For the past 15 years I have not had an actual ‘ holiday’ any trip we have made has been around commitments to my partner creating reviews for www.hoteldesigns.net and with the major stopping points organised all I had to do was book a few odd nights to and from the eventual destinations. Sometimes we found an independent gem and ended up writing about that too, other times we used Accor or Hiltons or suchlike as we drove the Autobahns and major roads of Europe and beyond.
This summer we are finally free to do what we what to do. How will we decide where to go I was asked? Oh that’s easy I replied we will head for Aquileia near the Italian coast as I saw an exhibition about these little known Roman ruins at The Royal Geographical Society in London earlier this year. We will book an hotel near there and some stops along the way like I used to do with my dad in the 1990s.
Back in the 90s it was so simple, initially there was no internet and I had to write letters or telephone in response to tourist board brochures or those hotel listings brochures from Logis de France, Ibis, Novotel and Campanile. Dad and I only tended to do that for the first and last nights plus a 5 day break in the middle. That way (with the obligatory pillows under our arms and travel kettle of course) we explored from France to the edge of the old West Germany, Austria and Switzerland , across the North and to the foot of Italy, through the Spanish plains down into Portugal and stopping at 3pm each day to find a local hotel. We had some hilarious rooms in France with WC in the bedroom and carpet on the walls. We loved some experiences in Italy eating at the Residencia we had found that night or an Agriturismo and sometimes not knowing what we were being given. We rarely had problems finding a room and never had to sleep in the car. We carried a camping gaz ring and pots and pans to make tea up in the Alps and baked beans or soup if we were miles from anywhere.
Fast forward 15 years and no way could we risk pot luck, as there are so many people on the road. The Booking agencies and Trip advisor recommendations hold sway, so popular hotels and B and B’s are full even in September. So I have spent the last 2 weeks researching, planning a route and booking a 3 week trip using the Web to help me. There still seem to be some eclectic places to stay out there and I am looking forward to enjoying them without my OH having to take photos of their design and function and spending hours writing it up for publication when we get home.
And so a new period of exploration and adventure begins minus the 5 star hotels although I expect I could be persuaded to visit the odd one from time to time! However I will be once again taking my pillow and travel kettle!