Discoveries About Traveling Through Europe in Winter
Featured in Mapping Megan
Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same.
Helen in Wonderlust
New Zealand by RV
I have to agree, this is an amazing way to explore this incredible country.
Peanuts or Pretzels
Top 10 Reasons to Visit Vancouver
Some great ideas for your next trip.
A Brit and A Southerner
Marrakech- A Colorful Journey
Some beautiful pictures to inspire your wanderlust.
The Selim Family
19 Views from a Plane Window
A window seat all the way, you can't beat some of the views you get from your plane journey. Some of my own pictures are below.
The Travels of BBQBoy and Spanky
Not a Good Start: How an Accommodation Issue almost spoilt my first impression of a wonderful city
Primo Hotel (ex Première classe Roissy - Goussainville)
I've stayed in many different styles of accomodation, and I am really not fussy or above staying in basic places. In fact some of my favorite places have been huts with no luxuries. But I have realised that what I really don't like when it comes to accommodation is being mislead. When you are expecting a certain standard but when you arrive it is nothing like you were lead to believe. I find it really unsettling and unfortunately it can effect your first impressions of a new place, especially when you have no choice but to find alternative accommodation.
I have always said that online reviews have to be taken with a pinch of salt, as people are more likely to talk about a bad experience so the hotel may not actually be that bad you are just not seeing the people that are satisfied.
That said I wish I had looked at some reviews before booking to stay at The Première classe Roissy in Goussainville, just outside of Paris, because these remarks and figures would have definitely changed my mind (and they are completely right)
So here's the story....
I was on holiday in France during the summer and booked to stay at the Premier Classe Rossy in Gousainville for three days from the 17th- 20th August. On checking in to our room we realised that we had been given a smoking room, which we did not want and we did not book. We were travelling with a 14 year old child so this was especially unsuitable for her. We asked to change rooms but the lady on reception said that there were no others available to us; she also said that none of the rooms were smoking and that she would get the cleaner to come and spray some perfume in our room. The room was number 41 and I can tell you now that it wasn’t one cigarette smoked in there but that the room had been smoked in for a long time, it made you feel sick the smell was so strong. On top of that there were burn holes in the bed linen, so all in all the room did not come up to standard and wasn’t ok for us to stay in, and the cleaner was not going to be able to spray perfume and make the room better. So again after a talking it through and deciding that we could not stay in the hotel we went back to the reception and asked for our money back and said we would find other accommodation. The lady at reception tried to be helpful and find us accommodation in the hotel opposite, but there was no space, and she said that she couldn’t refund my Visa card as it was complicated. She said her manager would be in at 2pm so come back then. At this point it was about 11:30 am so we left the hotel and went on the hunt for another hotel. Fortunately we had stay at a very nice Camponile the night before so decided we would try to find another for the next three nights. We finally settled in St.Dennis, checked the room and paid, and then had to drive back to Goussainville to meet the manager of Premier Classe. Again the manager tried to be helpful, but he couldn’t refund my card payment, and said that they could only send a cheque to my home address in Euros for 2 nights and not 3. The cheque could also not be sent until after the 29th August when the top manager would be in to sign it.
By this time we utterly fed up, we had thought we would be enjoying the sites of Paris by this point but instead we were trying to get our money back from a disgusting hotel.
What sort of hotel cannot refund a customer, and what sort of hotel refuses to refund a nights stay when we didn’t use the room and what was provided was not fit to stay in?
The manager even said that he knew that people smoked in the room but what could he do about it? What a joke! No non-smoker or family would ever want to stay in the rooms there, they are not as advertised and they are not clean.
In the end we decided we had to walk away, forget about it and enjoy our time in Paris. I had no idea if I would ever get my money back but I knew I needed to let it go or the end of the holiday would be ruined.
On the 1st September after being home for a couple of weeks and having had no word from the hotel I emailed to find out what was happening. The reply I received is below-
I did eventually receive the cheque, but after losing one night I had paid for and then having to pay bank fees to convert euros to GBP it really didn't cover much. But it was better than nothing.
My only advise going forward is to: one have a quick browse of the reviews before you go, two always ask to look at the room first if you have any concerns, and three never stay at the Primo Hotel Goussainville.
I love train journeys (as I have mentioned previously Traveling Adventures- Journeys & Transportation) and I already have two amazing world famous journeys on my bucket list-
1). The Trans Siberian Railway
2). The Orient Express
But there are so many other amazing journeys to choose from, so read on to discover the top 5 luxury train journeys provided by Holiday Lettings from TripAdvisor.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a country from the window of a train as it winds its way through the landscape. And the big advantage of taking the train is that the route often takes you through countryside that’s inaccessible to other transport.
Holiday Lettings takes you on a journey along 5 of the world’s greatest train rides.
Where: The royal blue and cream train makes the trip between Cape Town and Pretoria in South Africa.
How long: The 1,600km journey takes a sedate 27 hours, giving passengers time to take in the scenery as it passes slowly by.
Journey highlights: You’ll see the contrasting South African landscapes rolling grasslands, the barren Great Karoo, spectacular mountain ranges and picturesque vineyards on the way and also stop at Kimberley, famous for its diamond rush and colonial Matjiesfontein. On board, there’s high tea to look forward to before you dress for dinner.
Cost: From R14,060 per person, one way.
Find out more: www.bluetrain.co.za
Where: The journey fit for a maharaja makes the round trip from Delhi to Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
How long: The 2,880km trip on this Palace on Wheels takes 7 days.
Journey highlights: The sheer luxury of the train, the food and attention alone make this a ride to remember. On the exterior, high points include the Rajasthan wilderness, the Ranthambore National Park and of course, the Taj Mahal at the end.
Cost: From US$625 per person, per night.
Find out more: www.royalrajasthanonwheels.com
Where: Starting in Edinburgh, the Royal Scotsman runs different train tours around Scotland.
How long: On the Classic Journey (the most popular traveller choice), the 9-carriage train takes 5 days to wind its way around the Scottish Highlands. Other trips take between 2 and 7 days.
Journey highlights: From the bagpiper who plays you onto the train to the evening entertainment in the classic Observation Car, this is a regal experience. It takes in some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery on the way, including the route from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh with its views to the Isle of Skye.
Cost: From about £4,000 per person per trip.
Find out more: www.belmond.com
Where: Crossing Australia north to south between Darwin and Adelaide.
How long: The train takes 3 days to travel the nearly 3,000km separating the two extremes of Australia.
Journey highlights: You’ll see the great Australian outback in all its colours along the way. Sunrise and sunsets are particularly stunning. The train stops at Alice Springs to see the emblematic Uluru and Katherine with its dramatic gorge. Dine on kangaroo fillets in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant Car.
Cost: From AUD$1,569 per person, one way.
Find out more: www.greatsouthernrail.com.au
Where: One of North America’s great train rides takes place between Chicago and San Francisco.
How long: The double-decker superliner trains take just over 52 hours to complete the nearly 4,000km separating the two cities.
Journey highlights: From these train windows you get a taste of the great American scenery, from the Mid-West to the Pacific via the Rockies, Utah desert and Glenwood Canyon. Head for the Sightseer Lounge/Cafée for the best views from the panoramic windows.
Cost: From US$139 per person, one way.
Find out more: www.amtrak.com
One for the Bucket List
Glacier National Park, Montana
So Many Places
Why you don't have to quit your job to travel the World.
Drink Tea and Travel
A few important things to do before leaving for a trip
Eye and Pen
Tomatina-The Worlds Biggest Food Fight
When you first discover Geocaching you wonder how you could have been unaware for so long.
There are 6 million geocachers worldwide and over 2 million active geocaches. There are even caches on Antarctica.
Looking back now there were signs, we just didn't know it at the time. My sister remembers clearly a few years ago watching two people hanging around suspiciously under a pub sign (The Three Frogs) and then leaving something underneath it. When she went to have a look there was a plastic frog sitting on the floor. Now we realise that it was a cache, but at the time we thought it was all really bizarre. My mum also remembers seeing two people outside a bush looking around and then disappearing inside for a minute, and now it all makes sense.
Welcome to a new world of muggles, hitchhikers and travel bugs....
So what is Geocaching?
Geocaching is like a real-world treasure hunt. Geocachers use a GPS to hide or to track down 'caches' all over the world.
A 'cache' is typically a small waterproof container, inside you can find a logbook, and possibly other items that can be swapped or moved around from cache to cache.
The first cache we tracked down was in the woods near to where I live. We followed the GPS until it said that we were within 30 feet and after that we had to hunt around until we found it.
The great thing about Geocaching is that it gets you out and about exploring the area, and its a fun hobby for people of all ages.
Caches can be hidden all over the place, in trees, under logs, or cleverly hidden in plain sight.
Geocaching with the family
You can download the introductory app for free, so give it a go.
I look back at the blog posts that caught my attention and inspired me throughout August
One for the Bucket list
Exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park
Tips for Women traveling alone in Africa
Helen in Wonderlust
Highlights From Two Months in New Zealand
Never Ending Footsteps
For Wildlife Lovers
Wild elephants in Thailand
Ray & Sue Travel Photography
Video of the Month
Chartres is a picturesque old medieval town in the Loire Valley region of France. Charming cobbled streets wind past ancient houses, shops and restaurants. All overlooked by the grand gothic Cathedral of Chartres, which can be seen from miles around.
Driving inside the old town is restricted so unless you are staying there you will need to park outside and walk in.
As lovely as the town is during the day for many the main attraction begins at night, because from April-October between 10pm and 1am the town comes alive in the most spectacular light show.
29 monuments around the town are lit up every night in clever choreographed shows that make you laugh, captivate you, and tell you stories.
The great thing is that the whole town can be toured on foot and is completely free, but there is also a guided road train that tours the show if needed.
We stopped in Chartres for one night while driving through France and I cannot recommend it more. Pictures cannot do the 'Illuminations' justice, it is a sight you have to see for yourself.
Theatre De Chartres
Mediatheque de Chartres
I look back at the blog posts that caught my attention and inspired me throughout July
One for the Bucketlist
Scuba Diving in Maui
Alex In Wanderland
Advice for backpackers from a cycle Tourist
The best hangover foods from around the World
A guide to some of sights missed by tourists in Bangkok
Goats on The Road
Picture of the Month
Urban Landscape on film. Chicago, IL.
Go See Write
After being bitten by the traveling bug at 17 I made it my mission to visit, explore, experience as much of the world as possible. 12 years later and this blog looks at where I have been and as always what is next.........