Wow! What a few crazy days I have had. On the one hand I just want to go out and explore some more, but on the other hand I am worried that I am going to start forgetting some of my experiences, so since the weather is not too inviting outside, and I have a hot coffee and free wifi access at hand, sitting in the very cool reception area of my hotel, I thought I would jot down a few notes so long.
I left Joburg on the evening of the 17th of December and (as always) travelling and airports proved to not be my friend. I always have all these intentions to ‘travel lightly’, pack everything and that one day I will look like one of those seasoned travellers that I always spot at the airport, ever so organised and prepared. I am the one who always look like I am moving cities, dragging a suitcase half my size and almost a third of my weight with me. The fact that I am barely 5 ft doesn’t help much.
For starters, I had some gifts and a bottle of Shiraz and a bottle of Cap de Classique in my suitcase and a couple of kilograms of biltong for friends (that is dried, salted meat for those who don’t know and a South African delicacy, and probably illegal to transport to the UK). So, my suitcase was pretty heavy and when I weighed it on my bathroom scale at home, just over 23kg. I managed to get through the South African check-in but had to remove something of ‘at least 1kg’ at my connecting flight check-in at Heathrow to avoid paying a £40 overweight charge. For that sort of money I would have worn my jeans as a scarf, but managed to cram a pair of jeans and a denim jacket into my already full hand luggage. After taking off my shoes, belt, removing all electronic equipment and my liquids in a clear bag from my hand luggage, and spending 5 minutes on the other side to get dressed again, I finally managed to get through the check-in intact.
Our connecting flight was delayed and we sat on the aeroplane for an hour before take off. Thank goodness I had my trusted iPad with me so I could carry on reading my book. When we finally touched down at Edinburgh, I was very relieved and managed to get someone to help me get down my 5 ton carry-on suitcase down from the overhead locker, thereby avoiding any potential hazard from luggage that ‘might have shifted during the landing’. Rushing off the aeroplane and savouring the relief that we were at the domestic terminal, so no necessity for passport control again, I was in a hurry to get a taxi to my hotel in old Edinburgh. The taxi drive was an experience and I had long conversations with the taxi driver (I love taxi drivers…they know so much about places to go to and this one used to manage some pubs in his heyday!). We finally got to the hotel and after checking in, I managed to get all my suitcases up to my room (no small feat). In my room, I decided it was time to update the world via my iPad of my arrival in Edinburgh and the beautiful views from my room of the old city. Which is when it hit me that I left my iPad in the seat pocket of the aeroplane. Duh!
I frantically phoned the airport and was told it wasn’t there, but that I should check later as the cleaning ladies might only bring lost property down ‘after their shift’. Being from South Africa, I didn’t have high hopes for a recovery and disconnected the 3G card.
Anyway, luckily I have my MacBook Air with me, else there would have been no updates and I am still phoning the airport to see if some soul took pity on me and handed in my iPad. I am not telling you how many times I have left stuff on aeroplanes, buses and trains, it is too embarrassing. What I can tell you is that I am super impressed with the hotel I am staying at. It is centrally located and in a beautiful location. With little touches that really impress me, like an iPod player in the room (with speakers in the shower), these delicious complimentary milk chocolate marshmallow biscuit thingies and fantastic decor. The one wall is decorated with old comic book covers and the one entire wall has a map of Edinburgh.
I set out exploring the city on the afternoon I arrived (and I had to find pyjamas, as I discovered that I never packed any…). After getting a wee bit lost, I stumbled across a German Christmas market in Princess street gardens. It was a bit full but I managed to get a pork steak roll and hot chocolate to fill the tummy and a pair of comfortable pj’s at BHS. I decided to get an early night as I had a tour booked to the Highlands the next day which started bright and early!
I will tell you about my trip (yesterday) and share some pictures in a separate post, but in the meanwhile, I can update you that I phoned the airport today and my iPad was there. So, I took the bus to the airport to collect it. And afterwards I went to The Club Room at The Dome (thanks to my taxi driver for the recce) for a wee bit of lunch to celebrate my good fortune :-). I even tried the local delicacy Haggis in filo pastry and it wasn’t half bad!