A Travellerspoint blog

United Kingdom

Conclusion

Reflections on travelling

semi-overcast

It’s been a fantastic holiday: we’ve seen lots of wonderful places in a very short time and proved that it is possible to avoid flying and still get to places. We’ve been on lots of different trains by many national rail companies, plus ferries both good (Viking) and bad (Moby)...and a luxury bus. High point of travel was the overnight train from St.Petersburg to Moscow and back...very plush and luxurious. We’ve also had some lovely hotels...And great meals...plus some that weren’t so good. As I love cities, I’ve enjoyed the places we’ve been and would love to return to most of them. I didn’t like Riga ( or Daugavpils), but would go back to any or all of the other stops for a longer, more in-depth visit if the opportunity arose. We’ve covered nearly 5000 miles, walked 110 (approximately) and visited 9 capitals ( 11 if you include London and Brussels that we passed through)...and all in 3 weeks!

I’ve learnt a lot too...

  • in addition to comfortable shoes, take more than 1 pack of blister plasters...and have sufficient shoes ( Keith wrote off one pair, and my boots only just survived!)
  • Learn the word for “Thank you” in the local language ... it makes people smile if you try, even if you don’t do it very well.
  • About me, I’ve learnt that I am very driven by the time and doing things early or at the right time...I always have been. I get really stressed if I think I’m not on time. It would be better to take a more relaxed approach...as Keith does...but I’m never going to manage it.
  • When stressed, ( see above!), I do get very snappy...sorry, Keith.
  • I could never do a backpacking holiday as I hate having dirty clothes, but I really refuse to pay hotel laundry prices and I can’t bring myself to throw away perfectly good but used clothes. However, two-night stays plus a heated towel rail manage to save the situation for me.

I loved the chance to see so much and experience so many places, but the physical effort of transporting us and luggage all over the place has been quite intense but well worth the effort...I can, however, really appreciate the concept of a city or river cruise where you can unpack and get taken to places! ( wouldn’t fancy one of those huge cruise ships though!). Now to get the cat back, sort through the photos, then produce a folder of all the ephemera we’ve acquired to keep as a memory.

Thanks for reading...it’s been fun doing this even if I was uncertain about it at first.

PS...in case anyone wonders about my screen name ( who doesn’t read Terry Pritchett books), Nanny Ogg is one of his 3 witches from his wonderful Discworld books.

Posted by nanny0gg 22:57 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 21

Cologne to Colchester

semi-overcast 10 °C
View Anniversary expedition on nanny0gg's travel map.

Sorry...no photos again! We set out on the last leg of our journey with the short easy walk to Cologne station from our hotel...would that everything had gone as easily! The train to Brussels was on time and comfortable and we arrived in good time for Eurostar. Going through security, my husband decided to throw a tantrum about bureaucracy, security etc etc...a favourite subject of his, so I allowed myself to get really upset and stressed. However, once that little episode was over, we were comfortably seated in our Eurostar seats, enjoying our complementary meal and drinks ( red wine really helps with stress...top tip!!). All went smoothly with leaving the train at St. Pancras...then TfL and Abellio Greater Anglia took a hand. I knew that we had to face the trip to Newbury Park then bus to Ingatestone before the Colchester train...annoying as we didn’t when we were leaving from Colchester so I’d planned the underground to Liverpool Street using Circle or District lines from Kings Cross/ St. Pancras. Both stations have lifts as we have heavy luggage so stairs are to be avoided as much as possible. However, TfL have closed those lines for engineering, so it had to be Northern line and change at Bank. Trains on Northern were plentiful, so when everyone piled on to the first one, we held back for the next. That one was much better, so I got myself and luggage on board, looked round for Keith...and as the doors closed, he was still on the platform waving me on! I waited for him at Bank and discovered that although he was following me to the train, a load of people pushed in front of him and he couldn’t get close enough to get himself and his luggage on to the train!
Bank station has no lifts or escalators to get to the Central line, so like countless other Eurostar and other passengers...with luggage, prams, buggies etc we had to carry our bags up the difficult and long spiral staircase at Bank. Not good and we were shattered by the time we got to the platform. It doesn’t give a very good impression of our nation’s capital and doesn’t compare favourably with most of the other places we’ve visited. Thankfully the tube to Newbury Park was in quickly and not too crowded, there is an elevator at Newbury Park and the bus to Ingatestone was ready and waiting. One last set of stairs (at Colchester station - but a member of the station staff came to help) and we had the welcome site of our lovely “taxi driver”, Gareth waiting for us....and soon we were home! Fantastic holiday...a once in a lifetime experience and I’m very grateful to Keith, my husband of 50 years, for organising it. This won’t be quite my last blog entry - which I’ve really enjoyed doing, as I’ll think about the whole trip and what I’ve learnt, then add my concluding thoughts in due course.

Posted by nanny0gg 02:22 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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