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Accommodation Articles Travel

Accommodation Arrangements

We’ve just spent a good few hours fix­ing our accom­mo­da­tion for the next 3 months after Spain, and will be spend­ing our time in Paris (France), Lis­bon (Por­tu­gal), Madeira (Por­tu­gal) and the UK. Its been a real effort to carve out eco­nom­i­cal rentals dur­ing the high sea­son in Europe. But we did it and are very hap­py with our book­ings.

We’re leav­ing Sit­ges, Spain and trav­el­ing by rail (TGV) to Paris, spend­ing a few days sight­see­ing then tak­ing the Eurostar Train to Lon­don. Rail trav­el is such a delight in Europe and we’re real­ly look­ing for­ward to the journey–apart from car­ry­ing our cas­es!

Please have a look at our cal­en­dar on the site to where you can find us. We hope if you are in the area we are we can hook up with you.

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Accommodation Articles

Removal Day

Today we moved from our hotel to start liv­ing with the locals in our apart­ment.  We rent­ed a love­ly mod­ern­ized apart­ment near to the cen­tre of Sit­ges and close to the old town.  It takes us about 5 min­utes to walk to the beach or the old town.

View from the table out to the balcony
View from the table out to the bal­cony

Mov­ing is always a bit fraught what with pack­ing every­thing in our suit­cas­es and rolling them down the street to our new digs.  It cer­tain­ly makes you appre­ci­ate the impor­tance of these lit­tle ramps at the curb edge which make the suit­case per­form much more eas­i­ly.  Fun­ni­ly enough our cas­es were full but we each had a sep­a­rate bag of dirty cloth­ing!  Where did that all come from and how will we man­age of the train when we leave Sit­ges (if ever!)?

We met our real estate per­son Tri­cia (from the UK) at the apart­ment on time and we man­aged to get our­selves and our cas­es inside–the ele­va­tors in these apart­ments are always a laugh–Rita and one case is all that can fit at a time.  What to larg­er folks do?

The apart­ment is real­ly love­ly on the atti­co (top) floor of an apart­ment build­ing with a great view to the sea and hills. The bal­cony faces east so we should get some amaz­ing sun­rise cups of tea!

A pleas­ant sur­prise is that the wifi is very fast and we have SkyFree­view TV with all the UK channels–result!

 

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Articles Travel

Friday: A train day of contrasts

Eurostar Paris to Lon­don

It’s 12:10 pm on Fri­day 24 August and we’re on board the Eurostar bound for Lon­don. It leaves in 5 min­utes and we’ll pull into St Pan­cras 2.5 hours lat­er. This real­ly is the only way to trav­el. The staff on the Eurostar are excep­tion­al. There is per­son for each coach who greets you as you board the train and con­firms your meal & seat choice. Once we get under­way they came through the car­riage with drinks then the meal which was love­ly and fresh, though cold. As much wine, then tea or cof­fee as you like, all served by immac­u­late­ly dressed and cour­te­ous staff. This real­ly is how a cus­tomer expe­ri­ence ought to deliv­ered. It makes you real­ly want to expe­ri­ence the trip again in the future.

The train duly arrived on time and after an effort­less de-train­ing we were off to find our way to Euston Sta­tion. Tried the taxi rank, but t was queued out the door and round the block with few taxis in sight. Caught the tube to Euston Sta­tion instead to wait for the 4:30pm Vir­gin train to Glas­gow.

On arrival at Euston head­ed up to ten Vir­gin lounge. This is not to be con­fused with the air­line lounge which is love­ly. This is more one step up from the old sta­tion wait­ing room with some staff and free stuff. It’s a bloody strug­gle to get up to it. It’s on the first floor and the lift nev­er works prop­er­ly, so you have to hoist your cas­es up the stairs. Ah well at least it’s good exer­cise.

Vir­gin Rail to Glas­gow

They only announce the plat­form, and allow you to board the train at Euston 15 min­utes before it leaves. This leads to a stam­pede across the sta­tion which we all get caught up in, even though we have reserved seats. Crazy and very British. Found our coach and got our­selves seat­ed. Nice seats all set for some nosh.

Train left right on time and pulled smooth­ly out of the sta­tion. After abut 10 min­utes a cross look­ing woman came through ask­ing what we would like to eat. We asked for the veg­e­tar­i­an option, a quiche which she duly not­ed then stomped off. Five min­utes lat­er two guys who looked like they had just rolled out of became along with the food trol­ley. No veg­e­tar­i­an option, only a Mex­i­can fry up of God knows what. We declined and asked for a bit of sal­ad and tor­tilla chips from the Mex­i­can dish. No prob­lem. They then came through with dessert and asked if we’d like a yoghurt as well as cheese since they had not had our veg­gie option; very nice of the two guys but then one of the mean women said we could­n’t have more than one dessert! After some debate we grabbed the sec­ond dessert and left them to fight about it.

The ser­vice went on in the same vein. What a dif­fer­ence from the Euro­pean trains.
. Our expe­ri­ence with Vir­gin makes us nev­er want to do the trip again.

I think the issue is that there is lit­tle train­ing on Vir­gin and cer­tain­ly no dress code or sense with the staff. It’s quite depress­ing real­ly that this is the type of ser­vice vis­i­tors to Britain can expe­ri­ence after the won­der­ful, ele­gant expe­ri­ences on the Con­ti­nent.

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Adventures & Learning Articles

Venice, Italy. Day 1

Thrown off the ship at 8:15am at the Venice cruise ter­mi­nal, we hired a water taxi to take us to our hotel. What a blast. Com­plete bed­lam at the ter­mi­nal as you can imag­ine with three cruis­es ter­mi­nat­ing there today. Paid for the taxi tick­et and was giv­en a num­ber of the taxi. Joined about 50 oth­er folks look­ing for their taxi num­ber and all being con­trolled by a port­ly, not too amused Ital­ian guy.

A lot of the folks wait­ing were Ital­ian and it has to be said they have no con­cept of lin­ing up or queu­ing for any­thing. Every­one tried to push to the front the line, block­ing the entrance to the jet­ty. We were already at the front feel­ing smug with our car­ry-on bags, but soon got blocked in by the melee. When in Rome or Venice.…..

All got sort­ed out and we board­ed our taxi smooth­ly for a great ride out of the cruse ter­mi­nal to the Grand Canal then on to our hotel. Some pic­tures and short video clip below.

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