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This is a question Expensive Weekends

Chthonic says he's still reeling from a trip to a wedding that cost him nearly 600; while a friend of ours hazily presented his credit card to the bar staff in a shady club in the Baltic states. You know how that one ended.

(, Thu 13 May 2010, 13:03)
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Brace yourself margery, this is a long one.
This will be a marathon, as was the journey the story is about.

A mate of mine lives down in South Shields, just outside Newcastle, as he goes to college there. Ever eager for an opportunity to get steaming drunk in new places, this affords us an opportunity to visit every so often and go out in places like newcastle and sunderland (and of course, Glitter Ball). I've been down a few times now, the first of which was for halloween in 2008, at which point I realised what an idiot I really can be when I put my mind to it.

I got a lift down with my pal who was traveling further south to his girlfriend's house, so the journey there was uneventful enough. The weekend was good, there was a house party which didn't cost much, so it looked like it was going to be a fairly cheap little trip for me. Then came the time to come home on the sunday.

Now, I don't really travel much. I have a sense of direction that could quite probably see me getting lost in my own house, and if I do need to go somewhere I've never been I rely on the Godsend that is satnav. So, really, travelling from away down there in the real world to back here in lanarkshire by train was a pretty big thing for me, especially as I was on my own. I felt like an explorer, blazing new trails into undiscovered lands.

We walked to the metro station in shields and the train was already there. "There's your train you better get on it now. See ya." shouted my mate over his shoulder as he disappeared down some steps. I had thought, what with him being a veteran at this sort of malarkey, he would at least have told me what stop I was getting off at or where to go once I got there, but no. Abandoned. The feeling of dread began to grow. It was quarter past four.

I knew I was heading to Newcastle central, so I sat nervously on the metro until we got there. I got out and made my way through the door, and found myself in a small room. No massive train station. Panic. I must have got off at the wrong station! Oh shit. Shit shit shit. I'm going to get raped, aren't I. Wait..... what's that door over there? Ah. I found myself in newcastle central. Now I know I need a ticket to Motherwell, so if I can just find that on the departure boards...... shit. No trains to motherwell. This is probably bad. There is, however, a replacement bus service which runs to motherwell, so I buy a ticket for that, costing about 50 odd pounds. I sit down and nervously munch a gregg's sausage roll, trying to look like someone you don't want to mug. But wait! I have had a brainwave! Why didn't I simply buy a ticket to Edinburgh, then get a train from there to motherwell? The trains go through there anyway! It would have been quicker than a bus!

So I make my way back to the boards and yes, there is a train in an hour to Edinburgh. So, being the genius that I am, I completely disregard the "Any route possible" on the ticket and BUY ANOTHER TICKET to edinburgh, costing, if I remember right, 47. As I walk to the platform, I notice someone following me. He asks if this is the platform for the train to leeds or somewhere, and I see in his face the same lost, confused fear as I have and realise I'm not the only first time traveller here. I showed him to the boards and wished him luck, and waited for my train.

Well, the train came. It wasn't the east-coast one though, nooooo, this one went to carlisle first, clear the other side of the country. And so commenced a four hour train journey. I got to Edinburgh around ten and wearily made my way to the boards.

No trains to Motherwell.

There was, however, a replacement bus service.

Bollocks.

Well, I have no choice. I BUY ANOTHER TICKET (!!!!!) costing somewhere around 13 and ask a nice lady where I catch the bus. It arrived, and when I spoke to the driver he had a newcastle accent. Yes, it was the replacement bus I had bought the ticket for in the first place and then decided not to get on. Arse. Anyway, I got on, the journey was made marginally more pleasant by a group of drunk girls who cheerily sang all the way to motherwell, and we arrived there somewhere around half past 11.

I should have mentioned earlier, I don't live in motherwell, but around 20 miles from there, and the plan had been for my mate to pick me up and bring me home before he went out, as he would have been in motherwell at around 9. This was obviously out the window now, and he was now well and truly drunk so there was no point begging. My dad was going to be passing through motherwell when he finished work however, so I gave him a ring (several actually, he had no signal. I was well and truly panicking by the time he answered.) I finally got home at half past one in the morning.

Nine hours and over 100 for a journey of about 150 miles. I felt a complete moron when my friend pointed out I could have used the ticket I originally bought for any route to motherwell. I'm supposed to be the brains of the operation, too.
(, Sun 16 May 2010, 16:55, closed)

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