My UK Encounter

Posted by Analyse at 5:41 PM

Thursday, May 12, 2005

We should have known better. After several travels within and outside Europe, it's the first time that we went home half delighted.

First regret, our roundtrip tickets were marked 'Non Echangeable, Non Remboursable'. I was so gaga to find a promotional ticket for half a price that we even extended our planned vacation for a day more just to fit in with the dates.

Arriving in London, I was hit by a terrible headache, and nuls as we were, we didn't even know what kind of medicine I could take. Our last resort was to call back home. 'Allo Maman.' Lesson learned: Paracetamols are still ok for pregnant women.

Well, we're economic voyagers, ehem, with European attitude? In most of our vacations, we always have our tents attached to our backpacks. Here's our 'where to stay' list according to priority (and of course, weather condition):

1. Camping Sites - tents are always useful, especially for us, itinerant tourists.
2. Youth Hostels - during off-peak season, they could accommodate 'older' tourists. Just pay several euros in additional for non-members. In the UK, it was £3 per person per night. The only time we didn't try this option was in Amsterdam, hmmm, I guess ya know what I mean.
3. Gîtes (equivalent to Bed and Breakfast in the UK) - in France you could ask for démi-pension (including breakfast) or pension complete (including breakfast and dinner). Ideal for randonneurs (hikers). And you will not regret it, frenchies are known to be great in cuisines, and it's not a hearsay!
4. Hotels (no stars please) - that is, if we don't have any other choice.

In the UK, of course we opted to option #3, the B&B. Goodness gracious, would you believe that we paid higher or equal to what we paid in London than outside the capital? Ok, equality is good, but isn't it logical that the more we go out of the city center, the less we pay? Honestly, Cambridge, Oxford and Bath are not equivalent to London, right? And you just cannot ask me to visit only one place, much so, stay in the capital. It's like you asked me to visit the Philippines and get around Manila alone.

As we progressed in our itinerary, we found out that Wales is practicing the same price ranges. Haha, they were even surprised to learn that they're charging higher than London, whew! And that didn't motivate them to negociate the price. Nice try anyway.

Ok ok, as one of their souvenir shirts says, if you cannot get my joke, get the fucking out of my house. We tried, but our tickets say no! Lesson learned: if you've got vacations longer than 3 days, never take 'Non Echangeable, Non Remboursable' tickets. Take a normal one, at least you have an easy passport to get out of the dilemma and not be obliged to stay or pay another ticket.

The food. After I paid £42 for an ordinary meal, I told frenchguy to calm down. I never paid such amount for such kind of food even in Paris. Actually, that decision was revised when our choices were limited to jacked potatoes and jacked potatoes hehe.

The narrow roads, driving on the other side of the road, the parking fee...

Hmp, puro ako reklamo. There are nice things about our visits naman. It opened our eyes to another face of Europe. I finally saw where my Mr. Sentimental did his masters. Undergrounds are cheaper on weekends. No congestion tax on weekends. English breakfast is HEAVY breakfast, good for us. Chocolate Fudge was uhmmm sumptuous! Funny things like Tony Blair won the election but asked him to back out the next day. We generally had potable weather during the visit, only had the typical English weather in Wales, which was sad of course.

And finally, we appreciated more the fact that we live in France. Uhm, maybe next time, we have to forget about France when visiting another country, wad ya tenk?

11 comments:

ladycharlie said...

My dear, you should have told me that you were coming to the UK, I could've given you some pointers especially with London and Cambridge (I actually lived in Cambridge for 3 years!). You're right, Cambridge, Oxford and Bath are not on the same level as London in terms of living but for tourist levels, they are on the same boat. If you stay closer to the city center, the more you pay regardless of the ambience! But yes, in general, the UK will be a big shock in terms of going on holidays if you're coming from the outside. But there are ways which could help you keep it within budget.

ruth said...

so it's true what they say: UK is still the most expensive in europe, beating even scandinavia....

no-go for budget-travellers like us, then, hahaha!

Analyse said...

april, actually it was the most unorganized visit we had, we didnt really prepare for it, we even planned to cancel it at the last minutes so i didnt ask for any pointers, ayun tuloy. anyways, we will just keep the good memories na lang.

ruth, trulili. as in very expensive, we even checked the prices of their houses there (curious butts hehe), now we understand why they flock here in france, mura pa kasi dito compared to northern europe.

hey you could still visit london, the prices are still ok, just like all other euro capitals, pag lumabas ka lang ng capital that you will realize that there's something wrong somewhere hehe..

schatzli said...

I have been visiting UK for the past 7 years before I lived for a year there last year.

Hit and run nga ang pagkain... I was dreaming of Italy and France all the time.

At the end we went to France for a long weekend to satisfy my gastronomic palate. ;-)
Been on and off France for 7 years..

anyhow.. come to Oslo and its 3 times more of UK! but has a good quality.

Bath Oxford and Cambridge are very touristy places you know... but there are places as well you can visit and keep to your budget.


RUTH: Switzerland, Sweden and Norway is MORE MORE EXPENSIVE....

but maybe I am blessed to have a good income to enjoy the luxury of travels ;-)

Ana tuloy kami Bordeaux but am still going to Greece this October.
And we are off for PInas too,

Analyse said...

Sha, the food was really a challenge for me, esp that i was used to my frenchguy's cuisine!

Hey, now you give me more reasons to block out on my vacation list northern europe hehe.

I'm considering Greece too...but erm, matagal pa siguro, with the future baby, our destinations will surely be carefully chosen...next stop will be chez ma belle-mère hehe..

Dutched Pinay on Expatriation said...

Ana,

UK is always terrible to visit if its not summer (same as the Netherlands), weather is unpredictable, rainy, cold and gloomy. Maybe you can visit UK again in summer? I was there last June and it was relatively nicer when I was there on spring - it poured like crazy.

I rarely eat English breakfast. After living in NL for almost 3 years, I can't imagine eating those humongous breakfasts! They can make you fat, ugh. But they are a nice treat for brunch when you are on holiday and waking up at 11am or 12noon hehe. It's breakfast, lunch and siesta snack in one!

Yes, London is not expensive compared to Oslo and Switzerland. I read last year, the most expensive city was Tokyo, then Osaka, then Oslo, then St. Petersburg, then I forgot who was next... the top 10 were Beijing, Hongkong, Geneva, London, Moscow, and Paris. New York was not even on the top 10, think it was 11th or 12th place.... but London was, surely not the top 5 though. Our Amsterdam was in the 20th something.

But buying power, Luxembourg ranks the first followed by Norwegians, Americans on 3rd, Irish on 4th, and the Swiss on 5th place. The Dutch, Danish and Austrians ranked 6th. Interesting, I always love reading studies/research such as these.

Anywho.... ANA, WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS????????????! Photos speaks a million entries you know. Will be checking out later if you posted the pics.

schatzli said...

Greece is ideal for family I can give you the names of the islands to spend time with your family and cheaper than France.
Food wise you willbe happy maraming marche din grabe...

Norway is really is so damn expensive i have head aches on my 1st month here. Think of it, Norway has the highest tax in the whole world.
sa sweden we have friends there, save na hotel namin and everytime we go there treat nila kami lagi but we do spend like taking them out!

Our best cheap good holiday was probably Turkey but not for social animals, culture and beach yes!!

PS my husband said today I MISS MONACO AND THE REST OF COTE D AZUR ayyyyy

Analyse said...

Jori, I knew that, it’s actually typical English weather, as the French puts it. Frenchguy did his masters there, so he knows, but he still wanted me to see where he did his studies, sentimental as he is, hay naku. Now, we just declared NON to UK and the rest of northern Europe hehe.

English breakfast, hmm, loved it, reminded me of home, different from fruit juice, café au lait, croissants / tartines, fruits – the french breakfast! Every morning, I ate for 3! I always asked for cereals, then English breakfast, then some toast hehe, gain weight is not my problem, actually, it’s always been my dream as I’m trapped in my 1,65m, 47kg body, darn! Now, only the baby is gaining weight, all I get are stretch marks as early as 3 months inspite of the creams. Hayyy.

Ah the photos, I’m attacked by some kind of laziness right now, I haven’t downloaded any pix yet! Coming soon, hopefully..

Sha, I’ll surely ask for expert’s advice next time. My best so far was when we drove down south to Barcelona, starting from Colliure (still in france) where we swam and hiked (Pic du Canigou) around the area. Then stopping in different beaches of Spain’s east coast, drinking and partying with the spañols, taking siestas, and sleeping very late hehe. I guess that’s what we missed in the UK, the variety. We’re used to mixing the city and the lovely paysage of the provinces, nature lovers we are. We were in Wales but weren’t able to hike, forgot my hiking shoes, darn, and the weather were not motivating at all.

Côte d’Azur and Monaco, I guess they have some kind of filters there, most of the time, the whole france is gray but not that area, lucky Ate Amy hehe.

Francesca said...

oi, ganon ba ana? I talk to my sistah there, they said that I arrived thursday night in London, and friday they all go to their respective work but I can tag along ang will drop me somewhere and will join me later for lunch and whatever to see. I would like to see Nottinghill and they said its not fantastic but I said , I still like to see it and have a photo there ala Julia Roberts, hehe. Then sistah said, you can buy stuff in Nottinghill market for one pound. Michel said he bought some old silvers (now displayed at home) in there for shillings! anong anyos tiempos naman kaya yon?
But hopefully I will enjoy my four days stay there!Open daw ang museums doon even on sundays!
Eskayted ang lola nyo! yehey!
Aba mga sistah nag papdala ng wine sa akin, dalhan ko nga tatlong bote, (rosé,white and red) hala, mag lasingan, habang wala si Michel! shhh!LOL
Nice pictures ana, and nejoy ako basahin ang excitement mo for future motherhood!
My advice I think to go somewhere, is to look via internet the affordable accom/resto in the area. Helpful for us, I would say.
The most expensive resto we paid is 99 euros in Venice,Italy! But it was fantastic, akala namin medya medya lang ang price, but fantastic ang wine and menu, but of course the price, krrrk, it kills us.
Na Charge to experience na lang!

Analyse said...

Ate Amy, you have your sister naman pala so no worries, you will have your official tourist guide hehe. Nottinghill is indeed not that spectacular compared to the city center, we went there because I was hoping to bump on Hugh Grant, nyehaha, nangarap. There are a lot of antiquities nga dun, we didn’t buy anything tho, yung jupe ko lang à la gitane hehe.

You will surely enjoy your stay, London is a very nice city. There are a lot of museums everywhere. Museums don’t inspire me anymore tho. After visiting almost every museums in Venice, Florence and Rome, plus Le Louvre and others in Paris, I guess I already have my dose hehe. The only museum I visited there was the Science Museum in Cambridge, but it was nothing compared to the Science Museum in Florence where I saw the first telescope used by Galileo Galilee, it was awesome.

The only time I paid a lot for food, it was at Hardrock Café in Paris with some Fil-Am friends, we paid ~200€ for burgers and beers. Oh well, I don’t really bother spending hundred bucks in exchange of VALUE for my money, but for burgers and beers? Come on.

Francesca said...

we dine in this mexican resto, cost us 9£ per meal, ang laki laki na! In Chinese resto, the whole peking duck is 19£ serves 4 persons na. Not too expensive naman, wag lang siguro sa harrods !

but tama ka, for 200 euros burgers and beer lang???!!!
Naku, mga voleurs(robbers) sila! grrr!