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We flew in to London then took a train to Edinburgh. There are trains every hour, and we were traveling on a Thursday afternoon…since we weren’t sure how long it would take us to get from Heathrow to Kings Cross Station, I suggested we wait and buy our tickets when we got there. After all, the travel sites recommended waiting a bit to buy, since ticket prices fluctuate.

This was a bad idea. Really bad.

We got to the station in good time, and bought tickets for the same train we would have been on had we bought in advance. We bought from an agent instead of from a machine. This may also have been a mistake. I can’t be sure.

We asked about first class tickets–after all, we’d been first class all the way so far–but they were £100 more each, and I refused. Standard would be just fine, thank you.

This was also a mistake.

See, here’s what the ticket seller didn’t tell us, and a machine might have: there are two types of seats available on the train from London to Edinburgh, reserved and open seating. We bought open seating rather than reserved, because we didn’t know there was an option. The ticket seller didn’t mention it. Possibly because the reserved seats were all booked.

Note: you might think they’d leave some seats open for those without reserved seats. You would be wrong.

There were lots of passengers without seats, ourselves included. Let’s call these unseated masses the “sewage class,” because we managed to find some standing room in the compartment between cars, in front of the bathroom. I’d have sat on the floor, but there was no room without blocking the bathroom, and sitting on Eugene’s feet. So I stood. Sadly, there was no room for Eugene to stand; the ceiling was a couple of inches too short for him. He had to crouch.

That was the first two hours. The third hour, we found some floor space next to the door. Eugene’s head was in the trash bin, but at least his butt was on the floor. Also, it was cold. And we had to stand up every time we reached a stop, but that was OK, since we were cold and the exercise was good for us. Also, we kept hoping a seat would free up.

Three hours in to the 4.5 hour journey, we did finally snag seats. I darted in and grabbed a couple of free “accessible” seats (nice, generous leg room), and held on to them until Eugene managed to make his way to the row.

Then we warmed up, thought how nice the train was, how pleasant it was to sit in actual seats, and tried not to fall asleep immediately. I’d like to give impressions of the scenery, but all I managed to note (once I finally had a window) was how lovely and green everything was, how many sheep we passed, and how quaint and charming all the cottages were as they passed by the train window. Mainly I tried to concentrate on not blinking too slowly, because I had a tendency to forget to open my eyes and drift off in the middle.

The moral: book in advance. Also, first class rocks.