(Funny how days of the week don't mean much when you don't have to trundle off to an office Monday through Friday.)
You`d think with all the travel I`ve done, I wouldn`t make elementary mistakes any more. But apparently I do, as I discovered today.
I thought I was being terribly organized last night, double-checking my bus times from Stornoway on Lewis to Tarbert on Harris, where the ferries leave to Skye ... then the ferry time from Tarbert to Uig (pronounced "oo-IGG") on Skye ... then the bus from Uig to Portree, the largest town on Skye and where I plan to stay tonight. "Remember it's Saturday tomorrow," I kept reminding myself, "so don't read the Monday-Friday schedules."
Well, I turn up at the bus station in Stornoway this morning for the 12:30 bus to Tarbert, which (I think) will get me to the Tarbert ferry pier just in time for the 13:50 ferry to Skye. Bus shows up at 12:30 as it is supposed to, arrives at the pier exactly on schedule (no snow today, only rain), so all seems well.
Until I look around, and realize that there is no ferry in sight anywhere. It`s about 1:30 pm, the ferry is due to leave in 20 minutes, so you'd think it would be in dock by now. After 10 minutes I go over to the desk and enquire if it's running behind.
"No, it's right on schedule," says the pleasant and smiling ferry lady with the lovely Scots accent. (Note: SKED-ule.) "It'll be here at 15:40, leaving on time at 16:00."
I pause. Er, what? I must look as perplexed as I feel, as she opens up the ferry timetable to me and points out the relevant trip. On the "Monday to Friday" table, not the "Saturday" one.
I look at my watch (which tells me date and day of the week as well as time). Display clearly says "Fri 12-03". Oops.
So I hoist my backpack again (after learning there's nowhere to leave it in the terminal), and go out to have a walk around Tarbert. It's only quarter to 2 at this point and I won't be able to board the ferry for 2 hours, so I have some time to kill.
Well, it's raining, and grey, and quite cinematic in that melancholy Scots way, but Tarbert is a very, very, VERY small town and there's nowhere to go. Not a friendly local pub, not a cafe, not a store to browse in. Nothing. So I give up (walking in the rain with a backpack is not that fun, anyway) and go back to the ferry terminal.
I eat my lunch (packed in my frenzy of organization the night before, since I expected to be eating on the ferry and didn't want to pay exorbitant ferry prices), walk around and look at all the posters, browse through all the leaflets. Finally I get the bright idea of booting up my netbook, discover that's there's free Wi-Fi here and I'm away to the races. I've been surfing ever since.
Ferry has just pulled in so I expect I'll be boarding soon. I get to Uig about 17:40, so will be profoundly dark out by then and I won't see anything. But the very handy and well-organized Traveline Scotland website (it's quite brilliant -- you just put in starting and ending points and it tells you all your options for the trip, by bus, ferry, train, or whatever) tells me there's a Scottish Citylink bus that meets the ferry and will take me on to Portree by 6:30 pm.
La-di-da, not so bad after all. And I have a whole other day left that I thought was already over, since it's actually only Friday.