exciting trips I have had so far. It was to Scotland of west. Well to be more precise, it was to Edinburgh and Highlands. But before I embarked on my journey to Scotland, I had to fly into London from New York and then take a 4 hour bus ride to Norwich.After the transatlantic flight and a night's break at Norwich,I  took an very early morning train to Peterborough. A long journey to reach the destination but yes this was the start to one of the amazing cross country rides on a train!

Let me pause here and tell you that even though i have taken transcontinental, transatlantic flights on my own before, this was my first holiday as a single female traveler. As I was planning to move back to India, I wanted to visit my family in England and travel to a few places around it. Most would think holidaying alone is not a good cup of tea. For me it was like an adventure that I had set off on with no one but me to pamper and please! I would not do something like this in India but after being on my own in US, I was confident that I could have a wonderful and safe journey in other parts of the world by being sensible and taking few precautions.

Now getting back to the trains which are far better than the ones in India and here I was into about half hour of the ride and the ticket collector approached me and asked for the tickets.I just gave him the tickets, he looked at them and said that they were not the tickets. Half hour into my first holiday on my own and already  was in a panic mode!. As the tickets were not bought by me and was handed to me late night , i had not looked at them. The big guy in uniform informed me that what I had are the booking receipts and I had to pick up the tickets at the station. I was kicking myself in my head for not looking at them when it was handed over to me. In meantime the ticket collector asked me if I had the return tickets too. I said yes and handed over a bunch of paper slips I had with me. As I had 3 trains to take each way, I had a lot of tickets. He patiently went through all of them and then picked up the correct ticket from the bunch and explained to me the ticket and the receipt are two different things. what a relief! I learnt my first lesson about traveling in a different country as something like this never happened to me in US and I have taken the Amtrak often. I don't recall amtrak booking receipts looking exactly the same as the tickets Well, Don't assume things to work the same in every country.

The train from Norwich took me to Peterborough . Then i switched a train to Edinburgh through New castle. The train ride brought back one of my sweetest memories of my childhood. It was all the time i spent reading Enid Blyton and always wondering about England.I could not believe I was in the same country side as all her characters...Fatty from five findouters, George from famous five and list can go on.The adventures, the mysteries, the fun , the many memories and here i was reliving them. To top it off was the incredible sights i was feasting on. The ride from New castle to Edinburgh is along the coast and my god, I could do it over and over again. I am sure sights will be different during the different seasons.

On reaching Edinburgh, I walked up to my hotel " Premier Inn" lauriston place. When I had checked the directions on Google map, the hotel seems to be at a walkable distance but what I didn't discount was that Edinburgh is on hills and the walk uphill can be exhausting! As i just had a small backpack , I managed to make it to the Inn in good time. A quick check in and I was all set to start my exploration of Edinburgh!

 Location: Scotland
Date of travel: October  2007

Tip: Avoid the air travel and do the Land!
Must do: Visit Scotland!
First: Pure panic for a few minutes in a new country!
The Travel Connection: Travel by the British railways

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