My extended family is celebrating two special ‘0’ birthdays and a golden wedding anniversary this year. The couple wanted to mark the occasions with a family celebration in Paris later this year. I was given the unenviable task of booking the holiday. Normally booking a couple of nights in Paris is easy. But 8 people travelling from different parts of the country, some of whom are going to fly, others who are going to arrive by Eurostar, not all staying for the same duration and both single and double rooms needed, made it not the easiest thing to arrange.
I decided it would be easier to visit the travel agency that was so helpful when we booked a last minute holiday to Carcassonne. The car parks near to the travel agency were heaving; anyone would think there was nothing better to do than shop on a wet and cold bank holiday Monday. The travel agency was also packed which meant a bit of a wait before we could talk to one of the representatives.
When a representative appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, by some strange quirk of fate it was the same person who helped us last time. The first thing he said was ‘thank you for the postcard. If you recall from my previous holiday post, no one in the travel agency had heard of Carcassonne. So whilst we were away we sent him the postcard to thank him and prove that Carcassonne really does exist. I was impressed that he had remembered us and to my surprise find that he had kept the postcard which he produced from his folder and showed again to his colleagues.
I arrived armed with the flight details and a short list of hotels and I advised that I was booking something a bit easier this time. This turned out to be famous last words…
The online flight details were rather confusing and they didn’t mention baggage allowance. A phone call was needed to check out the prices and the baggage proved to be extra. I found it rather shocking that most of the cost was down to airport taxes!!
The next task was to try to find a reasonably priced hotel in the right location and with the right number of rooms available… I therefore settled on the first hotel that met my criteria and that looked OK from the few photos that were available. And it does have a small garden.
All this took two and a half hours to arrange and when I had finished the travel agent said ‘I need a lie down now’. I quipped, ‘I bet you well hide if you see us come in again’.
When we phoned the celebrants later to inform them of the ‘good’ news, the response was not quite what I expected:
‘Is it possible to cancel rooms if we need to?’
I am now left with the task of arranging the itinerary for when we go. This has been left almost entirely to me so it is proving a lot easier to arrange. Although I do have to leave out art galleries because one of the party doesn’t ‘do’ art.
Wish me luck, I might need it ;-)