Do pictures lie?

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Shakespeare in Paris – I loved browsing in this shop, they have a large selection of books in English.
My wife and I and another couple decided to do a self-catering holiday in Europe staying in Paris, Barcelona, Madrid & Lisbon. We wanted to travel between each place by train, but between Madrid and Lisbon we had to fly – we didn’t want the night train and flying was more economical.
In Paris I was looking for a two-bedroom mid-priced apartment, not too far from a metro station, and within walking distance of some of the main attractions.
I found what looked like the right place, and after we’ve all seen the web site photographs and read the accompanying blurb I booked this apartment for four nights.

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The above photographs are from the web site of the agency renting this property.

The above two pictures are of the living / dining room. The problem was that on the left-hand side of the mirrored cupboard was a very large damp patch that we could smell before seeing the area. Below the damp area was an electrical plug, which was lose. I found this out when trying to plug in a recharger for my camera. The plug came out of the wall and was damp. Fortunately I did not receive an electric shock.

entryway-1500The hallway was close to the actual hallway. Again taken from the web site.

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This was our bedroom with the en-suite to the left of the wardrobe. The wardrobe door was a struggle to open, and I was always concerned that if I pulled too hard the whole thing would fall on me.
The toilet in the en-suite was an ‘electric’ toilet, which I’d never heard of, and my wife & I were always concerned that it wouldn’t flush properly after making some very strange noises as it built up power so as to actually flush.

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 The next bedroom was used by our friends.

When researching for the right accommodation I wanted to make sure that we had access to a washing machine, but the web site never mentioned that the washing machine was in the cupboard of our friend’s bedroom. It can just be seen in what I thought was their wardrobe.

All the remaining photographs are mine.

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 This one is of the entrance to the apartment, through the green doors.

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We could have done with a miner’s helmet each, as we fumbled our way through the alleyway, after entering through the green door.

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Climbing the stairs to the apartment’s front door was OK, to a point, but try carrying heavy suitcases up the narrow stair way.
Let’s just say our Paris accommodation was a great disappointment.

I did like the dinky toy parked outside of our entrance.

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And it seems that you can park dinky toys where every you like in Paris . .

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Regardless of our accommodation we did enjoy our time in Paris and shopping for our own food.

 

The journey, not the destination,

Flying to Europe from Australia is not as simple as getting on a plane for 24 cramped hours in economy. As one grows older economy class becomes less and less attractive, even though one might not be able to fly business class all the way, perhaps a combination can be arranged. In the past ten years of planning holidays for my wife and I, it has been a happy learning experience.

A combination flight consists of a nine hour economy flight from Sydney to Asia and and business class from Asia to Europe. Where in Europe you might ask – London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam or?

Considering your European gateway port is a mixture of airline pricing, schedules and your over all plans.

Let’s consider pricing from an Australian origin city. The price offered to London is often more expensive than the price to Paris or Frankfurt, but you might ask, you have to get from Paris to London at a cost, if London is your final destination.

A few years ago the UK Government increased the landing charges for intercontinental flights, so when I decided on a ‘combi’ ticket in 2012, the difference in landing in Paris and staying the night, plus the cost of the Eurostar (economy) was cheaper than flying direct to London. I have since realised that Frankfurt is cheaper again.

We returned to Europe in 2014 using Frankfurt s our gateway. Our final destination being Norwich in Norfolk.

I decided that we would fly KLM from Frankfurt, to Norwich, the overall cost being cheaper than a direct flight to London, plus the train fare to Norwich.
I checked KLM and found that a one way ticket was more expensive than the round trip cost, even though I didn’t wish to fly back to Frankfurt.

I booked return tickets and when I completed our ‘return’ booking, even though we would not be using the return ticket, the ticket cost would be cheaper still if we agreed to fly via the 6.00 am flight from Norwich, because it was FREE!

We booked our flight from Frankfurt to Norwich, and we were ‘no shows’ for the return flight, because we had tickets on the Eurostar to Paris, because at the end of our holiday we would be flying home from Madrid.

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I couldn’t fault the service or the aircraft, which was a Fokker 70.

So it does pay to investigate more than the direct service to save money.