I’ve just got back from a week’s holiday Oop North, staying in places where Wi-fi is obviously just some crazy-assed technology from the future. No Facebook, no emails, no news and no Big Bang Theory. Did I miss much?? Quick Google search…nope, not a lot.
Organising holidays is so stressful. Once I’m there, I’m fine but the planning and booking part turns me into Mrs Grouchy. For this holiday, we stayed in four different locations in four different hotels. Which meant four times longer than usual planning the holiday and doing one of my least favourite occupations: searching the internet for accommodation.
It’s even worse since the inception of websites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com. I find a hotel or apartment that looks good, isn’t ridiculously expensive and has vacancies. Excellent. Then I look at the reviews. It doesn’t matter that there are fifty great reviews, there will always be some guests that weren’t happy: The room was noisy; The bathroom was grubby; Breakfast was dreadful; The male escort I ordered didn’t look like his online profile…. And once I’ve read a bad review, I’ve gone off the hotel. But finally, after several hours and plenty of ‘gentle’ discussion, we had booked four places: three of them turned out to be fabulous and the other was so-so.
But once the accommodation’s sorted, that doesn’t mean that the pressure’s off. Just like New Year’s Eve has to be the most awesome party night of the year (or in my twenties it did; now it’s all Baileys and board games), a holiday is expected to be the most relaxing, adventurous, spiritual week ever. The location has to be stunning, the food fantastic and the local people welcoming. Hmmm. My holiday experiences have included:
- A severe case of the squits whilst stuck on a twelve-hour bus journey in Thailand…where the only ‘toilet’ was a bucket in the back of the bus.
- Erecting a tent in the dark after arriving late at a campsite in Florida, and waking up the next morning to discover an alligator sunning itself six feet away from the tent.
- Opening the bedroom window at a B&B in Weston-Super-Mud and having to cling on for dear life as the entire window frame fell out of the wall.
- A driving trip of the Australian Outback where our car windscreen was smashed by a rock thrown up by a passing road-train, the front wheel fell off as we navigated a roundabout, and, after a night sleeping under the stars in, literally, the back of beyond with no towns or houses for hundreds of miles, we awoke to find that someone had thrown up on the car bonnet. Plus, on the same trip, we had our credit cards stolen. The thieves used them to buy flights to Tasmania, which was particularly galling because we’d missed out Tasmania as we couldn’t afford the airfare.
However, apart from falling up a flight of concrete steps whilst giving my daughter a piggy-back, a few complaints about boring Italian food, breaking my sunglasses and getting stuck in the middle of hundreds of cyclists taking part in the Giro del Trentino on Lake Garda, this holiday really was wonderful. Honesty.