This Summer, GOAD went on a three City tour to London, Amsterdam* and Durban* in order to see what your best date location experiences were across the world.
So it’s July 18th and the itinerary has been set. The Going On A Date crew will travel from Birmingham to London where one of several locations would be reviewed before heading to Amsterdam for two days, checking off another half a dozen locations and will then make the trip to Cape Town before transferring to Durban, completing several reviews along the way before returning to London, completing the reviews and them heading back to Birmingham for a job well done.
The next three weeks would prove that the itinerary should have been used as kindling.
Now at first, the first section of the London Tour went perfectly to plan. We arrived in London, and managed to visit a cinema before heading to Battersea to complete our Pestana review and checking in for the evening.
What would follow would be a 24 hours we wished to forget.
At around 8pm? It began raining. Not just raining a bit, but a miniature storm had begun to brew, bringing the familiar friends that were thunder and lightning. Now typically this wouldn’t be an issue, but when you’re flying from an airport that had delays over 1cm of snow- you quickly realise that the possibility of your flight being cancelled can become a reality.
So we began making concessions, in the event of this. Firstly, we arrange that the car taking us to the airport waits until we can confirm we will be getting onto the plane and tell the hotel that we may be late for our check in; which is met with two negative responses.
Firstly, we discovered that the reception was not open. Perhaps the staff went to bed at 11pm local time, or we just weren’t getting a response and secondly, we would learn to discover that our driver would get into a car accident on their way to us, losing control in the treacherous conditions.
Thankfully the driver would be okay, but being forced to get a backup driver on such a short notice meant that we wouldn’t be able to have a safety net should the flight be cancelled.
But safety nets wouldn’t matter as we would be leaving far later than scheduled with a driver that could only drop us off. If the flight was cancelled, we would be on our own.
…Which is exactly what happened when we ended up getting stuck in what we would later learn was Stanstead’s longest security queue of the year.
So despite all of our efforts to make contingencies for a cancelled plane, we did not have any for a missed flight.
And with no available flights heading to Amsterdam that day, we were forced to head back to our accommodation in London.
Now typically this would be a quick 20minute train ride back to our accommodation but remember that baby storm I talked about?
Well it had knocked down a tree onto the line, temporarily closing our route back home.
So we were stranded, at Stanstead Airport and in the wrong country. The tour was going great.
After what was a calamitous day before, we woke up on the 20th preparing for our flight to Cape Town.
It was a pretty smooth sailing morning. We hit two spots for a review before heading to the airport ahead of what was supposed to be an 8pm flight.
Then we hit a second round of flight disasters.
A booking error meant that one member of our party would not be allowed to board the flight; and since this is a group that travels in pairs- we would effectively lose a couple before the plane had even begun to take off.
Initially, this would not be an issue; as it was assumed that we would be rebooked for a flight out the next day. However, upon further investigation, it would not be another WEEK until the couple would be able to join the group in South Africa- unless we were to book another flight flying an indirect route out of our own pocket.
Left with little choice, the team separated and the pair left behind would be forced into a 24hour flight schedule, leaving from Heathrow and heading to Dublin, before flying from Dublin to Dubai before finally meeting the group in Cape Town FOUR DAYS after the rest of the group arrived.
Now typically a four-day delay before transferring would be an additional nightmare for your trip, but in what was beginning to feel like a typical GOAD style, our scheduled visitations in Durban at the end of the week would have to be cancelled due to what had grown into a severe drought/ water shortage in the country.
Now whilst Cape Town had been badly affected by this water shortage with spots of the city reporting blackouts, restaurant closures and some food poisoning scares; Durban was allegedly a “completely different kettle of fish”, according to our fixer.
Whilst being forced to cancel our trip to Durban and the subsequent reservations, were disappointing; being forced to stay in Cape Town would not be the worst scenario we had been proposed with throughout this tour.
You see, Cape Town is the Tourist Capital of Africa. It’s a former World Cup host city and is commonly mistaken as South Africa’s capital city. If anything, being in Cape Town meant that we could explore the city and the region around it in a way we had not anticipated.
And so the tour took off in the way that you saw it, touring Cape Town to admire the vineyards, natural parks and restaurants the city and the province surrounding it provided.
But what is this city like? Well keep your eyes peeled for the city reviews that are coming up on this site in the coming weeks.
Stay dating and stay loving