Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A Highland Adventure?

Last month Himself came home and announced he had booked the week of Easter off work as holiday. Due to the royal wedding you get 5 days off but only have to book 3 which is a result in his eyes. Now Himself booking leave is nothing short of a miracle, he just never does whereas I could have my holiday allowance 3 times over and still want more! 
So not only did he book time off work he announced we should go away, seriously, it was a good job I was sitting down at the time!?!
Himself does not like to go away. If we ever go anywhere it is because I have arranged it all and sweet talked him into it, of course he always has a wonderful time when we do go away but......

So the plan is to have a few days in Newcastle and a few days in Edinburgh. Contrary to how it may come across in my blog. Himself is actually a card carrying Geordie, having been born in Newcastle and grown up in County Durham. So even though his parents now live in Kent and that is where we met, he is northern through and through which basically means he goes out in the middle of winter in short sleeves.
Whilst I love Newcastle, and it is 'going away' it's not exactly unknown or new. Himself knows the city back to front, has friends and family there and we have visited many times.

Edinburgh however I am *thrilled* about. I have been wanting to go back there ever since my first, and so far only, visit 10 years ago. That time I went with a friend from America who didn't want to walk anywhere and would only eat at McDonalds and I still managed to fall in love with the city.
As you can imagine I booked the same week off  forthwith and started to do a little research into hotels etc.
Weeks passed and every now and then I said 'we ought to book tickets/hotels etc' and Himself would say 'Yes we must'  until finally last night we sat down to do just that.

As Sam would say in Quantum Leap 'Oh boy'

Now I travel to work by train every day, I KNOW that Cross Country Trains going to Edinburgh stop at Oxford but according to the internet we had 2 choices:
1. Go to Birmingham, wait a ridiculously long time before getting on a train that takes 8 more hours to get to Scotland!!
2. Go to London and catch a train from Kings Cross to Edinburgh.
Even the Cross Country Trains own website sent us via London and up to Scotland on another companies train no less.
So we looked at going to Newcastle first, again the trains go through Oxofrd and we have used them loads before, but the internet was adamant we must go to London first!
Also Newcastle to Edinburgh = £30 each
Edinburgh to Newcastle = £9 each
It's enough to make a grown woman weep and drive a grown man to beer.
We finally ended up getting tickets from Edinburgh to Newcastle and Newcastle to Oxford. Actually getting to Edinburgh in the first place I will sort at Oxford train station by buying a ticket from a real person.

So of course the deals I found a few weeks ago are no longer available. Thus started a trawl of the interweb. We had Tripadvisor open to check out hotels. I love that website, so useful. We found a good one in Newcastle pretty quickly and left that window open whilst we looked for one in Edinburgh. What seemed like forever later we finally found a good, decently priced one that was actually in the city centre rather than a million miles outside. We opened the link to book and not only bizarrely did the hotel name change but 7 pop up windows suddenly opened and crashed it all. Himself closed everything and we tried again from scratch, same thing happened. Ok well lets book the Newcastkle hotel then try this one again. Of course that had timed out so we had to start from scratch with that hotel too. Ok, deep breath, start again..........hotel in Newcastle booked. Huzzah.
Ok lets just try and find another hotel in Edinburgh as we are having to start from scratch anyway. More searching etc until we find another one that fits. Go to book and it's an unsecured website, neither of us is happy about putting in details on an unsecured page. Great now what? Ok it's part of a chain so we'll try the company website. Click on the booking page and it's also unsecured!!!
Himself resorts to the old fashioned telephone. They are open for telephone bookings from 2pm the next day but it will be more expensive and 'lots of other people use the website'  'I'm sure they do but I'm not prepared to risk it' says Himself.
Over two and a haf hours have passed by now and we are back to the drawing board. Himself stalks off to the shop for beer and I start to see his point about not going away being so much easier!


  1. Blimey, that's a lot of to-ing and fro-ing just to organise your holiday - you would have thought that the internet would have made things easier! But never mind, think of all those charity shops you'll be able to visit!

  2. Sometimes I wonder why people decide to go away in the UK. It can be made so bloody difficult!! Hope you get your edinburgh hotel sorted - try last.minute perhaps?

  3. How exciting. I love both of the cities. Venere.com can be a good cheap website to book through. Good luck

  4. Unsecured websites are a bugbear of mine. Or 'send your card details by email'. NO! Buy some blimming security people. Honestly. Hope you get it all sorted. It is irritating that going a couple of hundred miles down the road is a major headache but a tour of Indonesia could be booked in about 3 clicks of your mouse!

  5. Wow, isn't planning a trip just a ton of work?

    xoxo ~ Courtney