Friday, 5 September 2014

Hip Hip Hooray, We Are Going To The UK!

Last week, on my 100th happy day, I bought three return tickets to Dublin (talk about saving the best for last!).

We're leaving on a jet plane...

We were last in the UK three years ago. It was a (very) belated honeymoon, a much needed break, and a chance to introduce Andel to my family there. We enjoyed the hustle and bustle of London (including being in the vicinity of the Royal Wedding), being able to relax in the Norfolk countryside, and a whirlwind two days in Ireland.

Just six months after that trip, our besties moved to Ireland. Since then we have each had one child, and seen each other every year - but we have never been to visit them (that's a bit embarrassing, actually). So it seems only fair that, this time, we should make the trip - and what better way to introduce Zac to the family, and enjoy the lights and white (hopefully) of Christmas?

I wouldn't mind us a little bit of this, thank you

The preparations thus far have not been in any way this simple though: we've had leave issues, flight drama - all kinds of fun stuff! But it's amazing how God works things out for our best. After searching for months (I'm not even kidding) for good flights, we miraculously found ones 30% cheaper than the average quote we were getting. Unfortunately it was a Friday, and while trying to book online, after putting in all our details, picking seats etc. there was a recurring technical error - and a call centre that was closed for the weekend. I retried every few hours for three days, so you can imagine my fury when I finally got hold of someone the Monday, only for them to give me a long sob story and an apology, before swiftly telling me the next best tickets were R3000 more!

The next day I found another really good price, and tried booking, only to have some agent tell me the price advertised was incorrect (forgive me, but in the service industries where I've worked, when this happens, it's not the customer's problem). Anyway, after two days' worth of fighting with them, I eventually found something else - not as cheap, not as quick, not as convenient, but manageable, I guess.
I wish I could explain what it was that made me stall on the payment. I really don't know. I kept telling myself I'd wait to hear from one more agent, check another site one last time. It was during this wait that someone advised me to call the airline about the connecting flights - and on this phone call (for the first time!) I was made aware that more than one transit stop in Europe requires a Shengen visa. Thank God I had not paid - I couldn't imagine anything worse than having to pay for an additional visa, and then not even leave the plane/airport to use it!

After all this drama, I decided to lay off the search for a day or two. And it just so happened that when I picked it back up, we got something that worked out ok. We're a little bummed that we have to come home earlier than originally planned, but we've managed to gain a day or two at the start, and at the end of the day, we just really want to see the people we love and miss so much!

So, on the 3rd December we'll be setting off on a little adventure, and I can't wait to share all about it!

Less than 13 weeks to go!

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