Edinburgh Stories and Tips

Not a comfy chair in sight!

Welcome to Edinburgh Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Airport is another airport where we spent several hours passing time. You might think I am a bit of a skinflint when I tell you that instead of booking into a hotel for the night we chose to stay overnight in this airport. Our flight from Krakow didn’t arrive until after midnight so I thought it would be okay to get a few hours kip in the airport, get up early and wander around the city to take some photographs before catching our coach to Newcastle. I had checked hotel prices out before this trip to UK to see Bruce Springsteen in Sunderland and wasn’t really happy about paying out £100 when we had already spent so much money on the previous trip to Shanghai and other costs relating to coming to UK. I also knew at that time of night a taxi would be involved so to keep costs down we decided our night’s stay would be in this small and reasonably pleasant airport.

As soon as we had left the plane and stepped into Arrivals we decided to go to the area that is marked, ‘Before Security’ to have a look around for comfortable chairs; ones where we could lie down. We only had one rucksack so no heavy luggage to carry around. Caffè Nero was the first café I spotted and although the prices looked a bit steep for a coffee I was gagging for a drink. The seating area here was comfortable enough to sit and have a drink but not to go to sleep although on the other side of the café were some squashy leather chairs in bright red and long seating against a wall where you could stretch out if you needed too. It was nice to see a young Polish girl serving behind the counter too. It was just like being at home in Warsaw except the coffee prices were more. People were sat in the red chairs so I spent the whole of the time watching their movements hoping that they would move on and leave the chairs to us. At this time around 1am there were only a handful of folks wandering around. Smoothie jazz music was playing softly which I didn’t mind but I could see my husband was getting irritated as he’s never been crazy about the singer out of Simply Red.

There are other food outlets on this floor but they weren’t open, like EAT and the Turnhouse which is a Wetherspoons Bar and Restaurant. There were no signs of people leaving their comfy seats and the music by this time had started to jar my husband’s nerves so off we went back to Arrivals to look for more seats. The only ones available that weren’t connected to Costas and the like were the purple covered chairs lined up outside the baggage collection point. Desperate for a bit of shut eye we dumped the rucksack on the floor and tried to lie down. The was a small gale blowing through the area where the luggage conveyor belt was and it was cold especially to me as I had only just come back from the sweltering heat of China. At this point I felt a bit fed up being cold and tired; I wish we had booked a hotel room.

Other people were sleeping and some were snoring but I just found it impossible to sleep no matter how much I tried to get my legs into a resting position. After about 30 minutes squirming around, I wandered to the loos to have a wash and clean my teeth. The toilets here were basic and clean nothing to get over excited about. By the time I had refreshed, my husband had woken up wearing a very grumpy face.

I think you can guess what we did next. Yes, that’s right, trundled upstairs again to see if those travellers had vacated the comfy chairs. No, they hadn’t and by now this was getting ridiculous as we both needed to rest as a long week lay ahead.

Across from Caffè Nero there is another coffee shop which sells sandwiches, soup, juices and salads. I think it is called EAT. The café wasn’t open, the serving area was boarded up and the chairs had been placed on top of the tables but there were free long seats against the wall. Already two people had lain down and were sleeping. We decided to join the club and give it a go. We both felt like a couple of tramps on the run but really didn’t care. Slowly the music floated away and within seconds we were asleep until 5.30 am when a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I’m sorry but you will have to move now as I have to open up the shop.’ Bleary eyed, I looked at her and apologised for sleeping in her café. She smiled. I roused my husband and the other two guys who were snoring their heads off. 5.30 am and the coach to Newcastle didn’t leave until 10.30. I reckoned if we had a cup of coffee and another wander around it would take up another hour and then we could leave the airport to catch the bus to the city centre. Seeing that I had crashed out in this café I thought it was only polite to buy a drink and something to eat. I was surprised when the lady gave me a cup of coffee on the house. She said it was because I was her first customer but I think she must have felt sorry for me. Still, it was a nice gesture. The coffee was cheaper and tastier than in Caffè Nero and the sandwich selection was enticing although I didn’t buy anything. My husband purchased a bottle of fresh orange juice and he said it was delicious.

Walking back down to Arrivals we saw that WH Smith had opened its doors so we went to buy cough sweets and a newspaper. I wasn’t impressed with this store; it was pokey and cluttered and the assistant looked worse than I did. He must have been suffering from sleep deprivation too. I asked if there was a Boots chemist on this floor and he said that it was through on the other side. Seeing that we weren’t departing from the airport I left it and went and sat down to read the paper. By this time the airport was getting busy, people were arriving to catch early morning flights to foreign climes, trolley assistants were delivering trolleys to form orderly queues near to luggage carousels and bustling cleaning supervisors were being bossy and ordering staff around to clean behind chairs. The lady in question even came to us and asked us to move so she could pick up the row of seats with a colleague to clean underneath. At this point I had had enough of Edinburgh Airport and decided to walk outside into the cold, brightly lit morning sun.

Directly in front of the doors was a sign for Airlink 100 buses. The early buses run every twenty minutes and others run every 10 minutes. There is an office here too where you buy the tickets before getting on the bus. Ticket prices cost £3.50 for a single ticket and £6 a return ticket. I was pleased when the bus arrived, it was a double decker and I wanted to sit upstairs at the front so I could get a good view. It’s a nice journey to the centre and in a way you get a mini tour of Edinburgh thrown in. If you needed to catch a train you could catch the same bus to Waverley or Haymarket Stations.

How did I feel about staying overnight in Edinburgh Airport? I didn’t enjoy the stay very much at all. The airport is only small and there aren’t a lot of activities to keep you occupied unless you love eating and drinking. Only a couple of cafes were open early morning so this is something to bear in mind if you need to stay in the early hours. We couldn’t find any lounge areas comfortable enough to sleep in so staying here for a long time is out of the question. I would probably fly to Edinburgh again if I had to but I definitely will book a hotel this time if I have to stay over.

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