The following is a guest introduction from my stalwart traveling mate who was finally driven ((by the insanity of this day)) to put pen to paper):
Today began with a surprise. Traveling across the globe comes with some challenges, one of which is storms. We have come incredibly far in our advances and have overcome many insurmountable obstacles. Nevertheless we haven't conquered the almighty power of wind, rain, snow and sleet. As we awoke from our restful slumber Esther made a fateful sound, "uh-oh".
I replied groggily, "what?". The conversation was brief and our minds began racing. One flight delayed and the other canceled....
Yup, we jinxed ourselves. We didn't want to go home, and now we CAN'T go home. There is/was (apparently) some almighty storm traveling over Iceland (I'm assuming it's the same one that nearly snowed us in the Highlands) and they canceled all incoming and outgoing flights. No problem, they'll just put us on a different flight going through London or New York or something, right?
Oh how very naive we were. WOW airlines is blessedly inexpensive but also tiny and sporadic. They don't have partnerships with other airlines, and they only fly every few days. Which means our options were either forking over a credit card with a high limit to the clucking "I told you so" British Airline people, or sucking it up and staying in Edinburgh until Monday. Making matters oh so much more fun, it was nearly impossible to get ahold of the airline because we and everyone else was trying desperately to get ahold of them. There are no WOW representatives at the Edinburgh airport, but thankfully sympathetic airline personel let us stand at their counter for hours and use their landline. Andria and I could run a country we're so dang efficient. She navigated the land line while I googled and researched as new information came up. We got new flights for monday (Lord have mercy) and booked a hotel near the airport.
All was fine (I just feel supremely chagrined for my husband and children) , but I have an annoying habit of remaining perfectly calm in all of the controllable parts of my brain, while some other irrational part of me wanted to throw up in the nearest trashcan.
So we're all good to go, but by this point, I'm done dealing with people and systems and decide that even though it's dark and 30 degrees outside, I wanted to walk to our hotel 2.3 miles away. Andria however, gently reminded me of the North Sea walk of terror and I quickly agreed we should probably take a bus or call a cab. Everything in life is always easier said than done. The bus would only go halfway and the Taxi line was backed up around the corner, snaking through the terminal. My hands were shaking from the cold as I tried to download the uber app and give myself a crash course in ubering (what can I say...I'm always with someone else who's ubering).
There are no available ubers (of course...what else would I expect from this day). So we started walking. Except it was dark and freezing and not terribly safe feeling, so we pulled our weary traveling selves into the shelter of a Double Tree Inn and tried uber again. SUCESS! Our knight in shining armor was 8 min away....then 10 min...then 4 min....then 12 min. We watched our poor man Ibad zig zag back and forth all around us, turning down every single airport cranny except for the correct one.
This is where things go all Craigh na Dun on us. Andria (who doesn't have any cell service) walked up ahead of me to see if she could find him. I was looking at my phone, mesmorized by the tiny little picture of a car going back and forth, back and forth, up the street and down. I looked up and realized I could see him in the trees on the road next to the hotel. Headlights driving one way...turning around...turning around...turning around. I assumed Andria was already over where he was so I walked over to put our Uber driver out of his misery. I was desperate to find some food and shelter and hunker down for some hardcore processing (you can only go so long without a mental download). I saw Andria talking to our Uber driver who had by now pulled over.
...except that it wasn't Andria, it was just a random pedestrian. I looked everywhere around me, but she was nowhere to be found so I hopped in our Uber and asked our driver to go back around to the front to see if she'd walked back. That's when I realized Mr. Uber Man might be better off letting me drive. He scraped the curb, then careened over to the wrong side of the road, and then careened back, almost missing the roundabout. I didnt mind, I was too busy freaking out that Andria had been kidnapped or murdered. Seriously, where could she have gone? Meanwhile, the driver almost ran into a light pole and my brain had divied itself up into sections. Each one going all red alert over a different thing. Jump out of the car! Call the police! Could I take a nefarious person out with a good swing of my backpack?
Curb Crashing Ibad broke into my thoughts at this point with "Is she that lady with a brown jacket?"
I saw Andria burst forth from the front doors of the DoubleTree and if I ever doubted she loved me, I was surely assured of her undying affection as she yelled "ESTHERRRRRRRR" like a mother looking for a lost child (she'd been just as worried about me when she walked back to the DoubleTree and couldnt find me). The problem was, I couldn't figure out how to roll the window down and Ibad was hell bent on tearing onward and so I pounded on the window and yelled "Annnnndria" like some sort of comical movie. Assured that this must in fact be his missing passenger, Ibad grudgingly pulled over and let Andria slide in next to me. I've never been so glad to see someone (she'd crossed the street and gone down another road which is how we missed each other).
Our hotel was only two miles away, but there was no time to catch our breath before Ibad made two wrong turns and nearly hit a volvo. We tried to talk to him, but instead of answering he turned the music up. Sweet. Time to shut up and pray.
I'm not sure he was familiar with UK driving, because he crashed into the center of a roundabout and I thought surely he'd broken an axle or tire, but no...no the car was working well enough to keep going around and around the roundabout. That's when I realized I should probably pull up Google Maps on my phone. You know that deadly calm voice you use when your kids are being awful and you're about to lose it? I summoned it forth in my best immitation of Siri and hollered out the directions. It felt like an hour, but was really only four minutes before we pulled up in front of the fanciest hotel we've stayed in yet. Thank you WOW.
Dinner and breakfast were included in our hotel reservation, so we dragged ourselves into the hotel restaurant and plopped down only to find it was actually a super fancy gourmet restaurant with food that looks like this.