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2012:
One of us (it wasn't me!) got a craze for Andre Rieu and wanted to see him in his home city. Newmarket Travel, in the local paper,
advertised a weekend, including tickets, for his Concert in June. Rang sister Ann (Michael is also a fan) and they joined us. Gave our collection points as Staines and Weybridge (both normal for coach companies). No problem. After full payment is made we get a letter saying the collection point for all of us will be Walton upon Thames! Hang on! Edna rings and says "Surely you've got a collection point nearer Staines?". The girl who answers the phone says that we are down as a Staines collection (for all of us), "Please confirm that in writing" (even though Ann and Michael want Weybridge, it's easier for them to do Staines than for any of us to do Walton). Edna then says "they're not picking us up 'til 3 o'clock". Surely not, we'd get there about 1 in the morning. You've guessed it, 3 AM! We are all now gritting our teeth and if there were any Newmarket Travel employees about........... You don't find these things out until you've paid in full. Anyway, I won't bore you with the details (my car wouldn't start, standing in the middle of a main road at 3AM waving my arms because the driver didn't know where he was supposed to collect, going through Hinchley Wood with the driver looking at his map, taking his reading glasses on and off while driving - I shut my eyes). Eventually (the tunnel journey was great) we got to our hotel in Belgium! (they did also say that our Hotel would be within 90 minutes of Maastricht, you've guessed it, the Hotel was 90 minutes away). Got there at 1 PM. WHY? Were told that the rooms may not be ready (ours were, actually). This is Saturday, the Concert is Sunday. We're in a commercial / residential area for nearly 24 hours. Had a walk around but could find nowhere to eat locally so ate in the hotel. In our room was a menu, vin de pays wine at 11 euros. Ordered a bottle with our meal, which was ok, but on the bill 18 euros. Hang on, I ordered Vin de Pays, waiter never said a word, changed the bill, 13 euros. Close enough, I like the Belgians so don't want to start a national incident. {I'm not sure about the exact prices of the wine but they're close enough} I'm still whingeing and we're not at Maastricht yet!
Anyway, 11 AM the next morning we leave for Maastricht. Good journey, weather grotty, but... Maastricht is a lovely Town (even in the rain). Had a wander around, a few photos, lunch etc. BUT, what time does the Concert start? 9 PM! What time does it finish? Midnight! (and we've got a 90 minute journey after that). Into a pub for a few more drinks and got to the venue VERY early.
We were lucky! It had rained all day but in the evening it was fine(ish). Let me be honest, I'd never sat and watched Andre Rieu before (I watch cricket while Edna is watching classical) but it was FABULOUS. A GREAT Concert. If we'd known, before we came, of the problems we would face - no way but, I'm glad we went (there's no greater praise of Andre Rieu).
Got back to the hotel at about 1.45 AM! - expletive deleted - and up for breakfast at 9. Then away for a stop off at Bruges. Always wanted to go to Bruges and, from what we saw, we will BUT. We sorted our own lunch out in Bruges but, if we'd followed the Courier into the centre of Bruges we wouldn't have had time. We got back about 2 minutes late (I hated that), some were back 15 minutes late or more!
I'm not going any further, Newmarket Travel is now a no-no.

We were lucky!
We were lucky, Rain all day and this at night.

 

 

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