I booked a bus bound for Scotland and was looking forward to meeting up with Ross and Gill, a couple I met while touring Australia ages ago. They had invited me to stay with them and I was excited to reconnect and see how they were doing. Unfortunately, the journey from London to Glasgow took a wee bit longer than expected.
I woke early in the morning and checked out of the hostel in no time. Hopping on the Tube, I made my way to Victoria Coach Station for my bus to Scotland. I arrived with plenty of time as I’d already sussed out how to get there and which gate I needed to wait in front.
Dumping my backpack in the luggage compartment under the bus, I took my daypack of goodies and found a seat. The first part of the journey was rather uneventful and I managed to get in a fair amount of reading. However, things got a big wonky when the bus driver pulled into a petrol station for an unexpected stop. She rang her company to report a malfunction in the bus.
They told her to wait for a mechanic to arrive after at least 30 minutes of back and forth on the phone for her. When it appeared a mechanic wouldn’t be able to come for several hours, they told her to continue driving and a new bus would meet her at a different petrol station so the passengers could be transferred and continue on their way. Everyone was happy to hear this and welcomed being on the move again. But, 15 minutes later she got a call and pulled over into the nearest petrol station. They were dispatching new bus and we were to wait for it to arrive.
The driver advised us it’d probably be 90 minutes before the bus arrived so we should go inside and stay warm. It was a good thing this road house was well equipped with restaurants and a small grocery store. All of the passengers hurried inside out of the cold to await rescue from a new bus.
After waiting close to two hours, a new bus was nowhere to be seen. But, the mechanic finally arrived and it turned out that we had a flat in one of the tires. He spent the next half hour changing the tire for us as we looked on, and at last we were finally on the way. Who would’ve thought I’d experience my first massive bus breakdown in England? Isn’t this supposed to be a story from southeast Asian buses?
Upon arrival in Edinburgh, they informed us that we’d missed the connecting bus to Glasgow due to our (very) late arrival. We’d have to wait for a couple of hours until the next one showed up. I phoned Gill and told her the situation as she intended to pick me up after work in Glasgow. She recommended that I just take the train from Edinburgh to Falkirk and she’d collect me from there, so I disembarked, got my things and made my way to the train station.
Everything managed to go well from there on out. I found my way from the bus depot to the rail station despite the extensive maze created by a renovation project in progress. I bought my ticket and hopped on the right train and was finally able to relax a bit.
Listening to the chatter around me, I was in awe of the fact that I couldn’t understand a single thing anyone was saying! The Scottish brogue was thick here! I know it’d been a while since I saw and spoke to Ross and Gill, but I definitely didn’t remember accents like this. As the train chugged along, I smiled to myself at the “foreign-ness” of finally being in Scotland.