“To Travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive,
and the true success is to labour”
Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894 Virginibus Puerisque 1881
We should be enjoying ourselves,for it’s time to take a summer break again.We pilgered to the Holiday Exhibition and came home with two bags full of books and brochures. (Heaven help the enviremont) Special offers had also fluttered into the house by post, which we should have taken them up on monthes ago.Too late now. I have scoured the internet to no avail and two days ago I was obliged to set foot in a Travel Agency.That is of course where the trouble really starts.
There are so many of them here, that’s because the Swiss are always on holiday somewhere. Each travel firm has it’s offices in every town. Upmarket and downmarket businesses,usually all controlled by a couple at the top,so the prices don’t really vary, we are just made to think we are getting a good deal.
On entering we are always greeted by a helpfull smiling assistant.Don’t be taken in by the smile,in actual fact the scenario is of the spider greeting the fly.
If you have studied the wonderfull coloured books full of carefully shot photos you will also have read the small print,and interpreted their language. “Original” well in need of new beds,paint,showers. “Quaint” on it’s last legs. “Within walking distance” anything between 10 meters and 10 miles. “Discotheque in Hotel” not for people who like ro go to bed early,especially if your room is near it. “Child friendly” be very carefull if you like to see young children but not hear them.” Side view of the sea” only if your partner holds you feet while you hang out of the balcony. The traps are endless.
I had already decided where and when. I just wanted a 5* Hotel there at 1* price. Can sometimes be done,but then there is always a snag with the flights. Just one place left when there are two of you.All seats booked on the return journey etc.
I wasn’t lucky of course with their “Last Minute” offers, is anyone ever? But then I would have had to have paid a 100 Dollar booking charge instead of 60.
Because I wanted to use my credit card to pay for the arrangement, which would save me the 45 Dollar obligatory insurence coverage they would have to ask for a further 1 1/2%.
Would I like to reserve a special seat on the three hour flight? For free,of course not, 50 Dollars more. No thanks I’ll stand.
I came out feeling liike a squeezed lemon,and vowing to do it all differently next time.
Not to worry I have a month to prepare myself for the real problems.
The Check in at the Charter Flight desk at 4.30 in the morning.
How to think positively and thus not draw anybody into the place in front of me on the plane who is going to put his seat right back the moment we are in the air, or beside me and glue their elbows onto both arm rests for the whole flight.
If we do take off and land without any mishaps,I only have the apprehension at the luggage belt.
and the elbowing of my fellow travellers at the hotel reception to overcome.
Then, usually after a bad first night in a new bed walking down to the beach at seven o’clock in the morning to find that all the sunbeds under umbrellas have already been reserved with draped towels and bags printed with “Neckermann machts möglich”. OK maybe “Kuoni” too.