Saturday 9 April 2022

Looking Forward Again, At Last

Once more I have several trips booked!

After two years of hardly having any trips booked in advance, and not many trips booked last-minute, either, I am finally getting some bookings sorted for the coming year and I look forward to being able to write some more interesting articles than I have been able to do for some time. Two years ago I was claiming so many refunds for both travel and hotels that my wife and I were able to invest in electrically-assisted bicycles to get about for our exercise (you do still have to pedal them: they are not mopeds!) during lockdown. So, what is coming up?

There is a very short trip to Llandudno quite soon, then a few days in Stratford-upon-Avon which we've never visited together in spite of it being not very far away (or maybe because of that!). Sometimes the East Midlands and the West Midlands seem a very long way apart, with the railways linking them being thin on the ground and not very fast - until the A14 was built the same applied to roads, too. I am looking forward to seeing Stratford for the first time in over 45 years.

I have then booked six days in Switzerland a few weeks later, staying for a couple of nights in Le Locle, where we have been before, and the rest of the time in Neuchâtel which we've only seen briefly before. This time we hope to see Lac des Brenets with more water in it and the Doubs falls actually running with water. We are spending a night in Paris on the way and I am very excited at having booked dinner at Le Train Bleu restaurant that evening, a great start I hope to a great week.

In the summer we have our usual week on the south coast of England booked. Nothing new for us this year: a few days in Chichester with a day trip to the Isle of Wight scheduled for one day, then a few days at Studland Bay in Dorset including a day at Swanage.

In the autumn we return to Italy, to Rome and then the Amalfi Coast this time, with days at Herculaneum and Pompeii. I still hope to fit in more UK trips and possibly Germany again, but our own itinerary rather than of the escorted tour we did last year.

There is still the lurking fear that some things may be cancelled or that travel will be forbidden, and there are still precautions to be observed, varying between countries, although at present things are heading towards fewer and fewer restrictions, and Eurostar's timetable is gradually building up.

One annoying issue is that Cross Country Trains still has not resumed its normal timetable as most inter-city train operating companies have done, and Advance tickets are not available, well, in advance, so it's not possible to book their trains until shortly before travel and there are fewer departures available. Living where I do, everything has to start and finish with a Cross Country train' so I cannot be sure what connections I can make with other companies, or even with another Cross Country route. But I am working on the principle that it must get better soon ... and we do have buses to and from Peterborough in the day time and taxis if we get desperate, but these are not viable options for journeys going via Birmingham.

A new feature now is that for most UK trips I no longer have little card tickets but have them delivered electronically to my iPhone, and if I do print them out they are great big paper things. Interestingly the continental tickets (French ones, anyway) are required to be printed - showing them on an electronic device is forbidden! In the UK it is now normal to use electronic tickets. I just wait to see what, if any, Covid documents will be required beside my ticket and my passport. 

Having arranged all this, it is probably time now to start planning a group outing or two, so if you live reasonably local to me in Stamford, Lincs, do pop over to and sign up to receive details of what I am planning.

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