Wednesday 20 April 2016

The sands shift again

I wrote in January about changes to this year's travel plans, and since then there have been even more "events, dear boy ..." which have blown us even further off track but I think we'll come out all right in the end! The big disaster was the phone call from Great Rail Journeys saying that our planned, booked and deposit-paid escorted holiday in the Swiss Alps was cancelled owing to too few others booking it. That was to have been the big one this year. Alternatives were offered but none fitted our diaries ... yet.

Randolph Hotel, Oxford, beyond St Mary
Magdelen Church
The already scuppered spring holiday in the South of France, meanwhile, was replaced by a short break in Oxford which, while not the same sort of holiday was nonetheless very enjoyable and was an adventure of a sort because we had never explored Oxford before, only ever visiting it for a specific reason: the next blog post will describe this trip.

After much thought and leafing through the Great Rail Journeys catalogue we decided to shift the South of France trip to the diary slot where the Swiss Alps had been going to be, and the voucher the company had sent us by way of compensation could be used to pay for it if we used their tailor-made service to book it, which would also save me a lot of work putting the trip together. So I have made the phone call and await the draft itinerary: let its see how it works out. The idea is to travel direct from St Pancras International by Eurostar to Marseille and trip out from there to Cannes and Nice, then move on to Avignon and return direct from there: stays in London will be needed both ways because of the early start and late finish.

Still intact, although so far only the accommodation in Chichester is actually booked, is yet another summer holiday in the South of England - there is more to plan yet.

The Alps can await next summer, by which time we shall no longer be tied to school holidays, for the first time since I married a teacher  in 1980! That might just make it work.

UPDATE: The email message arrived today with the draft itinerary. It looked fine to me, and although I had a few queries a quick phone call to Great Rail Journeys Independent had them resolved by this evening and I shall telephone tomorrow and book the holiday! Now to research the Côte d'Azur and find out how we'll be spending our time, and we can do something in London on the way back, too.

UPDATE: The holiday is now booked, possibly cheaper than I could have booked it myself, and I have started a Pinterest board to help in planning the trip! We shall travel on the through Eurostar from London to Marseille, then move on to Nice and finally a night in Avignon begore getting the Eurostar home.

UPDATE: Rail tickets for the South of England trip have also now been booked, out via a night in Bristol, home via a day in Brighton. Should be good if weather is as expected. And the Oxford trip has now been blogged!

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