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Dr John Hawkins

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Planning a Trip

Posted on 2008/01/18 21:08:44 (January 2008).

[Friday 11th January]
Next week will mark the 8th anniversary of when Chie and I first met, which, along with the rest of our plethora of anniversaries, we're in the habit of doing something to mark the occasion each year.

Particularly with Christmas having turned out to not be much of a rest (what with Chie only taking a few days off, and me supposedly being off the whole time but in practice having to work almost every day) we had decided it might be nice to go for a long weekend away somewhere.

Unfortunately, we had been struggling to actually come up with any winning suggestions. Given my utter loathing of air travel I didn't want to go anywhere that would involve a flight, and Chie didn't seem keen on anywhere that would involve a long train journey. I was all for getting the Eurostar/ TGV all the way down to the South of France, but somehow the prospect of a full day's travelling at either end of a long weekend didn't seem to win Chie over. Ho, hum. Theoretically a destination in the UK would have met our requirements, but neither of us could think of anywhere that we hadn't already been to, and could muster any real enthusiasm about - particularly at this time of year.

We were definitely quite stuck, and it was beginning to look like we'd be doing nothing at all the weekend-after-next. Out of the blue though, a suggestion emerged (I think from one of Chie's colleagues) to go to Aachen. I had barely even heard of the place before, but it turns out it is famous for its hot springs - an instant win with Chie. Better still, it was just the other side of Belgium from here, and well served by trains - with the new Eurostar line, London to Brussels can be done in under two hours now, and Aachen is only another hour-and-a-half from there. We could even break up the journey en route and see what Brussels has to offer - from what I have heard it isn't generally hailed as particularly exciting, but then it doesn't really need to be as it is not our final destination.... and really, how bad can it be? As long as there are a few Belgian beers to sup, and some frites and waffles to nibble on, surely we can't go wrong!

Concerned that we might just dither over the idea for the coming week, but never actually get round to sorting it out until it was too late, I took the bull by the horns and booked our Eurostar tickets there and then. As always I was baffled by the prices - and it seemed hideously expensive if we were going to head out on a Friday night - but with a bit of searching about I found an acceptable cheap fare (albeit at a somewhat inconvenient time - very early Saturday morning).

So, job done. The trip was arranged for the weekend after this one, and I felt very pleased with myself.

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