Just when you were thinking that the good Dottore was such an expert travel planner…I really botched a trip I was planning. In fact I mentioned it in Bloggo Quattro: Chichester and Brighton. I booked hotels, I bought a ticket for a play, I thought I was all set, but I hadn’t booked the travel. I won’t go into great detail but Southern Rail in England has a fairly awful website. I had looked briefly to see what the rates were and was delighted to see that I could get from London to Chichester for about 10 pounds, from Chichester to Brighton for about the same, and then back to London same again – great rates, right? But when you start to look at seats available at that rate, you scroll down and see zero, zero, zero…so you go to the next price and so on up the line. It was almost impossible to get to Chichester by rail the days I wanted to go, except for very expensive rates. And even with those I was unable to get a reserved seat. Having stood all the way from London to Edinburgh on a train I had long been resolved to make sure I had a seat reserved before I booked. So I checked the National Coach (Bus) Service and found trips available – but they would have lasted nearly four hours, with an hour wait at Gatwick Airport.
So while I had lost some pounds (and I don’t mean as in weight, though I have lost a little) I decided that the ordeal of getting there and back was too much, cancelled everything I could, and decided that I might take a day-trip or so from London instead.
And then…the next day, I got the itch to look again at one of the trips I was planning before I chose Chichester, and started researching North Wales. This apparently gorgeous area is accessible by train, and the hotels, even in the middle of summer, are very reasonable. I was able to book my round-trip (or “return” as they say in the U.K.) for a mere £35 and a well-recommended seaside hotel as well. Three nights, from 29 July to 1 August, for $201 total! I’ll be living in an unpronounceable Welsh town called Llandudno, which Bill Bryson (love that writer!) has called the most beautiful beach town he has ever seen, and which also features dramatic heights, requiring an 18 minute cable car ride to reach the top -- see the pic just above the posst. All this and a Punch and Judy show. What more could I want?
Oh, and, lessoned learned, this time I booked the train first!