Happy St Patrick’s Day

Hi,

To the Irish celebrating their patron saint’s day wherever you are, have a great ‘craic’.

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This day is a rather special one for Mark, too. Today is his birthday and not only that, he hits the big (Hawaii) 5 – 0. We thought we would look at the way travel has changed so much in his lifetime, mostly due to the internet. We have done this off the cuff, so there are bound to be important people/ companies missing. So here we go.

Things/people that completely changed how the British travel.

  1. The Channel Tunnel – The boat-train and ferry option to Paris used to take nearly all day to get there. Now Eurostar can whisk you to the French Capital in just over two hours.
  2. Easyjet/Ryanair – Loathed by some, these two companies have made air travel accessible to all. Despite trying to put off their customers with ridiculous charges for services that the ‘proper’ airlines offer for free.
  3. Sir Freddy Laker – The visionary Granddaddy of the budget airlines, with his amazing deals to New York. How British Airways treated him was a disgrace. In our opinion.
  4. The Internet – For sheer volume of information and also the ability to book holidays, accommodation, flights and most of the other components of your holiday. Not quite killed off travel agents (good, they are still the best option for specialised travel planning) and making life hard for a lot of package tour firms.
  5. Ourselves – People (in the Western World) are living longer and earning more money. This translates to flying to more exotic and far-flung locations around the World, even Antarctica. And still travelling well into old age to foreign sunny destinations, rather than just sitting by the sea at somewhere like Eastbourne.
  6. Cruising – Like air travel it was once the preserve of the elite. Now it is so cost effective it is the fastest growing sector of the travel industry. Massive new ships now carry thousands and have the facilities to match the ever increasing expectations of the people on board.
  7. The Package tour – In the seventies enabled the ‘working classes’ to escape to a Spanish Costa or Island instead of staying in the UK. Nearly put out of business the domestic holiday trade, who have fought back with better facilities and standards of service.
  8. Airports – More accurately security at airports, which now takes a lot longer to get through due to the threat of terrorism. In the UK for a considerable part of Mark’s life, there was the threat from the Irish ‘troubles’, (now a much diminished threat due to the peace process).  But the IRA apparently never considered using an airliner as a weapon (Thank God).
  9. Trains – This is one of Mark’s bee in a bonnet issues about the UK. Look at the high speed trains and networks of France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain. Trains that routinely travel at nearly 190 MPH and a vast rail network of specially constructed tracks to travel around the countries mentioned. Now look at the UK, trains routinely travel at 125 MPH, sometimes 140 MPH, one! high speed track from London to the Eurotunnel. The lack of investment means that the UK is decades behind their European counterparts, so embarrassing. Getting to Europe and travel between different countries has never been easier by train, let’s hope the UK can catch up sometime.

The future – More of the World’s population will be able to travel, so therefore the popular tourist sites might have to introduce restrictions on visitor numbers to preserve them. And now you can for an astronomical price, book on a Virgin Galactic trip to space to view the Earth. Unbelievable, and what other travel wonders lay in wait to be discovered in years to come?

Edit – A photo review of Mark’s 50th Birthday celebrations. Click on any photo to enlarge.

Lunch in Godalming Wetherspoons, receive the usual Guinness hat.

Mark1

Visit the out-laws in their summer house.

Mark2

Chillin’ with the Father-in-law.

Mark3

Howdy partner! Thought I had collected another hat, bit small tho’.

Mark4

Not my birthday present apparently, booooooooo.

Mark5

Dinner with a friend and a second hat received, plus a balloon bonus for my wife.

Mark6

Trying not to burst out laughing with my sister, as usual.

Mark7

Thank you for the lying present sis!

Mark7

Mark & Yvette still smiling at the end of a tiring day.

Mark8

Thanks to all our family and friends for a wonderful St Patrick’s day (and the day before too) See you again next year, lol.

Thanks for reading,

Mark & Yvette

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