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O Fim duma Viagem

Calandar to Stirling, Stirling to Perth

UNITED KINGDOM | Tuesday, 26 August 2014 | Views [365]

As we were leaving Edinburgh, the GPS that came n the rental car kept sending us on crazy routes, like down High Street, or in a lane for buses only. We ended up ignoring her and just heading west out of Edinburgh. Once we'd managed to get on a road that would bring us most of the way there, we checked the settings of the GPS. It had been told to avoid ferries (my parents were planning on taking a ferry to Islaay) tollways, and motorways. Once we'd reactivated those settings, it was a slightly more trustworthy GPS, though it was always very polite, telling us to “please turn right at the next street.”

Getting out of Glasgow was easier than getting out of Edinburgh. Driving to Calandar was relatively simple, though we did drive past the B&B we were staying in and needed to turn around.

The B&B owner was nice and talkative. He asked us about Edinburgh and, when he learned that we were from Chicago, started talking about a trip he and his wife had taken to one of the suburbs. He couldn't remember the name, but he did keep trying the names of other towns around us, and eventually gave up, concluding that he'd probably remember it at 2 in the morning.

We settled in and moved to try and tried to find a decent wi fi connections. There was one at the B&B, but it didn't work in the rooms. We arranged to meet up at 6 for dinner. We were a five minute walk from town, and when we'd been asked if we knew where town was, we said yes, we'd driven through it. We hadn't.

Unburdened with that knowledge, we set off the same way we'd driven in, searching for a restaurant. We found a take-away place that looked pretty closed and another place with lodgingss and self-catering. Neither of thos looked terribly promising. Twice we tried to take side roads, but they only let us to more residential places. No food to be found there.

When we reached “the edge of town,” my father used his phone GPS to search for any points of interest. The results- there was a stream about 100 meters up. There were woods 500 meters behind us. There were even more woods, and a hill, farther ahead. Lovley.

Having seen so many musicals in the past week, it felt perfectly to start singing . So my sister and I made up a song about how hungry we were. Initially, we didn't have any rhymes. When my sister pointed that out, we switched to making rhyming our only priority. Given we hadn't had any priorities before, it made for a significant improvement.

As we passed our B&B again, it was starting to rain. So, rather than exploring the other direction on foot, we got into our car and drove. Before long we passed a pub that looked like a fine place to eat. So we went in, found food to split, and ordered. Once we'd eaten, we had the energy to wander town a bit more. Until the rain drove us back to our car and our B&B.

The next morning, our parents left early to drive to catch their ferry. My sister and I woke later and enjoyed our pre-bought breakfast in the room before checking out (Downer's Grove was the town our B&B man had stayed in) and headed to the bus stop to wait.

We were around 15 minutes early. The bus was around five minutes late. Fortunately, we could board without difficulty, and bus driver was much more patient about people fumbling for change than bus drivers in the U.S. are. He gave us plenty of time to sit down before he started driving the bus again.

We knew we wanted to get out at Stirling, and we knew the name of the specific stop we wanted to get out at. Unfortunately, we couldn't read the names of the bus stops. When the bus stopped to let out two backpackers at about the area we wanted to be let out, we decided to follow them. This turned out to be a bad plan, since they were catching another bus and we wanted a train. But by following the signs, we could find the train station without difficulty, even if ti took more time than the two minutes walking Google Maps promised if we'd gotten off at the right stop.

The Stirling train station was big enough to have informational pamphlets about the deals they had available. After perusing some, my sister decided to ask about the Freedom of Scotland pass. Over the next 8 days, we had four days of transportation covered by the pass. We were traveling for four days. Seemed like a good deal.

Once we figured out how to use our passes (there were two pieces of paper. One of them wanted us to write the days we were using the pass. The other was necessary to get through the turnstiles) we looked at the trains. We could wait for a train straight to Inverness, or we could get on a train bound elsewhere, get off at Perth, and transfer there. We had options!

We chose the second option. We found seats quickly, and the train had a much better wifi signal than the B&B had. We got out at Perth. It was sunny, and we were starting to get hungry. So, after checking when the next train bound for Inverness would be (it looked like they came more or less on the hour) we set out for lunch.

Perth was sunny, though there wasn't much open for lunch. We'd passed a small diner, and then a lot of restaurants that opened at 12. Most of them didn't look that appealing, with the exception of a hotel restaurant. But when we stopped in, they asked us to wait for a bit.

Like five minutes?” we asked, since it was only just noon.

More like half an hour.”

Nevermind then. Back to the diner we went. I had a chip sandwich (literally, bread with chips in between) and my sister had a steak bun. The diner was run by a man and woman, with the woman doing most of the work. From what I could tell, all the man could do was make coffee. Consequently, even though the restaurant wasn't busy, everything took forever. Not like it mattered. We had plenty of time.

 We returned to the train station to realize that whatever had told us trains went to Inverness every hour was wrong. The next train was going to depart at 3:11.

 We had the time, so we might as well see more of Perth. I found a castle within walking distance, but as we were leaving the train station, it started to rain. Pour, more accurately. So much for that plan, and so much for the idea that Perth was sunny. We returned to the waiting lounge and killed the next 2+ hours there.

Tags: gps, musicals, train, train station

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