Best laid plans

We all know the saying, “The best laid plans of mice & men often go awry”.  Well, it certainly is true when travelling. There can be transport delays, bad weather, distance to travel to a particular attraction can all make one have to reconsider their plans on any day. We have had to do this a few times but if you travel knowing that it is not all ‘plain sailing’, you can have great fun.

As you know, I have written regular articles on how I am planning and preparing for our trip at the end of this year.  Active planning and process began in January and I have tried to get as much information as possible so that we do not waste time while on the holiday. But, even with meticulous planning, there will be times when plans do not come together. These are some examples of when we have had just such experience.

When we were in Wales in 2006, in reading the pamphlets supplied in our unit, we discovered 3 places in particular that we wanted to visit and they were all near one particular town. The resort where we were staying was 10 miles from the main road so we had to take that into consideration each time we wanted to go anywhere. We left ‘home’ all ready to visit these 3 places of interest. We decided to start with the most distant one as the closest only opened at 2pm. Well, the road to the 1st place was in such poor condition that we decided to turn back realising it would take much longer to get there than we expected. We then visited the library/tourist bureau which was another place we had chosen as they had a display and information on King Offa & Offa’s Dyke. The problem was that once finished there we had about 2 hours to spare. We parked the car and walked around the town and found it to be very interesting with some fascinating history. We would never have discovered this unless we had been open to changing plans at the last minute.

Following our coach trip to Oberammegau in 2010, the two of us did a 2 week tour of neighbouring countries. We deliberately booked accommodation near the Spa, Belgium and Nurburgring, Germany race tracks as we are keen F1 fans and had set aside a day each to visit of these. Well, we had a problem with both plans. We took the train from Liege where we were staying in Belguim, to the town of Spa which is closest to the race track. When we arrived in Spa we learnt that no taxis or buses run on Sundays unless we were prepared to pay a ridiculous fare. I had never thought to check that. Plan B was very limited as we had about 4 hours before the next train back to Liege, Spa is a very small town and it was raining gently. We walked around the town where there was a craft market. That was interesting and fun as there was plenty of music and laughter as well as some interesting and different crafts on sale. We also discovered a funicular which took us to the top of the very high hill in the town from which the views across the Ardennes forest were stunning.

When we spent a night in Andernach, Germany we were directed to the Nurburgring via train, connecting train in Remagen and then a bus. We had just 5 mins to catch the connecting train and then 5 mins for the bus. This should not have been a problem as the train change takes place on 2 platforms right next to each other and the bus stops at the station BUT our first train got stopped on a crossing just before the Remagen station for 5 mins! We stood and watched as our connection drew out of the station. Although we did not get to the race track, we ended up having a lovely day in Remagen, a town with beautiful statues of children and fairly folk and soe unusual shop fronts. It is situated on the Rhine and we sat on a bench eating lunch and while watching the river traffic go by. In front of us was the Ludendorff Bridge also called the Bridge at Remagen. A past Mayor finally arranged for the towers of the original bridge to be transformed into a Memorial to Peace.  We learnt and saw a lot we never imagined or knew about.

These are just a few of the examples of our best laid plans didn’t work out but we have learnt that travelling is all about experiences and these are as great as we make them.

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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