To Scotland by Air
To this day we went to Scotland either by train or by ferry. This time the car stays at home and we try it by plane. To put it simply: Never again!
Check-in was something special already.
“Unfortunately the flight is overbooked, you have to go via Frankfort", an XLM-attendant (name slightly changed) informed us with a smirk. Umph, so why did we book seats? The 74 Euros offered plus free haircut as well as benefits for the next flight we rejected - it was not very luring to think of touching down in the middle of nowhere. It is after all not our problem if flights are overbooked as a principle.
A short time later during the body check there was the first face-off with the armed authorities. My favourite Zippo was regarded as a threat for the safety on board and for the global peace. None of the three uniformed gentlemen was accepting my offer to purchase the lighter for a favourable price. So I had to leave the airport building to "burn it out" as the official suggested with a grin. Nice trick! Until the petrol had burnt down, the plane would have been in the air and the problem of overbooking solved brilliantly. So outside I took out wick and cotton and shoved everything into my trouser pocket.
Nevertheless take-off was a desaster. The plane left with a delay of 45 minutes. The next drama was waiting for us in Amsterdam.
While the plane was in the holding pattern over Amsterdam and we longingly looked down to the ferry port of Ijmuiden (pict. below), the captain informed us over loudspeaker that there would not be the least problem to catch the connection flight to Edinburgh in time. Great! So we dashed off the plane and wasted valuable minutes in the next check.
Down there is Ijmuiden. - Here the ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle starts.
"Wat is dit?" (What's this?) the Dutch Security gasped when checking my purse. I stayed where I was, facing trouble with my trousers working down. The belt going with it and being most suspicious had been long taken away and was thoroughly checked by a Security team.
"Dit is 'ne Feile", (This is a file) I made him understand in my very best Dutch. I was not sure but felt like all marksmen going into position. Slowly I moved towards the terrified official and found it difficult not to stumble over my sliding trousers. As matter of fact I had been missing this malicious nail file for some time; it had hidden in one of the purse pockets. A called in team of experts did not succeed to get the craven file off its hiding place. The situation seemed to get out of control! Somewhere in the distance I heard a siren - Royal Army on the way? A general for a long time steadfastly looked into my eyes - I stood firm. Then he said: "All right!" The nail file could pass...
In spite of a sprint record we now could forget the connection flight. The plane had not yet started (delay?) but the sign of "Gate closed" mocked at us. The area was as empty as the Parliament during a discussion about voters' sullenness. Frustrated and demotivated we crept back to the XLM-stall.
"Oh, I'm sorry, these things just happen", a Lady in Blue comforted us. "Try it again in 3 hours. Seats? What seats? If nothing is vacant, try the flight in - 6 or eight hours!"
Several Securities stopped me from dismanteling the XLM-booth. As comfort we received a number of vouchers which we accepted in a demoralized fashion. At least we could blow the vouchers in 'Murphys Pub' (recommendable!). Much refreshed, we took the remaining vouchers - we had a plan! And so back to the XLM-booth.
The Security present cocked their weapons when we approached. With the most innocent of innocent faces and friendly smiles we put the pile of vouchers onto the counter.
"An upgrade please for the flight to Edinburgh. Thank you!"
All of a sudden the complete terminal fell silent. A weak spot in the safe system was remorselessly attacked by German hackers! The Royal Army around us was helpless. No order existed for this situation! Followed a hectic telephone marathon while we kept our innocent faces.
After several recalls of the Royal Home Ministry and representatives of the Government, a happily smiling major handed us the tickets for the best seats in the plane. You see, there is a peaceful solution for everything...
Soon we enjoyed the flight to Edinburgh while for the Royal Army began an ordered retreat.
At last: Take-off in Schiphol
Amsterdam as never seen before by us.
Touch-down in Edinburgh
Landing in Edinburgh went without problems. Finally on Scottish soil again! Now everything would change. Indeed it did. No body-groping, instead a friendly welcome in radiant sunshine and a few minutes later were were at bus stop 19. We bought a return ticket as we scheduled to go back with this bus in a few days.
We proceeded with a double decker to Waverly Station right in the city of Edinburghs.
Down Pricess Street.
Passing St. John's Church.
After half an hour we arrived and moved into our room. We soon found friends, especially in a Scottish plumber. He visited us three times to solve the problem of a water tap not giving water.