Welcome to the Bookgrrl Travel Awards, where I give my stamp of approval, or a kick in the pants to the places we visited.
‘The Room with a view’ award
This award goes to the most picturesque place we visited, that could be seen from our windows of our accommodation. We had to rule out Paris, as the much vaunted view of Sacre Coeur could only be seen if you opened the window, stood on your tiptoes and craned your neck to catch a glimpse of it. we could see the tour buses which stopped nearby from our windows though :)
So drumroll… the award goes to the Bourgoensch Hof in Bruges, where we were awarded views of the canal, and bridges, and people strolling and riding their bicycles.
An honourable mention to our house in Skye, where you could see the sheep on rolling hills, the sea, and ‘our’ mountain whose mood changed from minute to minute.
It does not go to the Bayview hotel in Portballintrae, which heralded its view of Bushmills, which turned out to be a view of… the carpark.
The ‘Pinch me now, I can’t believe we’re here’ award goes to the place where the sudden reality of where you are just smacks you in the face.
That award goes to coming out of the Colosseo station in Rome to be greeted by the Colosseum!
An honourable mention also goes to turning a corner and suddenly seeing the Duomo in Florence. Actually it wasn’t so much a smack your face, as at the moment I had been horribly lost, and seeing it was a huge relief as I now knew where I was. Then I proceeded to get lost again :-)
The ‘Can’t swing a cat’ goes to the smallest accommodation we encountered on our stay.
It is awarded to the Premier Inn in Islington, which was a standard room, with a couch made up and a trundle bed set up to make it a ‘family room’. There was no space between all three beds, and if you wanted to move about the room, the rest of the family had to be sitting on the beds. The bathroom was palatial compared to the bedroom.
An honourable mention goes to our flat in Paris. When we first arrived, the kids asked, where’s our bedroom? I pointed to the sofabed, and they looked at me, laughed, and said, ‘ No really, where IS our bedroom?’
The ‘Brady Bunch’ award goes to the accommodation which was the most family-friendly.
This involved much deliberation with everyone in the family, with a winner and 2 honourable mentions the result.
Our flat in Highbury/Islington in London was a clear winner. There was a backyard, the playground across the road and there was also ‘no big stairs like there were in Florence and Edinburgh’ as Master BG said. There were also kids to play with, the Tube and bus stops 50m away, as well as a supermarket.
The honourable mentions went to our flat in York, which had a well-stocked toy cupboard and kids books available,and also had a WII, which, being an absolute numpty, I couldn’t get to work.
The second honourable mention went to Skye, as chosen by the kids. They loved the cottage as it had stairs (only one flight), they had a room of their own, and a garden in which to play. There were also lots of sheep to look at.
The “If only we could come back without kids” award goes to the best hotel room. That award goes to the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow, which is attached to Grand Central Station and has recently been refurbished. The beds were king-sized, with plasma TVs, the room was huge and the bathroom had a heater behind the mirror, so it would not fog up when you were in the shower. They also win the ‘Scrumptious’ award for the best meal we had.
The ‘Host with the most’ award
I would have liked to give an award for the most friendly hosts, but there were so many it is hard to pick out a winner. Everyone was incredibly nice, but these are the standouts. I have linked to them because I want to spread the love for any aspiring traveller.
Gaia of the Casa Valadier in Rome, for her card and wine, and very comprehensive list of where to find everything in Rome. She really set a high standard!
Alan and Emma in Highbury, London
The staff at the Waterloo Lodge in Dublin
The staff at the Belmore Court Hotel in Enniskillen
Stuart and his cat Daisy in Skye
The staff at the Loch Erisort Innon Lewis for getting a waitress to wear an Aussie rugby jumper to make us feel at home, and for sending in a sticky date pudding with a candle for Mr BG to celebrate his birthday.
The staff at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow
Patrick and Helen of the Riverside Apartments in York
Howard and Ros in Stanton Lees, Derbyshire for feeling more like friendly neighbours whom you could pop in and ask for anything.
Likewise I would have liked to give an award for what I miss the most from my trip overseas, but there are heaps! So here is a short list
Wifi on trains, buses and in parks
The coffee in Florence
The gelati in Florence
The lemon curd icecream in York
The northern accent in York
The chips in Ireland
The beer in Bruges
The porridge oats in the UK (weird I know, but they’re so much creamier!)
The weather in Italy
My brothers in London
My family in Ireland
That’s it- I just have to go back.