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.

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!


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.

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.