Goodbye for now!
06.08.2010 - 23.08.2010
View British Iles & environs on Mireille C's travel map.
I’ve been back in Canada for a week now and have had time to collect my thoughts for my last entry. Thanks to my parents, I’ve had the trip of a lifetime, on a scale that I probably won’t be able to do again for quite some time. The readjustment back to my normal life isn’t quite complete but I’m sure that in a few weeks this trip will be a lovely memory to help me through the upcoming Canadian winter! I recommend Princess Cruises to those who may want to try a cruise in the future; the Crown Princess ship is big and beautiful, the service is 5-star and the food the scrumptious and delicious.
The advantage of this British Isles cruise is that it gave me a little taste of a lot of ports, some that I may not have chosen on my own. My dream trip was to arrive in Dublin, visit the east, south and west coast of the country and then go home. Now, after visiting the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands, I definitely want to go back to see more of those regions. That being said, I don’t think I’ll want to do another European cruise; the next trips will be on land, that way I can experience the nightlife of the cities and attend a céilidh in Western Ireland. I’m not ruling out all future cruises, because life on a cruise ship is fun, decadent and the staff takes care of a lot of travel hassles. There may be an Alaskan cruise in my future, and I think the Mediterranean cruise is something I’d do…maybe when I retire in 2038! On that slightly depressing note, here are a few lessons learned:
• Always verify the hotel address, otherwise you made end up with reservation at the Holiday Inn in Eastleigh, outside the city limits of Southampton rather than the Holiday Inn 5 minutes away from the port.
• If you feel adventurous and want to stay in a hostel, go for it. However, if you want a bathroom and shower on the same floor as your room, or amenities like towels, mirrors, tissues, complimentary coffee, etc., go to a hotel. The hostels are inexpensive for a reason; all you get is a bed or, if you’re lucky, a room to yourself. I knew that we weren’t getting much from the hostel, but I also didn’t expect to pay a 2€ rental fee for a towel.
• Verify which train company you’re on and what services or meals your ticket cost include. We were originally supposed to travel on Virgin Trains with a meal included, but we changed our reservations to Arriva to have less transfers; what we didn’t know is that Arriva trains (or that train in particular) don’t provide meals and only have a snack cart. It makes the world of difference when you have an 8-hour journey through the Wales countryside!
I’ve also learned to appreciate some things in Canada, such as free public washrooms. I know that there are a few pay washrooms in Toronto, but 50 pence to pee at the Tower of London? Also, hot and cold water out of the same spout (what’s up with two spouts on opposite sides of the sink?), peanut butter, no hedgerows, wide roads and right-side driving.
For all the complaining I’ve done, I will never forget this trip, the places I’ve been and the people I met made this trip very special. The trip was wonderful, the experience was beautiful, and the memories are exquisite. Goodbye for now!