Monday, April 02, 2012

Long service leave

We are about to go on an extended break. A month. Where? Japan and good old Blighty, and Ireland... and maybe Scotland and Wales.  Having only been to the UK in the depths of winter, and then not for ahem... 25 years, what luxury to be going in the spring.  Which led me to thinking about travel arrangements and where a travel agent fits in these days.  Seems like the agent is good to book tickets, but in terms of accommodation, it's all right there in front of you on the internet thingie. And if you like research, as I do, it's positively pleasurable to undertake. Not only can you check out interiors and exteriors (google maps street view), but then you can plot how far away your pied a terre will be from where you want to visit, and more importantly, eat.  And with a the burgeoning blogosphere, your info will be up to date.  I spend Saturday arvo interrogating a great blog called LondonTastin, which alerted me to a restaurant which sounded like a must try. Fay Maschler has very recently given it a 5/5 and the consensus is 'Get there before the Michelin men.' It's called Dabbous, and a few click later, there I was looking at its menu. And yes, indeedy it looked great. A few more clicks , and a delightful response from Charlie at reservations; I believe we have secured a table for lunch.

And as for dinner, top of the list is St. John, Fergus Henderson's Nose to Tail establishment in Clerkenwell. It's a matter of yards from where we are staying, so off went the email. Another delightful response from the reservation team. Oh no, it's Lizzie's Diamond Jubilee and everywhere worth eating at will be closed.  A quick email to Nic at Flight Centre, and it's fixed. Flights two days earlier. (Couldn't have done that if we'd purchased tix on the internet.) Another email to onefinestay, and our apartment stay can be extended to accommodate our new arrival  time.

And a hotel in Japan? Easy. I have a friend who is a Qantas stewardess, and know where they stay on their layovers. 3 nights booked easy as pie at the Hotel Mercure Narita.

And Peter at Souvlaki for the Soul has a hot tip for dinner in Japan.

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Now, to interrogate other venues and beds.

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