'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Booking accommodation online.


A word of warning:  be very careful to confirm your bookings - by phone is best.  

I wanted to have everything arranged for the short time we were in Italy, near the end of our trip.  Not speaking Italian, and not knowing if English is spoken much, it was the one leg of our trip that I decided to plan very carefully.  N. was very nervous about Italy too, and I guess some of it rubbed off.

We were going to fly from Aberdeen to Pisa (via Dublin).  The Ryanair flights were amazingly cheap nearly four months before, I could hardly believe my luck, just a few pounds.  

The plan: We'd fly in to Pisa, stay one night there, see the tower in the morning and then take the train down to Naples for two nights.  Bus or train to Siena for two nights, bus to Florence and two nights there, train to Rome and there one night, then overnight on the Riviera Night Train to Nice.
I really wanted to find accommodation with local character if I could.  But not too expensive.    
I booked a hotel between the Leaning Tower and railway station so we could walk between the three.
I booked a hotel in Naples within walking distance of the railway station (so we could easily get out to Pompeii).
Likewise Siena and Florence, both also with walking distance of cathedrals and other inner-city landmarks.
Rome was tricky.  All the hotels centrally located seemed so expensive.  I finally got one that looked like a boring international could-be-any-city-in-the-world tower, but at least it was on the bus route.
The above arrangements took me the better part of 20 hours.  Loading pages without broadband seemed to take forever.  I found that there's no need to book your train journeys too far in advance as there are usually plenty of seats, but don't leave it until the same day as the queues can be tiresome - best to do it the day before. 

On our arrivals, two of the five hotels had no record of my booking.  Unfortunately both were fully booked (a coincidence?  I don't think so). However I carried copies of the transaction printouts and alternative arrangements were made for us, mostly with good grace.

I also booked a small, cheap villa in Province, France.  There was also an unexpected hiccup concerning this too, but one that turned out to be very much to our advantage, as the saga will reveal!

And the Youth Hostel network in the UK - we had fun and games with that too!  And that is also part of the story to follow. 

Next:  The Big O.E really begins! The long flight to the other side of the world. 

6 comments:

  1. Ohhhh looking forward to reading more about this!

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  2. I always print out a copy of the booking confirmation - nice to know that it helped you out on your trip!

    I've only once arrived to find the hotel didn't have a record of our booking, and they accommodated us, but not with very good grace.

    Did you have a good time anyway?

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  3. Did we have a good time!?! We had a brilliant, fun, funny, adventurous, amazing, confusing, glorious, breath-taking, warm, friendly, endearing, delightful, astounding, fabulous, silly, moving and altogether memorable time!

    Watch this blog! Daughter and Mum go overseas alone!

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  4. The more I follow your blog the more I drool (sorry, not a pretty sight) because I love Italy and haven't managed to get there for quite a few years - my plans to meet a friend from NZ in Florence for a week last (Italian) summer fell through when her holiday had to be abandoned.

    I'm puzzled about the dates and postings though because I thought I'd read every post from today backwards but don't recall one on Italy. I must go back and check (making note to myslef).

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  5. The retrospective posting of our travel diary has only got as far as the end of the first fortnight or so, GB. More, much more, to come!

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  6. I am very glad to hear it.

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