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Topic: Revisiting Childhood Haunts In The Time Of Plague - Prologue

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    Default Revisiting Childhood Haunts In The Time Of Plague - Prologue



    I think I am rather stating the obvious when I say 2020 was a strange year for everybody full of changed plans and dashed hopes. In my line of work, I am more aware of this than most. At the time we started planning this trip, I had two holidays cancelled. Instead of a three-night cruise to nowhere on the brand-new Celebrity Apex, we experienced our first weekend in lockdown. This poor ship is still waiting for its first passengers. Then at the end of May our trip of a lifetime to China and Japan was cancelled. This was our third attempt of finally getting to see the Terracotta Warriors in Xiían. At this stage I am resigned to the fact that I am not destined to see them. At the time of writing this, I lost track at how many holidays we had cancelled as far forward as the end of August this year.

    By the time we were nearly two thirds through the year, I had gone neatly 6 months without a proper day off. Burn out started to set in. A change of scene was definitely required. At this stage neither of us felt particularly confident flying. We were also overdue a visit to Germany to pick up some stuff a friend had brought back from Florida from me. The planning started. We were going to do an Interrail trip to Germany visiting my favourite German city as well as our friends in Nuremberg.

    Even though we only started to plan this trip about 6 weeks in advance, we had to take it back to the drawing board a few times. The original plan was to get to Germany by various high-speed trains including the Eurostar to Brussels. About four weeks before we were due to go, it became apparent that Belgium had a serious problem with infection rates skyrocketing. There was speculation that the travel corridor would be closed off, which meant that we would have to self-isolate for two weeks coming back even if we just changed trains in Belgium. With a lot of stuff going on at work at the time, this was not an option. We frantically replanned our route going via France instead. Unfortunately, a mere week later, this route was closed off as well. At that stage I was ready to just give up. Fortunately, Graham can be more stubborn and driven than I am. While I was working one Saturday, he looked at options for short and cheap flights that would get us to continental Europe to connect up with the train system and had low enough infection numbers that we were unlikely to ran into issues.

    Graham initially looked at northern Italy and the best starting off point appeared to be Milan. When he looked at flights, it quickly became apparent that Bergamo would be cheaper, and this looked like a charming town. We also briefly looked at Prague, but the flights were more expensive than what we were willing to pay. We then started to look at flights straight into Germany to maximise our time there. We first looked at Berlin as I had never been there, but the timings did not really work. In the end, we found really cheap flights to Cologne with Ryanair. I only visited Cologne once on a field trip while I was in sixth form college and Graham had never been. I did not have particularly fond memories of Cologne, but if this meant we would get to go away, I was all for it. We decided to leave a day earlier as I had that day off anyway. I started looking at hotels in Cologne as we needed to have one night at the beginning of the trip and one night in an airport hotel at the end. We were spoiled for choice in the city centre, and I managed to find a nice boutique hotel in a great location for a very good price. The airport hotel was a bit more of a challenge, but in the end, I got a bit of a deal for this as well. I ended up having to rebook our hotel in Nuremberg as well as we needed one night less, but this worked out in our favour as well. We were all set to go.

    We had on purpose held off booking our flights. The infection rates in our neck of the woods had gone the wrong way for a while and by 31st July, extra restrictions had been implemented. This did not seem to have much of an effect on infection rates and the media was reporting that a local lockdown may be implemented. Fortunately, this did not materialise until much later. There was also a question mark over if we would face any restrictions in Germany. After work just over a week before we were due to go, I had a long chat via FaceTime with one of our friends in Nuremberg. She put my mind at rest, and I finally booked the flights that evening.

    We were under no illusions that this would be a different kind of holiday than what we are used to. However, different does not necessarily mean worse. There were a few things that we were hoping to see, but we knew that this may not be possible, and things could change at a momentís notice. However, we were quite happy to go with the flow and the key draw was good food and wine and good company. Everything else would be a bonus.





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    Wow, that's some real travel challenges! Will be very interested to hear how it all worked out

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    It'll be extra interesting to read this one, major kudos for managing to travel at all last year.

    I had a work trip to Finnland in September and travelling through deserted airports was really very odd. I've been in airports for work in the few closed hours and seen far more people in them than were in the open airports that trip.
    7 Trips to Florida, Christmas in LA, Disneyland Paris twice and odd days here and there.
    All my trip reports are now HERE.

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    I'm finally getting around to your trip reports, and I'm eager to hear more about this! We fell in love with Germany and would happily return there. Looking forward to your report!
    Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you ďIím not messing around, use the gifts you were given.Ē

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Veness View Post
    Wow, that's some real travel challenges! Will be very interested to hear how it all worked out
    Without giving to much away, it worked out fantastically well and was worth every ounce of stress in the runup to the trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by spencem View Post
    It'll be extra interesting to read this one, major kudos for managing to travel at all last year.
    Despite the stress in the planning stages, it actually turned out to be really straightforward.

    Quote Originally Posted by spencem View Post
    I had a work trip to Finnland in September and travelling through deserted airports was really very odd. I've been in airports for work in the few closed hours and seen far more people in them than were in the open airports that trip.
    It was definitely strange to see the airports so quiet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Veness View Post
    I'm finally getting around to your trip reports, and I'm eager to hear more about this! We fell in love with Germany and would happily return there. Looking forward to your report!
    I should have the first proper instalment ready sometime over the weekend. It took me years after leaving Germany until I felt the urge to go back. Thanks to our good friends in Nuremberg, I rekindled my love for my country of birth.

    Coirnna





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