My apologies if you noticed that there was no blog from me last week.
I would like to tell you it was because I was doing something meaningful and worthwhile (like campaigning for world peace) but in reality I was just too busy stalking rugby players around Paris and London, plus gadding about the South of France with my sister-in-law.
As usual, I made plenty of small and irritating mistakes along the way, so have compiled a list of what not to do should you ever plan a similar trip.
SOME ADVICE ON LOGISTICS FOR TRAVEL
1. Don’t plan a trip to Avignon, but book accommodation in completely different part of France. Also, don’t discover your mistake in Paris just minutes before you are leaving for the train station on the way to Avignon. A melt down and some unpleasant behaviour may result which will not make you look very emotionally stable.
2. Don’t take the cute little train to do a city tour at sunset in Nice (which is very nice) because you look silly and nobody else will be on it. Also it gets dark early in winter so you can hardly see anything anyway.
3. If you want to go from Paris to London to watch a rugby match at Twickenham, don’t book a non negotiable Eurostar ticket that only gets you to London a couple of hours before kick off. You will only just make it with minutes to spare, (with much help from a friend rushing you through the London tube train stations) gasping for breath and with some very sweaty armpits.
4. In the other extreme, don’t go to the Stade de France in Paris several hours before the match so you can watch another rugby match in a pub on TV, because they will make you buy bad expensive food and then turn off the TV and kick you out anyway.
5. Don’t take too big a suitcase packed with clothes you will never wear because you will have to lug it on and off planes, trains, buses and up narrow cobbled streets looking for your hotel in the rain.
6. While it is nice to save money by staying in cheap hotels, they do have their downside. For example, try not to wash your hair before going to bed because there is no hairdryer and you can give yourself quite a fright when you look in the mirror the next morning. Also, don’t lock yourself in your room because the door handle is broken and the telephone in the room doesn’t work and your phone has run out of battery.You may have to Skype your husband back home in Bratislava so he can phone downstairs reception for you, which is all quite embarrassing.
SOME RUGBY ETIQUETTE
7. Glaring at the drunk French rugby fan who keeps blowing a loud air horn all through the game will not make him be quiet. in fact it makes him blow it more often and much louder. Also, telling an English rugby fan that he is talking a load of nonsense will not go down very well (even though he was!).
8. If you are lucky enough to wangle an invitation to the All Black and English rugby team’s after match function at Twickenham, make sure you have a ball gown and elegant sandals (or something similar) in your luggage. The skirt and boots you may think will be OK will make you stand out like a sore thumb. Having a cold sore on your lip won’t help either.
9. Following on from my last point, just because you are a big rugby fan does not mean that rugby players are as thrilled to meet you as you are to meet them. In fact they may just wonder why this silly old lady keeps following them around. Again, the cold sore doesn’t help.
10. Lastly, don’t leave your husband alone for a week while you trip around Europe because he will get the flu (which will make you feel guilty) and you will return to a messy house. You will also discover dog poop hidden under the stairs, though the dog will hotly deny that he had anything to do it.