As I may have mentioned previously, there wasn’t a lot of planning built in to this trip. I’d love to say it was due to the simplicity of being easy to please but the truth is, I just didn’t want to get it wrong.
This being my first solo trip, I was a little petrified to build an itinerary and I know in the past, that’s why I’d left it to the people who enjoy planning of them. Taking in all the sights, sounds and experiences possible seems like a great way to go about it. After all, you are likely in a place that you will not be in again, around things you might not see again, why not aim for the stars!?
I understand that thought process, I do and I again applaud the traveler that can do just that. The gift of all the traveling I have done has taught me that I am not, always, that kind of traveler, at least, not anymore.
What felt the most important for this trip were the very basics of knowing how I was getting there/back again and where I would lay my head down each night. I know several people who would (and probably did) cringe at my having no other ‘plans’ outside of that but those were the only things I initially cared about.
Within the getting to know myself, these past few years, in regards traveling and beyond, I have, indeed, gotten to know myself! Crazy right!? The largest reveals have been how my body feels when it’s heightened (excited, anxious, scared, curious, invigorated, utterly pissed off, etc.) and the reactions that come from those places. The last thing I wanted to do to myself, on my first solo trip, was to disregard the potential of any of those responses by the choosing of too many things to do/see ahead of time.
Building in as much safety as felt right for me and also nurturing my free flow were top of the tier and I have to say that, I’m proud of how it all turned out.
In Nottingham, I had the pleasure of staying at The Best Western Plus on Wollaton. It’s city center location made it ideal for being able get around by walking (my favorite thing), as well as having nearby bus and tram access, should I have needed it.
My room was small and simplistic with the bed, open faced wardrobe w/nooks, the desk/tv stand with drawers and table with chairs. That was all a very cozy kind of practical for me. Everything had it’s place and there was enough room to add a few Christmassy decorations for festive cheer.
Not to be left out of this description are the windows, which spanned, almost the entirety of the street facing wall of the room and had the most magical view of old world roof tops and clock dome of City Hall,
Yes, all bathrooms are essential but this one made me fall in love with the ritual of baths. I’m so grateful for my little hobbity apartment in the States but it was built in 1965…the tub is tiny and the water isn’t warm by the time it’s done filling. It seems a simple thing, I am sure, but being able to fill a tub with hot water and then get in said tub without it overflowing into the floor was sheer and utter delight (that I greatly miss).
I chose the full English breakfast as an addition to my accommodation and upon returning to my room (after being very well greeted and served by Mo, another fast friend), I felt calm, safe and ready to venture out into the city that awaited me.
My accommodations for the second week, I have to admit, I had a little help with the choosing of, from a friend that lives in the area (THANKS BEN 😉 ). I am exceedingly grateful for that assist as, amazingly enough, I walked off the bus from Nottingham to Derby, around the corner and at the end of that block, I arrived at the entrance to The Holiday Inn at Riverlights.
The smile and slight chuckle I enjoyed as I made my way to reception was due to the contrast of this city’s arrival and the one prior. It was a great relief to not be quite as disheveled this round.
The elevator dinged open on the top floor, where reception is located (that is until they undergo renovations later his year) and, once again, I was greeted warmly, the time, by the kind and beautiful smile of Billie who told me, after my returned greeting undoubtedly sounded as hurried as the mico machines commercial from my childhood, “I’ll tell you about and show you where to find everything, there is no more need to rush”. Maybe I WAS holding my breath a bit 🙂 She placed me in her favorite room and instinct told me that I could trust that.
Entering this room brought tears to my eyes. By this 7th day of travel, I had already had the most incredible of times, saw amazing things and met wonderful people. As the lights came on in my new room, the open curtain revealed another spectacular view and I read “Welcome, Candice” on the television menu screen, I knew I still had 7 more, magical days ahead.
Located, again, at city center, I was able to walk and explore a large majority of it by foot and, if I needed it, the bus stops and station itself were less than 5min from the hotel.
Noticing my pattern of eating dinner (tea) really early out or simply snacking while in Notts, I opted to treat myself this round and have the B,B &D stay. That’s the bed, breakfast and dinner package. It was the best of decisions and not only did the chefs outdo themselves each meal, I was able to interact with both shifts of the staff, which was a delight!
Pinging back to beginning of the post, as excited as I was about the new adventure of traveling on my own, I also knew there might be a chance that I’d feel a little lonely and/or miss home. As you can see, I didn’t have to worry about that at all.
The kind and brilliant staff at both locations treated me like a friend immediately. Every morning they made sure I’d had a good night’s sleep, had a warm and filling meal to start my day and that I knew which direction I would be heading for the day, also, how best to get there. In the evenings, I was always asked about my day and about my writing. You may say they were “just doing their job” but the level of comfort I received within each day made it all the more enjoyable for me and also ensured that slept soundly each night.
Words can’t really express my gratitude for the special role my accommodation choices, and wonderful people therein, played in my practically perfect holiday but I’ll endeavor to try, today and in the posts to come!
Soooo glad you had a great time!!!!
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