Notes from Puzzle Palace

Friday, April 12, 2024

Another trip to the UK

Some of our puzzle trips are spur of the moment decisions.  This last month Peter Hajek was the cause of one of those. A few months back, I had bid on yet another Berrocal and won.  I thought to ask Steve to pick it up for us, but he reminded me that Peter lived right next door.  I very quickly emailed Peter requesting that he pick up my new piece and paid for the auction.  In the mean time, I had purchased another box of puzzles from Happy Puzzle Company and had them delivered to Steve.  Now Steve then went to Peter's for a visit and delivered that box there.  In the mean time, Peter very generously donated a collection of parlor games and puzzles to the WPC so we woke up one morning and decided to go pick them up.  

Now that sounds like we just hopped in the car and left.  In reality, I emailed all parties involved, booked hotel rooms and the Chunnel and spent a day planning the trip because of meetings and work going on in the WPC.  So a week later we finally hit the road.  Our trip this time was dull with not many extra sites to see because I wanted to get there and back because of the work going on here.  We always stop in Como for the night, then again somewhere in France before taking the Chunnel the next morning.  I messed up this time and we ended up in France for 3 days!  UGH!!

I also discovered F1 hotels. The last time we stayed at one, we thought it was ok so I booked again without realizing what I was doing.  I'm posting it here for my future reference.  NOTE TO SELF: NEVER AGAIN!!!  Yes, the hotel was cheap and the rooms were adequate, but after spending 3 consecutive nights in one, I would only recommend it to a college student, and grudgingly at that.  George looked up the average size of a prison cell in the US and they are bigger than these rooms.

The first night in France we stopped in Nancy Sud.  Talk about a nasty area.  The only positive was a big shopping mall across the road.  We had a simple dinner in the room, then went out to the lobby to play a game of Eurorails that we always carry with us. We had a bratty kid decide he wanted to smoke right at the door, with his foot in it so he didn't need to open it with the code.  Talk about lazy.  Anyway, we asked him to please close the door.  I thought by his behavior we had asked him to give us all of his money and clothes too.  He was incredibly rude to us.  But, another gentleman traveling with him managed to get him to shut the door.  

We had planned to have a lie in, but the next morning we got up and headed out.  I didn't want to stay there anymore.  We reached Calais and this is where I realized I made a mistake.  We were checked in to another of these F1 hotels, this time it was about 1/2 mile from the Chunnel station.  Not bad.  The property was the same, but nicer people around.  When I went to check in for the morning ride, I discovered that it was a day later.  Oh joy!  I booked the F1 again and went for a drive over to the Cité Europa to look for puzzles.  Bust.  Oh well.  Back to George for another game. 

And another day in the same hotel....

Finally, we woke up, I checked in and discovered we could leave a bit earlier so off to the UK we went.  We met with Peter around noon, had a good long talk, lunch, more talking, more puzzling.  You get the idea.  Out of respect for Peter's wishes, I post no photos.  

We left him around 4 and drove to the hotel we chose for the night.  This time we stayed at the Rising Sun Inn in Longfield.  I highly recommend it.  We will stay there again. It was such a quiet little place with an amazingly comfortable bed!

We brought in the game thinking we would play, but both of us were so exhausted, we went to bed without eating.  The fish and chips lunch was more than enough to satisfy us.  And speaking of, what is it with fish and chips?  Our friends in the UK love them.  I enjoy it, but it really hates me. Every time I eat it, I'm sick.  this time was no exception.  Around an hour after I went to bed, I was up tossing lunch.  It just didn't agree with me.  But look at this beautiful room!  

Again we had no lie in.  I wanted to get home.  I had gotten a message bout a rogue electrician who decided to pull wires out of walls willie nillie and was eager to return to sort out the problem.  We woke around 8 and I checked in to the Chunnel only to learn that we could get on the train 3 hours earlier without having to pay more.  Needless to say, we got up and left right away.  The ride across was uneventful and we began our trip home.  But....Once again we had to stay at a pre-booked F1 hotel.  I can see you all slapping your forehead.  Yes, I was stupid!  NEVER AGAIN.

We drove as far as Reims spent yet another night with this hotel chain and got up the next morning as soon as possible for a visit to Constantin Puzzles.  Again, out of respect for Constantin I won't post photos.  We had a tour of his workshop, George got to look at the laser cutters he uses and thankfully has decided he doesn't want to get one.  Those are expensive machines!  We were so honored, they made a lunch for us and allowed me to rummage through the storage area. Of course, I had ordered a bunch of puzzles in advance and picked those up.  While rummaging, I managed to find quite a few more that we didn't have.  

After leaving, we decided to stop in Luzern and stayed at an Ibis hotel.  I had booked us an F1, but this time because I had decided to pay a bit more to be able to cancel in case we were unable to make this short detour.  I cancelled.  I was able to find an Ibis and that is where we spent the night.  Much more comfortable bed, much more comfortable room, and only a 7 hour drive home.  I let George have his lie in and we left around 9:30 or so.  

You know that feeling you get when you are a long holiday and finally return to your home region.  When I crossed the border into Italy, I breathed a sigh of relief and began to enjoy the beauty of the country we have chosen to call home.  We had a very leisurely drive through Italy and returned to the castle around 4.  

I immediately went over and dealt with the rogue electrician.  Turns out, there was confusion as to who actually owns the building.  (Note: it is George and I).  Once that was established, I got the smokers out-we have clothes stored there and the smell....And got everyone back to doing as I wanted it done.  Problem solved.  

As we had guests arriving in a week, George and I decided to do a little more unpacking.  This time, it was the Mega Mansion.  Finally!  It has found a home under the stairs in the tower hall.  I think it is in good company now.  

The End


1 comment:

  1. Fascinating insights into France, your experiences with "budget" hotels and of course "A whole lot of puzzlin goin on." Best wishes, Ricky