Friday, December 3, 2010

What Day is It, Again?

(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.

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