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Trust Me

Trust Me

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Planning a trip after the vernal equinox?

Trust me, I’ve been there
Zoe Williams

IT’S really no mystery at all, why a person might forget about Easter. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, your anniversary, your “shag-iversary”, every conceivable date when you might be able to whine your way to a mini-break occurs at a fixed time of year. Easter, as we all know, occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, so it’s obvious — except that nobody knows what a vernal equinox is. I tell a lie, some people must know, otherwise how would everything come to be booked out by the Friday before?

Every single second-best, bargain-basementbut- not-actually-that-cheap, what-did-I-comehere- for? travel experience I’ve ever had has occurred around this time. The year I went to Tallinn, it was because I wanted to go to Prague, only the whole of the Czech Republic was booked out. “Czech is chocka,” said the travel guy, which delighted him so much that he couldn’t have been more pleased at the ruination of my holiday. In his ideal world, my relationship would spoil also, and then he’d have got some duff wordplay out of that. Naturally, all the destination-hotels in Tallinn had been booked by the people who had wanted to go there in the first place, so we ended up in a business hotel, overlooking a conference centre, for the kind of money that only a multi-national company would ever think of paying, only without a mini-bar — or for that matter a maxi-bar, in case anyone should be driven to hard liquor.

The year I went to North Wales, it was because I wanted to go to the cutest hotel ever, called the Felin Fach in the Brecon Beacons, only — in fairness to me — this had been booked out since before anyone had even calculated the vernal equinox. North Wales, it turned out, is a lot further from my house than the Brecon Beacons. We arrived at 9pm, and were astonished to find that, late as we were, it was still the 1980s, and dinner was over. And this is how we reached the following evening without realising that there was no talking, or indeed noise of any sort, allowed in the dining room. So not only had we to eat 1980s food in total silence, I also couldn’t go to the loo the whole night because my shoes clacked. The year I wanted to go to New York, I ended up in Rochester, NY, and it would take years to go into the full horror of that. The year I fancied Bordeaux, I ended up in Metz, which is a bit like meaning to go to the Lake District and fetching up in Leighton Buzzard.

01 February 08

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