Travelling can be expensive. Aside from the tickets and accommodation, sightseeing and other travel costs it all adds up. I’ve definitely found food to take up a huge chunk of the budget. Granted, I haven’t always chosen the cheapest options out there, but especially if you want some ‘real’ food you have to pay for it. Even the luxury of making your own packed lunch for the day is squashed with the lack of mini-bar refrigerators in hotels these days, or at least our experience has shown that with most places not even offering a kettle to make your own cuppa it’s pretty much impossible.
I’m not sure what my most expensive meal of the trip has been, possibly ‘Dans le Noir?’ or perhaps in Copenhagen (everything is expensive there). One thing I do know however is my cheapest meal of the trip.
After a long day of travel, visiting castles, climbing the 242 steep narrow stairs of ‘The Wallace Monument’ and having a small dilema with our SatNav’s navigation ability, we finally reached our destination just after 7pm. Tired and hungry, despite having a self-contained apartment for the week, it was too much trouble to head off again in search of a supermarket. Only 2 doors down is a convenience store. When I say ‘two doors’ it is literally that, the terraces here are only a few metres wide, 10 paces and we’re there. Only a tiny place, it’s primary market seemed to be cigarettes and alcohol, but squeeze yourself past the front counter and there’s a small selection of other drinks and basic foodstuffs.
Hubby headed for the chiller and discovered some pies. ‘Meat’ pies are always one of those questionable things for me. Usually (at least in this sort of environment) it’s some pastry encasing some sort of gluggy sauce containing ‘protein’ guising itself as ‘meat’. Hubby and Miss 8 took dibs on the ‘Mince Pies’ so I was left with the choice of ‘Haggis & Neeps’ pie (FORGET IT!!!) or ‘Chicken Curry’ pie. Whilst it sounded like a gastro-intestinal disaster waiting to happen it took preference over my only other real option of 2 Minute Noodles. As we stood at the counter the little Indian fellow asked “Have you had these before?”, “No” we replied “Ahhhh, well, they are home-made locally” he informed us. Clearly someone he knows makes up a few of these and packages them up for local businesses, given the lack of any ingredient labeling (mandatory in Australia even for simple bake-sale or weekend market items) I believed him.
For £1.59 (around AU$2.40) I wasn’t expecting much. Thrown in the oven while we unpacked a few things we finally sat down to our cheapest meal yet. Well, I resisted the temptation to run out the door and grab the last one that he had. What a great little find. My curry filling was a genuine chicken curry, not some dodgy curry-powder flavoured sauce with a few bits of white stuff pretending to be chicken … REAL chicken curry. A good pastry (commercial, even Jamie Oliver doesn’t make his own puff) and it was £1.59 well spent. It just goes to show when traveling around you can still find some real gems of a meal at very affordable prices.