Well I warned you… Last time out I said we might do a couple of pre-Christmas Travels Without Vince posts and here we are!
You may remember that we parked Vince up for an exploration day in Lisbon on last year’s winter trip. We saw enough that day to tempt us back for a longer visit, so a quick dig around on the web turned up a good flight & hotel deal which luckily didn’t melt the credit card.
It all started so well. We were up on time this morning, and as we’re no longer Midlands townies but newly-enrolled Scottish countryside dwellers we had to replenish the bird feeders, re-stock the red squirrel box with monkey-nuts and scatter some corn for the fat pheasant which visits every day. That’s a feeding box for red squirrels by the way not a squirrel box which is red.
It’s a two-hour run up to Edinburgh where we fly from, so we ambled up via a coffee stop at Biggar and took some time out for a couple of family visits. Both Gill and I were brought up in the area and m’dear old mum still lives there.
When we lived in Edinburgh 30 years ago the city wasn’t very driver-friendly, and trust me – it’s only got worse. What a nightmare of traffic queues, parking restrictions and impatient drivers. Although we miss our Vince madly, I’m glad we weren’t trying to drive his considerable bulk through the nose-to-tail traffic.
Our deal involved a cheap ‘n’ cheerful hotel not far from the airport in South Queensferry – with bonus views of the stunning new Queensferry Crossing as well as the two iconic Forth Bridges – road & rail.
We’d just enjoyed a pre-dinner sharpener and were about to follow that up with another when click the electricity failed. Eek! We checked it wasn’t just our room – it wasn’t – and decided to pop out for dinner while the power cut was sorted out.
Having enjoyed a little aperitif, driving was out of the question so we tried the Brewers Fayre next door. As we walked in there was no ‘Good evening’ not even a ‘Hello’ – just a shout from behind the bar “Youse’ll need tae wait at least 45 minutes fer food” We didn’t.
We trekked along the local dual carriageway through the bitter cold to a retail park and the welcome lights of a Frankie & Benny’s. We weren’t even handed a menu, “You’ll need to wait, we’re all behind.” We didn’t.
So here I sit, in a newly power-restored budget hotel, feeling slightly queasy after a tasty & nutritious burger meal, setting the alarm for 4.30am.
Fingers crossed we’ll have better luck tomorrow – I’ll let you know. See you in Lisbon! 😀