UK travel costs

I’m booking train tickets for a lightning quick visit to the UK, post the Cast In Steel 2016 visit to Bergen in May. And they’re expensive.

Of course, everything is expensive when you look at the tragic state of the South African Rand, but travel – especially train travel in the UK – is stupidly, near prohibitively, expensive.

But what are you supposed to do? You can’t walk.
Last time, with Mrs 6000 and the kids with me, it made more financial sense to hire a car and drive up the M1. And that’s 260km with petrol costing R24 an litre. Still pricey. But with just me going, that option seems less financially viable this time around.

It’s not just me though. Infamously, last month (as infamous as something that recent can be, anyway), Jordon Cox, aka “The Coupon Kid” travelled from Sheffield to Essex via Berlin – included a day out in the German capital – and still saved money.

flight2    flight1

Although his money-saving achievement was somewhat overlooked by The Guardian whose main concern was that it wasn’t environmentally friendly. Missing the point, much?

And then there was this, with the argument around football ticket pricing becoming a bigger and bigger thing:


And yes, maybe Mr Tyneside_Blades (if that is his real name) could choose a cheaper (and almost certainly far more enjoyable) hobby than watching Sheffield United, but saying that is merely employing Guardianesque diversion tactics. (Incidentally, someone had a go at that here, and was summarily defeated.)

The point here (again) is the comparison between travel to/from Essex/near London and travel to/from Germany.

So I looked, but I couldn’t find a suitable route via Germany. *sad face*

I did find one via Dublin though.
And here’s my maths (no, I don’t have time for stadium tours or a ham and cheese toastie):

Fullscreen capture 2016-02-08 111033 AM.bmp

My plane from Bergen arrives at LHR, so that’s my starting point for either journey. I don’t get to leave the airport at Dublin, so I won’t spend anything at the Guinness Brewery, and my Dad will pick me up from station or airport, so that bit is for his account, (but ok, for the record it’s basically 5 miles to the station and 25 miles to the airport).

A few other points:
Yes, this includes all taxes, and a minimum of 20kg luggage allowance for the planes. Heavy.
Yes, I have to allow about 3½ hours for the train journey, while the flights would take about 6 hours. Time.
Yes, the train would be more environmentally friendly. Smoky.
No, despite the graphics above, I’m not expecting to travel by Pullman Coaches or Boeing 747 on these journeys. Inaccuracy.

I probably won’t end up doing this, but the point is that I could. And it simply doesn’t make sense that I could.

I’m not really sure who to complain to about the whole thing though, so I just wrote a blog post.

Thanks for reading it.

Bergen & Bourbon

The planning for Cast In Steel 2016 is now well under way. No-one is more amazed than me that it actually seems to be happening, but hotels are booked, flights are being booked and hopes are being cautiously raised. Very cautiously. We all remember what happened last time.

I’m no expert on Norway, so it’s a steep learning curve for me. But Bergen, our home for a few nights, looks ridiculously beautiful. Here’s a shot of the harbour area (and our hotel) (along with a lot of other buildings) from their tourist people:


All so very pretty, but all so unfamiliar to me. Well, almost all unfamiliar, anyway. Because, hang on a sec, isn’t that our old friend (we met once on Quay 6 at the V&A Waterfront) Bourbon Clear, about halfway down that right hand side? Of course it is.
The thing with having a big, bulbous green face is that you’re not easily forgotten, nor mistaken for anyone else.

I’d not be lying if I said that the Bourbon Clear is among my top one Norwegian registered Multi-Purpose Offshore Vessels. And I see the fact that it’s moored right next to the concert venue of the Bergenhus Festning as some sort of sign. But because I’m not superstitious, I’m only seeing it as a sign that the Bergenhus Festning is right next to a harbour. That’s all.

Because my most important reader is me, more will follow on our Bergen trip plans, building to a crescendo of excitement and anticipation that can only result in the best experience or the biggest let down ever.

But I’m thinking the former this time, please. Ok?

Oops, I did it again…

How long have you been reading 6000 miles…?

If it’s more than *weep* 6 years, then you may remember this post from Christmas 2009. It was when my amazing wife bought me amazing tickets for a-ha’s amazing last ever gig in Oslo.

There was much excitement. So. Much. Excitement.
I had almost a year to plan and anticipate my trip, I was going to meet friends and family on the way through. It was going to be amazing. I couldn’t stop smiling for 11 months. I even made a category on here for the whole thing.

But then… then this:

5230643297_8ce7b2ae10_bAnd this:


And the rest, as they say, is history.

Really, really expensive history.

But then, on a happier note, a-ha reformed, announcing one last album and one last tour.

It wouldn’t be like me to do something daft and use the a-ha fan club pre-sale link to buy tickets for their last ever gig in Bergen next May, would it?

Would it? Er… yes. It would.

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Oh crap. Here we go again.

As impulse purchases go, it was ridiculously expensive and both wholly unthought-through (hence impulse) and yet somehow carefully considered (in that this concert will sell out and I can certainly pass the tickets on should I need to).

Accommodation is sorted too, thanks to a remarkable hotel flex deal meaning that I pay nothing til I get there and don’t have to decide whether to I want to stay until 1600 on the day I check in. 1.4km from the train station, 700m from the concert venue (including a ferry trip). And cheaper than a hotel in Cape Town. I know. You do the maths.

There are a few minor things to work out. Childcare, flights, trains, annual leave and a million other potential stumbling blocks.
But suddenly some bare bones, bare bones which I hadn’t even considered this morning, are in place.

And look, Google is chilled AF about the whole thing:

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Or as the Norwegians would say “Weekend i Bergen”.
Ja. Let’s go play. Possibly. Maybe let’s tell my wife first though.