If you live in a tourist area it is really easy to have some really great stuff (attractions, parks and gardens etc.) on your doorstep and then never visit any of them. We live and work in St Ives in Cornwall and have some of the best beaches in the UK just 10 minutes from our front door. Although we do get to the beach over the summer we end up hardly going at all because if the weather isn’t glorious then you end up putting the beach off until you have a perfect summers day. In the last three years at least there have been very few perfect summers days and lots of overcast ones. During the winter we go to the beach almost every day, we enjoy the emptiness and storm sweptedness (a word made up by me for purposes of this blog) of the beach during the winter. Very occasionally we decide we are going to be a tourist for a day and we go to all those places that normally, as a local, you avoid like the plague. Places that are full of bloody tourists parking their cars everywhere and clogging up the pavements with their push chairs and walking down the middle of the road and suddenly stopping to look in shop windows.
If you are a local living in Cornwall, being called a tourist is not normally a compliment but having said that to be called local you need to be able to trace your family back ten generations or more to the same small village and have a surname starting with Tre- like Tevorrow or Treguna although you may get away with a Stevens or Symons if you are lucky.
The inspiration for this post is actually the word ‘Tourist’. Years ago the well to do would go on a grand tour around Europe to round out their education and often the architecture and art would stay with them throughout their life and be reflected in the buildings they designed, the art they commissioned and the books they read and wrote.
Today a tourist is lucky if they get a week in Benidorm.
Then the Tourist would travel by coach, train and yacht, now it is easyJet.
Those days are to some extent gone, but a friend has just come back from just such a trip in South America and is planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. I think the destinations are different but the principle is the same. Another friends son has an old Ambulance/converted camper van and is doing the whole European tour thing right now, although I personally would prefer the Orient Express to St Johns Ambulance.
Chances are that two months in an old St Johns Ambulance ambulance and touring all the capitals of Europe will cost you less than that week in Benidorm but which ever appeals to you we hopefully can still help you out with your travel money. Unless that is you are coming to Cornwall and clogging up our streets and taking all our parking spaces!
If you have ever read any of my posts before you must know that I am going to talk about exchange rates at some point. The message is pretty simple, if you go to your normal travel agent or bank you are going to pay through the nose for your travel moeny. You will have less money to spend while you are away so you will have less fun, less meals out or see less sights or whatever it was that drew you to your destination in the first place. We compare a whole raft of suppliers from the biggest right down to those with just a kiosk sized booth on a corner of Covent Garden in London so you can get that bit extra but also be happy with the purchase you are making. The idea that ‘this isn’t just any Euro, it’s a M&S Euro’ just doesn’t work with currency, they are all just the same.
The answer to the question at the top is where ever you are happiest to spend your money just don’t do it on the high street where they are going to rip you off.
I will leave you with a few ‘final thoughts’.
Did you know that they used CompareHolidayMoney.com as the example website when they were telling people to compare exchange rates on the BBC’s rip off Britain series?
If you want to convert an Ambulance into a camper van then St John’s Ambulance ones have very few miles on the clock and make a good choice.
Giant 4×4’s are not a good choice for driving though little cobbled Cornish roads.