Saturday morning we were up and out of the house at 7 to get to King’s Cross station to catch an 8 o’clock train. It was still completely dark, as it is at 7 here, and raining – delightful. We walked to the bus and then got a train straight to King’s Cross and boarded the train minutes before the doors closed. I had reserved seats facing each other at a table which gave us a bit more space. Neither Christine nor I had had breakfast, so I bought a blueberry muffin on the train (impressed at how average the prices were for a train), but I had packed us lunch so we had sandwiches, fruit, cupcakes and cheese and crackers for the rest of the trip.
Our first train took us to Edinburgh, and at Edinburgh we changed trains. Unfortunately these were on separate tickets, and the night before when clearing out his backpack, Andre had unwittingly pulled out the tickets for the second leg of the trip which I had just packed. We had about 25 minutes between the trains though, so I thought it shouldn’t be a drama to get the tickets reprinted. I went to a ticket kiosk, but when I put in the reservation number it wasn’t recognised. So then it was over to a ticket office where I was told no, we can’t reprint your tickets, you will need to buy new ones. Seriously?? You can’t tell me your system is unable to pull up my booking and you just print it out on another little bit of card. Talk about revenue raising. And instead of costing the ~£6 they’d cost when I pre-booked them, now they cost about £16 each. Ugh. For a one hour (ish) trip to Dundee.
The rest of the trip went pretty uneventfully. We were surprised when we stepped off the train in Dundee that it felt only a little cooler than London. We caught a cab with a very friendly driver up to the university (not far, so only £5) who was positively gleeful when he found out we were from Australia, and spent most of the drive gloating over Australia’s whitewash victory over England in the Ashes. He pointed out some good pubs along the way too, and personally guaranteed Christine would enjoy her time in Dundee.
Our first stop at the uni was the residence management office for Christine to pick up her keys. She also bought a bedding kit (pillow, duvet, fitted sheet, duvet cover and pillow case) and then we headed up to her flat. We were obviously the first ones here (it was the first day students could move in, and there was a pile of mail by the door). There were six bedrooms leading off a communal entrance hall, and a communal kitchen/living space, and each bedroom had its own ensuite. Her room is on the second floor (third level) and as the uni is on a hill, you get a little bit of a view of Dundee through the other residential blocks around hers. We made her bed and unpacked her stuff from our suitcase and then had a look at the kitchen. It was a bit grotty but not beyond a basic clean. Christine used one of her keys to go around and figure out which kitchen cabinet was hers, and then next on the agenda was for us to check into our hotel, about 5 minutes’ walk from the university.
I booked with Travelodge again (the same hotel we used our first night in London) because they were so cheap and it was well-located. I think we paid something like £70 for the two nights. The room was a lot bigger than we expected, though it was technically a family room (double bed with a roll-out bed underneath it). We didn’t spend long there before heading out again to do some grocery shopping for Christine. There is both a Tesco Express and Lidl between the hotel and the university, but the Lidl was bigger so we headed there. We still found there was a lot of stuff we couldn’t get there so would have to go shopping elsewhere the next day.
We had dinner at one of the local pubs which had good food but we didn’t have a good experience there the next night (and we realised in hindsight they ripped us off the first night – charged us for all the meals when we were meant to get 2 for 1) so can’t recommend the place.