Thursday, August 03, 2006

Aye, It Is Edinburgh

Twas the night before Edinburgh and a bad sleep was had. It was either the caffeine or the excitement that kept me tossing and turning. The shrill alarm went off at 4:45, but I had last checked the clock at 2:00 after getting up again to read. I was ready to go and Ron was too in short order. When we booked our airline tickets, we did not know the Fringe Festival was happening while we were going to be there. This turned into a bonus surprise. More about this festival later.

The shuttle was promptly waiting at 5:40, but it was held hostage in the street by the garbage collection truck blocking our narrow street. With uncustomary courtesy, the truck backed up onto the sidewalk

to allow the shuttle room to pass.

We were at the airport in 25 minutes, too early to check in for our flight. We had time for a

cigarette. We finally checked in, first in line, but were warned that a boarding ticket for our connection in Prague would have to be acquired there. We had our pass from Budapest to Prague. The flight was

uneventful for the full one hour and fifteen minutes of it.

After landing in Prague, we had to find the Transfer Desk to obtain our continuation boarding passes. This

must be customary for this airport as the line was long with at least forty travelers ahead of us in line for many different airlines.

When it was our turn, Ron’s pass was spit out immediately. Mine was still be held captive by the machine. The person behind the desk had a frown, not allowing me to feel confident I would get mine.

When he picked up the phone to make a call, I was concerned and told him James was my last name. He looked up and said he could not find me in the system with either combination of my names. I booked

our tickets online directly with Malev and went into their office to ticket it. They screwed up within their own system, but eventually I had my boarding pass. Visions of airline rewards coming my way due

to the EU laws on airline mistakes were quickly wiped out of my reverie. He also suggested that we double check on the return before leaving the airport in Edinburgh. Drat, another delay for our limited

time in this great city.

The first warning of a delay was the

fact that I could not find electric convertors anywhere in Budapest. I went to travel agencies, travel stores, and even an adventure travel store that had all types of obscure supplies, but no on had any

idea of where they could be found. Our guests from London who had just left us said to make sure to buy them at the airport or it could be a problem. Budapest airport did not have them and neither did Prague.

Great Britain has a different electrical outlet than all of Europe. Our cameras, shaver, and computer are dependent on some electric juice. Here is hoping.

We had two hours to spare before the next flight boards, so the logical choice was to sit it out at the Diners Club Lounge, free entry with our cards. There is a large stock of booze of every kind imaginable, coffee,

and tea as well as soft drinks, but the snack area is deficient in selections. It is a smoking lounge; that is a perk. The Internet is free and there is a WiFi connection if the

one computer is occupied.

When we arrived at the airport, I went to look for a Czech Airline desk while Ron was at the tourist office. There was none, but there was a

service desk. The checked their computer and could not find any reservations at all for either of us returning to Prague on the 10th. Great, now we have to chase after Malev for fixing this. This puts a damper on things first thing.

Yet another close calamity hit. We went to the ATM with our Euro bank card. We have two different pins and was not sure which was the correct one. Neither one worked. Then I tried other numbers and they did not work either. Each time, the message appeared that the pin was invalid. SH*T!! This was the money we were counting on for our vacation. We had to take money from the CA account, so this is going to change our spending a bit.

We were able to get the bus from the airport to the city center for 5 pounds with a return, and then walked to the B and B. It was good being in Edinburgh again as well as this place we had enjoyed so much in the past.

After a nap, we walked to the old city and up the Royal Mile starting at the Parliament. Ron was complaining about still being tired, but after a while, he livened up again and we continued on for a couple more hours. We had pub food for dinner, a pork pie with gooseberries and Ron had fish and chips. Scottish food is not a gastronomic delight. There was supposed to be music starting any minute, but the only musical man was sitting next to us with a guitar and then he left. We did too shortly after.

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